Mother’s Day Events in Orlando

I’ve written posts the last couple of weeks regarding upcoming weekend events, so I thought I’d do the same this week but focus specifically on the various eateries in town that are offering specials for Mother’s Day on Sunday. This is my very first Mother’s Day as a mom, so I’m a bit overly excited, I think. It is also the day that my younger sister graduate from Rollins College, so overall it is going to be a great day for us! My entire family is attending her graduation ceremony, and then we are all having a great lunch to celebrate both her achievement and Mother’s Day at Bosphorous in Winter Park. I am so excited!!

Below I’ve listed just a few of the special food events going on around town for Mother’s Day. If you are interested in any of them, I highly recommend contacting the location ASAP to make reservations!

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

The Mother’s Day special at Fleming’s this year sounds delicious! Fleming’s is offering a three-course prix fixe brunch for $34.95 per person, which is a pretty great deal. The entree options all sound tantalizing, from the Filet Mignon Benedict, to the Prime Rib or New Orleans-Style French Toast. Plus, who can resist White Chocolate Bread Pudding or Creme Brulee for dessert?

In addition to brunch, each mother will receive a $25 dining card to use on a future visit to Fleming’s Steakhouse.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has locations in both Dr. Phillips and Winter Park and will be serving brunch on Mother’s Day from 11:30am until 3:00pm. You can make reservations at their website.

The Rosen Centre Hotel

The Rosen Centre Hotel, located on International Drive, is offering what sounds to be an incredible Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet from 11:00am until 5:00pm on Sunday. You can view the full menu listing here, but it includes some amazing dishes such as Braised Short Ribs with Fingerling Potatoes & Pinot Noir Sauce, Nutella Pancakes, and Grilled Mahi with Chardonnay Cream & Fresh Dill. In addition to the entrees and breakfast items offered, there is going to be a sushi station, a tapas station, an antipasto display, a seafood station, and much more! Not only does the food sound incredible, the price of the buffet includes unlimited mimosas and champagne!

The Rosen Centre brunch is $39.95 per person ($16.95 for children), and reservations can be made by calling 407-996-9840 ext. 3593 or by clicking here.

Wolfgang Puck Dining Room

The Dining Room at the Wolfgang Puck Cafe at Downtown Disney’s West Side is offering a special dinner menu for Mother’s Day at a price of $45.95 per person. For this price, each person receives a three course meal and a glass of Moscato. The Cafe portion of the restaurant (downstairs) is also offering a few special entrees just for Mother’s Day, including an Herb Chicken and Papardelle dish. The regular menu is also available at both locations. To book reservations, call 407-938-9653.

Universal Orlando Mother’s Day Brunches

The Universal Orlando Resort is offering three different Mother’s Day brunch options this year, one at each of their three resorts. The Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel is holding a brunch buffet from 7am until 1pm for $30 per person ($12 for children). Offerings include omelet and parfait stations and other traditional brunch fare (full menu here).

The Royal Pacific Resort is holding brunch in their Wantilan Pavilion for $52 per person ($26 for children) from 11am until 1pm. In addition to the buffet featuring a carving station, raw bar, and south pacific display (full menu here), there will also be entertainment in the form of the Hawaii Past & Present show, face painters, and balloon artists.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Portofino Bay will take place from 9:00am until 2:30pm at Mama Della’s Ristorante. Prices are $34 for adults and $17 for children, and the menu choices include tons of elevated comfort foods such as truffle meat loaf, gorgonzola and robiola macaroni and cheese, and shellfish pot pie. Traditional breakfast dishes will also be available, as well as a vast table of retro-style desserts (full menu here). Complimentary champagne will also be served to those of drinking age.

To make a reservation for any of these Universal Orlando events, call 407-503-DINE.

