Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pig Floyds International Barbakoa Restaurant Coming Soon to Mills Virginia

Pig Floyd's is a new restaurant coming very soon to the Mills/Virginia area.

According to their website Pig Floyd's is described as:
"Introducing a fresh interpretation of the barbecue experience. Pig Floyd's integrates cultural influences with traditional fire, smoke and pit methods to craft vibrant, delicious fare."

Thomas Ward the owner and founder of Pig Floyd's described the restaurant's concept to me as: "traditional inspired Barbakoa with international influence. Barbakoa is the latin term for barbecue"

Pig Floyd's is in the former location of Friends restaurant and more recently Atilla's Turkish Steak and Salad. The building was completely gutted and rebuilt almost from the ground up which should help clear the air of any failures of past enterprises here. Expected opening date is the first week of September pending final permits and inspections. As soon as they open this post will be updated with details and hours.

I've known Thomas for many years from his past endeavors like his deliciously successful food truck here in Orlando and his restaurant in Puerto Rico which I visited a few years ago.

I recently got to have a little sneak peek at the Pig Floyd's menu and the opportunity to taste some menu items. Now that I've seen what they are cooking up there, I'm very excited. Chef Jason Carlucci has lots of unique takes on sandwiches. Some selections include the Matahambre sandwich with brisket and chimichurri, another is the very delicious BBQ banh mi with kimchi cucumbers. They will also have some some great taco creations: butter chicken taco, shrimp & North African sausage tacos.

I also tasted the oak smoked brisket which was very good, smoke flavor came through but was not overpowering.  I can't wait to try the ribs. They will have platters with your choice of Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken, St. Louis Ribs or North African Chicken Sausage & some sides.

They will have a nice variety of sauces from the traditional sweet BBQ & hot BBQ to the exotic Dragon Sauce and Indian inspired Tikka Masala sauce.

Vegetarians do not be disheartened, they will be able to make many items with tofu and will have some solid salads & meat free side dishes.

Salads include one with baby kale, roasted peppers and BBQ croutons, another has field greens, spiced walnuts, apples, beets, fennel & goat cheese.

They are going to have a great outdoor seating area and eventually some pig roasts!

If the food wasn't exciting enough they are also going to have a solid collection of craft beers. Cigar City, Founders, Unibroue, Mendecino, Ommegang among others and also Cider and Wine.

They plan to be open very late night on the weekends so add them as a stop along your bar crawls from Wally's, Wills or Peacock Room.

Pig Floyd's is located between Black Sheep and 7-11 very close to the Southwest corner of Virginia and Mills.

1326 N. Mills Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 921-1696

Pig Floyd's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Mingo's Restaurant Downtown Orlando

Despite being open since late 2013, I have never been to Mingo's. Since they are participating in Magical Dining month I thought I'd give them a try.

Mingo's is located downtown just a couple blocks south of Lake Eola. It's in the space where Lotus Flower used to be, across from Mucho Tacos.

The space is very clean and nice and the decor is modern, lots of white and some wood, many large windows.

The host, server and bartender were all especially helpful and friendly.

Magical Dining is a month-long promotion done by Visit Orlando where participating restaurants feature three-course, fixed price dinners for $33 per person. One dollar from each meal sold will benefit the Foundation for Foster Children. It runs August 25- September 30, 2014. More info:

The Mingo's Magical Dining menu lets you pick from one of 3-4 appetizers, entrees & desserts.

For the appetizer course they offered the choice of: salad, pork wings with fruit kimchee & smoked plum sauce, Blue Crab cakes with yellow pepper remoulade, orange and hearts of palm.

Blue Crab cakes with yellow pepper remoulade, orange and hearts of palm

Pork Wings with fruit kimchee & smoked plum sauce

For the entrees you could choose from:

Seared Sea Scallops - with spicy shrimp mash, truffle butter

Sea Bass - smoked bacon ratatouille, Chardonnay sauce

Grilled Skirt Steak - chorizo, porcini mushrooms, leeks, yukon potatoes

Bone-In Pork Chop - red wine glaze, green pea risotto, vegetables

Sea Bass - smoked bacon ratatouille, Chardonnay sauce

Grilled Skirt Steak - chorizo, porcini mushrooms, leeks, yukon potatoes

Seared Sea Scallops - with spicy shrimp mash, truffle butter

Dessert selections are: Chocolate cake, cheesecake, pineapple cake

Overall dinner was a great pleasant experience, the server and manager went above and beyond to make sure we had a great dinner and you could tell they genuinely cared.

The food was all very good and visually impressive. The most delicious things were the Pork Wings, the sauce with it was excellent. Also the house made Chorizo was really good, pretty spicy.

On Saturdays they have all you can eat Crab Legs. Here are some pics of their regular menu:

Mingos on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

O-town MacDown Mac & Cheese event

"A delicious “food fight” cooking competition featuring professional chefs and restaurants as well as home cooks and non-profit organizations who will duke it out to the very end to be named Orlando’s Mac-n-Cheese Champion.

