New Tastes!


Showing posts with label Cocktails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cocktails. Show all posts

Fish Camp on Lake Eustis

901 Lake Shore Blvd.
Tavares, FL 32778
(352) 742-4400
View Website Here

The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis is a newer restaurant to the area, that is serving up some pretty darn good seafood in a hospitable atmosphere that is directly on the lake. 

The locals are flocking to this new hotspot, but even if you live in Orlando or any surrounding areas, this place is certainly worth the drive, especially for a Friday night or a weekend visit.

The exterior is pretty low key, but that's a good thing, because they do a fine job of selling the whole fish camp vibe. Many patrons have snapped photos of gators resting dockside, wild birds, eagles, owls, you name it, can be seen on a daily basis from the docks surrounding Fish Camp.

People who live on Lake Eustis, or are out on a weekend fishing trip or a nature tour can easily pull right up to the boat slips they have outside and go inside the restaurant to grab a bite to eat and a drink or two.

The food served here is very seafood and fish oriented, hence the name. The appetizer list starts off with items like Middle Neck Clams, Grouper Nuggets, Old Bay Crab Cake and Groveland Gator Bites. Moving on to entrees, they have Shrimp Scampi over linguini, Grouper Tacos, Shrimp and Grits, Seafood Trio and a Pineapple Marinated Sirloin to name a few.

The Bar is nice and cozy at Fish Camp with a laid back atmosphere.

Speaking of the bar, I was very pleased to find out that Fish Camp is very dedicated to not only local food sourcing, but also working with local distilleries as well. We did sample and try some very good spirits from Palm Ridge Reserve and Yalaha Bootlegging Co., both of whom are located in Umatilla and Yalaha Florida.

The inside dining room is very spacious with plenty of seating, and they also have a nice outside deck area to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature during your visit.

We started our evening off with Swamp Cabbage Ceviche that is made with fish and shrimp with lime, roasted corn, hearts of palm, red onion and tomato and is served with homemade tortillas. The flavors going on in this appetizer were pretty impressive with a perfect blend of citrus and spice, and the housemade tortillas really made this dish excell. Everyone has their own interpretation of Ceviche, and I personally really enjoyed this version.

The drinks at Fish Camp are pretty impressive as well, and they don’t skimp on the ingredients either. On the left is the Unhinged Anhinga Mojito and The Grand Ol' Osprey old fashioned on the right.

Gator Bites can be tough, chewy, or just plain not enjoyable, so when you find some really good ones, it is required to eat every last bite, and that is exactly what we did. The Groveland Gator Bites are breaded pieces of Gator Tail, fried and served with Sriracha Garlic Aioli and a Pineapple Salsa Cruda. These were delicious.

The Seafood Trio Tavares is a great way to sample a few things while dining at the Fish Camp. This dish comes with butterflied shrimp, grilled fish of your choice, and a crab cake over a dijon sauce with two sides. We chose blackened grouper for the fish. All of this was phenomenal, and the crab cake here has as much crab as possible with almost no fillers. Everything was fresh and full of flavor, and the dijon sauce went very well with all of the selections plated.

They have a variety of sides available here also like Linguini, Wilted Kale, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Fries, Corn on the cob, Bacon Cheddar Grits, Salt & Pepper Fries, Side Salad and Hush Puppies. We chose to sample the Bacon Cheddar Grits, Wilted Kale and the Shaved Brussels Sprouts and all of them were quite tasty side selections and really a notch above what one might find at a traditional fish camp type of restaurant. 

A Redneck Margarita made with Yalaha Bootlegging Moonshine is on the left, and a splash of Palmridge whiskey on the rocks is on the right.

I have been to some rather famous locations on Florida’s West Coast and have had some pretty darn good grouper, so I'm always impartial when it comes to grouper, but this is hands down some of the freshest and tastiest grouper that I have had from Orlando to Clearwater. These Fried Grouper Tacos were excellent. They are served with a light drizzle of chili crema and topped with Pico de Gallo salsa. You can order them fried, blackened, or grilled.

The Bacon Caramel Cheesecake is pretty ridiculous at Fish Camp. This little slice of heaven is worth the drive over there all by itself. This is a sweet and savory dessert that was a perfect ending to a great visit The Fish Camp in Lake Eustis.

