Located just a block from Lake Eola in Thornton Park, Soco is one of the best places in Orlando to spend an afternoon eating and drinking outside. This place serves high-end comfort food, like grilled meatloaf with lobster mash potatoes, Southern fried quail and waffles, and a weekly TV dinner special that yes, gets served on an actual tray covered in foil. Drinks-wise, they have a huge wine list, along with plenty of cocktail and beer options. When you want to pretend like you don’t have responsibilities, come to Soco for a long weekend brunch or to spend the entire day on a patio.
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.
In 2000, Marchese left a career as an illustrator and product designer in New York, moved to Connecticut and took up beekeeping. “This whole world opened up to me,” she says. “I started to see honey as a parallel to wine.” She worked for a time at a wine distributor and began going to honey festivals, particularly in Italy, where honey is a much bigger deal. She also began taking honey courses and eventually moved to the Italian beekeeping institute in Bologna for advanced certification. Four years ago, she became a member of the Italian National Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey — the first American to be accepted.
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Calling Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa a barbecue place is kind of like calling The Lion King a movie about cats. It’s not wrong, but it doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Located in Mills 50, Pig Floyd’s smokes brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, but their barbecue is served in everything from tacos to bento boxes to banh mi sandwiches. You can stay traditional and get a meat plate with a few sides, or go for something that you won’t find anywhere else in town, like butter chicken tacos or a Mongolian brisket bento box.
If there’s one place you should make a point to have brunch at in Orlando, it’s Se7en Bites Bake Shop in the Milk District. Sure, there will be a line out the door whenever you go, but it moves quickly and will give you plenty of time to decide between things like the Se7en Benedict, which is topped with fried green tomatoes and peppercorn hollandaise, and the bacon cornbread waffles. They also have a full lunch menu, plenty of cakes and pastries, and beer and wine, which means you can basically spend an entire afternoon here if you want.
Orlando’s finest steakhouse just happens to be located within one of the city’s grandest hotels, the Waldorf Astoria. Overlooking the hotel’s namesake golf club - right on the border of the sprawling Walt Disney World – views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows are superb, as is the meticulous service and refined décor that keeps things smart and sophisticated without ever feeling too stuffy. Being a steakhouse, the pièce de résistance here has got to be the 32-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk Rib Eye, big enough for two people to share (and at $145 you would hope so). The menu here goes way beyond the bovine offerings too, with Bull and Bear’s signature ‘Fried Chicken’ ($42), the Pan Roasted Colorado Lamb ($48) and the ultra-extravagant Main Lobster, which comes served on a spit for two people ($68 per head). Read More...