New Tastes!


Smoked Wings Recipe from 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Its almost time for the Super Bowl….and that means its time for all kinds of great food recipes, especially food that is snack sized. So I have a special wing recipe from John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse.

I personally love wings in just abut any flavor and cooked any way... fried, baked, or smoked. For the grill enthusiasts, John Rivers recipe is for Smoked Chicken Wings from his cookbook, The Southern Cowboy. Wing packages are also available all 4 Rivers locations

4 Rivers Smokehouse Smoked Chicken Wings 


¼ cup sugar

½ cup chili powder

½ cup 4R All-Purpose Rub

24 whole chicken wings, cut into drumette and wingette pieces

1 cup BBQ Sauce

½ cup ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping


1. Light a smoker using hickory wood and allow temperature to settle at 305˚F.

2. Combine sugar, chili powder, and 4R All-Purpose Rub in a large bowl. Sprinkle over wings to thoroughly coat.

3. Smoke at 305˚F for 45 minutes.

4. Just before serving, light a gas grill and heat to medium high.

5. Toss wings in BBQ sauce and “flash” on grill to allow sauce to caramelize, 3 minutes on each side. Flip only once.

6. Serve hot with ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Makes 2 dozen wings 

"The biggest difference between these wings and traditional fried wings is that the smoke and the rub drive the flavor, rather than depending on the sauce for flavor. In addition to producing a plumper and moister wing, this method is better for you. I consider this our healthy alternative at the smokehouse"…John Rivers.

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Beef Wellingtion Recipe From Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster

Did you know January is National Meat Month?

Yes, it’s a real holiday, and since the average American consumes 270 lbs. of meat per year, compared to the worldwide average of 102.5 pounds per person consumed yearly, we should all be celebrating!

So to celebrate National Meat Month, I am going to share a special Christners's home recipe for Beef Wellington.


Christner Family Signature Beef Wellington


· 8-10 Oz. Filet mignon steak

· Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

· 1 Cup Plain bread crumbs

· 7 Oz. Phyllo dough or puffed pastry (needs 3 hours to defrost in refrigerator if using frozen)

· 1 Tbsp. Butter

· 10 Oz. Button mushrooms, sliced

· ¼ Clove of Garlic, chopped

· 2 ½ Tbsp. White wine


· Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

· Season the filet generously with salt and pepper

· Heat a tablespoon or two of butter in a large pan on high heat

· Sear the filet in the pan on both sides until well browned

· Remove the filet from the pan and roll in plain bread crumbs

· In a separate pan, sauté the mushrooms, white wine and garlic, which will top the filet

· Portion the amount of phyllo dough or puff pastry to cover the filet, then lay it out and flatten

· Completely cover the filet in the phyllo dough or puff pastry, pouring the sautéed mushrooms on top before you seal the dough shut

· Pinch to seal dough

· Place covered filet in baking dish and in heated oven for 30 minutes on medium heat, or until golden brown outside

Ingredients for Gravy

· 2 Tbsp. Butter

· 1/2 Cup Mushrooms

· 1 Cup of Water

· 1 Tbsp. Beef bouillon cubes

· 2 Tsp. Corn starch


· Sautee mushrooms in butter in a pan

· Add water, bouillon cubes and cornstarch to thicken the gravy

· Add salt and pepper to taste

· Pour gravy on top of cooked beef wellington and serve

So get out there and enjoy some fine cuts of meat!

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Chevys Fresh Mex

12547 State Rd 535
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32836

(407) 827-1052
View Website Here

As far as chain restaurants go, Chevys was on the short list of Tex-Mexery's I would frequent. I have found it to be a fun place to bring family and friends, especially if they are staying near Disney.

For whatever reason, I had not actually been to Chevys in over a year. Maybe it was because of other new and unique Tex-Mexery's  that opened up during 2013, or maybe I lost track with all the comings and goings of restaurants in Central Florida...its hard to keep up sometimes.

So…I can tell you that I was genuinely surprised when I walked through the doors of Chevys only Central Florida location.

Apparently while I was out, they closed for over two months, gutted the interior and gave the menu a do over.  

