Friday, March 27, 2015

The Good and Bad at Fleming's Steakhouse

We were happy to try Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar after receiving a gift card, since the upscale menu is too pricey for a weekly visit. Even with the gift card, we set out to save some money by heading to Fleming's Winter Park location during Happy Hour, which is daily from 5:00-7:00. The Happy Hour specials are great: $6 for certain cocktails and apps, and $7 for Fleming's burger. 

Unfortunately, we were not able to enjoy the specials, despite arriving only a half hour after Happy Hour started. The tables at the small bar area were already full, so we asked if we could order from the Happy Hour menu in the dining room. We were told we could not. I almost walked out. I know this is standard practice for most restaurants that offer Happy Hour: the specials are only available for a limited time in the bar area or on their patio. The policy still frustrates me. Would you rather have me as a customer who spends some money at your business - and then becomes a loyal customer - or none at all?

After deciding to stay and order from the regular menu, our experience got better from there. Yes, there was some sticker shock, but I expect that at a nice steakhouse. The atmosphere was great, and our server was very attentive. The bread with two different dipping butters was delicious. We ordered from a special three-course menu that featured a salad, an app, an entree and dessert. The Mushroom Asparagus salad was so unique - we have never had flavors like that paired together before, and really enjoyed it. The Butternut Squash Ravioli appetizer sounded so delicious, but we were really let down by the lack of flavor and spice. This dish could have been better with a touch of cayenne pepper or herbs. 

Of course, we had to have some steak, and opted for the Filet Mignon with Roasted Carrots. The shrimp appetizer with chorizo dipping sauce was cooked perfectly and the sauce was delicious. It truly was the best steak we have had in a long time. The Almond Cake was so tasty; we just felt the dark chocolate on top was not needed with all the other flavors on the dish. We would probably return to Fleming's just for dessert and a cocktail - if we could enjoy it during Happy Hour.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Go to Blu for Upscale Food, Great Service

Our first experience at blu on the avenue was outstanding, to our surprise. We were only surprised because it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, when we knew a lot of locals and tourists would be strolling around Park Avenue. We were worried about the parking and how long it would take to get our food.

We needn't have worried. The place was popular but not packed at 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon, and we had the most friendly, professional server we could have hoped for. We really liked the atmosphere, too. 

But we were most impressed with the quality of food and the Happy Hour Specials. We found out that, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., we could get a dozen oysters for $10. What a deal! And these are huge, fresh delicious oysters. The drink specials were also great: $5 Old Fashioneds, white sangria, and select wines, $4 Stella draughts and $4 well drinks. My husband opted for the Old Fashioned, and was so impressed that the restaurant used top-shelf liquor for his drink. 

We also tried the blu Lobster Cobb Salad, which is one of the most creative and tastiest salads I have tried. While I would never typically spend $17 for a salad, I decided to splurge. The salad came with a healthy topping of Maine lobster, tomatoes, avocado and cheese, and the entire thing was wrapped in a beautiful package of prosciutto and cucumber, which paired perfectly with the salad. As someone who often orders salads, I really enjoyed having new flavors tied together in such a unique way. And I brought leftovers home.

What do you enjoy eating at blu on the Avenue? I would like to know what to order next time we visit!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why we love Red Robin's Fruffles

We are bringing one of our most popular blog posts for Throwback Thursday. If you haven't tried Red Robin's Fruffles yet, get some today!

By Guest Blogger Shelby Gurley

Red Robin Fruffles Burgers
Check out Red Robin's new chocolate Fruffles. These creamy fudge brownies are elegantly cut to resemble Red Robin's infamous steak fries, and then dipped in decadent chocolate. 

But, instead of regular tomato ketchup, this sweet and salty treat is dipped in whipped cream and berry "ketchup". What makes this treat special is the salt. By putting salt on the chocolate, it contrasts the flavors, so it really enhances the richness of the dessert.

Have you tried the Fruffles? We would like to know what you think of them - and Red Robin's burgers - in the comments section below.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Find Excellent Mediterranean Fare in Downtown Orlando

Steak Schwarma
Guest blog by Shad Bookout

I had the pleasure of eating at Whitewood Mediterranean Grill in downtown Orlando recently for a business lunch. Even though it was after the lunch rush, the restaurant still had an air of fun about it.

Steak Flatbread
We all loved our dishes. We tried the Steak Schwarma with grape leaves and hummus, the Steak Kabob with Tabouleh and French fries and the Steak Carmelized Onion Feta and Balsamic Drizzle Flatbread. These were all very tasty dishes, that were a great value and large portions for lunch. 

Plus, the service was great. I will definitely visit this restaurant again.

Where: 1 South Orange Ave., #4, Orlando