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New Spring Menu Items at American Kitchen

1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 827-3080
View Website Here

American Kitchen Bar & Grill is an open concept restaurant serving New American cuisine that is responsibly sourced and globally inspired. 

AK takes an artisan approach to cooking and preparation of everything on the menu with an emphasis on local ingredients, including herbs and greens that are harvested out of the restaurant’s living garden, i.e. a 1950’s red pick-up truck.

From house made pastas and cheese to cured and smoked meats, the menu is a dynamic tasting experience, especially when paired with hand crafted cocktails and specialty wines. Iv’e always been a fan of Chef Venoy Rogers and even his Sous Chef Jacob Rios, as they put a lot of heart and detail in they food they create.

“My philosophy in the kitchen is to have fun with food and express myself from the heart,” Chef Rogers said. “To make good food you need great ingredients.”

Recently I was invited to a Spring Menu Sampling at AK, and of course everything was extraordinary. We sampled a variety of shareable starters, mains, a huge Tomahawk Rib eye, Dessert and a few glasses of wine.

The House made Bread at American Kitchen is simply fantastic, but the Umami Butter just made it that much better.

Part one of the Small Bites Tour featured Carne Con Queso Egg Rolls, Tempura Avocado and Glazed Fried Shrimp Bites. 

Part two of the Small Bites Tour was served with a sampling of Grilled Buffalo Wings, Fried Chicken Oyster and wonderfully delicious Korean Glazed Pork Ribs.

I really enjoyed The Florida Old Fashioned made with St. Augustine Distillery Florida Straight Bourbon, Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic, Cherries and Orange.

The Smoked Fried Chicken sandwich at American Kitchen is always delicious, served with house aioli, coleslaw, pickled onions and pickles on a sesame seed bun, but the side of fries served in a miniature shopping cart was just too damn cute!

Beet Root Ravioli was simply awesome made with house made beet and ricotta ravioli, locally sourced goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, beet soil, and citrus. 

East Coast Bouillabaisse was another great example of the creativity and diversity of Chef Venoy and his staff. This is made with locally sourced whitefish, Florida rock shrimp, scallops, mussels, Peruvian potatoes, lobster broth and crunchy garlic bread. 

The 120 day Dry Aged Certified Angus Beef Tomahawk Ribeye was cooked to a perfect medium and was mouthwatering served with Three Potato Gratin, Smokehouse Mushrooms and the whole bone separated.

We finished the evening with The Candy Bar, a house made bourbon vanilla nougat with milk chocolate, toasted hazelnuts and edible gold shavings. This was Chef Venoy’s interpretation of a gourmet snickers bar and it was incredible.

The food here is always amazing. Chef Venoy and Rios do an amazing job, and Chef Venoy is a great talent in the kitchen. I've always been a fan of American Kitchen, and am a firm believer in the skill set of the kitchen and the staff here.

It is time however, for the B Resort and Spa to make the necessary changes to update the inside of the restaurant and move on from the old American Q days and give Chef Venoy and his staff an inside that matches the artistry and skill set of the food they serve up here.

I can neither can confirm nor deny that those said changes may be on the way shortly.


American Kitchen is open Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

American Kitchen Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Tamale Co. Coming to Hourglass District


2411 Curry Ford Road, 
Orlando, FL 32806
407-455-1580
View Website Here


Just in time to welcome Cinco de Mayo, Central Florida’s most popular purveyor of fresh and tasty tamales will open a brand new brick and mortar location, Tamale Co. Hourglass, on Sunday, May 5th, in the Hourglass Social House.

The 1,300 square foot restaurant is an open dining concept housed in the relaxed, shared space also occupied by Foxtail Coffee and Vegan eatery Leguminati, with in-restaurant seating and a beautiful outdoor patio. Tamale Co. models a modern yet traditional Mexican décor and incorporates pre-Hispanic cooking utensils and equipment to give guests an idea of the art of tamale making.

Tamale Co. Hourglass will feature top tamale favorites from the food truck, plus an expanded menu of Mexican style street food representing Chef Fernando and wife Jennifer’s hometown and roots, and the location will also serve solely Mexican craft beer and imports, wine, mixed drinks, sangria and mimosas. 

“We are pumped to open Tamale Co. in the very cool Hourglass Social House,” says Fernando and Jennifer Tamayo. “Our partners at Hourglass have made the corner so beautiful, welcoming and trendy. It’s the ‘go to’ hang out space, and we are very fortunate to grow our Tamale Co. brand there, expand our passion and make it easier for all our food truck lovers to find us and enjoy our delicious tamales every day. We hope everyone comes out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us and join us for our very exciting Grand Opening.”

Don’t miss Tamale Co. Hourglass Grand Opening on Sunday, May 5th from Open to Close located at 2411 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 10am-9pm. For more information, visit www.tamaleco.com or call 407-455-1580.

