Yikes. I had wayyy too much fun last night. Seriously.
We ended up heading over to Lake Eola for the Wine Barn event. And I can fully admit this was one of the most fun vino events I've attended. There wasn't too much of a crowd, and while it was crazy hot, some of the tents did have misters. I was a good girl, picked one color and stuck with it. (For the record, it was white. Like I said, it was crazy hot, so cold white wine seemed like the logical choice.) Anyhoo, it turned out to be the Day of Viognier (Ha! Get it? It rhymes...) with selections from all over the globe. My favorite was the Curtis from the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara. The vineyard specializes in and only grows Rhone grapes, so it's no surprise that this Viognier rocked.
Also ran into some friends who scored us some extra VIP passes to get into the exclusive tent with it's couches and multiple misters. The tent also had the Fermin Jamon Serrano (translation: Spanish ham) that was a-mazing. Not quite sure how much wine I had, but straight up I wasn't even counting. I also ran into more old friends, old students, and even a Master Sommelier who I (gulp) even had the courage to go up and talk to. Or stammer to. Put me in front of 50 people and I have no problem lecturing. But one on one with a Master? Yikes.
After the event we headed over to The Social Chameleon for a bite to eat and to switch over to beer.
That's right. Honey Basil Ale from Bison Brewing outta Berkley, CA. It was quite tasty, rich and well spiced.
If you've never been to The Social Chameleon before, get off your you-know-what and head over. The food is excellent and not overly priced. They actually focus on Flavors and not mass produced food. (Interesting concept, huh?) I've always loved the restaurant itself-cozy, comfortable and hip. (And now very cool! Hooray for additional a/c units!) They also have a super cool outdoor seating area with a funky garden.
Here's what we ate:
Stuffed Grape Leaves. Don't be turned off by this picture, the leaves (and I, for the record) were not having a good photogenic day. The Curry Cucumber Yogurt dipping sauce is perfectly flavored, delicious and goes well with the minty rice stuffing.
The Four Play for Some. My favorite was the Black Bean Salsa with hints of Cilantro. (Yep, you should be proud. I'm slowly but surely starting to appreciate cilantro.) It rocked. The Black Bean Hummus was also quite tasty with the perfect hints of Garlic. The Baba Ghanouj was overly acidic, and the traditional Hummus was on the dry side.
We also split the Crab Flatbread and a small Athenian pizza. All I have to say is: Holy Crab that Flatbread is fantastic. Crab, Goat Cheese, Shitake Mushrooms and Red Onions topped with Sesame Ginger Sauce and a side of a sweet Chili Sauce. Perfectly seasoned with great flavor profiles of all the ingredients, this is one delicious flatbread. I LOVE the combo of the Crab and Goat Cheese. If I gave out stars or forks or whatever, this would be five out of five. Or two thumbs up. Your choice. The Athenian was also nice with Roasted Chicken, Spinach, Feta, Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts. But it didn't have the bold flavors of the Flatbread.
Here's Captain America himself, Chef Bret. Kudos, yo. Your food is creative and tasty.
After dinner we headed 67 steps to the east and hit up The Milk Bar for more beer. In case you've been living under a rock, The Milk Bar is essentially solidifying this area as being The Milk District. It's located just across the street from the TG Lee milk plant or processing center or whatever you call it.
This bar is super cool, not too large and has a great selection of craft beers and microw brews. And, in contrast to the other craft beer bar located near by, the people here are NICE and interested in discussing beers with their customers. So I think I have the 'green light' to go ahead and name this one of my favorite bars in Orlando. The have cool music, games and a great beer selection.
Here's a picture of Brian, the cool bartender. He sucks at Scrabble.
Just kidding. He kicked my Scrabble ass.
And just in case you were wondering, I roasted a gigantic chicken while I was writing this.