Enzian Theater

The Enzian Theater in Maitland is offering an awesome, one-of-a-kind experience for Mother’s Day. The event will begin with brunch and live music at 10am and will end with a showing of My Fair Lady at 11am. Single adult admission for this event is $35 for adults and $20 for children. VIP tables of two or four can also be purchased for $110 and $220 respectively, and both include unlimited champagne and mimosas. You can contact the Enzian for further information at 407-629-0054.

Jack’s Place

Jack’s Place, located inside the Rosen Plaza Hotel on International Drive, is offering a three course dinner menu for $41.95 per person from 5:30pm until 10:30pm on Mother’s Day. The menu includes a warm duck salad, bacon wrapped Florida red snapper, and a chocolate silk dessert. Their regular menu is also available. To make reservations at Jack’s Place, call 407-996-1787.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to list all of the Mother’s Day dining options available this year in the Orlando area (motherhood calls!), so if you are particularly excited about one that you don’t see listed here, please feel free to leave the information in the comments and I’ll be glad to add it to my list!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

An Anniversary and a Weekend at Walt Disney World (part one)

My blog isn’t quite a year old yet, so this isn’t THAT kind of anniversary…it is an even bigger, better one, to me at least. On this date five years ago, I married my very best friend. We had an amazing small ceremony on the Disney Wonder and were able to spend four days cruising the Bahamas with 30 of our closest friends and family members. As a couple, we’ve been through an amazing number of changes in just five short years, including living in England, moving back to the States, buying pets, a house, a car, and even a motorcycle. We’ve done green card applications and both ended up in jobs that we never saw ourselves in. Plus the normal ups and downs that every married couple experiences. At the end of the day, I am so happy to have had him by my side for the entire time.

We had originally planned to celebrate five years of marriage aboard Disney’s newest ship, the Disney Dream, but we are getting an even better gift this year (baby boy! Eep!) so we canceled it and went to Walt Disney World for the weekend instead. Not a bad trade, for sure. We spent two nights staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort and because we were able to get a great deal on the Disney Dining Plan we ate some great meals(and some just okay ones). We also took advantage of the monthly payment plan option for Florida residents and purchased annual passes to the parks! I’m so excited to be able to go back as often as we want for the next year.

C had to work on Friday morning, so we arrived at the resort mid-afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and checking out the resort. After a short nap (I’d worked the night before), we headed off to the Yacht Club Resort for dinner at The Captain’s Grille. We had eaten here once before about a year ago, but enjoyed it so much we decided to return. We even ordered the exact same entrees this time around! The Yacht and Beach Club Resorts also hold a bit of a special place for us because we stayed there on our honeymoon after the cruise five years ago.

The Captain’s Grille, fitting with its setting inside the Yacht Club, is a fairly casual full-service restaurant decorated in a nautical style. The walls are adorned with various ship accessories, the tabletops are wood with nautical flags painted on them, and there are model ships scattered throughout the dining room. It is a themed restaurant without being too hokey, in my opinion. I love it.

As part of our dining plan we were both able to order a non-alcoholic beverage, an entrée, and a dessert. On previous trips we normally order an appetizer to share and just pay for it, but this time we decided to forgo it to make sure we could finish the rest of our meals. I do know, though,that in the past I loved the Green Goddess Salad at Captain’s Grille, and it took a lot for me to resist it this time around! Instead, we asked for some bread to tide us over until the entrees arrived. We were given a basket of warm brown bread and a dish of butter with sea salt sprinkled over it. It was simple yet oh so good, and I had to push it to the other side of the table so that I didn’t fill up on it.

C ordered a Sam Adams for his beverage (befitting a New England style restaurant, of course) and I had a Minute Maid Light Pomegranate Lemonade. I have never seen this flavor of Minute Maid Light anywhere else, but it is deliciously tart and sweet all at the same time.

