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Flavors of Florida at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration


Bohemian Hotel
700 Bloom St.
Celebration, FL.
(407) 566-6000

View Website Here

After spending time at the Bohemian Hotel Savannah as the executive chef at the hotels Rocks on the River restaurant, Chef Zachary Martin has  returned to the Bohemian Hotel Celebration.

To kickoff his return and to spread the word about the refreshed menu, Tastes Of Orlando was invited to a very special Flavors of Florida bloggers dinner.

Chef Martin was at the property from 2008 through 2012, and with his return, the Bohemian Hotel Celebration has introduced a refreshed menu to its Lakeside Bar & Grill. The new menu features fresh Florida ingredients that focus on classic American foods with a southern contemporary twist. Born and raised in New Orleans, Chef Martin’s hometown roots have influenced his innovative culinary creations and his modern approach to classic cuisine. Chef Martin’s techniques and talents have been fine-tuned through mentoring by the likes of Emeril Lagasse and Bernard Carmouche. 

The refreshed menu is focused on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients from some of Florida's best all natural farms like Waterkist Farms and Cahaba farms who grow most of their produce hydroponically. Other farms the hotel uses for ingredients like Pero Family Farms and Arc Farms, have a big focus on being environmentally friendly and being 100% sustainable farmers.

123TOOWe started our evening off with a Summer Corn Bisque with citrus yogurt.

The bisque was made with organic corn from Alderman farms, and was full of flavor in every bite.
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For the greens portion of our meal we had the Beets and Bleu.

This salad is made with organic mixed greens, roasted beets, pickled red onions, bacon, and bleu cheese with an aged balsamic vinaigrette.

I really enjoyed the salad and all of the unique flavors and textures. It was quite tasty, and was paired very nicely with the Kessler Chardonnay 2011.


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Our next dish was the Crab Cake.

The cake was served with shaved fennel, tomatoes, red onion salad, and a delicious champagne yogurt sauce

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To continue on in our seafood selection we were treated to Chilean Sea Bass.

The fish was topped with prawn butter and sat atop a bed of soba noodles, pea tendrils and shiitake mushrooms in a coconut curry sauce.

The fish was nice and flaky and I thought the addition of a coconut curry sauce was a nice flavor enhancer. Both the crab cake and the sea bass were paired with a wonderfuly crisp Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc 2010.

123ToOOur final entree of the evening was a Filet Mignon with summer roasted vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes. 

The steak was topped with a fresh herb butter that helped it to literally melt in your mouth.

Of course steaks go good with red wines, so it was paired with a Simi Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.


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We ended the evening with a decadent Key Lime Pie with sugared lime slices and dried raspberry.

The pie was very light and had just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness.


One of the many highlights about Kessler Collection hotels is their passion not just for food and fine lodging, but for the arts. As with other Kessler properties, The Bohemian Hotel in Celebration has a passion for the arts at its foundation. The hotel’s Grand Bohemian Gallery showcases more than 75 works of art by local, regional and internationally recognized artists.



During our dinner we were treated to a meet and greet with Tom Sadler, and got to watch him paint one of his beautiful oil paintings.

Tom Sadler has dedicated his efforts towards capturing the light, color, and mood of the Central Florida landscape. The intense light, combined with the natural beauty of the many lakes, rivers, and parks of the area provide a never-ending source of inspiration. His paintings come to life as a celebration of this beauty found in nature.

Just like Tom Sadler's art work, The Bohemian Hotel in Celebration is full of natural beauty, Floridian charm and inspiration.
The hotel has all of the modern amenities you expect in an upscale hotel, but is set in an intimate boutique setting that is reminiscent of the grand lakeside and seaside inns of the early 1900's. 

The Bohemian Hotel Celebration is a great place for romance during a starlit cocktail hour as well as a great place for business meetings, with over 5,000 square feet of indoor meeting space. The hotel boasts  two lakeside terraces for outdoor events, exquisite cuisine and a convenient business center. From artistically designed buffets and décor to creative dishes and live music, events can be arranged surrounding a particular theme. Along with multiple
function spaces, the property offers a lakefront meeting room where attendants can enjoy the beautiful view outside.

The Bohemian Hotel Celebration is a great place to enjoy the perfect balance of old-world charm combined with contemporary elegance in the warm and welcoming town of Celebration.

