Thursday, September 22, 2016

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic returns for its seventh year with largest-ever event

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will celebrate its seventh year October 28 – 29 at the Epcot Resort Area resort with its largest event to date featuring 50 food and wine stations, 10 seminars and opportunities to meet the award-winning chefs behind featured culinary masterpieces.

With more food and drink stations spreading out among more space than ever before, guests will delight in numerous opportunities to sip and savor along the resort’s causeway, alongside the resort’s private lake, and for the first time, on the resort’s private beach all weekend while enjoying live entertainment.

Delectable culinary offerings headline the two-night event, featuring cuisine from the resort’s own award-winning restaurants: Il Mulino New York Trattoria, Shula’s Steak House Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and more, with wine and spirits samplings from around the globe.

“Each year we seek to give our guests something new and exciting to experience and taste.” said the resort’s Director of Food & Beverage Tony Porcellini. “This year, we’ll be able to offer them more food, more drink and more fun than ever before.”

What’s New
Making its festival debut this year is an immersive area, which will transport guests’ palates to the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown with décor and dishes inspired by the famous neighborhood.

Two new dishes were created by resort’s award-winning culinary team will be featured in the area: crispy duck with cucumber, scallion, hoisin sauce and a steamed bun as well as Shanghai dumplings, handmade with pork, rice wine, ginger and scallion, served with soy sauce and chili oil sauce.

Also new for 2016 is the Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria, featuring a lavish menu of traditional and unconventional dishes like various cured meats and imported cheeses along with an array of sushi and trattoria-inspired entrees.

Featured Food
Friday and Saturday nights, feature menus full of new and unique dishes sure to please the palate, including spinach and potato agnolotti with pork, tomato cream grilled radicchio and ricotta salata; smoked beef brisket with white cheddar beignet and concord grape and smoked bacon remoulade; and seared striped bass with fall artichokes, nicoise olives and Spanish caper emulsion.

Favorite dishes from past years also return, such as the shrimp cocktail steamroller, Thai chicken salad with organic greens, green papaya tamarind and ginger dressing as well as the dragon sushi roll with crispy shrimp, tuna and avocado.

The resort’s World Champion Pastry Chef, Laurent Branlard, provides a sweeter side to the evening with decadent desserts like the all-chocolate choux and caramel sea salt éclair with vanilla whipped cream and comfit gingered pears. The Sundae Action Station returns allowing guests to choose their own toppings like chocolate cake and caramelized banana.  

Seminars and Upgrades
Two new hands-on educational seminars, taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team, are being added to this year’s seminar offerings. The Craft Cocktails seminar educates guests on the origins of traditional cocktails and how to make them, and More than Malbec introduces the world of popular Argentinian wines, with tastings and tips for pairing. Popular returning seminar topics include wine blending, Italian wines, champagne, beer, tequila, pasta making, sushi and sake and wine and cheese pairing. All seminars require separate tickets, and space is limited.

As an upgraded ticket option, guests can experience a beer garden, featuring a variety of local and seasonal brews from around the world, alongside Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine made by the resort’s culinary experts.

Award-Winning Chefs
To add to the event’s appeal, guests can enjoy a meet and greet with celebrity chef Todd English, the namesake of the resort’s Todd English’s bluezoo restaurant. Guests can also meet the world’s only two-time World Champion Pastry Chef and the resort’s very own executive pastry chef, Laurent Branlard. Barbeque fans shouldn’t miss the Cib’s Smoke House station for signature barbeque dishes from the resort’s Executive Chef Robert Ciborowski.

With 17 restaurants and lounges, a distinguished culinary and beverage team and unmatched customer service, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort continually receives national recognition for its food and beverage program. The culinary team has had the honor of presenting multiple dinners at the distinguished James Beard House. The resort boasts more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections, including organic and rare vintages. The resort’s restaurants are annual winners of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence including Shula’s Steak House, a five-time recipient of the exclusive Best of Award of Excellence.

Tickets to the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic are available as part of a resort package or individually.  For more information or to book, please visit or call 1-800-227-1500.

What: Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

Info: The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort returns October 28 – 29, showcasing a vast array of food and beverage options, informative seminars conducted by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team and an appearance by celebrity chef Todd English.

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic consists of 10 food and beverage seminars, live entertainment, a beer garden and more than 50 food and beverage stations, featuring appetizing selections from the resort’s signature restaurants: Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Todd English’s bluezoo, as well as wines, beers and cocktails from around the world. 