The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis is a great place to enjoy some fine seafood, craft cocktails, and warm and friendly service, all with a view and a location that is unmatched in the area. If you are a local, make sure you hit them up. If you live in Orlando like I do, It is certainly worth the drive.

They also have a few specials throughout the week like Maryland Mondays with a Baltimore-style Blue Crab Feast Old Bay Crab Cake Dinner with Two Sides for $9.99, Soft Shell Crabs 6.99 per 1lb and a Snow Crab Dinner for $19.99

Raw Bar Wednesdays start with Fresh Oysters raw or steamed Middleneck Clams for $6/Dozen and Oysters $9.99/Dozen as well as a Pound of Peel n Eat Shrimp for $10.99.

Thirsty Thursdays feature $1.99 Margaritas and Martinis with dinner from 4pm to close, Fish Friday is Every Friday with All You Can Eat Fish N’ Chips.

They recently started doing a weekend brunch special as well, which would make for a great start to your day of fishing or sightseeing on Lake Eustis.

Fish Camp is open Monday to Thursday from 11:00am until 9:00pm and on Friday and Saturday from 11:00am until 10:00pm.

Fish Camp Lake Eustis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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 ...

Vanbarry's Public House

4120 Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32806
View Website Here

Vanbarry’s Public House is another one of those places that I've always meant to go and checkout, but never got the chance to. 

With the busy holiday season, cooking at home is a rarity, so we find ourselves dining out more often than not. I'm glad I finally got to go there, and I can tell you, I have been there a few times since. They have a really great atmosphere, great drinks and pretty good food too.

Vanbarry's is part of three bars and restaurants that are operated by Caitlin Van Voorhis. She is the proprietor of Finnhenry's in downtown Orlando, which is up the road from Vanbarry’s on North Orange Avenue, and also Ollie's Public House in College Park.

All three locations have a public house vibe but Vanbarry’s really tries to step away and just be a real down home neighborhood bar. Ollies is great also, but that location is more sports oriented, and Finnhenry's is in the heart of downtown that is known to get a little wild on the weekends, So Vanbarry’s is the just right bar in the just right location.

The food served here really covers a multitude of items from classic bar and pub food to a boneless braised short rib bowl. They have peel and eat shrimp, a mac & cheese skillet, nachos, burgers, sandwiches and flatbreads. Most things are pretty traditional, but a few items on the menu are very unique and delicious.

They also have an extensive craft beer selection on tap or out of the bottle, but cocktails and mixed drinks are a specialty here. There is a pretty extensive drink menu placed by the bar and it shouldn't be too hard to find something to fix what ales you. Wine is also available.

What really makes Vanbarry’s such a cool spot is the atmosphere and set up of the restaurant. The have a pretty expansive outside seating area that is mostly covered. The uncovered part has a sandpit with a firepit in the middle and plenty of lounge chairs to sit back and unwind in.

Inside is surprisingly spacious with table tops, high tops and seating at the bar. Most nights there is live music and the vibe here is as casual and laid back as it gets.

The Spring Fizz cocktail is made with Drumshanbo dry gin, rosemary simple syrup, lemon and prosecco. This is a great sipping drink.

Of course, if you just want some Knob Creek with a splash of Ginger Ale, Vanbarry’s can make that for you as well.

When I first heard about Bacon Caramel Fries, I wasn't very sure about this concept. After my first bite, I can say... this changes everything! These are WOW amazingly good.. Salty, Sweet, Savory...what’s not to like about French fries topped with caramel sauce & crispy bacon crumbles?

The Mac & Cheese Skillet is simple but delicious and is filled with rich ooey gooey cheese.

Our group also really enjoyed the Happy Hippie Flatbread with Sun dried tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, tomato, red onion and mozzarella topped with arugula.

The Thai Chicken Salad was also surprisingly good. It's certainly different from traditional pub fare but, the flavors and textures worked really well. This is made with mixed greens, grilled chicken, noodles, shredded carrots, red peppers, tomatoes and crushed peanuts tossed in a Thai peanut dressing.

Drinks around the fire pit.

Vanbarry’s really has done a great job of becoming a local public house and bar where everyone can relax and unwind. The prices are very affordable here, even for the more high end cocktails. I looked all over the menu, and I did not see one item over $10.00, aside of the fajitas, and those can serve two. 

Come over to the southside of Orlando sometimes, and you might be surprised at what you find. I know we have the SODO area, but Vanbarry’s and a few other really good restaurants are just a bit more south away from the hustle and bustle.

