I am not ready to admit how effortlessly I attained this certification until, one evening, I find myself at Anxo Cidery, the epicenter of Washington’s cider scene, in Northwest D.C. Anxo required all of its front-of-house staff to become CCPs, and I am chatting with two bartenders about how I’ve passed the exam. They both also recently passed. “That exam was so easy,” one bartender tells me. “I took it when I was drunk.”
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.
Why go: Domu serves authentic Japanese style ramen right alongside their very own spins on the classics. Attached to the East End Market—Orlando’s European-style artisan hall of makers—the restaurant feels super hip. In terms of specific orders, we suggest always asking for the kimchi butter chicken wings, an appetizer so good, it will make your head spin.
The city’s finest pizza got a little better thanks to a couple of deft moves by chef/owner Bruno Zacchini. First, he opened an outpost of Pizza Bruno – his ridiculously popular Curry Ford West pizzeria – in a corner space inside Orange County Brewers downtown. Craft Brews + Beer = (duh) Win. Then he moved to a naturally leavened dough which, after a 48-hour ferment, yields a superb crust for pizzas like the “Crimson Ghost” draped with Calabrian chilies, soppressata, mozzarella, basil and hot honey and the “Midtown Square” with shaved local squash, mint, garlic, and pecorino. And, yes, those addictive garlic knots can be had here as well.
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.
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.
Certain events such as wine tastings cater to people who consider themselves gourmets and foodies. Television programs (such as those on the Food Network) and publications such as Gourmet magazine often serve gourmets with food columns and features. Gourmet tourism is a niche industry catering to people who travel to food or wine tastings, restaurants, or food and wine production regions for leisure.
The Ravenous Pig was pretty much the first to bring the term "gastropub" into the Orlando foodie lexicon. Since it opened its doors, the city's dining scene has swelled to epic buzzworthy proportions (and the restaurant has swelled past its original location and moved into bigger digs on Fairbanks). Local is king here; a rotating food and craft cocktail menu features ingredients grown, raised and made by Florida purveyors. A few dishes are mainstays, but the rest change up with regularity, leaving diners to wonder what delights they may find when they venture in. Oxtail stroganoff over tagliatelle? Pot-au-feu? Could be. If not, another fresh-made creation is sure to please. Come thirsty, as well. Rotating taps feature phenomenal craft beers including those of its own in-house brewing operation, Cask + Larder. 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.