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NEWS: Cuban Sandwich Festival coming to Kissimmee Saturday March 7th

The 5th Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival is coming March 7th to Kissimeee on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 from 11AM to 6PM. The event is presented by FORD. The event is free and family-friendly.

The festival will occur at Xentury City Center located at 2925 International Drive in Kissimmee, Florida 34747 (East of I-4, off of 192 and International Drive).

Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla, Co-Founder of the International Cuban Sandwich Festival, shares:

“The Biggest Cuban Sandwich in the World will be made, 190 feet of deliciousness and the BEST Cuban Sandwiches in Central Florida will compete for the chance to make it to the FINALS where they will have a chance to win the GOLDEN TICKET to compete in the WORLD FOOD Championships”.

Event organizers will attempt to make the “Biggest Cuban Sandwich in the World” with a goal of 190 feet. The sandwich will be distributed to help feed the homeless.

Participants will include businesses from Metro Orlando, Kissimmee and Central Florida. Restaurants will compete for the title of “Best Cuban Sandwich” in Central Florida.

Live music will include Johnnie Rivera -Vaya DJ, Revelacion Salsera, and Orchestra FUEGO.

I will be a judge at the event, I have been judging the Cuban Sandwich Festival since it began years ago in Tampa’s historic Ybor City.

The Tampa fest will occur on March 29th, 2020. Tampa created the iconic Cuban Sandwich and no amount of bickering from Miami changes the fact that Miami was a swamp when it was created.

Other judges include Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry, City Commissioner Olga Gonzalez, Executive Director of Downtown Kissimmee Diana Marrerro-Pinto, Publisher of Osceola Star Guillermo “Bill” Hansen, Marytza Sanz, President/CEO/Founder of Latino Leadership, Carlos Guzman of the Puerto Rican Leadership Council.

Find more information online at thecubansandwichfestival.com.

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Articles Restaurant review Reviews

Chuan Lu Garden in Orlando offers dim sum worth paying for

We live in strange times. Chinese eateries are seeing a decline in business due to Coronavirus fears spreading throughout the United States and arguably the planet. Some Chinese restaurants in Orlando are reporting a 20-30% drop in business despite that fact that there isn’t a single case of coronavirus in Florida.

While there is nothing wrong with being prepared and conscious of what’s happening around the globe, there’s a simple fact that this virus is not in Florida at this time. I decided to eat at my one of my favorite Chinese spots in Orlando during my last visit in Mills 50 District called Chuan Lu Garden.

I have checked out a few dim sum spots nearby such as Peter’s Kitchen and Ming’s Bistro, but neither were as good as Chuan Lu Garden despite being more popular and busier establishments. Most people visit because Chuan Lu is open until 2AM and is a reliable late-night option, but for me it’s all about dim sum for breakfast.

It’s hard to find a good dim sum spot in Florida, nothing really compares to all the great spots in San Francisco. Lord knows that Yummy House in Tampa doesn’t even come close to any of the places in Orlando. I have long hoped for more dim sum options in Tampa, but that doesn’t seem to be materializing and it remains to see what kind of effect this drop in business will have on Chinese businesses.

One of my favorite dim sum choices is the egg tart. It seems simple enough, but the crust is really the key and so many places get it wrong. Some places also have terrible egg inside. It’s delicate, but delicious. Chuan Lu does it right. My only regret was not saving it for the end so I could savor the flavor in mouth for a little longer.

Salt and Pepper Squid. This is one of my favorite dishes. It was one of the only reasons I frequented Yummy House before they were closed numerous times for health code violations and slid in quality. This one was crispy and I especially enjoyed the peppers and onions. It reminded me of a breakfast hash without the potato. Not bad for a breakfast at all.

Sesame balls with red bean inside. I love red bean. It has to have just the right mix though because the flavor can be a little overwhelming for those not accustomed to regularly eating. These balls were just right for me. It was a satisfying dish that I would order again and again.

A look inside the sesame ball with red bean.

This is a must any time I grab dim sum. Shrimp and Pork Shumai. The dumplings with a mix of the two inside is savory and satisfied my craving for some meat without being just pork or beef. I personally can’t eat too much meat early on in the day.

