Tag Archives: I-Drive

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

Baby It’s Cold Inside – IceBar Orlando

Living in the Sunshine State where temperatures regularly hit 90 degrees and higher the last thing you expect is the frozen tundra. But that’s just what you’ll find on I-Drive amidst the restaurants and tourist spots.

The IceBar Orlando with over 70 tons of hand-carved ice has been featured as one of the top 10 bars on Travel Channel’s “Extreme Barhopping” and “America’s Best Top 10 Destinations” on the Food Network.   

I-Drive, Orlando

When you arrive at the IceBar Orlando you’ll enter through the FIRE Lounge and be greeted by an Ice Princess who’ll help get you ready for your Arctic Adventure. Thermal Coats and Gloves are provided to help you battle the cold and for an additional fee you can upgrade to a (faux) fur coat, to keep you both warm and stylish.

I-Drive,

As you enter the IceBar you can check the temperature, we were at a balmy 15 degrees that evening. Inside this Winter Wonderland, we were greeted by an ice sculpted polar bear, an ice throne, ice tables, ice stools and ice benches. Thankfully all the chairs are covered with a faux fur to keep your bottom from getting too chilly!

Drinks were served at the IceBar in Ice sculpted glasses by a friendly bartender who seemed to be oblivious to the cold, as he poured our colorful and very tasty cocktails I started talking to him and end up finding out he works with a company of bartenders for weddings so I gave him my number for my sisters wedding, and after being served we moved to a table at the back of the IceBar to people watch as the bar filled up.  It wasn’t long before we were rewarded with a fun group of IceBar companions.

I would advise coming early to avoid the crowds and have more time in the IceBar.

I-Drive , Orlando

Management does request that you limit your stays inside the IceBar to 45 minutes or less at one time. You’re free to visit the adjacent FireBar to warm up, enjoy a cocktail and get the blood flowing again while enjoying the music.  When you can feel your feet again and the color has returned to your face it’s time to head back over to the Frozen Tundra for another cocktail.

Just remember to drink responsibly and never drink and drive, we want you to enjoy all Orlando has to offer for many years to come.

ICEBAR Orlando is located at 8967 International Drive in Orlando.  They’re open Sunday – Wednesday from 7 pm – 12 pm; Thursday 7 pm – 1 am; Friday – Saturday 7 pm – 2 am.  Age requirements for entry are  Under 21 from 7 pm – 9pm.  

Little Plates with Big Flavor at Cafe Tu Tu Tango

Twenty years ago on one of my first visits to the Mouse and Orlando, my friends and I stumbled upon Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I remember reading the menu at the door thinking, oh I’m going to need to go out to eat after this dinner….little plates?  Seriously?

Well, was I ever wrong. Not only was the food amazingly delicious, the portions were large enough to share and no one left hungry that night.

I-Drive , Orlando

Fast forward twenty years and I’ve finally made it back to the restaurant that had achieved legendary status on my list of all-time favorite meals. I had often talked about going back to Cafe Tu Tu Tango, but every time I was in Orlando, for one reason or another it just never happened.   Maybe I had imagined how good dinner was. Would reality be as good as my memories?

As I read the menu I was tempted by every dish I read and I was getting a little giddy from the anticipation of what was to come. I needed a little liquid refreshment to calm my nerves and prepare my stomach for the gastronomical wonderland that was sure to follow. The house-made Award Winning Sangria was just what the doctor ordered, it calmed me enough to pick out a few small plates to get the meal started.

I-Drive , Orlando

It didn’t take long to find out that my memory was intact, and truth be told the little plates at Cafe Tu Tu Tango were better than I  had remembered. Fish Taco’s, Argentinean Chimichurri Steak, Tuscan Meatballs, Mediterranean Flatbread and of course Spiced Alligator Bites……sigh.   Delicious beyond belief would be the phrase on my lips at the end of the evening.

As we got ready for another round, our waiter reminded us about dessert….. We almost forgot.

