Once you hit day three of a convention or a conference, you’re going to want to eat something that doesn’t weigh you down as you sit through four more hours of back to back powerpoint presentations. During your next break, head to Da Kine Poke. This former food truck now has food stalls at both downtown’s Market on Magnolia and at The Local Butcher and Market in Winter Park. There are a few signature bowls on the menu, or you can make your own, with a variety of fresh fish, vegetables, sauces, condiments, and bases to choose from.
Chagrined, I become obsessed with acquiring another certification, in another realm of taste. I pay $120 to Ecole Chocolat, an online chocolate school, to enroll in its Mastering Chocolate Flavor certificate program. I enjoy good chocolate, and I was fascinated by the complexity and craftsmanship of chocolatiers on a trip to Brussels a few years earlier. I understand that chocolate can be “single origin” and demonstrate the concept of “terroir” just like wine and coffee — and honey. So I pay my money, unlock the study material, and am immediately overwhelmed with a dump of information: the origins of chocolate, cacao and cacao trees; how flavor works, both physiologically and in chocolate; the elements of chocolate flavor. We are encouraged to buy a textbook, co-written by Ecole Chocolat’s founder, titled “Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate.” The course is to be self-directed, with weekly tasting assignments — the first being a general exercise on sweet, sour, salty, bitter, fatty and umami, and the others comparing two or more chocolate bars. Students post to a group forum, with feedback from our Flavor Coach. “My primary question is how to classify ‘what is good,’ ” posts one of my classmates. To which our Flavor Coach replies: “Many folk in the industry have their own opinions about what ‘good’ chocolate is. Here’s mine (for the moment): ‘Good’ is a chocolate with no overpowering faults that is pleasant and sparks your interest. That leaves things pretty wide open, doesn’t it?”
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.
I opted to omit the breading here… to save calories, recipe steps, and to keep the ultra creamy consistency. If you really need that breading crunch, you could add some toasted Italian panko breadcrumbs to the top of the dish. Of course, you could always bread some chicken tenders and cook them before laying them on top of the pasta, but that defeats the whole “one pot” idea 😉
To say the transition from food truck to brick-and-mortar operation was a challenging one for Bem Bom chef/owner Francisco “Chico” Mendonça and business partner A.J. Campofiore would be an understatement of epic proportions. Now that it has opened, the Audubon Park charmer is consistently hopping, and the inviting patio fronting Corrine Drive is one of the toughest seats to snag in the neighborhood. They come for Chico’s Portuguese and Mexican dishes, much like the ones he fashioned inside his food truck and, prior to that, at Winter Park’s Cocina 214. Frango de churrasco (or barbecued chicken) done in the piri piri style is a must, but dense and porky grilled chouriço is hard to overlook, as is the center-cut salted cod topped with caramelized onions and peppers drizzled in Portuguese olive oil and served with punched potatoes.
I’m embarrassed to admit it to Marchese, but I’m exactly the type of consumer who keeps a plastic teddy bear in the pantry. As we taste a strange, dark buckwheat honey, with flavors like malty beer and pumpernickel and intensely funky, barnyard aromas — “horse blanket,” she says — the world of honey suddenly seems vast and overwhelming. Yesterday, I didn’t give honey a second thought. Today, I need to know everything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
I love chicken parmesan… SO much. But I definitely don’t love the tedious breading process, so many dishes to wash, and how long it can take to make it! I dreamt up this dish a while ago, then found out The Cookie Rookie had already made a great version… so I headed over to her page and made some tweaks based on what I had on hand. This version is made with everyday ingredients, and is incredibly flavorful!
There is no exam in Ecole Chocolat’s Mastering Chocolate Flavor program, and that disappoints me. Basically, you read whatever of the information you want, you work at your own pace, participate in the forums, and if you complete at least five of the seven exercises, you get a certificate. Where are the bragging rights in that? I found this self-directed approach to be a little too lightweight; it didn’t really motivate or challenge me. So allow me to confess: I am a chocolate-school dropout.
