Eat, Drink, and Forget the Kids! 2013 Orlando Travel

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    by Dan Catinella with Antoinette Bruno and Will Blunt
    Antoinette Bruno
    July 2013

    From its Latin-influenced tip to the Southern cuisine of the Pan Handle, Florida cuisine has more to offer than just oranges and Key limes. The state's conference and theme park capital is no different.

    From just inside Orlando's northernmost limits to the close suburb of Winter Park, chefs are serving farm-to-table menus with local products and traditional American techniques, paying special attention to the details that transform food from good to great. Chefs like Brandon McGlammery of Prato and Luma and the husband-and-wife team James and Julie Petrakis have spent time in major cities around the country. And they're transforming the bounty of Central Florida’s long growing seasons and agricultural bounty into soulful, inspire cuisine.

    EAT

    Prato

    124 North Park Avenue
    Winter Park, FL 32789
    (407) 262-0050
    www.prato-wp.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 4:30pm-11pm; Fri-Sun 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm

    Chef Brandon McGlamery’s experiences at the French Laundry and Chez Panisse are the touchstones for his rustic cuisine. At Prato, exposed brick walls, wood beams, and a slate floor underfoot welcome guests and provide a backdrop for the vibrant colors and comforting touches that extend onto McGlamery’s plates. He reinvigorates traditional dishes like Veal Scaloppini and Gnocchi “Carbonara” and offers energetic combinations like his Mustard Spaghettini, Mascarpone Polenta, and Rhubarb Agrodolce.

    Recommended:
  • Jerusalem Artichoke Sformato with Pine Island Prawns, Radicchio Treviso, and Caperberry
  • Yellowfin Tuna Crudo wwith Strawberry , Fennel, and Chile

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    Luma on Park

    290 South Park Avenue
    Winter Park, FL 32789
    (407) 599-4111
    www.lumaonpark.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 4pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun 11:30am-9pm

    Modern tiled flooring, area rugs, and wood-paneled ceilings set the scene for this luxurious South Park Avenue restaurant. Whether you’re in the basement cellar with a showcase wine rack, the private dining room, or the street-level lounge with a full bar and a beautiful view of Winter Park’s bustling streets, you can enjoy great food while feeling hip. From an open kitchen overlooking the expansive dining room, Chef Brandon McGlamery, also of Prato, executes his new American cuisine.

    Recommended:
  • Nantucket Bay Scallop "Mi-Cuit" Passion Fruit, Avocado, and Radish
  • Florida Roasted Cauliflower Tart with Garlic-Chive Purée, Pickled Vegetable Salad and Pea Shoot

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    The Rusty Spoon

    55 West Church Street
    Orlando, FL 321801
    (407) 401-8811
    www.therustyspoon.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm; Sun 5pm-10pm

    Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon combines modern style with a Mediterranean sensibility at her fashionable Orlando restaurant. Warm earth tones, wood floors, and stone accents set the stage for her spirited farm-to-table cuisine. Blake, who developed her style working for industry icons like Joyce Goldstein, Drew Nieporent, and Melissa Kelly, focuses on serving contemporary cuisine in a certified organic environment. Her passion and soul is evident on each plate leaving her kitchen where she expertly manipulates comforting flavors with the respect and attention her local products deserve.

    Recommended:
  • Lake Meadow Salad: Tender Spinach, Red Cress, Escarole Hearts, Lake Meadow Soft Cooked Egg, Chicken Livers, and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
  • "Dirty South": Stew of Canaveral Shrimp, Snapper, Wild Clams, Tomato, Peanuts in a Rich Shrimp Broth with Creamy Grits

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    Cask & Larder

    565 West Fairbanks Avenue
    Winter Park, FL 32789
    (31) 280-4200
    www.caskandlarder.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 4pm-midnight; Sun 10:30am-3pm; Closed Monday

    A hearth oven, antiques,and exposed rafters project the vision of Chef-owners James and Julie Petrakis. The culinary duo have experience in some of the country’s most notable restaurants—NYC’s Atelier at The Ritz Carlton, Tribeca Grill, and Union Square Café—and are now taking over Winter Park with their second venture, Cask & Larder. The “strictly local cuisine” of Cask & Larder takes the South’s best produce and proteins and transforms them into new takes on old classics—think Shrimp and Grits and Cornbread Dressing—while emphasizing whole animal cookery and an in-house brewery. Brewmaster and Cicerone Ron Raike is the mad scientist behind more than 9 house-brewed beers that Raike skillfully pairs with Cask & Larders cuisine.

    Recommended:
  • Country Fried Grouper Cheeks, Sea Island Red Peas, Ham Hock, and Charred Pearl Onions
  • Stuffed Quail, Dirty Rice, Crawfish, Zipper Peas, and Romesco

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    The Ravenous Pig

    1234 Orange Avenue
    Winter Park, FL 32789
    (407) 628-2333
    www.theravenouspig.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-9:30pm

    Julie and James Petrakis are elegant southern chefs turning out playful, somewhat fancy ‘down home cookin’. Open for over four years, The Ravenous Pig is the first venture from this husband and wife duo. A self-proclaimed gastropub offering everything from soft pretzels with taleggio-porter fondue to seared foie gras with morel mushrooms and crispy polenta, The Ravenous Pig’s menu is dedicated to local and seasonal ingredients. Creating dishes like Short Rib Ravioli in a Caramelized Onion Brother with Hammock Hollow Kale, and Goat Cheese you can’t help craving their comforting take on Southern cuisine. Daily changing menus and an in-house charcuterie program have garnered scores of accolades and set a high bar for quality and value in the region.

