Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Maitland Food Truck Event Sports Fish Tacos, Korean BBQ & Fried Twinkies

Apparently, Food Truck gatherings in Orlando are not as underground as I thought they were. When I walked up to the eight trucks at Lake Lily in Maitland at 6:30 Tuesday night, I was blown away by the number of people eating and listening to live music. And for good reason! From the outside, the casual-looking food trucks belie the gourmet and mouth-watering delicacies awaiting inside.

Two of the most unique food trucks are Big Wheel Truck – which features gourmet skewers and homemade watermelon and Key Lime soda - and Tree House Truck. Tree House’s specialty is anything fried, including a deep-fried bacon cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts (8.00)! I would recommend trying Tree House’s Fried Twinkies (so amazing) and Fried Oreos for $2.50 each. Big Wheel Truck sports specialties such as Crispy Korean-Style Chicken Wings with Chili Lime Sauce for $6 each and Grilled Spicy Octopus Skewers with Chickpea Salad for $7.50. I had the delicious chicken skewer with chimichurri sauce for $3.50.
At Winter Park Fish Co.’s truck, we enjoyed the most flavorful crab cake sandwich we have ever had. I was also impressed with the restaurant’s fish tacos, which have a nice, spicy seasoning. They are reasonably priced at $5 each or 3 for $12. I was not able to try some of the other trucks – including Korean BBQ Taco Box, Red Eye BBQ, and The Crooked Spoon - but I will next time.

Don’t worry, my vegan and vegetarian friends. There are several options available at Big Wheel Truck, Tree House Truck, Yum Yum Cupcakes, and others. For dessert, there is a soft-serve ice cream truck and Yum Yum’s  Carrot Spice cupcake for $2.50 was moist and yummy. Post your reviews on your favorite food trucks below.

Info: Tuesdays, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 701 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland, 32751, and Wednesdays starting at 6:00 p.m. at Firestone, downtown Orlando.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Inside Scoop on Revamped Star Tours 3D

Disney and Lucasfilm do not disappoint in their launch of the renovated, high-tech StarTours 3D attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios. George Lucas himself and “Darth Vader” were on hand when Disney launched the new attraction on May 20 in Orlando.

Photo by Shad Bookout
One of the best features of the new the 3D ride is that it is a different experience every time you go on it. There are 54 different rotating Star Wars’ movie themes that the sim ride takes you through, including the scenes we experienced: The Death Star, Kashyyyk, and Hoth. Dropping down into the Death Star from above is a dizzying experience, as is jetting between the skyscrapers on Coruscant. The neatest part about the ride is the addition of Yoda and other characters’ interaction with riders – I will not ruin the fun surprise for you.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salmon In, Gulf Oysters Out

If you are a salmon lover, this is the time of year to get the freshest, most flavorful salmon at your local seafood restaurant or steakhouse. Some say that the wild salmon from the Copper River inAlaska is the best – and it will start being delivered to restaurants over the next couple of weeks. The kickoff of the Copper River salmon season is a big to-do every year. This week, the prized fish arrived via an Alaska Airlines freighter plane in Seattle, and was delivered to three top chefs competing in a cook-off. Yummy recipes are available at

On a sadder note for those of us who love seafood, Gulf seafood may be in shorter supply this year. The Mississippi River flooding last week caused Louisiana officials to open floodgates, which sent tons of freshwater into saltwater areas. As a result, some Gulf oysters, shrimp, blue crab and fish are expected to be killed off. However, the extra water should help the crawfish flourish this season

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Star Tours 3D Opens May 20!

The first time I rode Star Tours at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., a few years ago, it was the best sim ride I had been on. I felt like I was Luke Skywalker, zooming through the tight, rugged landscape on the Death Star. Now, Disney and Lucasfilm are making this ride even better. They created an immersive 3D experience that takes riders through several Star Wars movie scenes. I will provide a first-hand report about the new attraction after the media preview event on May 19. I wonder which Star Wars celebrities will appear?

The official opening of the new “Star Tours – the Adventures Continue is May 20 in Orlando, and June 3 at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Along with the opening of the new ride, Disney Hollywood park hours have been extended from 8:00 a.m. to midnight for a few days starting on May 20.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dinner at Mitchell's Fish Market

Appetizers - Photo by Shad Bookout
Our dinner at Mitchell’s Fish Market in Winter Park, Fla., started out with general manager Rob bringing us an oversized plate of the restaurants signature appetizers to try: Spicy Asian Shrimp, Kung Pao Fried Calamari, Cajun Stuffed Lobster, and Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp. The first two appetizers were yummiest, in my opinion. And the lobster bisque was one of the best I have ever had. It was also great fun to try Mitchell’s signature martinis, including our faves: Grapefruit & Basil and Elderberry & Pear.

Chilean Sea Bass
Now on to the best part of the meal: the entrees. We ordered Chilean Sea Bass, which Mitchell’s recently had certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. I have never had a more tender piece of fish in my life, and you need to order it prepared “Shang Hai style”. The scallops were prepared perfectly, as was the lobster tail. Oysters from both the East and West Coast of the U.S. were so fresh, they tasted like they had just been plucked from the ocean. All of Mitchell’s desserts – made in-house – are scrumptious. I would recommend the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, the 7-Layer Carrot Cake, and the Key Lime Pie.
Even though Mitchell’s features an upscale atmosphere and the quality of food served is top-notch, the prices are reasonable. Most entrees are $25 and below, and the restaurant’s daily “happy hour” from 4 – 7 pm offers half off of appetizers and drink specials for as low as $3. Location: Winter Park Village, across from the movie theater.