When: Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, 2016
5:30–9 p.m. (for seminar schedule, check
Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Causeway
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

- Overnight packages, available for one or two nights, including room accommodations and two tickets to the outdoor festival (seminar tickets and beer garden tickets may be added for an additional fee) are available starting at $392

- Advance purchase unlimited food and beverage samples are $105 per person; beer garden upgrade is $130 per person including taxes

- Interactive seminars start at $50 per person, per class including taxes

- Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery is $75 per person

- For more information or to book, please visit or call 1-800-227-1500

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen to open Sept. 21st in Lake Nona

Tavistock Restaurant Collection announces today that Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, the anticipated Modern-American concept located in Lake Nona Town Center, will open to the neighborhood on Wednesday, September 21. The restaurant will offer eclectic small plates and is overseen by Executive Chef Jason Bergeron, who competed earlier this year on Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Chroma to the neighborhood,” said Maurice O’Donaghue, General Manager, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen. “We want locals to feel that this is their home away from home, to sip on a cocktail, enjoy a bite and share in conversation.”

At the heart of Chroma’s 256-seat restaurant is an oversized bar, where locals can belly up, unwind and enjoy wines-on-tap, local draft beers and seven Tavistock private-label wines. A selection of nine housemade cocktails created by Assistant General Manager Megan Harris include a signature Chroma Paloma ($10) with Stoli Ohranj, grapefruit juice, mint, and Coppertail Brewing Co. Wheat Stroke, to exciting twists on the classics like a Seasonal Sangria ($9), a Pineapple Ginger Caipirinha, ($11), Adam’s Got Mojo ($10) and an Ancho Daiquiri ($11).

Boasting a contemporary and communal dining atmosphere, Chroma’s extensive small plates menu takes a “something for everyone” approach with dishes inspired by a global spice palate. Scratch dishes are designed to savor and satisfy ranging from Quail Egg Croquettes ($9), Roasted Edamame ($7), Wagyu Skirt Steak ($14), and Skillet-Roasted Clams ($11) to Guava and Goat Cheese Flatbread ($12). Three, “For The Table” offerings are larger in size, served family-style and include a Crispy Pork Loin ($35), Flame Grilled Ribeye ($53) and Jambalaya ($35). Chroma’s menu is intentional in every sense; with an extensive vegetable selection to seafood and meat dishes. A fresh focus fuels moderate menu changes to reflect what is local and in abundance.

Chroma’s open layout includes a main dining area with cozy banquette seating, an outdoor lounge and covered patio and a solarium complete with inspiring views of Lake Nona Town Center’s community artwork. All dining options are available for private or semi-private group dining.

To make reservations or check out the full menu, visit

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Two of my favorites (PDQ and 4 Rivers) have joined forces on one awesome sandwich

Florida’s leading award-winning barbecue restaurant concept, has teamed up with PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality), one of the nation’s fastest growing quick-casual restaurant brands, to introduce a specialty sandwich available this September and October. 

4 Rivers’ Chef-Owner, John Rivers, created the chef-inspired sandwich to be served exclusively at 19 PDQ locations throughout North and Central Florida from Sept. 15 through Oct. 31. Proceeds from the sandwich will benefit the 4R Foundation, established in 2015 to advance the ministry and donation efforts of the 4R Restaurant Group.

Rivers worked with PDQ owners, Bob Basham and Nick Reader, to incorporate 4 Rivers’ homemade Signature and Mustard Barbecue Sauces and fresh ingredients into this one-of-a-kind collaboration sandwich for PDQ, appropriately named the 4 Rivers Smokehouse Sandwich.

“We are thrilled to partner with PDQ on the Smokehouse Sandwich in support of the 4R Foundation,” said Rivers. “Each of our concepts are founded on shared beliefs – we value giving back to others through charitable endeavors and pride ourselves on offering quality food to those we serve. The partnership seemed like a natural fit and we are excited to spread the word about dining with purpose.”

The sandwich includes PDQ’s never-frozen, crispy, 100-percent natural chicken breast dipped in a blend of 4 Rivers Signature Barbecue sauces. It’s topped with pepper jack cheese and Pederson’s all-natural cherry smoked bacon. The tasty sandwich is served on a brioche bun with fresh avocado herb sauce and shredded cabbage.

PDQ has one location in the Orlando area -- up in Sanford -- if you're dying to taste it like I am.

PDQ Sanford
1610 Rinehart Road
Sanford, FL 32771

How about some Ribs & Whiskey this time at Marlow's Tavern?

Marlow's Tavern is kicking off the fall season with the annual Ribs & Whiskey menu of drool-worthy food and drink specials available at all four neighborhood taverns in Central Florida.  Starting Tuesday, Sept. 13 through Monday, Oct. 17, guests will squeal with joy while devouring barbecue, handcrafted cocktails and featured drinks.

"This celebration is a personal favorite of mine. There’s something about fall weather and tailgate season that makes you crave barbecue and savory sides," says John C. Metz, executive chef, CEO and co-founder of Marlow's Tavern. "Our Ribs & Whiskey menu packs on the flavor, leaving you reaching for a napkin.”

