Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lunch at Artisan's Table

I made my second visit to Artisan's table for lunch yesterday (see pics from my 1st visit here: Breakfast at Artisan's table )

For lunch I tried to Kalbi Cheesesteak - $10  downtown Orlando. Korean marinated beef rib eye, Gruyere, caramelized onions & red peppers, radish, kimchee ketchup, arugula on baguette. This sandwich was truly creative and delicious. The kimchee ketchup was only vaguely spicy but perfect for this. Bread was awesome from a French bakery out in Ocoee.

I also sampled the Smoked Chicken Salad with Basil Green Goddess dressing it was spectacular! I can't wait to go back for dinner.

They are open until midnight on the weekends.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Scenes from The Coop

The Coop from John Rivers of 4 Rivers fame opened last week off Morse near Dexter's in Winter Park. Today I got a chance to try it.

The menu has a lot of great sounding items, the most interesting items were the shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, po boys, meatloaf, chicken & waffles, pimento cheese dip. They also have organic roasted chicken as a healthier option to the signature fried chicken.

My first attempt to visit was on Monday the next week after their opening, their menu, website & Yelp says they are open Mondays but they were not on this particular Monday probably due to opening week growing pains, fair enough. So I tried again on Tuesday, I got there a few minutes after 11 and there was already a 30+ minute wait. So make sure you allow plenty of time to order and eat. They do have a takeout window on the side but it's not open yet, it's not clear if they do takeout orders at the counter, you'll likely have to wade through the sea of people blocking the entrance unless you enter via the back patio. The good thing is the dining room is quite large with many great wooden tables and chairs and even more picnic tables outside. Their hours are: Mon-Fri 11-2 and 5-9, Sat 11-9, closed Sunday.

There is a small parking lot but just like 4 Rivers which is constantly packed this one was too, it was easy to find parking not far down the street and there are no meters in the surrounding blocks.

The ordering process much like 4 Rivers is a cafeteria line where you tell the 1st employee your order and she writes it on a sheet which also serves as your placemat on a tray, then the next employee puts your sides on etc.

They have a soda machine with unlimited refills & iced tea as well.

Mr. Rivers himself was there working the line and later working the room meeting guest.

Overall it seems to be a good value for the money, slightly cheaper than 4 rivers. 

The bread pudding I liked but probably too sweet for most folks, I like the krispy kreme bread pudding from 4R better, I'm not sure what this bread pudding was made from, it was not as firm as the 4 Rivers version.

Many of the desserts look quite good such as the Pecan Pie and the Cherry Hand Pie.

I didn't have anything as good as the 4 Rivers brisket which I believe is worth the 30 minute + wait. My favorite item was the Mac and cheese, 2nd best was the pimento dip, very rich though. I still will reserve my full judgment until I try the po boys, meatloaf and a few other items. I'm not a huge fan of chicken, so I'm not the best to judge that item. The seasoning on the chicken was good, very full of black pepper.

I'm a huge fan of well made grits but these were not flavorful enough for me, they were quite creamy which is a great start a little more cheese or seasoning would make them great.

Don't just take my opinion for it, check out these posts by some of my fellow Orlando Bloggers:

Tasty Chomps - The Coop: A Southern Affair by Chef John Rivers – A Preview

The Coop: A Southern Affair, Offers Refined Southern Comfort Food 

Thanks for the Fork - From the Preview Party 

The Coop on Urbanspoon 


Monday, April 21, 2014

Qarma Crepes

Qarma Crepes opened a few months ago in Thornton Park.

Check them out at their site:

and read the reviews:

12 N Summerlin Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 403-5549

Tamarind Indian now open on East Colonial

Tamarind Indian which has it's first location in Winter Park has opened it's second location on East Colonial in the former Cypriana Greek near Woodbury.

check out the reviews:

Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria now open in Apopka

Tartini which opened last year on South Orange Ave has opened a second location in Apopka. Check out the reviews.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cafe 906 Coming Soon to Baldwin Park

Cafe 906 used to be across from Austin's Coffee House in Winter Park, they closed about a year ago. The are now reopening soon in Baldwin Park at 4932 New broad street, Orlando, FL 32814 where O'boys was for a while.

