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Have I ever mentioned that I will travel for good food? RusTeak in Ocoee does not disappoint! I hadn’t heard of RusTeak before but I heard about the delicious burgers at Teak in MetroWest. Both restaurants have the same owners. RusTeak has been opened for 10 months. It’s a gastropub with New American cuisine. They strive to have produce come from 3 Boys Farm (an organic hydroponic farm) which is located in Ruskin, FL. This is great because you know it’s organic and the produce is coming in from a few hours away.
RusTeak has salads, sandwiches, pasta, entrees, signature cocktails, draft beer, bottled craft beer and of course, wine. The Signature Cocktails Menu had unique drinks but the Ice Wine Martini ($9) caught my eye. Vodka, St. Germain, fresh grapes, fresh lemon juice, and Malbec. Light, refreshing and very fresh tasting. (And might I add, strong…)
The menu has some gluten-free options which are indicated on the menu with a symbol. I had a house salad ($4) and tried all three of the dressings. The house salad consisted of a spring mix, peeled and seeded cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, carrots and croutons. It was typical a house salad.
The dressings are gluten free and are made in house. So, there’s the Cilantro Mango, Roasted Tomato & Red Wine Vinigrette, and the Citrus Honey. By itself, I wasn’t so fond of the cilantro mango but when accompanied with the salad, it tasted pretty good. Of the three dressings, I liked the Citrus Honey the most.
***The pictures of the next three entrees are actually half-portioned. The actual entree sizes of these dishes are very generous.***
The Crabby Steak ($24) is absolutely fantastic! Flat iron steak, jumbo lump blue crab meat, topped with hollandaise. Scalloped potatoes are underneath the proteins and grilled asparagus on the side. The hollandaise here is on point! Lemony-buttery taste, beautiful color. Needless to say, I devoured this dish.
The Fish Out Of Water ($23) is snapper, zucchini and squash, roasted beets, cherry tomatoes served on top of a farro and goat cheese salad. Truth be told, I had never had farro before. It’s a type of grain, slighty chewy. It looked like a miniature version of oat puffs. I wish the flavor of the buerre blanc sauce was more prevalent. Buerre blanc sauces in general are very light and delicate but since it’s supposed to be a Riesling buerre blanc, I would have imagined the flavor to be a little more robust. Overall, the dish was enjoyable and tasted very light.
The Crabby Steak is a great entree but the Fish “Candy” ($24) is favorite! The name is slightly off-putting but it is absolutely phenomenal. Miso glazed snapper, sea salt caramel fusilli pasta, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and shiitake mushrooms in a brown butter sauce. Brown butter is also known as buerre noisette, it’s essentially where you heat the butter until it browns. The brown butter has a nutty flavor. If you like Teriyaki sauce, you’ll love the dish. The sweetness of the fish, the savoriness of the pasta, the umami flavor from the shiitake mushrooms, it was great. The pasta had an ever so slight chewiness but I didn’t mind one bit. So much tastiness going on with one dish, I was blown away.
I am a happy camper! So many yummy items! Well, how about the desserts? At RusTeak, they have a daily trifle among their other desserts. The trifle is a mason jar full of deliciousness and it changes day to day. I had a Piña Colada Trifle. Pineapple jello made with club soda (so you get that extra bubbliness), layered with pound cake soaked in Malibu rum, coconut creme and topped with toasted coconut. And trust me, it’s as delicious as it sounds.
I enjoyed the food at RusTeak so much, that I returned before I finished my blog post. When I returned, Courtney (one the managers) remembered me. That was pretty cool. So, I decided to sit in the bar area this time. I had Mary as my server, she was great. My second visit gave me an opportunity to try more things that caught my eye previously.
Sweet Potato Tots ($4), where have you been all this time?! This is terribly addicting! I am warning you all! They are mini-sized tater tots that are amazing. The sweet potato in these tots aren’t too sweet, it’s very well balanced. It’s served with a side of ketchup. Just a little dab of ketchup or plain is great.
The Sprecher Hard Root Beer ($5) was nice and refreshing. It tastes like…root beer, who’d have thunk it?! If you love root beer, this is delicious. It goes down smooth and the flavor lingers on the back of your tongue. As far as the smell goes, I didn’t notice it as much. Unfortunately, it’s only 5% ABV. I bet this would be super duper awesome as a root beer float.
Between the house salad and the Caesar salad, the Caesar salad wins. The dressing is light and flavorful, and who can go wrong with Parmesan cheese? Yum, yum.
