Another factor would be religious/cultural beliefs and customs, which have a significant impact on the food that was eaten. For instance, Jewish and Islamic cultures have rules for not only what they can eat, but how to prepare the food and what it can be paired with. To eat specific food items they must be Kosher (for Jews) and Halal (for Muslims). The most obvious example is that neither can eat pork because they consider pigs to be unclean. Another example is that many people of India generally do not consume beef because many devout Hindus believe the cow is a sacred animal. Buddhism encourage vegetarianism so that limits what Buddhist can eat. These practices and beliefs encourage what is not eaten and society but also what can be eaten. For instance, the Buddhists have a history of preparing and eating tofu to get protein. There is also the role of the state when it comes to these issues sometimes dictating how meals should be prepared. An example of this would be that of edicts of Ashoka who declared that many animals shall be given decent treatment and limited the numbers that could be consumed. Although, it should be noted Ashoka was a very devout Buddhist and that affected his policies.
Kadence is located inside a nondescript black building that looks more like a pop-up modern art museum than an actual restaurant. Inside, however, you’ll find some of the best sushi in the city, rather than installations that’ll make you wonder what is and isn’t “art.” Reservations at this nine-seat sushi counter in Audubon Park are hard to come by, but if you can’t wait three months to eat here, they also serve Japanese breakfast on the weekends and chirashi bowls filled with sashimi, vegetables, and sushi rice to go. Make this your first stop the next time you’re in Orlando.
BBQ lovers should look no further than 4Rivers Steakhouse, located a short drive north from Downtown at Winter Park. There’s nothing flashy about the non-descript restaurant façade, nor the canteen-like seating arrangements inside (you have the choice between high stools lined up in a row or college-style benches if you don’t want to sit next to strangers), but what 4Rivers lacks in style it more than makes up for in flavor. Items ‘from the smoker’ include wings, racks of beef and pork ribs, whole smoked chickens, while the signature Angus brisket and range of pulled pork sandwiches also prove hugely popular. Watch out for the lengthy queues that can stretch outside into the parking lot on weekends.
One of Orlando’s upscale steak venues, Christner’s breathes sophistication and old-fashioned charm with its dark wood decor and traditional yet intimate atmosphere. Specializing in prime meats and lobster, the menu offers an array of meats: the USDA prime rib-eye is a real treat for carnivores, while the sesame-seared tuna caressed with a soy ginger glaze and wasabi cream adds a touch of excitement to the otherwise simple menu. To ensure the highest quality possible, the steaks are all prime-aged and corn-fed, and the signature lobster tails are imported fresh from Australia and New Zealand. An affordable option for high-end dining, Christner’s is a popular spot among locals.
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.
Per the name, The Guesthouse looks and feels like the pool house of someone’s friend who lives in a much cooler neighborhood than you, and will make you wonder, “How can I make my apartment look more like this?” It’s all of this, plus the excellent cocktails, that makes this spot in Mills 50 one of the most popular new bars in the city. You can stop by during their daily Happy Hour from 4-8pm, which includes everything on the menu for half off, and if you want to make a night out of coming here, a few food trucks park outside of The Guesthouse most nights of the week, too.
Despite my lack of the requisite hours, Bauer agrees to let me sit for the three-hour exam, held in a hotel ballroom in Pittsburgh during the society’s annual conference. I arrive along with 50 other candidates and am shown to my table, which has a clipboard of evaluation sheets for a dozen categories of cheese — from soft-ripened to cheddars to blue mold to goat cheese to washed rind — as well as cups of aroma samples, unidentified liquids marked A to J that I will have to sniff and identify blind. The proctor tells us there are to be no photos, and no posting or sharing on social media. “Though there’s not much in your phone that can help you now,” he says. Along the back wall of the ballroom are a team of cheesemongers cutting samples, where we will go to get our cheeses to evaluate.
We're in the thick of winter, and soups aren't going anywhere. There's only one thing that goes better with soup than crusty bread, and that's the Instant Pot, which shaves off hours of prep time without sacrificing any of the flavor. No matter your base ingredient—beef, squash, beans, pork, you name it—your favorite reliable appliance will turn out fantastic soups and stews every. single. time.
What is considered gourmet is different depending on the time and geographic region. What is gourmet historically depended upon what ingredients the people of that region had access to and how easily they acquire them. For instance, seafood could be considered a luxury in an area that lacks fish, whereas it would not be seen as such in an area near the ocean or a great river. Gourmet tended, and still does in many parts of the world, to be revered by a person with access to wealth because gourmet food has always been expensive. The expense was the result of a scarcity of ingredients for a particular food in the region at the time. This fact meant they needed to be brought in from far away, which brought a variety of risks to the merchants. Merchants would have to deal with weather conditions, thieves, and broken equipment, intermediaries, and other such factors that could delay or interrupt the shipment of the good at the cost of their lives and fortune. Thus they asked for higher prices. For millenniums, about 10% of the population could eat food that may have been considered gourmet in their time. Potentially 80% of the global population worked in food production and would have eaten more typical meals to survive. The typical meal would be what they could most easily get their hands on. In Britain, for instance, that was gruels, vegetables, small amounts of wild game, and grains.
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.
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 should immediately be noted, the average main course price is not $59; that's the cost of your entire, impeccable three-course meal. This intimate room inside the Winter Garden's historic Edgewater Hotel is a sorta-kinda best-kept-secret in Orlando. It has made everyone's list, from local publications to Zagat's Top Restaurants in America, but its size and location (out in Winter Garden; about 15 miles west of downtown Orlando) has allowed it to keep some of its clandestine buzz, despite being open several years. Menus shift with fresh ingredients but never disappoint. Chef's Table is a special-occasion delight. Turn your cell phone off; leave the kids at home. Enjoy.
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.
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.
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.
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.