They always had good french pastries, quiche and sandwiches. Follow them on their facebook page and check out their blog which has lots of pics of the food they used to serve at their old location.,-81.326063,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88e76544e199ad57:0x556c38ac5e502d70 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Florida Film Festival 2014

The 23rd annual Florida Film Festival will take place in Maitland Florida on April 4-13, 2014. They always have great parties and food events during the festival so here is a summary:

Enzian is located at 1300 South Orlando Ave., Maitland, FL 32751

Opening Night Party:
Friday April 4th, 2014
Opening Night Film 7PM The Trip to Italy preceded by “Oh Sheep!” shown at Regal
Cocktail hour at Eden Bar: 7–8PM.
Food and cocktail bar inside theater:  8–11PM.

Party ONLY ticket price $95

Some great local restaurants are participating this year in the opening night party, there is always unlimited sampling and the lines are usually quite quick.

Cask & Larder
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
K Restaurant
Olea Grill
Sushi Pop
Smiling Bison

The Matador
The Courtesy

Locally Fresh! Farmers Market

Saturday, April 5, NOON-2:30PM at Lawn at Eden Bar FREE and open to the public

An afternoon tasting of local eats and a video sneak peek into the world of our nearby farming communities. Enzian goes down to the farm to learn where our food is coming from. Featuring food from these vendors: Lake Meadow Natural Farms, Palmetto Creek Farms, Olde Hearth Bread Co., and East End Market.

After "Locally Fresh!" there will be a farmers market on the lawn. Guests will get a chance to talk to the famers and other local vendors as well as purchase goods to take home to try.

Sunday Brunch Buffet

Sunday, April 6, 11AM-2PM at Eden Bar
$13.99--includes buffet & a mimosa
À la carte options also available

Also there will be a few films of interest to food centric folks


Le Chef

View trailer on Youtube(Link)
    Directed by: Daniel Cohen
    FRANCE/SPAIN, 2012, 84 minutes
    In French with English subtitles
    Rated PG-13

Toss together a veteran three-star chef, a new CEO who wants him out, a molecular gastronomist whom the CEO wants in, and an incredibly talented and obsessive young chef. Throw in a dash of Japanese high farce. Sauté with the flawless charm and great timing of French comedy and voila! LE CHEF. Jacky is a young chef who keeps getting fired from his jobs at ordinary restaurants where he expects extraordinary gastronomes. Béatrice is Jacky’s very pregnant girlfriend. Alexandre Lagarde (played by the fabulous Jean Reno, Leon the Professional) is a three-star living legend past his prime. Sweating his contract (that depends on his three stars), Chef Lagarde pits his wits against a new CEO who wants his traditional French cuisine replaced by molecular gastronomy. Sacré bleu! Jacky has been reduced to washing windows at a nursing home when the two meet and begin a brilliant collaboration. French, funny, food, love, LE CHEF has it all.

 After Winter, Spring

    Directed by: Judith Lit
    USA/FRANCE, 2013, 74 minutes
    In English and French with English subtitles
    Southeast Premiere

Trailer on Vimeo(Link)

This is an utterly gorgeous love story for the farmers in Perigord, France, which has been continuously cultivated for over five thousand years. One hundred years ago, half of the population of France were farmers. Now less that 3% are. Will the Perigord peasants be the last generation to employ and sustain the old methods? Will the world lose their “old peasant wisdom” of prudence, respect, and love of the earth? Filmed over four years, AFTER WINTER, SPRING is a treasure trove of great food and farming traditions. With fascinating detail, it captures the roots of farm-to-table and the tenacity of the people who have taken one season at a time for generations. The filmmaker, an American ex-pat and Perigord neighbor, was raised on her own family’s farm in Pennsylvania. Her bond to the land and the people who love it translates into an insightful, lyrical tribute to a way of life on the verge of extinction.

shown with the Short Film:

Faces from Places—Louisiana: La Boucherie

Laissez le bon temps rouler! Meet a Cajun butcher, watch a Cajun BBQ, go whole hog, and Party! 

