New Tastes!

Hotels

MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company

720 Centerview Blvd.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
(407) 201-3824
View Website Here

MidiCi is one of the newer entrants to the fast casual pizza concept, but if you ever visit any location, you will quickly find out they are aiming for an experience that is worlds away from the competition.

Anyone who walks into any of the fast casual pizza chains in the country like Blaze Pizza, PizzaRev, Pieology, Pie Five and other players in a category that seems to announce new development deals overnight, will see a very distinct difference from what Midici is offering from the moment you walk in the door.

At MidiCi the mission is to bring friends together around pizza because it behaves like a friend, it connects people. It crosses barriers and unites people.

The pizza served here is the Original. Pizza with a capital N. Neapolitan Pizza.
The way Italians invented it over 300 years ago. It is authentic, made with few and fine ingredients, and accessible to everyone.

Staying true to Neapolitan heritage, the dough is made with only four fine ingredients – non-GMO double zero flour imported from Naples, pure water, sea salt and live yeast. The authentic and pure garnishes include – crushed non-GMO Italian peeled tomatoes, fresh whole mozzarella and non-GMO, Italian extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil.

They serve way more than pizza here too, with a great selection of meat and cheese boards, antipasto dishes, salads, desserts, beers, wines and some really good coffee too.

This is fast casual, so you do have to walk up to the counter and place an order, but that is where the fun starts. They have a few classic styles of Neapolitan pizza you can choose from, as well as specialty pizzas, and of course you can make your own pizza with whatever toppings you wish.

Burrata with Melon & Prosciutto is a great antipasto selection to start your meal at Midici. This is served with Burrata, melon, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction drizzle with wood fired Neapolitan bread. All appetizers are served fresh with balsamic reduction and wood-fired Neapolitan bread.

The House Meat & Cheese Plate with Black truffle cheese (sottocenere al tartufo), Goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary ham (cotto), prosciutto, spicy Italian salami (calabrese) is big enough for 2. This is served with Kalamata olives, dried apricots, dates, walnuts and honey.

We really enjoyed The Italian Salad. This is made to share, and it’s full of seasonal greens, Romaine lettuce, Neapolitan salami, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, Kalamata olives, Parmesan, crushed croutons and tossed in a housemade Italian vinaigrette dressing.

The House Cheese Board with Black truffle cheese (sottocenere al tartufo), fresh Mozzarella, Goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pears, dates, walnuts and honey is a very good starter as well, perhaps even better with a glass of wine.

Midici also makes excellent House Made Meatballs that are made with Angus beef and topped with fresh Mozzarella in an Italian marinara sauce with Parmesan and basil.

You can order from a variety of pre-designed pizzas at Midici, but you can also build your own. You simply pick a base, like the Margherita, the Pesto, Truffle, or a Red Marinara then add from a variety of toppings. It’s best not to do more than 3 toppings at once, because it will make your pizza too heavy and not give you that good cracker like crust. 

This is The Margherita Pizza made with Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, extra virgin olive oil. The signature Neapolitan dough is light, thin, soft and chewy, with a high crust. Made from 4 fine ingredients: non-gmo double zero Neapolitan flour, water, sea salt, and yeast.

The Forest Pizza is on the Specialty Menu at Midici and is topped with Italian tomato sauce, fresh Mozzarella, rosemary ham (cotto), mushrooms, black olives, and is finished with with Parmesan, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

For my “custom pizza”, I chose the Margherita base and topped it with Applewood smoked bacon, red onions and sun dried tomatoes. 

The Signature Nutella Calzone is a must have must try item at Midici. This was extravagant and delicious made with a house made dough pocket stuffed with Nutella and served with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Like the Italians, the folks at Midici believe a meal is about taste, flavors and colors, but it is also, and if not more, about the people, the conversations, the laughter. The best meals always have your friends circled around the table. Because they believe it is moments we remember, not days, not posts, not pictures.

The food here is excellent. The staff even better, and the atmosphere is perfect. Although Midici must call itself fast casual, this brand of pizza is anything but.

MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

Tijuana Flats Unveils a "Secret Menu"


4698 Gardens Park Blvd. 
Ste. 101
Orlando, FL 32839
(All Locations)
View Website Here


Tijuana Flats, the Tex-Mex American restaurant chain that was an innovator in fast casual Tex-Mex cuisine has introduced a “Secret Menu.”

Of course now that you are reading this, it may not be such a big secret anymore, but you will have to ask for the items when you place your order, as they will not be listed on any menu.

