Top Ten Blog Posts From 2014

I had another fun year exploring Orlando! There's always so much to see and do in and around the city. While my time in Orlando was cut short this year I am happy to look back on the fun I had. I'm currently back in Denver but will be in Orlando come spring. I look forward to catching up on what I missed while I was gone.

Here is a rundown of my top ten posts from 2014.


#10
Pizza at Via Napoli in Epcot
Pizza at Vi Napoli

#9
Seafood at Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille in New Smyrna Beach
Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille

#8
The Public House Orlando
The Public House

#7 
Barley & Vine Biergarten
Barley & Vine Biergarten
Barley & Vine Biergarten

#6
The Thirsty Topher Beer and Wine Bar
The Thirsty Topher Beer and Wine Bar 

#5
4 Rivers Smokehouse at UCF
4 Rivers Smokehouse at UCF

#4
Exploring Sanford With a Visit to Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café
Exploring Sanford

#3
Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

#2
Winter Park Beer Company
Winter Park Beer Company

#1
Riding Along the Sunrail in Orlando
Riding Along the Sunrail in Orlando 

Taste of the Nation Orlando ~ A Culinary Delight for a Wonderful Cause

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation is the nation's premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no child grows up hungry. Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. Programs such as the Summer Campaign offers children meals at various local schools throughout the summer. Programs like this help low-income families that end up spending an additional $316 for food during the summer. The children have opportunities to enjoy a free meal during the summer break just as they would the rest of the school year.

Taste of the Nation has been fighting hunger for 25 years now. There are nearly 40 Taste of the Nation events across the United States and Canada.  The goal for these events is to raise the funds needed to end childhood hunger. 100 percent of each ticket sold for Taste of the Nation supports efforts to end childhood hunger. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida are the beneficiaries of this event.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. On average, more than 55,000 different people receive assistance provided by Second Harvest each week.

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida provides services to over 600 people each night, including 150 children. The Coalition served over 300,000 meals and provided over 245,000 nights of shelter and services last year.
Taste of the Nation Orlando Food for Hunger
This year's Taste of the Nation Orlando was another amazing event. There were four hours to wine and dine your way through the event space at the Orlando World Center Marriott. With over 60 food and beverage stations offering a wonderful variety, everyone had plenty to enjoy. I ate so many delicious plates of food and drinks and I still missed out on so much! The strolling entertainment and the band added for a lively night.

The Taste of the Nation Orlando is a great way to give back to your community. The bonus is you get to enjoy an evening of delicious food and drinks from restaurants located in Central Florida. While the food is the highlight of the event, my favorite part of the evening is seeing how many in the community come together to support an important cause.
Taste of the Nation Orlando Event Hall

An Evening Exploring Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Bryan and I celebrated our anniversary this week. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at Luma and thought we would cap off our evening at Mizner's Lounge at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The sun was starting to set and made for a beautiful evening.
Entrance to Walt Disney World

The grounds at  Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

August Craft Beer Events in Orlando

Here is the craft beer scene in and around Orlando for August.

August

Saturday 2nd- From Hops To Homebrew  at the East End Market ~ $35 11am-1:30pm

Fight Hunger With Beer
2nd-                National Mead Day at Oblivion Taproom ~ 4pm

2nd-                Beer Tasting Event at Salamanders Sports Grill ~ 12 beers w/ food $20 8pm.

Monday 4th -  Certified Organic Anniversary at Orlando Brewing ~ 3pm-10pm

Thursday 7th-  Fight Hunger With Beer at World of Beer Dr. Phillips ~ 6pm.

7th-                 Oblivion Gets Funky ~ $60 6:30pm

Saturday 9th-   Taste of the Nation Orlando  at Orlando World Marriott Center ~ $150 6:45 pm-10pm.
Orlando Brewing at Taste of the Nation Orlando 2013
Wednesday 13th- Left Hand Brewing Movie & Game Night at Barley & Vine ~ 6pm-9pm.

Thursday 14th-    Ommegang/Duvel Beer Dinner at Café Tu Tu Tango ~ $50 7pm.

Saturday 23rd-     Kick Back & Enjoy Your Local Beer Expert's Favorite Brews Beer Class ~ $15 3pm.

23rd-                   Downtown Brew Down at Vintage Vino ~ 6pm-8pm.

23rd-                   Hops Project Beer Festival at Vineyards of the World Wine Bar & Craft                                                          Beer ~ $15 7:30 pm.

Sunday 31st-      Great Hall Feast  at Oblivion Taproom ~ 4 pm
Hogs Head Pub at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
*I will continue to update this list

Café Tu Tu Tango A Local Gem on I-Drive

Being local in Orlando I don't usually brave a trip to International Drive. When I do head to the area I do end up having a fun time exploring a bit. There are a few hidden gems worth enjoying even if you don't have friends in town for a convention. 

