Thursday, January 21, 2016

Downtown Food and Wine Fest returns to Lake Eola February 27-28

The Eighth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Educational Foundation.

Featured entertainers include Michael Franti and American Authors with additional live music artists to be announced soon.

Date / Time: Saturday, February 27 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 28, 2016 (noon to 7 p.m.)

Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street


One-Day General Admission
Admission is $15 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $20 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission
For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $25 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club
A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $15 per person at the Fest. Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience
A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $100 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.
“With more than 1,000 events a year, Downtown Orlando offers residents and visitors alike with unique experiences and affordable entertainment options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Reoccurring community events like the Downtown Food & Wine Fest help to highlight our growing dining scene and bring awareness to our local businesses, strengthening economic growth to the area.”

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the FRLA and Orlando restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”
Thirty top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings including the return of the 2015 Foodie Award winners as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2015 Foodie Award: Marlow’s Tavern Shrimp & Grits
2015 Sweet Treat Award: Primo at JW Marriott Orlando Cannoli Gelato Cone
2015 Best of Show: Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott (winner 2013-2015)

Stay Connected: For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:
Like Downtown Food & Wine Fest on Facebook
Follow @DTFoodWineFest
Use #DTFoodWineFest on Twitter and Instagram
Call the events hotline at 407-919-1048

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Making your Orlando Valentine's Day 2016 plans yet? Put Emeril's Tchoup Chop on your short list.

I know it's still January, but it's smart to start making your Orlando Valentine's Day plans now. If you're looking for one to remember, check out Emeril's Tchoup Chop at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando -- they've got a great $49 dinner for your romantic evening.

Here's what's on tap for Valentine's Day 2016:

Hot & Sour Duck Soup
Bamboo Shoots, Mushrooms, Chilis
Steamed Buns
Lobster, Sriracha Mayo, Guacamole

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Szechuan Mapo Tofu, Garlic Chive Carolina Grits
Seafood Fettuccini
Local Clams, Oysters, Rock Shrimp, Scallops, Miso Alfredo

Chocolate Raspberry Torte
Strawberry Tiramisu Napoleon

$49 plus tax and gratuity. Call 407-503-2467 to make your reservation today!

I'm up. I'm up. Provisions & Buzz Co. announce new Sunday Brunch

Let's get this out of the way: I don't get up early on Sundays. I haven't had Sunday breakfast in ten years. Brunch, however, I can do. Sunday, 11 am to 2 pm I can do. Brunch at Provisions and Buzz Co. I can do.

The popular Baldwin Park restaurant recently announced expanded hours and a new brunch menu.   The new brunch menu features original creations from Executive Chef Josh Spisak, who specializes in American fare with a twist. Items range from traditional breakfast dishes, such as the California Omelet (avocado, tomato and honey goat cheese) to flavorful alternatives, like the Smoked Salmon Mousse, served with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, capers and bagel chips.

The menu also offers guests unique substitutions for otherwise standard dishes, such as the traditional Eggs Benedict topped with Hollandaise and a choice of Canadian bacon, house-made Cajun sausage or jumbo lump crab meat.

Brunch patrons will also enjoy $3 mimosas and Provisions and Buzz Co.’s specialty Bloody Mary, complete with choice garnishes like bacon, blue cheese stuffed olives, pepperoncini and more.

“If you take a stroll through Baldwin Park on a Sunday, you’ll find that many neighborhood restaurants are open for brunch,” said Lisa Lacey, owner of Provisions & Buzz Co. “Launching a brunch menu not only allows us take part in this weekly neighborhood tradition, but it also provides Chef Josh with an opportunity to create new and truly inspired dishes for our guests.”

Each of the menu items available on Provisions and Buzz Co.’s brunch menu reflects the restaurant’s commitment to fresh, non-artificial ingredients, which is evident in Chef Josh’s technique of replacing high quantities of sugar with the restaurant’s signature ingredient, honey.

The launch of the brunch menu comes just months after the restaurant officially opened as Provisions and Buzz Co. on November 6. The rebrand, which included a redesign of the restaurant’s interior and a refresh of the dinner and cocktail menus, was carried out in honor of the late Executive Chef, Chris Lacey. 

Provisions and Buzz Co.
4868 New Broad Street
Orlando, FL, 32814
(407) 896-2688

Monday:  5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Tuesday: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Wednesday: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Thursday: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Friday: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Saturday: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sunday: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sunday Brunch: 11:00am - 2:00pm

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Whole Foods Market Altamonte Springs opens January 20th, but here's a preview for your eyes only

Come Wednesday, there will be three Whole Foods Market stores in the Orlando area. The newest store in Altamonte Springs gave the media and myself a preview on Monday night, and let me tell you, this is some store. This ain't Aldi. Here's a photo tour for your comestible delight...

