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Plush and luxurious, The Boheme really lives up to its name. The restaurant is located within Orlando’s Grand Bohemian Hotel, a cultural spot that even features an art gallery displaying works by local artists. As you enter the dining room, you’re welcomed by sleek tones of red and elaborate art decorating the walls, while the menu pleases with its choice of succulent meats, fish and seafood, from the red pepper ahi tuna to the pan-seared kurobuta pork chop. Make sure you don’t miss the weekly jazz brunch. Here, delectable treats from the chef’s station and a la carte menu can be sampled to the gentle sounds of live jazz, played at the venue’s Imperial Grand Bösendorfer Piano.
It’s hard to find one restaurant that you can take your family, friends, or the stranger you met at the bar next door to. However, that’s exactly what Santiago’s Bodega is for. This Mills 50 tapas restaurant serves everything from beef carpaccio to patatas bravas, with plenty of wine and cocktails to help get your friends ready for a night out or speed up the “getting to know you” phase of your impromptu date. They also have a great weekend brunch buffet and patio, which makes it a good place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
My training as a honey sommelier at the American Honey Tasting Society culminates with eight wineglasses filled with various honeys, lined up from light to dark. My instructor, Carla Marina Marchese, tells me that when we taste honey, we don’t do the ceremonial swirl — the wine expert’s ritual — before we sniff. Honey sommeliers smear. “Smear it on the sides of the glass like this,” she says, using a tiny plastic spoon. Once the honey is smeared, I can stick my nose in the glass to properly evaluate the aroma, then spoon a dollop onto my tongue.
This highly-rated restaurant off Sand lake Road bases its menu around fresh, seasonal produce (hence the name), and presents a nice mix of indoor and alfresco seating, with handsome views outback stretching across the adjacent lake. Seasons 52 also have an oak-fire grill and brick oven onsite, helping to bring out the natural flavors, as well as keep things healthy. Recommended dishes to try are the wood-grilled pork tenderloin, oak-grilled rack of lamb, Asian-glazed Chilean Sea Bass and duck wing ‘lollipops’. There’s also a sturdy lineup of local craft ales and international wines.
Seito has been at the forefront of Orlando’s slowly evolving sushi scene for the last few years, rolling out an inventive menu that using traditional Japanese techniques to create new and bold takes on the classics. Emphasis is also placed on using the freshest ingredients possible – as Japanese cuisine dictates – with fish imported in daily. But Seito is no one trick pony; good news if you’re a not a fan of raw fish. Much of the menu is also made up of other Japanese staples, such as ramen, tempura, and curries. Do note that Seito Sushi now has two branches, one close to Downtown on New Broad Street at Baldwin Park and the other out of town at Sand Lake. Read More...
Serving ‘food for the starving artist’, Café Tu Tu Tango is an artsy, colorful little venue with a huge spirit of fun and community. Local artists display their work on the restaurant’s walls and strike up conversation with guests, while local ingredients are turned into delicious, tapas-style concoctions perfect for sharing. Try the Argentinean-style orange chimmichurri steak, the adventurous guava-glazed barbecue pork ribs or the chorizo al fuego – a delicious mix of spicy Spanish chorizo served with brandy-glazed fingerling potatoes. The atmosphere at Café Tu Tu Tango is vibrant and bohemian, so prepare to dive into a world where creativity meets community.
Landlocked Central Florida is not Italy, but when you want to temporarily forget that, go to Prato. This always-packed restaurant in Winter Park serves modern Italian food, like mustard spaghetti cacio e pepe and a variety of wood-fired pizzas, and has retractable doors and a patio, which almost makes it feel like you’re getting a nice breeze from the Mediterranean. There’s always a wait if you don’t make a reservation, but just grab a drink at the bar and start debating with your friends about how many pastas to order in the meantime.
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After lunch, there is a tour of Murray’s caves, where the cheese ages. Then we’re led through the tasting of eight more cheeses by Tyler Frankenberg, the company’s customer experience manager, also a Certified Cheese Professional. This tasting is about comparing variations in cheesemaking: the differences between cheese near the rind vs. the tip, washed rind vs. ash, unaged vs. aged (“older doesn’t necessarily mean better,” we’re told). At one point we compare two versions of a funky pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese called Hollander with an aroma that people describe as earthy, mineral, “like mom’s basement” and even redolent of ammonia. “With this one, the bark is worse than its bite,” Frankenberg says.
“Anyone can pontificate an opinion, and that happens a lot in the world of taste,” he says. “It’s easy to say you’re a cigar expert or a wine expert. People throw around the term ‘sommelier’ all the time.” Armenteros says that back in 1996, he considered using “sommelier” before settling on “tobacconist.” “The word ‘sommelier’ is so sexy and has so much brand value. It used to mean something. Now it’s a marketing gimmick.” Still, Tobacconist University calls its newest certification the Cigar Sommelier Tobacconist. It launched in 2017 and is geared toward people working in the hospitality industry.
This is a terrific reimagining of the classic dish. I struggled with the pasta cooking and may cook the pasta at least 3/4 of the way through separately, but otherwise it’s a winner. I used two chicken breast halves which I flattened a bit, cooked flat, then cut up and cooked the rest of the way. I love breading on the chicken, but it’s very nice like this without – what a time saver and calorie saver.
To illustrate how important the olfactory sense is, Marchese earlier asked me to hold my nose and gave me something granular to put on my tongue. At first, it just felt grainy and sweet. Yet once I unplugged my nose, I experienced a rush of cinnamon flavor. As further practice, we sniffed little vials of typical honey aromas, similar to a kit other sensory experts use. I was proud of myself for identifying scents of mint, peach and lily. But others stumped me. Nutmeg? Wrong, hazelnut. Tea? No, hay. Truffle? Sorry, mushroom.
Marchese is leading me through an abbreviated version of her $595, four-day honey sensory certification course. To be clear, this is a seminar specifically in tasting — not in beekeeping or honeymaking. The American Honey Tasting Society exists upstairs from Marchese’s Red Bee honey shop, in a beautiful, rustic barn in Weston, Conn., heated on this day by a wood-fired stove. We’ve already covered the Honey Connoisseur Aroma and Tasting Wheel, the Honey Connoisseur Color Guide and the basics of sensory analysis. The preparatory advice is pretty much the same dogma as for wine: Don’t drink coffee. Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t use hand lotion. Don’t wear perfume or cologne.
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