Yes, they still have really good chips and salsa, but they no longer have "El Machino" as the focus point of the restaurant. "El Machino" a/k/a the Tortilla Maker, is still alive and well, but he has taken a back seat, behind the scenes approach to the all new re-envisioned Chevys Fresh Mex.

The interior now has a modern yet rustic feel. Hand blown glass chandeliers and special light fixtures have been imported from Mexico, along with artwork adorning the walls that was designed specifically for Chevys Lake Buena Vista location.

Replacing "El Machino" is an expanded bar section that pretty much runs from the entrance to the back of the restaurant. Of course they did add the obligatory flat screens, but not so much that it takes away from your dining experience.

Speaking of the bar, there have been several additions to the drink menu and some reworks to the old classics.

In keeping up with current trends in the bar scene, Chevys has added drinks that are freshly blended with creative ingredients that not only make you feel good, but are flavorful and refreshing.

The Mexicali Mojito is blended with Rum, Pomegranate, Blueberries, Mint, Fresh Lime and a splash of Fresca. This was a delightful adult beverage, that gives a modern twist to an old classic drink like the Mojito.

Our favorite drink we sampled was the Cucumber Paradiso. 

Absolut Cilantro Lime Vodka with a sweet and sour mix gets blended with a fresh cucumber and cilantro fusion and topped with black sea salt. This was a drink that was as flavorful and tasty, as it was refreshing. 

The cucumbers, covered in the sea salt and floating in vodka, could be an appetizer all by itself!

A Dos Patrones Margarita is made with Patron Silver, Patron Citronge, Agave Nectar, Orange Juice and Sweet and Sour.

This was a very enjoyable margarita drink with an extra kick of Patron and fresh squeezed orange juice that brings new life to a another classic drink.

The menu has plenty of options for Margaritas, Beers, and even Wine if you prefer, but Chevy's offers a variety of drinks and cocktails that should satisfy every taste craving.

If you want some heat in your drink…they even have a cocktail that has muddled jalapeño.

If you like Guac…Get the Table-side Guacamole at Chevys. This stuff is

Our server, Arturo, did a great job of preparing our dip and asked us exactly what we wanted mixed in, and how spicy we wanted our guacamole dip to be.

I love fresh Guacamole! It's even better with fresh lime, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños. This makes enough to serve at least four people so, we had to force ourselves to stop eating it out of fear that we may have no room left for dinner.

My guest had the Baja Sampler.

It's a dish that includes a pan seared fish taco, a shrimp and blue crab enchilada and two jalapeño bacon wrapped shrimp, all served with Baja white rice and a side of jalapeño jelly. 

The jalapeño bacon wrapped shrimp were really good...and really hot, but the jalapeño dip added a bit touch of sweetness to calm some of the heat.

I was very surprised at the taste of the enchilada. Using a combo of shrimp and blue crab can lead to something tasting a little too fishy, but this was done very well and was quite good. The fish tacos had a tantalizing flavor with the grilled pineapple salsa and the chipotle aioli. Overall my guest really enjoyed this dish.   

I opted for the Mesquite Grilled Carne Asada and Chile Relleno.  citrus marinated skirt steak with a fire roasted chile relleno, served with fresh-mex rice and a side of beans a la chara.

This steak was cooked very nicely and had great flavor. This meal also comes with your choice of corn or flour tortillas, so you can make your own steak tacos.

After making a few tacos, I just ate the steak with a slice of the chile relleno and a sautéed onion and it was delicious.

We ended our visit with a very delectable Tres Leches Cake

This is a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.

Chevys Tres Leches is a very light but firm cake that did not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. Not to sweet and not too soggy made for an excellent desert.

If you are in the area, I would recommend you to stop by the newly redone Chevys in Lake Buena Vista. You may be surprised at what you will find inside, and you will definitely be surprised by the menu redo.

Everything we ate and drank was very fresh, flavorful and tasty. I'm definitely going to keep them on my top list of Tex-Mexerys to visit on occasion and will certainly bring friends and family from out of town when ever the opportunity presents itself.


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6327 S. Orange Ave.
Orlando FL. 32809
View Website Here

Situated in a rather dull industrial stretch of Orange avenue in an area that is devoid of anything other than fast-food….Tartini will instantly catch your eye. 