With over 135 locations throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana, Tijuana Flats restaurants are fast-casual hybrids with fresh food, hot sauce bars, art murals and off-beat culture. Customers order at the front counter and are served after sitting.

The restaurant was founded in Winter Park, FL in 1995 by University of Central Florida graduate Brian Wheeler with $20,000 in loans. The company had 18 locations before expanding out of state in 2004. 

Of course if you live anywhere in Central Florida, and you love Tex-Mex cuisine, you should be very familiar with Tijuana Flats.

The Mexican Pizza is sometimes featured as a special during certain times of the year, but it will now also be part of the secret menu permanently. Its pretty tasty too with blackened chicken, jalapenos lettuce and tomatoes with a sour cream drizzle over a baked tortilla. 

The Double Stack is back, of course on the hidden menu only. You can have it with chicken or steak and they take a crunchy taco and fill it to your liking, then take a queso smothered soft shell and wrap it around. You can choose to have it served with rice and beans or chips.

The Bangin Chicken Tostadas were really good also. These are covered with crispy fried chicken pieces tossed in a buffalo sauce with refried beans, tomatoes, lots of cheese, and a drizzle or ranch. This item as well as the pizza on the secret menu are great to share. 

The Cookie Dough Flautas are always on the regular menu at Tijuana Flats, and it’s no secret, these are some of my favorite dessert treats anywhere. Fresh oooey and goooey cookie dough center that is deep fried in a flauta served with chocolate dipping sauce.

So there you have it, a few not so new items, but definitely really tasty treats you can get your hands on at your nearest Tijuana Flats location. We tried these items at the newest location by the Mall at Millenia, but this secret menu is available at all locations.


Tijuana Flats Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

Topgolf is great for Valentine's day too...

9295 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 218-7714
View Website Here


Topgolf is a great low-pressure date activity that you and that special someone can enjoy on Valentine’s Day.

With a great selection of sharable bites, refreshing drinks, online reservations and a little friendly competition in a cozy atmosphere, Topgolf is the perfect Valentine’s Day destination for couples of all ages and relationship stages.


Here is a great article from Allison Stride from Match.com about why Topgolf is such a great low pressure date idea for Valentine's day, you can see the full article here as well as get some other great ideas from Allison.

“For most of us, just the thought of Valentine’s Day approaching can send off stress alarms. We get it – dates around Valentine’s Day aren’t easy to navigate, especially if you’ve only been seeing someone for a short time or you’re getting ready to go on the first date. Luckily, Topgolf is making date night easier with a $10 off coupon.

Not all Valentine’s Day dates have to be an overpriced dinner at a stuffy restaurant paired with 3-hour-long silence at a movie. In fact, one of the most effective ways to ensure success on a first date is to spend time doing something social and active.


“The popularity of outdoor recreation, walking, jogging, biking and other outdoor activities, may stem from our long human heritage of living and loving out of doors, in nature,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, Chief Scientific Advisor to Match. “The sights, sounds and smells of nature still stimulate all of our senses—which trigger powerful and often highly pleasurable activity in the brain.”

Stop dreading Valentine’s Day and try one of these unique, pressure-free date ideas. Enjoying friendly competition in a relaxed, social atmosphere is a great way to enjoy your date’s company while getting to know them.

Our idea? Visit our friends at Topgolf, where you can enjoy refreshing drinks, sharable bites and more than enough friendly competition to go around. Topgolf is the perfect setting for flirty one-on-one time, or even a casual group date.


To help you and your date feel the Valentine’s Day vibe, Topgolf is including a $10 off coupon to Match members, redeemable Feb. 12-18. Get your coupon here.”

We could not agree more!

Call (407) 218-7714 or go to https://topgolf.com/us/orlando/ to book a spot now!
Read more ...

The Whiskey


7563 W Sand Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-6517
View Website Here


The Whiskey has become quite the hot spot since it’s opening in mid 2015. 

Sadly with so many restaurants that have opened in Orlando since that time, It took us a while to make it out there, but fear not, we did go and we did it up big. 

When we first arrived, I thought the spot looked familiar, and that is because this use to be the location for the now defunct Cricketers Pub & Eatery. Cricketer’s was a bit larger than a hole in the wall with a very basic layout. Some of the design themes from the original location are still in tact, which really work fine with what the Whiskey’s design team has imagined.