Prizes will be awarded in various categories, and the event will include live entertainment, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, live performances, a kids’ fun zone including face painting, bounce houses and macaroni art station, theme park character meet-and-greets and vendor booths.

Presenting sponsor SeaWorld along with Give Kids The World invite the general public to come sample the cheesiest mac-n-cheese that area culinary combatants have to offer at this cooking challenge.

Attendance and participation benefits Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families."

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Orange County Convention Center, Hall D2 West Concourse
9800 International Drive, Orlando FL 32819

$10 for Adults - includes all the mac-n-cheese you can eat!

Some of the competitors include local restaurants:
Bar Harbor Seafood/Boston Lobster Feast
CaveMen - Cave Inn BBQ
Cheesy Chicks!
Cib's Smokehouse
Collette's Clean Eats
Cox Radio's All Hallows Cheese
The Crooked Spoon
Love and Jinny
Le Cordon Bleu College of Orlando
Loud Mouth Grill
Muse Gelato
Napa Restaurant/Hyatt Regency Orlando
Pretzel Crisps
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Talk of the Town Restaurant Group
Taverna Opa Orlando
Westgate Smokehouse Grill
Yak & Yeti

buy tickets here:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Orlando Artisan Marketplace

Orlando Artisan Marketplace, a weekly, on Friday, Farmer's market at Fashion Square Mall to have it's Grand Opening Event Friday Aug 1st @ 3 pm.
Here is the press release:
The Orlando Artisan Marketplace:

 Locally Grown, Crafted, & Enjoyed

A Community Market at the Fashion Square Mall

Central Florida has become a hub for all things local, cultural and sustainable, with an increasing shift towards small business and craft, farming, and community. The desire for locally produced food and goods continues to grow, along with burgeoning support for local commerce.

In the spirit of this growing need, this return to a sustainable and involved community, we introduce the Orlando Artisan Marketplace: Locally Grown, Crafted, & Enjoyed.

This is more than just a farmer’s market. This is local food, wine, art, goods, talent and culture at its best, deepening community ties and support, a return to our roots: this is Central Florida, this is the Orlando Artisan Marketplace.
With the combined vision of the newly revamped and renewed Fashion Square Mall, local food activist and businessman Steve Moreau, and local marketing consultant and writer Jade A. Murray, the Orlando Artisan Marketplace was born.  

Steven Moreau has been a fixture in the local food scene for the past ten years, first as a farm apprentice on a grass-fed farm in Northern Florida milking cows, feeding chicken and pigs, and learning the ins and outs of sustainable farming practices. His focus in recent years has been to provide this superior quality food to locals through his farm food buying service. Sourced from only the best Florida farms, makes grass-fed and toxin free food available to residents all around Central Florida. Steve personally visits and picks up from each farmer, ensuring quality and fostering relationships reminiscent of the “good old days” when we were more in touch with our food, neighbors and community.

His reputation preceding him, Steve was recently approached by the good people at the Fashion Square Mall to put together a local farmers market in their efforts to grow the local economy and community. With his passion for local business, culture, food and sustainability, Steve jumped at the chance. He enlisted the expertise of his marketing consultant and together they have brought this vision to life.

Jade Murray has been marketing and writing for small business for years, specializing in content marketing and building local brands. As part of the Orlando Artisan Market she will be marketing vendors through social media and other sources, highlighting both the market as a whole as well showcasing the local talents.

As we prepare to launch the Orlando Artisan Marketplace we are handpicking only the finest artisan producers. From homemade skincare products to salsa, locally grown greens and handcrafted goods, we are bringing together a group of people who are passionate about their products and who put quality first. Our vendors are sincere people with intimate knowledge and pride in their craft, whether it is crafting wallets or growing the best Central Florida tomatoes around!

The Orlando Artisan Marketplace is more than just a farmer’s market; it is an experience, a featured weekly event cultivating the local economy, culture and community.

With the full support of the Fashion Square Mall, the heart of Orlando, we are excited to announce this amazing and unique gathering of local talent. The Orlando Artisan Marketplace will be open every Friday from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. Come enjoy a leisurely walk around the air conditioned mall, never mind the Florida heat or rain, and stock up on your favorite locally produced goods while enjoying a sense of community with your fellow neighbors.

Enjoy food demonstrations, small group seminars, guest speakers, and market tours along with locally farmed organic produce, grass-fed meats, raw honey, handcrafted soaps and lotions, and so much more!

Join us in revitalizing and bringing together the cultural community, supporting local commerce, and providing delicious foods and unique goods to your family all while enjoying your Friday evening with family, friends, and neighbors at the Orlando Artisan Marketplace!

