Tag Archives: dinner

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

I love finding new places to dine in the Orlando area and I love meeting people!  So when I found out about a local meetup group that goes out to area restaurants for dinner, it was a match made in heaven!

Cooper Hawk Winery

I was blown away when I entered Cooper’s Hawk Winery. The gift shop and bar area were spectacular. It was the perfect spot to try out their hand crafted wines and pick up a gift for that hard to shop for family member. The Cooper’s Hawk Winery produces around 600,000 gallons of wine each year and since Opening in late 2005, Cooper’s Hawk has received over 300 wine awards from various local, national, and international wine competitions.

Cooper Hawk Winery

If  you’re not in the mood for wine or you’re looking for a little chocolate to pair with one of your favorite wines, look no further than the delicious array of chocolate treats located adjacent to the wine bar.

Cooper Hawk Winery

Cooper’s Hawk has well appointed and comfortable dining area’s with a variety of seating. In this picture you can see how a bottle of wine is served in one of Cooper’s Hawk signature wine decanters. Just another way to make your dining experience enjoyable!

Asian Pork Belly Tostados

Then there’s the food….sigh. I started off the night with their Award Winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas, enjoying the Southern Grilled Shrimp & Polenta for dinner. Service was excellent, with management making their rounds throughout the night checking with their guests to make sure everyone was having a good meal and a good evening. Cooper’s Hawk has a varied and imaginative menu with something for every palate.  You’ll enjoy choosing your meal from classic meat and seafood dishes, burgers, pasta, salads, gluten free and their low calorie Life Balance menu.

Just make sure to save room for dessert. All desserts are made in-house daily by our chefs and are large enough to be shared, I can highly recommend the Chocolate Pretzel Bread Pudding and the Banana Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich. I will need to make a return trip just to try the rest of their desserts!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery has two Orlando area locations: 529 N. Alafaya Trail in the Waterford Lakes area and 8005 International Drive in the I-Drive area.

Tasting Room & Restaurant Hours are: Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 9:30 pm : Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 10:30 pm  : Sunday:  11 am – 9 pm

Bar Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 10:30 pm : Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 11:30 pm  :  Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm

Everyone’s Irish at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

There’s just something extra cheerful about an Irish Pub and Raglan Road in Downtown Disney (aka Disney Springs ) is no exception! But Raglan Road isn’t just your average Irish Pub, it’s authentic Ireland.  Built entirely in Ireland, then shipped, lock, stock and beer barrel to Downtown Disney.

While the food is sure to please ,my advice is to start with a taste of the local beverage while you’re looking over the menu. In my case I started with a flight of Irish beers – Guinness Irish Stout, Smithwicks Irish Ale, Harp Irish Lager and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale gave me a real taste of Ireland without breaking the bank.

Raglan Road, Downtown Disney

If you don’t fancy a flight of beers, just ask for a pint of your favorite liquid refreshment. In Ireland, pouring the Perfect Pint is considered an art form, and they’re darn serious about art at Raglan Road. In fact along with the building they brought their own unique Irish beer dispensing system with them, which enhances quality, freshness, and structure of the beers.

Of course if you’d like something a wee bit stronger or non alcoholic your server will be happy to oblige your request.

Raglan Road, Downtown Disney

One of my favorite dishes at Raglan Road is their very popular Scallop Forest, consisting of Georges Bank scallops in a golden batter served with citrus lime dipping sauce & sweet chili jam. They have an eclectic Irish menu with delicious tastes of their homeland, so don’t go expecting Corn Beef and Cabbage. Be adventurous and try some of re-invented Classic Irish dishes they serve as well as what I like to call Irish Fusion Dishes. If you still have room for dessert try Chef Dundon’s gift to America the Dunbrody Kiss.  Chef Dundon uses chocolate, chocolate and then more chocolate to make this dessert……sigh

Raglan Road, Downtown Disney

And what would an Irish Pub be without entertainment. Every night whether you dine inside or out you’ll be treated to a variety of Irish entertainers including dancers, troubadours and bands playing jigs, reels, pub favorites and traditional Irish songs.  According to management at Raglan Road since the pub is so authentic, the entertainers have no idea they’re not still in Ireland and they ask for your help keeping the secret.

So you need to act really Irish to keep them from catching on – that means drink, howl, dance on the tables, drink some more and sing as you’ve never sung before”

Raglan Road is located at The Landing, Disney Springs, 1640 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando FL 32830.  They are open from 11 am until 11 pm. serving lunch and dinner followed with a bar menu from 11 pm until 1 am .  The Rollicking Raglan Brunch Menu is served from 10 am to 3 pm Saturday & Sunday.   (gluten free menu items are available)

Live Music starts at 4 pm till late, with an Irish band and Irish dancers performing 5 pm  – 10 pm 7 nights a week. Open till 2 am every night.

The Bistro on Park Avenue – Winter Park’s Hidden Gem

Being a relative newbie to Florida I love exploring and finding new restaurants and destinations throughout the state, and especially Central Florida. Winter Park was one of the first areas that we found shortly after our arrival in Florida and we’ve enjoyed the restaurants and shops on a regular basis.

That’s why I was surprised to find The Bistro on Park Avenue nestled back in a series of walkways that felt like a little slice of Europe. Walking back along the winding pathway that led to the restaurant, the juices were already flowing in anticipation…..sigh. And what I found did not disappoint.

The Bistro on Park Avenue, Winter Park

The dining room is simply gorgeous and has to be one of the more romantic dining rooms in the area.

The Bistro on Park Avenue, Winter Park

They have a very well rounded menu with a mixture of low country and European items like Shrimp and Grits, Wienerschnitzel and Crepes.  They also have a wonderful selection of appetizers, sandwiches and salads. You’ll find something for every appetite on the menu.   I went with one of the nightly specials Gluten Free Shepard’s Pie with Gruyere mashed potatoes and bacon, that Guest Chef Bob Aungst had prepared for the evening.

The Bistro at Park Avenue, Winter Park

I always love to see the chef visiting tables, it’s a nice personal touch that shows you that your patronage is appreciated. One of the owners, Erika Boesch, was also in the dining room making rounds chatting with her guests.  They get bonus points for very good and personalized service at the Bistro.

The Bistro at Park Avenue, Winter Park

My advice when dining at the Bistro on Park Avenue is to always save room for dessert, or maybe two.  All desserts are made in house by Erika and are gluten free with some dairy free options as well. I can personally verify the deliciousness having tried two desserts the night I was there. Pictured above is Key Lime Pie.  It was tart, sweet and oh so creamy. Served with whipped cream, a delightful lime drizzle and homemade vanilla ice cream.

The Bistro at Park Avenue, Winter Park

My second dessert was a Raspberry Breakfast Cake with a Raspberry pulled sugar garnish and homemade vanilla ice cream.  It was good night to be Chef Dennis not only for the good food, but for the good company and the fact that Lisa was very happy with the choice of restaurants for dinner.

The Bistro on Park Avenue is located at 348 North Park Avenue (in the Hidden Garden) in Winter Park.  It offers a variety of dining and entertaining possibilities with three dining rooms including the Atrium, The Chefs Table, Up stairs for private functions, a full bar, and  when weather permits outdoor dining in the Hidden Garden Courtyard.  They offer a happy hour each day from 5 – 7 extended till 10 on Thursdays and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  

 

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?