Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keke's Breakfast Cafe

After being in Orlando for almost two years, I've constantly been searching for a good breakfast place. I'm sorry, but Denny's, Ihop, or Perkins just doesn't cut it. I'm from a small town in Jersey and just today I think I found a spot that touches close to home-Keke's Breakfast Cafe. I was in the area just over at Coliseum of Comics doing work for Captive Digital and remembered seeing a breakfast place close by.

My waitress was friendly as I asked what was Keke's known for and she explained the waffles and suggested maybe a combo so I could try a few things.
Ok-I'll have the waffle with bacon and home fries, but I don't just want a plain waffle....there's so many options. 

I found it appropriate to order the Florida waffle and I was not disappointed. Piled high with fruit I couldn't wait to dig in.
The bacon was cooked perfect and I didn't even ask for it to be crispy-just how I like it. The home fries I could give or take...I was to into my waffle. 

All in all, Keke's was charming place and I love their tag line-"It's like your hometown diner grew up and went to the city." It has a diner feel, with a bit of class.
If your looking for a great breakfast check out Keke's!!

Shipyard Emporium-Winter Park

I have been patiently waiting to try out Shipyard Emporium located in Winter Park. For those of you not familiar-Shipyard is a brewing company located in Maine. The emporium is a market, bakery, and brew pub. There is a beer and wine list, but I had been waiting to try the Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat beer. 

Each week there is a special brew made there on site also. Next time I will def have to try it out. My blueberry beer even had a few blueberries floating in it-nice touch. For an appetizer I tried the buffalo chicken dip. Really tasty.
It came with the small crostini to dip. The chicken was plentiful and the dip had just even of a tang for me. If you like things really spicy try asking for them to kick it up a notch. For dinner I had the Lake Rose sandwich turkey with brie and some kind of cranberry/orange jam-yummy. You have a few choices for sides and I chose the pasta salad which was pretty good. 

My friend ordered the roast beef also with the pasta salad and there were no complaints from that side of the table either.
Shipyard was all that I expected it to be. It was a great atmosphere and even if you just want to run in to grab some great beers and bread its easy and accessible. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Random Acts of Cake

So I was in the baking mood the other night and see what I churned out. A red velvet, cream cheese frosting beach cake.
All mixed ready for the oven. That's right I didn't burn down the place either.
Pretty solid looking cake... now get ready to see the most awesome homemade beach cake!

Half of the cake I added blue food coloring to the frosting and the other half left white and covered it over to look like sand which is actually crumbled up graham crackers (if you need to take out any frustration this is great) The teddy grahams are floating in gummy life savers and some are laying out on fruit leather, but fruit roll ups would work too! It tasted just as good as it looked too!

Burger and Beer Binge

I've been binging on burgers-my latest stop World Famous Burgers and Beer! So many choices where to start. It basically is a big chalk board on the wall and you chose the bun, meat, cheese, and veggies. Pints on draft are $1. I had a wheat bun, stuffed meat, provolone, with lettuce and tomato. Great meal for cheap. If your looking for a good burger in the area- they are also open late till 4am!

After Party Burgers-Food Truck

Need your late night fill after a night out on the town-After Party Burgers on 7200 International Drive is the place. After Party has some of the best burgers on International. I had the bacon, egg, cheeseburger-AMAZING! You can even order 1/2 pound of french fries for just 5 dollars. They have many different burger options. After party is open from 6pm to 3am every night! Don't go to bed hungry! 

Hawkers Asian Fare-Mills 50 District

Saturday I met up with my girlfriend Jordan for some Asian Cuisine I've been dying to try out-Hawkers. Jordan was the perfect person to join me on my mission. I've heard great things about Hawkers and I was ready to put it to the test.

Our waiter was really friendly as I asked for his recommendations and told him how high my standards were for the restaurant.

First let me make it known Hawkers serves Asian food, tapas style-small dishes to share. Our first two choices were duck lettuce wraps and roti cani.

 I was weary of the duck (I've been to China and I can be pretty picky). The duck was really fresh and tasted great. The roti was one of my favorites. The curry has such a great taste I could have licked the bowl clean! Next a noodle dish-we went for Malaysian Mei Fun. Very fresh good serving-with chicken and shrimp.

