Raglan Road presents Mighty St Patrick’s Festival Dining Events

ragland_road

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant
presents the following events…

Modern Irish Food

Luncheon Demonstration
March 12, 2014 at 1:00pm
$49.94 + tax & gratuity

Off the back of his hugely successful PBS show Modern Irish Food based on his latest cook book of the same name, celebrity chef Kevin Dundon shares his inspiration for his first American public television series with a lunch-demonstration in the beautiful & unique surroundings of Raglan Road Irish Pub.

Showcasing an elaborate 4 course luncheon with wine pairings, Kevin will demonstrate how to successfully create each dish along with helpful tips for overall success in the kitchen. Kevin’s philosophy for food is simple — “use the best ingredients, treat them with respect and you get the best flavor and results…it’s about taking great Irish ingredients and great Irish recipes and giving them that international flair.”

Unveiling of The Raglan Road Cookbook

Signature Dinner
March 13, 2014 at 6:30pm
$115.00 + tax & gratuity

As part of Raglan Road’s annual Mighty St Patrick’s Festival celebrations, celebrity chef Kevin Dundon is hosting a very special Signature Dining Event. Those of you who have attended any of Kevin’s previous signature dinners will know he never fails to surprise and delight and this event will be no different with an amazing 5 course dinner with wine pairings.

The event is not just part of the Mighty St Patrick’s celebrations but also the unveiling of the Raglan Road Cookbook, a beautiful hardcover book that show cases some very special recipes and is filled with great stories about the history and the people who work and visit Orlando’s favorite Irish pub.

To secure a seat in either event, please call Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at 407-938-0300.
Tables in Wonderland discount applies.

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Girl’s Day – Mount Dora Garden Gate Tea Room!

When I want to go and experience a quaint, relaxing and comfortable girls day lunch, a tea room always seems to be top choice. We are lucky to live in an area where we have many to chose from, specializing in many different foods and or themes. One of my most favorite places to go for this experience is the Garden Gate Tea Room in Mount Dora.

 

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

If you haven’t visited Mount Dora before, firstly you need to, and secondly its a wonderful little lake front historic town! Its famous for its festivals, arts, dining and especially its antique stores. They often have art fairs and festivals, there’s always something to do when visiting.

IMG_6266 Garden Gate Tea Room

There are so many restaurants I love here, but the Garden Gate Tea Room is always my most favorite!

Nestled in the heart of historic Mount Dora, The Garden Gate Tea Room is such a wonderful establishment, I end up spending the majority of my birthdays and celebrations here. They have a wide range of different teas, and despite my British heritage I actually find myself favoring their iced tea! My favorite is their Southern Belle peach iced tea, which comes served with the sugar around the rim of the glass, its so refreshing! I love their menu, as being a vegetarian I love that they have a delicious vegetarian option, the asparagus sandwich melt, and sometimes the quiche of the day. I feel neither are rushed just to simply accommodate vegetarians last minute, they are wonderful options.

 

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One of their most popular dishes is their “famous Herb-crusted Rosemary Baked Chicken Pie”, everyone I go with who orders this cannot believe how it just melts in your mouth. It’s so popular they do end up selling out some days, but don’t fret as, really, any of their options are just wonderful.

They also offer “Afternoon Tea”, which does require at least a 24hr reservation in advance, and costs $17.95 per person. I can tell you it was worth every penny!  I let them know in advance one of us was vegetarian so they ensured that I had a starter in place of the salmon souffle salad normally served first.

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After this you are presented with a three-tiered tray of chef’s assorted sandwiches (again vegetarian ones are made by request).

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Next are the desserts, my favorite! This featured a selection of chocolate covered strawberries, lemon curd cookies, fruit and their home made Cream Puff Swans filled with Chantilly Cream, so good!!!

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No afternoon tea is complete without  fresh home made scones! Theirs are served with clotted cream and jam. There is much debate on the appropriate way to layer ones scone, from what I have been told it is proper to spread the jam first, then apply the cream going around the scone in a circle. But hey, who are we to judge how to eat your scone, as long as it tastes delicious thats all that matters!

My favorite feature of this tea room is the simply stunning, shabby chic inspired decor. From the light blue paint, to the antique artifacts placed around the cafe, you feel so cosy and comfortable there. You wont be able to stop looking around at all the antique mirrors, lamps and twinkling lights.

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For those with a sense of style, one may also select a hat from their collection to wear during tea! I like to try them on after my lunch and take silly selfies in the mirror, but thats just me!

 

Silly Selfies
Silly Selfies

The ladies who work there encourage you to take your time and take as many pictures as you’d like, and will happily take any groups pictures for you. Make sure you go down the stairs and look into their larger seating area too, its simply stunning. You can also get a glimpse into their garden from there, which is available for private functions.

