New Tastes!


Rumtoberfest at Bahama Breeze

8735 Vineland Ave.
Orlando, FL 32821

(407) 938-9010

Bahama Breeze Island Grille is celebrating rum through November 2nd with Rumtoberfest. The six-week long event includes a host of new food and drink offerings, instant win prizes and special Thursday night events in each restaurant.

The rum revelry will peak each Thursday in October, as each Bahama Breeze restaurant celebrates RumThursty beginning at 8 PM each week. The late night parties will feature live music, contests and, of course, rum.

During each RumThursty night, guests can enter to win a trip to the islands in Bahama Breeze’s Instagram Sweeps. One winner will be selected each week to receive a getaway for two to the Super-Inclusive Breezes Resort & Spa in the Bahamas. To enter guests must post a photo on Instagram from the restaurant using #RumSweeps. Offering more chances to win, each Bahama Breeze will also host in-restaurant giveaways for gift cards, t-shirts and more each RumThursty party.

To celebrate one of the world’s favorite rum cocktails, Bahama Breeze has introduced five new fresh fruit mojitos. Each hand-crafted drink features fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, crushed mint and fresh fruit. Variations range from sweet to spicy, including a Strawberry Mojito crafted from Bacardi DragonFruit rum and fresh strawberries and the Mango Jalapeno Mojito made with Cruzan Mango rum, mango puree and fresh jalapeno peppers.

Bahama Breeze is also offering a premium rum flight to showcase the spicy aromas and complex flavors of rum. The Island Rum Tour features Seven Fathoms, Pyrat XO Reserve and Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year rums. The flight is presented in tasting glasses on a custom board accompanied by tasting notes for each selection.*

The chefs at Bahama Breeze have created two new rum-infused dishes for the occasion. Inspired by the classic cocktail, Rum and Coke Wings feature Bahama Breeze’s signature chicken wings smothered in a house-made sauce with Myers’ Original Dark Rum. For a sweet finish to any meal, the classic Rum Cake is made with Bacardi Oakheart Rum and topped with raisin butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream.

Our Rum Flight was superb.  From left to right you have Seven Fathoms, Zaya Gran Reserva, Pyrat XO Reserve. My favorite was the Zaya Gran Reserva. Deep Vanilla flavors and caramel aroma.

The Mango Jalapeno Mojito was full of sweet and heat. The Coconut Mojito was really good as well.

The new appetizer of Rum and Coke Wings was a tad too sweet for my liking, but tasty nonetheless. 

I ordered the Ropa Joe Sandwich as my entree. Its the traditional ropa vieja shredded beef, but topped with cheese, peppers and onions, served on Cuban Bread...and it was delicious.

My guest decided on the Mojo Pork Cubano for an entree choice. This dish is made with fried pieces of pork covered in mojo sauce and pickled onions and is served with yellow rice and sweet plantains.

The star of the show was the Island Rum Cake made with Bacardi Oakheart Rum, topped with homemade raisin butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice creamThis is an awesome desert, and worth a trip to Bahama Breeze all on its own.

Stop by and enjoy #Rumtoberfest at a Bahama Breeze near you!  All Bahama Breeze locations are open for lunch and dinner daily, from 11:00 am until late night and offer call-ahead seating.

For additional details on Rumtoberfest and your chance to win a trip to the islands, please visit

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American Q

1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd
Lake Buena Vista, FL
(407) 827-3080

View Website Here

The all new American Q at the B Resort is open for business, and they may be in the running for best beef brisket in Central Florida.

American Q is a rodízio-style concept offering a modern take on classic barbecue. Just picture the ultimate Americana version of of Texas de Brazil or Fogo De Chao, and you get the picture. At the helm is Executive Chef Justin Leo, who has curated a unique menu that caters to the palates of barbecue enthusiasts, highlighting the flavor profiles of more than a dozen regions throughout the United States and Latin America. 

As soon as you enter, the first thing you see is the hard to miss ’51 cherry red Ford F1 pickup truck sitting front and center. Its a really cool truck, and comes loaded with its own flatbed buffet. Guests are welcomed into a completely transformed industrial country-style setting with multiple seating options that range from a communal table to booths and a semi-private dining room that seats 40. The look inside is set amidst the charm of a distressed brick smokehouse, a barn-inspired wood-clad bar and mason jar chandeliers. 