Mind you I came on an empty stomach ready to get my fill-next we try some of Hawker's originals- fish tacos and curry mash potatoes. The tacos were good, but bland so we put some of the curry on it and that spiced it up. The mash potatoes were something different something I would try recreating at home.

Hawkers is for sure a thumbs up and I will be back!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Star Wars Weekends

Yes- all you Star Wars junkies-The Star Wars weekend is going on at Hollywood Studios. The park has relaunched Star Tours 3-D. How do I know all of this you may ask....(besides living in Orlando) The  promo team came through where I work. I got to meet Chewbacca and Jawa.

 This is only going on from June 17th to August 1st on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays. May the force be with you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ideas into Actions

Reading about how the pros do things and taking the concepts or ideas and implementing them into your own business are two different things said and done. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the America’s Next Great Restaurant. Two of the professionals I highlighted were Bobby Flay and Steve Ells. Both of these men have created something from nothing. Starting with a basic idea and having the courage to start something new-one big dare- to cook or not to cook?            
My current business plan is for a restaurant, big RED plate. (Don’t even think about taking the idea). I would take the chance and go on a show such as America’s Next Great Restaurant.  What is big RED plate? It’s an Italian restaurant, but the dinning idea is similar to a Kobe or Benihana- you watch the food being cooked in front of you. My twist, all of the produce is local and has healthy options, just touching on a few things. (Can’t share it all, sorry) Restaurants are always a risky venture to start. My second option I have been throwing around-a food truck. Food trucks are being shown in a new light, they are offering gourmet food options. It’s still a large investment, but not as large as going into the full-blown restaurant industry. One article I found from awesome and very informative read was How to Open a (Successful) Food Truck. The first thing the article mentions-build a following! You have food and now you need the people! Come eat! A video they have posted interviews from food trucks and how it has so many different layers than a restaurant. Food truck owners don’t just have to worry about cooking food and opening the doors, there’s parking issues, police, and other vendors to worry about. And last, but not least, Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business. Question number 6- When you look in the mirror does a entrepreneur look back? How would you answer that question. My answer is without a doubt, yes!

POPPED! Music Festival-Philadelphia

Ok-Now I'm really getting a little homesick. I just got an e-mail today from another blog I follow-Shmitten Kitten. The Popped! Music festival will be going on in Philly the weekend of Sept 23rd &24th. There's a great music line up and there's going to be local food vendors. OMG! I want to be there. I have plans the weekend before to be in Philly for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Hmmm...anyway to stretch my trip. I would love to be back in Philly for these events!!! 

Ming's Bistro-Best Chinese in Orlando

Looking for some authentic Chinese food-look no further- Ming's Bistro is your answer. I've spent a month in China and when I came back the Chinese food you see at the mall food court doesn't even come close to what they serve there. Ming's serves traditional cantonese style food. Ming's bistro is just off Mills Ave. behind the 7-11.
So wondering what we got to eat? I ordered one of my favorite dishes-pan fried noodles with seafood. It's simplistic, but always freshly cooked and delish.

 Dean picked the duck, which was ok, but not the best I had. We ordered one dish of dim sum- the fried taro which has beef inside.

 Every time I am there, I always want to order everything on the menu. It's amazing and I really suggest you trying this place out. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Royal Parks Run

World travelers- if you are heading over to the UK in October-heads up there is half marathon in London October 9th-The Royal Park Half Marathon. I would love to participate in this run, maybe next year if all goes as planned. It's a 13.1 mile run through 4 of London's Royal Parks-Hyde, Kensington, Green, and St. James's Park. How amazing to run through these beautiful historic areas. My legs are ready to run over to London just thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

iFly Orlando

Hit Read More and watch the video first-that is an iFly experience. You might be asking yourself what is that? iFly simply put is flying-without jumping out of an airplane. iFly is a vertical wind tunnel that allows one to fly and experience what you would if you were sky diving. iFly is on International Drive across from Wet n Wild. It was awesome! Going for an actual skydive is on my to do list. Having done the iFly experience has me hyped up to jump out of a plane 1500 ft. Call me crazy, insane, or whatever you wish... i love the rush! See you on the other side! 

Blizzard Beach Water Park is a Splash!

