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!


Orlando Restaurant Week: McCormick & Schmick’s

Originally posted on Blogger on May 4, 2011

I have wanted to go to McCormick & Schmick’s for AGES now, so when I saw it on the list for Orlando Restaurant Week this year, I knew it was a must-do for me. We went over for the $25 dinner (it is right down the street, how did I resist for all this time???) on Saturday and enjoyed it so much we went back for the $10 lunch the next day!

The service was fantastic, although I think our server on Sunday for lunch was a bit disappointed that we were sticking to the Restaurant Week menu with just a soda for C and an iced tea for me as beverages. He tried to upsell us several times, suggesting alcoholic beverages, additional side items, and dessert. I did feel a bit bad for him as service was a bit slow, but the two courses provided as part of the menu were more than enough food.

The decor was classy and understated, with dark wood furnishings and accents, a faux stained-glass ceiling, and booths along one wall that were set back with forest green curtains separating them from the rest of the dining room. I half expected to peer into one and see a New York style “family man” eating with his henchmen. Too many movies, I know.

We were seated immediately on Saturday night; I had made a reservation but it didn’t seem absolutely necessary. Our server was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and was able to make recommendations and suggestions based on the questions we asked of her. For our starters, I ordered the Kobe Beef Carpaccio and C ordered the Coconut Shrimp. I was not sure what to expect from the carpaccio only having had it once before several years ago (the tuna carpaccio at Timpano’s Chophouse, also awesome if my memory serves me correctly), but I was blown away by the flavors that hit my tongue with the very first bite. The meat was tender and super flavorful, and the texture mixed incredibly with the flavors of the garlic aioli and capers that graced the top of the plate. The crostini that came with the plate had a glaze drizzled over it (balsamic?), but they became merely a vehicle on which I could pile the thinly sliced beef and carry it (somewhat) gracefully to my mouth. I may or may not have completely cleaned my plate, and would go back to the restaurant just for this dish. The fact that the rest of the meal was also good is just a plus. C’s coconut shrimp was also tasty. Nice and crisp, with a sweet chili sauce with a great tang and heat at the back of your tongue.

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