Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chipotle "So-FREE-tas"

Chipotle Mexican Grill has rolled out a new vegan offering at its Orlando locations: Sofritas. The rollout expands on the success of the test launches in California, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Chicago and select East Coast cities, and the placement as a permanent menu item in Boston and New York earlier this year. “Sofritas” – organic shredded tofu braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblano peppers and a blend of aromatic spices – takes its name from “sofrito,” an aromatic combination of peppers, onions, sautéed garlic and tomatoes often used as a base in many Spanish and Latin American dishes.

“Sofritas is a very different kind of menu item, not just for Chipotle but for any fast food or fast casual restaurant,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and co-CEO. “In creating the recipe for Sofritas, we wanted to produce something that would appeal to vegetarian and vegan customers, but that was delicious enough to have crossover appeal as well.”
Chipotle’s tofu supplier, Hodo Soy, is known as an industry leader for its organic, non-GMO tofu and artisanal methods of production. The San Francisco Bay Area company’s mission is to craft the highest-quality, best-tasting whole bean tofu, and Hodo Soy has become one of the most reputable tofu producers in the country. Its products are currently featured in some of the area’s leading restaurants, as well as farmers’ markets and specialty food stores.

Sofritas is available in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads and can be combined with other signature ingredients, including white or brown cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans or vegetarian black beans, house-made salsas and guacamole, and cheese or sour cream.
Sofritas will become a permanent menu item in all U.S. Chipotle restaurants by the end of the year.
Get "So-FREE-tas"
If you'd like to sample Sofritas for FREE, just use the comment section below to answer this question: In what year, and where, did Chipotle open its first location?
Don't forget to include your name. From all right answers, I'll pick 2 winners at random and announce the winner on the blog. Good luck!

Chuy's to open third Orlando location

Yea! Chuy's has broken ground on their third Orlando restaurant. Famous for its signature dishes including Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom Enchiladas, As Big As Yo' Face Burrito, Creamy Jalapeno sauce - Chuy's has become a favorite to both residents and visitors of Central Florida. The new restaurant will be located minutes from Orlando International Airport and is scheduled to open in Feb. 2015.

Here's hoping they open one in Orlando proper soon for us locals.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New restaurant concept announced for Disney Springs: The Boathouse

Disney Springs News: From the creator of Rainforest Cafe and T-REX Cafe and Yak & Yeti, comes The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats - located at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Opening Spring 2015 as one of the new venues in The Landing at Disney Springs – a re-imagined and exciting district of entertainment, dining and shopping – The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s.

The incredible culinary experience of The BOATHOUSE will be showcased in an expansive restaurant with three distinctive bars including The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar and The Dock Bar, which is built over the water. Other spectacular nautically-themed rooms include The Runabout, Twin Transoms, and The Lake House. There will also be two private dining rooms for special events, conventions and presentations: The Regatta and The Trophy Room. The BOATHOUSE restaurant will be managed by internationally renowned and award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group, celebrated for exceptional food and extraordinary service (recently named Best Steak House in Chicago). Guests will enjoy a gourmet menu served daily until 2 a.m. featuring steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar.

The BOATHOUSE restaurant will immerse guests both on land and on water with live music and romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. There also will be the exhilaration of guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, entering the water with a splash, taking guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.

The Harbor Master will orchestrate daily flag ceremonies, accompanied by a lively musical performance of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard a classic 1800’s antique steam boat.
Authentic nautical items, custom engraved paddles, distinctive lake-themed merchandise, and other unique items “Made on Earth™” will be available at The Ship’s Store, adjacent to The BOATHOUSE restaurant.

“Combining dining with interactive entertainment, The BOATHOUSE helps bring to life our vision of Disney Springs as a welcoming place for guests of all ages to enjoy with their friends and family amid the charm of a waterfront town center,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are very excited that The BOATHOUSE is joining the Walt Disney World family at Disney Springs,” said creator Steven Schussler. “We are proud to bring the culinary expertise and impeccable service of Gibsons Restaurant Group to The BOATHOUSE. The outstanding cuisine, the excitement of Amphicars, the Italian Water Taxi, and live music will make The BOATHOUSE a must-see destination for Walt Disney World guests from all around the world. Walt Disney Imagineering has created a wonderful, interactive, culinary and entertainment experience at Disney Springs. We are proud to be part of this magical experience.”

For dining reservations and more information about The BOATHOUSE, guests will be able to visit in the future.

Representing the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, Disney Springs will be a one-of-a-kind Disney experience, treating guests by day and night to great dining, shopping and entertainment amid beautiful open-air promenades, flowing springs and waterfront charm. With an air of sophisticated grace and design that harkens to Florida’s waterfront towns at the turn-of-the-century, Disney Springs will be home to four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods opening in phases: The Landing, Town Center, Marketplace and West Side. The Landing, as the first of the four neighborhoods and home to unique and memorable dining experiences including The BOATHOUSE, is scheduled to open in spring 2015.When fully completed in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment venues – from the current 70 to approximately 150.
Disney Springs is part of Walt Disney World Resort, the number one family vacation destination in the world, located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oktoberfest? Rumtoberfest! at Bahama Breeze Island Grille now through Nov. 2nd

Bahama Breeze Island Grille, the restaurant that gives guests the feeling of an island escape, is celebrating rum through November 2 with Rumtoberfest®. The six-week long event includes a host of new food and drink offerings, instant win prizes and special Thursday night events in each restaurant.

