Who invented "Florida cuisine?" We're not sure if the first person to smoke mullet and smear it on a cracker graduated from culinary school, but we do know that if a name jumps out for having raised the bar (and this is NOT to underplay the importance or deliciousness of basic smoked fish dip on any level), it's surely Norman Van Aken. His skills with the Sunshine State's oceanic bounty are on full display at 1921, where you might find barrelfish or striped bass or some other tender-flaky offering, but those less inclined to opt for the raw bar will find plenty of other options, from a "Koreatown" take on fried chicken and mac to a succulent wagyu ribeye to a juicy burger with house bacon and a zingy horseradish cream.
Why go: Take Cheena is for adventurous eaters. Flavors hail from all over Asia but are served in American style. Ever had a Korean beef empanada or an Indian butter chicken burrito? Definitely try the “JapaDog,” featuring Chinese sweet sausage, avocado-wasabi, fumi, cabbage mix and scallion. Just remember that you won’t find any yellow mustard here.
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.
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.
If your tastes tend more toward savory foods, get cooking with soups and grains from around the world, from nourishing vegetable and noodle soups to pasta, rice and couscous. Bring fabulous flavor to the table with our easy-to-make meals, from cozy breakfasts to internationally inspired dinners. Living gluten-free? Our selection of gluten-free foods, from snacks and sweets to suppers and sauces, gives you all the flavor you want without the gluten you don't.
Why go: Take Cheena is for adventurous eaters. Flavors hail from all over Asia but are served in American style. Ever had a Korean beef empanada or an Indian butter chicken burrito? Definitely try the “JapaDog,” featuring Chinese sweet sausage, avocado-wasabi, fumi, cabbage mix and scallion. Just remember that you won’t find any yellow mustard here.
This intimate dining experience just a few miles away from Downtown Orlando has received heaps of praise over the last few years, recognized by several regional and national awards. This dining establishment welcomes an ever-changing lineup of chefs, and with that comes a regularly altered menu, so you never really know what’s going to be served. However, the three-course set menu usually features three or course choices per course, so even the fussiest of eaters should be able to find something they can enjoy. Prices without wine or service start at $55 for the set menu.
The short drive out of town to this gem of a restaurant is well worth it; in fact, it’s not only a restaurant, but more of a café in the day and bar at night with live music – although the menu of comfort food classics like club sandwiches, pulled pork burgers, tacos and wraps is served throughout the day. The quaint house near Lake Toho promises different areas too, meaning you can slide up to the lively bar for a crafty craft ale, find an intimate corner spot if you’re on a date or find a seat in the charming courtyard to soak up the summery vibes.
Ainu American Chinese Anglo-Indian Arab Assyrian Balochi Balinese Batak Bengali Berber Betawi Buddhist Cajun Cantonese Chechen Chinese Indonesian Chinese Islamic Christian Circassian Crimean Tatar Greek American Hindu Inuit Italian American Jain Javanese Jewish Sephardic Mizrahi American Bukharan Syrian Komi Kurdish Livonian Louisiana Creole Malay Manado Maharashtrian Mordovian Native American Okinawan Ossetian Padang Parsi Pashtun Pennsylvania Dutch Peranakan Punjabi Sami Sikh Sindhi Soul food Sundanese Tatar Udmurt Yamal Yup'ik Zanzibari
For a long time, it didn’t seem to matter, but over the past few years, when I published or taught, people curiously began to assume I had some sort of certification and seemed surprised when I revealed I did not. As I finished my third drinks book, I started to feel a twinge of impostor syndrome. I was a sommelier of nothing. Perhaps I needed a few certifications to keep pace with the crowd.
We will come back to this classroom on Sunday to learn how to properly wrap cheese and how to properly pair cheese with beer and wine. But on Saturday morning the class meets at Murray’s facility in Queens, where we listen to a three-plus-hour lecture from Murray’s assistant cavemaster Krista Jacobsen, who holds a PhD in dairy sciences. As we taste 13 more cheeses, we learn about the chemistry of milk, some basics of animal management, the anatomy of a ruminant’s stomach, peak lactation, the role of microbes, milk fats, pasteurization, acid coagulation vs. enzymatic coagulation, starter cultures, curds and whey, the biochemistry of ripening Camembert. There are more topics, but those are the ones I vaguely understand. “Cheese is the controlled rotting of milk,” Jacobsen says. “We’re still learning what’s going on in there.”