For $34.95 per person (tax and gratuity additional), you can indulge in an all you can eat barbecue journey. Start with more than 20 selections from the flatbed, which highlight Florida’s fresh produce, specifically micro-greens, lettuce and tomatoes. House made specialties like the daily soup and chili and a selection of seasonal salads like a Florida tomato salad are just a few of your options. Of course nothing says Americana like a baked potato bar and a baked sweet potato bar. There are other made from scratch sides too, like spinach gratin and house apple & caraway slaw as well as a touch of the south with Gulf peel & eat shrimp. 

After you visit the buffet, its time to loosen up your belt a few notches and get ready for the rodízio parade of barbecue meats and poultry. You will get an endless selection of slow smoked turkey drum, cold smoked & grilled turkey thigh with turkey chorizo stuffing, bacon wrapped boneless chicken thighs, house made sausages, smoked pork shoulder, Texas bark beef brisket, picanha of beef, Carolina style flank steak and vegetable brochette. You then have the option of having the complementary soft serve ice cream for desert, or you can order off of the ala carte menu.

In addition to the one price buffet you can also order main dishes that include a selection of 16 additional offerings. St. Louis spare ribs, 6 hour smoked spare ribs, grilled Argentinian spiral house made sausage, and a wood fire grilled jerk rubbed whole boneless snapper are a few of the options.

All of the meat at American Q is from Florida Fresh Meat Company and is grass fed, hormone free beef and pork as well as free range chicken. The restaurant is dedicated to supporting local farms when possible and makes several items from scratch including their sausages, sides and sauces. 

I was able to take part in a media preview event and was really blown away by the quality of the meats, and all of the attention to detail they have put into American Q. I literally ate so much food, it hurt, but it was all so very good. So follow along as I take you on this tour, and try not to go into a meat coma...

In addition to a starter of house made tater tots and devilled crab stuffed eggs, the Swine Candy was an instant hit. The Smoked bacon is roasted with molasses and spice and is served nice and crunchy.

Chef Leo’s personal touches include a baked-to-order Cornbread Skillet, which is included complimentary with the buffet. 

The Virginia Oysters are served with bacon jam and are grilled in shell which gave them a wonderful flavor.

Alligator Boudin was a very unique and flavorful sausage made with farm raised gator, tomatoes, peppers and okra.

The Mahogany Glazed Pork Belly with spicy watermelon salad was another awesome appetizer.

My trip to the Flatbed Buffet included maple baked beans, pasta salad, apple & caraway slaw, and chili.

I don't say this lightly, but the BEEF BRISKET at American Q is quite possibly the best beef brisket I have had in Central Florida. I mean WOW good.

The Bacon Wrapped Boneless Chicken Thighs were really good. They had a very nice smoky flavor, and were moist and tender.

One of my favorites was the Smoked Pork Shoulder. It is cooked with spiced onions that add a bit of a sweetness to the smokiness.

The Slow Smoked Tom Turkey was pretty good as well. It was cooked with a Mahogany glaze.

We did sample some of the Main Dishes like the Hot Smoked Salmon and a selection of ribs. The St. Louis Spare Ribs and the Texas Bark Beef Ribs were pretty tasty.

Just like a traditional rodizio grill, American Q has its own Picanha of Beef. Its a prime cut of top sirloin that is grilled to perfection. It was delicious on its own, but I added a splash of Mango Heat sauce to kick it up. 

Deserts were very good and very home style. The Berry Cobbler was something like your grandma use to make.

The Croissant Bread Pudding with apple compote was very enjoyable. Its a classic dessert with a gourmet twist.

By far, the S'mores Pie was the favorite. Layered graham crackers with flourless chocolate cake and topped with toasted rich and so good.

American Q also has a full service bar that offers creative cocktails, wines and a large selection of craft beers from regions throughout North America as well as a dedicated nine item bar snacks menu. Items included are the restaurant’s signature Swine Candy,  House Made Tater Tots with bacon salt and Deviled Crab-Stuffed Eggs with blue crab and remoulade.

The restaurant is open daily for dinner from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. and the bar is open Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to midnight. On weekends American Q is open at noon. A daily Happy Hour features half off drinks and is available from 4 to 7 p.m. 

