Culinary Experiences – About Orlando Insider Tips for Orlando Florida Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:37:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 La Hacienda de San Angel Sat, 30 Mar 2019 00:04:49 +0000 A favorite at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase, La Hacienda de San Angel is a wonderful lakeside restaurant to enjoy dinner and drinks.

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The Mexico Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase


Taking advantage of the panoramic waterfront views of the World Showcase Lagoon, La Hacienda de San Angel offers one of the most picturesque dining experiences in all of Epcot. The lakeside house, or La Hacienda, is a 250-seat table-service restaurant decorated with traditional Mexican colors, bright and inviting. Dark carved wood tables and booths are offset by the enchanting star lights suspended from the ceiling and bright artwork adorning the walls.


Savor authentic Mexican specialties made from the freshest of ingredients. The menu features starters like queso fundido (warm cheese with poblano pepper and chorizo) accompanied by fresh homemade tortillas. Entrées include a mixed grill for two with flank steak, chicken, chorizo and vegetables, or a seafood version with grouper, shrimp and scallops; roasted shrimp in pepper garlic broth; flank steak with spring onions, refried beans and cactus leaves; and grilled red snapper with roasted corn and cactus leaves. Dessert specialties include chocolate churros, sweet tamales and fruit empanadas.

Specialty Cocktails and Wine: 

What’s a visit to an authentic Mexican restaurant without a margarita? La Hacienda de San Angel has a great selection of creative margaritas. Coffee Margarita, Lime Raspberry Margarita, Mango Blueberry Basil Margarita… can’t decide? Try the margarita sampler – a tray of 3 half ounce shots that are served with Sangria, lime and salt. If tequila’s not your thing, be sure to check out the wine list.

A small but well rounded selection of wines imported from either South America or Spain are available at reasonable prices. Oh, and of course let’s not forget Dos Equis, which is available in both Amber and Lager.

Even More: 

The obvious special attraction for the restaurant is the spectacular view you will have if you are fortunate enough to snag a window seat for the "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" fireworks and laser light show. A perfect ending for your day at Epcot as the restaurant’s lights are dimmed, music is piped in and you and your family have one of the best seats in the park for the nighttime show.


If you are not able to get a reservation for dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel, be sure to stop by La Cantina de San Angel, a 150-seat quick-service restaurant. Take your meal to one of the outdoor dining areas, or dine inside of La Hacienda – which is open all day, but only offers table service for dinner.


As with all Disney dining facilities, reservations are needed to guarantee seating. Reservations may be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. Reservations also may be made on line at La Hacienda de San Angel.

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Orlando’s Magical Dining Month Wed, 01 Aug 2018 17:17:46 +0000 Eight day preview begins in August! Tips and dining deals during Orlando Magical Dining Month. In 2019, choose from over 120+ restaurants during September's Magical Dining.

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Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House on International Drive part of Orlando's Magical Dining month of September. Morton's is located on Sand Lake Road. #magicaldining
Photo © Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House – 8oz Filet Mignon

September offers a month of magic in Orlando! Tourist season is slowing down giving Orlando area restaurants the opportunity to once again WOW us with great dining deals! During Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, begins August 23th and continues for over 5 full weeks until September 30, 2019, diners can enjoy a three course dinner for only $35. Each participating restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu with selections for appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Not just for Florida residents and no coupons needed!

This is your chance to try out some new restaurants or visit your tried-and-true favorites for the full treatment – all at a discounted price. There are over 120 restaurants participating in the 2019 event.  So many new Orlando area restaurants has made this the largest list ever! So how does it work? Peruse the list of restaurants to find the ones that interest you. Click on the link and you’ll see the prix fixe menu that is being offered.

Restaurants are listed by area; Convention area, Disney/Lake Buena Vista, Downtown, Restaurant Row (Sand Lake Road), Universal/CityWalk, Winter Park and North, Surrounding Areas.

Each year the program supports local, Orlando not-for-profit organizations.

September Magical Dining Tips:

Some of the more popular restaurants will book up early for Friday and Saturday evenings, so plan in advance and make reservations right away.

Not all restaurants will automatically hand you the prix fixe menu, so be sure to ask about it.

