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Mimi's Cafe

4175 Millenia Boulevard (All Locations)
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 370-0333

Mimi's Cafe is seeking  to bring "Joie de Vivre" back to its chain of restaurants with new ownership,  an exciting new executive chef and an all new French focused menu.

To start with, I must admit that I was never a big fan of Mimi's Cafe. The menu was bloated and it  seemed that Mimi's was going in the opposite direction of where it once started, going further away from French cuisine. After a few visits over the years, I marked it off of my list and have never had a desire to return.

However, I was quite intrigued when I was invited to a media preview event for an all new "Menu Relaunch" that was going to showcase a new dedication to French Cuisine.

With the hiring of Phil Costner in February 2013 after Le Duff America Inc. acquired Mimi's , They are looking to refocus the brand and reassert a strong market presence.

Before joining Mimi’s Cafe, Phil Costner previously worked for six years as President and COO at  
La Madeleine Country French Cafe , which is also owned by Le Duff America. At La Madeleine Phil was responsible for operations, marketing, menu/product development, purchasing and development. He has a good sense of where Mimi's needs to be at, and is committed to making the 34 year old cafe chain relevant again.

The biggest challenge Mimi's faced was cutting the fat out of the menu. As I said previously, the menu was bloated and at times out of place. That's where Katie Sutton  comes in:


As Executive of Chef of Mimi’s Cafe , and a graduate of The French Culinary Institute,  Katie Sutton has worked really hard at changing the menu and adding exciting and creative elements. The menu redux consists of more than thirty new items that are of French influences. Some of the new foods include baked brie, seafood crepes, coq au vin, mussels and open-face sandwiches, as well as a few of Mimi's classics that have been reworked like the chain's French onion soup.

Baked Brie


We started the evening with Baked Brie:

In the center of the plate is warm brie that is baked in a cast iron pan and topped with an apricot chutney

It’s served with French baguettes and some  thin sliced green apples. This was a very tasty treat that we all enjoyed very much.



Mussels a la Mimi's

The Mussels a la Mimi's are steamed with white wine, herbs and garlic. 

I am not a big fan of Mussels, but these were tender and flavorful.





French Onion Soup

The French Onion Soup is a holdover from the old menu, but its been kicked up a notch and is even better than before.








Brioche Croque Madame

My guest had the Brioche Croque Madame.

It is an open faced Ham and Swiss sandwich with French Mornay sauce served on brioche and topped with a fried egg.


The Croque Monsieur or Madame, is a staple of many French Cafes, and Mimi's was pretty tasty. Its a rich and filling entree, but packs flavor in every bite.




Bistro Bavette Steak



The Bistro Bavette Steak is French-style grilled steak served with mushroom-infused au gratin potatoes.

You have a  choice of a bordelaise or béarnaise sauce and seasonal vegetables.

I opted for the béarnaise sauce. My steak was cooked very well and was very tender.


Some of the Desert menu was still being tweaked, but we treated to a taste of some of Mimi's new breakfast items. 

Strawberry Waffle Perdu
The Strawberry Waffle Perdu consists of three petite waffles  filled with cream cheese and orange marmalade topped with fresh strawberry sauce. 

This was a favorite of many guests, and certainly could be for desert or breakfast.
Bacon Apple Waffle


The Bacon Apple Waffle is three petite waffles topped with apples, hickory-smoked bacon, syrup and a hint of orange zest.

This waffle provided that salty and sweet combo and would really be good for breakfast.



What Mimi's Cafe has lost over the years, looks to be making a comeback and headed in a great direction. The new menu at Mimi's has brought together people who believe in heritage, quality ingredients, and a focus on good food enjoyed with people.

Tastes Of Orlando recommends you to stop by and see all that the new menu has to offer for yourself….I certainly will return.





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Greek Chicken Wings with Tzatziki



Here is the second installment of my Healthy Greek Eats recipe challenge.
Although I am just using some recipes provided from the folks at HGE, it has made for some interesting dishes using unique flavors and a variety of cooking styles.

The Greek Chicken Wings with Tzatziki is certainly something I would have never thought of, but tasted very good. I love wings in almost every style you can prepare them, and if you have a flair for the Mediterranean, or just want wings cooked up in a different style, try these wings out!  