This is a fun place to bring the whole family, or just a group of people who want to devour some meat. I really like the concept, and all of the old world American decor and vibe that American Q has going on, not to mention the food as well. All of the meat we sampled was very flavorful and cooked with a sense of down home BBQ pride.

Tip*- After you are done eating and are about to fall into a meat coma, there are a few leather couches and some large lounge chairs located at the front of the restaurant that you can use to sleep off your meat induced sleepiness....

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RA Sushi

9101 International Dr. 
Suite 1008
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 454-5600
View Website Here

I recently had the pleasure of attending a menu sampling and tasting event for RA Sushi. In case you were wondering what is RA, well...RA Sushi is one of the newest additions to the tourist hub known as Point Orlando on International Drive. Its sushi, its, Japanese fusion, its non traditional. Many have said that RA Sushi is the PF Chang's of Japanese food, and that's not a bad thing. When you think about the concept RA is going for, it makes since to place its only Orlando location in the tourist corridor

The restaurant is part of a national chain that was started by Rich Howland and Scott Kilpatrick in 1997 and was eventually acquired  by Benihana in 2002. RA has locations across the country, and is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, with its original four locations scattered around the greater Phoenix area. Although Benihana owns these concepts, they are independently operated. The Concept of RA Sushi is to make sushi fun and adventurous all at once. The menu strives to take Japanese food and sushi to those who may not be brave enough to go to a traditional style sushi bar. Prices are moderate, the music is loud, and the vibe is fun.

There are plenty of traditional offerings available on the Sashimi, Nigiri, and Maki Sushi menus like,Tuna, Yellowtail, Octopus, Sea Urchin and Fresh Water Eel or “Unagi”, but RA specializes in the gourmet Americanized versions with unique twists. The signature dishes are things like the Viva Las Vegas roll and the Crazy Monkey roll. The Viva Las Vegas roll is a good way to define the sushi at RA, as they have sold over one million rolls. Its a very tasty combo of crab, cream cheese, rice, seaweed, light tempura batter and is topped with spicy tuna, crab mix & sliced lotus root and sweet eel sauce and tempura bits. That is certainly a mouthful of flavor, but one that sushi purists would scoff at. That is where RA is trying to unite the fun and basic with the creative and outrageous and unify the sushi lover with the sushi beginner.

When you couple all the wild food offerings with a pretty cool happy hour and cocktails that are just as creative as the sushi, you start getting the picture of the vibe at RA. The happy hour is from 4:00 to 7:00 and can be enjoyed anywhere in the restaurant. The Screaming Ninja, Grape Escape and Tokyo Tower, a concoction of plum wine, peach schnapps, vodka and 7-Up are just a sampling of the drinks available along with a wide variety of Sake.

Edamame is always a good starter at a Japanese fusion place, and the Garlic Edamame with butter & Asian seasoning at RA was really good. 

Our next starter was the RA'llipop, Its RA's take on a sushi lollipop filled with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, cucumber, lettuce and wrapped in lobok served on skewers with a garlic ponzu sauce.

The signature Viva Las Vegas Roll with kanikama crab, cream cheese, rice, seaweed, tempura battered & topped with spicy tuna, kanikama crab mix & sliced lotus root and finished with a sweet eel sauce & spinach tempura bits...was delicious.

The Yellow Monkey Roll was all vegetarian with mango, roasted red pepper, artichoke, cream cheese, and topped with more mango and cashews and a kiwi wasabi drizzle.

The Crazy Monkey Roll is is made with smoked salmon, mango, cream cheese, topped with avocado,beet tempura bits and and cashews, drizzled with mango and sweet eel sauce.

Our final roll to sample was the Lobster Shrimp Roll with lobster, cucumber,avocado, topped with shrimp and served with Asian pesto sauce. All of the rolls we had were unique and very flavorful.

After all those rolls, it was time for a SAKE break. We were treated to a flight of three 2oz. pours of Kizakura “Pure”, Sho Chiku Bai Nigori “Creme de Sake” and Kizakura “Pure” Stars with flavors that ranged from sweet, dry and sparkling.

I found the Tuna Salad 
interesting. It included seared ahi tuna and albacore tuna with mixed greens, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, cashews, wontons, and an onion soy vinaigrette.

For something different without raw fish, but still Japanese, the Spicy Chicken Teriyaki Udon was a real treat, especially with the spicy teriyaki sauce.