Summer is right around the corner and already hot in Orlando. What better way to cool off then in a blizzard-Blizzard Beach Water Park it is! Disney offers two water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. To cool down we wanted to pretend like the snow was real. The whole story behind Blizzard Beach was there was a freak snow storm in Florida and what better idea then to open up a snow resort and then it became hot again- water park it is!! Blizzard beach has one of the world's tallest and fastest free falling water slides-Sumit Plummet-those who dare the 120 ft drop equal to about 12 stories-falling at a speed between 50 or 60 mph. Did we dare-ofcourse!!!!!
As for the rest of the park-there's plenty of water rides for all ages. No water park would be complete without a lazy river. Now let's get to the food part of the park-overpriced!!!! Welcome to the theme parks everyone. You are looking at spending about 7 dollars for a hot dog! I could buy at least 2 pack of hot dogs for that price. What I did find worth the money-The Sand Pail! I wish I had my camera, but I did find a picture online. It's a sand pail filled with ice cream, waffle pieces, cookie pieces, carmel, hot fudge, whip cream, and more ice cream. For  $9.99 Dean and I could not just pass this up. 

The picture doesn't really do justice-ours was over flowing! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beer Dinner

If you are looking for something local to do-Beer Dinner at Tu Tu Tango. Food and beer pairing sounds pretty good to me. If your interested in going make sure you make reservations!

Grocery Store/Cooking Classes/Bistro/Catering all in ONE!

Ever go to the grocery store and realize you are hungry and your pulling everything off the shelf into your cart? (yup-been there done that!) What about you see something that looks good and wonder how you make it?! Or you buy something the store made and you wish you could have 30 for that party your hosting? I've got your answer if you live in TEXAS-Hubbell & Hudson.
Hubbell & Hudson has a market for your grocery needs, a bistro to fill your stomach, a cooking school, and catering available. I would love to take a road trip here. The bistro offers a lunch, dinner, and brunch menu. From the pictures on the site this is an upscale neighborhood bistro! Cooking classes you ask-Viking Cooking School. The June schedule is all, but a few days sold out! Lets not forget the 10 page catering menu offered! Just thinking of it Hubbell & Hudson puts Whole Foods to shame. If I make it to Texas I would love to check this place out. If anyone has ever been please let us know how it is!!! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Milk District-Quenches your Thirst!

The Milk District is the future of the hipster scene. If you have ever been to Northern Liberties in Philadelphia, PA this is what  the Milk District will become. The Milk District gets it name because of the T.G. Lee Milk distributor on Robinson St. It has various bars and restaurants all in walking distance of each other. 
Dean in the Milk District
So you are probably wondering-where did I go. Yes I brought Dean along too-he's always up to try some new food. We tried Spooky's Black Cat Cafe for dinner. We almost drove past the place because it really doesn't have a sign. You had to look close-the building was painted to say Spooky's. 

Our waitress was super friendly and was eager to help us with all the questions we had. I settled for a homemade white sangria and Dean had a milk stout. 
Then we had the Tour of India which was a- trio of Baigan Bharta style eggplant curried dip, Pav Baji style vegetable curry dip and Patra style aloo leave, curries and a tamarind roll with a side of curried yogurt, toasted Naan bread, and today’s crisps. So good!!!! The flavor was very distinct and each complimented each other. 

So after the appetizer-what next-we had a total of 3 menus in front of us because currently The Social Chameleon is under renovation so Spooky's is serving their pizza's.Then there's the regular menu and then today's creations which change on a regular basis.  So our next thing to try-Meatloaf Pizza. Sounds interesting right-well is was really good. Meatloaf with sauce, bbq sauce, cheese and peppers. 

Now we're pretty full and its time to take a stroll to see the area. We ended up at the Bull n Bush-English Pub. Its dark inside with dark wood. There's several dart boards and a typical menu with English fare-fish and chips. While I was there I took advantage of the Blackthorn cider on tap! I was reminiscing having a pint in London. 
Bull n Bush is laid back. Dean and I chatted while the music similar to what you might hear at Ibar. Come to find out it was the bartender's ipod playing in the back-nice music taste- Tiffany. She was friendly, down to earth. Sitting at the end of the bar, Scott, the manager or assistant manager depending on the night. He told us about a small patio they have on the back to enjoy drinks. Bull n Bush was a really chill place that I would revisit. And if you don't want a full pint-you can get a half! 
The Milk District has a potential to become something great. It might take years to develop, but the location is nice and its easy to walk around the neighborhood. See you in the Milk District.