Taste of the Nation Orlando 2012 – Event Photos

Taste of the Nation Orlando 2012 took place last Saturday, August 25th at the Orlando World Center Marriott. It was my first time attending this culinary & fundraising event, with 100% of ticket sales supporting Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. The evening was full of delectable bites from 37 restaurants from around Central Florida, with plenty of wine and craft beer to pair and taste. This was the 23rd year for Taste of the Nation Orlando and raised almost $250,000 this year.

 

(click image to enlarge)

The food highlighted the creativity of chefs, with some dishes focusing on the use of local ingredients. Going into the event my intentions were to taste every booth, but with so many dishes available, there was only so much I could try before filling up my empty stomach. I did eventually get full and maxed out before the event ended. I missed a few places that I wanted to try due to the food going out quickly. Next time I know to visit the one’s I want the most first, before they run out. Here’s what I was able to taste and really enjoyed…

 

(click image to enlarge)

 

(click image to enlarge)

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
Jagerwurst, Sweet Corn “Fluff,” Black Eyed Pea Kettle Corn, Apple-Bacon Jam, Popcorn Shoots

 

(click image to enlarge)

The hosting venue, Orlando World Center Marriott, had a station serving Tomahawk steak. I recently had Tomahawk steak for the first time and it’s one of my new favorite cuts of steak. When asking a chef about general availability, they do get it for their property, but in limited quantity due to the high cost for this cut of meat. Guests can always call for availability or special order it. Good to know!

 

(click image to enlarge)

Orlando World Center Marriott
Caramelized Tomahawk steak, Ranch Beans, Fried Onions, Fried Rosemary.

I quickly became addicted to this dish and went back a few times. I can’t deny it, I was hooked and went back for more. Steak was so tender and cooked to the proper temperature to highlight its flavor. The sides and toppings were a nice accent to the meat, fried rosemary and fried onions added a good crisp texture and flavor.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Orlando World Center Marriott
Ravioli of Braised Beef Short Rib, white sauce, peas

I didn’t catch the complete description of this dish, but I really enjoyed the braised short rib inside the tender ravioli with its accompanying sauces.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Orlando World Center Marriott
Bacon and gruyere cheese, grilled sandwich

 

(click image to enlarge)

K Restaurant and Wine Bar
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Fried Rosemary Waffle, Bacon Chutney, Blueberry Marmalade

Click on the photo and zoom in! THIS dish right here was my favorite of the evening, my favorite combination of salty, savory, and sweet. Chef Kevin Fonzo really did a great job of pairing savory foie gras with bacon chutney and sweet blueberry marmalade. The fried Rosemary waffle had a great flavor and a crisp outside with a soft inside. A perfect combo everyone should try, seared foie gras and waffles!

 

(click image to enlarge)

Cigar City Brewing presented a spread of craft beers at their table for tasting, bottles as well as beers on tap.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Sushi Pop

 

(click image to enlarge)

Sushi Pop
PORK TACOS – Cinnamon and Star Anise Braised Pork, Avocado Puree, Greens & Cilantro Sprouts, Hoisin BBQ Sauce

This was a good combination of flavors and textures. I can see why Sushi Pop is popular in Central Florida, not only serving sushi, but also making creative bites like this mini taco.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Sushi Pop

WHITE TIGER – Kampyo, Escolar, Cucumber, Sweet Chili, Topped with Salmon, Shallot – Ginger Sauce, Daikon Sprouts

This was a delightful bite and that ginger sauce is on point.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Olde Hearth Bread Company
Assorted Artisan-style rolls were displayed and they had house-made granola to sample.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Wolfgang Puck Grand Café
Pumpkin Ravioli

 

(click image to enlarge)

Fulton’s Crab House
CRAB CEVICHE – Tomatillo, Sweet Onion, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cilantro, Avocado

 

(click image to enlarge)

Timpano Italian Chophouse
BOURSIN STUFFED PEPPA DEW PEPPER – Tangy, Sweet and Smoky Pepper, Stuffed with Housemade Boursin Cheese, Almond-Crusted and Fire-Roasted

 

(click image to enlarge)

Timpano Italian Chophouse
BEEF TENDERLOIN CROSTINI – Thinly Sliced Beef Tenderloin with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce, Arugula, Capers and Truffle Oil on a Parmesan Crostini

 

(click image to enlarge)

Timpano Italian Chophouse
SMORE PIE SKEWER – Fudge Brownie, Graham Cracker Crust and Homemade Toasted Marshmallow

 

(click image to enlarge)

Crave
Kogi Beef Tacos

 

(click image to enlarge)

Crave
Triple Berry Crisp Dessert

 

(click image to enlarge)

Rosen Shingle Creek: A Land Remembered Steakhouse Cooking BBQ Spiced Filet steaks as guests wait in line.

