Thursday, April 28, 2016

Helps Kids and Eat Pie this Weekend!

Every year, I anticipate the National Pie Championships in Orlando, Fla. Our city is so fortunate to host this great event that recognizes national bakers, and is televised on Food Network. The National Pie Championships, which are open to the public, will be held April 29 and April 30 at Caribe Royale Hotel.

This year, the Championships are even better because they include the American Pie Council's "Pie Party" to benefit Give Kids the World. Tickets for the event are only $5 for two slices of pie, plus several fun activities will be held. You can challenge the pros in an Iron Chef-style competition, watch a 200-pound pie being built, and of course, enjoy pie. 

If you go, please post photos and comments of your favorite pies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Go to Carrabba's for Flavor, Value

We decided to give Carrabba's Italian Grill a try again after years of not eating there because of high prices and dishes that were not that inventive. After trying the recently-opened Carrabba's in Sanford, Fla., we are happy to report that we liked the taste of our dishes, as well as the incredible value for our dinner. 

The incredible value was obtained because we went on a Monday, when the chain runs its
Flavorful Excursions, Sanford restaurants, Sanford fla, Christine Blank
"Amore Mondays" promotion, offering three courses starting at $12.99. I would suggest going on Mondays - or for its specials on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, since many pasta entrees are around $20 on the regular menu.

For $12.99, I was able to try the delicious new Linguine Positano with wood-grilled chicken, crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. I would have loved more basil flavor, but otherwise the dish was seasoned well and came out steaming hot. I also was able to get a large side salad and the Brulee Ricotta Cheesecake. The cheesecake was not my favorite, but I typically don't like ricotta cheesecake. However, my husband enjoyed it!

For $15.99, my husband had the Fettuccine Weesie - Fettuccine Alfredo with sauteed shrimp, basil garlic and mushrooms in a white wine lemon butter sauce - as well as the Meatballs & Ricotta appetizer and the Minestrone soup. The fettuccine was very tasty, and we loved the flavors of the meatballs. 

Plus, our meals were so filling that we were able to take leftovers home. We rarely get to do that anymore when eating out! We also enjoyed eating outdoors in a nice atmosphere in Sanford. 

Where: 4675 St. John's Parkway, Sanford, Fla. (near Seminole Towne Center mall)

See the complete photo album from our dinner on Facebook.


Top Reasons to Visit The Smiling Bison - Sanford

Outback: Great Food For The Price

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Must-eat in Houston: Irma's Southwest

Guest blogger: Shad Bookout

Yesterday, we ate at Irma's Southwest Grill in Houston, Texas. There is no menu here; it is whatever is on the board for the day. 

We had good service, especially for an off time. My buddy Will enjoyed a combo with a shrimp taco, beef fajita, and a cheese enchilada. I had wild boar tamales. Both were delicious, but the best was by far the wild boar, which has the right blend of savory sauce to complement the gamey meat.

See complete photo album on our Facebook page!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Must-try: Brunch at The Porch

Winter Park restaurants, Orlando restaurants, Orlando
The Porch in Winter Park, Fla., recently started serving its brunch on Saturday from 11:30 am - 3 pm, in addition to its Sunday brunch. Of course, the brunch menu is as inventive and delicious as The Porch's regular menu. There were so many dishes from the brunch menu that we wanted to try, including Candied Bacon and an amazing Hawaiian French Toast dish. 

However, on this visit, I chose the Croissant Egg Sandwich with crispy bacon, arugula and tomato, with a side of smashed potatoes. This sandwich was truly the perfect bite, as egg yolk ran into the bacon, arugula and tomato. I also loved the smashed potatoes, which are like breakfast potatoes but smashed - and with more oil and seasoning.

My husband stuck to his favorite at The Porch: fried chicken tenders with tater tots. The fried chicken is always tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, with a tasty breading.

Bottom line: we will be back for brunch at The Porch and you should check it out too!

Also see:

Yummy TV dinners and more at The Porch

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Where to hike in Seminole County

While my husband and I love visiting beaches and hiking trails all over Florida, we also want to enjoy the beauty in our own backyard...Seminole County. We live in this county because we believe it has the most natural, scenic beauty in Central Florida.

Recently, I explored Black Hammock State Park in Oviedo. The park is massive, so I just went on a short hike off of the trailhead. One small section of the path was the boardwalk, as you can see in the photo, but most of it was gravel and then just dirt. I wish I had my hiking boots as I carefully stepped over many tree roots.

It was a beautiful day, and we truly enjoyed the beauty of this hike. See more photos on Flavorful Excursions' Facebook page. Also, let us know where we should explore next!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dreaming about chocolate at Universal CityWalk

I'm drooling just looking at the photos of the chocolate creations that will be featured at The Toothsome Chocolate Factory, opening later this year at Universal CityWalk

This 19th century-inspired Steampunk chocolate factory is not only a restaurant with gourmet burgers, seafood, pasta and other dishes, but will also be a cool place to hang out, with smoke stacks and staff wearing Steampunk fashion.

A sneak peek of some of their desserts include Salted Caramel Flan sundae and Chocolate Brownie Bark Sundae, along with Bacon Brittle milkshake and Espresso Buzzzzz milkshake. Will you be at this over-the-top Chocolate Factory when it opens?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fab animals, food at Disney's Animal Kingdom

While Walt Disney World's other theme parks in Orlando typically get much more attention -and attendance - than Animal Kingdom, this park is definitely underrated. It features two Broadway-quality shows: Finding Nemo and The Lion King, as well as fabulous animal sightings, activities for kids and high quality food.

Even though we went on the Safari Tour in Africa around noon, most of the animals were active! We saw three lions, hippos, zebras, elephants and many more native African animals that we had never seen before. We also did walking tours to see more animals - monkeys, snakes, beautiful birds and much more!

The Finding Nemo show was very entertaining - for adults and children alike.

beef gyroWhile we wanted to eat at Yak & Yeti for lunch, the wait was too long. Instead, we checked out the new Harambe Market in Africa, where you can get grilled sausage along with African and Indian dishes and African sodas and a few varieties of beer. My husband had the Beef Gyro, which was delicious and filling, and I had the Chicken Masala. Since I have not had this classic Indian dish before, I can't legitimately compare Disney's masala to others. I can only say I really enjoyed the flavor, as well as the accompanying rice and pita bread.

Meanwhile, we saw cranes and other construction equipment for the planned Avatar Land, which will draw many more visitors to this park! Also going on right now is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Don't miss the beautiful character greenery designs, the food, and the music!


Top reasons to visit Disney's Hollywood Studios

Top 10 favorites at Epcot Food and Wine Fest