Vanbarry's is open from 11:00 am until 2:00 am everyday except Sunday. They serve brunch from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sundays, and close at 2:00 am.

Vanbarry's Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

Seasonal Features + Fun Cocktails at Duffy's Sports Grill

315 N Alafaya Trail
(All Locations)
Orlando, FL 32828

(407) 207-4444

Duffy’s is a sports grill, that is based in Lake Worth, Florida and operates 35 full-service, casual-dining restaurants, all of which are located in Florida. 

Established in 1985, the Duffy's brand has become a regional market leader known for top quality casual dining with an emphasis on freshly prepared ingredients and grilled items.

Duffy’s boasts a distinctly upscale sports environment complete with satellite programming, more than 75 TVs per location, and framed authentic sports memorabilia throughout each restaurant. Whether it's catching your favorite game, enjoying some Surf & Turf options or breaking out your Lederhosen for Oktoberfest, Duffy’s Sports Grill is sure to offer something for everyone.

I have always been a fan of Duffy’s and enjoy the food and drinks they offer up and all of the options to get your sports fix, but recently they have added some seasonal items to the menu that are worth checking out.

Duffy’s has recently started featuring freshly prepared, made from scratch dishes such as their Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, seafood sensations such as Lobster Tacos and Jumbo Lump Crab Mac & Cheese and a wide variety of signature salads. Some of their specialty handcrafted cocktails include sips such as a Gummy Bear Mojito and a Cotton Candy Cosmo and more.

With a reasonably priced menu of tasty food, and all day 2 for 1 drink specials, It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. Duffy’s menu features freshly prepared ingredients and grilled items that has everything from Chinese chopped salads to Churrasco steak. Guests can enjoy signature favorites such as Duffy’s BBQ baby back ribs, half pound certified Angus beef burgers, grilled to order steaks and much more.

A fresh draught beer and The Gummy Bear Mojito that is made with Malibu Coconut Rum, fresh lime and mint, and of course gummy bears.

The Fried Mushrooms with horseradish cream and spicy kickin' bayou sauce were pretty tasty.

Coconut Crusted Grouper Fingers feature pieces of grouper hand breaded with sweetened coconut and Panko bread crumbs and are served with a spicy orange ginger sauce.

The Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl is pretty good, especially for a sports bar. This is Ahi Tuna tossed in a signature poke sauce over cilantro-lime rice and topped with avocado, scallions, nori and toasted sesame seeds.

The Apple Tart-Tini is a perfect drink for the holiday season, and it's deceptively smooth and delicious.

Jumbo Lump Crab Macaroni & Cheese is full of succulent jumbo lump crab meat with corkscrew pasta in a creamy blend of four cheeses. This is also a really good dish for a sports bar. Very creamy and rich with great flavors.

When you visit Duffy’s, make sure to save room for the Crunchy Fried Cheesecake. This is a warm fried cheesecake served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry, and it’s heavenly.

Duffy's has re-imagined and elevated the sports grill dining experience. All of the food we sampled was delicious and the drinks were made properly. As far as sports grills go, Duffy's is pretty hard to top.

The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers a great combination of high quality food, affordable prices and great hospitality with great drink specials. Duffy's is big on providing a community atmosphere and really does a great job of it by offering something for everyone.

Every Tuesday, Duffy’s is also offering their signature Cheeseburger, 1/2 lb. burger and two slices of your choice of cheese, for just $5.99.

Locals will want to join Duffy’s free MVP loyalty program to earn generous rewards and exclusive benefits. MVP Members begin earning points and rewards on their first visit and can take advantage of discounts such as the Afternoon Break, which gives between 20 and 50 percent off of food purchased on weekdays between 2 and 4 pm.

MVP's earn one point for each $1 spent and when they accumulate 100 points, a $10 credit for food and beverages is automatically loaded on their MVP card. They can even earn points faster on Tuesday when members earn Double Points. Everyone who joins can look forward to free offers and gifts sent via email.

Duffy's Sports Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...

Lakehouse Bar and Grill

315 N Highland St,
Mt Dora, FL 32757
(352) 735-7433

View Website Here

Lakehouse Bar and Grill was formerly known as Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill. Perhaps you may have went there in times past, and you have fond memories of the cheesy, bold colors and lots of sports team merchandise decorating the walls. 

