New Tastes!



100 S Eola Dr #105
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 781-2539

If you are not  familiar with the location at 100 S. Eola drive in Thornton Park, let me give you a refresher course. Over the years it has seen a few different restaurants come its way...and sadly none have had long term success.

Some of the restaurants you may be familiar with are...Graze, Prickly Pear, and Lotus. I did a review of Lotus last year, and I liked the interior design and the location. The food was pretty good, but aside from the terrible service, I thought the place was very unfocused and could not decide whether it was a night club, bar, or a restaurant. Next door to Lotus, the same owners were going to open an aphrodisiac bar called Honey...but that has been scrapped also. 

Mingos is the newest concept from the same ownership group that owned Lotus. They have retained Chef Luis J. Negron of Lotus and have brought in a new management team as well as getting rid of the ditsy servers. Mingos is short for Flamingos, as the restaurant is really going for an upscale but casual  Florida and Caribbean theme to the menu with a strong emphasis on fresh seafood. 

This time around, Mingos just might be the restaurant to have long term success at what some think is a doomed location. The servers are top notch and very knowledgeable about all the menu items. All of the food we sampled was very good, and the sea bass was among the best I have ever had.

Chef Negron is a talented chef, but he really excels at selecting fresh seafood and carving it up. The biggest difference from Lotus to Mingos is FOCUS...they have a solid idea of what they are going for and so far they are executing it quite nicely.

The Inside is not much different than Lotus, but it has a solid continuous theme. Its a very relaxed atmosphere with smooth jazz playing in the background.

You will feel welcomed dressed up in  a suit and tie...or just a polo shirt and jeans

Although the plans for Honey, the aphrodisiac bar, have been scrapped, that space is in the process of becoming an extension of Mingos. It will have a private dining area that can host large parties and private functions.

We started our evening off with Tuna Pokewhich is a raw salad served as an appetizer. 

The Tuna Poke at Mingos is served atop sliced cucumbers and is topped with scallions, lime and a Tamari sauce with a fried wonton. 

The tuna was very fresh and the Tamari sauce, which is a thicker and richer type of soy sauce, made for an excellent flavor profile.

The Marlin Taco's are a house specialty and I would recommend them.

Marlin is like a fish steak and as such has to be prepared right or it can be too rubbery and thick. 

The house made naan bread, garlic crema, and the crunchy slaw went well with this appetizer and it was a treat to have marlin.

To go in a more savory direction, our next dish was the Pork Wings

These are individual pork shanks that are seared on the outside and finished in the oven and served with a smoked plum sauce.

The meat on these shanks literally fell right of the bone and were absolutely delicious. 

One of the two entrees we sampled was the Sea Bass.

As I said earlier, this is by far one of the better Sea Bass entrees I have had. The fish was delicate and buttery with flavor in every bite.

The accompanying smoked bacon ratatouille and chardonnay sauce went well with the sea bass, as well as a glass of fine chardonnay.

The second entree we had was the Angus Filet paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon

The steak was cooked nicely and served atop a  mix of vegetables with a shallot demi glaze, truffle oil, and was topped off with a piece grilled foie gras.

For desert we had Fireball Apples with Bavarian Creme with a candied almond bar.

A very nice ending that was smooth and creamy and perfectly sweet to end our evening.

We really liked everything about Mingos...from the food to the service to the all works well together. I think they may have what it takes to ensure long term success at 100 S. Eola Drive. The restaurant is dedicated to quality and has things on the right track. If you are in the area, stop on by and see for yourself. 

Mingos is open Monday through Saturday from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm. They also have a Sunday brunch buffet with all you can drink Mimosas from 11:00 to 4:00 that is generating quite a buzz. Perhaps Tastes Of Orlando will return soon to check that out as well.

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Kasa Tapas & Raw Bar

183 S Orange Ave.

Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 985-5272
View Website Here

In case you have not taken notice, Kasa Tapas is the newest tenant in the corner space of The Plaza on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando.

What exactly is a Tapa you ask?