Café Tu Tu Tango is one of those unique spots that the locals continue to frequent for 20 years now.

Café Tu Tu Tango entrance of restaurant
The first thing you notice about the restaurant is how vibrant it is not only on the outside but in the restaurant as well. Café Tu Tu Tango is more than a restaurant it's an experience.

The restaurant is a visual delight with local art adorning all the walls. It's fascinating to watch the various in-house artists working among the diners.

Inside Café Tu Tu Tango Paintings adorn the walls

Café Tu Tu Tango Seating by the front door

Café Tu Tu Tango artwork
While the art is a big draw for folks the food is what keeps people coming back. Café Tu Tu Tango is a tapas restaurant with a menu sure to please all in your party. The tapas make for a fun evening of sharing food with friends, family or a fun date night.

I've enjoyed a few visits to Café Tu Tu Tango. Recently Bryan and I stopped by during their Tu Tu Hour that takes place Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30. They offer two for one drink specials and $2 off appetizers. You can enjoy these specials at the bar or on their patio.
Café Tu Tu Tango Cocktail
Gummy Bear Cocktail
We both ordered a couple of cocktails and enjoyed a Flatbread and some Edamame. We were going to meet up with a friend for dinner, so this made for a tasty light bite to enjoy with our drinks.
Café Tu Tu Tango Flatbread
Roma Tomato & Goat Cheese Flatbread
Café Tu Tu Tango edamame
Steamed Edamame
We drank cocktails on this visit we've also stopped by for a beer at the patio bar. They have about ten beers on tap and several bottles to choose from, offering a nice variety for all. I'm not a wine gal, but they do have a nice list and Wednesdays is Wine Down with half off all bottles of wine.
Café Tu Tu Tango Beer menu
While the inside of the restaurant is eclectic, the covered patio out front is a nice spot to take in the view of International Drive. I like to sit at the bar out here. I always enjoy being outside and when you sit at the bar on the patio you get a nice view of the restaurant inside.
Café Tu Tu Tango patio

Café Tu Tu Tango craft beer
Sea Dog Apricot Wheat
My visits to the restaurant have been during the day. I enjoyed lunch with the family and then Happy Hour a couple of times with Bryan. While I haven't been to Café Tu Tu Tango at night I did walk by once and could see an entertainer out front doing something with fire; it looked exciting. I've heard that there are belly dancers at night as well. These make for a fun night out with friends.  

With the food, drinks, atmosphere and fun at Café Tu Tu Tango, it's easy to see why they just celebrated 20 years of business. 

Café Tu Tu Tango is keeping it real and local on International Drive.

Café Tu Tu Tango is a participating restaurant at this year's Taste of the Nation Orlando that takes place Saturday, August 9th.


Fight Hunger With Beer

This year's Taste of the Nation Orlando will be celebrating 25 years of working to combat childhood hunger. The event takes place August 9th at the Orlando World Marriott Center.

I had an amazing time at the event last year. It was culinary heaven! I'm looking forward to to this year's event, which will be showcasing the culinary delights of 35 of Central Florida’s leading chefs and restaurants. This year’s Taste of the Nation Orlando will feature two James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalists – Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant and Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Wine Bar

Exploring Orlando's Mills50 District, Baldwin Park, Winter Park and more

I did a lot of exploring in Orlando's neighborhoods last week. Monday I was over in the Mills 50 District enjoying some dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants.  I joined fellow Elite Yelpers for some delicious dinner at Tako Cheena. The Cod Takos are may favorite!
Takos at Tako Cheena Restaurant in Orlando
Panko Crusted Cod Tako & Pork PernilTako
After dinner I went next door to Saya Couture & Decor. A unique boutique in the neighborhood worth checking out. They have jewelry, clothes, accessories, home decor and more.

