This fun, American restaurant is owned and operated by two graduates of The Culinary Institute of America. The Stubborn Mule offers unique dining that’s perfect dinners. Also, their cocktail menu is something you should definitely consider. They offer delicious cocktails, craft beers, wines, and more to pair with you meal. This is also one of the best places to brunch.
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Lalousis had been managing Maille’s retail boutique in London when he was tapped for his expertise. “My boss told me, ‘I think you’ve got a calling. You’ve got a love for mustard.’ ” He was sent to the factory in Dijon for six months of training and learned “everything there was to know about mustard.” As far as Lalousis is aware, he’s the only mustard sommelier in the world. That’s not to say, however, that he is the first mustard sommelier in history. “We had a mustard sommelier in 1747 when we opened a store in Paris,” he says. At that time in Paris, Dijon mustard was not well known. “Our founder wanted people to know how to use Dijon mustard. He wanted to show people that it was an ingredient and not just a condiment.” And if Lalousis has his way, he will not be the last. He’s developing an educational program that will certify future mustard sommeliers about types of mustard seed, harvest techniques, chemical compounds in mustard, regional differences, levels and qualities of pungency, various pairings and uses, and what Lalousis calls “the culture of mustard.”
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.
Since I just spent a year writing a book about cider, the first credential I seek out is to become a Certified Cider Professional (or CCP), a brand-new professional title created by the United States Association of Cider Makers. I attended an introductory seminar on the CCP Level 1 exam at CiderCon in Baltimore in the winter of 2018. The following summer, one afternoon on a whim — without any further study — I decide to log in to the cider association website, pay $75 and take the exam. There are 60 questions on apple history, apple classifications and genetics, cidermaking techniques, styles of cider, detecting flaws, and food pairings with cider. I submit my answers, then find out instantaneously that I’ve gotten 89 percent correct — a passing grade. It has taken me 37 minutes 47 seconds to complete the exam, which includes the interruption of a 15-minute work call. I am now proudly a Level 1 Certified Cider Professional — a cider sommelier. I receive a felt CCP patch in the mail — one that I might have proudly ironed onto my acid-washed jean jacket back in the ’80s. Within months, I am teaching cider classes to candidates who also hope to pass the CCP Level 1 test.
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.
Caviar is salt-cured fish eggs from sturgeon traditionally from the Black and Caspian Seas, though due to regulations most Caviar today is farmed. Caviar is strictly from surgeon, whereas other fish eggs may be considered roe. Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga are the three main varieties of Caviar, and are considered a delicacy throughout the world and due to their rarity, and for their rich creamy flavor and delicate texture. Beluga Caviar may sell up the several thousand of dollar per pound, depending on flavor, size and consistency. Today, some varieties of farm-raised American caviar are considered very high in quality, comparable to Caspian caviar.
The buzz around this lively two-story wine bar in Disney Springs (apart from it being the only one run by an actual master sommelier – George Miliotes) is the 130 wines available by the glass and (gasp!) by the ounce. Patrons should pay particular attention to “George’s Finds” – a themed and changing selection of wines (currently Spanish vintages) – as well as “Outstanding by the Ounce” which lists a one-ounce sip of a 1996 Chateau Margaux for a paltry $100. The menu, by the way, is anything but an afterthought – porchetta-spiced pork cheeks, grilled whole Greek sea bass and a “Chocolate Experience” are proof positive. And, yeah, it is worth braving the tourist hordes for.
I realize just how widely “sommelier” has been thrown around when I visit a hot sauce sommelier at a hot sauce boutique called Heatonist in, perhaps predictably, Brooklyn. I don’t know what a hot sauce sommelier is supposed to look like, but Noah Chaimberg, with fiery red hair and a red beard, seems to fill the bill. I meet him at the tasting bar of Heatonist, where we sample a dozen or so of the more than 100 hot sauces he stocks. Chaimberg says he’s likely tasted 200 hot sauces for every one on his shelves. Apparently lots of people have jumped into the “craft hot sauce movement,” and he receives at least a dozen new products each day. “It’s a lot like craft beer was in the 1980s,” he says. “People start tinkering at home. Then they end up selling at farmers markets, fancy food shows, and hoping to quit their day jobs.”
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.
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.
