Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More restaurant choices by the airport: Chuy's opens third Orlando location

Chuy’s, the Austin-based restaurant famous for its authentic and crave-able Tex-Mex menu, today officially opened its doors of their newest Central Florida location. The restaurant, located at 6688 South Semoran Boulevard near OIA, is Chuy’s third location in Central Florida, joining Chuy’s Kissimmee and Chuy’s I-Shops, located on International Drive.
 
For more than 30 years, Chuy’s has served made from scratch Tex-Mex favorites that include Stuffed Chile Rellenos, Chicka-Chicka-Boom Enchiladas and Chuy’s famous Big As Yo’ Face Burritos. Flour and corn tortillas are hand-rolled all day on the authentic comal located in the dining room allowing customers to experience the freshness first hand. In addition, distinctive décor surrounds diners – an Elvis shrine, hubcaps on the ceiling and soaring eight-foot tall palm trees, among other eclectic treasures – to make Chuy’s the most fun and friendly restaurant in town. The Chuy’s motto is "If you've seen one Chuy's, you've seen one Chuy's!" because each restaurant’s eclectic décor is unique and no two restaurants are the same. 
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to grow our presence in Central Florida with the opening of our third location,” said Jose Ortega, Owner/Operator of the new Chuy's. “This community has really responded to our fresh Tex-Mex and incredible service and we’re looking forward to sharing it with more of the locals and tourists alike.”
 
I stopped by yesterday for a pre-opening event and got my Chuy's on. I'd never tried their famous Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken, so that was a must for me. Chuy's breads a large chicken breast in crushed Lay's Potato Chips, deep fries it and covers it with a green chile sauce and cheddar cheese. Served with rice and refried beans, I've fallen in love with this hunk a hunk burnin' chicken.

Chuy’s Central Florida restaurants are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with a weekday happy hour from 4-7 p.m. complete with drink specials and the famous Fully-Loaded Nacho Car, offering a trunk load of FREE chips, salsa, chile con queso, taco meat and more. For more information about Chuy’s Orlando visit Facebook.com/ChuysOrlando.  

 
Chuy's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Oh yea Orlando! Lobsterfest is back at Red Lobster

Red Lobster’s annual celebration of Lobsterfest, the one time of year guests can choose from the largest variety of lobster dishes on the menu as well as a new limited edition Lobsterfest cocktail.

Lobster lovers can enjoy new guest-favorites like Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Salmon and Lobster Scampi Linguini as well as these exclusive dishes only available during the annual celebration:
  • Lobster Lover’s Dream
  • Dueling Lobster Tails
  • Rock Island Stuffed Tilapia
All of the promotion’s entrées can be enjoyed with a new limited edition Lobsterfest cocktail – Lobster Punch, featuring Malibu Red, pineapple juice and mango passion fruit mix, topped with Myers’s Dark Rum, served in a commemorative Red Lobster mason jar that is available for purchase.
 
I'm there.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Seafood-focused Urban Tide takes over former Napa restaurant space at Hyatt Regency Orlando

Hyatt Regency Orlando welcomes the New Year with new offerings including a new seafood-focused restaurant and a new kosher kitchen offering specialized menus for meetings and conventions.

The former Napa restaurant has transitioned into Urban Tide which offers diners a modern twist on local Florida seafood favorites. Highlights from the new menu include a selection of “Starters” like Ceviche with citrus marinated Florida sea bass and serrano spiked rock shrimp and Grouper Cheeks with shishito peppers, cilantro, and creamed Zellwood Farm corn. Seafood selections include Gulf Grouper, Sea Bass and Whole Red Snapper, which can be prepared blackened, grilled, or sautéed. All seafood dishes are served with a trio of house made sauces. Other “Favorites” include Grilled Domestic Lamb Rack with tomato farro risotto and baby zucchini, and a classic Cioppino.

Further food and beverage developments include a new kosher kitchen which will be completed for events and meetings use by Passover this April. “As Hyatt Hotels’ largest meetings property, we’re constantly evaluating how we can best accommodate our many diverse groups during their stay,” said Nate Hardesty, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Orlando continues to raise its profile as an ideal destination for meetings and leisure travel, and we want to ensure our offerings are evolving in order to provide the best possible guest experience.”