Jewelry on display at Saya Couture & Decor in Orlando
Thursday I headed downtown with some friends to celebrate Frank & Stein's 3rd Birthday. They were celebrating with free food and drinks. Frank & Steins also had some specialty taps for the event. Cheers to 3 years and much more!
Hot dog & craft beer at Frank & Steins Eatery & Pub in Downtown Orlando
Victory Brewing Wild Devil Belgium IPA & Complimentary Bites
I'm one of those folks that feel like they are going to melt in the heat. I haven't been getting out much in the day. I felt cooped up and decided to brave the heat and enjoy an afternoon walk in the neighborhood. Harbor Park is one of my favorite places to just be. I enjoy sitting and taking in the view of nature and those there enjoying the park as well.
Boardwalk at Lake Baldwin in Baldwin Park
After our walk, Bryan and I decided to check out Café 906. We had stopped at their previous location in Winter Park, so we were happy to see they would be relocating closer to home in Baldwin Park. We enjoyed a baguette sandwich and need to come back for some French pastries. Café 906 is a nice addition to the neighborhood.
Baguette Sandwich at Café 906 in Baldwin Park Orlando
Champs-Élysées Baguette
Friday Bryan and I were headed over to Rogue Pub for a Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company Kick Starter Event. Before we made our way to Rogue Pub we stopped by Gringos Locos at their new location in the Milk District. Nice to have them closer making it a bit more convenient to stop by. While they do have parking in the back, this location does not have any seating inside. We ate our tasty dinner in the car before we headed over to the Pub.
Happy Hour sign at Gringos Locos in the Milk District
Rogue Pub is one of my favorite places to enjoy craft beer in Orlando. When I heard they were going to host a kick-starter event for Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company I knew I could get some Lady Crafters out to support the event. Our group really enjoyed the beer and cider that were offered from Persimmon Hollow. I wish them luck on their journey. They brew some good beer and Central Florida is in need of some more breweries. 
Orlando Lady Crafters at Rogue Pub in Orlando
Sunday I wanted to get out and do something on the cheap and close to home. I took Bryan to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. We stopped by in the afternoon and there were about a dozen other folks out enjoying the museum as well. It's nice that they offer daily free admission.
Art at Cornell Fine Arts Museum
After our visit to the museum we took a stroll and made our way over to Cask & Larder for a Happy Hour beer.  There's a nice path on the campus that runs along a side of Lake Virginia.
Walkway along Lake Virginia at Rollins College
You all know how Cask & Larder is my favorite spot to enjoy a beer for Happy Hour. Ron had one of my favorite IPA's on tap. This Five Points IPA is made with Citra Hops making it delicious. I found out the beer is named after the five-point intersection next to the restaurant.
Craft Beer at Cask & Larder
Five Points IPA with Citra Hops
We ended our afternoon with a stroll back through Rollins. It is such a visual delight walking through the campus. 
Buildings on campus at Rollins College


Check out what other local bloggers were exploring in Orlando last week:

Amanda over at Where's Amanda indulges in Our Royal Tea at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

Rickey at Tasty Chomps has a mouth watering Photo Tour of the newly opened Southern Moon Smokehouse.

Denise at MouseSteps does some exploring of the new Four Seasons Resort Orlando.

Jason at Orlando Fun and Food goes to Chocolate Camp at Peterbrooke Chocolatier in Winter Park

Sarah from Eating WDW enjoys Dinner at ESPN over on Disney's Boardwalk

ESPN at Disney's Boardwalk


This week on the blog I've got a beer theme going on. Fun stuff!

A few local event worth checking out this week:

Tuesday 7/29-   Belgian Beer Dinner at Cask & Larder ~ $65 6:30 pm.

Wednesday 7/30-  Charlie & Trevor's Hoppy Birthday Party at Redlight Red Light ~ 5 pm.

Thursday 7/31-  Sunshine Shop & Sip at the East End Market ~ 6pm-8pm

Friday 8/1- Date Night at Leu Gardens ~ $6 6 pm.

Saturday 8/2- Credo Market at Downtown Credo ~ 10am-5pm.

Sunday 8/3-  Cuisine Corner: The Pastrami Project Delicatessen at the Orlando Public Library ~ 4 pm

Monday 8/4 - Free admission to Leu Gardens the 1st Monday of each month.
Leu Gardens in Orlando

Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

I always enjoy discovering hidden gems. One of my favorite finds lately is the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. I enjoy exploring this beautiful school and was looking forward to visiting the museum on its campus.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is located on Holt Avenue along Lake Virginia. 

You will find free parking located next to the museum making it convenient for a visit.

The museum currently offers free admission for 2014 courtesy of Bessmer Trust. CFAM is open Tuesday - Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturday - Sunday 11am-5pm.

I stopped by the museum during their Family Day. This was a great opportunity for families. Docents gave tours of the museum. They also had various art activities and scavenger hunts set up for the kids. They have another Family Day scheduled August 8th. Beginning October 5th CFAM will have monthly Family Days held on the first Sunday of each month.

While the children in the group had fun listening and learning from the docents I went around doing a little exploring of the museum.
Family Days info for  Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College


Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Stained glass at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Audio Guide at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art gallery at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art piece at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Art project for Family Day at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College
You could spend some time exploring this museum. Each visit is different from the one before due to the changing exhibitions. The Audio Guide is a nice touch to learn a bit more about the piece on display. To get more out of your visit, CFAM offers a 4th Friday Lecture Series and a First Friday Gallery Talk.

On your way out of the museum make sure to visit the gift shop. There are some unique finds in here. Museum gift shops tend to be great places to shop for those who are hard to buy for. They had some fun stuff for sale for kiddos too.
Gift Shop at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College

Gift Shop at Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College


Make an afternoon out of your visit and enjoy a stroll along Park Avenue or enjoy a picnic at Dinky Dock.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum offers free weekend tours Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm. They also do free tours showcasing the art displayed at the Alfond Inn each Friday at 1 pm.