I-Drive , Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando

Desserts were ordered. Creme brulee for my niece, chocolate dipped cheesecake lollipops for my wife and for me the ultimate dessert on the menu, Chocolate Calzone. This dessert was baked to order, stuffed with white and dark chocolate, served with whipped cream and coffee ice cream.   They had to basically roll me out of the restaurant after dessert……sigh

Was I happy? Most definitely! Sometimes reality is better than memories and you can bet I’ll be back to make more memories, and it won’t take another 20 years.

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is located 8625 International Drive in Orlando. Sunday – Thursday  11:30 am – 11 pm; Friday – Saturday 11:30 am  – 12 pm.  Brunch is served on Sundays from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm;  Tu Tu hour Monday – Friday 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Share small plates with your friends from their scratch kitchen, while you enjoy an amazingly artistic atmosphere and live entertainment.

Find Out The State of I-Drive on March 11

the state of idrive

We know what’s going on in the International Drive area, do you? Join Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh on March 11th to see what’s in store for the I-Drive corridor! The event and registration are FREE, but make sure to register at http://ocpafl.org/help/trainingseminar/signup.aspx. Topics on the table: growth on I-Drive, international investment, commercial real estate, tourism, transportation and more.

We represent quality-oriented builders that can build just the home you’re wanting at a fair price. All of our real estate agent olathe ks are Certified New Home Sale Professionals (CSP’s). This means we have taken the initiative to get the formal education and gain the experience to help you through the new home construction process.

This address will take place at the Wyndham Orlando Resort (8001 International Drive, Orlando) from 6pm – 8pm and will be moderated by Channel 9’s Shannon Butler. Guests from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) will join Appraiser Singh as well as:

  • Chuck Whittall, President of Unicorp
  • Alejandro Pezzini,  COO of AMP Group
  • Joshua Wallack, COO of Mango’s & SKYPLEX
  • Susan Godorov, VP of Marketing & GM of Pointe Orlando
  • Rich Larkin, GM Wyndham Orlando Resort

Fun Spot America + Gatorland = Gator Spot

By: @jenvargas

Gatorland's Mark McHugh and Fun Spot's John Arie Jr

Fun Spot America and Gatorland are broke ground yesterday on a new partnership. As a show of gratitude, Fun Spot thanked the community, who was queued up around the block, by giving away a free breakfast and unlimited wristbands!

Area businesses, partners, fans and friends came out for the occasion including local government officials like Orlando District 6 Commissioner Samuel Ings, (representing the 5th congressional district’s Corrine Brown, Area Director) Ronita Sanders, 10th District Congressman Daniel Webster and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who proclaimed January 20th, 2015 “Gator Spot Day at Fun Spot.

Gator Spot Day Proclaimation

This is just an awesome thing for our community. I love Fun Spot, my kids loved it when they were growing up and now my grandkids love Fun Spot,” remarked Congressman Daniel Webster who stopped by while in town. “I think this is just something great for Central Florida and our economy. Our economic generator, one of the major ones is tourism. We have to have people come here, and they do! Many of them come and they visit. They have fun and they go home and tell their friends and their friends come back.

Mayor Dyer agrees, “I spent a lot of time at Gatorland growing up. I’m from Kissimmee so that was OUR tourist attraction. I got to see a lot of gators up close and personal so  I’m proud to be here for the kickoff of Gator Spot.

Orlando continues to be the most visited place in the world,” says Mayor Dyer. “Over 59 million visitors, and when the official count comes out I think it’s going to be close to 62 million for last year. The I-Drive area is an important component of that. Over 5 million visitors last year and 32,000 employees along the I-Drive corridor.

This is really an exciting time for us and Gatorland!” said John Arie Jr, Chief Operating Officer of Fun Spot America Theme Parks. “We’re really happy that Gatorland is part of the family and the Fun Spot family has now come together to make a HUUUGE expansion!

Since Gator Spot is an added value experience at Fun Spot America, what can one expect to see and do? John Arie, Jr. explains, “Gatorland will be providing a very rare white alligator, they’re going to have the only twelve foot and above alligators on I-Drive – that’s not allowed anywhere else. We’re going to have some reptiles, some birds, some snakes… there’s going to be photo opportunities and opportunities to feed the gators as well.

Here’s more from the groundbreaking ceremony including remarks from Mayor Dyer, John Arie Jr, Samuel Ings, Gatorland President and CEO Mark McHugh #throughglass!