Bohemian Bar & Grill Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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David's Club at Omni Orlando Resort


1500 Masters Blvd
Champions Gate, FL
(407) 238-6565
View Website Here

With the help of Executive Chef Robert Ash, Omni Orlando Resort is setting a pretty high standard in the world of fine and sustainable dining.

Since coming aboard with Omni Orlando, Chef Ash has been successful in designing a menu that has no boundaries or nationalities. His commitment to excellence and his more than seventeen years in the culinary field are what drives Chef Ash not only to excellence, but to always challenge the complexity of tastes and the depth of the palate. His new mission is creating a monthly additional feature menu that includes the "Item Of The Month." The item of the month menu showcases locally sourced foods that highlight one locally sourced ingredient each month. 

The new menu features ingredients from local farmers, fisherman, ranchers, and foragers and is based on using that particular ingredient in its peak season in a variety of ways. For the month of June, Corn is the item of the month and Chef Ash and his team have created five specials to show how diverse corn can be. All the corn used to create the menu is from Long and Scott Farms in Mt. Dora. For July, the item of the month is shrimp from some of the best paces in Florida like Jacksonville, Key West and the Gulf Coast. 

On my recent visit to sample the "Item of the Month" we were treated to a wonderful dinner service at David's Club. Omni Orlando has a few places to grab some food, but the resorts two main restaurants are Trevi's and Davids Club. 

Trevi's is an Italian restaurant that features a brick oven and family style menu ordering options. Both restaurants are participating in the Item of the month program and feature the same ingredient used for that month.


Davids Club is an upscale sports bar and grill that serves hand cut steaks, short ribs, sandwiches, and a selection of  premium cigars and Cognacs.



In addition to those fine Cognacs, David's also has an impressive list of premium Scotch and specialty cocktails. If wine or beer is your fancy, they also have a small craft beer selection and a decent  wine list.


We really enjoyed the flavors and the refreshing qualities of cocktails like the Knickerbocker, Basil Peach Gimlet and the Blushing Berri.


To get our Item Of The Month Menu started, Chef Ash treated us to a serving of some pretty darn good Hushpuppies.

These are not your average Hushpuppies by a long shot as they are  made with smoked Gouda cheese and Nueske’s cherrywood bacon.

The house made malted tartar sauce and a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice made these some of the best hushpuppies I have had. They were very light to eat, but heavy on flavor


Our next appetizer was the Corn Crepes. It may sound strange to make a crepe like concoction out of corn, but it actually tasted wonderful.

The corn crepes were topped with a grilled corn and tomato salad, quseo fresco, corn nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette. The flavors worked wonderfully together and I enjoyed the added texture of the corn nuts.

The Shrimp 'n Grits became an instant favorite. The grits are made with cheese and topped with Cajun BBQ shrimp and a corn salsa. 

For some reason, as southern as Florida is, its hard to find good grits. The grits served in this dish were some of the most authentic and home style that I have had in any restaurant, and we found ourselves licking the bowl.


Our second entree was the Chicken and Waffles with sriracha maple syrup. 

The chicken is coated in a corn meal crust and the waffle is made out of a cheddar and jalapeno cornmeal mixture. 

Usually adding all of those corn ingredients together can make for dry tasting foods, but the chicken was very tender and juicy and the waffle was firm, but light. I really enjoyed the sriracha maple syrup as well and thought it added a little extra kick to the  meal overall.


Thanks to our great server Maria, we were able to try the house specialty Short Rib.

Although its not part of the item of the month menu, this was a spectacular short rib that melted in your mouth.


To finish our evening off on a sweet note we had the final of the five "Items Of The Month" which is simply called Corn Cake.

The name may be simple, but this desert had a complex variety of ingredients. The corn cake itself is made of sweet cornbread and the ice cream is made with bacon and sweet corn and then topped off with caramel corn and a bacon infused syrup.

Once again this dish took ordinary ingredients and transformed them into a wonderful and tasty treat. That's the genius of Chef Ash...taking simplicity and making it extraordinary.

We had a great time visiting Omni Orlando and really enjoyed our meal at David's Club. The Item of The Month menu was pretty impressive and we cant wait to see what Chef Ash is going to do with the July ingredient of fresh Florida shrimp.