These shrimp dumplings were probably the only disappointing part of my meal. I’ve had it before at Chuan Lu and it was much better in the past, but this time it had an aftertaste to it, probably something to do with the batter they were mixing since the other shrimp dishes were fine. It’s still one of my favorite dim sum choices so I would probably order it again in the future.

Steamed egg custard bun. This dish was tasty and a good end to our meal. It hit all the right flavors and was a nice sweeter ending to the meal. I don’t order as many buns normally because I get extremely full when I eat them.

So there you have it. Everything was mostly great and we enjoyed all this food and tea for around $30 total which is quite affordable. Dim sum in Orlando is great at many places and I hope everyone will consider supporting Chinese restaurants during this time.

Chuan Lu Garden. 1101 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (407) 868-8709.

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Articles Restaurant News

NEWS: Celebrate Christmas Day at Wine Bar George Disney Springs (Orlando)

Wine Bar George located at Disney Springs in Orlando will have Christmas Day offerings to celebrate the occasion this year. Christmas Day is on Wednesday, December 25th this year.

Santa Carota Short Ribs at Wine Bar George in Disney Springs

Guests can enjoy Santa Carota Short Ribs, Red Wine Braised Half Chicken and Chocolate Ginger Cake with house-made peppermint ice cream, alongside select items from their regular menu.

Chocolate Ginger Cake with house-made peppermint ice cream at Wine Bar George in Disney Springs

Choose from 140 wines all available by the glass, bottle, and ounce for the perfect holiday celebration. 

Reservations can be made online at http://winebargeorge.com/events or through Disney Reservations.

Menu:

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: Wine Bar George at Disney Springs in Orlando offers Thanksgiving specials

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and there a number of places offering Thanksgiving specials. One of those places is Wine Bar George at Disney Springs in Orlando.

Thanksgiving offering at Wine Bar George.

On November 28th, Wine Bar George will be serving a traditional turkey plate ($34 for adults, $16 for kids 9 and under) as well as new Santa Carota Short Ribs ($39) alongside select items from their regular menu. Choose from 140 wines all available by the glass, bottle and ounce for the perfect holiday celebration.

Black Friday and Thanksgiving are a busy time for tourism in Orlando. Wine Bar George is one of many places offering options for the season.

For more information visit them online at winebargeorge.com.

Here is the holiday menu:

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Articles Hotels News

NEWS: Universal Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites opens March 17th 2020 in Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort will open their 8th resort, Universal Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

The new hotel adds 2,050 guests rooms to the Universal Orlando hotel portfolio with standard rooms and 2-bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 6 people. It will join sister property, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites, which opened in June 2019.

Dockside Suites and Standard Model Room Shoot Endless Summer Resort Hotels
Dockside Suites and Standard Model Room Shoot Endless Summer Resort Hotels

Rates start at $85 per night and aims to be an affordable options for visitors to the Orlando area and theme parks. Hotel guests will receive early admission to Universal theme parks, complimentary transportation to and from theme parks, and other amenities.

Dockside Inn and Suites is the 8th Universal Orlando partnership with Loews Hotels & Co.

Some attractions guests can enjoy at Universal include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Jurassic Park River Adventure, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, and The Bourne Stuntacular – which makes its debut at Universal Studios Florida in spring 2020.

Universal is also hard at work on a new theme park, Epic Universe, which will be the 4th theme park that Universal opens joining Universal Studios, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay. The theme park is slated to open in 2023.

More information can be found on their website at universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/universals-endless-summer-resort-dockside-inn-and-suites

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Articles

NEWS: 4 Rivers Smokehouses to open Sunday for Hurricane Dorian Relief in the Bahamas

Ready to eat some barbeque for a good cause?

4 Rivers Smokehouse will break their “closed on Sunday” policy on Sunday, September 8th to help raise funds for Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas. Contributions from Sunday will go to benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that is devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.

World Central Kitchen is headed up by Chef José Andrés who led efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria with over 2 million meals served in the first month.

4 Rivers will be open from 11AM to 3PM and will offer regular dine-in, to-go, and takeout menus. The COOP in Orlando will also be open from 10AM-3PM.