The Grand Opening Event will be on Friday, August 1st beginning at 3:00pm. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Restaurants Opened in Orlando May/June 2014

Recent restaurant openings in the Orlando area:
Cafe 906 opened in Baldwin Park

Bistro CloClo(french) in old Press 101 Dr. Philips

Beer & Burger Joint UCF

P is for Pie

Cappadocia Turkish

Fresh to Order Waterford Lakes

The Porch Winter Park:

GT Roti and Curry, Sandlake and OBT :

Mikki V's Winter Springs:

Bleu 42 East Aloma:

Cafe 1739 Winter Garden:

Trevi Pasta on Corner of Princeton and Edgewater:

Memories of India
Virgin Olive Market
La Brexta in East End Market(to be replaced by Kappo Japanese cuisine)

coming soon:
Osprey Tavern Baldwin Park:

Southern Moon BBQ Orlando

Southern Moon BBQ just opened This Past Sunday so I stopped off today to give them a try. They are located on Curry Ford and Crystal Lake next to Winn Dixie and Rogue Pub.

Kicked things off with a drink, Lemonade Tea with Moonshine and Peach Schnapps.

Here is the Menu which is on a couple walls, no paper menu yet.

Started off with the buffalo wings, the ranch was buttermilk and unique, Wings were good but nothing I haven't had before. Still good wings are hard to come by.

Ordered a variety of the BBQ'ed meats which you can order by the 1/4 pound or more. wanted to try all the red meats, so got the St. Louis Ribs, Pork Shoulder and Brisket.

Side of Mac & Cheese, better than average. Kinda expensive at $5.99 but a very generous portion. Pretty good, better than average. Would like to see a version with some pork in it.

St. Louis ribs were my favorite thing, they had a nice seasoning and a light smoke flavor which was just right.

They give you a variety of sauces if you request them, they have Texas Q style which is Smokey with I believe a Chipotle pepper flavor. St Louis sauce(my fav) it was thin and a little sweet, Alabama White sauce, Mustard sauce & a Spicy One. One complaint, the sauces they gave us in bottles kept getting ingredients stuck in the top so not much would come out. Have them give you each sauce in a bowl/side container instead, but what that means is that they are using real ingredients and making the sauces themselves which is outstanding.

Interior was a bit desolate but still comfortable and Cozy, can't judge or expect much in their first week they are still getting things situated I'm sure. Our server was awesome, Booth was comfy, restroom was spotless.
There hasn't been any good BBQ places in the Conway area for a long time so I think and hope they will do quite well. Menu has a lot more things that I didn't try lots of interesting desserts too.  If you order typically I'd say check will average $20-$25 a person. Not counting alcohol.

Southern Moon on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sushi Pop

On April 2, I visited Sushi Pop for a complimentary sampling of some of its existing and potentially new menu items. I'm glad that I went as I previously had not been to the restaurant, although I always have wanted to try it out. The food I tried here definitely invigorated my interest!

I sat at the counter, with the kitchen and its workers directly in front of me. Throughout the evening, I interacted with several very friendly employees. Chau, Sufian and their fellow employees were attentive, genuine and polite.

I the first menu item I tried was the So Fresh & So Clean (Hawaiian yellowtail, tuna, tempura asparagus, tobanjan aioli, Asian relish, radishes). It was really good! This is something I definitely will consider ordering during future visits.

The second item presented to me was the Bacon-Wrapped Scallop (below; kampyo, avocado, crab, tobanjan aioli, scallop, orange kosho, fleur de sel, chives, torched Iberico Lardo). This was excellent and one of my favorite sampled items.

I might have the order wrong, but next up may have been the boquerones, which were prepared with an aioli, spicy garlic panko and fried capers. I've never been a fan of anchovies, but these were very good and totally different from my general perception of anchovies.

The Octopus a la Plancha (below; charred white scallion and shishito chimichurri, nori purée, sweet potato) was another one of my favorites.

Perhaps the best item I tried was the Black and White (below; cobia, venere rice, black edamame, poached quail egg, yuzu vinaigrette, tempura sea beans). As far as I can remember, I never had cobia until going to Sushi Pop. I was very impressed by its presentation and preparation. The cobia was tender and delicious. I highly recommend the Black and White.

Up next was the Khao Soi (below; duck confit, spicy Burmese curry, squid ink gochugaru noodles, house pickled cabbage, coconut milk). I liked what I tried of this, although I was unable to finish all of it since I was getting pretty full.

I did save a little bit of room for dessert, though, and ate all of the Hot Chocolate Soup (below; seasonal berries, chocolate cake, toasted marshmallow, Japanese black sugar ice cream, spiced chocolate drizzle). This was one of the best desserts I've ever had! Each ingredient perfectly complemented the others. I especially enjoyed the spicy chocolate drizzle, which definitely had a "kick" to it. I think this item is new or not yet on the menu, but I'm sure it'll be very popular once it becomes a menu mainstay. I absolutely would order it again. I also plan to try the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sorbet during my next visit.

Overall, this was an excellent experience. I hope to make it to Sushi Pop again soon. It's a very interesting, unique and impressive restaurant. I now know why it is so well-liked in our community. Thank you, once again, to Chau, Sufian and the Sushi Pop staff for accommodating me and making me feel very welcome!

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