Tamale Co. was founded in Orlando by Chef Fernando Tamayo and Jennifer Tamayo in December of 2012. Tamale Co. is original and traditional, unlike any other. They are passionate about the idea of tamale, a Mexican dish that can be traced back to the pre-Hispanic times, made of masa filled with anything from meats to fruits to vegetables, wrapped in cornhusks and combined with delicious Mexican sauces.

Making it a very traditional way to create a unique assemblage of different flavors, Tamale Co. offers the best gourmet Mexican tamales, each hand-crafted to an artisan perfection and prepared with the freshest ingredients Florida’s local farmers have to offer.

Tamale Co.’s rich passion for the art of quality and authentic cuisine is sure to unwrap the original taste. Tamale Co. Food Trucks can be found serving at Farmers’ Markets and making local visits throughout Central Florida, Brevard and Flagler Counties and the Gulf Coast.

Tamale Co. Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Hocca Orlando


8001 S Orange Blossom Trail 
Suite 1500
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 988-1886
View Website Here


The original location of Hocca Bar in Sao Paulo Brazil, established itself in the Municipal Market of Sao Paulo, a place that preserves a singular mixture of architecture, aromas, and flavors turning a simple meal into a historical visit.

Ahead of its time, the founders of Hocca Bar introduced a perfect combination of ingredients that turned their pastels, croquettes, and sandwiches into legends, evidenced in articles from newspapers of national and international prestige as well as tv shows.

The Hocca Bar first opened its doors in 1952, and serves up thousands of sandwiches, beers, and pastels de bacalhau (pastries packed with cod) and cuts of traditional Brazilian meats. The mixed crowd of kids, families, polo wearers, old gentlemen, and nuns stand or sit on stools, consuming their sandwiches.

Horácio Gabriel, born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, heads up the Orlando location, which is the first U.S location. He holds a university degree, and has several publications, including an edited recipe book. The chef studied with top quality professionals and teams, and he had the privilege of training with Hocca’s founders to bring the fame and taste of the original to Orlando.

The major claim to fame for Hocca is found in their slogan, "O famoso é aqui" Which means: THE FAMOUS IS HERE. "The famous" references The Mortadella Sandwich aptly named "Belíssima", stacked four inches thick with multiple layers of cheese, savory mortadella meat, dried tomato sauce preserved in olive oil and topped with oregano. This blend is then shoved into an Italian loaf and cut in half.


The Original is a great way to get into the sandwich culture at Hocca as you get four sampler sandwiches with fries. Sandwiches include the classic Mortadella, Pork Ham, American Ribs and a Dried Beef Sandwich.


Mr. Picanah features the classic grilled Brazilian fillet picanha in olive oil, garlic, grilled onions and peppers. This was served with a side of yucca fries and grilled vegetables and was amazing. The portion, as it states on the menu is big enough for 2 pessoas, or 2 people.


The Calabresa is on the Starters to Share section of the menu and is a huge iron skillet full of Grilled Italian Sausage topped with garlic, onions and vinaigrette served with warm bread.


The sandwich that started it all at Hocca bar in Brazil… The Mortadella Sandwich aptly named "Belíssima", stacked four inches thick with multiple layers of cheese, savory mortadella meat, dried tomato sauce preserved in olive oil and topped with oregano that is simply outstanding.


Pastel Dolce & Banana is four mini fried pastels stuffed with fresh bananas, topped with dulce de leche, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and served with vanilla ice cream and is a must have dessert at Hocca.


The Fogosa is a signature Caipirinha with mango, passion fruit, tabasco and pink pepper. Hocca has a variety of handcrafted cocktails, sangrias, beers and wine available on the menu.

Chef Horácio Gabriel and his team have done an excellent job of bringing the passion and fun of the Hocca brand to Orlando and to the United States. The sandwiches, the drinks, and atmosphere here is fun and inviting, and the food is outstsanding.

Hocca is open Monday to Wednesday and on Sunday from 12: 00 pm to 9:00 pm, Thursday they are open until 10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday the hours are from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm.





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Kona Poké


242 Wheelhouse Lane
Suite 1230
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(407) 500-5662
View Website Here


Kona Poké is a healthy, fast-casual food concept that serves fresh and delicious Hawaiian-style poké bowls with fresh sushi grade fish, house sauces, vegan, gluten free and cooked options available.

Guests of the 1,300 square foot restaurant can choose from a variety of Signature Poké Bowls, Build Your Own Bowls, Soup, Salads and Mochi Ice Cream, which they’ll savor inside Kona’s contemporary, inviting restaurant vibe with subtle elements of poké’s Hawaiian heritage.

Kona owners Matthew Ting and Ernie Falco III come with decades combined of restaurant ownership, management and marketing experience. Ting co-owns and operates multiple successful Tijuana Flats locations companywide, and Falco founded and sold several highly successful internet based brands, including JetCharters.com.

“We are elated to finally open our doors and provide the freshest vibe and food around,” says Ting. “It is healthy, yet so extremely satisfying, it’s addictive. With our high-quality raw ingredients, Hawaiian poké techniques and distinctive interior design, we are bringing features from the realm of formal dining to the world of a fast-casual restaurant." 