Whether you were a fan of Sidelines or not, that place no longer exists and has been replaced with a very similar restaurant that has gotten a makeover from the folks at Bar Rescue. The ownership has remained the same, but aside of the name change, a few other things got a makeover and they have a renewed focus on quality food and great drinks.

For starters, the bold yellow, white and red colors of Sidelines were muted to a much warmer, more sophisticated colors to match the restaurant’s new name and brand: Lake House.

The excessive sports memorabilia has been replaced with fishing decor and photos. If you are a die hard sports fan, like myself, don't worry, they still have plenty of TV screens, and plan on having specials for the upcoming football season as well as various other sporting events.

The redesigned interior features warm, wood tones reflective of the residential feel Jon Taffer sought, according to Laura Rhoades, the show’s production designer. The bar is wrapped in shiny corrugated metal and topped with a warm wood counter. Above the bar hang three large televisions.

In case you missed the episode of Bar Rescue that aired on August 13th, here is a quick rundown of what happened:

Jon Taffer and crew went to Mount Dora, Florida to rescue Sidelines Bar & Grill. Sidelines Bar & Grill was a family run bar that is owned by Richard Marinacci. Richard and his aggressiveness is causing issues at the bar. During the Bar Rescue recon, the kitchen is dealing with cross contamination issues, and when Rich finds out about it, he goes back to the kitchen and chaos ensues, making for quite an entertaining episode of Bar Rescue!

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer changed the name of Sidelines Bar & Grill to Lake House Bar & Grill and the bar has kept the name. The reviews since the makeover are a mixed bag of positive and negative reviews.

Since the Bar Rescue makeover, there have been quite a lot of reviews, which means people are curious about how this establishment has fared since the makeover. The positive reviews seem to complement the bartenders while the negative reviews complain about service, and the overall quality of the makeover by Bar Rescue.

So here is Taste Of Orlando’s take on things. I stopped in for a visit in the beginning of August with three guests. My overall impression was a positive one. We all really enjoyed the food, and the bartender made us some serious drinks that are comparable to ones I've had at fine establishments that are in the $12.00 and up range for fine custom cocktails. Sure, there are a few things that still need fine tuning, but I think they are on the right track, given the location and the community that surrounds them.

Inside is very spacious with plenty of tables and seating, and a nice wrap around bar, but if the weather is permitting, they have a great outdoor patio with a wood deck and picnic tables to enjoy as well.

Our bartender Johnathan made some serious cocktails at the bar. We started our night off with a drink he calls the The Orange Blossom with Bombay Sapphire Gin, muddled orange, mint, orange bitters, simple syrup, and basil flower. This was very fresh and very Florida.

The fried mushrooms here are great bar food fare, and they actually use whole mushrooms, as opposed to the little caps most restaurants use. They are served with a horseradish dipping sauce and were pretty tasty.

You can't go wrong with potato skins fried nice and crispy and topped with lots of bacon at Lakehouse Bar and Grill.

Although this drink does not have an official name yet, We debated calling it the “Wet Cucumber” this was also a super refreshing drink with Bombay Sapphire Gin, mint, fresh cucumber, and very rare mini cucumbers in the bottom. This was another top notch cocktail from our bartender.

One of our guests ordered the Garlic Parmesan Wings. One of the things I like about the wings here, is that they are full size and not those little baby wings some people try to pass off. These had a great flavor and were crispy and tender all at once.

Burgers here, are a specialty. They have quite a few varieties, but the Lakehouse Burger was on point, as it should be, since it's the namesake burger. This was cooked perfectly to a medium temperature and topped with ham, bacon, sauteed onions, banana peppers, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and thousand island dressing. I always love a burger that is cooked to perfection and is a little messy.

Garlic Hot wings were pretty delicious also. Fried up nice and still fell off the bone.

As part of the Bar Rescue makeover, they have some other items on the menu more than just burgers and wings. They have Fish & Chips, White Clam Pizza, Salads, Sandwiches, Clam Baskets, made to order pizzas and a few other items to satisfy even the most pickiest eaters in your party.

Lakehouse Bar and Grill is serving breakfast now too, all week long with Bloody Mary specials and Mimosas coming soon. Breakfast starts at 7:00 am and the restaurant is open until 11:00 pm every night, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday till 1:00am. With football season soon approaching, keep an eye out for specials from Thursday to Sunday, along with a Trivia night on Wednesdays.

Lakehouse Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Read more ...