If you have people who just refuse any type of sushi, or have children dining with you at RA, the Chicken Katsu is a great choice. Wonderfully breaded in Panko crumbs and a tasty Asian BBQ sauce for dipping.

If you want all the flavors of a sushi roll, but would rather have it in fork sized pieces, the Bara Chirashi Bowl is a good idea with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and green veggies served over rice with a poki sauce.

What could be a better ending than a Banana Split Maki It's sushi for desert with fried banana maki topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit then drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauces.

Yes...RA Sushi is not your traditional sushi house. Its very westernized and very American, but sometimes breaking from the norm is a good thing. I really enjoyed all of the food and the ambiance they have there. Its the kind of place where you can kick back and unwind with lively music, a cool crowd, and some pretty darn good matter what your preferences are.

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Black Bean Deli & Cuban Cafe

1835 E.Colonial Drive.
Orlando, FL. 32803

The first location of Black Bean Cuban Deli at 325 S. Orlando avenue has been a long standing hot spot for Cuban and Latin food eats while on the go. The menu there is pretty small, and the restaurant is even smaller, but it still is and continues to be a local favorite.

With the opening of the the location at 1835 E. Colonial Drive, Black Bean is able to offer it's Cuban soul food in in a place where you can dine in or sit on the patio and enjoy a Cuban beer or espresso. Although parking is very limited, it was a nice little spot to grab lunch with some fellow bloggers.

Black Bean keeps things pretty simple with the menu. Guests will find the traditional Cuban sandwiches and other versions of it like the Media Noche Cuban as well as empanadas and baked chicken platters. The food here is always good and the service is always with a smile. As simple as the menu is, it offers something for just about everyone with classic flavors and old traditional recipes from the heart. There's a reason that they have been in business for over 12 years.

I ordered the "Small Cuban", and it was as big as any other Cuban I have had. I am really curious to see what a Large Cuban" looks like. My side order of Tostones with Mojo Sauce was also a pretty large side. Both were delicious.

One of my blogger buddies Chris Roberts @Eat Local Orlando ordered a side of Boiled Yuca and Sweet Plantains. I've had yuca plenty of times, but never boiled. It was quite good actually with the mojo suace.

The newest location of Black Bean Deli serves up the same quality of food and tasty Latin snacks just like the original location. They really have some great food at very affordable prices with large portions and of course the added seating is a bonus too.

Stop by and visit them soon...some have even said they may have the best Cuban Sandwich in Orlando...we'll let you decide. Black Bean is open Monday to Thursday from 11am to 9pm, and on Friday & Saturday 11am to10pm.

Black Bean Deli & Cuban Café on Urbanspoon
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National Cheeseburger Day

Cheeseburger In paradise @ Margaritaville
September 18th is officially National Cheeseburger Day. I personally think everyday should be national cheeseburger day, because who doesn't like a mouthwatering cheeseburger any day of the year?

To help you celebrate this wonderful day, I have provided a brief history of the Cheeseburger, and some great tips on how to make a perfect burger from the folks at Margaritaville.

Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the late-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have invented the cheeseburger in 1926 at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena, California sandwich shop, "The Rite Spot," and "experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger. An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant O'Dell's which listed a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents.

Other restaurants say they invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, said it invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado. According to Steak 'n Shake archives, the restaurant's founder, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930.

Here are some tips from the folks at Margaritaville on how to make a great burger. If you recall my post from a few months ago about National Hamburger Month at Margaritaville, I think they know a thing or two about making burgers.

  • Choose your meat carefully. If you’re going to a local butcher, ask for 80 percent meat with 20 percent fat. The quality of burgers is heavily dependent on the protein selected. The fat with help maintain the flavors.

  • Turn up the heat. Preheat your stove or grill in order to obtain an evenly cooked burger.

  • Handling the meat. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when shaping the burgers to avoid them from becoming too dense. Also, do not press on the burger patty when cooking.

  • Season the meat prior to cooking with your preferred seasoning, such as salt and pepper, and place the meat in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to prevent the patties from breaking apart.

  • Experiment with toppings. American cheese reigns supreme on many menus, but experiment with cheddar, blue cheese, swiss, jack cheese and any other preferred cheese with other unique toppings such as chips, French Fries, chili, cheese, avocado, fried onions or bacon.