The NY Strip Steak ($24) is 10 ounces of NY Strip Steak, scallop potatoes, zucchini with a brandy glazed mushroom creamed sauce. The sauces here are great! My friend said he felt this dish was undervalued and would have easily paid $35 for entree. I wholeheartedly agreed.
I ordered the Pure Awesomeness ($18) with a name like that, I had to see for myself if it was indeed made of ‘pure awesomeness.’ Sweet potato gnocchi, mozzarella morney (I’m going to assume it’s supposed to be “mornay” – béchamel sauce with cheese), candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds and with skewers of shrimp. My verdict? It was definitely different, an interesting dish but I found it far too sweet for my liking. If you’re a fan of walnut shrimp, then this would be a good dish for you. The dish gets points from me for the originality.
The Shrimp Risotto ($18) came with blackened shrimp, risotto and sautéed broccolini. Well seasoned entree, simple but tasty. The first time I had broccolini, I thought to myself, “Man, this tastes like kai-lan!” Well, lo and behold, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese broccoli). The Shrimp Risotto is a good and safe dish.
The Coconut Mango Mojito ($8) wasn’t too minty and it was a nice refreshing beverage.
Bacardi Rum Coconut, mango schnapps, fresh squeezed limes, muddled mint.
I really enjoy the food and atmosphere at RusTeak. The music here is mostly been alternative rock like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Outdoor seating is available. It’s casual environment with top notch dishes and great drinks. For the folks who like draft beers, they have a draft beer flight. I always leave here full and happy. I definitely plan on bringing more people back here!
***FYI:Monday Mayhem: 1/2 priced all bottles of wines all day ($50 and under)***
HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11:30am-11PM
Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind show? If you don’t mind or actually like getting wet, DRIP is definitely something to check out. DRIP is multi-sensory show involving live music, water, paint, sand, and strobe lights.
It’s located on I-drive, right behind Denny’s/Senor Frogs. It’d probably be best to pay for parking unless you want the thrill of maybe having your car towed. You can come in an hour prior to show time. Shows are only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays nights. Tickets are generally $35. I brought my own ear plugs but if you forget to bring them, it’s $1 a pair.
So you go inside, mingle around, get a t-shirt if you so desire. Tickets with the DRIP t-shirt is $43. Staff is available to cut it and do all sorts of neat stuff to it. Then there’s the bar with the 4 colored beers, wine and when I went, they had pizza. An oxygen bar is also available. Then there’s paint station, have fun, it’s washable paint! I got one of the shirts and started getting my art on. Paint, mingle, drink, and wait. Although show time was at 9 pm, it didn’t start till quite a bit afterwards.
Apparently, the cast had consisted of male and females but my show was all females. For some individuals, they may not enjoy that aspect. For some… it may be even more appealing.
The beginning started abruptly but it was entertaining. It definitely got everyone’s attention. The show began at the bar and moved to the “theater” area. We all migrated over there and stood against the wall. There are no seats aside from the bar area, so you will be standing the whole time. I had no clue what the storyline was but it doesn’t take terribly long to figure out. The basic gist was a love story gone awry.
Here’s a little snippet of some of the show:
You could hear my friend telling me to watch out. This was merely seconds before water balloons bursted against the walls above my head. So I knew I was going to get wet…. but I didn’t realize how wet and sandy I would have gotten. There were some scenes where both my friend and I were looking around bewildered. “WTH is that water coming from?!” If you want the full experience, stand in the middle area.
I really enjoyed the music a lot but I was definitely glad I brought the ear plugs. I thought the music sounded great and it was coordinated well with the lighting. It had a grungy feel, nice bass. I am ALL about the bass!
The choreography was cool to watch. It was interesting to see how they used elements like water and sand with the dancing. I can’t say I’ve seen pants filled with sand before. The dancers here really don’t mind getting messy.
I HIGHLY suggest bringing a change of clothes. The website suggested sneakers (make sure you don’t bring your nice kicks.) I wore my flippy-floppies instead and I sure was glad I did. Squishy shoes are no bueno. My friend and I ended up stanky from all the colored beer, water, sand and paint.
So yeah, got some paint, water and sand on me. Front AND back. All in all, I had a lot of fun. Fantastic music, good show, creative choreography, and nice lighting effects. The show last about 2 hours-ish.
FYI: Every Thursday night, after the show DRIP has local artists selling some artwork.
Who knew you’d find something like this on I-drive?! Check out a cool show and get messy!
For those who love a deal, LivingSocial currently has 2 tickets for $38. There are also some other discounts for 4 or 6 tickets.
