All posts filed under: Event Coverage

2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens Food Guide

The 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has officially started and it’s running for 90 days this year, from March 2nd until May 30th. This festival always has something new to see with Disney character topiaries, gardens, seminars and how-to demonstrations. There’s also many things to eat and drink with savory dishes, sweet treats, craft beers, wines and more at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens.   (click image to enlarge) A few new things for this year’s Flower & Garden Festival: • New Harmony Gardens Musical Playground • New acts to Garden Rocks Outdoor Concert Series (weekends only) • New gardens and Disney-themed topiaries • 3 new Outdoor Kitchens serving food and beverages: Bauernmarkt Farmer’s Market, Cider House and La Isla Fresca   (click image to enlarge)   (click image to enlarge) We were invited to a special Tables in Wonderland event to preview some of the dishes and drinks from this year’s Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens. A number of dishes were available to taste and we had our videographer/photographer, Thomas Babiarz of …

Morimoto Asia Opens at Disney Springs with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto – Video & Photos

The Orlando restaurant scene just stepped up its game with the grand opening of Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is evolving his skills as a restaurateur by opening his first pan-Asian dining experience at Morimoto Asia. This restaurant concept is a collaboration between Chef Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group, showcasing flavors from across Asia with an emphasis on China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand.   (click image to enlarge) It isn’t a celebration unless Chef Morimoto shares a sake toast with the crowd. He asks everyone to say kanpai (乾杯) which means “empty cup.”   (click image to enlarge) The ambiance and decor of Morimoto Asia really transformed what used to be Mannequins and 8-Trax.   (click image to enlarge) The orange chicken was lightly battered and not overly sweet. It was nice to experience such a popular dish prepared with influences seen in Japanese cuisine.   (click image to enlarge) Morimoto’s staff presented a 100 pound tuna to the crowd.   (click image to enlarge) Morimoto demonstrates his carving technique …

4th Annual ‘Great Irish Hooley’ features Top Bands, Dancers and Craft Beers at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant Sept. 4-7

This Labor Day weekend is the 4th annual “Great Irish Hooley” featuring the best of Irish entertainment with headliner Screaming Orphans who will take over the Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant. The celebration runs from Sept. 4-7 to celebrate the half-way mark to St. Patrick’s Day and will commemorate the iconic pub’s 10th year at Downtown Disney with the high-voltage energy of seven top Irish bands, authentic step dancing, and first-rate contemporary Irish cuisine by celebrity chef Kevin Dundon.    click to enlarge Delightful small bites and a Shandy made with Raglan Road IPA & lemonade to start the kickoff for the ‘Great Irish Hooley’ celebration I attended on Friday, September 4, 2015.   click to enlarge In addition to its featured menu of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails, Raglan Road will spotlight four limited-edition craft beers brewed just for the Hooley by Ireland’s Rye River Brewing Company.   click to enlarge A citrusy Raglan Road Fruit Salad Weiss Beer, a McGargles Francis Tropical American IPA, Raglan Road Saison, and McGargles Jims CO2 Stout. The craft beers that we tasted were …

Raglan Road Trip To Ireland – Photo Highlights

The Raglan Road Trip to Ireland was an amazing experience with many great moments to share. Our group of travelers consisted of five Raglan Road Master Chef Cooking Contest winners, plus members of the media to capture moments of the trip. All of us were going along for this adventure of food, culture, and fun. This trip was hosted by Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant as part of their 10 year anniversary celebration and we were treated to Irish hospitality by Chef Kevin Dundon and team. From Orlando to Dublin, we made our way down to County Wexford for a few days stay at the Dunbrody Country House Hotel. We learned about local food, visited farms, and improve our skills in the kitchen. Lots of photos and stories to share from Ireland and these are only the highlights of the trip for now.   (click image to enlarge) Our adventure started with a flight from Orlando, FL to Dublin, Ireland on Aer Lingus. Friendly staff, comfortable seats, lots of green inside the play. I …

Swine & Sons Provisions Opens In Winter Park, FL

Swine & Sons Provisions is the newest concept from the Swine Family Restaurant Group, from James and Julie Petrakis, chefs and owners of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder. Chef James describes Swine & Sons as a “neighborhood deli meets grocery store” where almost everything is made in-house or locally produced. This space specializes in a number of food options including made-to-order butcher sandwiches, takeout charcuterie, signature spices and rubs, scratch-made biscuits, daily pastry offerings, seasonally inspired homemade ice cream and much more. It’s a place where patrons can take food to-go or dine-in at a communal table or casual seating. A daily “Blue Pig Specials” menu offers to-go dinners (about 30 plates a night) that will feature signature dishes or classics, like their buttermilk fried chicken, and be accompanied by a variety of scratch-made sides. The specials menu may change weekly and is updated on Swine & Sons’ website every Monday.   (click image to enlarge) Located directly west of Cask & Larder, this is the third Winter Park location for the Petrakis’. …

