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!!


This Weekend In Orlando…

This coming weekend is another one full of great events for food lovers here in Orlando! It starts today, in fact, with the first day of Orlando Restaurant Week, and continues with the Winter Garden Harvest Festival, numerous farmer’s markets, and three Food Truck Bazaars!

Orlando Restaurant Week

I have looked forward to the 2012 Orlando Restaurant Week all year! Last year, I took full advantage of the various amazing deals that were offered and tried several restaurants that I had not been able to previously. My favorite last year was (the now-closed) McCormick & Schmick’s. We liked it so much, in fact, that we tried both the lunch and dinner menus! Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to sample the menus of restaurants you perhaps weren’t sure if you’d like, or that you may not be able to afford on a regular basis, because of the great two or three course prix fixe menus that they offer during this period. Lunches are offered for either $10 or $15, and dinners run $10, $15, $25, or $35. No matter which one you choose, they all seem to be amazing deals this year, and there are some highly rated and talked about venues on the lists this year. Some of these include K Restaurant in College Park, Matteo’s Ristorante on International Drive, Fleming’s Steakhouse and Morton’s Steakhouse in Dr. Phillips, and Copper Canyon, The Capital Grille, Taverna Opa, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room all at Pointe Orlando. Additionally, this year The Daily City’s Food Truck Bazaar is also featured under the $10 dinner option! Links to all of the available prix fixe menus can be found here.

Planning to go to one or more of the Orlando Restaurant Week spots? Let me know where you’re going, and how it is after you’ve been! I’m going to try a few myself, obviously, but I won’t be able to make it to them all.

Orlando Restaurant Week 2012 runs from May 3rd until May 12th.

Winter Garden Harvest Festival

On Saturday, May 5th, is the very first Winter Garden Harvest Festival, brought to the area by A Local Folkus, LLC, the City of Winter Garden, and Slow Food Orlando. The festival will be located in downtown Winter Garden, right next to the regular weekly farmer’s market, and focuses on celebrating local food. In addition to the live entertainment, activities, demonstrations, and vendors during the day, there is a Farm to Table dinner being held in the evening. This dinner will feature local chefs and local produce, and will include cocktails, wine, beer, and music. Tickets for the $75 dinner can be purchased here.

The Winter Garden Harvest Festival sounds like it is going to be an amazing event, full of just what Orlando needs – more attention paid to the awesome talent and resources that we have right here in our own city.

Farmers’ Markets

If you want to go to a farmers’ market in Orlando on the weekend, odds are there is one near you on at least one of the days. Obviously, some markets are better than others, depending on what you are looking for, but they all offer an opportunity to get outside on a weekend morning and mingle with your neighbors, which is never a bad thing! Here is a list of some of the markets in town; if you know of one that isn’t listed, please let me know in the comments and I will add it!

Winter Park Farmers’ Market – Saturday mornings from 7am until 1pm.
This market is wonderful. There is produce galore, freshly baked bread, local cheese, plus much, much more. There are also several ready-made food vendors, so come for breakfast and eat while you walk around!

Lake Eola Farmers’ Market Sundays from 10am until 4pm

Winter Garden Farmers’ MarketSaturdays from 9am until 2pm

Sand Lake Farmers Market – Saturdays from 9am until 2pm

Maitland Lake Lily Farmers’ Market – Saturdays from 9am until 2pm

Hunters Creek Farmers’ Market – Saturdays from 9am until 2pm

Most of the vendors at the markets will only take cash, so make sure you stop by an ATM on your way!

Food Truck Bazaars

This weekend there is not one, not two, but three Food Truck Bazaars! Formed by The Daily City, the Food Truck Bazaars are a great way to get the family and friends together, support your local food trucks, and have an awesome meal. On Friday, May 4th, the Food Truck Bazaar will be at the Kissimmee Civic Center from 5pm until 8pm. On Saturday, May 5th, also from 5pm to 8pm, the food trucks are headed to downtown Sanford, and on Sunday, May 6th, they’ll be in Orange City at John’s Appliances (911 S. Volusia Avenue). Most trucks do take cards, but it is recommended that you bring your own chairs.

Want more information? Click one of the above links, or follow @TheDailyCity or @FoodTruckBazaar on Twitter!

Know of a food event taking place this weekend that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@Orlndofoodie)!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Food Events Galore!

April seems to be the “it” month for food events in Orlando, doesn’t it? There was Taste of Winter Park, Taste of College Park, multiple Food Truck Bazaars, and this coming, final weekend is no exception! There are four major events going on this weekend, and I encourage you to visit at least one or two of them; they all seem like such fun!

The Festival of Chocolate

The Festival of Chocolate runs from Friday, April 27th through Sunday, April 29th at the UCF Arena. The event includes activities for adults and children alike, so bring the whole family if you can! Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children (for one day at the festival) and include entrance to most of the competitions and demonstrations throughout the festival. Advance ticket purchases through the website also include entry into a drawing to help judge the “Best of” chocolate indulgence competition (for adults) and in the ice cream eating and cookie stacking competitions (for children). Several vendors will also be present and selling their best confectioneries all in exchange for “chocolate chip” coins that can be purchased either in advance or at the festival itself ($1 = 1 coin).