You can be sure that both David's Club and Trevi’s are going to create some amazing and unique dishes using locally harvested ingredients that will challenge your palate to new tastes.

Whether you are an Orlando local, or are from out of town and looking for a fun place to stay, Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate should be on the top of your list. Omni Orlando is a Four Diamond resort that is located minutes away from the Orlando attractions, yet worlds away from all the distractions.

David's Club on Urbanspoon
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Summer Jam: Milk Edition


Summertime is in full swing, and Orlando has plenty of sights, sounds and tastes available all over the place. 

With the upcoming Summer Jam: Milk Edition, I thought it would be a great event to share with everyone, and officially kick off our Music Section on Tastes Of Orlando. 

Summer Jam: Milk Edition is taking place this Sunday June 22nd in Orlando's famous Milk District. With three areas of amazing  and unique sounds starting at 2:00 pm and going all the way until 1:00 am. The Summer Jam is is going to be a cool spot to hear some good music, grab a few drinks and let lose a little and best of all...there's no cover.

Whether you are Old School or New School, or if you are just looking for something fun to do, make sure you come out and soak up the sounds.

The venues include The Sandwich Bar and The Space Bar as well as a stand alone outside area.

The Sandwich Bar will feature a mixture of  Disco, House, Funk, Tek, Minimal, and Progressive House along with a minimal food selection and plenty of beer available for purchase. 

The Space Bar  is going to be the place to hear all the latest in Experimental, Trip-Hop, Glitch, and Experimental Bass Sounds. Craft Beer and Wine will be available for purchase.

The Outside Area is where all the Drum and Bass and Heavy Breaks action will take place.


For More Information you can go to the official event invite page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/616236078471644/

Here are some links to the lineup of performers.

Quantum Theory
https://www.facebook.com/QuantumTheoryMusic

Soul de Funk
facebook.com/souldefunkmusic soundcloud.com/souldefunk

MR. MASHWELL
https://www.facebook.com/mrmashwell

Mathew Scot
SoundCloud.com/MathewScot

DJ Annalog

http://www.djAnnalog.comhttps://soundcloud.com/djannalog

DarkMatter
http://www.facebook.com/CubFM

ILL TERROR
http://www.illterror.comhttp://Www.Mixcloud.com/illterror

Chrono
https://www.facebook.com/CHRONO411 https://www.facebook.com/ShootRecordings?fref=ts, https://www.facebook.com/groups/lowrisesoundswww.facebook.com/DepthChargeOrlando

Stereo 77
https://www.facebook.com/DJStereo77
http://www.soundcloud.com/DJStereo77

Chaotic Logic
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaotic-Logic/13780020187www.facebook.com/DepthChargeOrlando

Spec
www.facebook.com/specbasswww.facebook.com/DepthChargeOrlando

SubCult
www.facebook.com/ernestothelazyone

JD
http://www.soundcloud.com/hydrophonicent

Evans and Pierce
https://www.facebook.com/evanzandpierce

JEFFEE
https://soundcloud.com/junglized

SST

www.soundcloud.com/sst-1
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Aunt Catfish's On The River


4009 Halifax Drive
Port Orange, FL 32127
Phone: (386) 767- 4768



I recently had the opportunity to stop in to Aunt Catfish's for a family dinner.

I don't get out to Port Orange very often, so anytime I have an opportunity to dine on Florida's East Coast, its always a great opportunity to share my experiences.

Aunt Catfish's is a no nonsense southern seafood joint on the Halifax river, where all the servers are "cousins" and treat you like family. Fresh Seafood is their specialty along with Mango BBQ Ribs and mixed drinks that come in old fashioned Ball Mason jars. All meals also come with the house specialty cinnamon rolls that practically melt in your mouth and are part of the restaurants claim to fame.

Almost all platters and entrees come with or have the option to add the Fish Camp Fixins Bar and the Salad Bar to your meal in addition to a side item.


The Fixins bar consists of Cheese Grits, Cornbread, Cinnamon Apples, and Baked Beans. 
I sampled just about everything and enjoyed the down home southern flavors of all the fixins, especially the cheese grits.


The Salad Bar here is also quite impressive.

The bar itself wraps around to form three parts that contain a wide variety of greens, mixed salads, fruits and vegetables, and also features home made salad dressings.