First Kamayan Filipino Feast In Orlando

The Kamayan Filipino feast was the first of its kind in a public dinner setting in Orlando, FL. Kamayan is the traditional practice of eating Filipino food with your bare hands and usually practiced at home. We wanted to bring that experience for people to try while discovering Filipino cuisine. Over 40 seats were sold to this ticketed dinner event at the East End Market, taking place upstairs at the event hall and demonstration kitchen. The special pop-up dinner was definitely a collaborative event and took a group who was passionate about Filipino cuisine and culture to make it happen. The trifecta from Kappo at East End Market, Francis Biondi (FOX’s MasterChef Season 5), Jami of FilipinoDinner.com, Jonjie Sibayan and crew from Pao Cafe in Tampa, and myself, all pitched in to make it happen.   (click image to enlarge) Keeping it Filipino style, we sourced a few products from the backyards of our friends. The banana leaves for the tables were from Clarito’s house of Curbside Chef food truck and Jami’s backyard in Orlando. …

Chef Andy Bates’ “British Invasion” Pop Up Dinner In Orlando

Chef Andy Bates from the United Kingdom visited Orlando and collaborated to create a “British Invasion” Pop Up Dinner with Al Ruiz of local food truck, Sushi & Seoul on the Roll. Chef Bates prepared a few proper English treats that evening to give us a taste of good British pub food. The ticketed pop-up dinner took place back in November at Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District. Andy Bates is a celebrity chef for Food Network UK and is the host of Andy Bates Street Feasts, a show discovering street food and the stories behind the food. The connection of Chef Bates and Al of Sushi & Seoul food truck comes from an episode they filmed together for the show, Andy Bates American Street Feasts, for Food Network UK. They have been pals ever since and joined forces to put together this special event on Andy’s return visit to Orlando.   (click image to enlarge) The British invaded Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour for a fun evening.   (click image to …

Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear

Food and Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando is back for it’s fourth year and features special dinners on Fridays & Saturdays until November 9, 2014. This food and wine celebration is taking place at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resorts. Food & Wine Weekends coincide with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival taking place close by at Walt Disney World Resort. This year’s “Global Venture” Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear highlights a new menu every weekend.   (click image to enlarge) This year Bull & Bear presents a new menu each weekend, Global Venture – a Wine Pairing Dinner, which is an exclusive 3-course tasting menu, with wine pairings from around the world. Each food and wine pairing dinner is limited to 16 seats for a group dinner in a private dining room. The small group dinner with limited seats is how they can change the menu weekly, keeping it fresh and new. Each weekend has a specific theme with food created for that particular weekend and …

Hanson’s Mmmhops Craft Beer Debuts At Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Video Interview

Hanson, the popular music band from the 90’s, has created their own Mmmhops Pale Ale beer and debuted it at this year’s 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. The craft beer is named after their hit song, “MMMBop” and is brewed at their Hanson Brothers Beer Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the first time Mmmhops is available in Florida and the craft beer can be found at the Epcot’s Festival Center. Hanson recently presented Mmmhops at a beverage seminar at the Festival Center to an excited crowd of fans.   (click image to enlarge) Hanson performing songs from the past to new songs on stage.   (click image to enlarge) Taylor Hanson on keyboard and piano.   (click image to enlarge) I actually tried the Mmmhops beer during a media event a few weeks ago and it’s as the band describes it, an introductory hoppy beer and full-bodied Pale Ale. It was paired with the Florida Grass Fed-Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese (from Hops & Barley marketplace) and the beer went really well with …

2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Menu Preview. 35 New Food Items!

The 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is coming up very soon and starts on September 19 and goes until November 10. The festival celebrates its 19th year and runs for a record of 53 days this year. With 25-plus international marketplaces to experience in Epcot’s world showcase, 35 new food items have been added, along with many new wines, craft beers, and beverages. That is a lot of new food and beverages to try!   (click image to enlarge) Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri at Patagonia. Patagonia is a new marketplace this year and replaces Argentina, but combines the flavors of South America in this area that is shared by Argentina and Chile. The Roasted Verlasso Salmon dish was actually the favorite of many media people who attended this preview event. The crispy crust of the salmon with the Arugula Chimichurri made a good combination of flavors and texture.   (click image to enlarge) Baked Lobster Alfredo at Hops & Barley. The Baked Lobster Alfredo is one of those …

Revisit To Taste of the Nation Orlando 2012

Taste of The Nation Orlando is back again this weekend on Saturday, August 9 and I wanted to share my experience from back in 2012. Consider this a Throwback Thursday post on my first Taste of the Nation from two years ago. The event is a culinary celebration and fundraising event, with ticket sales and silent auctions supporting Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. There are a number of restaurants who participate from around Central Florida and their chefs are on hand plating dishes. It’s fun to watch them in action as you wait in line to get a taste of their dish for the evening. An array of appetizers, entrees and desserts are available to sample, along with craft beers and wines.   (click image to enlarge) Since Taste of The Nation 2012 was my first event, I was not sure of what to expect. So I am sharing some photos here of what I have experienced for food and these are some of the returning restaurants serving at this year’s event. …

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