Want to make your experience at the festival even more exciting? Sign up for one of the chocolate classes that are being offered! For $20, you can take a class in such topics as creating gumpaste roses, making chocolate truffles, cupcake decorating, and many more. There are also chocolate and wine pairings throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday that cost an additioal $10 (and are obviously for guests 21 and older only).

On Friday night only, visitors to the Festival can see The Cocoa Couture Fashion Show at 8:00pm. What a cool way to start the weekend!

The thing that excites me the most about the event, though? The free demonstrations! I can’t wait to see Chef David Ramirez from the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort talk about and demonstrate the art of chocolate showpiece making, and also to see Chef David Arnold of MTI Culinary Arts talk about making savory dishes from chocolate (something new for me!).

If you want to purchase tickets to the Festival of Chocolate, you can follow this link here.



On Friday night, April 27th, in Altamonte Springs’ Cranes Roost Park is Winestock 2012. The event is from 7pm until 10pm, with ticket costs of $30 in advance and $40 on the day of. There will be live music and plenty of wine and craft beer to go around. In addition, several local restaurants (including Cafe Murano and Rangetsu) will have food available for an additional charge. Tickets for Winestock can be purchased here or at Cork & Olive on Lake Mary Blvd in Lake Mary.


Central Florida Food Blogger Bake Sale

This event is one for a great cause. My friends Julie (from The Little Kitchen) and Katie (of Katie’s Cucina) have organized this amazing bake sale to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign as part of the National Food Blogger Bake Sale.

Julie, Katie, and several other local food bloggers will be set up on Saturday, April 28th from 10am until 1pm at 427 S. New York Ave in Winter Park outside of the Winter Park Harvest Festival offices. Last year they raised $1300 through their bake sale; this year they have upped their goal to $2000. I was unable to participate this year, but I will definitely be stopping by to purchase some goodies and help them reach their goal!

A few of the bloggers are also taking pre-orders for baked goods, and Julie is even willing to ship some of her amazing treats for a donation of $100! For more information, visit Julie’s blog post here and Katie’s post here.

The Great American Pie Festival

On Saturday, April 28th, and Sunday, April 29th, the Great American Pie Festival is taking over downtown Celebration! The Never-Ending Pie Buffet ($10 for adults and $5 for children) is the biggest draw for the festival, but there will also be numerous demonstrations, entertainment, pie decorating, and (of course!) a pie eating contest!

For those of you with children, there is a children’s area that offers activities (pie making and eating), bounce houses, and crafts. The children’s area has a fee of $10 per child.

Also, if you follow the pie festival on Twitter and Facebook, they are giving away sets of two pie buffet tickets each day!

Each evening there will also be an awards ceremony for the Crisco National Pie Championships (at least one of these has been aired on the Food Network in the past), with the amateur awards on Saturday and the professional and junior awards on Sunday.

For a full schedule of the festival’s various activities, click here.

Taste of Pointe Orlando

On Sunday, April 29th, from 2pm until 5pm, most of the restaurants at Pointe Orlando are gathering together to offer a taste of the venue for those who purchase tickets. Popular local eateries including Copper Canyon Grill, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and Taverna Opa will all be offering samplings of their menu items; it’s sure to be a fun (albeit filling!) event!

Tickets for Taste of Pointe Orlando are $30 and can be purchased here.


The Daily City Food Truck Bazaar

This week’s food truck bazaar is on Sunday, April 29th, in downtown Avalon Park from 5pm until 8pm. This event always promises great food and a great time. Bring chairs and be ready to meet lots of fellow foodies and eat amazing food! In the past, there have been anywhere from 8 up to 30 plus trucks at the bazaar, so there is always something for everyone. Bring the whole family! You can read about my first trip to a Daily City Food Truck Bazaar here.



This is just a sampling of the events going on around town this weekend! Are you planning to attend any of them? Let me know in the comments, and maybe I will see you there!

Rugelach for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I have gotten the chance to do some really awesome things since I started this little blog of mine (Taste of the Nation Orlando and the Central Florida Bloggers Conference, to name a few), but I’ve got to say the coolest one so far was having the opportunity to participate in the first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, set up by Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil. More than 600 food bloggers from around the world signed up, and we were each given the names of three bloggers to send a dozen cookies to. I loved the idea of a “Secret Santa” type of cookie swap to begin with, but I never thought that I’d end up finding so many more awesome people through this event! It was such a fun thing to participate in and I’m already looking forward to next year!

For my cookies, I made rugelach, a traditional Jewish cookie that I grew up eating and only learned to make a few years ago. The dough is insanely simple to make and so every year I make it in huge batches and freeze it in dough rounds that each make a dozen cookies. I was so excited to share these with my fellow bloggers as so many people have never heard of rugelach, much less tried them. I love these cookies not only because of the texture of the dough itself, but because you can fill them with so many different things! The traditional filling includes raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon, and my favorite is a variation of that, but I made a few other fillings as well since I was making so many. I use Ina Garten’s rugelach recipe from the Food Network recipe for the dough, and for my basic filling I have adapted hers as well.

adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe
makes 4 dozen cookies


8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Basic Filling:
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 egg, for the egg wash


For the dough:

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth and light in color.