Thought chuck steak was just a meh budget cut of beef? It’s inexpensive for sure, but it’s a far cry from the stew meat you think it is. In fact, chuck steak—unbeknownst to many—boasts rich, meaty flavor akin to a ribeye, and can be just as tender. This easy recipe uses a technique known as a “reverse sear” to deliver perfectly cooked, tender chuck steak every time. The reverse sear is a great, approachable cooking method for those who want a deliciously salt-crusted, medium-rare steak, but don’t have a ton of experience preparing beef. Rather than searing the steak in a screaming-hot skillet on the stovetop and basting until you think it’s done and ready to rest, this hands-off trick entails cooking the steak in the oven until it reaches your desired degree of doneness (a meat thermometer is really helpful here) and then finishing it off with a quick sear just to get a nice, brown crust on the surface. This gentle cooking method not only removes guesswork for a less-experienced home cook, but also involves less intimidating popping and hissing skillet action. Served with a flavor packed chimichurri, this easy chuck steak is just begging to be layered onto charred corn tortillas for steak tacos.
Considering that the last time I took a hard science class was when I received a C-plus in high school chemistry, believe me when I tell you I had trouble keeping up. Luckily, the exam we will take in a few weeks — to receive our course certificates — will be open-notebook, and we are provided a glossary and all the pages of Jacobsen’s PowerPoint presentation.
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.
Alright, the title's a little misleading. Technically only the No. 1 pick – Walt Disney World's famed Five-Diamond venue Victoria & Albert's – actually requires male guests to wear jackets. Some diners balk at restaurant dress codes, but when it comes to fine dining, wearing a special-occasion dress or cufflinks seems to level everything up, making an opulent evening out that much more sumptuous. Not that you'd call the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa's signature venue anything but. With up to 14 prix fixe courses available, dining at Victoria & Albert's is nothing less than a culinary experience, which is why reservations are best made well in advance. But lest you think the Disney realm is the only place in Orlando where dining is magical, be sure to investigate this roster’s other gems. Those looking for a classic steakhouse experience will find no fault at Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster where thick cuts are seared to perfection and the side dishes are as decadent as anything off the dessert menu. Celebrity chef Norman Van Aken's namesake at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes will delight those who enjoy Floribbean fare and if you're looking for something with more of a locals-only feel, check out his newer venture in Mount Dora: 1921. Its charming, walkable location boasts many options for pre-meal cocktails and window shopping to work up your appetite.
Humbled by my failure of the American Cheese Society’s T.A.S.T.E. exam three months earlier, I decide to set my sights lower and start my cheese education at the beginning. I pay $850 to attend a three-day, in-depth Cheese Boot Camp at Murray’s Cheese in New York’s Greenwich Village. The course begins on a Friday evening, with unlimited wine being poured. About two dozen students from all across the country crowd into an upstairs classroom. A number of people work in the cheese business, in sales or production, and some are opening their own cheese shops. There is one Master of Wine, a few chefs and one couple who tell all of us that they just love cheese so much that they’re spending their wedding anniversary at Cheese Boot Camp.
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.
Why go: Although Orlando is not brimming with the largest cluster of Greek eateries, there is some pretty flaming saganaki to be eaten in Central Florida—courtesy of The Greek Corner. The authentic experience involves overflowing flower pots, white-washed walls and a breezy patio overlooking the water. Make sure to order some grape leaves with a frappe—not on the menu, sure, but still available to those in the know.
A gourmet store will often stock ingredients of the highest quality from around the world. They often develop special contacts in order to import and sell foods that are not readily available in their area otherwise. You may be able to work with the store to acquire ingredients by request. In addition, such stores often stock equipment needed to prepare gourmet dishes.
Serving ‘food for the starving artist’, Café Tu Tu Tango is an artsy, colorful little venue with a huge spirit of fun and community. Local artists display their work on the restaurant’s walls and strike up conversation with guests, while local ingredients are turned into delicious, tapas-style concoctions perfect for sharing. Try the Argentinean-style orange chimmichurri steak, the adventurous guava-glazed barbecue pork ribs or the chorizo al fuego – a delicious mix of spicy Spanish chorizo served with brandy-glazed fingerling potatoes. The atmosphere at Café Tu Tu Tango is vibrant and bohemian, so prepare to dive into a world where creativity meets community.