The rum revelry will peak each Thursday in October, as each Bahama Breeze restaurant celebrates RumThursty. Beginning at 8 PM each week, the late night parties will feature live music, contests and, of course, rum. 

I attended the very first RumThursty at the Altamonte Springs location and had a great time. The new rum mojitos are fantastic. I recommend the pineapple, but everyone I tried was good. Love those cane sugar stalks in each drink!

During each RumThursty night, guests can enter to win a trip to the islands in Bahama Breeze’s Instagram Sweeps. One winner will be selected each week to receive a getaway for two to the Super-Inclusive® Breezes Resort & Spa in the Bahamas. To enter guests must post a photo on Instagram from the restaurant using #RumSweeps. Offering more chances to win, each Bahama Breeze will also host in-restaurant giveaways for gift cards, t-shirts and more each RumThursty party.

“Rumtoberfest is Bahama Breeze’s take on Oktoberfest, full of great food and drinks and good times with friends and family,” said Michael Kneidinger, president of Bahama Breeze. “Guest feedback from Rumtoberfest was incredible last year, so we knew that we had to bring the celebration back bigger and better this year.”

To celebrate one of the world’s favorite rum cocktails, Bahama Breeze has introduced five new fresh fruit mojitos. Each hand-crafted drink features fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, crushed mint and fresh fruit. Variations range from sweet to spicy, including a Strawberry Mojito crafted from Bacardi DragonFruit rum and fresh strawberries and the Mango Jalapeño Mojito made with Cruzan Mango rum, mango puree and fresh jalapeño peppers.

Bahama Breeze is also offering a premium rum flight to showcase the spicy aromas and complex flavors of rum. The Island Rum Tour features Seven Fathoms, Pyrat XO Reserve and Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year rums. The flight is presented in tasting glasses on a custom board accompanied by tasting notes for each selection.

The chefs at Bahama Breeze have created two new rum-infused dishes for the occasion. Inspired by the classic cocktail, Rum and Coke Wings feature Bahama Breeze’s signature chicken wings smothered in a house-made sauce with Myers’ Original Dark Rum. For a sweet finish to any meal, the classic Rum Cake is made with Bacardi Oakheart Rum and topped with raisin butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream.

For additional details on Rumtoberfest and your chance to win a trip to the islands, please visit

Note: I dined compliments of Bahama Breeze.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Dining Touchdown: David's Club at Omni Orlando ChampionsGate Resort Review

Surrounded by 36 lush holes of golf, and behind those enormous gates off I-4 in Davenport, sits the Omni Orlando Resort. I've driven by hundreds of times on the way to Tampa but I've never had the chance to enter the gates of the exclusive golf resort. Until now.

I was recently invited to sample the "ingredient of the month" at David's Club inside the Omni Resort and I dined on a college football packed Saturday night. There might not be a better place in the Orlando area to grab a great meal, relax with drinks and friends, play some pool, and, of course, sit back in comfy leather chairs and enjoy the game on the giant televisions around the restaurant and lounge area.

The featured ingredient for September was snapper, and Executive Chef Robert Ash informed me that he sources his snapper from waters surrounding Florida and pays particular attention to sourcing other menu ingredients locally as well. It's obvious to Chef Ash that freshness matters, and it was obvious from the first bite to the last that the menu revolves around freshness and seasonal ingredients.

I started my snapper tour with a Snapper Ceviche ($11). The snapper was firm, flaky and tender like only a lime marinate can "cook" fish. The fish was tossed with jalapeno, tomato, cilantro and lime caviar. The juicy vessels added a punch to the dish that I really liked.

Next on the featured menu I sampled the Smoked Snapper ($13) in a lime crema with capers, chives, red peppers, fresh cilantro and crispy brioche toast for dipping. Another great snapper dish and perfect dip for football.

Traditionalists, this is your dish. You don't see this kind of cooking everywhere these days but I really appreciated the thought and care that went into the Snapper en Papillote ($25) featuring Lane Snapper, carrots, potatoes, chayote and lavender cooked in a white wine butter sauce inside a parchment bag. A delicate piece of fish deserves the elegant flavors and an intricate preparation of this dish. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

My favorite snapper dish of the night had to be the Blackened Snapper ($27). To be honest, I love anything blackened, but especially a nice piece of fish. This Lane Snapper was a nice piece of fish and atop a black bean spread, topped with a peach salsa and served with delicious corn arepas, this was the snappiest snapper of the evening.

Dessert was snapper free but amazing in its own right. The Peaches N Crème ($8) was a delight. What a way to end the evening: grilled peaches served in a single-barrel bourbon anglaise and topped with spiced pecans. Lightly sweet from the carmelization on the grill, the peach taste and aroma was amped from the heat and cooled by the rich sauce. I loved it.

After dinner, my guest and I enjoyed a game of pool and sat a while in nice, comfy leather seats to watch some college football. The atmosphere was tasteful and clubby, but the patrons were casually dressed, if not a little rowdy from the college rivalries on screen. Service was attentive and professional. I liked the entire experience: great food, nice atmosphere (but not pretentious), fun crowd, reasonable prices and excellent service.

The featured flavor for October is Mango. Check in every month to see what exciting flavor Chef Ash has cooked up.

If you're willing to make the drive out, or are staying in the Disney area, I recommend David's Club at the Omni Orlando ChampionsGate for college football night, or any night.

4 ½ Touchdowns out of 5

David's Club
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
1500 Masters Blvd.
Championsgate, FL 33896

Note: I dined compliments of David's Club.

David's Club on Urbanspoon


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