A Tapa is one of Spain's most famous culinary creations that dates back to the middle ages. It is a traditional Spanish term used for a wide variety of appetizers and snacks served in smaller portions. Tapas can be served cold, warm, and even raw. Common items include Cheese and Meat plates, Adobo Pork, Meatballs, and a variety of Seafood dishes...especially Ceviche's.

In most towns in Spain, like Seville, tapas are served at bars that have a variety of cocktails and plenty of good wine on hand. Often times the scene at a local tapas bar is chaotic when busy because the Spaniards love socializing over tapas as much as they enjoy eating great food with great wine. That's one of the unique things about a tapa size dish...Its's a portion size that you can eat, while not focusing on putting away an entire plate of food.

 Although Tapas have been enjoyed by that part of the world for hundreds of years, its still a relatively new concept to most Americans. The tapas scene really started getting popular stateside around the early 2000's, and we have had a few of them in Orlando. 

Kasa Tapas, with the help of Executive Chef Shawn Kaplan, is striving to present their brand of tapas in a unique and exciting way by serving up small plates that have worldwide influences in a variety of ways. Inside it is very upscale and modern but casual also. Wood veneers, stone work and a multi level dining and lounge area make the location feel very open and relaxed. 

Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
The White Diamond

A variety of Wines and Sangria's are available as well as hand crafted cocktails. Kasa makes all their own sour mixes and uses a variety of fresh ingredients like pear puree, pineapples, jalapenos and lychee to name a few. 

All of the drinks we sampled we thoroughly enjoyed. I always like heat and the Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita was my favorite.

We started our evening with a sampling of the Mini Tuna Tostones and the White Fish.

The tuna tosotnes are composed of spicy tuna and avocado puree with mango relish atop a tostone.

The White Fish is served in spoon size portions with watermelon, pickled red onions, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and bell peppers. Both samplings were amazingly fresh and had a really good mixture of cool, sweet, and citrus to balance out the fish.

Our second Tapas was the Pan-Seared Scallops. The scallops were nicely seared and the combination of honey, curry, and lemon grass in the sauce made for a unique twist on scallops. 

After opening with seafood, we moved on to the Tamarind Grilled Rack Of Lamb with mint, green apples and a cucumber fennel slaw.

The lamb was cooked to a nice medium rare and the thick tamarind glaze provided a slight amount of sweetness to make this tapa finger licking good.

For an altogether different taste our next plate was the Crispy Dumplings. 

The dumplings are filled with fire roasted eggplant and cream cheese and come with a side of sweet pepper jam to dip them in.

The eggplant is very pungent from the roasting, but the cream cheese and the accompanying jam work well together to give your mouth quite a satisfying experience.

To cool our mouths from the sweet pepper and fire roasted eggplant, our next tapa was the Chilled Sunomono Oysters. The red onion foam, caviar and diced cucumbers served as the perfect palate cleanser.  

Adobo Pork is served a variety of ways in Spain and Kasa's version  is the Adobo Pork and Crispy Polenta Cake

The chipotle braised pork had a nice seasoning and was served atop a crispy polenta cake with avocado puree, queso fresco, pickled red onions, and cilantro served in perfect bite size pieces.

Although we had no room for it...we had to sample the Truffle Lobster Mac 'N' Cheese. 

This was a very hearty portion with great flavors that was a favorite of my dining companion.

Last but certainly not least was desert...and its a must have dish. The Wrecked Apple Roll. 

Just imagine an apple pie sliced up and tempura battered, served with a delicious caramel sea salt ice cream...and you can begin to see magic happen. This desert was spectacular. 

In addition to Tapas, Kasa also offers full sized entrees. Some offerings include...Pan Seared Salmon, Citrus Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop, and a Grilled Chimichurri Hangar Steak.

On Sundays they host a very fun sounding Bubbles 'n' Brunch with a breakfast buffet, bottomless mimosas and real bubbles for $25.00/person.

If wine is your should check out Unwine'd Wednesdays for $20.00/person that includes bottomless wines and select bites. 