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If you have not been already I strongly suggest you take the time to visit this wonderful cafe, it does close at 2/3pm, so ensure you come early or book in advance.

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After lunch, you can walk off your food and browse the many stores they have here, or drive a mile or so down the road to the lake and miniature lighthouse for a peaceful relaxing afternoon.

 

Mount Dora Lightouse
Mount Dora Lighthouse

You can visit www.thegardengatetearoom.com for more information or how to book your visit ahead of time, and also take the time to look at www.mountdora.com for ideas on how to make the most of your visit.

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Vegan Valentine’s Day Restaurant Specials

Although I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, there are some great options out there for Vegans who want to take their loved ones out for dinner.

Here are some great Vegan Valentine’s Day specials for some great Local Orlando Restaurants!

Kindred Spirits Farm: February 15th!  Starting the evening at 5 with a tour of the sanctuary, followed by dinner and desert under the stars

kindredvalentine

Ethos Vegan Kitchen: 02/14, 5pm-11pm: Valentine’s Day Dinner. Join us for dinner, drink, and dessert specials starting at 5pm.

Infusion Tea 2/14 6:30pm seating and 8:30pm seating.  Four course dinner for $39.

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Cafe 118 on 2/14 Offering four course dinner Seating Limited RSVP ASAP 407-389-2233
first course
Zucchini Tartar

Second Course
Fennel Velouté with Tomato Seed “Caviar”

Third course
Golden Canelones, Red Pepper Marinara, Thyme-Parsley Pistachio Pesto, Heirloom Tomatoes and Black Truffle Ricotta

Forth course
White Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake with Raspberry Glaze

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The Pharmacy Review

Been to The Pharmacy lately?

No matter how many pharmacies you’ve been to in the past, this one is a bit different.

Have you realized I’m talking about a restaurant yet? If not, I am. It’s not a well known place because it’s set up like a speakeasy.

Do what?

I know. I understand. That was my same reaction when I found out about it.

The Pharmacy opened in early 2013. They serve local, organic food and tinctures/drinks are hand-crafted, as well as the sodas. It’s located at 8060 Via Dellagio Way in Dr. Phillips.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, I guarantee you’ll miss it. It looks like a nondescript elevator.

IMG_1101That button on the right side is how you get the door to open.

If you listen close enough when you’re near it, you’ll think you’re close by an elevator where people aren’t standing around in an awkward silence 😉

All the food that we’ve had has been really good. This is just a little selection of what we’ve tried.

IMG_1095The fries (appetizer) are amazing, along with the homemade ketchup and mayo.

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Hanger steak

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Paella

IMG_1099Wagyu Burger, small but SO good

My biggest selling point for going are the drinks. They are amazing!

IMG_1094Sidecar (I tried this the first time we went, it’s my favorite and I haven’t seen it since!)

They are a bit on the pricey side, but one drink is like you’re drinking at least two. More than likely, you’ve never seen a drink list like theirs before!

Besides the somewhat high prices, the service is what makes us weary about going back. It’s been so hit or miss.

We’ve gone a few times (mainly for special occasions), while this isn’t out “go to” restaurant anymore, it’s still definitely a great place to go and experience!

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iPad Used At The Carmel Café & Wine Bar For An Improved Dining Experience

Carmel Cafe iPad

Recently I went to Carmel Café & Wine Bar in Sarasota for a friend’s birthday lunch. It was my first time visiting the restaurant and was very pleasantly surprised by what I encountered. The aesthetics were nice and it was welcoming and comforting from when you enter. What I was most excited about after I walked in was seeing the stack of Apple iPads on a table by the hostess stand.

I immediately asked the hostess jokingly if we got iPads to play with during our meal. Surprisingly, she said we got one, but not to play with. She explained as she escorted us to our table that the iPads are used for ordering. The menus are all on there along with the ability to order.

I had a new toy to play with during lunch and couldn’t wait to explore the functionality! The menus were very clearly laid out and featured full color pictures as well as written descriptions of each menu item. You could swipe from right to left to select the next category from appetizers to entrees, beverages to dessert. You also have the ability to search from the menu at the top and quickly jump to the desired category instead of scrolling through them.

Flatbread menu
Menu Search
Gluten Free Menu
Vegetarian Menu

This was such an awesome experience! To be able to control your food and the timing and not have to depend on servers to come around was great. We first ordered our drinks, then appetizers, then when we were getting towards the end of our first course, we ordered our entrees. This made the process so much smoother and more fun than the typical dining experience. Service was prompt and the timing flowed much better instead of food being brought out before you were ready only to get cold, or long after you had finished your previous course.

Our server still stopped by periodically, but it felt like at natural times to see about water refills, instead of the often annoyance of a server coming too frequently or not frequently enough. This felt like we had more control over our meal and the experience was made more enjoyable by the technology Carmel Café brought to the table. We even had the ability to see our check as we added items to our order on the iPad.

