The world of cigars is easily as complex as whiskey or cheese or chocolate, but it faces an obvious challenge. “Our industry suffers from a stigma,” Armenteros says. “We don’t have any of the prestige of wine or Scotch, yet drinking those are just as dangerous.” Because of this, the cigar consumer is quite different from those of other gourmet products. “The cigar smoker is a very independent-minded person,” he says. “It takes a certain individualism. You need to have, let’s say, some balls to smoke a cigar. This type of person has strong opinions. We work with a lot of strong characters in this business.” Armenteros believes an educated, certified expert helps add a level of sophistication.
Yes. Orlando has theme parks. Lots of ‘em. The best in the world, some might say (we certainly would). But we’re also a city of real-live people who might spend some of our date nights drinking around the world at Epcot... but not all of them. In recent years, our foodie scene has exploded. We’ve got James Beard nominees among our elite. We’ve got fancy eats and food trucks and quite frankly, we like them all. And so do our record-breaking numbers of visitors. Sure, they love Dole Whip as much as we do. Who wouldn't?! But we also think they'll love the bleu cheese-laden pub burger at the Ravenous Pig or the incredibly fresh and creative offerings at Kabooki Sushi as much as the rest of us. On this list, you’ll find Asian soup in spades, from silky Japanese ramen at Domu to mouthwatering Malaysian Kari mee at Mamak Asian Street Food. You'll find phenomenal high-rent steaks and snappy, spicy, house-made currywurst at a neighborhood butcher shop. We've got spectacular Spanish and sublime internationally-infused fare the shadow of a grand, gorgeous fountain. So, step away from the kiosk chicken tenders, tourists. Our impressive culinary scene awaits….
Why go: We're pretty sure that pizza is a superfood and the contemporary Italian fare here is some of the best in Orlando. Relax inside or out on the large patio (although the huge floor to ceiling windows make you feel like you're outdoors anyway) with a menu that changes daily. Expect items like pretzel-crusted calamari, artichoke ravioli and hand-stretched pizzas.
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Part art deco bakery, part homage to Alice In Wonderland, The Glass Knife is a new spot in Winter Park that serves just about every sweet you can imagine, from pistachio orange donuts to a chocolate raspberry tart. Each of their baked goods is decorated by hand and you’ll likely see a lot of people taking photos of their desserts. However, if you come with someone who isn’t really into sweets, this place also has a full brunch and lunch menu with things like breakfast sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads available for the savory-only people in your life.
After that, we move hotter. A yellow one from Scotch bonnet peppers that’s about a six, a delicious Barbados-style pepper sauce made with mustard and having a molasses-like taste, a barbecue-style sauce from San Antonio made with ancho and morita peppers, a spicy peanut butter made from a traditional Haitian recipe, and a floral, fruity habanero sauce from Japan made with Citra hops and a bit of mango. After a half-dozen sauces, my palate becomes pretty fatigued. “If you push yourself past your comfort level, your brain’s not going to care about the taste,” Chaimberg says.
Chaimberg slides on black latex gloves and takes what looks like a giant eye dropper. He puts a droplet of a green sauce, made from organic serrano peppers by a company called Small Axe Peppers in the Bronx, on a cardboard tasting spoon and offers it to me. “How’s the heat on that?” Chaimberg asks. “On a scale of one to 10.” I tell him it’s about a four for me. “I’d use this one on Mexican food,” he says. “Or eggs.”
Owners Marshall Phanthachit and Kevin Phanhvilay aren’t shy about displaying the full spectrum of flavors of Laotian cuisine at their popular Mills 50 eatery. The sweet, the spicy, the fishy and the fermented are presented in street snack form and, best of all, the whole menu can be had for around $65. Scooping wee balls of sticky rice in one hand then dipping it into jaew mak len (a charred tomato paste) or jaew bong (sweet chili paste with pork skin) is digital dining at its finest. Lemongrass pork sausage, sesame beef jerky and pork tapioca dumplings shouldn’t be overlooked. The fearless can test their fortitude with the funky, fermented, fishy quintessence of thum maak thang, a spicy cucumber salad.
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.
Gourmet restaurants prepare dishes from the highest quality ingredients with impeccable technique. They can serve food that challenges the palate or offers a twist from a traditional dish. For example, a gourmet mac and cheese may use Gruyere, a cheese that is almost exclusively made in France and Switzerland. A beef dish such as crab-stuffed filet mignon with whiskey peppercorn sauce is gourmet because the sauce and stuffing are unique and challenge the taste of filet mignon on its own.
Sink your teeth into sweet foods from every corner of the globe - gummy candy, licorice, marzipan, ginger candy, gum, mints and chocolate bars in every flavor - along with novelty candy perfect for party favors and gifts. Satisfy your sweet tooth with an array of cakes and cookies, from Dutch wafers and Italian cakes to Scottish shortbread and British biscuits. You can also whip up your own tasty treats from our wide range of baking products - we have tempting baking mixes for breads, cakes and breakfast foods, along with plenty of pretty, practical bakeware to bake them in.