With the help of my family members I was able to sample a variety of fried offerings including...Shark, Shrimp, Cod, and Catfish. While I enjoyed all the food I sampled, including my own meal, I thought the portion sizes were a bit on the small side. Most platters are either $19.99 for two selections of seafood or $24.99 for three selections including the fixins bar and the salad bar.


The Fried Shrimp platter was pretty good, and the addition of a Mexican Potato Skin as a side choice was something a little different, but pretty tasty.




Its hard to find places that serve good Shark, but for a southern fried rendition, Aunt Catfish's Fried Cajun Shark Bites are a real treat.



For my entree, I chose the Fried Shrimp and Fried Fish Platter with sweet potato fries as a side, along with the additional Pineapple Fluff.

I found the sweet potato fries a bit soggy, and the pineapple marshmallow fluff sounded much better than it tasted.

The shrimp and fish were fried perfectly and of course the cinnamon roll was heavenly...I just wish there was more. More everything.

Six small pieces of shrimp and what amounted to three or four fish nuggets immediately told me that I had paid more for the service of a Fixins bar and a Salad bar than I had for the seafood.

Overall we enjoyed our experience at Aunt Catfish's. Its a unique spot on the Halifax river with scenic views almost anywhere you sit. We found the service to be friendly and attentive. I would say that Its definitely worth a visit if you are heading to Port Orange.

My only complaint is the portion size of the seafood that comes in the platters. I would rather have more quality seafood than extra helpings of cheese grits and fried apples.

Aunt Catfish's On the River on Urbanspoon
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Summertime recipes from Top Chef's Gail Simmons for a good cause

Now that summer time is here, I  thought I would share a great summer time recipe from Gail Simmons of Bravos Emmy winning series: Top Chef

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert and permanent judge on BRAVO's Emmy-winning series Top Chef, now in its 12th successful season, as well as the head critic on Top Chef Masters.

She is also a special projects director at Food & Wine Magazine, and the author of Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater.

Gail has partnered with Pure Leaf Iced Tea in their #LoveOfLeaves program for 2014 to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities through a partnership with Wholesome Wave.  Every engagement (share, like) with content tagged with the #LoveOfLeaves hashtag will activate a $1 donation to Wholesome Wave, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to under served communities.

Wholesome Wave programs improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. They currently reach over 28 states, and work with more than 60 community-based organizations who manage nearly 400 farm-to-retail venues, and impact more than 3,200 farmers.Together, this community has the power to provide 100,000 pounds of fresh produce to those in need.

Vietnamese Slaw with Peanuts and Cilantro 

Paired with Pure Leaf Not Too Sweet Honey Green Tea:

By Gail Simmons


Serves 4

For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 large shallot, finely sliced

For the slaw:
1/2 head small red cabbage
1/2 head small Napa cabbage
2 medium carrots
4 radishes
2 mini seedless cucumbers
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 small Granny Smith apples
¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish

Begin by making the dressing so the shallots have time to marinate. In a large mixing bowl combine everything except the shallots and whisk together. Place shallots in the dressing and set aside.

Using a mandolin or a food processor with the slicer and grater attachments, finely slice the cabbages, radish and cucumber. Grate the carrot and separate the cilantro leaves. Core the apples and finely slice to yield thin half–moons. Place everything into a mixing bowl with the dressing and sliced shallot and toss together well.

Serve slaw topped with chopped peanuts and extra cilantro leaves. Pair with a bottle of Pure Leaf Not Too Sweet Honey Green Tea.

And for a refreshing tea that can be enjoyed by itself, or as a cocktail try this out:

Watermelon Refresher Tea 


4 servings

1 bottle Pure Leaf Sweet Tea 
4 sprigs tarragon, plus more for garnish 
3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes 
1/2 seedless hothouse cucumber, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes 
3 tablespoons lime juice 
Pinch of cayenne 

1. Add tea and tarragon to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a heatproof container and cool thoroughly.

2. Combine watermelon and cucumber in a blender. Add lime juice and blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher. Add cayenne and stir.

3. Pour half cup tarragon tea and 1/2 cup watermelon mixture into 4 ice filled glasses and garnish each with a tarragon sprig.

4. If you would like to make a cocktail, all you have to do is add a 1 ounce shot of your favorite tequila to each drink....and enjoy! 