For entrees, C had the Mustard-Rubbed New York Strip (ordered medium rare) and I had the Snow Crab Legs. Heaven on a freakin’ plate for both of us, let me tell you. C’s steak was cooked slightly unevenly, but even with that error he loved every bite and couldn’t say enough good things about the fingerling potatoes and cipollini onions that came alongside it. He is a guy who likes his steak well-seasoned but otherwise plain so that he can taste the meat, so I was shocked when I saw him repeatedly dipping into the spiced veal jus. Until I tried a bit myself…super good!

My snow crab legs were, as always, delicious and messy. I ate every last morsel, leaving the corn and most of the boiled potatoes on my plate. Who needs corn and potatoes when you have crab legs dipped in drawn butter? I mean…come on.

We were a little disappointed when the desserts had changed since our last visit, but I know that after mine arrived, at least, I was no longer disappointed. In the past we’d enjoyed the key lime tart and the apple tarte tatin, but this time we ordered the Hazelnut Gianduja Chocolate and the Blueberry Cherry Pie. C wolfed down his dessert (of course, he will gobble up anything that is made of chocolate!), and I just could not stop eating my pie. It was full of delicious, juicy berries, the bottom crust was nice and thin, and the crumble topping was generous and in perfect proportion to the fruit. The sorbet that came on the side was a nice temperature contrast, but I barely touched it, frankly, in favor of devouring more of the pie itself.

Our server was super sweet, and gave us the take home package of mini lemon poppyseed cakes (so so so so good, by the way) with a Happy Anniversary balloon attached to it! Overall, our meal at Captain’s Grille was fabulous, and was a perfect start to our mini anniversary getaway. We also ate at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and spent the day at Magic Kingdom, but that’ll have to wait until my next post. :)

What is your favorite restaurant on Walt Disney World property? Is there one that you have to eat at every time you visit?

 

Delish New York Bakery – Dr Phillips

Growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, it was a huge treat when my mom would take us to The Swedish Bakery after a morning of running errands. That tiny bakery made the best cookies a kid could possibly want in what seemed like a million different varieties. Not only did their cookies rock, they made seriously awesome birthday cakes that my mom special ordered for us each year.

Why am I starting a post that is clearly about a different location by talking about a bakery that may not even exist anymore? Because for me, food isn’t just about brand new experiences; food is about creating and reliving memories. I know I’m not alone when I say that a smell, a taste, of a certain food or ingredient can instantly take me back to a memorable experience. Delish NY Bakery did this for me the first time I walked inside. Tucked inside the Whole Foods plaza at the corner of Sand Lake and Turkey Lake Rd, when I saw their bakery case full of the cookies I remembered from my childhood I instantly felt at home.

I know I’m waxing poetic here, but just bear with me. This place is worth it. The decor at Delish is very basic; they don’t need anything to distract from the gorgeous goodies in the bakery cases, frankly (although they do have their holiday decorations up already, and that made this girl happy!).

Everyone I know that has been to Delish has their favorite item(s), and really, everything I have tried on multiple visits has been, well, delish. My favorites, though, have to be their cupcakes (made in house, from scratch, of course) and their bagels (although I rarely leave without a box of cookies, too!). Delish has their bagels shipped in, frozen after being boiled, from New York. Yep, that’s right, for those of you Northerners, these bagels are actually made with New York water. I don’t know that I can tell the difference because of the water specifically, but I do know that these are the best bagels I’ve had since moving to Florida. They bake the bagels and make all of their cream cheeses in house and trust me, they are gooooooooooooood. My favorite combo? A pumpernickel bagel, lightly toasted with scallion cream cheese. Holy yum.

So, here’s my thing with cupcakes. I bake at home, and one of my favorite things to make is cupcakes, especially in creative flavors, and frankly, it is rare that I find a “gourmet cupcake” elsewhere that I actually don’t regret paying for afterwards. In fact, the cupcakes at Delish are the only cupcakes that I have and will gladly pay for instead of going through the hassle of baking my own. So good, and their flavor combinations are creative, classic, and delicious. The much-too-cloying sweetness that is often present in bakery buttercream is absent here (and no, I don’t know how they manage that!), leaving you with a cupcake that has the perfect ratio of yummy frosting to moist cake. And the ones with fillings? They do not skimp there. Every filled cupcake has a generous amount, letting you taste cake, filling, and frosting all in every bite.

