Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Tu Tu Tango Experience

I'm back in Orlando and my absolute favorite place to go is Tu Tu Tango. My other half has never experienced Tu Tu Tango. I have dined here many times with family and friends, but they are always changing and making additions to the menu so you will always have something new to try. So let's get down to the meal-side note-Tu Tu Tango serves tapas or small dishes you share with everyone. You can order as much or as little as you like and it comes out in no specific order.

We ordered-
The chicken and shrimp potstickers-fried and it came out alongside the tango stuffed shrimp. Those shrimp were huge and had a great taste. Shrimp wrapped in bacon with many other flavors.

 Below you see the ribs we ordered. The meat was so tender it was falling off the bone. I couldn't snap a photo quick enough as we were drooling over them!
 This last dish below was marinated goat cheese in marinara sauce with garlic toast. Many people would want to this to come out first, but it was nice to have last. It was a lighter dish and the cheese just melted in your mouth.

Ofcourse I had to have Tu Tu Tango's award winning sangria. It's so tasty! My favorite is the white. Now for dessert. I've had the chocolate calzone several times and that will always be a favorite, but this time I tried the banana pizza. OMG! Amazing. This is made from scratch so it does take some time, but the wait is worth it. I really recommend trying this when you go to Tu Tu Tango. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hyppo-Gourment Popsicle

So if you haven't notice gourmet popsicles are the hottest new thing or should I say coolest. (lame I know) Everyone is coming up with exciting flavors that aren't for the kids-its an adult popsicle. While in St. Augustine I dropped into The Hyppo. I tried the pineapple cilantro and my mom tried the cucumber mint. Both pops were very refreshing.

After we got our popsicles we took a nice stroll around the area. These pops are perfect to cool you down on a hot summer night. There are some pretty crazy flavors that range from lavender lemonade to mango habanero! 

Bistro De Leon-St. Augustine

Road trip up to St. Augustine and still eating French cuisine! I picked up a free magazine called Edible in Orlando and read and article about Bistro de Leon in St. Augustine. The place sounded charming-a husband and wife  that moved over from France in 2008. Authentic!

The menu is extensive, but the chef changes things up by using local ingredients and if he runs out of things they are just removed from the menu. Our server told us about a pre fixe dinner for $22 which includes a glass of wine, appetizer, entree, and dessert. I just couldn't pass that up. The chef also sends his welcoming to every table with a free soup of the day. 

 Above-this is the appetizer-a flaky pastry with cheese and mushroom inside. I ate the whole thing!
 My entre consisted of pork tenderloin, rice, and mushrooms. This pork had a special pepper on it. It gave it a tangy, but sweet taste. I wish I remembered the name of it. It was some of the best tenderloin I've had. I normally would not pick pork either as a rule.
 The dessert-I can't remember the name of this but it was an apple pastry. I would have preferred it to be warm.
My mom had a cherry dessert-in between if it was a cake or custard. Lots of fresh cherries inside. All in all, for the price we paid I would go back to try the chef's specials. Bon Appetite!

C'est La Vie-Sarasota Style

Heading out of Sarasota we were looking for a nice breakfast. I had read some reviews about C'est la Vie- a French Bakery. This place was perfect. It took my mother and I back to France for about a half hour where we enjoyed our coffee and baguette. The majority of people working there are French and very friendly.

The menu is pretty extensive, but sticking to the simply things made it feel realistic. The hostel I stayed in served baguettes and croissants in the morning. We took some pastries to go, but they didn't it far-they were gone by lunch time!

Square 1 Burgers & Bar-Sarasota

My mother and I took a few small road trips while she was here in town. This was my chance to show off my food finding skills. I was looking for something for lunch in Sarasota. I came across Square 1 a swanky burger place. One of the best burger places I've ever been to! There's only 3 and they are all located in Florida. Enough of my chatter-look at what I ate!

Ok-let's talk appetizer-BarBque Blue Chips-wow! Hand cut chips with a homemade BBQ sauce and blue cheese. My mom and I were going crazy over them!!!! They even let us purchase some of their homemade BBQ sauce so we can try to recreate our own version. 