Why go: Hamilton’s Kitchen, named after the late and beloved Hamilton Holt (8th president of Rollins College), is a nod to the philanthropist's love for hosting guests from all over the world. Appropriately located in the Alfond Inn, Hamilton’s Kitchen donates profits to the Hamilton Holt scholarship foundation for students attending Rollins College.
Picking somewhere for a group dinner can sometimes feel like an SAT question. Your cousin is a vegan, grandma just wants somewhere with good wine, and your best friend is taking their new Whole30 diet very seriously. Rather than stress over it, just tell everyone that you’re going to RusTeak in College Park. This restaurant and wine bar is casual enough for a quick lunch or a Happy Hour glass of wine, while still working just fine for a date or birthday dinner. Food-wise, they serve everything from burgers and flatbreads, to General T’s pork belly and plenty of fresh fish. Similarly, they have one of the biggest wine and cocktail menus in the city, so regardless of who is joining you, everyone should be able to find something to eat and drink here.
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.
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“I took that exam while I was on the toilet,” says the other. Both eagerly await the USACM’s next-level exam, a more sophisticated test of their knowledge, to become a “Certified Pommelier” — a higher designation, even though I’ve already been calling myself a “pommelier.” The first sitting of this new exam will happen in February at CiderCon in Chicago. There are also plans for a Level 3 and 4.
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.
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.
Food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Orlando. Maybe it’s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and wondering if they have a wandmaker on-site. Or maybe it’s how Orlando mysteriously ended up with an NBA team. But as the city continues to grow, so does the local food scene, and regardless of how much time you’ve spent here, it can be tough to keep track of where to eat and drink. Luckily, that’s where we come in.
Every gourmet food gift basket is filled with the highest quality, delicious foods you’ve loved year after year. Plus, there’s always new and exciting flavors to try to find the perfect complement to your classic favorites. From summer sausage, to cheese, sweets, and even specialty meats, our unique food gifts will delight everyone on your gift list!
This is a terrific reimagining of the classic dish. I struggled with the pasta cooking and may cook the pasta at least 3/4 of the way through separately, but otherwise it’s a winner. I used two chicken breast halves which I flattened a bit, cooked flat, then cut up and cooked the rest of the way. I love breading on the chicken, but it’s very nice like this without – what a time saver and calorie saver.
Hot sauce connoisseurship has changed over the past decade. “Hot sauce used to be a macho thing,” he says. “Fifteen, 20 years ago, I call that the Insanity Era. There was this arms race.” Now, he sees more people willing to spend more money than they would on a basic bottle of Tabasco. “When people get that education, they feel more confident investing in better hot sauce,” he says. “It’s just like with wine. Someone’s not going to buy a $200 bottle without some education.”
Foie Gras is the specially fatten liver of duck or geese. Prized for its butter and meaty flavor, this French delicacy is may be prepared in whole form, or as a mousse, pate, or terrine and is cooked prior to being served hot or chilled. The meat is finely chopped or minced and mixed with fat and formed into a spread to create a delicate and rich taste experience.
I’ve been confined to my bed for the past few days with the flu. My 14 year old daughter has picked up the dinner duties in my absence. Tonight she made this recipe & it was a hit! She said one of her brothers & my husband got seconds & her other brother who is always the last to finish his food was done first! Thank you for sharing this one pot meal, 5 stars here!
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.
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.
The popular city in Florida isn't just all about famous attractions, but their restaurants serve the top, best meals and cuisines you've ever indulged in. From seafood to steakhouses, burgers, Italian, and Korean, the city is basically United Nations when it comes to their selections. And there's a restaurant for everyone down in Orlando. So, if you plan on vacationing there anytime soon, check out the best restaurants in Orlando. None of them will disappoint you.
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.
The name of this Thornton Park/South Eola restaurant makes vague reference to the unusual collection of dishes it offers, not so much the oddball patronage it sometimes draws. Owners Brian Buttner and Jonathan Canonaco, who operate the well-received Stubborn Mule across the street, took over the old NoLa-inspired Muddy Waters space and transformed it into a trendy, see-and-be-seen sort of joint. Smoked duck wings, caramel-lacquered Asian pork spears and vegan pate don’t exactly scream “eclectic” but, hey, what trendoids want, trendoids get.