“As Floridians, we know all too well the destruction hurricanes can cause and it saddens us to see the devastation caused in the Bahamas by Dorian,” said John Rivers, 4 Rivers Founder and CEO. “Community is the core of our brand, so the entire 4R family is proud to contribute to relief efforts in the Bahamas by raising funds on Sept. 8 at our 4 Rivers Smokehouses and The COOP.”

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Participating locations include:

  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Carrollwood located at 14330 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Coral Springs located at 2660 N University Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33065
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Gainesville located at 3262 SW 35th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32608
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Jacksonville located at 9220 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32256
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Kissimmee located at 874 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34741
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Longwood located at 1869 W State Rd 434, Longwood, FL 32750
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Orange Park located at 220 Park Ave, Orange Park, FL 32073
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse South Tampa located at 623 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33609
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Tallahassee located at 1817 Thomasville Rd #100, Tallahassee, FL 32303
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse UCF/East Orlando located at 11764 University Blvd, Orlando, FL 32817
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Winter Garden located at 1047 S Dillard St, Winter Garden, FL 34787
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Winter Park located at 1600 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
  • The COOP located at 610 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789
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Articles Beer Events

Orlando Beer Festival coming November 16th with over 200 craft beers

Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at 2PM – Orlando Beer Festival is happening that day at Orlando Festival Park located at 2911 East Robinson Street.

Over 200 craft beers will be poured at the event from over 50 breweries. Tickets are now sale for the beer festival and are discounted if you purchase them in advance, prices will rise on the day of the event, if available.

The event will feature over 10 local food trucks, live music, interactive games, college football streaming, local vendors, a wine tasting experience, and more. The event is for ages 21+ and will strictly enforce this policy. Orlando Beer Festival is a rain or shine event.

Limited VIP tickets are currently available and includes an hour and a half of early admission, parking, Orlando Beer Festival t-shirt, a commemorative beer glass, VIP zone with shaded seating and craft cocktail experience, complimentary lite bites of food, VIP lanyard, and more. Designated Driver tickets are available. Please do not drink and drive.

Proceeds will benefit the Central Florida Brewer’s Guild.

Event sponsors include Publix Apron’s Cooking School, Orlando Federal Credit Union, Drive Shack, Hard Rock Live Orlando, Universal Roofing & Contracting, and Renewal by Anderson of FL.

Find out more information at orlandobeerfestival.com.

Event name: Orlando Beer Festival

Venue: Orlando Festival Park

Address: 2911 East Robinson Street Orlando, FL

Date & Time: Saturday, November 16th, 2PM-5PM

Ages: 21+ only

Cost: $40+

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/30NLdg0

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Articles Food Events News Restaurant News Uncategorized

NEWS: Recess Pizza grand opening set for June 22nd in Downtown Orlando

The culinary team behind Orlando Meats is having their grand opening for their latest concept, Recess Pizza, on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019.

The team took over the culinary kitchen at Orange County Brewers back in May just two blocks south of the Orange County Courthouse on the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street in Downtown Orlando.

Culinary Director Eliot Hillis and Head Chef Seth Parker have developed an alkaline dough for their pizza crust that is being paired with their high-quality cuts from Orlando Meats and cooked in a wood-fire oven.

Some pizzas menu options include:

  • Kya: pork belly, halloumi, chimichurri, crema
  • Tammi: pulled pork, slaw, cheddar, spicy white stuff
  • Beverly: spicy pork, broccolini, ricotta, mozzarella, pomodoro
  • Steph: ham and cheddar, blue cheese, garlic puree
  • & more

The menu will offer more than pizza with hot sandwiches and salads available. Brunch will be available on the menu and launch during the opening. Online ordering will be available on Slice and delivery on Uber Eats and Grubhub.

Limited-edition pizzas will be available for the opening as well as beer specials at the brewery. A raffle will be held at the opening with an array of local partners. The event will be held during regular business hours from 11:30AM to 11PM.

Find out more at recesspizza.com.

Recess Pizza. 131 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801. (321) 204-9616.

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Articles Beer

Florida Brewers Conference coming to Orlando in August, tickets now available

The 3rd Annual Florida Brewers Conference is coming to Orlando this August at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. The event is organized by The Florida Brewer’s Guild, a non-profit trade association committed to preserved the rights and interests of all craft brewers throughout the state. The target audience is brewers, brewery owners, and industry workers.