Once inside, there is one long bar that runs across the left wall with a view of the open kitchen. A small stage is toward the back, with a few rows of wooden tables across the back wall and a hand full of larger communal style tables in the middle. Seating can be limited as this is set up like a tight narrow hallway, with a first come first serve basis and you may be eating or drinking at one of the big long tables. 

The food here is very chef driven, even if they do specialize in burgers. The culinary team is always striving to put out plates that are visually stunning while offering an elevated twist. The Whiskey uses fresh and local ingredients from the eggs and produce, to the grass fed game meats to the hormone & range free chicken and organic produce.

Burgers here, are a big thing. They take pride in their burgers here, and the results and myriad of awards speak for themselves. The burgers are large and packed with flavor and a variety of toppings that are cooked to your liking. Want something different than beef? No problem, as The Whiskey has Bison, Elk, Camel, Wild Boar and Wild caught sockeye as well as a burger topped with a 20 hour smoked beef brisket.

They make some pretty mean salads here too, and have great side options and a variety of starters to choose from as well. The Whiskey Onion Rings and the Parmesan Truffle fries are not to be missed. You can order them seperate or upgrade them as a side item for your burger.

Of course, The Whiskey would not be it’s namesake without that great old time alcoholic beverage known as whiskey. They boast a whopping selection of over 200 kinds of Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch and Rye.

The official count is something like...85 Whiskeys & Rye, 66 Bourbons, 52 Scotches, 21 Irish Whiskeys and 10 Rare & Limited bottles. They serve it by the shot, and as mixer in a variety of cocktails. Shots go from a couple of bucks all the up to over $32.00 for a shot and over $75.00 for a regular serving. They do serve beer and have a few other spirits available as well.



Fridays and Saturdays are always packed at the Whiskey. Seating is first come first serve, as they do not take reservations, and you can see that this isn’t the biggest restaurant on Restaurant Row.

The Motley Cucumber on the left made with Damrak Gin and an Old Fashioned with Old Forester 100 proof bourbon on the right. The Old Forester was very smooth with full flavor and a spicy note. The Motley Cucumber is great and refreshing if Whiskey is not your thing.

Whiskey Chips are great for the whole table, and they are a crowd pleaser. These house cooked kettle chips are piled high with Gorgonzola cream, crumbled Gorgonzola, chopped bourbon bacon, aged balsamic glaze and scallions.

The Fried Mushrooms were pretty tasty also and were enough to share with our group. They were pretty simple with a crispy beer batter and served with a side of ranch.

Bear Gully Reserve is on the left, and it is made by local distillery, Winter Park Distilling Company. The Black Forest with Rebel Yell Ginger and Godiva Chocolate is on the right.

The Pork Belly Sliders with crispy pork belly, fried green tomatoes, house pimiento cheese and balsamic glaze on sweet Hawaiian rolls were out of this world. I would go back to The Whiskey just for these awesome little creations.

I love a good Bison burger, and they are becoming hard to find in Orlando, but the
Drunk Bison burger at The Whiskey is pretty damn good. This is a grass fed ground bison patty with beer cheddar cheese sauce, bourbon bacon, whiskey onion rings, served on a pretzel roll...and it's amazing. Of course we upgraded to the Parmesan Truffle Fries as well, and they were equally amazing.


The Texas Mule made with Tito’s vodka and The Rocky Mountain Dram made with Tincup Whiskey on the right.

One of the most popular burger choices at The Whiskey is of course, The Whiskey Burger. This comes topped with smoked Gouda cheese, bourbon bacon, whiskey onions and a dill aioli. This burger, as with all burgers served here are big and more than a mouthful.

The Whiskey has some great salad selections on the menu, like this Whiskey Cobb Salad. This is loaded with Grilled chicken, chopped bourbon bacon, tomatoes, Gorgonzola crumbles, sunny egg, house pickled cucumbers and a lemon balsamic vinaigrette. They have a Steak & Bleu salad if you want beef in a salad, a Pickled Beet salad, and a classic Caesar on the menu that can all be served by themselves, or with a choice of protein.

We visited The Whiskey on a Friday night, and it was packed. Like I said earlier, this place on the weekends, especially after dark gets going and the crowds fill up fast, and they do not take reservations. If you end up sitting close to the stage, be prepared to literally shout at your server and leave with a mild case of tinnitus.

Having said that, we still really enjoyed The Whiskey. All of the food was really good, and my Bison Burger was superb. There is a reason they are often in the top of any best burger competitions in Orlando. All of the whiskey cocktails, regular cocktails and shots of the premium stuff were great also. Just be careful, a few whiskey’s, a few cocktails and few burgers will set you back a bit.

