August, 2013

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Cioppino Recipe

Napa-Ciopinno

This is one of the signature dishes from Napa at the Peabody Orlando.  Cioppino is typically a fish stew which originated from San Francisco.  It’s a great hearty dish, robust with flavor.

Cioppino (Spicy Seafood Stew)

with a Paprika Rouille

(courtesy of the Peabody Orlando)

Napa-CiopinnoIngredients:

  • 4 oz. Florida Grouper
  • 2 oz. Cape Canaveral Calamari
  • 6 ea. Rock Shrimp
  • 3 ea. Mediterranean Mussels
  • 6 oz. Fresh Tomato Sauce
  • 2 oz. White Wine
  • 1 tbs. Diced White Onion
  • 1 tbs. Chopped Leek
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Paprika Rouille

  • 8 oz. Egg Yolk
  • 2 oz. Olive oil
  • .5 tsp. Paprika
  • Salt to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until hot. Then add grouper, rock shrimp, onion, leeks and sauté for one minute.
  2. Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce by half and add tomato sauce, mussels and calamari.
  3. Cook until mussels fully open and add the butter, salt, red pepper and black pepper and heat until butter melts.

 

Paprika Rouille

  1. In a blender place the egg yolk, paprika, salt and slowly add oil until it comes to a mayonnaise consistency.
  2. Serve in a deep sided bowl and place 2 oz. of aioli on top and a slice of grilled sourdough bread.

September is Orlando Magical Dining Month

magicaldining_header

It’s almost September!  That means Magical Dining Month is coming up!  If you love food, September is going to be a GREAT month for you.  (Go ahead and make plans to work out extra.)

64 restaurants in the Orlando area will have a 3 course, prix fixe dinners for $33.  

Seriously, 64!  Plenty of restaurants in the Orlando area to choose from.  View the restaurants and their menu here.  Each restaurant will give you a few options to choose from for the appetizer, entrée and dessert.

magicaldining_header

Are you in need of a staycation? VisitOrlando is offering Stay and Dine packages.  This includes dinner for two and a room at select hotels and resorts.  Here are some of the deals:

  • Magical Nights - Superior AccomodationsBohemian Hotel Celebration – Standard Guest Room and dinner for two at the Bohemian Bar & Grill, starting at $219 per night.
  • Caribe Royale – Standard Double Queen Suite, complimentary valet and dinner for two at The Venetian Room, starting at $155 per night.
  • Hilton Orlando – Standard Guest Room and dinner for two at Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops, starting at $174 per night.
  • Peabody Orlando – Superior Room and dinner for two at Napa or Capriccio Grill, for $159 per night.  (featured image)

  • Rosen Shingle Creek – Deluxe Room and dinner for two at A Land Remembered or Cala Bella, starting at $165 per night.

How awesome is that?  Eat amazing food, stay, relax and have a great time.

 

RMCOne dollar from each meal goes to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida.  There are two Ronald McDonald house locations in Orlando.  Ronald McDonald is a great charity and I used to volunteer at one when I was in high school.  If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Chris Muszynski at [email protected] or 407-206-0957 x107.

 

 

 

Player 1 Video Game Bar Orlando

Player1SegaSuperNintendo

Player1VideoGameBarVideo games.  Alcohol.  Music.  Each is individually great but when combined, it’s AMAZING!  There’s a new bar in town in the Lake Buena Vista area.  Near Kobe Steakhouse and Backstage Billiards, I share with you Player 1 Video Game Bar.

Player1ArcadeGamesPlayer 1 has Atari 2600/5200, Colecovision, NES, Sega Genesis, SNES, Nintendo64, Sega Saturn, Playstation 1, Sega Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, X360 and PC games.  Seriously?!  Seriously.

So you go inside, pay a cover (typically it’s a $5 cover).  The cover includes all the gaming consoles although if you want to play at a game table, you have to have a bar tab open.  There’s definitely a lot of nostalgia going on in here and I loved it.  It’s a different environment and you can get some good people watching in.  The bartenders were dressed like Sonic and Tails.

