Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SeaWorld Orlando's Seven Seas Food Festival returns for 2018

After last year’s delicious debut, SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival is returning for a second course this spring. The park will be serving all-new dishes and fan-favorites to accompany world-class entertainment each Saturday and Sunday from February 17 to April 15.

Like all food served at SeaWorld, each item at the Seven Seas Food Festival reflects the park’s commitment to sustainable foods and farming. Beyond delicious flavors, guests will discover dishes that are crafted with organic ingredients, cage-free eggs, regional produce and sustainable seafood.

Two all-new culinary markets join last year’s popular booths, offering more sample-sized dishes from around the world. A selection of menu highlights include:

NEW German Market- Weiner Schnitzel Slider

NEW All-American Market – Nathan’s® Chicago, New York, and Coney Island Hot Dog Sliders

Asian Market- Peking Duck Lo Mein with Fresh Oriental Vegetables

Mexican Market- Braised Chicken Adobo with Mole Sauce, Cheese and Mexican Rice

Caribbean Market- Cinnamon Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Sweet Plantain Mash

Florida Market- NEW Wild Boar Smoked Cheddar Sausage

Mediterranean Market- Sea Scallops Provençal with Wild Mushroom Risotto

North Atlantic Market- New England Lobster Roll

Pacific Coast Market- Braised Pork Cheeks with Savory Apple Polenta

Brazilian Market- Brazilian Churrasco with Chimichurri & Garbanzo Frito

Polynesian Island Market- NEW Pineapple Tofu Poke Bowl

Gulf Coast Market- Southern Creamy Cheese Grits with a Blackened Shrimp

Seasonal flavors will also take the stage during Seven Seas. From February 17 to March 25, specialty barbeque items will be available featuring the park’s famous short rib, brisket, and chicken. New flavors will join the festival beginning March 31.

To accompany all of the savory and sweet samples sprinkled throughout the park, guests can choose from 70 beers and 50 wines to pair with the specialty food items. Five new beverage and brew huts stationed throughout the park will provide ample opportunities for guests to indulge during the festival. A complete menu of the Seven Seas Food Festival dishes and drinks can be found online at SeaWorldOrlando.com/SevenSeas.

Guest can make their tasting adventure a breeze when they purchase a Seven Seas Sampling Lanyard. With 5, 8 or 15 item Sampling Lanyards, they can choose an assortment of flavors from the festival’s extensive food, beer, and wine line-up to fill their day.

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival begins at select markets around the park at 11:00 A. M. with all locations in full operation by 12:00 P. M. every Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 – April 15.

Like all special events at SeaWorld, the Seven Seas Food Festival is included with park admission – including the festival’s concerts and performances at Bayside Stadium. Featured performers will be announced soon.

Best Way to Play:

The best way to experience the Seven Seas Food Festival all season long is with an Annual Pass. For a limited time, guests who purchase a SeaWorld Annual Pass receive Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, for free.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Slapfish is coming to Orlando

Slapfish, a Modern Seafood Franchise serving up bold, crave-worthy dishes in a fast casual setting, announces its expansion into the sunny state of Florida. The first location is slated to open in Orlando in mid-2018, with plans for ten more restaurants throughout the state within the next five years. Specializing in boat-to-plate dining and chef-driven dishes, the brand’s first location in the Southeast region of the U.S. marks a significant milestone for Slapfish.

Florida franchisees including father-and-son duo Brandon and Charles Bengel, and Les Hatter bring decades of experience expanding QSR concepts to new Florida markets including the opening of 20 Five Guys. Orlando’s unique mix of locals and tourists, easy access to shorelines, and drool-worthy bounty of both gulf and Pacific seafood, make for a strong entry into an untapped market. With plans to open up to 40 locations across the state, the restaurateurs look forward to making Slapfish a household name.

“From the moment we experienced Slapfish, we knew right away that this brand is the future of fast casual seafood,” says President, Brandon Bengel. “Slapfish is unlike any other concept in the marketplace and the industry as a whole with its versatile menu and commitment to serving well-managed seafood at affordable prices. In addition to filling a niche in the Orlando dining scene, we are confident that locals will fall in love with the brand, just like we did.”

Slapfish is celebrated for its original dishes like the Clobster Grilled Cheese, Chowder Fries, Power Burrito, Lobster Grinder, and Surf N Turf Lobster Burger, as well as its seasonally rotating menu. Founded as a food truck by Chef Andrew Gruel in 2011, the quickly expanding concept has since grown into eleven brick-and-mortar locations throughout California, New Mexico, and Utah, with upcoming openings in South Korea, the UK, Oklahoma, Nevada, Arizona, Northern Virginia, and Northern California in 2018.

