Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Bull & Bear and Bar du Chocolat

The 3rd Annual Food & Wine Weekends is currently being celebrated at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek through November 9, 2013. For seven weekends, guests can indulge in food, wine, and desserts at both luxury resorts and it coincides with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival taking place nearby. The special menus and events are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a Royal Tea event on Sunday.

I was invited to experience the Food & Wine Weekends and spent the weekend at the Bonnet Creek resort with my food partner, OD. On Friday evening we started off at Bull & Bear for “A Taste of Waldorf Astoria”, a multi-course menu that takes you around the world in flavors. We then walked over to Peacock Alley (just a few steps away from Bull & Bear) to get a taste of Bar du Chocolat. Both food experiences and photos are in this post, with more from the weekend coming up.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Bull & Bear is located on the lobby level of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and was built with the resort. It features dark wood interior and has the look and feel of a classy American steakhouse. There’s a focus of quality food and great service here. It’s one of the nicer restaurants in Orlando and it feels comfortable to dine there. My first dining experience here was for my birthday dinner back in August of 2012. A great dining experience and the food was impressive. Needless to say, I was happy to be back for this tasting menu during Food & Wine Weekends.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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We were seated at a table beside a window, which has a nice view of the sunset. When making a reservation at Bull & Bear, ask for a table near the window if it’s available.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Our dinner started off with some cocktails while we looked over the tasting menu. I ordered the Southern Gentleman and OD ordered the Sparkling Mojito. Both drinks were balanced and refreshing.

(left) Sparkling Mojito – 10 Cane Rum, mint, lime and Chandon sparkling wine
(right) Southern Gentleman – Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lemon, blackberries, mint

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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OD looks over the tasting menu, which has a cool light that pops up so you can actually see the menu in the darker ambiance of the restaurant.

A Taste of Waldorf Astoria

The “Taste of Waldorf Astoria” is a seven course tasting menu that is inspired by dishes from Waldorf Astoria locations from around the world. Also available are wine pairings that are expertly paired by a sommelier. We opted for the wine pairings and they were all an enjoyable accent per course. This tasting menu is offered Friday and Saturday evenings, 6pm – 10pm.

Executive Chef, Massimo Falsini of Bull & Bear was kind enough to come out to present each course, telling us about each dish, the details in cooking, and the inspiration for the course. Each course is an interpretation of the dishes found at different Waldorf Astoria hotels, representing an array of cultures and flavors.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Rome Cavalieri (Rome, Italy)
PRIME BEEF PAPER, AMARANTH CRACKER, BELUGA CAVIAR

The beef has been salt cured for seven days and sliced very thin, balanced by the crisp and light cracker that has a unique blend of spices. A luxurious start to our meal with caviar and fine olive oil.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah (Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates)
VELVET OF CORAL LENTILS, CUMIN CROUTONS, LEMON ESSENCE
Paired wine – Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

Chef Massimo explained that this type of soup is used to open up stomach after fast. The lentil soup is seasoned with cumin and other spices, topped with a wine reduction to give a tart lemon-like flavor, along with house made croutons.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Trianon Palace Versailles (Versailles, France)
RAVIOLI OF LANGOUSTINE AND LOBSTER STEAMED IN RIESLING BISQUE, LIME BOUILLABAISSE

The langoustine and lobster ravioli is presented on top of a local shrimp and monkfish.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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The Roosevelt New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
FILET OF RED FISH, OYSTER POCHE AU BEURRE BLANC, MAQUE CHOUX
Paired Wine – Chardonnay

The filet of Red Fish sits on top of a Maque Choux of sweet local Zellwood corn with red peppers. The oysters poche au beurre blanc are creamy and hearty, and a touch of bacon fat adds smokiness to the dish.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Waldorf Shanghai on the Bund (Shanghai, China)
LAKE MEADOW ORGANIC CHICKEN, CRISPY MILLET, GREEN PAPAYA CHUTNEY, GREEN CURRY
Paired wine – Riesling from Washington state