Marlow’s is also offering fans a chance to win a patio party for 10 guests at the Marlow’s location of their choice. Beginning Sept. 16 through Oct. 8, participants can enter the sweepstakes by providing their contact information through Marlow’s Facebook page. Fans who refer their friends and family to participate will receive bonus entries.  The winner will be announced on Oct. 12. 

The Ribs & Whiskey celebration menu features three delicious slathers served tableside - Jack Daniel's glaze, East Carolina barbecue and Marlow's chipotle barbecue sauce. Each gives a sweet, spicy, smoky or tangy zip to the perfectly seasoned ribs. Guests will find an assortment of seasonal fare on the menu, including:

Kickin’ Chicken Verde Soup – Tender chicken, fresh cilantro, roasted poblanos, tomatillos, fall sweet corn and chili cream
Blistered Poblano & Jalapeno, “Popper Style” – Roasted corn, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone and fresh herbs with BBQ ranch for dippin’
Daily Smoke-House Flatbread – Marlow’s secret sauce and the best ingredients the farm has to offer
Beef & Buns – 24 hr. smoked beef brisket sliced thin slathered in Jack Daniel’s Honey Glaze, Granny Smith apple-cabbage slaw and crispy tobacco onion on a buttery onion roll  
BBQ Blazed Cobb Salad – Barbecue chicken, crisp field greens, Roma tomato, crumbling Gorgonzola, applewood-smoked bacon, sweet corn, slivered red onions and barbecue Gorgonzola dressing
Slow-Cooked Smithfield James River St. Louis-Style Ribs – Served with Granny Smith apple-cabbage slaw, pimento cheese “stuffed” tater tots and house-made sweet corn and jalapeño muffin
Bourbon Bread Pudding – Crème-brûlée-soaked Cuban bread and a splash of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey for sippin’

Wash those saucy selections down with these boozy cocktails:

R&W S’weet Tea – Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, fresh lemon, agave nectar, topped with a shot of Shock Top beer and a kick of orange
New Fashioned - Belle Meade Bourbon, Giffard Banana Liqueur, Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters, Expressed Orange Peel on the rock
Scrappy Old Timer – Barrel Aged in House - Old Forester 100, Suze Aperitif, Cocchi Torino & Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
Foris Pinot Blanc, Rogue Valley Oregon ’15 – Crisp, clean, yellow apple, pear dusted with cinnamon, balanced and immaculate
Ghost Pines Red Blend, California ’13 - Ripe red, blue and black fruit, full bodied structure with hints of brown sugar, spice and cocoa wrapped around a smooth velvety finish
Pabst Blue Ribbon WI ABV 4.7% – Brewed in America and served tall just like you like it, this classic beer for those with the classiest of taste, “tastes so good when it hits your lips”
Sweetwater "Sweet Georgia Brown" ABV 5.8% - A river of deep caramel and chocolate malts meandering through undercut currents of hops
Boulevard Smokestack Single-Wide IPA ABV 8.5% – This American Version boasts a heady combination of six varieties of hops, full bodied with caramel, toffee-like malt and amber brown with intense floral and pronounced hop aromas   

Marlow’s Tavern features classic American tavern fare served with a unique culinary twist in a comfortable, yet modern atmosphere. Established in 2004 in Alpharetta, Georgia, Marlow’s Tavern continued to grow with its first Orlando-area location in 2012. With more than 30 years of restaurant and hospitality experience, the partners have created signature, chef-driven food and beverage offerings to perfectly complement the warm neighborhood and contemporary feel of Marlow’s Tavern. Become an Insider for specials and event invitations at, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter. The first Marlow’s Tavern in Florida opened in 2012.  Today, there are four locations in Orlando: on International Drive at Pointe Orlando, in Winter Park on 17-92, in the Waterford Lakes Town Center and now open at Lee Vista Promenade.   

Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster to host Jim Beam Bourbon Dinner on Sept. 16th

The Cutting Board Dinner Series, an educational dinner event by Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster (“Christner’s”), returns on Friday, September 16 for $125 per person (tax and gratuity included), in partnership with Jim Beam distillery, recognized as the world’s no. 1 selling bourbon, Jim Beam has been run by one family for seven generations.   

The interactive four-course small batch and single-barrel bourbon dinner will be led by Christner’s sommelier, Dan Colgan. The evening will begin with introductions by Alice Christner, followed by four courses featuring: 

Grouper Bites

Beefsteak Tomato and Onion

USDA Prime Bone-In Ribeye
Potatoes Augratin, Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts

Bread Pudding With Jim Beam Whiskey Sauce

Throughout the evening…

Basil Hayden, Baker’s, Knob Creek Single Barrel, Booker Noe and a Special Surprise…

For reservations, please call 407.645.4443

Where: Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster
729 Lee Road
Orlando, FL 32810

When: Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.

Cost: $125 per guest (tax and gratuity included)