I would say that Tartini is in fact, an oddly out of place restaurant, given the location, but don't let that stop you from checking it out. They take pizza making very seriously here.

This restaurant would be right at home in Downtown Orlando, or even Winter Park. The building itself is sleek and chic with a classy looking field stone overlay on the outside. Once you go inside of Tartini, you are encompassed in a modern Italian design of dark woods, concrete floors and large sliding glass doors that open up to the outside.

Of course, the centerpiece here is the very special Pizza Oven. All pies are baked in a unique wood-fired oven with a large turntable that simultaneously lifts and rotates the dough. It is rumored to be the only oven of its kind in the U.S.

All dine in meals come with complimentary bread strips, which are cooked in the same specialty pizza oven. They are served with a side of olive oil to dip your bread in. 

We almost got full just eating these, as they were a precursor to what our pizza crust was going to taste like. 

The Mozzarella Sticks are cut directly from the block and are hand breaded in a house made bread crumb coating.

Our second appetizer was the Caprese, a simple tray of Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, Basil, Balsamic Glaze, and Olive Oil. 

It was a very fresh tasting Italian style starter.

The first of two pizza's was the Tartini…It's the house speciality with the restaurants namesake. This is an Italian meat lovers paradise with  Genoa salami, pepperoni, sopressata salami, and Italian sausage.

The crust was cooked to near perfection, but a tad greasy on the bottom, which is mostly due to all the meat piled on.

Our second pizza was the Margherita, topped with  
tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.

This pie retained that thin cracker like crust from beginning to end and remained chewy, but crispy where it needed to be. Both pizzas had a great flavor that only comes from a good wood fired oven and were delicious.

We ended our night with some Espresso and a slice of Nutella Cheesecake. If you like Nutella, and you like Cheesecake…you are in luck.  This Cheesecake is made with chocolate Nutella, roasted hazelnuts, chocolate fudge and Nutella spread on a chocolate crust.

Every bite was silky smooth and heavenly. It was not too chocolaty, nor too sweet..and was a perfect night cap to share.  

Service was fast and friendly, and we really enjoyed the atmosphere that Tartini provided. Parking can get cramped sometimes, especially if you go there around dinner time on Friday and Saturday evenings, as the Bell Isle locals seem to like Tartini a lot.

Tartini may be located in an industrial wasteland, but I can assure you….this is no mirage.

Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria on Urbanspoon
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Los Autenticos Cuban Cafe

7339 East Colonial Dr.
Suite 1Orlando FL. 32807

Often times, As I set out to find a new place to check out and write a new blog post on, I pass right by some good local food in my own backyard.

Los Autenticos is in the east side of Orlando, which is where I live. There are not to many places for good food around this part of Colonial drive, and if you do find something, chances are it will be a mom and pop type of cafe like Los Autenticos. I have heard about this place before, but for some reason I kept passing it on by. I am glad I finally stopped by.

Los Autenticos Cuban cafe has been in business for over twelve years in the same location, and that is no small feat. I would guess that it has a lot  to do with the friendly service and good food they offer. From the moment we walked in the door, we were greeted with a warm welcome and felt right at home. The food was delicious, and fresh, and the coffee was spectacular.

My wife had the Classic Cuban with extra Lettuce and Tomato. It came with a side of Black Beans. This was as good a Cuban sandwich as I have had in Miami…and that says a lot.

I chose the Steak and Grilled Onions with Black Beans and Rice and a side of Sweet Plantains.

The steak is marinated over night and cooked with onions. It was very tender and flavorful.

We ordered a side of the fried Plantains that comes with a very tasty garlic mojo sauce.

No trip to Los Autenticos is complete without of some of their proprietary blended and locally roasted coffee. 

Whether you like Cafe con Leche, Cappucino or straight up double shots of Espresso, you will not be disappointed.

And of course….who can pass up Quesito's?

Very good desert to go with our coffee.

If you happen to make it over to the East side of Orlando, you need to stop by and give Los Autenticos a try. You will find very friendly service with great food that is also easy on your wallet.

They do catering….and they even deliver. 

Los Autenticos Cuban Café on Urbanspoon

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