We want it all when it comes to food. Healthy, quick, and cheap. Italio Kitchen in Winter Park achieves that mission (well, perhaps not necessarily cheap but it’s fairly inexpensive). The most expensive item on the menu is $8.98. There are actually three Italio locations in Florida but only one in the central FL at this time. Italio is like an Italian version of Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The interior is clean and crisp with red, gray and white throughout. You get more of a casual, urban feel here. Outdoor seating is available.
1. Pick your style: pasta, piadina, or salad.
2. Pick your protein: shrimp, steak, chicken, Italian sausage, meatball,
chicken fritte, or veggie (zucchini and baby portabella mushrooms).
3. Select your sauce, pesto or dressing.
(FYI: all of the pestos are nut-free).
4. Select your toppings.
(Lots of fresh toppings here.)
Don’t forget the cheese! MMMM… cheese. I love some shaved Parmesan.
For the pasta, you have two options (traditional or whole wheat thin spaghetti). Piadina is actually an Italian flatbread but at Italio you eat them as a wrap. At first, I couldn’t get into it conceptually. All the pictures I saw had the wraps with pasta in it. Pasta?! That’s like…carb overload! Well, I stopped and thought about it. People eat rice in their burritos, so why not pasta in their piadina? Makes sense.
So the last time I went to Italio, I ordered a salad bowl (once again). My salad consisted of: shrimp, romaine, blended greens, arugula, baby spinach, basil chiffonade, black olives, carrots, chickpeas, cucumbers, eggplant & sun-drired tomato caponata, mushrooms, red onions, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic and parmesan cheese. That was a mouthful! Literally. I had the balsamic dressing on the side and I actually barely used any. The roasted garlic and basil chiffonade gave my salad an extra boost. The staff mixes all the contents together and I recommend getting the dressing on the side.
There’s also other items on the menu as well such as the Italio Sticks, Calamari Misto, and Cannoli Chips.
Italio is good for a quick meal, fully customizable. There’s even online ordering for this location but you’ll still need to go to Italio to pick it up. It’s a healthy option to grab a bite if you happen to be in the area but not a must-try place.
Monday – Sunday 10:45 am – 10:00 pm
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Vespr has quickly become a new favorite of mine. In my previous post about Vespr, I shared some awesome items such as the “Barrel Smoked Sweet Iced Tea”. Currently, Vespr has baked treats which is good and all but how about some REAL food? Don’t get me wrong, cookies and all them baked treats are fine but…this girl likes to eat! Well, let me tell ya… new items are coming soon.
Salads, parfaits and lattes, oh my! Yes, that’s right…I said salads at Vespr. The new menu items are set to launch Saturday, July 20, 2013. The two featured salads are the “Mother Jar” and the “Man’s Man Salad”. Both salads are served in large Mason jars. The “Mother Jar” is perfect for the vegetarians and it’s a nice, light salad. Mixed greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, penne pasta, fresh mozzarella, and a delicate spice vinaigrette. I loved the fresh basil in the slightly sweet dressing. The dressings are portioned out to be 0.7 ounces. I’m not a big salad dressing girl but I thought I would need more. Nope, it was jusssst right. I highly suggest after you thoroughly shake your salad, to let it rest. Letting the dressing permeate into the salad allowed the flavors to really come out.
Next up, the “Man’s Man Salad”. Mixed greens, bacon, grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, toasted pecans, with whiskey and candied bacon vinaigrette. Let me tell you, this was a hearty salad. The whiskey and candied bacon vinaigrette was something I hadn’t had before. By itself, I can’t say I’m terribly fond of it but with the salad, it was really good. This salad is full of protein with the chicken, bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?!) and blocks of cheddar cheese. Each salad is uniquely different but delicious.
The new menu features a “Smart Snacking” section. This is the perfect snack food while working or studying. There’s the Agave Parfait (low fat yogurt, agave nectar, granola), the Vespr Parfait, and the Vespr JAB. The Vespr Parfait is composed of greek style yogurt, speciality jam, and granola. All the specialty jams come from local Forbidden Fruit Jam Company. For the Vespr Parfait, you have your option of Sweet and Sassy Tropical Jam or the Watermelon Mint Mojito. The Sweet and Sassy Tropical Jam is pineapple, blueberry and grapefruit. Just so ya know, the Watermelon Mint Mojito does not contain any alcohol. I am not the biggest fans of mojitos in general but I fell in love with this jam. It tasted like a sweet minty watermelon jolly rancher. MMMMMM…. I decided to go with the sweet and sassy tropical jam for the Vespr parfait. It is served in a long jar so that you have enough room to stir the parfait. As soon as opened my jar, I smelled the parfait. AHHHH…. The delightful aroma reminded me of a blueberry pie. The tartness of the greek yogurt, the sweet jam, the crunchiness of the granola. Me gusta! I even found some almonds in here!
