Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mucho Tequila and Tacos

Before you read on, I have to admit something. I do not drink Tequila. Tequila makes me crazy. And not in a "Woo Hoo! Kate is sooo wild and crazy!!!" kinda way.

That being said, I recently met up with some friends for a pre-birthday celebration at Mucho Tequila and Tacos. I had a blast (even without partaking in the aforementioned spirit). This place is really just about the ambiance and atmosphere. Located downtown, Mucho must've put down some serious money for decor. It was hip, rough and urban all at the same time.

I wish I could be just as positive about the food. It was.....average. If even. I tried two tacos: the Mexican (queso fresco, onion and salsa verde with chicken) and the Drunken Shrimp (tequila and chile glazed shrimp, serrano pico de gallo, onion and lime sour cream). Both sound fantastic in theory but were rather bland and boring. And considering that clothing/apparel are listed before their menu on their website, I have a feeling that they might not put all their effort into the cuisine.

I'm sure I'll be back, really just to have a couple of drinks and hang with some friends. I should probably mention at this point that the restaurant was very loud. As in "What did you say?!?" loud. So don't head over if you are looking for a quiet dinner. Or if you're the designated driver for the evening.

PS They also have a food challenge on their menu. Eat all of the Mucho Caliente appetizer (three deep fried haberno peppers) by yourself and you get a free t-shirt. One warning: even though it's not listed on the menu, the peppers have hot sauce in the middle (!!). And NO I did not try this challenge! I think eating three habernos would possibly make me more crazy than tequila does.

Here's a picture of AG's Mr. Woolheater just before he took the challenge. He won. But he didn't talk for about ten minutes after:

Mucho Tequila and Tacos on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wine World Outlet

So I got a mailer last week for a new wine store close to my house. They advertised low prices and tastings every Friday night. Whatever, you guys know me. I headed out on a rainy Friday night to check out the new place and try some wines.

Looks like Wine World is a Florida chain, and the Orlando location opened three months ago. (For the record, it's in the Publix shopping plaza at Orange and Michigan. I visit that plaza multiple times a week, but never noticed this place until they sent a mailer to my house.)

The wine selection was decent, but I was a bit confused by the organization of the store. To the right there were wines organized by the grape. To the left were wines organized by the region. In the back there were wines organized by nothing. In the middle was a wine tasting. So I headed that way.

The employees were attentive, but not overly nice. And there was plenty of pretentious wine speak abound. My attempts at conversation pretty much got me nowhere, but I did try some decent wines and a microbrew from Atlanta.

The best news of the visit was the Pricipessa Gavi. I wrote about this Gavi last week, and was plesantly surprised to find it for $12.99. Overall prices were good here, and the selection does beat out Publix. Even with their new Liquor Store location.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farro Espanol!

Yeah, Yeah, another Farro recipe. But I have officially broken up with pasta thanks to this tasty and filling Italian grain.

1 cup Farro, rinsed
2 cups Water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Roasted Red Pepper, diced (yes, jarred is fine)
1/4 cup Manzanilla Olives, sliced
1/4 cup Manchego Cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper, to taste

The Plan
Cook Farro.
Saute extras.
Shred Cheese.

The Method
Bring Water and Farro to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.

In the meantime, heat Olive Oil in a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add Garlic. When Garlic just starts to brown, add Red Pepper and Olives. Cook until heated through.

Shred Cheese.

Combine all ingredients. Salt and Pepper to Taste.

*You can buy Manchego Cheese at Publix or Whole Foods. It really is a Spanish specialty. If you purchase from Whole Foods, get the younger Manchego. It tends to dry out as it ages.

*I also put all the extras from the recipe on a Whole Wheat Pizza crust the next night. A-mazing.

*Even if you don't have any interest in this recipe, drop what you are doing and go buy some Manchego.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Cheesecake Accompaniment

Next time you're making cheesecake, try the following: Honey Marscapone. Take a container of Marscapone and add Honey to taste. If you're lucky, you can use Woolheater Farms Honey. If you're not that lucky, at least try to get some local honey from the farmer's market.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Aroma Italian Cafe and Wine Bar

Stopped in at Aroma Italian Cafe and Wine Bar last evening after what was supposed to be a quick happy hour at Dexters. That turned into dinner. And the next thing you know, drinks and dessert at Aroma. Such is life.

I've walked by Aroma a million times, and have even tried to partake a couple of times, but they had been closed. Long story short, this was my first visit and I have to admit I was quite impressed.

Situated in an old house in Thornton Park, Aroma has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The service was prompt, but otherwise was very uninterested in our table.

We split two desserts: the Torta Della Nonna (my fav) and the Chocolate Marquise (fancy name for chocolate mousse). The Torta had a base of short pastry (fancy name for crust), lemony pastry cream, pine nuts and almonds. Even though it was dusted with powered sugar, it wasn't overly sweet. Which pretty much balanced out with the freaky chocolaty Marquise. Silky smooth and dusted this time with cocoa powder, this is a dessert to be taken seriously. And in moderation. Yikes.