I’ve (as embarrassed as I am to admit it) tried at least a bite of each of their regular flavors, and also had the opportunity to try their two current seasonal flavors (pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake) recently. While I love them all, I definitely have a few that stand out to me and that I would recommend as one to try first. My top three? The cookies ‘n’ cream, raspberry, and s’mores flavors. I’d put the pumpkin pie cupcake (pumpkin cake with pumpkin pie filling and whipped cream frosting) on that list, but as it is only available seasonally that would just be mean. Instead, you should just head to Delish today and try it out ;)

In addition to their cupcakes, bagels, and assorted cookies, Delish NY Bakery offers deli favorites in the form of both breakfast and lunch sandwiches, Italian ice, and other bakery favorites such as black & white cookies (a huge hit, I’m told, although I haven’t tried them yet), assorted muffins, and cannolis filled to order. Plus, they now offer their “cakes on the fly,” so if you forgot to pre-order a celebration cake, Delish totally has your back.

Laura (Mrs. Delish) is also always trying new things to add to the Delish display cases, so you need to visit often to check out their seasonal offerings. When I was there a few days ago, I got the chance to try out some of their new Holiday Chocolates and good lord they are good. They will be available as gift boxes for the holidays (duh), and come in assorted flavors including orange, coconut, hazelnut, and several others.

Photo taken and provided by Delish NY Bakery

In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I am a huge fan of Delish NY Bakery. They love what they do and are proud of their business, and it shows in the quality of both their products and their service.

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Delish New York Bakery on Urbanspoon
Disclosure: I was given an assortment of cupcakes to try for this post. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Naradeva Thai – Orlando Restaurant

A few weeks ago, the owners of Naradeva Thai restaurant and Traveler Foodie invited my husband, C, and I, along with several other local food bloggers, to sample many of their delicious dishes and then share our experiences with you. :)

C and I had been to Naradeva once soon after they opened and enjoyed our meal but, honestly, had forgotten that it was there after that. Having been reminded of how good their food is, though, we will not make that mistake again! Naradeva Thai isn’t visible from Millenia Boulevard, but it is so worth making the turn into the Marshall’s plaza and giving it a try. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

There was not one dish that C and I tried during our meal with other food bloggers that we didn’t like. We did, however, definitely have our favorites out of the appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts that we tasted.

After having drinks on the outdoor patio (my chai tea and C’s coconut water were both new to us and totally delicious), plate after plate of appetizer samples came to our table. Out of the several that we tried, my favorite was definitely the curry chicken puffs, while C loved the steamed dumplings.

Steamed Dumplings and Shrimp Rolls

Chicken Satay and Chicken Curry Puffs

We also sampled several of Naradeva’s salad options, and C fell absolutely in love with the Crispy Duck Spicy Salad, going as far as to exclaim that he would order it every time he visited. We tried both a spicy and less spicy version of this salad; I would definitely recommend going for the spicy option as all the flavors meld together perfectly.

Crispy Duck Spicy Salad

 The number of entree dishes that came to our table was just astounding, and I really, truly liked all of them, but there were definitely a few that stood out in both of our minds after the meal was over. We could not stop talking about the Thai Red BBQ Pork Fried Rice. I know, I know, it is “just fried rice”…but this isn’t. I don’t even really like fried rice usually! And I definitely never order it with pork in it. But this…this I could not stop eating. I found myself reaching for the serving spoon over and over, even as new dishes appeared in front of me. It will be very hard not to order this dish every time we return.