The 40,000-square-foot store, located in the Renaissance Centre at 305 East Altamonte Drive, joins its Central Florida sister locations in Winter Park and Phillips Crossing. Florida’s 25th store will honor and cater to Altamonte Springs’ diverse cultures with unique innovations such as:

· An enhanced tropical and international produce program, chock-full of exotic fruits and vegetables found in Latin, Asian and Indian cuisine. Produce will feature an ever-changing rotation, including Thai chilies, Chinese eggplant, sea cucumbers, star fruit, gooseberries, longan fruit, dragon fruit, papaya and passionfruit to name a few.

· Paleo-friendly cuisine in the chef’s case, such as BBQ Peach Turkey Meatballs, Cauliflower Fried Rice and Garlicky Squash Noodles.

· Gourmet, made-to-order toast ($5) to include Smoked Salmon & Dill; the Strammer Max with Creminelli ham, sunny-side egg and stone ground mustard; and an Avocado Cucumber Pepita toast spread with spinach artichoke hummus.

· The store will also carry O’Dang Hummus and Hummus Sauces, created by Jesse Wolfe, Founder of O’Dang Hummus featured on Shark Tank and a recipient of the University of Central Florida Entrepreneurship Program.

· A Whole Foods Market exclusive line of Peace Love World apparel in Whole Body ($30-$50), including sustainable and organic “Good Food, Good Mood” hoodies and shirts. Peace Love World was selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for two years in a row.

· Four Perfect Power Bite Snack Packs ($5.99) varieties with salamis, nuts, cheeses and olives – providing a great source of daily protein and energy.

· Baked goods made daily, including Naan breads with worldly flavors of curry, cilantro and garlic; and Ras el hanout.

· Altamonte Springs will be Whole Foods Market’s first Florida store to display Recycle Across America signage, the nation’s not-for-profit organization dedicated to simplifying the act of recycling for the general public to help them recycle more and help them recycle right. Whole Foods Market in Florida aims to place Recycle Across America signage in every location by Earth Day 2016.

Altamonte Springs customers can also expect a full-service juice & coffee bar, a hand-tossed pizza station, grab-and-go chef-prepared cuisine and an indoor and outdoor café.

The store will kick-off their grand opening celebration with a Bread Breaking Ceremony scheduled at 8:45 AM. The first 500 customers in line on opening day will receive mystery gift cards, valued at $5, $10, $20 or $50, with one card valued at $500. Altamonte Springs will also celebrate by hosting five 1% days where local organizations will receive a portion of the day’s profits. Beneficiaries include: Seminole Cultural Arts Council, Save the Manatee Club, Kids House of Seminole, The Fresh Stop Bus and The Sharing Center.

Whole Foods Market – Altamonte Springs
305 East Altamonte Drive
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 

Whole Foods Market Altamonte Springs will be open 8 AM to 10 PM daily

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shake Shack introduces a chicken sandwich

Bird’s the word. The Chick’n Shack ($6.29), Shake Shack’s debut chicken sandwich launched last week. The Chick’n Shack is a crispy 100% all-natural and antibiotic-free chicken breast with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo. This new menu item made its first appearance at the Brooklyn Shacks last summer.

The inspiration behind the Chick’n Shack lies in Shake Shack’s heritage as a modern “roadside” burger stand. “The introduction of chicken marks a new era for Shake Shack, staying true to our core menu while continuing to innovate new items our guests have asked for,” said Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti. The Chick’n Shack also furthers Shake Shack’s commitment to serve fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value through the mission to Stand For Something Good.

“The Chick’n Shack embodies our modern approach to fine casual American cooking,” said Shake Shack Culinary Director Mark Rosati. “It’s about providing a simple, pleasurable, uncomplicated experience, but with high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients. It wasn’t until we found the chicken sandwich to be as flavorful as our ShackBurger® that we knew we’d crafted something special that had earned its place on the menu. Since we introduced the Chick’n Shack in Brooklyn, guests have been asking us to bring it to all Shacks, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally do so.”

The Chick’n Shack, Shake Shack’s modern twist on a classic, is crafted from a cage-free chicken breast—no hormones or antibiotics ever—slow-cooked in a creamy buttermilk marinade, hand-dipped into Shack-made batter, dredged through seasoned flour and crisp-fried. The Chick’n Shack is topped with pickles, crisp shredded lettuce and a tangy Shack-made buttermilk herb mayo made with chives, parsley and thyme. The Chick’n Shack is served on (what else?) a pillowy potato roll, the same non-GMO bun that has cradled the classic ShackBurger since Shake Shack’s inception. Want some heat with your crispy chicken? Louisiana hot sauce will also be newly available at the Shack for heat seekers to up the spice factor on their Chick’n Shack.