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Fusian Sushi

7685 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32807

(407) 207-8989

(No Website)




Fusian Sushi is another restaurant that is close to where I live, and for what ever reason, I always seem to pass them by.

I finally got an opportunity to stop in, and I was pleasantly surprised. Fusian Sushi is an Asian Fusian restaurant that serves the different cuisines of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and a bit of Thai food as well. While there may not be dishes that combine the various ethnic and traditional ingredients of multiple cultures into one dish, you can certainly find something on the menu to cure your craving for a variety of Asian foods.

The menu here features a well rounded selection of Sushi, Sashimi,  Thai Noodles, Fried Rice, Bento Boxes, and traditional Chinese takeout. I really like the idea of offering a variety of foods because often times I may want some Chinese takeout and my wife may want some sushi, but most Chinese takeout places in Central Florida do not offer sushi, and if they did...it's probably best to stay clear of it.

The sushi here is pretty good. Its not world class high end sushi, but nonetheless, it is really good for the price point. Every roll that I have had tasted good, and was plated beautifully.

Sonny, the owner of Fusian Sushi and his staff also really care about customer service. Every time I have been in, I am greeted with warm welcomes, great service, and they even tell me good bye when I leave. They seem to really like what they do and it shows in the food and service here. 

 On a recent visit we ordered a few Sushi Rolls, a Bento Box with Korean Bulgogi Beef, Crab Rangoon, Miso Soup, and a few Spring Rolls with two beers for a tad over $40.00

The inside is very open with plenty of seating and also features a Sushi Bar with a few stools so you can watch sushi being made. 






The Crab Rangoon at Fusian Sushi was crispy and chewy all at once and was pretty good. 

I found it to be of a much better quality than what I would get at my local takeouts around town.

For our Sushi Selection we ordered the Mexican Roll and the Spicy Tuna Roll.

The Mexican roll had all the ingredients I am use to, but was prepared a little differently. The Spicy Tuna Roll packed some serious heat. 

The small  Bento Box was a great deal at $5.99. 

That price includes your selection of meat or tofu plus fried rice, Asian ginger salad and four California roll slices.

I chose the Korean Bulgogi Beef for my bento box and was pretty impressed with the flavors.

Since my first visit, I have been by on a few occasions and have really enjoyed it every time I stop in. Fusian Sushi is quickly becoming my go to place for takeout as well as quick sushi bites.

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello to Sonny and pull up a seat at the sushi bar. There's something to satisfy everybody the next time you have a craving for Asian food.

Fusian Sushi Bistro on Urbanspoon
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Orlando Restaurant Week is now Bite30

dinner
Orlando Restaurant Week has a new name...Bite30, and this year they have some great deals at some of the best restaurants in Orlando.

Orlando Restaurant Week/Bite30 is put on once a year by the folks at Orlando Weekly. It's a citywide celebration of culinary delights that takes place from June 1-30 where participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus that offer multi-course lunches or dinners at a set price.

Diners get the opportunity to try multiple dishes on the restaurant’s menu for about the cost of a single entree, and restaurants get to showcase their specialty dishes to the new customers attracted by the ​Bite30 menu​!​

These great restaurants are offering you a great deal, delicious food and fantastic service so you can experience the best they have to offer. It’s a great way to try diverse dishes, multiple courses and many unique restaurants, all at a discount! Dine out as much as you can, and bring your friends! ​Bite30 is always best when experienced with ​great company!

All you have to do is choose a price point (lunches are $10-$15 and dinners are $15-$30), check out the restaurant menus listed under that price point​, choose ​your restaurant and GO EAT!

There’s no need for special cards or coupons​, ​just ask for the ​Bite30 menu.

Some of the $30 Dinners include a great selection of top notch places like:

Artisan’s Table, Carmel Café & Wine Bar, Citrus Restaurant, Cityfish, K Restaurant, Le Coq au Vin, Maxine’s on Shine, Park Plaza Gardens, Rangetsu, Santiago’s Bodega, Taverna Yamas, Txokos Basque Kitchen, The Strand, Paxia Modern Mexican Restaurant.

For a complete listing and to see all available menu offerings go to bite30.com

Reservations are suggested at $30 restaurants.

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly going to hit up a few of those fine establishments.

(Information Courtesy of Orlando Weekly)
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