On top of the amazing use of technology to ameliorate our meal, the food was excellent. There were tons of healthy options including gluten free and vegetarian menu options. I cannot wait to go back to Carmel Café again since this was such a pleasurable experience and the food was great! They even offer great specials like “After 5 at Carmel,” which feature $5.00 wines, small plates and martinis on weeknights from 5-7pm, Wine Wednesdays, and Prix Fixe Dinners for 2. In addition to the Sarasota restaurant, they have locations in Tampa and Clearwater.

I highly recommend Carmel Café and hope that some of this use of the iPad technology will spread to other restaurants and maybe even to our theme parks. I was recently listening to an episode of the Betamouse podcast from last year and they talked about their desire to see something of this nature at Walt Disney World. I would love to see this come to fruition in the near future whether by iPad or even your own smartphone. Like they say in Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom, “What will they think up next? … Who know? We’ve got a whole new century waiting for us out there.”

If you are interested in learning more about how Carmel Café uses Apple technology to improve the dining experience, check out this video here on Apple’s website.

Carmel Cafe bar
Carmel Cafe dining room
Grilled Lemon Chicken & Artichoke description
Grilled Lemon Chicken & Artichoke flatbread
Soup Menu
Tomato Basil soup
Glass of red wine
BLTA description
BLTA Sandwich with Fresh Fruit
Grilled Chicken Caprese description
Grilled Chicken Caprese Salad
Check details
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Roccos Tacos – A Mexican Restaurant With Flair

Roccos Tacos
Roccos Tacos

Roccos Tacos and Tequila Bar is a fabulous new restaurant located on West Sand Lake Road in Orlando. The decor is very eclectic and representative of what one would find in the tequila region of Mexico.  There are beautiful star shaped chandeliers as well as masks of all shapes and sizes along the walls.  The restaurant houses three bars, one outside as you approach the front door, another just inside the main entrance, and a third which opens to the outdoor patio situated with a charming lake view.  Starting at 9 PM nightly, a live DJ plays a variety of upbeat music, setting a fun and party like atmosphere.  The dress code is casual while maintaining a hip and trendy vibe. It’s a family friendly environment but can get very loud so take that into consideration with young children. Dining reservations can be made by phone and walk-ups are taken as well.  There is complimentary valet which is recommended due to the limited availability of parking.

Enough logistics, let’s discuss the food!  It’s delicious! The menu can be described as upscale Mexican cuisine with a variety of choices.  One of the house specialties is the guacamole prepared tableside. Eaten with the house made tortilla chips, it’s almost a meal in itself.  Another great appetizer choice is the Queso Fundido Con Chorizo, which is simply a casserole of cheese, Chili’s, and chorizo sausage baked in an iron skillet and served with flour tortillas.  There are a variety of other appetizers to choose from, but be sure to save room for the main course!

Rocco’s offers an array of entree choices including salads, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, and combination plates. Within our group, we had the California fish tacos, the chimichanga Nationale, and the carne asada soft tacos.  The fish tacos are filled with fried mahi mahi, served with cabbage slaw and avocado ranch, and come with rice and beans for $17.  The chimichanga is made with a spicy chicken, also served with rice and beans, and is $13.  The carne asada, or grilled skirt steak, tacos were $4.50 each. Speaking of tacos, Tuesday’s are a great time to visit for Taco Tuesdays.  For $14.95, it’s all you can eat tacos, in any combination of chicken, pork, spicy beef, steak, mahi, shrimp, chorizo and mushrooms.  You can choose from hard or soft shell tacos and all are served with taco sauce, lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, pickled red onions and cotija cheese.  The shrimp, mahi, and steak seemed to be the most popular. Rocco’s Tacos also has offerings for kids including chicken fingers, pasta, quesadillas, and hot dogs.

The bar at Rocco’s serves everything from tequila and margaritas to sangria, beer and wine. They have 225 varieties of tequila ranging in price from $6 to $85.  The flavored margaritas are not to be missed including pomegranate, mango, and blood orange.  When owner Rocco Mangel is in the restaurant, he can be found on the bar in his white platform shoes pouring free Patron to the sounds of the song “Tequila!” A great non-alcoholic treat is the “REAL” Coca Cola made with real sugar cane in Mexico.

Rocco’s Tacos is a great place to go to hang out with friends, grab a drink, enjoy a meal, or bring the whole family. They serve lunch, dinner, and have a limited late night menu along with a full bar during all business hours.  The atmosphere and service are top notch as is the quality of the food and drinks.  Be sure to check out the newest location in Orlando or try one of the other four locations in South Florida.  Visit their website at www.RoccosTacos.com, friend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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