If you have other discounts or coupons for the restaurant, be sure to call ahead to see if they will be honored with the Magical Dining menu.

Sometimes restaurants may offer a featured wine at $35 a bottle.  Others may allow you to bring your own wine – call ahead to see what the corkage fee is.

This is the restaurant’s opportunity to show the customer just how fantastic the dining experience can be – therefore it is to their detriment if they serve smaller portions or specialty items that are not usually on the menu. For this reason, I always ask the server about the prix fixe menu – how it compares to the restaurant’s regular menu and what have been the most popular selections from others.

Best Choices for Magical Dining:

  • Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil are both on the list this year. These Brazilian Steakhouse do not offer a standard menu – it is usually a flat rate of $46.50 – $49.95 for the full dinner, therefore if you request the Magical Dining price, you will save more than $13.50 per meal and receive a dessert! Confirm this when you call to make your reservation.  Also, some prime cuts of beef may not be included in Magical Dining.
  • All of Orlando’s top Steakhouses are included on the list: Capital Grille, Fleming’s, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Spencer’s and the beautiful Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House on International Drive.  If your selection can only be one, choose carefully, check entree cost on the restaurant’s menu to see where the best savings can be had.
  • Some of the restaurants do not include prices on the website menu. Others that have more seasonal selections do not list a menu on-line.

Each year I indulge and visit at least four of the restaurants participating in Orlando’s Magical Dining Month: Two favorites and two new restaurants. For me this is a good opportunity to try something different than what I might normally select from the menu. There is usually so much food, it is doubtful that I will go away hungry.

My go-to favorite restaurants are Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Vines Grille & Wine Bar and The Boheme.   What are your favorites? Post your comments below.

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Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse Mon, 31 Aug 2015 18:55:05 +0000 On International Drive in Orlando you will find the upscale Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. Fine dining at it's best, private dining areas for groups and events.

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“Do Right and Fear No Man.” You will find this motto of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse modestly placed on the bottom of the menu cover. But this upscale restaurant located on International Drive won’t need to fear the competition either – because they are making a point to do everything right!

The Ambiance
Banishing the ‘boys night out’ atmosphere, the I-Drive Del Frisco’s forgoes the white tablecloths and dark paneled walls for a lighter, brighter experience. The restaurant’s modern interior design distinguishes Del Frisco’s from other area steakhouses while still maintaining an elegant, upscale atmosphere. By incorporating patterns and color that emulate Florida’s art deco history, Del Frisco’s adds a well-known and trusted name to International Drive while avoiding the cookie-cutter chain restaurant feel.Original, one-of-a-kind artwork provides pops of vibrant color throughout the restaurant. Fourteen original works of art on display in the restaurant were purchased locally from the prominent LG Art Gallery in Lake Mary.
The Wine
Del Frisco’s comprehensive, but accessible, wine list features one of the most extensive wine collections in Central Florida. Much of the wine inventory is impressively displayed throughout the restaurant in various glassed-walled wine “cellars.” In the grand foyer you’ll find the signature floor to ceiling wine wall which showcases more than 10,000 bottles.The 1,200 plus wine list can be a bit daunting, but there is always a sommelier available to assist guests in selecting the perfect bottle to accompany their meal. If you choose to bring your own wine, the corkage fee is $30, though with such an extensive list, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a wine to meet your comfort level.
The Dining Experience
The restaurant is large, with places and spaces for just about any dining option to suit your mood. The two story building is 18,584-square-feet, with over 400 seats. Multiple private dining areas, two bars, outdoor seating and a spacious, upscale main dining room are all open and visible, while still maintaining their distinct space. Even the partially open kitchen provides guests a glimpse of the culinary experience without any of the usual cooking distractions.The large square bar located on the first floor is the perfect place to mix and mingle yet offers a comfortable space for individual guests. Venture to the upstairs bar for a more relaxed, lounge vibe where beautiful cut crystal bottles create a centerpiece chandelier for the room. Whether visiting the restaurant for dinner or just drinks, the signature handcrafted cocktails, especially The VIP and the Pomegranate Martini are worth the visit.
The Menu
Del Frisco’s is deservedly known for having the finest quality and selection of meats and seafood. The starters and side dishes offer creative accompaniments to your meal. The Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre with a Bourbon molasses glaze and Braised Short Rib Dumplings are special menu items that are offered at the Orlando Del Frisco’s. The shaved Brussels sprouts, sautéed with bacon and onions, is a delicious presentation of this trendy veggie.Dessert anyone? Though it is hard to save room after such a satisfying dinner, the desserts at Del Frisco’s are amazing. The award-winning Lemon Cake is considered a restaurant favorite, but the Buttercake with Butter Pecan ice cream and caramel sauce is my choice – and it’s big enough to share.

