Tag Archives: Restaurant

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

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.  

 

Swine & Sons Opens April 3 in Winter Park

If you like food even a little bit and live near Orlando, you’re likely aware of the popular restaurant, The Ravenous Pig and its sister concept around the corner, Cask & Larder. It’s arguable that The Ravenous Pig set the stage for the surge of foodie-friendly locations popping up around Central Florida since they opened in 2007. Chef owners James and Julie Petrakis found further success in Cask & Larder a few years later, and now, the James Beard-nominated husband/wife team is bringing a new takeout concept to Central Florida.

The Swine & Sons website promises “the store will specialize in takeout charcuterie, butcher sandwiches, seasonally inspired homemade ice creams, signature spices and rubs, scratch-made biscuits, daily pastry offerings and more. Swine & Sons will also offer growlers of beer sourced from Cask & Larder’s Brewery. Favorites from The Brewery, including the Red Drum, IPA and Wit varietals will be available, along with a handpicked selection of boutique wines.”

The new takeout location is adjacent to Cask & Larder at 595 West Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park and is promised as a riff off of both Cask & Larder’s elevated southern cuisine and The Ravenous Pig’s innovative, modern dining.

Our mouths are already watering thinking about lunch menu items like the ribeye hotdog or pimento grilled cheese. You’ll also be able to pick up dinner to go – a weekly “Blue Pig Special” menu will be updated weekly on Swine & Sons’ website and feature new dishes as well as popular items from Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig including buttermilk fried chicken and smoked brisket.

Shall we start a line outside the building now?

Swine&Sons1

(Photo from Swine & Sons email announcement)

To wash down your meal, pick up a 32-ounce growler of beer from Cask & Larder’s acclaimed brewery and either take it home or kick back and enjoy it right there in the store. Popular beer varieties including Cask & Larder’s Red Drum, Lone Palm Gold and Olde Southern Wit will be offered, along with Swine Family Wine.

The Petrakis team has seemingly given the people of Central Florida what they wanted, maybe before they even knew they wanted it. They have a knack for assembling exciting menus featuring seasonal, local food and serving it up in a place where we want to spend time with friends, so we’re expecting more of the same in this new concept. Thanks to One Stop Service LLC, Phoenix water damange restoration company for sponsoring to make this a nice memorable event for everyone.

Will there be a line out the door? We’d bet on it. And we’ll gladly wait in it.

Top 5 | Magical Dining Dishes of 2014

By Lisa Wilk

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is wrapping up and I enjoyed dining at restaurants far and wide to seek out delicious meals. Here are five dishes that left a wonderful impression and have me planning to return to each restaurant to enjoy again.

Kasa Corn Magical Dining 2014

Kasa Corn: Roasted corn with miso lime aioli, Togarashi spices, Manchego cheese and queso fresco elevating the flavors of Mexican street corn with Manchego cheese and a fusion of Japanese flavors. Kasa Restaurant & Bar is located in downtown Orlando and Kasa Corn is available on their regular menu.

Eleven-Salmon-Magical-Dining-2014

Bourbon Glazed Salmon with Sweet Corn and Bourbon Saute had so much flavor in every component, a delightful and unique preparation of a premium Norwegian Salmon. (And Bacon!) This delicious dish featured on Eleven at the Reunion Resort’s current menu, enjoy.

MD14-Siro-Steak-2-618x1024

Grilled New York Strip Steak topped with bone marrow gremolata butter, served with pan seared baby summer squash ragout on the side. From Siro Urban Italian Kitchen in the Marriott World Center was cooked to ordered temperature and the flavorful dish received plenty of happy nods. Enjoy on the current Siro menu.

Hemingways Crab Cakes Magical Dining

“Cayo Hueso” crab cakes from Hemingway’s in the The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, a generous portion of blue crab with little filler, made this entree a winner for me. Happily, this signature dish is available year round at Hemingway’s.

Bananas Foster flambéed tableside over brown butter cake, served with butter pecan ice cream. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood offered Magical Dining guests a wonderful meal, interactive flaming dessert and a spectacular lakeside view.