2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.

3. Mixing on low, add the flour until just combined.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a ball, then divide into four, flatten each section into a round disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

To assemble the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and brown sugar.

3. Roll each ball of dough out on a floured surface until they each form an approximately 9-inch circle. Spread each circle with a thin layer of apricot preserves, then sprinkle them with the filling, pressing it lightly into the dough.

4. Cut each circle into quarters, and then cut each quarter into three wedges. Starting at the wide end of each wedge, roll the dough tightly towards the pointy end, then place each cookie, pointy end down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (These cookies barely expand while baking, so you can place them fairly close together).

5. Brush each cookie with egg wash and then bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.


Ina Garten chills her rolled cookies for 30 minutes before baking them. I have done this in the past and have honestly not noticed a difference, but obviously it is up to you. She also sprinkles her cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar after brushing with the egg wash; I find that this makes them a bit too sweet for my taste, but it isn’t a bad thing to add, either.

Instead of the raisin/brown sugar filling that I like to use or the one with nuts and cinnamon that Ina has in the original website, you can try almost any combination of dried fruit and preserves. For the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I tried:

mini chocolate chips, sprinkled over the dough circles and lightly pressed in
a thin layer of strawberry preserves sprinkled lightly with brown sugar
strawberry preserves, brown sugar, and dried cranberries
strawberry preserves, brown sugar, and golden raisins

Frankly, I love them all.

In addition to sending three dozen cookies to fellow food bloggers, I received three dozen of my own!

The first box I received were from Bianca at Becoming Bianca – she sent me delicious white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies…SO GOOD. I’m pretty sure C loved them even more than I did, since he ate almost all of them before I even got a chance 😉

The second box arrived from Brittany of Life of a Bama Girl. Her cinnamon pinwheel cookies were scrumptious and so hard to stop eating!

And finally, I got a box of white chocolate chip cookies with peppermint glaze from Jennifer at Mother Thyme. Freakin’. Amazing. No joke.

Want to see their recipes? Check out their blogs…everyone that participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap posted their recipe today!!

Taste of the Nation Orlando – 2011 – recap

Originally posted on Blogger on August 14, 2011

I had the opportunity to attend the 22nd Annual Taste of the Nation event at the Orlando World Center Marriott last weekend as a local blogger, and it was an experience for which I am so glad I got the opportunity. Between the amazing food, the huge amount of participation in both the silent auction and the raffles, and the entertainment, the evening was certainly one to remember, not to mention wildly successful.
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Taste of the Nation Orlando 2011

Originally posted on Blogger on June 16, 2011

The only thing better than going to a local foodie event that I can think of is, well, going to a local foodie event that benefits No Kid Hungry, Share our Strength’s nationwide effort that was established to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. Taste of the Nation Orlando is an event that does just this. Here’s the amazing thing: 100 PERCENT of the ticket sales will go to No Kid Hungry. Every restaurant, chef, mixologist, planner, etc that is involved is donating their time to make sure that ticket sale prices will purely go to this worthy cause.

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections

This year, the Taste of the Nation Orlando event will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott on August 6th, 2011. VIP entrance begins at 6pm, with general admission at 6:45, and the event will last until 10pm. General admission tickets are $100 each. VIP admission is $150 a ticket, and includes general admission plus early entry to the event, goody bags (eep! goody bags!!), and exclusive seating.

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections

Taste of the Nation Orlando includes representatives from tons of local restaurants and venues, including The Capital Grille, K Restaurant & Wine Bar, Sanaa (at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge), Whole Foods Market, plus many more. For the current full restaurant list, check here. As the event gets closer, I will post any further information I get regarding participants and the morsels they will be offering.

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections

During the event there will also be an auction held, with some seriously awesome items up for bid. Some of these include getaways (both in-state and out; there is even a getaway to the Arizona Biltmore up for grabs!), sporting events, and (probably most exciting to all of the foodies) some seriously awesome restaurant items. One of them is a four course chef’s tasting for two with wine at The Ravenous Pig. Those of you with upcoming weddings or children take note: there are also various photography sessions up for bid. Those that I’ve listed are only a small sample of the auction spoils that will be available that night!

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections

Who will the proceeds from this event benefit locally? Both the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In addition, Florida Impact will also benefit from all of the events of this kind statewide.

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections

At this point, how could you not want to attend Taste of the Nation Orlando? I know I sure cannot WAIT for August 6th to get here.

To buy tickets, or to donate if you cannot attend, click here.

Also, if you purchase a VIP ticket between now and June 20th, use code ORLDAD for 10% off. What a great Father’s Day gift that would be!

Photo from Taste of the Nation 2010 by MPuckett Simple Reflections