Tag Archives: barbecue

Support BASE Camp at Cocktails for a Cause

Sooner or later, just about every professional in Orlando winds up at the Citrus Club.

From its scenic post on the 18th floor of the BB&T building, the Citrus Club regularly serves up food, drinks, and events to Orlando’s business community.

cocktails for a cause networking event for charity

Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

While some of the events are for club members only, Cocktails for a Cause is one great opportunity for you to visit the Citrus Club each month, do some networking, and support the great Orlando charities who participate. Here’s how it works:

Each month the Citrus Club Young Executive Committee selects a new charity to benefit from the Cocktails for a Cause event. 2014 beneficiaries have included Harbor House, Primrose Center, Shepherd’s Hope, and more.

On the first Tuesday of each month, Cocktails for a Cause attendees pay a $10 entrance fee in exchange for two drink tickets (good for beer, wine, or soda) and hors d’oeuvres. The money goes directly to the charity as a donation– the Citrus Club generously provides the drinks and food (and even offers to make an additional donation on behalf of anyone who is interested in joining the club that night!).

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle-- all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle– all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

Cocktails for a  Cause has raised more than $19,000 for Orlando charities in 2014 over the course of the last 11 events. Missed out on attending so far? Don’t worry– there is still one event left!

The final Cocktails for a Cause event of the year will be held on December 2nd at 5:30pm at the Citrus Club. The beneficiary will be BASE Camp, a foundation that provides a year-round base of support for children and families who are facing the challenges of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.

This month, we will also be holding a toy drive for the kids that BASE Camp supports. Cocktails for a Cause attendees can make the usual $10 donation AND/OR bring a toy donation to get in.

BASE Camp is specifically requesting teen-appropriate gifts for those older children who often go unnoticed this time of year. If you choose to donate a plush or stuffed toy for a younger child, please remember that these children are often in hospitals and the toy must be completely washable.

At the Citrus Club, business casual or professional attire is recommended. Come out for a great evening of networking and enjoy the company of your fellow Orlando professionals while you support the great work of BASE Camp!

RSVP to Cocktails for a Cause on Facebook or call the Citrus Club at (407) 843-1080 for more information.


(Oh, and here’s a list of suggested gift ideas for teens at BASE Camp to help get you started!)


  • Bath & Bodyworks gift set
  • purse
  • make up kit
  • make up bag
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s


  • Axe gift set
  • shaving gift set – high quality beard razors
  • body wash gift set
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s

Review | American Q serves up tasty farmhouse chic BBQ

By @jenvargas

Central Florida Top 5 was invited to a media roundtable dinner at American Q. Dinner was provided, pillows sadly were not. Opinions and images/video are my own.

Admittedly, I was a little iffy when we were invited to try the farmhouse chic stylings of American Q. I’m not a big red meat eater. I rarely eat barbecue anything; ribs, steak, sausage, brisket. In fact, before American Q, I’d never tasted brisket before. I normally stick to poultry, chicken and turkey being my main go-to meats, if I eat meat at all.

Taking one for the Top 5 team, I ventured over to the B Resort and Spa in Lake Buena Vista to experience this 21st century bend on the traditional barbecue feast. And I must say, I was unexpectedly surprised at how much I enjoyed it AND how many options there were for people like me. The weirdoes who don’t salivate at the word “bacon.”

American Q’s tagline is “BBQ and beyond,” and boy was it! Between the salad and sides on the Flatbed Buffet and the copious amounts Tableside Cowboy Carvings choices, I think I may still ‘B’ in a food coma! Add four tasty house made sauces, cocktails, drafts, wines and yummy desserts and you definitely have more than just your average barbecue meal.

Our tasting menu for the evening was handpicked by Executive Chef Justin Leo, and just a ‘small’ sampling of the offerings you can choose from at American Q.

Among the bar snacks we sampled were; Swine Candy (a smoked bacon roasted in molasses and spiced until crunchy), Housemade Tater Tots with bacon salt and Deviled Crab Stuffed Eggs with blue crab and rémoulade. My clear favorite was the tater tots! Along with the tots was a tangy housemade ketchup, which was a great companion. (I’m allergic to seafood, so I didn’t try the stuffed eggs but heard great feedback from those who sampled them.)

Appetizer choices were; Virginica Oysters grilled in shell with bacon jam, Alligator Boudin with roasted tomatoes, peppers and okra and Mahogany Glazed, Slow Braised Pork Belly. I only tried the pork belly, which I enjoyed, as well as the watermelon salad.

Our entrées for the evening consisted of Hot Smoked Wild Salmon with grilled asparagus in blackberry butter, St. Louis Spare Ribs smoked for six hours with American Q’s own sweet Kansas City BBQ sauce and Texas Bark Beef Ribs, also smoked for six hours with house slaw, Garlic Texas Toast and a tasty corn relish. All of which were great choices. Sometimes, you can spot the chefs using portable gas stoves in different locations, impressing guests with their creativity and willingness to inspire. The food is memorable and will keep you coming back for more, that much is certain.

Every five to ten minutes or so, Cowboy Carvers (Hi James!) appeared with a new Tableside Carving item for us to try. Brisket of Beef with Texas Bark, Bacon Wrapped Boneless Chicken Thighs, Smoked Pork Shoulder with Spiced Onions, Turkey Thigh with Turkey Chorizo Stuffing, Carolina Style Flank Steak, Picanha of Beef, Slow Smoked Tom Turkey with Mahogany Glaze, Housemade Argentinian Style Sausage – all cut fresh from a very large serving skewer!

Granted, I am not a ‘sweets person.’ I don’t like chocolate and, to be honest, I rarely eat dessert because too much ‘sweet’ (no matter how simple) is flavor overload for my mouth. However, all the desserts I sampled I really enjoyed! My favorite was the Salted Caramel Vanilla Cheesecake with salted caramel drizzle.At first the salted caramel was a bit much for me but as I kept going, the sensation subsided. Also on the menu was S’mores Pie layered in graham crackers, flourless chocolate cake and toasted, so-puffy-you-want-to-cuddle-with-them marshmallows and a warm Berry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The S’mores Pie had a great taste but was a little sweet for me (the weirdo). For me, I enjoyed the Berry Cobbler a little more.

Verdict? I really liked this experience! Comfortable atmosphere, it’s buffet style so you can eat at your leisure, family and date friendly. Oh! Speaking of dates, if you’re not super hungry, American Q’s Bar is open daily for bar snacks and cocktails (click here for menu). M-F: 2p – 12a, Sat-Sun: 12p – 12a.

American Q itself is open for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast hours go from 7a – 11a, Dinner hours from 5p – 10p, seven days a week and is open to the public.

Breakfast MenuDinner Menu | Kids Menu | Dessert Menu

For a more in depth look at my experience, check out my Google Story below…

I must also note that the B Resort and Spa is not only conveniently located, modernized and also very ‘B’eautiful! A welcome update to the property it once was. For our South Florida readers, there is also a sister ‘B’ resort, B2 Miami Downtown, located close to the American Airlines Arena. Maybe, one day, Top 5 will journey down south for a staycation?