  • Don’t Forget The Buns. The type of bun chosen is typically based on personal preference. Brioche and pretzel buns are popular, but there are various gluten-free buns available at local stores and at Margaritaville. It’s important to toast the bun for the best quality.

Volcano Burger @ Margaritaville
So get out here and enjoy some great cheeseburgers at your favorite restaurant, or at home.

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Chicago's Stuffed Pizza

116 West Church Street
Orlando, FL 32801 
(407) 930-0770 

If you or any of your friends or family members are from Chicago, then you know what a real authentic Chicago style pizza is supposed to taste like and what it should look like. You are also aware of the great debate over "Stuffed Pizza" vs. "Deep Dish" pizza, and the raging battle over who made what first.

The origins of the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza go back to 1943, and most believe that the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago and its owner Ike Sewell had a hand in inventing the monstrous creation. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News says that Uno's original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the original recipe. By the mid 1970s, Pizzeria Uno was so successful, that it provided the inspiration for two now famous Chicago chains, Nancy's Pizza, founded by Rocco Palese, and Giordano's Pizzeria, operated by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio, to open their own restaurants. 

In an effort to keep with traditions but stand out as something different than what Uno was offering, they began experimenting with deep dish pizza and created the "Stuffed Pizza". Palese based his creation on his mother's recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza. Giordanos creation began in a small northern Italian town near Torino where mama Giordano was famous for her most beloved meal known as “Italian Easter Pie”. As you can see, both establishments have a similar background and story, and both were often making headlines and news stories for the huge pies they served, but this led to a never ending debate. To this day, you can easily start an argument with just about anybody from Chicago by asking..."Who was first..Nancy's or Giordano's"

In Chicago there are pretty much three styles of traditional pizza. The first is the "Deep Dish" pizza, that has a crust up to three inches tall at the edge, slightly higher than the ingredients, which include large amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce. Then there is the traditional "Thin Crust" pizza that is almost flat bread like and is your standard fare. Finally, you have the "Stuffed Pizza". Stuffed pizzas are often even deeper than deep-dish pizzas, but otherwise, it can be hard to see the difference until it is cut into. A stuffed pizza generally has much deeper topping density than any other type of pizza. As with deep-dish pizza, a deep layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added, then, an additional layer of dough goes on top and is pressed to the sides of the crust.

Orlando's newest pie maker, Chicago's Stuffed Pizza is here to further the great pizza pie debate, and serve up some pretty good food too. The name of the restaurant was specifically chosen to represent their mission, which is to bring that same great style of pizza you will find in the greater Chicago area to Orlando. After all , we do have Giordano's in Orlando, but as of yet, no Nancy' let the debates begin.

In addition to huge stuffed pizza, Chicago's has an offering of appetizers like mozzarella sticks, breaded mushrooms , fried zucchini, and even fried calamari.You can also order a variety of pastas like fettuccine, spaghetti and lasagna and they have a decent sandwich menu too. Some of the sandwiches include the classic Italian beef, Philly cheese steak, and chicken Parmesan  to name a few.

We ordered the fried zucchini for a snack, since our pie was going to take 30 minutes to bake. These were pretty good, especially dipped in the marinara sauce,and the first time I've had zucchini fried. 

Since I was dining with a friend from Chicago, he insisted we try out the Italian beef combo sandwich with beef, sausage,and Giardiniera peppers. Although it was really good, he was let down by the use of ciabatta bread instead of a hoagie roll.

We ordered a medium special pizza with sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. For $23.95, this pie sliced up into 6 slices, and was impressively massive.

After sharing our appetizer and sandwiches, we could barely finish one slice of this pie. It was delicious and tasty, but very filling, and my Chicago friend approved of this pie very much.

I really enjoyed Chicago's Stuffed Pizza and am looking forward to a return visit with a group of friends. During our visit beer was available, but they were still waiting on their liquor licence. A small stuffed pizza cuts into about 4 slices and goes for $18.95 while a large 8 slice pie goes for $27.95.

It may be a good idea to call ahead and order your stuffed pizza, since they are made to order and take over 30 minutes to bake. Chicago's Stuffed Pizza may be hard to find, as it is in the old Eternal Tap location, which suddenly closed...perhaps to poor location. The building itself is next to the railroad tracks and is behind Hamburger Mary's.

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