You will need the following Ingredients:

8 Large Chicken Wings

1/2 cup HGE Tzatziki

1 Head of Garlic Halved

2 Large Red Onions

1 Jar Kalamata Olives

2 tsps. Oregano, dried

1 Large Lemon

5 tsps. Olive Oil


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place Chicken Wings in a baking dish

Cut Red Onions into wedges and cut your Garlic in half

Pour entire jar of Kalamata Olives over the Chicken Wings, then drizzle with Olive Oil

Place cut up Onions and Garlic on top and spread around

Sprinkle with Lemon Juice and Dried Oregano

Place dish in oven and allow to roast for 20-25 minutes or  until the skin is golden and crisp

Serve with HGE Tzatziki, warm Pita Bread and Lemon Wedges


Enjoy! 












About HGE: Healthy Greek Eats is a local brand with Mediterranean roots that debuted in the Central Florida market in January 2013. With the goal of utilizing native Greek cooking methods, Chef-Owner Vassilis Coumbaros collaborates with Sofia Karachalias to offer traditional meze, including Tztatzki, Authentic Greek Yogurt and Hummus, among other items. 

Products from the Healthy Greek Eats line are available at the Casselberry Farmers Market, and at The Meat House Winter Park. For more information about Healthy Greek Eats, please visit HealthyGreekEats.com. or visit their Facebook page facebook.com/healthygreekeats
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Peach Valley Cafe

2849 South Orange Ave
Orlando FL, 32806
(407) 896-4400
View Website Here

I recently had an opportunity to stop by the newest  Peach Valley Cafe location for brunch. 

Peach Valley is a chain of breakfast and lunch cafes opened by the folks at Stonewood Grill & Tavern. There are currently five locations in Gainsville, Heatrhow, Ormond Beach and two in Orlando.

The newest cafe is located in the South Side 
Marketplace on the corner of Orange avenue and Michigan,  just south of downtown.


The menu has a large selection of Eggs Benedict cooked in a variety of ways and plenty of other traditional breakfast items like Omelets,  Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, and Croissant sandwiches. 

If breakfast is not on your mind, they also serve lunch. Everything from soups, salads, wraps, and sandwiches are available to choose from.







For being made with frozen peaches, the Peach Bellini was not bad at all. It was mildly sweet and and dry all at once,  served with a rim of sugar.






The Buttermilk Drop Biscuits with Sausage Gravy I ordered was very good. The biscuits were flaky and held up fairly well to the sausage gravy, which had a good southern seasoning.






My dining companion ordered the Valley Fiesta. Its a new seasonal promotion part of the fall menu.

It  is a construction of chorizo sausage, pico de gallo and avocado, topped with a sunny side up egg, all served between two slices of sourdough garlic bread. 

This dish really hit the spot for a traditional brunch option. It was savory and not too heavy with the right amount of spice from the chorizo sausage. 





We split an order of two eggs cooked sunny side up with fried potatoes and an English muffin. The fried potatoes at Peach Valley Cafe are very good...nice and crispy fried.



Our service at Peach Valley was very attentive and took god care of us. The food here is pretty good....especially for the value. Our entire meal, coffee and Bellini included, was under $28.00...and it was enough for three people.

I would definitely return there, or perhaps another location if I am in the area, and I would recommend you to stop by and see them too.

Peach Valley Café on Urbanspoon











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Healthy Greek Eats


 It's been a while since I have done any good recipes on my blog. With so many restaurants coming and going in Orlando, its hard to keep up some times. So, when Healthy Greek Eats approached myself and other blogger's about a recipe challenge using their products...I could not refuse.

Healthy Greek Eats is a local brand with Mediterranean roots that debuted in the Central Florida market in January 2013. With the goal of utilizing native Greek cooking methods, Chef-Owner Vassilis Coumbaros collaborates with Sofia Karachalias to offer traditional meze, including Tztatzki, Authentic Greek Yogurt and Hummus, among other items. 