The Vespr JAB (Jam & Almond Butter) is served with celery sticks. The jam choices are the Ménage À Trois Berry (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) or the Peach-Raspberry Seduction (made with Jupiter peaches). This is another great healthy snack. Nuff said.
Vespr has 3 new specialty lattes they will be introducing. The Butterscotch Latte, the Maple Madagascar Vanilla Latte, and the Lavender and Rose Latte. The Butterscotch Latte is amazing! Served with whip cream on the side of the cup, you could either stir it in or drink it from the whipped cream side. A little whip cream mustache never hurt anyone. The espresso still really shined through even with the extra flavors. Needless to say, I drank all of this to the very last drop.
The Lavender and Rose Latte is definitely interesting. It has rose sugar crystals around the cup and lavender syrup in the latte. I probably could eat this sugar by the spoonful. It was floral, sweet and tasty. And did I mention this latte is pretty? Before you take a sip, make sure you stop and smell this latte. One of my friends loved the latte but for me, it left me a bit perplexed. I’m not quite sure what to make of it, I didn’t necessarily dislike it nor did I love it. I kept smelling and drinking it, it really left me on the fence. This latte is one of those you either hate it or love it, except for me. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It’s a latte of interest.
So, my fav picks from the new menu: Man’s Man Salad, the Vespr Parfait and the Butterscotch Latte. Bottom line… lots of new delicious items at Vespr!
I talk about food ALL the time but I do have other interests as well. I promise I’m not eating 24/7. Let’s see, some of my other interests would include music, photography, and random adventures. So, not terribly long ago I purchased a Groupon for Colors & Bottles. Colors and Bottles is a website that specializes in painting classes in select cities. What you do is, go to the website, select the city you’re closest to, pick out the art you would like to paint and purchase a ticket. The painting classes are not at a specific location but rather a few different ones depending on which date you picked. So the artwork and the location varies, also some of the classes are BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage).
You can go on the website and look at the different artwork they have up. The styles vary and the prices do too. Expect to pay around $20-35.
It’s fun because you make your own artwork. I seriously haven’t painted anything since I was in 5th grade, so it was pretty exciting to me.
The original artwork I picked out got changed at the last minute so I signed up for a different class instead. My location for the event was the Falcon Bar in Thornton Park. It was a small place and it filled up pretty quickly.
There was the artist and an assistant who helped her out. We had our little aprons on, a blank canvas and some paint. I was pretty eager since it had been ages where I painted anything for “art”. Painting the house doesn’t count! Well, since the class was at the Falcon Bar, alcoholic beverages were available. I, however, didn’t drink because I wanted to be focused. Not sure how buzzed artwork would turn out. I generally like to try things sober first. It’s…usually a good idea.
Well, our instructor would tell us what colors to blend, the direction to paint and all that good stuff. It was fun mixing the colors and at one point. she told us to get creative. You don’t have to tell me twice!
I went completely off the original path and I loved it! Colors and Bottles is great for private events! It’s just $35, you pick the date, location, and your painting. I really enjoyed it and got to explore the artistic side that I didn’t know the Feisty Foodist had in her.
I present to you…“Mango of the Night”! My first masterpiece! I may have to sign up for more classes and start a collection. It was a fun time and definitely great for groups! The prices are reasonable especially since they supply everything to you.
Go ahead, sign up, try something different and the most important thing, have fun!
It’s getting hot out there and what better way to cool off then to get a delicious frozen treat. How about a gourmet popsicle? What madness is this?! It’s true, organic popsicles in downtown Orlando. Close to Lake Eola and underneath Post Parkside, you’ll find the Hyppo. Small little place but tons of flavors inside. The Hyppo has interesting flavors such as the Cucumber Lemon Mint or the Mexican Hot Chocolate. Some of the pops have dairy in it, which are labeled on the board. They are constantly rotating the selection here, so you’ll have plenty to chose from. The “Elvis” is a popular hit, it’s made with peanut butter, banana and honey.
The interior has mint chocolate green walls, two tables and seven chairs. Pretty small place, so it’s good to get a pop and walk around the neighborhood. The gourmet pops are flash frozen and the texture is soft yet firm.
The Pineapple Ginger was alright for me but not a favorite for me. The ginger was prevalent but not too strong. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pistachio Coconut. With the creamy coconut flavor and the tastiness of the pistachios, I was a happy camper. Neither overpowered one another, it was a nice delicate balance. The Champagne Mango was also another delightful treat. Just so you know, it doesn’t have any champagne in it. It’s actually a type of mango, Ataulfo mango. The name is a bit misleading especially when you see a flavor like Riesling Pear. The Riesling Pear pops are made from fresh pears blanched in a Riesling wine.