Player1DraftBeer

There’s a good variety of draft beer and bottled beers.  I don’t claim to be a big beer drinker but was happy to see the selection of mead and ciders here.  Player 1 also serves wine.

Player1BottledBeers

 

 

I tried a premium Swedish cider called Kopparberg.  Very tasty but… very very sweet.

Player1Kopparberg

 

There’s some separated gaming areas and you play video games at the bar as well.  It’s a fun place and I found the prices here to be fair. Some locals may think it’s a bit far to come here and check this place out but I think you’ll find it to be a fun place.  Let your video game nerd out!

Player1SegaSuperNintendoPlayer1xbox360

http://www.player1orlando.com/

HOURS:
Mon-Fri: 5pm-2am
Sat-Sun: 4pm-2am


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First Watch Maitland

FirstWatchFloridaFrenchToast1

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, in that case, ya better eat good!  It’s a bit strange for me since I work nights.  Is it technically still breakfast?  Do I count it as dinner for me?  Regardless of what I should classify my meal to be, I aim for it to be a tasty.

Whenever I find myself craving breakfast food after I get off of work, I end up at First Watch in Maitland.  First Watch has been around since 1983 and it’s easy to see why.  I have consistently had great service and consistently good food.  The interior isn’t much to brag about but when I come here, I’m not going for the ambiance.  It’s clean, bright and simple.  No frills.

FirstWatchFloridaFrenchToast

First Watch has a breakfast and lunch menu.  Most of the food I’ve ate here has been from the breakfast menu.  One of my favorites is the Florida French Toast.  I love all the fresh fruit on here.  Banana, kiwi, strawberries, what’s not to love?  Yummy sourdough french toast with a delectable very berry compote.  This is definitely a great way to start the day!

FirstWatchFloridaFrenchToast1

 

 

For those not into the sweets for breakfast, I always recommend the Chickichanga.  It’s always great tasting and fun to say.  A flour tortilla filled with eggs, chicken, chorizo sausage, green chilies, Cheddar and Monterey Jack, onions and avocado.  Delicious and hearty!  Topped with Vera Cruz sauce and sour cream.  The taters are good with the Chickichanga.

FirstWatchChickichanga

 

 

Both of these meals aren’t the most healthy items, needless to say.  For those who are more health conscious, there are plenty of options.  Give First Watch a go and start your day off right!

 

http://www.firstwatch.com/

HOURS:
Sun-Sat: 7am-2:30pm

First Watch on Urbanspoon First Watch Maitland
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CRAVE Orlando

CraveQuingio

CraveExteriorCRAVE is a chain restaurant with eight locations in the U.S., two of which are in Florida.  The Orlando location is located near Mall of Millenia.

CraveInteriorI had heard some pretty good things from some of my friends and decided to check it out.  Their tagline is “Fresh. Vibrant. American.”  It definitely was vibrant in here.  I really was fond of the atmosphere here.  It felt like someone from Pier 1 Imports came in here and decorated this place.  It’s very spacious inside, high ceilings, and warm inviting colors.

The menu had a good variety of food with sushi, salads, burgers, tacos, pasta, flatbreads, etc.  I selected the Kogi Beef Tacos as an appetizer.  The tacos contain beef short rib, kimchee, spicy mayo, green onion, and cilantro.  I found the Kogi Beef Tacos too salty.  Where’s the flavor of the kimchee?  Where’s that pungent smell? I just get a lot of saltiness.

CraveKogiBeefTacos

 

CraveLambBurgerCraveSpicyLambBurger1The only item I was really fond of during my visit here was the spicy lamb burger although I would hardly call it spicy.  I enjoyed the unique flavors and this would be something I’d reorder again.  I always enjoy a good tzatziki sauce and the combination of goat cheese and carmelized onions definitely made this burger.  The french fries were more thin than I had preferred.  The burger is a good portion size.

CraveQuingioThe Quingio is a fruit sushi roll consisting of soy paper, apple, mango, grapes, cream cheese, topped with strawberries & coconut with a blueberry sauce.  It sounded intriguing but unfortunately this is one of those items that sounds way better than it tastes.  The cream cheese was overpowering, it made the roll salty and I did not get enough sweetness from the fruits.  Less rice and less cream cheese would have made this more enjoyable.

