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Showing posts with label Lamb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lamb. Show all posts

Winter Menu at Seasons 52

At The Plaza Venezia
7700 Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 354-5212
View Website Here



The holidays are right around the corner, and so are seasonal specials and a new winter menu at Seasons 52.

The restaurant's core menu changes four times a year with every season, and all the features on the right hand panel of the menu change every week, 52 times a year. The menu showcases over 100 different bottles of wine, 52 of which are available by the glass.



Seasons 52, in case you are not familiar with the brand, is a fresh grill and wine bar that offers a seasonal menu inspired by the fresh appeal of a farmer’s market and what’s good now. They gather ingredients from all over the world and use them at their peak with rustic cooking techniques. The kitchen is open and you can see oven roasting and open fire grilling over oak and mesquite, which bring out the natural flavors of food.

The Winter Menu launched on November 15th. Seasons 52’s winter menu features seasonal fare such as the new Portuguese Kale & Chorizo Soup, Braised Short Rib Flatbread and the Artisan Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. Seafood entrees coming into season include Nantucket Bay Scallops, Wood Grilled Tuna and Stone Crabs. Of course wine is always being added, but for the winter menu a few new cocktails have arrived as well.


The wrap around bar at the Sand Lake location of Seasons 52 has plenty of seats to view the gorgeous display of wines and spirits from all over the world.

Speaking of Spirits, two new drinks for the winter are the Cranberry & Sage cocktail with Prairie Organic Gin on the left and an Organic Sunshine Martini with Prairie Organic Vodka on the right. Prairie Organic makes Gin and Vodka that is certified organic by the USDA and kosher by the Orthodox Union, and they are also green and clean. Very good drinks, and the Prairie Organic spirits are some of the best I’ve had with a clean and smooth taste.

A wonderful amuse bouche with smoked apple and pork belly compliments of the chef.

The Duck Wing Lollipops are simply amazing. These things are covered in a Korean Gochujang red chili glaze and just fall off the bone. They do have a tad bit of heat, so do be careful...but they are worth it.

On a slightly cool night, the Portuguese Kale & Chorizo soup is the perfect thing to warm you up. A savory soup that was light, but satisfying.

The new seasonal flatbread on the menu is the Braised Short Rib and Aged Cheddar Flatbread. This is a must try item. Full of flavor with a light and crispy texture. A perfect flatbread to share with some friends over a good glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Asian Glazed Chilean Sea Bass is by far, one of the best sea bass dishes I have had in quite some time. The fish was so flaky and tender, it just dissolved in your mouth. The sea bass sat on top of a black rice cake and was served with snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, and micro wasabi.

The Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shank not only looks awesome...it tastes awesome too. The meat just falls off the bone and the accoutrements of Yukon mashed potatoes and vegetables make it a great savory down home meal.

Dessert shooters are a great way to end the night, especially when you just want a little something sweet to eat. The pecan pie shooter on the far right was outstanding. These come in a wide variety of flavors, so there is something for everybody.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Seasons 52 will be open for the holiday and is proud to offer Plainville Farms turkey, never, ever given antibiotics, served alongside the chef’s take on the usual trimmings and seasonal cocktails.

For Black Friday, the restaurant will also be offering All Day Black Friday specials for guests looking to shop ‘til they drop on November 25th.

Along with seasonal cocktails and intimate private dining options for family events or holiday parties, guests can purchase Seasons 52 gift cards for foodie friends and relatives. If you purchase $300 or more, you will receive a signature 7” Japanese Santoku knife from Mercer Cutlery. The knife has the Seasons 52 logo etched on both the blade and on the sleeve.

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Tony Roma's

8560 International Dr,
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-0094
View Website Here


By now, you should all be familiar with the Tony Roma’s brand. It's only one of the most popular and famous restaurants all over the world. The restaurant was even debated about in Ice Cube’s popular movie from 2002, Barbershop.

In case you didn't know, Tony Roma’s is a full service, casual dining family restaurant where you can find premier BBQ ribs and steaks in locations across the world. With over 150 family restaurant locations on six continents, Tony Roma’s is one of the most globally recognizable names in the industry.

Since its beginning nearly 40 years ago, Tony Roma’s has been focused on serving its signature Baby Back Ribs. The company has won numerous awards across the country for the “Best Ribs” and also has won nationally acclaimed industry recognition as “The Best Ribs in America.” Over time with different concepts and too many additions to an ever growing menu, the folks at Tony Roma’s felt the menu was drifting out of place a little bit and have decided to revamp every location and do a menu re-do.

