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.

Exploring Orlando Enjoying Local Restaurants, Craft Beer, I-Drive, CityWalk & More

I did a lot of exploring this week. I was all over Orlando. Wednesday I had a friend in town for a convention, so Bryan and I headed back down to International Drive to meet up for drinks. Bryan and I started at Café Tu Tu Tango. They have great BOGO drinks and $2 off tapas for Happy Hour.
Cocktail at Café Tu Tu Tango
Gummy Bear Cocktail
After a drink and some tapas, we headed down International Drive to Pointe Orlando and met my friend at Cuba Libre. This is a beautiful restaurant. They also have a nice "Caippy Hour" with food and drink specials daily from 5pm-7pm.
Small Bar Bites at Cuba Libre Orlando
Shrimp Ceviche

Thursday I headed to World of Beer Lake Mary to join fellow Lady Crafters for a Belgian Beer Class. This was a fun and informative class that was free to boot!
Belgian Beers at World of Beer Lake Mary
Belgian Beer Flight
Continuing with the Belgian Beer theme, Bryan and I stopped by Barley & Vine for their Belgian Independence Day Bash on Friday. They were giving out beer swag from Duvel, Brasserie D'Achouffe, & other Belgian breweries.
Belgain Beer from Brasserie D'Achouffe
Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel
Saturday The Public House was celebrating their 1year anniversary with a pig roast. They had some great beers on tap making for a fun gathering with friends. I was so happy to enjoy a Terrapin Cinnamon Roll'd Wake-n-Bake 
Roasted Pig at the Public House
I capped off the weekend with a visit to CityWalk. Bryan and I took our youngest and a couple of her friends. I was surprised at how crowded it was for a Sunday. The girls had a fun time playing mini golf and shopping. Bryan & I explored the resorts and enjoyed a little ice cream.
The sunset at Island's of Adventure at Universal Orlando

Looking ahead to this week on the blog, I'm going to do some exploring in Winter Park.

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

I remember how charming I thought Sanford was the first time I visited the historic town. Their main street in town offers a lot and makes for a nice afternoon of exploring. A fun way to get around this town is with Limo Cycle Tours. Grab some friends and enjoy some beers as you peddle your way around Sanford.
Limo Cycle Tours

The folks with Limo Cycle want you to have a fun time. There's beer on board and music to enjoy. They even have some mister fans for those hot Florida days.

Beer on the Limo Cycle Tours

One of my favorite places to enjoy a craft beer or cocktail is at the Imperial at Washburn Imports in Sanford. The setting for this bar is one of a kind. The bar makes for a great place to enjoy the sights in this furniture store while enjoying your handcrafted cocktail.
Cocktail at The Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden in Sanford
Summer Thyme
The Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden in Sanford
Another place in town that is a visual delight is Jeanine Taylor Folk Art.  Local folk artists display their work in a market like setting. Enjoy exploring in the gallery during the monthly Art Walk held the 4th Friday of each month.
Art Displayed at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art in Sanford

Art displayed at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art in Sanford

If you're coming to Sanford you've got to stop at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café.  Folks have enjoyed delicious German food at the Willow Tree since 2001. Willow Tree is more than just dining it's an experience.
Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe | Exploring Orlando

There is patio seating out front where you can take in the view from downtown Sanford. Inside the restaurant, they offer German entertainment that takes place Thursday - Sunday evenings.   
Dining room at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe | Exploring Orlando

I wanted to dine at the Willow Tree Cafe for some time. I came to Sanford with friends, but we didn't have time to wait for a table. We've tried planning trips up to Sanford just to dine here, but something always came up. I was excited to be offered an opportunity to dine as a guest. I went with a group looking to experience some fun food and activities in Seminole County.

Theo welcomed us into his restaurant. We felt right at home with him all night long. It was a wonderful dining experience to hear Theo talk about his food and hear fun stories about the restaurant.
menu at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe | Exploring Orlando
We started off the meal with a glass Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Weizen. This is a nice refreshing beer. This is one of the beers I suggest to people who aren't sure about craft beer. It has a nice grapefruit taste and is low in ABV.
German beer a tHollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
Schöfferhofer  Grapefruit Weizen
After we enjoyed our beer with soup and bread Theo brought out Das Boot. This 3-liter glass boot is filled with German beer and is to be shared with friends. You take a sip and pass it along till it's all gone. They say "Drinking Das Boot is about sharing the joy of life with friends" It was definitely a joyful & tasty experience!

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe | Exploring Orlando
Köstritzer Schwarzbier 
We enjoyed a family style dinner with so much delicious German food including; Bratwurst, Potato Dumplings, Spätzle and more. I was looking forward to the sauerkraut since no one in my family enjoys it. I miss eating it and was quite happy with getting my fill.

I was pleased with all that I tried. My favorite was the Chicken Schnitzel and Potato Dumplings. I would suggest going to the Willow Tree Café with friends and ordering a bunch of menu items and enjoy them family style. There is so much good food and it's nice to be able to sample the variety of German dishes served at the Café.
Bratwurst at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
Nürnberger Bratwurst
Chicken Schintzel at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe | Exploring Orlando
Chicken Schnitzel
Plated German food at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
After indulging in some great food, we had little room for dessert. We couldn't resist and sampled the Apple Strudel and Black Forest Cake.
German cake display at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
What a fantastic dining experience. Theo was a gracious host who showed a lot of passion not only for his restaurant but also Sanford. He has a sense of pride showing off this charming town. When you are able to live and work in a place you enjoy it shows.
Downtown Sanford

The town of Sanford is enough to draw folks in. If you're looking for even more fun in Sanford check out some of their regular events that they host such as:

Alive After 5 - 2nd Thursday of each month 5pm-8pm

Sanford Art Walk - 4th Friday of each month 6pm-9pm

Sanford's charming town is filled with unique shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment making for a fun place to explore.

~ Kelli

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