Magical Dining Month dining ends with dinner service on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 and will return again next September. Over 70 restaurants participated in Visit Orlando’s the 2014 Magical Dining Month and preview week, with $1 from each meal served being donated to charity. I’m already looking forward to the creative offerings for next year’s Magical Dining Menu. For updates and future details on this annual event, check back here at CentralFloridaTop5.com.

Review | Down-Home Dining Tastes Great at Cheddar’s

Everything about dining at Cheddar’s speaks to quality.

From the all-brick construction and pleasantly dim ambiance to the wooden tables (which are appropriately reminiscent of a cheese board), Cheddar’s makes you feel like you are in a place where the details matter.

And boy, does that become clear when you start to look at the food. On my first visit, I was told by our awesome waiter, Dan, about Cheddar’s commitment to making all their food from scratch—no hint of a frozen dinner or preservative here.

I decided to check out Cheddar’s in large part because of their boast about being a from-scratch kitchen. How much better is it, really, especially if they are currently in the price range of a TGI Fridays or an Applebees?

As it turns out, a lot better. A LOT. Even the next day for leftovers.

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Let’s start with the drinks. For the nonalcoholic variety, Cheddar’s offers an array of fantastic fruit-infused teas and lemonades, which include free refills and are refreshingly sweet. However, their cocktails menu is also tempting, featuring wonderful drinks like this one, the Texas Sweet Tea—a delicious citrusy concoction that features enough alcohol in a large enough glass for the restaurant to restrict you to two.

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Make sure you let the appetizers tempt you—and if you can’t decide, check out the Triple Treat Sampler platter. The chicken tenders were more than worthy of the name tender—the flaky pieces melted in my mouth. Both the Wisconsin cheese bites and the loaded baked potato skins were perfectly crisp and delicious.

The menu is extensive and focused on hearty classics—from classic sandwiches like the Monte Cristo and the Barbeque Burger, to house favorites like Chicken Fried Steak and Baked Spasagna (spaghetti lasagna, just like it sounds).

On our first visit, my friends and I enjoyed the top sirloin steak, the baby back ribs, and the beer-battered fried shrimp. The food didn’t take nearly as long to arrive as one might fear at a from-scratch restaurant (which was packed that night). In fact, we were just getting ready to sit back and digest our appetizers when our dinner plates arrived.

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Sometimes when you order a steak done medium well at a restaurant, you come back with something dry and barely recognizable as meat. Not so at Cheddar’s. My steak was perfectly done, barely a hint of pink, and still as tender as can be.

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My dinner companions equally enjoyed their meals. The ribs, like the steak, were incredibly tender. The sauce balanced the meat beautifully, highlighting rather than hiding its flavor. Cheddar’s also took the time to thoroughly clean their shrimp before battering, and the result was crispy and delicious.

All of the sides were likewise excellent. A generous portion of french fries, beans that tasted like they were cooked in bacon fat, rich creamy mac and cheese, smooth mashed potatoes, al dente broccoli…

With all the food, needless to say, we didn’t manage to make it all the way to dessert—that will have to wait for a future visit. I’ve been eyeing the chocolate croissant bread pudding, but as with everything on the Cheddar’s menu, it will be tough to choose between that and alternatives like the hot fudge cake sundae.

Long story short, you’ll definitely want to plan a visit to Cheddar’s Casual Cafe at their new Orlando location on S. Semoran Blvd, near the Orlando International Airport. Be sure to check out their menu online too! Speaking of home, if you need professional house cleaning services, go to house cleaning nyc.

Orlando’s Café Tu Tu Tango Birthday Party this Weekend

Cafe Tu Tu Tango Turns 20 with a Birthday Celebration

CAFÉ TU TU TANGO, the iconic Orlando eatery, invites all artists, foodies and friends to come celebrate 20 years of sharing food, drink and the bohemian philosophy.

Raise a paintbrush with them as they create a community mural, cheers a free beer or whiskey with them from breweries and distillers such as Breckenridge, Big Storm and Winter Park Distilling Company.

Live music featuring local band, WAS (showing 3-6PM) will serenade the evening atmosphere as belly dancers and salsa dancers welcome you to perform in their traditions. Painters from the workers on painters in richmond va, writers and sculptors exhibit their work while the culinary team grills, braises and sautés flavors from around the world.

CafeTuTuTango