Thai Red BBQ Pork Fried Rice

 Another stand out dish for me was the Crispy Duck in Red Curry Sauce. Until our meal at Naradeva, I had never had curry before other than the standard chicken curry dish from chinese takeout restaurants, so I was eager to try it. I have liked duck every time I’ve tried it, but frankly, with this dish, the part that stood out for me was the red curry sauce itself. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it, and ended up just spooning it over rice and eating it simply like that! So, so good.

Crispy Duck with Red Curry Sauce

By the time we’d finished sampling appetizers and entrees, I honestly thought I was full to bursting and that I couldn’t possibly eat another delicious bite. But no…I found room for dessert, once they started arriving at the table. I couldn’t resist! The sticky rice with pumpkin custard (which I believe is a seasonal dish, but I may be wrong) was sweet and a bit savory all at once with an amazing texture.

Sticky Rice with Pumpkin Custard

The Thai Coconut Cup Custard was also great sweet finish. It is the perfect size, too, for a bit of dessert after a big meal. It was creamy and sweet with just awesome coconut flavor.

Thai Coconut Cup Custard

There are so many restaurants in the Millenia area, but unfortunately many of them are chains. Naradeva is truly a hidden gem in this area, and is so worth visiting over and over again, whether it be to try a “typical” Thai restaurant dish or to expand your horizons and try something new…I know that I surely wasn’t disappointed.

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NaraDeva Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Disclosure: I received this meal free of charge from Naradeva along with several other food bloggers; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza – Dr Phillips

Originally posted on Blogger on August 16, 2011

 
Every time I’ve ended up in the Dr. Phillips area recently, I’ve spotted Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and thought about how I needed to try it the next time we went out to eat. Of course, my silly overloaded brain always forgot when the time came to choose. So, just imagine how excited I was when I got the opportunity to try them out last night! I brought my dad with me (he is a fellow foodie and also a lover of beer, so it was perfect), and I have to say, we had an absolute blast. We were overwhelmed by the quality of both the service and the food.

We had gone in planning to try two of their newer items, the roasted cauliflower pizza and the craft beers. Try those we did, but we also got to try several of their other menu items during our meal. First we sampled two of their salad options: the classic Italian salad and the mozzarella and tomato salad. This may sound silly, but I could not believe how good the Italian salad was. If I hadn’t known I needed to save room for more food, I would have devoured the entire thing. It was not your normal house salad at all, as it had basics like romaine lettuce and red onion slices but was then embellished with garbanzo beans, olives (pitted!! Hooray!!), hard-boiled egg slices, and even gorgonzola cheese (on the side, and it is an extra addition; I highly suggest getting it). Not only did it have these extras, the simple vinegarette was delicious. Seriously. Freakin’ AWESOME. The mozzarella and tomato salad was also wonderfully fresh tasting. I don’t normally like raw tomatoes, but I ate the entire thing. The combination of the fresh (and generously sliced!) mozzarella, tomato, green pepper, and basil was perfectly balanced. Try it. Go. Now. Do it.

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Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Originally posted on Blogger on July 17, 2011

I’d read tons about Hawkers Asian Street Fare on Twitter and on other foodies blog posts over the past month or so before my first visit, and everything I read just made me want to go more and more. So, a couple of weeks ago I tweeted an open invitation to my fellow foodies to join me for lunch. It was a weekday, so I didn’t expect much of a response, so I was thrilled when three others came along! I also invited my good friend M, and so we ended up with a group of five at that first lunch. I enjoyed it so much I ended up back the following week with another friend for lunch yet again.
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Restaurant Review: Funky Monkey Wine Company

Originally posted on Blogger on July 3, 2011

I had been eyeing the Funky Monkey Wine Company menu for ages. AGES. So when a Groupon came out for the downtown location, I knew I had to grab it. Who can turn down $40 worth of food for $20? I bought the Groupon, of course, and last week convinced a friend to venture out to the Mills50 District for a bite after work.