The goal is to remind people that Tony Roma’s is still a great place for ribs and a variety of other dishes that every guest will be satisfied with, even if ribs aren't your thing. In addition to some crazy new and delicious ribs on the menu, guests will be delighted with an extensive selection of steaks and seafood entrees along with unique appetizers and mini desserts. 


If you don't feel like grabbing a table and just want to stop at the bar for a drink or two, the all new Bones & Bites menu will be appealing to you. This is a small plates menu where guests can order such things like 2 ribs at a time, bison sliders, meatballs and other items for a quick snack with lots of flavor.

The buildings for each location are being redesigned too, with a concept that will set a standard for the brand and future Tony Roma’s restaurants around the world. The flagship Tony Roma’s restaurant on International Drive in Orlando is currently undergoing this transformation. When it is all done, the 8,800 square foot restaurant will feature a new sense of arrival, new indoor/outdoor bar, three private dining rooms and brand specific decor.



The restaurant will have a dramatic entrance with a fire feature that welcomes guests as they step inside. A modern interpretation of a classic hand hewn style will be reflected in the interior design, with the use of mixed materials such as exposed box beams, warm wood floors, and painted tongue and groove walls.

Whether you choose to enjoy the the new indoor/outdoor bar, or sit inside, Tony Roma’s is aiming to be a gathering place where guests will enjoy an extensive collection of craft beers and cocktails, like this Crooked Can Cloud Chaser and Moscow Mule.

Even with new additions, the things that Tony Roma’s always did good will remain intact, including the always delicious Romarita’s.

Getting back to what made the brand famous, is of course ribs. So it was time to put some spin old favorites, like these all new Pastrami Pork Ribs that have been marinated for 48 hours in agave mustard glaze.

One of my favorite new rib entries that I tasted, was the Crispy Pork Ribs that have been deep fried and and tossed in a fiery Buffalo sauce. Frying Ribs is certainly out of the box thinking, and these were pretty amazing.


Along with some unique rib options on the Bones & Bites menu, guests will also find  items like the Bison Slider made with grass fed bison patties, American cheese, caramelized onions and sweet pickles.

In the appetizer section of the menu is where you will find the all new Chicken Lollipops. These are Frenched wings with fiery Buffalo sauce and bleu cheese coleslaw that are as unique as they are tasty.

If you need some roughage in your life, the entree salads have been redone too. This is the Chicken Caesar Salad which we really enjoyed. Other new salads include the Roasted Chicken Salad and a Kogi BBQ Steak & Noodle Salad.

Of course the World Famous Baby Back Ribs are as good as they have ever been. After all, this is what put Tony Roma’s on the map. Succulent, juicy and just fell right off the bone.

Something new to the American market is the Tender Marinated Lamb Ribs. These ribs have been very popular at Tony Roma’s in Malaysia. The lamb ribs are flame grilled in signature seasonings and finished with a savory reduction of honey and plum combined with fresh juice and hand cut ginger. I love lamb...in every form, and this lamb centric rib serving was just plain awesome.

Finishing out our evening we sampled two desserts. The first of which was the Crispy Brownie Bite Sundae with fried brownies topped with ice cream, caramel, fudge and strawberries. This dessert was chewy, sweet, crunchy and ridiculously good.

The Banana Cream Pie was our second dessert and every taste gave me warm thoughts of my grandmother's made from scratch banana pudding, with a few extra toppings.

The restaurant design facilitates all types of guest dining occasions, from couple’s night out to family and friends’ get togethers to business meetings. Guests can dine in one of the three new beautifully appointed private dining rooms with state of the art audio and visual equipment to make the most of any business meeting or casual social gathering. 

The dining rooms will seat between 30 to 60 people each with the ability to accommodate a total of 120 people. A designated Sales Manager will help plan every private dining event, coordinating all details and customizing menus to ensure each event is one your guests will not soon forget.

During the construction period, the restaurant will be closed for lunch, but open daily at 5 p.m. for dinner. Half of the restaurant re-do is done now, with completion of the other half expected by the end of September.

Tony Roma's Ribs Seafood & Steaks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Crimson Tavern

7499 Augusta National Dr.
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 851-9000

Just a mile from the Orlando International Airport, you will find the Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside. I’ve stayed at this hotel before, and it's a wonderful place for tourists and locals alike. I have also eaten at the hotels main restaurant Crimson Tavern on a few occasions. 