Lombardi's Seafood Shop

Great selection of fresh seafood at Lombardi's in Winter Park. Lobster, rainbow trout, oysters, scallops, smoked fish dip, grouper, chowders & more! 

Lombardi's is reportedly moving their seafood warehouse to Fairbanks near 4 rivers BBQ.

Txokos Basque Kitchen

After much anticipation Txokos Basque Kitchen opened in Orlando this month in the building housed by East End Market. I've been hearing about the plans for Txokos for what seems like years. I have eaten at it's sister restaurant, Spanish River Grill, in New Smyrna Beach a couple times and was really impressed.

I got there at 5:30 just after opening without a reservation and I was the only guest, I saw some familiar faces among the staff which was nice. I sat down at the bar and ordered one of the Spanish Beers. They had a good selection of beers most of which I hadn't heard of. They also had a couple cidras that according to the staff are similar to ciders but not as sweet and drier. I ordered the 1906 beer which was a darker beer and it was quite good. When I visited Spain about 5 years ago their beer selection was quite poor in most places, with the only beers I could find were Estrella Damm and Mahou, both of which are not very good beers in my opinion. As a result during the trip I would order sangrias instead of beer. It was great to find that the staff had made such an effort to find good Spanish beers to serve at Txokos.

After my date arrived we moved to a table with a view of the wood burning Asador grill. The wheels you see on the top allow the grill plates to be raised and lowered. This is my one complaint about the evening, while the Asador is very visually appealing the grill created a lot of smoke, so the room got a bit smoky at times. I'm told they are working on putting some equipment in to alleviate this. Also we were there when they had just recently started the grill so the smoke was probably thicker than it would be later in the evening.

The name Txokos comes from the Basque region where Spain and France meet and refers to gastronomical societies or groups of friends who get together to cook, sample and talk about food and drinks.

From Wikipedia: "During the Franco years, txokos became increasingly popular as they were one of the few places where Basques could legally meet without state control, speak Basque and sing Basque songs as the constitution of the txokos prohibited the discussion of politics on the premises"

If you are interested in learning more about Txokos and the Basque region, this book: The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky (Amazon link) is required reading by the staff of Txokos.

The Txokos logo also reflects it's Basque influence with the 7 pointed star and the Harpoons in it's logo. The Basques were the first to commercially hunt whales. The 7 pointed star in the logo represents the seven provinces of the Basque region.

We started our meal with the Manchego and fig appetizer $4. Quite simple and delicious. I loved the sweetness of the fig with the mild flavor of the cheese. It was topped with a sherry dressing. Well worth the money.

Next up was the Marrow Bone appetizer $13. Canoe Cut roasted beef bone. Anchovy Vinaigrette, Aioli. This was a superb dish and the bread slice which had a slight char to it was a perfect pairing. The aioli sauce was quite rich and flavorful.

For the main courses, I ordered the Oxtail while my companion ordered the pasta.

The Sherry braised Oxtail "Matador" with pimentón, mire poix, served over Drunken Goat cheese stone ground grits. $23. The sauce had a rich flavor but it took a little work to get all the meat off the bone. I loved the grits.

Fideo Bolognese $23 - Toasted pasta, brisket, foie, Serrano, wild mushrooms. This dish looks rather simple but the taste was excellent.

For dessert was shared the tart, Gateau Basque - Almond Custard Tart, Bordeaux cherries, red wine-cherry gastrique $8

All the food was wonderful and there wasn't a dud in the bunch.

There were many other dishes I will be going back to try, the ones that caught my eye:

"Caldo Gallego" - traditional heary stew with beef, pork, beans and greens

The Foie - Duck two ways, liver, egg, porcini, potato puree

and the Wagyu Brisket.

Txokos is a great place to stop in for a drink or to take a date for dinner. It's a great addition to the East End Market. 

Here are some menus:

Txokos Basque Kitchen on Urbanspoon