Thursday, March 30, 2017

A personal message from Chef Greg Richie, Baoery Asian Gastropub

Like many of our readers, we were heartbroken to hear that Baoery Asian Gastropub in Orlando will be closing soon. The food that we tried from Baoery at the Downtown Food & Wine Fest was outstanding, modern and unique. However, the restaurant simply couldn't survive in its Thornton Park location. 

We reached out to Greg Richie, executive chef/ partner for both Baoery and Soco Thornton Park, to learn more about the eatery's closing and find out what is next.

Flavorful Excursions: What would you like to say to our readers who are sad the restaurant is closing?

Richie: I would like to thank your readers for any support they have given us. And, if you value and cherish a restaurant, go there. I have heard it heartbreakingly too often: "I hear such great things about your restaurant! I'm really looking forward to trying it." Well, we were open more than a year and a half. Many people "never got around to it". It's very sad.

Flavorful Excursions: When will the restaurant close?

Richie: We have a few good days left in us!

Flavorful Excursions: What ventures are next for you?

Richie: I'm going to focus on Soco for the time being, marshal my forces, and look for the next opportunity to try to bring yummy food to the hungry diners out there!

Again, we very sad to hear about Baoery closing. We say: there is no time like the present to try this great Orlando restaurant - and any others you have been dying to try!

Also see:

Gavin DeGraw, oustanding food and wine at Downtown Food & Wine Fest

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Excellent Food, Drinks & Atmosphere at Coast Seafood & Brew, Beau Rivage

by Guest Blogger Lauren White

We were wowed by the excellent seafood, cocktails and brews showcased at Coast Seafood & Brew in the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino last week, when the restaurant unveiled its all-new seafood menu.

The concept for the new menu is "dock-to-table. The restaurant and bar sources the best fresh, local seafood and beers and serves them in a fun and laid-back - but still upscale - atmosphere. They utilize local chefs who know the area and can cook with what is around them. 

While we loved everything we tried, here are some of our favorite dishes and drinks:

  • El Jimador Spicy Margarita. Served with a lime and a sliced jalapeno, this cocktail has a definite kick but is not too spicy to enjoy. It is very well balanced.
  • Red Snapper Escoveitch. In this Jamaican preparation, the snapper has a delicious glaze over the top that also gave it a little crunch. The fish is very moist, and didn't have a fishy taste.
  • Catfish Sliders. Yes, you read that correctly. These were very tasty, thanks in part to the breading, which was very crispy and flavorful. The catfish was also cooked perfectly, flaky and moist. 
  • Shrimp Cocktail. Huge, juicy shrimp are featured, and the cocktail sauce is very flavorful with a nice kick.
  • Oyster Po' boy Slider. Perfectly-cooked oysters are breaded with a batter that doesn't overpower the oyster, but is flavorful. Just like the Catfish Sliders, we loved the soft, fresh bread the restaurant uses.
  • Deep Fried Crawfish Jambalaya. This was surprisingly very moist, with deep flavors and a nice kick at the end of each bite. The rice was well cooked and the crawfish were tender.  
  • Mother Shucker. These are huge Louisiana oysters, which are topped with a hollandaise sauce and bacon. All the flavors paired very well to give you a great bite every time, and the oyster was perfectly fried.
  • Salty Dog beer from Biloxi Brewing Company. While this brew does have a salty tinge, it is light and easy to drink.
  • Kiln Mississippi Gold from Lazy Magnolia Brewing. This beer is smooth and easy to drink. It had a different, surprising flavor, and was very delicious. 
  • Pomegranate Martini (Pom-Tini). This was sweet, but very smooth. We loved it!
  • Lost on the Beach. This is fruity drink that makes me think of the sand in my toes! It was very refreshing and yummy.
We appreciated Beau Rivage inviting us to this media preview of Coast Seafood & Brew. After our amazing food and drinks, we had an opportunity to stay at the resort and casino. This is a staycation that we would recommend to anyone along the Coast looking for a relaxing, fun getaway.

Not only will you enjoy top quality food at Coast Seafood & Brew - along with Beau Rivage's buffet and other outstanding restaurant on property - but you will be staying in a wonderful, upscale atmosphere with the best service.

Every employee we passed in the hallway was nice and said hello. The staff who checked us in and out was extremely efficient and personable. The valet was also very prompt. They told us it would take around 15 minutes to get our car, and it only took and it only took five.

We were also able to check in using the VIP area, which was very nice. They had coffee, tea and water out and couches and chairs to relax in. They also had cookies out the afternoon that we checked in.

The room was very nice.  Not only was it clean and comfortable, but it was quiet at all hours, and the blackout curtains made it so cozy at night. The bathroom was spacious and the shower was big and roomy. We also loved our view of the city and the Shuckers baseball park. 

We will return to Beau Rivage to eat - and stay - soon!

Also see: 

Enjoy outstanding food & more at Beau Rivage

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New fave Orlando seafood eatery: Reel Fish

Photo by Shad Bookout, OpinionsVary
We finally have a real beach seafood restaurant in Orlando! Now, I know what you are thinking, and you are right. There are plenty of seafood-focused restaurants here - from independent standouts like Two Chefs Seafood in downtown Orlando to chains such as FishBones and Bonefish Grill. 

However, Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar in Winter Park is the first seafood restaurant I have seen in Central Florida that has the quality, service and decor of a beach seafood restaurant - done perfectly. "We have the fish camp culture in a coastal kitchen in an inlet setting," Owner Fred Thimm told Flavorful Excursions when the restaurant invited us for a media review. "We have great fried fish and other fried items; then, on the other hand, there is fresh local fish every day."

In addition to the "Daily Catch" specials, such as Yellowtail snapper, corvina and hogfish, you will find Southern specialties such as Shrimp 'n Grits, fried green tomatoes, and collard greens - prepared extremely well. You would think you're in your grandma's Southern
Photo by Shad Bookout, OpinionsVary

Here are just a few of the dishes that we recommend you try when you go:

1. Raw oysters and Oysters Rockefeller: You can choose from whichever high quality oysters are in season, including James River, Blue Point and Gulf. Very fresh and high quality. 

2. Shrimp or Oyster Po'Boys. Using bread flown in from a New Orleans bakery, as well as perfectly breaded and lightly fried shrimp and oysters, makes these sandwiches taste truly authentic.

3. Mayport shrimp: This sweet Florida shrimp is excellent served boiled (regular or spicy) and fried. This shrimp from near Jacksonville Beach is used in all Reel Fish's shrimp dishes. And most dishes don't cost more than at restaurants serving farmed shrimp from Asia.

4. Smoked Fish Dip: We love the heavy smoke on this fresh dip, as well as the crunch of green apples.

5. Shrimp & Avocado Louie Salad. The crispy bacon pairs perfectly with shrimp, avocado, hard-boiled egg - and such a delicious vinaigrette. This is one salad you don't want to miss out on!

6. Southern Green Beans with smoked bacon onion broth. Drooling just thinking about the bacony goodness of these beans!

Truly, everything we had was outstanding, which is quite outstanding for a restaurant that has been open less than a month. And, now that the restaurant is open for lunch and Sunday brunch, we have plenty of opportunities to return. And we will!

Also see: 

Mouthwatering Reel Fish photo album on Facebook.

Win brunch for two at Two Chefs Seafood