Sunday, November 21, 2010

3 Thanksgiving Buffets in Orlando

Hooray! My favorite time of the year is just around the corner! Thanksgiving marks the time when all things are good. Starting with that perfect bite: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing a gravy and ending with holiday cookies and the smell of all things Christmas. If you're visiting Orlando for the holiday or a local just looking for a place to have a nice meal, here are three suggestions to get out and about on the infamous turkey day.

1. Islands Dining Room at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort-a Lowes Hotel. The resort itself is a prime example of vacation luxury. The South seas exotic theme leads to that perfect feeling of zen that we are all looking for while traveling. The large, Indonesian style Islands Dining Room will provide the perfect backdrop for a festive Thanksgiving buffet. Traditional turkey meals will be offered as well as the all time favorite prime rib. There will also be a variety of food stations including: sushi, stir fry, omelet and waffle (until 2pm). Besides the food you can enjoy live music, hula dancers, face painting for the kids and the chance to get up close to some Universal characters.
11am - 8pm
$43.95 for adults with Champagne included
$17.95 for kids 12 and under, kids under 3 are free

2. The Vineyard Grill at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. This Orlando resort is the ultimate example of upscale bliss. The hotel, spa, pools and all surrounding property are absolutely breathtaking. You can enjoy what will be a delicious buffet at their Vineyard Grill located in the heart of the plush surroundings that are already adorned in Christmas decor. Traditional Thanksgiving fare will be offered in addition to breakfast and carving stations.
$89 for adults
$39 for children

3. Capriccio Champagne Brunch at The Peabody Orlando. This resort has recently completed massive renovations that solidify it's standing as one of the top resorts in Orlando. I've taken a peek at their menu for their Thanksgiving buffet and was very impressed by the variety of options! Breakfast items and assorted brick oven pizzas join the list of Thanksgiving proteins such as turkey, prime rib and ham. A wide assortment of sides and desserts wrap up this list. Do me a favor, if you choose this buffet, try the butternut squash with parsnips, beets and truffled honey and let me know how it is!
$59.50 for adults
$25 for children 6-12, kids under 5 free

So head out, eat some good food and have fun! And most importantly, make sure you get that perfect bite!

*Reservations are required at all of these locations. Prices and hours are subject to change.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Imperium Food and Wine

I'm not gonna lie. I don't exactly make it out to Celebration too often. In fact, every time I do swing by that part of town, I'm always amazed as to how I actually got there. If you asked for directions right now, I'm not even sure that I could point to Celebration on a map. Point being, I had a nice surprise last week when I stopped by Imperium Food and Wine for a quick midweek meal.

The restaurant is spacious and relaxed but we took advange of the outside seating to enjoy the weather. The wine list was impressive, organized in my preferred price by the glass listing. I went for the classic inexpensive Wrongo Dongo-a Monastrell from Spain. (Remember, a very wise woman once told me, "You can't go Wrongo with the Dongo!")

The food menu has a wide variety of options from flatbreads to paninis and wraps. We started with two soups: the Tomato Basil -rich and creamy with just the right amount of spices and the Potato Leek which was thick and hearty (and I believe homemade!) on a cool evening. We also shared two half orders of flatbreads: The Thai Shrimp and the "Aloha". The shrimp flatbread was fantastic with it's crunchy Napa cabbage and (almost too) spicy peanut sauce. The Aloha with it's thinly sliced ham, pineapple and sweet red pepper sauce was delicious.

I'm sure I'll be back to Imperium Food and Wine at some point to enjoy a nice glass of wine and a bite to eat. Probably the next time I'm lost in Celebration, of course.

Imperium Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter Park Harvest Festival

Looking for something to do on Saturday? Head out and support local fare at the first annual Winter Park Harvest Festival. The day is chock full of activites and seminars as well as gardening and cooking demos. The festivities will be capped off with a farm to table dinner-5 courses with food provided by Luma, Ravenous Pig, K Restaurant, Mi Tomatina and Big Wheel Provisions among others.

I actually went to high school with the founder of this event, John Rife, which proves that this is truely all about the hometown. For his benefit and mine, I won't say what year we graduated.

You can get more info here.

Oh, and don't forget, Happy Beujolais Nouveau day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Looking for your 15 minutes of fame?

Alright friends in Orlando, if you've been itching to get out there and make a fool out of yourself on television, you might have your chance. Two cooking reality shows are holding open casting calls in the next few weeks in our City Beautiful. Check them out if you're interested, but please do not tell them I sent you!

24 hour Restaurant Battle Open Call in Orlando Sunday November 14th.

Master Chef Season 2 Open Call in Orlando on Saturday November 20th.