Prato is an upscale enough venue in which to celebrate a landmark anniversary or well-deserved promotion but also casual enough to bring the (well-behaved, please) kids for some wonderfully crispy pizza from the wood-burning oven and sandwiches like the BLT panini or the excellent heirloom eggplant version. Exposed brick, twinkly lights and some patio seating on Park Avenue give the place a cosmopolitan feel. Prato's menu pulls on classic Italian for inspiration but pays due diligence to culinary evolution, allowing for creativity and some turns that might surprise you. Half-portions on most of the pastas allow for a more authentic Italian experience (pastas are often served in small portions before entrees in the Old Country) and offer more opportunities to share and sample.
Prato is an upscale enough venue in which to celebrate a landmark anniversary or well-deserved promotion but also casual enough to bring the (well-behaved, please) kids for some wonderfully crispy pizza from the wood-burning oven and sandwiches like the BLT panini or the excellent heirloom eggplant version. Exposed brick, twinkly lights and some patio seating on Park Avenue give the place a cosmopolitan feel. Prato's menu pulls on classic Italian for inspiration but pays due diligence to culinary evolution, allowing for creativity and some turns that might surprise you. Half-portions on most of the pastas allow for a more authentic Italian experience (pastas are often served in small portions before entrees in the Old Country) and offer more opportunities to share and sample.
If you have a busy schedule and don’t have time to go from store to store searching for gourmet selections, it’s great to know you can always make a gourmet online order to transform your pantry. We offer an array of delicious savory and sweet delights that lend depth and zest to entrées, appetizers, and desserts. A Harry & David sauce, rub, dip, spread, or preserve could soon become the special secret ingredient you add to a beloved recipe, taking it from great to magnificent. Harry & David is proud to be your online gourmet shop, whether you are sending delectable premium gifts to friends or ordering for yourself.

That is certainly true — and that’s why “education” becomes a slippery term in the world of taste. The sommelier’s job is to monetize the educated palate. In wine, that might mean persuading someone to upgrade from a bottle that’s $30 on a list to one that’s $50. The cheese sommelier might try to sell a customer on a more expensive artisan, aged Gouda rather than the basic Gouda in red wax. For the honey sommelier, it may be about persuading someone to upgrade their $4 honey in a 12-ounce plastic bear to a buckwheat honey that’s $12 for four ounces. For the mustard sommelier, it’s about explaining why you’d want to pay for real Dijon mustard and not the cheap imitations you find in the supermarket.


Chef Xiong ‘Tiger’ Tang impressed as the executive chef of Zen at the Omni Orlando Resort, but at his West Colonial Drive (Orlando’s unofficial Chinatown) restaurant, he downright dazzles with wickedly infernal dishes highlighting the cuisine from Sichuan Province, the capital Chengdu in particular. A more gratifying lobster – hacked, reassembled, then adorned with an alluring mix of chilies, peppercorns, garlic and cilantro – won’t be found in this town, while lamb sautéed in hot pepper sauce wrapped in tinfoil, and a Chongqing-style hotpot with head-on shrimp, tripe, beef and fried fish mixed with crunchy lotus root and cauliflower are electrifying choices for the capsicum-deprived.
Antonio’s in Maitland is a split-level cafe/shop and restaurant where you’ll go to just buy some bread and cheese, and end up staying for lunch and a glass of wine. Downstairs is a super casual cafe and market where you can eat pasta, pizza, and rotisserie chicken, while also stocking up on things for your own kitchen. For the more formal experience, head upstairs, where you can still eat all of the Italian classics from the first floor, along with a wide range of steaks and seafood.
These programs prepare you to be a taste authority, a sensory expert, an arbiter and evangelist in the field, but you’re likely not producing anything. Even so, they’re in demand. What is it about this epoch that values such mastery over taste? Were we all truly so clueless and naive about these matters once upon a time? Has life become so fraught and complicated that even decisions over our smallest pleasures now require expert intervention?
×