The Hyppo has cold brewed drip coffee which they get from Credo. It’s a fun process to watch.
The original location is in Saint Augustine and the pops brought over from there. Each pop is $3.50 including tax. You can get extra fancy and get it dipped in chocolate for an additional dollar. For those can’t get enough of the Hyppo, you can actually order the pops online. How awesome is that?!
The Hyppo has only been open 3 months but they’re already looking to open another location in Orlando. The Hyppo is a wonderful addition to Orlando and I look forward to trying the other flavors!
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How much do you love coffee? I mean “REAL” coffee? Not the ones full of syrups and artificial flavors. For the true coffee aficionados, I’m excited to say I’ve found a place for you. Vespr Craft Coffee & Allures in the Waterford Lakes area will not disappoint. It’s only been open for a little over a month but this place is definitely amazing.
Vespr would be classified under the “Third Wave Coffee” movement. The first wave is coffee like Folger’s where you’re just drinking typical mass produced coffee. The second wave is where people start getting fancy with their coffee with their speciality roasts. Then we get to the third wave of coffee. This is for the person who takes it to another level. You truly adore coffee. You want to know where it came from, you want that perfectly brewed coffee, you appreciate the depths of the flavor. It’s all about the quality here.
As I entered Vespr, it came off as very spacious and minimalistic. The gray walls had a few quotes here and there but not much else going on. Chairs and tables against a wall here, large work table and bar stools there…I’m getting a workplace environment vibe as a opposed to a lounging on a couch place.
Before going up to the register, there’s a “sniff bar.” Definitely stop and take a moment to sniff the coffee beans and tea leaves.
Vespr offer baked goodies from bakeries around the US. Some were locally from here in Orlando such as Iced Bakery.
Unfortunately, the coffee beans are not roasted in house but they are ground to order and brewed by the cup. The coffee here is fair trade and single origin, meaning the coffee you buy comes from one specific area and your purchase benefits the farmers. Even though the coffee menu is limited, you’re getting higher quality coffee beans and Vespr constantly rotates the selection.
For hot coffee, you can elect to have it brewed with a siphon or with a trifecta brewer. I had the Marcala brewed on the Siphon, also known as a vacuum pot. If you choose to get your coffee via siphon, it is an additional $1.50. Getting your coffee the siphon route gives a lighter color and it removes the coffee oils. Alicia, one of the baristas made my coffee. It was SOOOOO cool. I hadn’t seen such a thing before and I was mesmerized by the orange glow. OOOOOOHHHHH! Depending on the coffee, it takes about 90 seconds or less for the coffee to be brewed. I’m not going to get into how it works since there’s a lot of fancy schmancy science stuff going on here between the pressure and water vapor. Alls I know, that it’s fantastic coffee. If you want to know how the process really works, the staff here would be happy to explain it to you.
The coffee is served in a double wall insulated glass. I loved the presentation of the beverages here!
The Barrel Smoked Sweet Iced Tea ($6.5) is a new favorite of mine! The mason jars are smoked with oak chips and a mint essential oil. The tea is served only in-house and you prepare it yourself. The ice is already in the mason jar. You can definitely smell the smokiness when you open the jar. The tea used is a loose leaf Yunnan tea (black tea) cold brewed for 10 hours. You’ll also get one ounce of Grade A Vermont maple syrup. This syrup has been aged for a year and what a difference it makes! It was a fun experience putting the tea and the syrup in the jar, and then shaking it all up. I was concerned initially if it was going to be too sweet with the maple syrup but it was perfect. It reached a nice balance without it being too sweet. An interesting side note is that the ice cubes are well, “cubed.” Vespr has a Kold-Draft ice machine which produces perfectly square ice cubes. Each cube is exactly one ounce and with it being cube shaped, the ice melts slowly. Such ingenuity!
Elderflower Champagne ($4) is non-alcoholic beverage made with natural elderflower syrup and carbonated distilled water. The glass is sprayed with a mist of rose hydrosol. The rose hydrosol is pretty much like an essential oil but more water based. This is a sensory delight as you smell the roses while drinking the elderflower champagne.
All the cups and lids are compostable. Even the stickers are compostable. After talking to Edd Siu, co-owner of Vespr, I saw how detailed everything was in here. It really surprised me and I had a wonderful time. This truly is a place focused on sustainability. Even for the folks who aren’t crazy coffee fanatics, you’ll find something you’ll enjoy here. Vespr will give you a unique experience, an amazing sensory journey! (And you can feel good about it too!)
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