The average burger price is around $15.00 and the apps start at around $10.00. Most cocktails start at over $10.00 and shots or tastes of various whiskey’s go from a couple of bucks to over $30.00, and it adds up fast. They do have happy hour specials Monday thru Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm and there is a decent amount of appetizers and a burger for a discounted price. 

The Whiskey is open Monday to Sunday from 11:00 am until 2:00 am.

Whiskey Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

Bartaco


7600 Dr Phillips Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 801-8226
View Website Here


Tacos, tacos, and more tacos, it seems to be the craze all over Orlando right now.

We have traditional tacos, street tacos, craft tacos, custom tacos, recently, a once popular higher end restaurant just decided to call the old menu quits and serve up tacos. 

I'm not sure how long the taco craze will last. We all love tacos, but in my opinion, it’s getting out of control in Orlando. The good thing is that for Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz, they got onto the craze before it ever hit mainstream, and they have a brand that I think will outlast the makeshift overnight taco places popping up.

About seven years ago Andy Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz had the idea to emulate casual al fresco dining experiences they experienced in Brazil, a dream deferred but later realized when the partners found a waterfront space in Port Chester, Connecticut, and the rest as they say is history.

Bartaco is inspired by the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay and Southern California. They focus on an upscale brand of street food with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment. The duo expected the restaurant to be a sort of gourmet taco truck turned inside out and a late night hang out for the younger crowd, but they quickly found families gathering to the concept as well.

With freshly squeezed juices, specialty cocktails and beer out of a bottle, Bartaco is reminiscent of a stylish beach resort with a great atmosphere made by woven basket light fixtures, and a wrap around bar that is front and center. It’s easy to forget where you are for the moment, and that's a great thing.

Bartaco’s mostly Cali-Mexican menu focuses on tacos with clean flavors and a price point of $2.50 to $3.50, depending on choice of protein. Tacos and sides are ordered a-la-carte similar to the way one would order sushi off a little check box menu that you fill out table side. The list of tacos available is pretty amazing and includes items like chorizo, pork belly, baja fish, falafel, duck, lamb, cauliflower and more.

They also serve rice bowls with curried shrimp, Mexican style tamales and sides including street corn, spicy cucumber salad, plantains, soups, and desserts.


Inside at Bartaco is very spacious. You may not think so from the outside, but with a big wrap around bar, an outdoor seating area, and plenty of booths and tables on the left and right, this place can hold a quite a crowd. We also really appreciate that Bartaco puts foot rests on the ledge of their booths.

On the "Not Tacos" list for starters is a trio of delicious and fresh made in house Roja salsa, Salsa Verde and Guacamole. 

Drinks are also a major focus of the restaurant, which has a stout tequila list of blancos, reposados, anejos and mezcals. A Paloma Fresca is on the left and the Bartaco Margarita on the right. Both are made with fresh squeezed juices and ingredients for a super fresh and tasty cocktail.

I love sweet plantains, but never thought of dipping them in a sauce. The ones here at Bartaco come with a side of a garlic aioli sauce that make them the perfect salty and sweet treat.

The Tuna Poke was pretty good. It's a tad bit on the salty side and maybe a little heavy on the sauce, but getting a bite with the avocado helps out a lot.

I've had some pretty authentic Tamales in my time, even while in Mexico, but I do have to admit the Pork Tamale here was pretty on point. It's surprisingly good.

The Cauliflower Taco and The Sesame Ribeye Tacos with a side of Stewed Black Beans was really good, but man the Cauliflower Taco was spectacular. Lots of crunch with immense flavor.

All tacos at Bartaco can be made with bibb lettuce instead of a tortilla, for a low carb option, but the Tuna Tatako comes on lettuce only. We had this with a side of Spicy Cucumber Salad for a cool Asian style taco experiment. It was very good.

The Reviver with Martin Miller's Gin and an Old Thymer with Four Roses Bourbon on the right.

We really enjoyed all the really cool and unique tacos at Bartaco. They really have something for everyone, even vegetarians. Our order here consisted of a Falafel, Mojo Pork Carnitas, Duck, Crispy Rock Shrimp, and Pork Belly tacos. All of it was superb, especially the pork belly and the falafel.

Of course, nothing finishes off your meal at Bartaco better than these wonderful Churros with a not too sweet chocolate sauce to dip them in.

They have a great outdoor spot as well for additional seating when the weather permits.