Crimson Tavern focuses on locally sourced cuisine with an impressive array of delights for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is redefining what hotel dining is all about. The property's management is comprised of a group of die-hard "foodies" and as a result, Crimson Tavern embodies what is on the cutting edge of the modern food movement: Farm-to-Table cuisine. 

Farm to Table has also gotten quite controversial recently as Laura Reiley, the food critic at the Tampa Bay Times wrote an article worthy of a Pulitzer Prize titled Farm to Fable. In the series of articles, Laura goes in depth to report and investigate how the average restaurant consumer is being lied to about where Tampa Bay area restaurants were sourcing their food from. You can bet this happens in Orlando and all over the country as well.

It's really a staggering article and worth a read if you love food like I do. Here is the link : Farm To Fable

I bring up the article from the times, because Crimson Tavern is one of the few restaurants that I know of, that you can see with your own eyes where they source food from. The restaurant has its own 2,500 square foot Chef's Garden and the culinary team works hard to develop partnerships with many of Orlando's best purveyors to source the finest ingredients available in the region. 


It isn’t too often that many of the items which appear on a diner’s plate come from just a few hundred feet away. In the restaurant’s own chef’s garden, diners are invited to take a stroll through the nearby 2,500 square foot area and see what is ready to be harvested and will soon end up on the menu or quite possibly, on their plate that very evening.

Executive Chef Anthony Hull also pulls from his own roots back in England and resurrects many old school cooking techniques including pickling, jamming, and preserving to prepare much of what diners see on the menu. Chef Hull, truly strives to define the “farm to table” culinary movement with a philosophy that includes a strong connection to the surrounding farms and artisans. They also invite the local farm community to grow for them, which helps these farms to sustain a way of life.

I was recently invited to a special Milk & Honey dinner where we sat outside in the chef’s garden. The theme of course was food and drinks made with or using milk and honey infused products in the ingredients.


Our first beer pairing was the Swamp Head ‘Wild Night Honey Cream Ale.” That honey you see next to the beer is from While the Sun Shines Apiary in Central Florida and is about as fresh and delicious as honey can be.

The Swamp head went really well with the first course of Charred House Ricotta with garden greens, preserved lemon and crispy garbanzo.

Our second course was a dish of local seafood that featured jumbo shrimp, fresh fish and crispy frog legs in a coconut curry sauce with cauliflower. This dish was paired with a Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc.

For our third course we had a rather special treat of a homemade ‘Fwaffle” which is a waffle made with Foie Gras served with crispy chicken skin sausage and honey braised shallots with a house vinegar gastrique.

The “Fwaffle” was paired with Ten Ten Havakon Milk Stout that gave a nice amount of sweet and bitter to compliment the meal.

In an effort to showcase how Chef Hull and his team recycle and reuse food in a variety of interesting ways, we were treated to house baked bread with a candle made of rendered lamb fat. As the candle burns, it creates quite a flavorful dip for the bread.

Our fourth course was a dish of milk fed lamb “Pot au Feu” with bunching onions, potatoes and heritage carrots. This was perhaps some of the most flavorful and tender lamb I have ever tasted. We were served “Sir Adrian’s Mead” for our drink...which is a house made alcoholic beverage made with fermented honey and various spices….and is very potent.

For a palate cleanser before our final course, we enjoyed Hibiscus Tea picked right from the garden.

Our fifth and final course for the evening was a fabulous Warm Olive Oil cake with house spun whey ice cream, smoked honey and strawberry.


Additionally, Chef Hull and his team looked closely at ways in which they could not just recycle, but reuse food scraps from the kitchen and came up with the following efforts, which are now in place:

-Coffee grounds are recycled and used as a natural pest deterrent in the Chef’s Garden


-Scraps from the roasted beets are used to make the beet cured salmon appetizer.

-When fish are cleaned in the restaurant, the skins are boiled and pureed into cat food for the two rescue cats that live in the garden and keep the squirrels and snakes away.

-The kitchen dehydrates onion peelings to make onion powder, and mushroom stems for powder to add to the house-made steak seasoning for additional umami flavor.

-When there is an abundance of fresh herbs from the Chef’s Garden, they are dried to save and use at a later date.

-If there is an excess of any items harvested that cannot be used fresh, they are pickled and preserved.

-Beef fat is rendered and put into the Béarnaise sauce. The hotel is also experimenting with making beef fat candles, which can be served to guests who can dip bread in the fat as it melts.

-All bacon fat from breakfast is saved and used for braising greens, re-fried beans, and enriching the house-made barbecue sauces.