Over 1,373,558 barrels of craft beer are produced every year in Florida. Florida craft beer is ranked 5th in economic impact in the state and at least 285 breweries operate in Florida (2018 Brewers Association data).

The conference aims to “provide brewery personnel and industry trades with a high-quality educational experience, plus an opportunity to network and share delicious Florida craft beers during the two-day trade show”.

Some highlights include:

  • Insights from Brewers Diversity Ambassador Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham
  • Florida specific educational workshops from industry experts
  • Discussions with regulators, including representatives from Florida AB&T
  • Networking with over 300 FL craft beer industry members
  • Commemorative tasting glass
  • Beer receptions, luncheon & trade expo

Sensory training will be available as an additional component to the conference and cover a variety of aromas found in beer. Organizers are expecting at least 500 guests.

Renaissance Orlando is located directly across the street from SeaWorld and close to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Discovery Cove. Sponsorship packages are now available for those interested.

Hotel accommodations are available to those attending the conference at just $149 a night, including the resort fee and self-parking.

Tickets to the Florida Brewers Conference are now available and start at $185 for Florida Brewers Guild members.

Event name: Florida Brewers Conference

Venue: Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

Date & Time: Monday, August 5th, 2019 to Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Ages: 21+

Buy tickets: http://fbgcon2019.eventbrite.com/

Website: http://www.floridabrewersguild.org/florida-brewers-conference

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/453368742076200/

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Articles Events Wine

Official Florida Blueberry Festival coming to Kissimmee March 28th-March 31st

Can you feel the sunshine? The official Florida Blueberry Festival is coming to Kissimmee from March 28th to the 31st of 2019 at Formosa’s Garden Event Center. Florida Blueberry Season is from late March to April of every year.

BLUEBERRY-Crowd-8-4539

BLUEBERRY-Auntie-Oxidant-1-4610

The festival was founded in 2010 and has built a successful for 7 years in Brooksville before relocating this year to Kissimmee.

Over 60,000 people have attended the festival in the past. The event was originally created as a way to promote the burgeoning Florida blueberry industry.

BLUEBERRY-Market-Wine-4-5051

The event is now a 4-day festival and will feature a Wine Bar presented by The Island Grove Wine Company, a Beer Garden with both craft and domestic choices, Festival Fare Food Court with food concessions, retail, information exhibitors, as as well as fine arts and crafts.

There will be a Juried Art Show presented by Tampa Bay Magazine with a prize of $6,000 up for grabs.

The festival is outdoors and shirt & shoes are required, but dress for the outdoors.

Food vendors include Blueberry Junction, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, Garrett’s Kettle Corn, Cinnamon City, Wisconsin Fried Cheese, Fried Dough Factory, Barbie’s Ice Cream, Swain’s Pizza On A Stick, Blooming Potato’s & French Fries, and more. Come hungry.

FAQ:

  • Tickets cost $10 for admission and $10 for parking and are now available. There is also a special-rate for RV parking.
  • Kids ages 9 and under are FREE.
  • The event is handicap accessible with ADA handicapped parking and portable restrooms available.
  • 3 locations will be available for private-nursing/baby changing for guests.
  • Blankets and folding chairs are allowed.
  • Beer and wine will be available for purchase with valid identification.
  • Event is rain or shine. No refunds will be given.
  • ATMs will be available on-site for a fee.

There will be Florida Blueberries, Florida Blueberry Pie, Blueberry plants, and other blueberry goods as well as a VIP Hospitality Pavillion.

The event will benefit Florida Blueberry Growers Association, The Community Hope Center, The Sunshine Foundation, Autism Society of Greater Orlando, and local non-profits working as staff.

Event name: Official Florida Blueberry Festival

Venue: Formosa’s Garden Event Center

Address: 3050 Formosa Gardens Blvd. Kissimmee, FL 34747

Date & Time: March 28th, 5PM-10PM, March 29th-March 30th, 10AM-10PM, March 31st, 2019, 10AM-5PM

Cost: $10 admission, $10 parking, Kids ages 9 and under are FREE

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2FjQK4F

Entertainment: http://floridablueberryfestival.org/entertainment.php

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/389669361521429/