 

(click image to enlarge)

 

(click image to enlarge)

Rosen Shingle Creek: A Land Remembered Steakhouse
BBQ Spiced Filet, Honey Bourbon Sweet Potato, Pickled Vegetables, Fried Corn Bread

The slice of filet was really tender and spiced gently, still tasting flavors of the meat first. Honey Bourbon Sweet Potato was whipped smooth, having just the right touch of honey to sweeten this side. Fried corn bread is as good as it sounds, I wish they served it with 3 pieces.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Rosen Shingle Creek: A Land Remembered Steakhouse
Rock Shrimp Texas Caviar

 

(click image to enlarge)

Nestle Professional “PIRATE’S RETURN” theme
(left) Lobster Bisque with Sea foam and (right) Clam Chowder with Sea Salt Boule

 

(click image to enlarge)

Chef Jean-Louis of Royal Plaza preparing Famous Bananas Foster

 

(click image to enlarge)

Chef Jean-Louis’ creating magic on the pan, the Famous Bananas Foster.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Royal Plaza Chef Jean-Louis’ Famous Bananas Foster

Probably the longest line to wait in for a dish and it was well worth it. This is one of the best Bananas Foster I’ve had and I must go to the Royal Plaza to indulge.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Hilton International Drive: Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops
Cold Water Lobster Tail, Heirloom Tomato Tar Tar, Smoked Morel, Green Harissa Aioli

 

(click image to enlarge)

Rosen Shingle Creek: Cala Bella

(left) Spaghetti Squash Pasta – Tuscan Roasted Vegetables, Parmesan Crisp
(right) Lobster Risotto with Micro Basil

The Spaghetti Squash Pasta was a dish I really enjoyed and want to try to make at home. It was both hearty and healthy.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
CHICKEN ADANA Hand Chopped Chicken Seasoned and Grilled
LAMB AND VEAL KOFTE – Ground Lamb and Veal with Garlic and Chef’s Unique Seasonings.
Garnished with Jasmine Rice, Pickled Red Cabbage, Sliced Onion, Carrots and Chef’s House-made Dressing

I always enjoy Turkish food and this was one of the larger plates at the event.

 

(click image to enlarge)

FreshPoint
Diced Exotic Fruits with a Dollop of Mascarpone Cheese

 

(click image to enlarge)

Universal Orlando Resort
Creekstone Farms Short Ribs, Wild Mushroom Risotto

This was one of the dishes that pushed me to being too full to eat, but it was worth it.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Universal Orlando Resort
Chocolate Banana Tart with Cashew Lace Cookie, Chocolate Cream Truffle andMascarpone Cream

 

(click image to enlarge)

Whole Foods Market OrlandoMiniature Desserts
(left) Signature Raspberry Key Lime Cake (right) Carrot Cake with toasted walnuts

 

(click image to enlarge)

Redlight Redlight – Serving a collection of craft beers

 

(click image to enlarge)

Taverna Opa
Baklava – Walnuts, Cinnamon, Cloves and Honey   

 

(click image to enlarge)

The food was not the only attraction at the event. The Taste of the Nation had a live band performing, chefs competing in the Creekstone Farms “throw-down” cooking competition, and a silent auction presented by Neiman Marcus.

 

(click image to enlarge)

Various donated items were bided on to raise money as part of this fundraising event. There were drawings for Jet Blue tickets and an island getaway, plus an opportunity to win an instant “wine cellar” of 100 prime bottles by unlocking with a key that people could try there luck on.

 

(click image to enlarge)

In the end, the event raised a total of $248,785 through all of its efforts, with more than 2,300 people in attendance. The money will go towards fighting childhood hunger and supports local beneficiaries of the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, along with the statewide organization Florida Impact. The Taste of the Nation Orlando was a really successful event and a great celebration of good food. A job well done by event organizers, chefs, restaurant teams, and sponsors. Thanks for the invitation this year! I look forward to attending again next year…

Taste of the Nation Orlando 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, Florida
www.strength.org/orlando

So did anyone else attend and taste all of the food? What was your favorite? If you didn’t attend, which dish would you want to try the most? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr.
All content and photos © Droolius.com 2012

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.