“Florida is the perfect next step in our expansion strategy, as we can’t wait to pack our award-winning tacos, sandwiches, rolls and bowls with fresh-from-the-dock seafood,” adds Chef Andrew Gruel. “We are redefining the way people eat seafood, and we look forward to introducing our bold flavors and responsibly-sourced dishes to Floridians.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Let me at that Lobster Burrito at Rubio's

I'm a regular at Rubio's Coastal Grill in Winter Park -- especially on Tuesdays for what I consider the best "Taco Tuesday" deal in town: $1.75 fish tacos. I stopped in this week for the usual, but my eyes were drawn to Rubio's new seasonal langostino lobster tacos and burritos. Yes, I got a couple of fish tacos, but I had to try the lobster too.

The lobster burrito was served in flour tortilla with chunks of lobster, citrus rice, salsa fresca, guacamole, black beans, lettuce and chipotle sauce. My goodness it was good.

Rubio's also has a surf and turf burrito with lobster and steak, so I might be back next Tuesday to try that as well.

Langostino Lobster Burrito at Rubio's

Lobster Tacos

Fish Tacos
Note: I dined compliments of Rubio's.

Rubio's Coastal Grill
510 N. Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sonny's Smokin' Showdown moves to Orlando's Tinker Field

Sonny’s BBQ, one of the nation’s largest and most popular barbecue chains, is firing up the smokers for its highly anticipated Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown. The 2018 event marks a huge change in the programming of the Smokin’ Showdown, as it will move from the Central Florida Zoo to one of Orlando’s top sports and entertainment facilities. On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Sonny’s BBQ will host its third annual event at Tinker and McCracken Fields, part of Camping World Stadium located at 1 Citrus Bowl Pl, Orlando, FL 32805. The all-day event will feature live music with top country artists, food vendors, a kid zone area, and cooking demonstrations for all BBQ enthusiasts.
“We’re very excited to move Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown to the Camping World Stadium,” said Montana Coleman, co-organizer of Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown. “The event has nearly doubled in attendance and footprint, so we were tasked with finding a central location that was large enough to accommodate barbecue lover’s year after year, and Camping World fit the bill.”
The new site in Orlando will allow Sonny’s Smokin' Showdown to add more food vendors, increase the kids zone area, and expand the overall footprint of the event with new interactive areas.
"We're looking forward to hosting 'Sonny's Smokin' Barbecue' in Orlando for the first time and welcoming some of the best pitmasters from around the world to share their tips and techniques," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Barbecue is a big deal in the South so the competition should be fierce and fun."
This great event also hosts one of the nation’s biggest bbq competitions.  This invitation-only competition brings together the nation’s top pitmasters in one arena for an epic barbecue battle. Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event. The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.
Tickets are available here for pre-sale for $12 today through Sunday, November 12, and $15 up to March 2, 2018. Kid’s 12 and under are free. VIP tickets can also be purchased for $40.
For more information about Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown, please visit www.SonnysShowdown.com. For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit www.SonnysBBQ.com.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Topgolf Orlando opens this Friday: Let's check out the food!

Topgolf opens the doors to its Orlando venue on Friday at 9 a.m. The new three level, 65,000-square-foot venue is the company’s 36th location worldwide and first location to open with Toptracer technology. Topgolf is a golf entertainment complex with a full-service restaurant, bar and event venues.

I checked out the golf, the Toptracer technology and the food, of course, at a pre-opening event last week. Let me just say, that Topgolf is fun. It's kind of like a night out bowling, but out in the open air with a commanding view of the backside of International Drive. I'm no golfer, but it was a blast. I'm no bowler either, for the record. It was very cool to see the trajectory and distance of your ball on the video screen after your shot.

So, yea, the golf was great - but let's face it - I was there for the food. Topgolf ups the entertainment venue food quotient with lots of unexpected twists. I didn't expect ratatouille or a citrus beurre blanc chicken, but there it was on my plate. If you're looking to dine on something different than burgers and chicken wings during a night out with friends, family or co-workers, Topgolf is the place.

Topgolf is located in the heart of Orlando tourist town at:

9295 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Here's a quick tour of the facility and the food...

Note: I dined compliments of Topgolf Orlando.