For further information, or to book a stay at Hyatt Regency Orlando, please visit www.orlando.regency.hyatt.com.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Remember, wine is cheaper than therapy: Orlando's Downtown Food and Wine Fest returns to Lake Eola February 21st and 22nd

The Seventh Annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22, 2015 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Date / Time: Saturday, February 21 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 22, 2015 (noon to 7 p.m.)

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

Tickets: Admission is $15 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $20 per person, per day. Admission for children under age 12 is free.

For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $20 per person with advance online purchase.

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

The Fest is presented and produced by CBS RADIO Orlando, led by Orlando favorites MIX 105.1, 1059 SUNNY FM, and 101.9 AMP Radio in partnership with the Central Florida Chapter of the FRLA. 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, domestic and international wines, and live entertainment. A portion of the proceeds benefit the FRLA Educational Foundation.

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.

“The Downtown Food and Wine Fest is one of our Downtown’s signature cultural events, showcasing the best of Orlando’s culinary scene. Events like this continue to expand Downtown’s offerings and bring more and more people to our urban core to celebrate the beauty, diversity, and vibrancy of our community,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Dave Robbins, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our FRLA restaurants, foodies and fans come together to celebrate an event that truly brings our community together to indulge in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Orlando.”

“Now in its seventh year, the Fest is the perfect combination of divine food, unique wines, and entertainment,” said Leigh Doyle, president-elect, Central Florida Chapter of the FRLA. “Orlando has emerged onto the national culinary stage with award-winning restaurants and memorable events to showcase the spirit of the City Beautiful.”

Thirty top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings including the return of the 2014 Foodie Award winners as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters, and celebrity chefs.

2014 Foodie Award (based on one food item for taste, unique flavor and culinary excellence)

Smiling Bison - Pretzel Bread Pudding

2014 Best Overall Menu (based on overall menu creativity, depth of offerings, and quality)

Kasa Tapas & Raw Bar

2014 Best of Show (based on fun factor, overall energy, and crowd vibe)

Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott – winner in 2013 and 2014

For more information on the Downtown Food and Wine Fest:

Visit www.DowntownFoodAndWineFest.com
Like Downtown Food & Wine Fest on Facebook
Follow @DTFoodWineFest on Twitter
Use #DTFoodWineFest
Call the events hotline at 407-919-1048 or eMail DowntownFoodandWineFest@cbsradio.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Orlando Burger Battle wages on: Smashburger steps into the fray

The Orlando Burger Battle has a new contender in Smashburger. I attended a media preview at the Waterford Lakes location recently, and boy, was I well fed.

Smashburger's claim to fame is, as you might guess from the name, the smashed burger. Each hand-rolled patty is smashed and seared on a buttered grill. The result is a crispy, flat patty of 100% certified Angus beef. Each burger is served on an egg bun, multi-grain or spicy chipotle.

I sampled the whole menu, or at least it felt that way. My favorite was the Classic Smash  with American cheese, "Smash" sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on an egg bun. A close second was the BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger with BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and haystack onions on an egg bun.

On another note, their non-meat alterna-burger wasn't bad. One of the best I've had (not that I've had many). The Avocado Ranch Black Bean Burger is served with fresh avocado, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch on a multi-grain bun.

On the side I tried Smashfries, Sweet Potato Fries and the Haystack Onions. I'd choose the Smashfries alone on a return visit. Tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic, the Smashfries were a standout.

There are at least 11 different burgers on the menu or you can create your own. Yes, there's also a chicken sandwich option and several salads. But whatever you do, save room for the hand-spun Haagen-Dazs milkshakes. Hint: Salted Caramel is the way to go.

So, how does Smashburger stack up against the burger competition. I'd say it's a contender, but not the champ. What's your favorite burger in Orlando?

Smashburger has two locations in the Orlando area:

E. Colonial Dr. and Maguire | 407-286-3390
N. Alafaya and Waterford Lakes | 407-203-6081

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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