-The restaurant menus are printed on 100% recycled paper, and when damaged or reprinted, old menus are cut up and used as underliners in the restaurant.

-Used soap from guest rooms is given to a company called Clean the World who purifies it and reforms it into bars which are then sent to Third World countries.

From communal tables to private dining rooms and microbrews to wine flights, Crimson Tavern has the perfect evening for you. Regional charcuterie, international cheese plates and many other seasonal specialties all have a place on the menu. 


If you want a restaurant that is casual and friendly and offers locally sourced ingredients with an honest farm-to-table mentality that you can see up close and personal… stop by and say hello to Chef Hull and his team at Crimson Tavern.

The restaurant can fit 80 people, the private dining room can seat up to 16, and semi-private dining on the upper deck is up to 30 guests. Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner is from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Crimson Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Crimson Tavern at Orlando Airport Marriott

7499 Augusta National Dr, Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 851-9000
View Website Here


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again...Some of the best dining in Central Florida can be found inside some of the great hotels and resorts scattered throughout our community. Sure, Orlando is experiencing a restaurant renaissance of sorts, but that also includes many great hotels.


I was recently invited to a “Lamb Everything” dinner at Crimson Tavern inside the Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside and I was thoroughly impressed with the restaurant, and the hotel itself. I don’t live too far away from Crimson Tavern, but like many of us, It’s never on my list of restaurants to visit, mainly because I think of the hotel only. I can assure you though, Crimson Tavern is a place you need to visit soon, and here’s why...


It isn’t too often that many of the items which appear on a diner’s plate come from just a few hundred feet away, and in the restaurant’s own Chef’s Garden. At Crimson Tavern, diners are invited to take a stroll through the nearby 2,500 square foot Chef’s Garden and see what is ready to be harvested and will soon end up on the menu or quite possibly, on their plate that very evening.

For Executive Chef Anthony Hull, Crimson Tavern truly defines the “farm to table” culinary movement. The restaurant actually came about because there was an open dining space at the Orlando Airport Marriott and since much of the hotel’s senior management were all serious foodies, including General Manager Chris Donohue, the logical step was to create a restaurant that represented what most chefs believe is an iconic way to eat : Farm to Table.

Since every dish is the sum of its components, the farm to table philosophy means a strong connection to the surrounding farms and artisans. The culinary team works very diligently to develop partnerships with many of Orlando's best purveyors to source the finest ingredients available. They also invite the local farm community to grow for them, which helps these farms to sustain a way of life. Additionally, as the Chef’s Garden grows and evolves (it currently produces approximately 20,000 pounds of food per year), more of the fruit trees will start to produce and evolve the experience even further as they will supply many of the ingredients, which the team can use for jamming and pickling.

In fact, the culinary team is exploring the branding and retail sale of their homemade condiments and jams. They will continue to make hot sauce, pickles, jams, and chutneys from their garden and seasonal offerings. As the BBQ program grows (the restaurant offers seasonal Friday Night Barbecues) a line of rubs and sauces will also become available.
According to Chef Hull, “The main reason we are producing these products is to control what goes into them, not just from a flavor standpoint, but also a wellness aspect by eliminating additives and unnatural ingredients, and if we have a really good harvest, it is also a way to preserve the extra product”.

Chef Anthony Hull of Crimson Tavern, spent much of his youth in England cooking with his grandmothers. While he enjoyed the opportunity to practice his latest jokes on them, they in turn, would tell him the jokes they had also heard. “To this day, I have vivid memories of my grandmother trying to tell me a joke and laughing so hard she could not get to the punch line.” During this time, his grandmothers love of baking, making jams from fruits harvested from the family garden, and pickling onions and beets and storing them under the stairs for the holidays became entrenched in his DNA. When his paternal grandmother had the faith to let him cook the Christmas turkey from start to finish, it was probably the single defining food event that made him decide to become a chef.

Here are some of the highlights of Chef Hull's "Lamb Everything Dinner".....


Peak Organic Simcoe Spring Ale



Meatballs with ground lamb leg, mortadella, house pomerola, tarentaise and alpine cheese.  


Pickled lamb tongue with hydroponic arugula, garden pumpkin blossoms and granny smith apple vinaigrette.


Ramen Bowl, house pulled ramen, lamb breast & belly, lamb dashi, Kissimmee river oyster mushrooms, poached lake meadows pullet egg, crispy taro.



Roasted Saddle & Loin with charred baby artichokes, cannellini beans, lamb reduction, arbequina olives in a true grit petite sirah.