We really fell in love with Bartaco, it is one of the best restaurant/dining atmospheres I have been to in quite a while. The food here is exceptional, the cocktails were wonderful and the service was excellent. They have live music on various nights and they also feature new taco ingredients on a monthly basis for different options.

There are 14 locations in the U.S so far with two in Florida. One in Dr. Phillips and the the other in Tampa. The Dr. Phillips location is open from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm except for Friday and Saturday, they are open until 12:00 am.


Bartaco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

South Beach Wine & Food Festival Returns to Eat, Drink and Educate for 2018

13th Street & Ocean Drive
Miami Beach FL, 33139
View Website Here

The 17th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®) returns to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. February 21st – 25th, 2018.

One of America’s most prestigious gourmet gatherings, the Festival has raised more than $26 million to date for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).

This year’s edition will feature more than 90 events, including signature fan-favorite soirées, an array of new parties and intimate dining experiences, expanded CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series, and much more.

“We are truly looking forward to an exciting 17th edition,” noted Festival founder and director Lee Brian Schrager, who serves as senior vice president, communications & corporate social responsibility for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “With a variety of new experiences and refreshed fan-favorites, the 2018 Festival offers up a plethora of culinary, beverage and lifestyle events for passionate fans and hospitality industry professionals to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE.”

The 17th annual Tribute Dinner presented by Bank of America part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series gets a fresh new format this year, with a star-studded line-up of more than a dozen chefs cooking at this walk-around affair in honor of restaurateur, author and beloved Food Network personality Bobby Flay and Treasury Wine Estates managing director and chief executive officer Michael Clarke.

Top-rated radio host Elvis Duran will serve as the emcee during this not-to-be-missed evening taking place at Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Saturday, February 24th, 2018. Also new this year, the celebration will continue at Sweet Moves: Late-Night Desserts & Dancing hosted by Bobby & Sophie Flay with beats by lifestyle guru and popular DJ Hannah Bronfman.

Iconic Miami Beach events continue to evolve and tantalize the taste buds of passionate fans from around the world, kicking off with Italian Bites on the Beach sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company hosted by Giada De Laurentiis.

The beloved Heineken Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons gets a new twist this year, with resident Food Network Rockstar Guy Fieri serving as its host.

Additionally, the music revolution that began last year at the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village featuring Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations expands with the David Grutman Experience spanning both Saturday, February 24th and Sunday, February 25th.

The BACARDI Beach Party also returns with late-night beats and eats under the Festival’s sparkling white tents on the sand, and the new Beachside BBQ hosted by Michael Symon closes out the weekend on Miami Beach.

The third annual CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series returns with an all-star schedule of events in Broward County, including:

● Signature Wine Seminars presented by Bank of America, a BBQ Dinner hosted by Chris Lilly and Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Chef Jorge Ramos and Clambake hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Jorge Ramos; all taking place at the brand-new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach.

● The introduction of the Festival’s fan-favorite Lucky Chopsticks hosted by Andrew Zimmern and a Rooftop Rosé Happy Hour hosted by television star, jewelry and shoe designer, True Roots cookbook author and all-around lifestyle guru Kristin Cavallari - who is also a new part-time fixture on the South Florida scene thanks to the addition of husband Jay Cutler to the city’s beloved Miami Dolphins – at the W Fort Lauderdale.

●Plus, a selection of intimate dinner experiences with renowned chefs and a Grand Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian to top-off the series.

A variety of late-night parties accent the line-up, including returning fan-favorites like Tacos After Dark hosted by Rick Bayless and King’s Hawaiian presents the Taste of Aloha and Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown hosted by Anne Burrell, and new experiences like Midnight Munchies hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten on the Art Deco oasis Española Way featuring special guest DJ Action Bronson round out the midnight owl offerings.

EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. The exclusive MasterCard pre-sale for the 2018 Festival has already started. You can go online at sobewff.org or by calling 877.762.3933 (phone sales open Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST). to get your tickets.


Between SOBEWFF® and its sister NYCWFF, which takes place each October in New York City, more than $36 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities for each Festival. 

Beyond the funds raised, both Festivals draw attention to the vibrant dining culture in their respective cities, provide economic stimulus in their communities, and serve as an invaluable platform to drive awareness, engaging and inspiring people to get involved in philanthropic activities.

All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world’s greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers.

To date, the Festival has raised more than $26 million for the School. In September 2017, BizBash named the Festival the #1 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States for the fifth year in a row.

Read more ...