We also split a bottle of Pricipessa Gavi. I've always been a fan of Gavi. Made from the Cortese grape and hailing from Piedmont, it's a nice alternative to Pinot Grigio. Less acid, more balanced with hint of almonds. Which is why it pretty much rocked with the Torta.

Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering, I did 45 min on the elliptical yesterday morning and sweated my you know what off at Lake Eola this morning. Such is life.

Aroma Italian Cafe & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Habana Grill

"Don't judge me."

That's what I said to my brother Saturday during lunch at Habana Grill. After my second Mojito and just before I ordered the third.

Hands down, the best Mojito in town. (I've been told by one of the bartenders that their secret is Bacardi Limon.)

And, in huge news, I've also decided that Habana Grill is also home to my favorite sandwich: the Media Noche. It's your typical Cuban sandwich....but served on Media Noche (sweet Cuban) bread. Pressed and served with plantain chips, you really cannot go wrong. We also ordered a side of the fantastic Garlic Yucca Mash with lunch-mainly as a dip for the plantains (yep, I dip my starch in starch).

Great food + Great service + Great Mojitos = Great Restaurant

Habana Grill on Urbanspoon

White Wolf Cafe

Stopped by White Wolf the other night for a quick mid-week bite before heading over to OMA for First Thursdays. I hadn't been in quite some time-I think I got a bit White Wolfed-out.

If you've never been, WW is one of my favorite spots for outdoor dining, but they also have a cool interior atmosphere as well. We sat inside because the freaky hot afternoon soon was beating down on the patio, but it turns out it was just as bright inside. A few minutes after sitting at our table I was literally blinded by the light that was pouring in the windows. No biggie. Our server was super nice and moved us to a new table quickly.

My dinner buddy and myself decided to be wild and crazy and split two chicken sandwiches for dinner. The Grilled Double Breasted Chicken Sandwich was ok....but not great. Served with avocado, lettuce, bacon, tomato and your choice of swiss of bleu, it was a bit dry with not enough of our chosen swiss.

The better sammy was the Our New Riviera Grilled Sandwich. Even though the name is ridiculous, the sandwich is not. Chicken, goat cheese, tomato and pesto served on rye bread. This one was tasty sandwich.

We also split a nice bottle of Verdelho. The wine list is kinda odd, but I was pleased to see this option. They also have a great happy hour...but keep in mind you have to sit at the bar to partake in the savings.

White Wolf Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Frozen Gold

Sometimes I get some freaky primal urge for sand and salt water. And with the recent turn of the weather last weekend, I just HAD to go to the beach. Which means I just HAD to stop at Frozen Gold on my way home.

Straight up, their homemade Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt is freaky delicious. Peanut Buttery and creamy goodness. The only problem I've ever had at Frozen Gold is having to wait in line. But considering I got a big bowl frozen yumminess (plus my preferred topping: M&Ms) for under $3, it's the perfect treat after a perfect morning at the beach.

Frozen Gold Ice Cream Shop on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Uptown Park Wine Bar

So here's the thing about being a Certified Sommelier.

Sometimes I get tired of the pretentiousness that surrounds wine and beverages. But I REALLY get tired of the pretentiousness that surrounds a person when they talk about wine and beverages. Especially if they don't know what they're talking about.

So it's nice to find a bar where you can actually relax, enjoy a drink, and not feel intimidated or annoyed.

This pretty much sums how I feel about the Uptown Wine Bar. Well, besides the great selection of beer and the comfortable but not too hip atmosphere. And the good music. And the fact that it's smoke free. And that it's close to my house. And that the bartenders are SUPER nice and would not sell you an inferior product.

I guess that really all I have to say! I like this place, and I hope to return again soon. Like maybe this weekend. Anyone interested?

UpTown Park Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Green Lemon Cafe

Stopped by Green Lemon Cafe last night for a quick bite.....and I have to admit that I'm already thinking about my next trip!

My family has a long history of being in love with crepes. (Although we think of them as Sweedish Pancakes. My grandmother reports that her recipe came over with her mother on the boat from Sweeden. By the way, my great great aunt was on a ship that hit an iceberg during one of these trips from Sweeden. But that's a story for another time!) Because of this I've always had a special place in my heart for these thin pancakes.

So I was thrilled to (finally) hear about the Green Lemon Cafe. I had the Prosciutto and Fig. Delicious but quite rich! I was pleasantly surprised by the large amount of Prosciutto (Boar's Head at that!) and found the Fig preserves to be not overly sweet. Add in a filling of Blue Cheese and I was a happy camper.

We split a Smores Crepe for dessert. It contained the usual suspects: Chocolate, Marshmellow and Graham Crackers crumbles. This crepe was VERY sweet so do not attempt it alone! Also, ask them to skip the powered sugar on top....I think it added too much sweetness plus I inhaled some on accident and started choking.

Make sure to check out the massive crepe griddles they have for production. They dwarf my William Sonoma crepe pan and I'm seriously jealous.

Green Lemon Cafe on Urbanspoon