Parksdale farm Strawberry Gelato with house spun gelato (house preserve, cream, whole milk),cardamom shortbread and strawberry basil flower salad.


The restaurant can fit 80 people, the private dining room can seat up to 16, and semi-private dining on the upper deck is up to 30 guests.

Price range: Appetizers: $7 - $18
Salads and Sandwiches: $7 to $16
Entrees: $20 - $26
Desserts: $9

Beverage menu features 21 domestic, imported, and artisanal beers, 30 wines by the glass or bottle including two sustainable wines, and 7 signature cocktails. The wine list focuses on domestic wines from California and the East Coast as well as a number of international wines from Argentina and Australia.

Hours of Operation: Open daily
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dinner: 5 p.m. to midnight.

Crimson Tavern on Urbanspoon
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The Meatball Shoppe

7325 Lake Underhill Rd.
Orlando FL. 32822
(407) 270-6505



East Orlando's newest dining spot is a little place called The Meatball Shoppe. I say little enthusiastically though, because the shop is small inside, but full of great flavor and great character. That great character is attributed to the owners of this establishment - Isabella Morgia di Vicaria, a first-generation American, born of Italian heritage in Brooklyn, NY. and her Husband Jeff Morgia.

Isabella and Jeff have over thirty years of time and experience combined in the restaurant and food industry. Isabella’s Bella Cucina, a catering company that the couple operates, has been in business since 1992 in Central Florida. A few years ago, Isabella and Jeff were thinking of ways to bring something new and innovative to Central Florida... and The Meatball Shoppe was born. With the aquiring of a location for The Meatball Shoppe, Isabella’s Bella Cucina also acquired a larger kitchen facility that will make it possible for the two companies to support each other. The Meatball Shoppe will also serve as a retail space for Isabella’s Bella Cucina.

Isabella believes her meatballs are special and are a representative of the best of many cultures including the Mediterranean and Latin American Countries. Jeff says his love of meatballs comes from the nostalgia 
that takes him back to when he was growing up, and they’re warm, inviting and are universally loved by all. 

The concept of The Meatball Shoppe is to bring you the classic and traditional Italian meatball and then take it in a different direction. The menu is based on tradition fused with innovation that brings new life to the ‘classic meatball’. Patrons can expect to find a combination of an old world style with a retro feel and fresh originality.

When ordering you first choose "How would you like them" your options are "On Top", "Alone" and "Smash". If you select "On Top" you then you select a side you would like your meatballs on top of. Choices include Creamy Polenta, Penne Pasta with choice of sauce, Gluten-Free Pasta, Pasta Aglia Olio and a White Bean Ragout. If you want your meatballs by themselves, you would choose "Alone" and they are served atop a bed of arugula. The "Smash" option gives you the meatballs smashed on freshly baked focaccia.

Next you select the type of meatball you would like. The list of meatballs includes Nonna’s traditional Italian meatballs, Vegetarian, Gluten free Jeffy’s sausage,  Mediterranean grass fed lamb with pita bread and tzatziki sauce, Spicy pork, Chicken Marsala and a Reuben ball topped with a traditional Reuben Sauce.

Your next step is to pick a sauce. Sauces  available are Roasted Tomato Sauce, Isabella’s Signature Pesto, Creamy Provolone , Rich Marsala Mushroom Sauce, Spicy Pork Sauce. You can mix and match all you want, but the sauce selections go hand in hand with your meatball choice. You can also get a fried egg to top everything off, if you choose.

I had the opportunity to go to a blogger and foodie meet up recently, and I got to sample a bit of everything at The Meatball Shoppe. Everyone really enjoyed the flavors and creativity of all the meatballs we sampled. They were firm and seasoned well and the sauces and sides were quite tasty too. 


I ordered Jeffy's Sausage meatball smashed on focaccia with creamy provolone sauce and a fried egg on top. That was a pretty damn good sandwich.


Nonna's traditional Italian with roasted tomato sauce.








Mediterranean grass fed Lamb with pita bread and tzatziki sauce on top of creamy polenta.






Vegetarian Meatball on top white bean ragout.









Chicken Marsala Meatball with Marsala Mushroom Sauce. 







The Meatball Shoppe is open Monday to Saturday, for lunch or dinner from 11 AM to 8 PM. Stop by and say hello to Isabella and Jeff and enjoy great company along with great food.They will satisfy the kid in you with fun, delicious meatballs and satisfy your more sophisticated adult palate with gourmet flavors.

Meatball Shoppe on Urbanspoon
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