Fun Spot America gets a little more JAWesome

Fun Spot America and Gatorland

What happens when you pair up one of Central Florida’s oldest, most beloved local attractions with a newer, also loved attraction? Something HUUUUUUUGE *and* JAWesome, that’s what!

Tomorrow, January 20th at 10:30am, Gatorland and Fun Spot America will break ground on their new 15,000 square foot reptile oasis called Gator Spot and they want YOU to stop by to help celebrate!

The interactive attraction will include an impressive array of alligators, an extremely rare leucistic “white” alligator, numerous crocodiles, up-close encounters, photo opportunities and much more. It will also be will be the only location on International Drive to showcase alligators up to 12 feet.

Visitors who arrive at Fun Spot America before 10:20am tomorrow will receive a FREE wristband good for unlimited rides ALL DAY LONG!! Be sure to Like them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter for a sneak peek!

For many years, Gatorland has investigated opportunities to expand our brand into Orlando’s major tourism district and give folks a taste of our unique entertainment experiences,” states Mark McHugh, Gatorland’s President & CEO.  “John Arie, Sr. and I began talking a year ago, and the more we learned about the history and culture of our two family-owned businesses, the more we realized that this is a perfect fit.

 

Kicking off the grand opening of Gator Spot will be City of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, who will share a few thoughts on the collaboration of Fun Spot America and Gatorland. We’ve seen Mayor Dyer a lot on International Drive lately.. and we like it! With all the growth happening within the I-Drive corridor in the next 1-2 years, expect to ‘spot’ him even more.

What a fantastic partnership by two of Central Florida’s largest privately owned theme parks, GATORLAND and FUN SPOT AMERICA THEME PARKS. This new partnership and attraction will give local residents and guests to the area a chance to enjoy two of the area’s most unique experiences at one great location. Partnerships like this create new jobs and that’s great news for the community.” said the Honorable City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Daily admission to the new Gator Spot at Fun Spot America – Orlando will only cost $6 per person (child/adult).

Keep an eye peeled on Gatorland Orlando’s Twitter [@Gatorland] and Facebook [facebook.com/gatorland] for more fun announcements!

Titanic… The Experience on I-Drive

Guest Post by SeaWorld Mommy

 

Titanic the Exhibition in Orlando FloridaTitanic… The Experience, located on International Drive, Orlando, has over 400 unique pieces of Titanic memorabilia and 100 authentic artifacts recovered from the ill-fated liner. Visitors can take a guided tour, led by talented actors in period costume, through 17 galleries of the 20,000 square ft. interactive museum. Of special note is the “little big piece,” a 3-ton piece of Titanic’s hull, on display for the first time.

Visitors can view the full-scale recreations of Titanic’s Grand Staircase, a first class cabin, the Verandah Café and the Promenade deck. In addition, they have the opportunity to stand on a mock ship’s bow in front of a green screen for their very own “King of the World” re-creation.

As a follower to “all things Titanic,” I visited “The Experience” with great anticipation. I’ve been to exhibitions in Vegas, Orlando (the previous one at Mercado) and St. Petersburg (more than once!). We even hosted a “Titanic History Day” on the 100th anniversary of the sinking for friends and family where we dressed in period costume and had age-appropriate learning stations. (*Read about our big day here.) 

The tour took about an hour, although for those with serious interest might feel a bit rushed. (I have a collection of… oh maybe 50 Titanic well-read books as well as a dozen or so videos/DVDs, so I wanted to read every placard.) Most everyone I spoke with, however, felt they saw plenty. We all enjoyed seeing the artifacts and getting a “glimpse” of what it may have been that fateful night 100 years ago.

If you’re into history with a side of spooky, Titanic… The Experience offers ghost tours most Thursdays (check their website for exact times and dates). Paranormal experts believe spirits attach themselves to objects they last touched, or ones nearby where there was intense emotion at time of death. Either theory may explain the “activity” experienced on site. For a less “haunting” event, attend the dinner shows where a cast of 6-8 entertains and educates while you dine.

I recommend Titanic… The Experience for history buffs, Titanic aficionados, and those who know only what they saw in the blockbuster film. It’s a beautiful museum with a personal touch.