Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or finally cleaning out your garage, it’s good to have a go-to restaurant where you can eat and drink really well and get a little dressed up. For us, that’s Luma on Park. This place serves a mix of Italian food and things you might not expect, like soft shell crab and steak tartare, and between their basement wine cellar and cocktail bar, there are a lot of drink options. This Winter Park staple also has a $35, three-course prix fixe menu that includes things like kampachi crudo and homemade bolognese for when you don’t want to make a ton of decisions.
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.
There aren’t many good food options around Sand Lake Road, the tourist-y strip near Universal Studios. However, Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar is trying to change that. There’s nothing mind blowing going on here, but the tacos, Texas-style queso, and specialties like chile rellenos and mole poblano are all better than anything else in the area. They also have a great late-night menu for when you get hungry again after sampling from their wall of tequila, which includes more than 400 varieties.
It doesn't get much easier than Instant Pot chicken. The Instant Pot brings new meaning to the saying "winner winner chicken dinner" with its ability to cook this protein at a lightning-fast speed. Transform your favorite weeknight chicken recipes into crazy easy meals or try new dishes developed specifically for your Instant Pot. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back because you will be astonished at how quickly you are able to get dinner cooked and served with the help of this pressure cooker.
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.
When you’re on vacation, or even just hosting someone who is, you always end up eating meals between meals, having a few extra drinks, and accepting that it’s okay to have dessert twice in one day. But after a few days of that, you’re going to need a reset. When that happens, go to Dandelion Communitea Café. The entire menu at this restaurant and tea house is vegan, gluten free, and healthier than anything you’ve eaten in the past week. Get a salad or tempeh bowl, and while eating here won’t counteract the donuts and pie you ate yesterday, you should feel a little better afterward.
Mythos Restaurant is an award-winning restaurant built into what appears to be a cave. Located in The Jurassic Park: The Lost Continent® section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the interior evokes the prehistoric setting well, although the menu takes a sharp detour from the caveman theme. Greek and pan-Mediterranean dishes are the specialty here, including risotto, mezze platter, and lamb skewers. What we love about this restaurant is that you can have high-level contemporary cuisine with excellent service and all the trimmings without having to leave all the fun of the fair.
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.
A gourmet kitchen will have professional-grade appliances and fixtures, often conveniently arranged for ease of food preparation. For example, it may have a six-burner gas stovetop and dual ovens plus a warming drawer, with a powerful ventilating hood and a pot-filler faucet over the range. The cabinetry can provide convenient storage for appliances, tools, and pantry items. A gourmet kitchen also has enough counter space for food preparation tasks.
When you’re losing steam after a long day out with your family and need a snack and a drink to hold you over until dinner, head to Cocina 214 in Winter Park for Happy Hour. This Tex-Mex spot serves 12 types of margaritas and lots of things that are perfect for a small pre-meal, like tacos, queso fundido, and fried avocado bites. And if you don’t feel like relocating to another spot after a few drinks, the burritos and tamales should help hold you over until breakfast.
The Adobo Chicken Sandwich unfortunately also missed the mark. Adobo chicken is usually marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and other seasonings. I would characterize this chicken sandwich as a plain old blackened chicken sandwich. The sandwich also had crackling, which is just fried fatty skin, which would have been great. However, the crackling wasn't seasoned and wasn't completely crispy, and so lacking the texture that they were aiming for. The accompanying fresh potato chips though were crispy and nicely salted.
Bring your friend's dreams of living in a villa in the Italian hills one step closer with this gift, which supports olive producers in Italy's Puglia region. The kit comes with a 3 liter tin of fresh, organic, single-harvest olive oil as well as a ceramic carafe and funnel, plus another 3 liter shipment every three months for a year to encourage ample EVOO usage.
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.”
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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.