Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Longwood Craft Brewery Falls Flat

If you are looking for a small, laid-back place to enjoy unique craft beers, The Hourglass Brewery is your spot.

We wanted something fun and different to do on a Saturday night, so we decided to check it out. The tasting room is set up like a bar: you can order one of the craft beers on tap or in the bottle at this counter. This room is smaller than you would expect, and gets a bit backed up since there is only one server working.  On the plus side, we ordered a flight of beer at $7 for 7 large tasting glasses - a great deal! It was very fun to try all the different flavors. Our favorites were Milk, which is very smooth, and the Amber Ale, which is mild with honey notes. The most off-putting flavors - in our opinion- were Farmhouse Citrus and Wildflower Ale. They were just too strong.

Another draw of The Hourglass Brewery is great daily specials, including $1 pitchers and game night on Saturday night. However, when we went out to the Beer Garden to enjoy drinks and games, there were about three games available. And there is no staff there to organize games, or explain how they work, so that experience sort of fell flat. I guess we are used to bars where there is more going on - more of a vibe - so we were a little bored.

Still, I can see how it is great place for those who live in Seminole County and want a relaxed night out with friends.

Where: 255 South Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood, Fla.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get Your Pasta Sauce Recipe Published

I recently had the chance to try Tuttorosso Tomatoes when my husband made spaghetti sauce from scratch. I was very impressed with both the flavor of the tomatoes - not what you would expect from canned tomatoes - and their lightness. 

That is the only way I can describe it: the company's crushed tomatoes produced a lighter pasta sauce that I am used to.

I would suggest trying Tuttorosso tomatoes out for yourself, and entering the company's contest to get your tomato sauce recipe published! Tuttorosso will send an apron to each of the first 4,000 to 'like' its Facebook page and provide their favorite and original Italian recipe. In addition to the free apron, it's also a chance for home chef fame, as the top four recipes will be highlighted on Tuttorosso's Facebook page and website, and will also be printed on future Tuttorosso cans. Plus, one grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card at

Here is one of Tuttorosso's recipes you can try for yourself: Quick and Savory Pasta Sauce.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Best Shrimp, Oysters & Fritters in Florida

The only thing I am upset about after my visit to Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant in Titusville, Fla., is that I did not try their wonderful food earlier! So many friends and blog readers had told me that this was one of their favorite places to eat. In fact, the Southern-inspired eatery gets visitors from all over the state – and the world. Now, I know why.

Corn Fritters - by Shad Bookout

Our meal started with a basket of complimentary corn fritters. These heavenly creations are unlike any corn fritters I have ever had. I don’t know how the chefs get the fritter so light and airy – most fritters are fairly dense. The fritters are fried lightly, so they are a little doughy inside, which is the perfect texture. Then, they are lightly dusted with powdered sugar. A meal that starts like that has got to be amazing.

Next, we tried a variety of appetizers. I never thought this would happen, but Dixie Crossroads got me to actually like oysters. The Char-Grilled Texas oysters is what did it. They are grilled just right and topped with cheese, butter, and bread crumbs. What a great recipe! I would also highly recommend the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and the Shrimp Cocktail – both featured Cape Canaveral brown shrimp on this visit. The shrimp cocktail was not overcooked, and the flavor was light and wonderful. The coconut shrimp was too greasy for my taste.
I didn’t realize the best was yet to come. Have you ever tasted Cape Canaveral Royal Red Shrimp? If not, this is the dish you must order at Dixie Crossroads. This shrimp dish
Rock Shrimp -By Shad Bookout
Rock Shrimp -
By Shad Bookout
- served broiled with butter and lemon – is sweet and is one of the best seafood dishes I have ever tasted. We also had the Royal Red shrimp fried, but I prefer to savor the flavor plain. Make sure you order the broiled Rock Shrimp as well – it also has a sweet, lobster-like flavor.
We tried one of the fish in season: Blackened Golden Tilefish, which is a mild, fleshy fish. The fish itself actually tastes a bit buttery! It was prepared perfectly, but was not my
favorite fish by itself. I would eat it in a rice dish or in a fish taco. Although we could not have possibly fit one more bite of food in our mouths, I was happy to see the Dixie Crossroads has such a varied menu for those who are not seafood lovers. They have a variety of pastas, sandwiches, burgers, and beef dishes.
Tips: If you want to beat the rush, show up for dinner around 4:30 p.m. Take time before or after your meal to see the turtles and fish swimming in front of the restaurant.
Where: 1475 Garden St., Titusville, FL  32796