The Extras

  • Complimentary valet parking.
  • Exceptionally attentive service. Your water glass will never go empty.
  • Daily specials described in detail along with the price. Face it, we all want to know the price of specials not listed on the menu, but who really wants to ask?
  • Special dinner deal for Dining out on Mother’s Day.
  • Participates in Orlando’s Magical Dining during the month of September.
  • In addition to à la carte options, the menu also has a selection of entrees which come complete with a starch and vegetable.
  • Late night dining until 11:00 pm, Monday through Saturday and 10:00 pm on Sunday.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
9150 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819The Orlando, International Drive Del Frisco’s is the company’s twelfth Double Eagle Steak House, joining the exclusive list of other locations which include Chicago, Washington, Boston and Las Vegas.

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Best Tea Rooms in Orlando Wed, 27 May 2015 19:48:58 +0000 Looking for a list of Tea Rooms in the Orlando area? Casual cafes to elegant High Tea in the afternoon. Restaurants specializing in iced or hot tea.

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Indulge your oolong impulses at one of these Orlando area tea rooms.  Enjoy a cup of tea at proper afternoon High Tea done Disney style, or at a local cafe specializing in vegan fare. When I started this list of Tea Houses and Tea Rooms, I had no idea that the selection would be so diverse. If you are like me and tea is your drink of choice, then this is a great list of restaurants and cafes where you can find everything from a  pick-me-up caffeinated iced blend to a pot of soothing decaffeinate tea.


Top Tea Rooms and Tea Houses in Orlando

Dandelion Communitea Cafe

618 N. Thornton Ave.
Orlando FL 32803

This vegan restaurant offers a great selection of organic teas to go along with some wonderful locally sourced and organic menu items. If that’s not your cup of tea… you’ll also find Fair Trade Organic coffee, organic beer from Orlando brewing and even a nice selection of wines.

Infusion Tea

1600 Edgewater Drive,
Orlando, FL

On view as soon as you enter Infusion is the expansive selection of loose tea which includes 75 varieties ranging from the classic English Breakfast to the more esoteric Gyokuru. If you are overwhelmed by the selection, the knowledgeable staff can help you with your choice. This tea house offers the best of both worlds, a full restaurant which does a great lunch-time business to a relaxing spot to stop in for a traditional Afternoon Tea complete with a 3-tier tray of pastries, scones and fresh baked cookies, breads and tea sandwiches.

The Lemon Lily Tea Room & Bakery

1954 W State Rd 426 #1106
Oviedo, Florida

A great way to spend a few hours visiting with friends while enjoying afternoon tea in a bright and cheery tea room. The four course lunch includes small portions of fruit, soup, and a plate of petite tea sandwiches and quiches. Lunch is finished with two of the mini daily desserts. The unique pieces of china and charming teapots add to the ambiance of the shop which also sells fresh baked goods. The tea room is available for private parties.

Dickens Coffee & Tea Room

3801 W. Lake Mary Blvd. Suite 171
Lake Mary, FL 32746

This quaint Lake Mary Tea Room offers afternoon tea with an authentic British flair. In addition to High Tea served Tuesday through Saturday, the restaurant is also open for breakfast and lunch. The intimate and relaxed setting is perfect for special occasions including birthday parties, showers and networking events. The refined menu choices are typical of what you would expect in a British Tea Room.

Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria

67 North Bumby Avenue
Orlando FL 32803

Flavorful teas include a nice selection of Green favorites, Rooibos and Herbal. Pom Pom’s is a great place to socialize and relax. For dining choices, the menu includes salads, sandwiches and breakfast. Many of the entrees have an Eastern influence, giving the dishes a little extra spice and flavor. Looking for some late night dining? Pom Pom’s is open from 11 am on Friday morning until 6 pm Sunday evening. On the weekends, savor the creative breakfast options beginning at 11 pm until noon on Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday.

Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
4401 Floridian Way
Orlando, FL 32830

In the grand Disney style that you would expect, afternoon tea, served from 2 – 5 pm in the Garden View Room is a delightful, elegant indulgence. For a special treat with your granddaughter or an as an addition to your vacation itinerary, afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room is sure to create some delightful memories. The beautifully appointed room overlooks the resort’s garden and is available for special events.

Do you have a Tea Room nearby that you would like to recommend? If so, post your comments below.

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Roy’s Cooking Class Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:43:14 +0000 A review of Roy's Cooking Class in Orlando. More of a demonstration, yet an enjoyable afternoon with excellent food and useful cooking tips and information.

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Review of Roy's Cooking Class in Orlando on Sand Lake Drive from About Orlando.

Review of Roy’s Cooking Class in Orlando

Not a chef in the making? Not to worry, the cooking classes held twice a month at Roy’s are more of a cooking demonstration where you can learn as much as you like or simply enjoy the presentation and the food.

The classes are held on the first Saturday of each month from 11:30 am until around 1:00 pm. Since the restaurant is not normally open for lunch, you’ll have the undivided attention of the chef who is presenting that day. On both occasions that I attended, there were only 14 – 16 guests, which is the perfect size for the comfortable bar-style seating that overlooks the open kitchen.

At my most recent class, Sous Chef Mark was the host for the afternoon demonstration. As a member of the Roy’s restaurant family (ohana) since 2005, his passion for food was as evident as his knowledge of cooking. He had an engaging personality and was very enthusiastic about the class. Chef Mark explained that our time together would be more like having friends over for dinner, gathering in the kitchen while the meal was being prepared. He was comfortable describing each step while tossing in a pinch of this and a dash of that. We enjoyed each course while asking questions about the preparation of the meal along with other cooking questions that we had. He was there to share his food knowledge – everything from which spices mix well together, smoking points for different types of oils, to some of his favorite Orlando restaurants (other than Roy’s of course.)

Review of Roy's Cooking Class in Orlando on Sand Lake Drive from About Orlando. Preparing the wilted spinach salad with white balsamic vinegar dressing.

The menu was pre-planned and some of the prep work had already been completed by the time we arrived. The choices for the meal are at the discretion of the chef doing the presentation. This was a unique way to enjoy a good meal at a favorite restaurant. We were not there to don aprons, chop and mix.  That was the chef’s job. We heard about Roy’s culinary concept while watching as fresh ingredients were combined and infused with a unique combination of flavors. One of the restaurant’s owners, Danno, and the new manager, Greg, came by to introduce themselves, tell us about the restaurant and answer questions that we had about Roy’s.  It sent a warm and personal message that Roy’s isn’t just a chain, but a part of the local community.  Perhaps that is why regulars fill the restaurant just about every night of the week.

The cost for the class was $30 per person, not including taxes or gratuity. Drinks including wine are available for purchase.  The lunch consisted of four courses:

  • Bowls of steamed Edamame were brought out as the presentation was starting.
  • Wilted Spinach Salad served on top of blue cheese crumbles and a tomato slice, topped with a warm white balsamic vinegar dressing and garnished with crumbled bacon. The Chef explained that at one time this was a popular menu item, but no longer offered on the regular menu, due to the prep time required.
  • Seared Salmon topped with a rich avocado, cream cheese butter. Oven roasted potatoes and sautéed bok choy. Other than the initial searing of the salmon and blanching of the bok choy, the preparation of all of these items was part of the demonstration.
  • Hot Chocolate Souffle with vanilla ice cream. This was a big hit with our group, though we were not privy to the preparation of this signature dessert.
I am continuously impressed with the enthusiasm of all the staff at Roy’s, including our favorite waiter, James, who mixes up the best sangria around!
Roy’s is located at 7760 West Sand Lake Road in Orlando.



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