 

The service here was fair.  Not impressionable, not terrible, just fair.  The atmosphere is great.  The food was very much a hit or miss in my book. In general, I would find it hard to come back and pay full price.  CRAVE does have some good happy hour specials Sunday through Friday.  I most certainly would not go out of my way to come here.  Being a the location so close to Mall of Millenia, there are plenty of other establishments I would go to first.

http://craveorlando.com

HOURS:
Sun: 10am-10pm
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-10pm
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-11pm

 

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100 Montaditos Waterford Lakes

100MonatditosMeatLoversPlatter

100MontaditosExteriorWho likes sammiches?  I know I do but I also like variety.  There’s an international quick casual food chain in Waterford Lakes that offers 100 different types of mini-sandwiches, 100 Montaditos.  There are currently 10 locations open in the United States but only one in the central FL area.  The tag line is “From Spain With Love.”

100MontaditosInterior

The interior is predominantly red and black, minimalistic with tiny stools and some hightops.
Top Pop music is noted in the background.

100MontaditosSeating

100MontaditosMenuOrder100MontaditosCounterYou place your order at the counter but you’ll want to grab a menu and look over the selection first.  For those who want to put in a quick order here, there are three samplers available.  The Top 6 Montaditos, the Meat Lovers Montaditos, and the Vegetarian Montaditos.  Each platter is $8, if you purchase 2 samplers then it’s $14.  You get the order pad and write your selections in.  The sandwiches individually are priced at either $1, $1.50, $2 or $2.50.  There are other food items as well such as the Brava potatoes (potato wedges), French Fries, salads, and tapas.

100MontaditosSpanishMixersAlcoholic beverages are available for purchase such as beer, sangria and wine.  There are Spanish Mixers like the Calimocho – $3.50 (Pepsi and sweet red wine).  The other mixers are some variation of soda and wine.  Overall, pretty tasty stuff.

100MontaditosCalimocho

 

100MonatditosMeatLoversPlatter100 Montaditos has 4 types of bread: chapata (it’s like ciabatta), whole wheat, regular, and chocolate.  The sandwiches are served with potato chips.  I thought #91: Caprese (Serrano Ham, mozzarella, tomato and pesto in chapata) was very tasty.  I found #95: Chicken Club very dry.  The chicken strips here tended to be on the drier side and salty.  #33: Ham, cheddar cheese, tomato and mayo was enjoyable.  If you don’t like crunchiness in your tuna salad, then you’re in luck if you order #76: Tuna salad, lettuce, tomato.   The #40: Pulled BBQ pork, cream cheese and crispy onions was okay until I got a big glob of cream cheese.   After eating more than 5 of these in one sitting, the sandwiches started to blend in.  The bread was good but nothing really stood out or wowed me.  If you’re craving something sweet, there’s the “Sweet Montaditos” for $2 each.  I had the #97: Chocolate spread and dulce de leche.  It was enjoyable although towards the end, it was a bit too much bread for me.

100MontaditosTop6Montaditos

With this many selections, it’s easy to forget what you’ve tried.  There’s an Android app you can download to keep track of your montaditos called “My Montaditos”.

 

So what do I think of 100 Montaditos?  It’s great if you like trying all sorts of mini sandwiches but I find this establishment is lacking consistency.  I’ve ordered some of the same sandwiches on different days, and sometimes there’s less filling.  (I’ve gotten more filling on some of my sandwiches on Dollarmania Wednesdays!  Go figure!)  I would only come here on Wednesdays but depending on the time of the day, you’ll deal with long lines.  It’s a nice novelty concept but the poor execution makes it hard for me to want to come back as a regular.  This is not one of my “MUST TRY” restaurants but it’s good option if you’re looking for a cheap meal in the Waterford Lakes area.

 

100MontaditosSignDollarmania Wednesdays:
$1: All montaditos, small appetizers and soft drinks.
$2: Spanish mixers, beer, wine, large appetizers and salads.
$10: Beer buckets

http://us.100montaditos.com/
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