    Recommended:
  • Charred Octopus, Chorizo, Avocado, Yucca, Black Garlic, Shishito Peppers, Cured Egg Yolk, and Piquillo
  • Red Snapper with Sauce Veracruz, Capers Olives, Masa Gnocchi, and Blistered Tomatoes

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    K Restaurant

    1710 Edgewater Drive
    Orlando, FL 32804
    (407) 872-2332
    www.krestaurant.net
    Hours: Mon 6pm-9pm; Tues 11:30am-2pm, 6pm-9pm; Wed-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 6pm-10pm; Sat 6pm-10pm; Closed Sunday

    K Restaurant was one of the first chef owned and operated restaurants in the area. Chef and Owner Kevin Fonzo, a NYC native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, sets the Florida standard for locally farmed ingredients and brings an unpretentious neighborhood-bar-and-grill vibe to his sophisticated restaurant. Sit in the open patio and order a drink from K Restaurant’s extensive wine list or craft beer list while enjoying the ever-changing Italian-American menu.

    Recommended:
  • Corvena Venison Chop, Chanterelle Mushroom, Beluga Lentils, Red Cabbage, and Zinfandel sauce
  • Bone Marrow, Roast-Onion Marmalade, Crostini, and Red Wine Reduction
  • Bluezoo

    1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard
    Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
    (407) 934-1111
    www.swandolphinrestaurants.com
    Hours: Mon-Sun 5am-11pm

    The ethereal Bluezoo experience at Walt Disney’s Swan and Dolphin is akin to swimming through the deep blue sea. The Todd English restaurant was designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Beers—also of DB Bistro Moderne and China Grill—and incorporates bubble light fixtures, water-droplet-patterned carpets, and coral colored elements, providing an appropriate setting for Chef Bobby Griffing's seafood-focused menu. Griffing, formerly of English’s Olive Tokyo, brings Japanese flavor and traditional Japanese and French technique to dishes like Arctic Char, Carrot Dashi, Black Garlic, Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, and Spicy Sesame Cashew Granola. The accompanying Bluezoo Lounge presents diners with classic cocktails, an extensive wine and sparkling wine list, and cordials.

    Recommended:
  • Pork Collar with Creamed Corn, Country Ham, and Tomato Cornbread Salad
  • Tuna di Calabria with Anson Mills Polenta, Artichoke-Mushroom Ragout
  • STAY

    Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center

    8101 World Center Drive
    Orlando, FL 32821
    (407) 238-8000
    www.cariberoyale.com
    Accommodations Range from $198 and up

    The Caribe Royale hotel is a premier hotel in Orlando, Florida, that caters to both the convention crowd and the vacationing family. With more than 1,200 suites, as well as 120 luxurious private villas with secluded lakeside pool and parking area, the property has a number of options for the family looking to experience all the excitement Orlando has to offer, or the business-minded traveler who just wants a calm retreat. The hotel also boasts a large, beautiful pool (which distinguishes the property, even in the land of large, beautiful pools) and free, convenient shuttle service to both nearby Disney properties and area shopping. Also located on premises are a number of dining options, including The Venetian Room, where Chef de Cuisine Khalid Benghallem indulges in worldly cuisine, merging his flair for French technique with Hispanic, Japanese, and North African flavors.


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    Hilton Orlando

    6001 Destination Parkway
    Orlando, FL 32819
    (407) 313-4300
    www.thehiltonorlando.com
    Accommodations Range from $139 and up

    Hilton Orlando’s modern accommodations suit the most active travelers and those simply looking for a relaxing poolside vacation. An on-premise spa, fitness center, resort pools, lazy river, golf course, and numerous athletic courts are some of the many options designed to enhance your stay. Seven restaurants, including The Bistro, Spencer’s, and David’s Club, offer excellent dining options with a range of prices, atmospheres, and experiences. Not to mention a number of resort package options that take the arduous legwork of traveling out of your hands places it in the capable hands of the Hilton Orlando staff.


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    Peabody Hotel - Orlando

    9801 International Drive
    Orlando, FL 32819
    (407) 352-4000
    www.peabodyorlando.com
    Accommodations Range from $130 and up

    Located in the middle of Orlando’s famed tourist attractions and performing and visual arts arenas, The Peabody Orlando is a premier luxury destination. Fine art, marble halls, and rare orchids are only part of the exquisite décor that make young families or experienced travelers feel special. Four restaurants, private dining, and an award winning wine cellar, provide plenty of evening dining options, while poolside bars and coffee joints let you enjoy bar fare and drinks while you relax. At the chef driven Napa, Executive Chef Jared Gross offers composed Italian-inspired dishes, paying attention to seasonal, local, organic, and sustainable ingredients.


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    Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

    1 Grand Cypress Boulevard
    Orlando, FL 32836
    (407) 239-1234
    www.hyatt.com
    Accommodations Range from $130 and up

    This 1,500 acre Orlando property boasts views of the lake and the scenic Buena Vista County landscape. A myriad of bars, lounges, bistros and more will keep you astir during your stay. Looking for a more relaxing approach? Leave the kids with on-site babysitting services and check out the half-acre pool with waterfalls, slides, and sundeck. And with eight full service restaurants, a coffee house, and room service are also available, guests can enjoy everything from sushi bar to sports bar without leaving the grounds.