It is a very small restaurant that is almost hidden in the shadows at night time. If I hadn’t known that it was next to Bananas Modern American Diner (owned by the same people that own Funky Monkey), I probably would have driven right past it. As it was, I had to turn around and crawl back to find the parking lot. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. I love a hole in the wall, especially if it has good food. It just surprised me, for some reason that I cannot pinpoint.

The decor at Funky Monkey is…well….dark. It was very dark in the restaurant; so dark in fact that I can tell you that I think the main color scheme included a deep purple and black, but don’t quote me on that. I’d love to show you a photo but well, you guessed it, it was too dark. Now, don’t get me wrong. I adore a small, intimate, romantic setting. The Funky Monkey has the potential to be just that. However, when my friend has to use a cell phone light to read the menu, and when the server needs to move the candle on the table so that we can “see the food better,” that is a little too “intimate” for me. I’m at a restaurant, not in bed. On the opposite side of the coin, though, some of the tables are so close together that, frankly, if I was there on a date I’d probably learn just as much about the couple sitting next to me as I would about my companion.
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Antonio’s on Sand Lake

Originally posted on Blogger on June 27, 2011

My littlest sisters (twins) graduated high school a couple of weeks ago. They are ten years younger than I am, so of course, this means I am officially old. They also graduated from a huge high school, and that means that their graduation ceremony was insanely long. However, one of them was a valedictorian and the other was in the honors program, so their names were called fairly early and, as sad as this is to admit to those whose last names begin with Y, I somewhat tuned out the second half of the ceremony. Oops. What was I thinking about instead? The celebratory meal that we were going to have after the ceremony, of course!

The twins’ chose Antonio’s, an Italian restaurant in the Restaurant Row area of Dr. Phillips, for us to have dinner at following their graduation. A few members of my family, including myself, had been there once before several years ago, and I was looking forward to returning. C and I got there before the rest of the family (we were a party of nine total, including C and myself, my three sisters and parents, my aunt, and a friend), so we decided to go up and have a drink while we waited.
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China Sun – Local Chinese Take-Out at its Best

Originally posted on Blogger on June 21, 2011

Hidden in the middle of an area of Orlando that one would most likely not venture to in search of a delicious meal, China Sun is found. While it isn’t an upscale or expensive restaurant, China Sun is the best Chinese take-out that I have tried since moving back to Orlando four years ago. I will admit, I’ve never actually been to the restaurant’s storefront (located at the corner of Oak Ridge and Rio Grande); we’ve always ordered by phone and had our dinner delivered. We have our standard favorites, but I do like to venture out once in awhile and try something new, so we’ve had a good sampling of their menu over the last couple of years.

We ordered food from China Sun for the first time in a few months last week, and since it was just C and I (and he didn’t want leftovers for a week like usual), we only ordered a few items and most of them were off our list of “go-to” options.

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Anatolia in Dr. Phillips

Originally posted on Blogger on June 13, 2011

My mother had recommended Anatolia to me a few months ago, saying the Turkish and Lebanese offerings were amazing and “just like the little place across from our old house in Boston,” so with praise like that, it was immediately on my list of must-eats. However, I kept forgetting about it when trying to decide on a place to eat! Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got into a chat on Twitter about it with a few fellow foodies, and decided C and I would have to try it that weekend for lunch.

Located in the Dr. Phillips shopping center off of Sand Lake Rd (right in the “Restaurant Row” area), Anatolia is a small restaurant with gorgeous decor wedged in between Einstein’s Bagels and Starbucks. It has a few tables on the outdoor walkway for when the weather isn’t too hot and is great, in my opinion, for both a casual lunch and a semi-dressy date night.

C and I have been looking for great Mediterranean food (his goal is to find a kebab as good as the ones from The Golden Grill in Clevedon, the little town we lived in in the UK) for some time now, and we definitely found it at Anatolia. This is far from street food, though, and the prices reflect that to an extent. However, it is worth the money, be it for lunch or dinner.
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