This trading from non-local regions, also means, almost by necessity, that there was much cultural exchange between different groups to get these goods. The Columbian Exchange introduced many ingredients and styles to the new world and Europe starting with the expansion of the Iberian Empires. The new world introduced to Europeans tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, and many more. Another example would be interactions with the Islamic world, which impacted catholic cuisine in the 1100s. These interactions introduced many spices, the theory of the culinary cosmos, and cooking items such as North African pottery. These trades were facilitated by rich merchant states that traded with them the most notable being Venice.
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Why go: Although originally set up in Key West, Santiago’s now boasts two additional locations in Orlando, each with a particular personality. This communal spot embodies the sharing mentality behind Spanish-style small plates. Come here with a large group to sample the breadth of the menu but make sure not to leave before really delving into the space’s look. The reclaimed wood bar top, stained glass windows, Gaudi-esque furniture and one-of-a-kind artwork all over the restaurant make it that much more special.
Lake Nona’s burgeoning food and beverage scene continues to progress and this pizza joint with showcase brewery by the Tavistock Restaurant Collection (who also operate Lake Nona’s Canvas and Chroma restaurants) is one luring downtowners to the airport-area enclave. With head brewer Marco Reyna tapping 12 sudsy creations, there’s no shortage of pie-pairing quaffs. Jason Bergeron (who also serves as executive chef of Canvas and Chroma) fires up pizzas in two gorgeous wood-burning ovens – pizzas like the infernal “Pepperoni Picante” and the “Awesome Saus!” with sausage and elephant garlic. It’s one worth riding the bus to Lake Nona town for.
A small, locally owned chain of tapas restaurants and bars, Ceviche has five locations clustered around Florida, and the Orlando branch is one of the liveliest. Its gorgeous interior decor, which features an original ceiling from a 16th-century abbey and dark, wooden elements, is reminiscent of an authentic dining establishment in the heart of Spain – a sensation only heightened by Ceviche’s live music and dance program. The extensive menu reveals numerous Spanish and Latin American-style options. Among these, the eponymous ceviche is one of the favorites; consisting of raw fish cured in a lime juice and spiced with chili peppers, this popular dish is a must-try for a real taste of Peruvian cuisine. Alternatively, drop by for Tapas Tuesday, a cheap and cheerful affair of tapas and heady sangria.
Why go: Inside the cozy, pop-art-inspired quarters, you’ll find themed sandwiches made to order with local ingredients. Create your very own with an array of toppings and spreads to choose from or opt for one of the iconic sandwiches that Pom Pom’s is known for. We’re partial to the spicy Elvis, filled with banana, bacon, strawberry jelly and cayenne peanut butter.
Then I learn about the American Cheese Society’s T.A.S.T.E. Test, which launched in the summer of 2018. Passing this exam will confer the title of Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator (cheese sommeliers don’t call themselves sommeliers). Cheese feels like something I can handle. I’d recently spent time on assignment for The Washington Post in Bra, Italy, reporting from the Slow Food cheese event, tasting from among 300 cheesemakers from 50 countries. The founder of Slow Food declared the event to be “the beating heart of cheese” and those of us attending the “cheese intelligentsia.” Well, as a member of the cheese intelligentsia, surely I can pass the T.A.S.T.E. Test.
You can make this one pot chicken parmesan pasta in any large skillet or pot, but I always make it in my enameled dutch oven. When I’m stirring the pasta as it cooks, I don’t want to be worried about the liquid slopping up and over the sides. I’m a messy cook, but no one likes to clean up burn on sauces from their stovetop! If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a deep sided skillet, or a stock pot… but I highly recommend picking up a dutch oven, they have so many uses!!
Being hailed as Orlando’s best restaurant in Orlando Magazine’s 2014 Dining Awards is only one of the accolades bestowed upon The Ravenous Pig since it opened in 2007. Unconditionally dedicated to high-quality local produce, the restaurant is masterful at taking classics of Florida cuisine and rendering them into spectacular flavor combinations. As the menu changes seasonably, it’s difficult to profile singular dishes, but past delicacies have included the Florida black grouper smothered in a lemon pepper rub and served with lollipop kale, coriander carrots and hen of the woods mushrooms, or the pork porterhouse with a peach barbecue glaze, sweet potatoes, radicchio and granola. The Ravenous Pig manages to combine its sophisticated yet local cuisine with a laid-back gastropub vibe, making it the perfect place for an excellent dining experience.