Products from the Healthy Greek Eats line are available at the Casselberry Farmers Market,  and at The Meat House  Winter Park. For more information about Healthy Greek Eats, please visit HealthyGreekEats.com. or visit their Facebook page facebook.com/healthygreekeats




HGE Hummus and Avocado Toasts

My first challenge was Hummus and Avocado toasts. This dish is a good appetizer to serve your family, or to your dinner guests with some good wine.

The flavors of the Hummus and Avocado along with the balsamic glaze on the tomatoes makes for a real savory flavor profile that has a nice texture with a bit of crunch from the toasted Pita.

You will need the following ingredients:

6-8 slices of Whole Wheat Pita Bread

1/2 cup HGE Hummus

1 Large Avocado

4 Plum Tomatoes

2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsps. Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut tomatoes in half and core them and remove the seeds.
Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet cut sides up in a single layer.
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and Balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Roast tomatoes for 25-30 minutes until the tomatoes caramelize.

Toast your pita bread and cut them into circular shapes, or you can buy the prepackaged small round pitas.

Spread 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of HGE Hummus on each pita

After you halve and pit your avocado, mash it up with a fork, but leave it chunky.
Layer the mashed avocado over the hummus and season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Place your caramelized tomatoes on top of the avocado. You can leave them whole or slice them, like I did.

Plate and serve. 
















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Underground Public House

19 S Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 841-4000


Occupying the former space of Ichiban Japanese restaurant, is Downtown Orlando's newest bar that happens to serve food... called Underground Public House.

Although it does not advertise itself as such, Underground Public House is basically another gastropub. Im guessing the use of Gastro in the name was off limits, since directly next door is Avenue GastroBar, which I have reviewed already. Both places really share a lot of similarities, and at times, I thought I was actually inside Avenue Gastro Bar, but the British flag painted on the wall helped me to stay focused.

The food is of course classic pub food...Burgers, Wings, Fries and Wraps, but UPH is putting a bit of an Old English flare to the menu. They have some unique offerings like Shepard's Pie Potato Skins,  London's Scotch Egg, Bangers and Mash and of course...Fish and Chips.

Being a pub, they have a full liquor bar and a large selection of bottled beers.

At the tap you will find English favorites like Fullers London Pride Ale and Boddingtons Pub Ale along with other craft brews. 


Once Inside of UPH, you will find a fair amount of seating available at high top tables and seating at the bar as well.

As with Avenue Gastro Bar, its a seat yourself and flag down a server type of place.



We started our evening off with the Crispy Hot-Hop Pickles.

These are crispy and spicy hot pickles that are deep fried in an India Pale Ale batter and served with a side of Remoulade sauce.

These pickles were very spicy, but very good, with just the right amount of batter on them and a remoulade sauce that worked nicely to cool the heat down. 


The star of the night for us was the Shepard's Pie Potato Skins.

The Skins consisted of Peas, Carrots, Corn, Beef, and Cheese stuffed in to a potato shell served with sour cream.

The flavor of these potato skins was immense and very satisfying. I would actually return and order these as a dinner selection since they are loaded with ingredients.


My dining companion opted for the Vegetarian Baji Burger. It is made with crispy fried mushrooms, mango and avocado salsa and  spices served on a pita.

The overall taste was ok, but the earthiness of the mushrooms clashed with the tart and sweetness of the mango.


Although my first inclination was to order some type of burger, I decided that since I was in a pub with a British appeal, I had to order the English Stout Battered Fish and Chips.

It turns out I should have stayed with my gut instinct. The fish and chips at Underground Public House was just about inedible.

I received one large chunk of fish and one thin piece of fish in a soggy batter that was incredibly over salted. There was no amount of squeezed lemon that could make this taste better. The side of Broccoli Slaw also was inedible and had a strange foul smell. The chips portion of the meal, the fries... were actually decent and had a good seasoning on them.

Underground Public House should do well as a bar and pub as it adds yet another place to go for drinks at night and a place to watch sports in the heart of downtown. The apps we had were awesome, but the main courses were really disappointing. I would certainly return for the Potato Skins, and I also would like to try one of their burgers, which I hear is pretty good.

UPH does not have a website yet, but you can Facebook them here:
https://www.facebook.com/UndergroundPublicHouse

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