Burger time! So we decided we would order 2 different burgers and split them. My mother settled on the burger called Toga Party-100% Angus burger topped with feta cheese, grilled tomato, sun-dried tomato mayonnaise and basil leaves on a wheat bun. I decided to go with the Aloha Chicken-Ground chicken burger topped with applewood- smoked bacon, Swiss cheese and a grilled pineapple ring. Served on a brioche bun with teriyaki ginger sauce. Both burgers were really tasty and trust me they have plenty to pick from. 

Oh and silly me forgot to mention the hand cut sweet potato fries-my favorite type of fries!!!! I loved them. Now we splurged and got 2 desserts because we couldn't decide-3 mini cupcakes-they were okay, but were made and frozen and when they came out they were still cold! So we order the Square 1 Zepps-Sweet ricotta beignets with SQ1’s incredible warm chocolate sauce. I think I died and went to heaven. Make sure you have someone to share them with because its very filling. 

Amazing, Amazing, Amazing lunch. My mom was very impressed with my find as she wasn't to impressed I was taking her for burgers! I prices were right and the food way above our expectations. Eat on!

Scuba Diving & Steak at Disney's Epcot

Day number 2 of my celebration took place at Epcot. Since living in Florida I've become a certified scuba diver. The only place that I know of that patrons can watch you scuba dive-The Seas with Nemo and Friends. As the diver, you get into the tank and swim around with the fish, turtle,  sting rays, and sharks! Pretty exciting. A dive master leads the group around the tank for a tour and make sure to smile and wave for the camera. After a brief tour you free to explore, wave to family and new friends on the other side of the glass. Also The Seas has a restaurant where you can watch the people eat or they are watching you swim in the tank.

After a fun dive-I was lucky enough to snag reservations at Le Cellier which is at Canada. When I made the reservations a few months back the person on the phone was so excited because it was their first time being able to make a reservation for this restaurant.  Le Cellier is a steakhouse so make sure you bring your appetite.

Let's start with the appetizers we enjoyed: seared scallops, artisanal cheeses, and the famous cheddar cheese soup. I could have made my meal on these dishes alone. Plus they bring a warm bread basket with pretzel bread. I was in love with those!

Time for the main course-I had the "Le Cellier" Mushroom Filet Mignon. I love steak and this just hit the spot. My Dad grills a mean one, but sorry pops they had you beat. Nick had his favorite cut the Canadian "Prime" New York Strip and no complaints in that department either!

Do I have room to squeeze in dessert? I can always answer that question-YES! We decided to share something because we were pretty full. Everything else was so amazing I had to try the dessert. Decision made maple flavored creme brulee.
And ofcourse Disney used a touch of their magic to personalize it for me! What a great day at Epcot. My family got to watch me scuba dive and we enjoyed a delicious meal!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Flying Fish Cafe Chef's Tasting Wine Experience

Since my family was coming to town for my graduation I was in charge of picking some places to eat while they were here. My undergrad we dined at Cheesecake Factory, which is pretty standard, as it caters to many different palates. This time it was just my parents, boyfriend, and I. I did some research and with Disney in my backyard I found the Flying Fish Cafe which is at the Boardwalk-no admission fee. My guests and I were not just eating in the restaurant, but were placed in front of chef's preparing food for the patrons and given special menus with a wine to go with each course. It was great service and made you feel extra special. The chef came out before the meal to introduce himself and take a picture with everyone. It was just perfect because my business plan during my masters degree was for a restaurant. 

Lets talk food. First course was smoked salmon, quail egg, caviar, and some avocado cream. This is the first time I ever had caviar and a quail egg. Surprisingly it wasn't too bad. The caviar was a bit salty for my taste. 

Next-crispy rice-crusted moreton bay "bug".You are probably reading this thinking-bug? Where are you eating again and how much did you pay to eat a bug. Actually this "Bug" is pretty much the mix between a  crab and lobster. It was very tasty. 

Who's ready for some duck? ME! This was amazing-duck confit trofie pasta. The duck was cooked just right, not greasy or fatty. This special handmade pasta was delightful. 

To cleanse the palate they brought out lemon cello and a lemon sorbet. So refreshing. 

The main course was pork tenderloin in truffle-laced corn "pudding" with wild mushrooms in a port wine, truffle and veal reduction. Amazing! 

There is always room for dessert-peanut butter and pretzel dianduja and a chocolate torta. 

The whole dinning experience was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't have asked for anything better. You do have to make reservations for this and I believe there is limited availability.