Kona Poke has several signature poke bowls, like the Kona Fire, Salmon Lover, Tidal Wave, and a Classic Hawaiian to name a few, but guests are also free to create their own bowls and choose a variety of bases, proteins, mix-ins, as well as toppings and sauces to create their own unique bowl. 

We started with a Ginger Side Salad made with fresh iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes and a delicious mandarin orange sesame ginger dressing.

I really really enjoyed the Kona Fire Bowl, This is made with fresh ahi tuna, classic hawaiian sauce, seaweed salad, green onions, sesame seeds, avocado, onion crisps, sriracha aioli...and more sriracha!

The Salmon Lover was very interesting indeed, mainly because of the spicy seaweed salad. This bowl features fresh salmon, spicy seaweed salad, crispy onion, cucumber, edamame and a lemon tartare sauce.

For something a little more sweeter and balanced out, the Tidal Wave is a good option with fresh ahi tuna, seaweed salad, green onion, crispy sweet onion, avocado, eel sauce and sriracha aioli.

Mochi Ice Cream, if you have never had it, is a small, round confection consisting of a soft, pounded sticky rice dumpling filled with traditional ice cream flavors and dusted with cornstarch to keep it from sticking to your hands while eating it. We had Chocolate, Strawberry, Mango and Green Tea samples at Kona Poke and all were really good, as well as light and refreshing.


Fun Fact: What is poké? Pronounced POH-keh, poké is cubed raw fish eaten either on its own or over a bowl of sushi rice. While it may seem like a new trend, the Hawaiian dish has been around for centuries.

Bonus Points: They have plenty of the Yellow Sriracha!

Kona plans to open 20+ locations throughout the Southeast over the next several years. They are open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday to Saturday, and they close at 8:00 pm on Sunday.
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F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen


2420 Curry Ford Rd.
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 751-5697
View Website Here


F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen, located in the emerging Hourglass District, is Orlando's newest neighborhood sensation offering Neapolitan inspired woodfired pizzas and true Italian family pasta recipes.

F&D Woodfired uses only the finest, fresh and natural ingredients and the “36 Hour dough” is said to be some the best in Orlando. All of the pastas here are all fresh made from Trevi Pasta in College Park.

The menu here has woodfired pizzas of course, but they take great pride in the other menu offerings here as well. From meatballs, to mussels, to beef carpaccio and the F&D garlic bread, the antipasti menu is solid.

Pizzas are made to order with a select offering of pre made suggestions like prosciutto and arugula, or a margherita, but you can also create your own here as well.

All pasta is made fresh by Trevi Pasta in College Park, but F&D does the rest and serves up some amazing dishes like the house made bolognese lasagna in an iron skillet, or the wild mushroom pappardelle.

Secondi offerings include a buttermilk semolina crusted chicken parmesan, wood fired Atlantic salmon, osso bucco and veal marsala.

Inside is small, with a limited seating area and a few seats at the bar, but they do have a nice outside covered patio area with more seating available. Overall, this provides for a cozy atmosphere with a laid back attitude.

The F&D House Salad can be ordered individually, or as a family order, so we started with the family portion for our party of four. The salad features Romaine and iceberg lettuce, red onions, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, pepperoncini, pecorino and a wonderful house vinaigrette.

Calamari Fritto Misto was very tender and had a perfectly crispy batter with fried pepperoncini & marinara sauce for dipping.

F&D Garlic Bread was a rather simple presentation of bite sized pieces of bread covered in garlic, extra virgin olive oil, grana padano cheese and marinara for dipping.

The House Made Bolognese Lasagna was pretty impressive made with Trevi pasta, bolognese, ricotta, grana padano, basil and served in an iron skillet, as it was finished off in the wood fired oven.

Fennel Sausage and Rapini Pizza was pretty extraordinary with a Bianca pizza base, housemade fennel sausage and rapini. The crust was perfectly charred and crispy, and the housemade sausage was amazing.

I really enjoyed the Bolognese Pasta with rigatino, veal, Angus beef, pork, creme, fresh Italian herbs & pecorino with pasta made by Trevi Pasta. The veal, Angus beef and pork are finely ground together to make an excellent ground meat base.

As I said earlier, aside of the menu offerings of pizza specials, you are totally free to make or build your own pizza at F&D. This was a custom creation of Fennel Sausage, Italian Pepperoni, Caramelized Onions, Minced Garlic, and Crushed Tomatoes...and it was simply delicious!

There is limited seating at the bar, where you can watch the wood fired pizzas being made, or you can order wine based cocktails, infused sangrias or a Peroni and a small selection of craft and traditional beers.

We were very impressed with F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen and will be returning soon. Come taste the passion behind the authentic recipes and some of the best Pizza in Central Florida...you will not regret it.

F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen is open Monday to Friday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Saturday they are open from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. They also serve Brunch from noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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