Monday, January 14, 2013

Win a Gift Card to your Favorite Restaurant!

To reward our loyal blog readers, we are holding a random drawing for a restaurant gift card this Friday, January 18!

Simply tell us your favorite spot for eating a business lunch and why on our Facebook page,, and you will be entered to win a gift card to one of the restaurants that our readers say have the best business lunch! I can't wait to read your responses.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Delicious Cupcakes....For a Great Cause

A new dessert truck is on the roll in Central Florida! The All Things Sweet by O.U.R. Mission began serving delicious cupcakes at spots around Orlando three months ago.  

I love how this truck helps give the homeless opportunities for job growth. The cupcake truck is an extension of the the Orlando Union Rescue Mission's baking program, which teaches homeless men and women baking and cake decorating in an extensive nine to 12-month program.

Have you tried the cupcakes yet? Let me know your review. I can't wait to try the Salted Caramel and the Three Day Cruise, which is pineapple coconut cake topped with a blue coconut buttercream wave and a sugar surfboard.

If you work near downtown Orlando, you are in luck! The truck is often at City Hall or SAIC during the week. To find out where the All Things Sweet truck will be next, follow the truck on Facebook:

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Than Great Steak at Shula’s 347 Grill

Tim & Jess visit 2013 010

I have been anxious to try Shula’s 347 Grill at the Westin hotel in Lake Mary ever since it opened a few years ago. I guess I was waiting for a special occasion, which presented itself on New Year’s Day, when family was in town.

All of Coach Don Shula’s restaurants – including Shula’s America’s Steakhouse, Shula’s Bar and Grill, and Shula’s on the Beach – are known for their tasty, high quality steaks. That is no different at 347 Grill, which also serves a variety of burgers and sandwiches as well as chicken and seafood entrees.
Of course, we had to try the steak. We ordered the 8-ounce Filet Mignon with potatoes and vegetables ($33). First, we noticed that the price is much more reasonable than Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and tastes just as good. The Filet was so tender, we could cut it with a fork. Unfortunately, we asked for the steak cooked medium and it
came out rare. We also ordered the 16-ounce Cowboy Steak or T-bone ($34). This steak was cooked perfectly and also was very tender. It wasn’t the best steak we have ever had, but we give it four stars out of five.
We also ordered the Fresh Fish Sandwich ($13), which was served on a toasted Brioche bun. The bun was so delicious! The fish was also cooked perfectly, and I liked the seasoning on it. For an appetizer, we enjoyed the Calamari Fries ($12), which were lightly breaded and very tasty and served with a delicious tomato coulis dipping sauce.
After dinner, we enjoyed two of the restaurant’s desserts: Crème Brulee and Apple Cobbler. The brulee was one of the lightest and most flavorful brulees I have had, and 347 Grill got the crispy top just right. The cobbler – which was served warm with vanilla ice cream – was also very delicious. I would give it four stars out of five.
Tim & Jess visit 2013 014All in all, I would highly recommend visiting 347 Grill in Lake Mary. It has such a nice atmosphere for a special occasion or business lunch. If you want to enjoy the upscale environment but save money, go for the sandwiches or burgers, which feature high quality Black Angus beef and start at $11 each. I thought the appetizers were pricey – some cost more than the sandwiches – but you can stick to soup or salad for less expensive options.
Where: 2974 International Parkway, Lake Mary, 32746.