With over fifty menu choices, Kasa has something that should satisfy just about everyone. We really enjoyed all of the samples we had and appreciated the laid back modern atmosphere. Kasa is a great place to people watch and its also a great spot to grab some small plates and a few cocktails before your night out on the town.  

We look forward to returning soon...perhaps our next visit will be for brunch.

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Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille

200 Boatyard Street
New Smyrna Beach, FL 
View Website Here

As an Orlando local, I don’t get out to the east coast often enough, So I was excited to try a new spot in New Smyrna Beach. 
Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille is a new casual but slightly upscale eatery in New Smyrna Beach that is part of a brand new multipurpose marina.
It’s really an all in one spot that has everything from boat parking to boat rentals and they also have fishing and supplies store. You can even clean your fish at the upscale cleaning station…and then bring your catch in to Outriggers and they will cook it for you.
Outriggers seeks to be more than just another casual fried fish eatery, and more than just a bar. Afterall…New Smyrna Beach has plenty of biker bars. The food here has flair and style. Sure you can get your basic fried fish, but Outriggers is really aiming to take their food up a few notches in area that is pretty devoid of gourmet offerings.
The menu is full of great eats served in traditional and not so traditional styles. You can get a traditional fried calamari, or you can opt for sprouts with candied bacon for a starter. For main courses there is plenty of fish available served in a variety of ways along with hamburgers and other sandwich offerings, but if you kick it up a notch you may want to order the Fish and Waffle or the Fish and Grit Cakes.

They take drinks pretty seriously here as well. Having Tiki Bar in the name  may be off-putting to some people, but when you understand what a Tiki Bar is…it makes sense.
According to Wikipedia..
”A Tiki Bar is an exotic–themed drinking establishment that serves elaborate cocktails, especially rum-based mixed drinks such as the "Mai Tai" or "Zombie cocktail".  

Outriggers may not be themed after a traditional Polynesian Tiki Bar, but the alcoholic  beverages certainly are. The Mai Tai here is as close to the original Trader Vic's recipe as I have had.

For Starters we had the Sprouts with Candied Bacon. These sprouts are lightly fried and tossed with candied bacon and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

This is a must have. Simply addictive and delicious. 

Our Second "Teaser" as they call it at Outriggers was the Fried Green Tomato Stack.

These fried green tomatoes come coated in a cornbread batter and are topped with goat cheese and a combination of remoulade and balsamic vinegar.

I must say that I have never had green tomatoes fried in a cornbread batter, but it was good and different at the same time. 

We also got to sample the Tiki TacosOne with Blackened Fish and the other with Bangin Shrimp. Both tacos were good, but I really enjoyed the Bangin Shrimp with sweet and spicy sauce.

The Fish 'N' Grit Cakes come with your choice of fresh fish...grilled or blackened that is  served  with a lightly fried grit cake.

My dining companion chose the Golden Tile Fish, which has a delicate sweet flavor. 

The fish was seasoned nicely and went perfectly with the grit cakes that are drizzled with a beer cheese sauce. This dish altogether was a phenomenal explosion of flavors. 

Being the southerner that I am…I could not say no to the Fish 'N' Waffle.

For the Fish, I chose the Trigger Fish that was fried to a nice golden brown and served atop a Belgian style bacon waffle. The fish came topped with sliced peppers and a side of Maple and Sriracha infused syrup. 

When you put a delicately fried fish on top of a bacon waffle and dip it into Maple and Sriracha syrup…well you can guess that it tasted pretty awesome.

We capped our evening off with a delectable Almond and Thyme infused Mediterranean Cheesecake.

It was a perfect portion and the almond flavor in the cheesecake served as a nice palate cleanser.

We really enjoyed our time at Outriggers and look forward to returning soon. They are a great addition to New Smyrna Beach with food that is just as good as the view.

I can definitely see a fishing trip in my future, and you can bet I will stop by Outriggers to rest and relax and tell fishing stories all while sipping on a Mai Tai.

Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon
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