This spicy dish features a green curry made from scratch, from spices to shrimp paste. The Lake Meadow organic chicken is tender and juicy, with the crispy millet giving a crunchy texture. The green papaya chutney gives a sweetness and tanginess that cuts the spiciness of the curry, which is a medium heat. The paired Riesling wine is light and sweet, a great accent to the dish and balances out the curry.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Waldorf Astoria Orlando (Orlando, FL)
PINOT BRAISED BISON RIBS, PARSNIPS THREE WAYS, SUC DE CUISSON

The bison short ribs are braised for 7 hours and 45 minutes. This creates a super tender and flavorful meat that falls right off the bone. It’s so tender that only a fork is needed to eat this dish. Parsnips are prepared three ways: sautéed in olive oil, purée, fried chip. A fine dish to represent Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Waldorf Astoria Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
BERLINER PFANNKUCHEN

This dessert is commonly found in Berlin, Germany and is very similar to the doughnut with a filling. These doughnuts had a tart and sweet berry filling, inside of perfectly fried sweet dough. A piece if fried spaghetti noodle is holding the two together, which you could eat. A great ending to a spectacular meal.

The “Taste of Waldorf Astoria” was a wonderful trip of flavors from around the world. An enjoyable and filling meal, it’s available for $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A sommelier is available to offer wine pairings to suit each guest’s palate.

 
Bonus round from the Bull & Bear menu.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Pasta Explosion

CARBONARA MOUSSE, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO

In between courses, Chef Massimo sent out a sample of the Pasta Explosion dish. An intense flavor of Carbonara and Parmigiano Reggiano fill these pillows of awesomeness. It’s the only pasta on the Bull & Bear menu, the only one they need. I will be back for this dish, which has a total of five (I think) pillows in a regular order.

As I mentioned before, I’ve dined at Bull & Bear in the past and their menu savory goodness. I recommend the Tomahawk Steak For Two, Escargot & Gnocchi, and Mac & Cheese with Applewood smoked Bacon (links are to photos from my Foodspotting page). It’s a fine restaurant where you can celebrate a special occasion or just have a nice dinner.

Bull & Bear
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821

Bar du Chocolat

Continuing on with our Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando, we stop by the Bar du Chocolat and champagne tasting. The resort describes it as:

“Decadent, yes. Sinful, perhaps. Most certainly an experience for those with a sweet tooth. Peacock Alley will be transformed into a chocolate-lovers’ dream, offering a cocoa-infused evening of self-indulgence paired with a selection of fine champagnes. Guests can choose from a signature selection of chocolate treats from the Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team using recipes from the most romantic points of the globe. Friday and Saturday evenings, 6pm – 10pm, Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria Orlando.”

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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All of the chocolate desserts are made in house at the resort.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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Every chocolate creation looked beautiful, each a piece of art.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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OD and I tried a small variety of chocolate creations. Marshmallow s’mores, chocolate truffles with 12 year aged whiskey, a chocolate macaron, and a Coffee dessert which had chocolate filling on the bottom & coffee filling on top, similar to an Éclair. Everything we enjoyed, not a piece of chocolate left on the plate.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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This Chocolate Cigar is completely made of chocolate.

 
Waldorf Astoria Orlando Food & Wine Weekends

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If you are a chocolate lover, Bar du Chocolat is for you. Even if you just want to look the beautiful chocolate art, it available on Friday and Saturday evenings, 6pm – 10pm, at Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

Our Friday evening at Waldorf Astoria Orlando for Food & Wine Weekends was definitely an enjoyable experience. Make sure to call ahead for reservations at Bull & Bear for the “Taste of Waldorf Astoria”. Bar du Chocolat is available on the lobby level with no reservations required.

More info: www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/food-wine

 
This is only day one of our experience for Food & Wine Weekends at Bonnet Creek. Make sure to check out upcoming posts from our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, with more tasting menus and experiences from the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr.
Content and photos © Droolius.com 2013

Disclaimer: I was invited the experience Food & Wine Weekends at Bonnet Creek. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are always my own.

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