Taste Cook Sip

Tasting, cooking, sipping and snapping through life in Orlando.

Cheers to Cavallari Gourmet! Meet the winemaker at 1/23 wine tasting, Lake Mary-Heathrow location.

Cavallari Logo 2 Cavallari Gourmet is a top rated local butcher and gourmet shop located in Oviedo and now, Lake Mary-Heathrow. The team at Cavalarri Gourmet is ringing in 2015 with their first wine tasting in their new Lake-Mary Heathrow location. Friday, January 23, 2014, from 8:00pm-10:00pm, guests will sample 30 to 40 different wines and enjoy delicious appetizers made by the Cavallari Gourmet kitchen. Winemaker Marco Fizialetti of Castello di Querceto wines will be onsite pouring and discussing his Tuscan wines.

castello di querceto

Tickets are currently on sale for $20.00 per person at both Cavallari locations and via phone. Stop by either location to pick up your tickets in advance or pay over the phone and have your tickets waiting at Cavallari Gourmet Lake Mary-Heathrow Grande Wine Tasting will call on Friday, January 23, 2014.

three wine glasses image


Cavallari Gourmet, Lake Mary-Heathrow
1541 International Pkwy
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(407) 915-6900

Oviedo location:

Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster gets crafty for charity with Craft Wars, January 17th

We love a well-made cocktail. Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster is raising the bar, (pun intended) with their upcoming Craft Wars competition while also giving back to the local Orlando community. Saturday, January 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m, three of Christner’s talented bartenders, Jeannie Rudnick, Kyle Laufenberg and Stacy Word will compete in three rounds of craft cocktail creation. We are told the rounds include making a Christner’s Classic; the bourbon cocktail and a secret ingredient mixed cocktail.  The winning cocktail will receive a limited-time feature on the Christner’s Bar menu and the victor will win ultimate bragging rights. $10 of each ticket sold will benefit three local charities – Central Florida Food and Outreach, Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute and Runway to Hope. craft_wars_5 This interactive event will be judged by lucky attendees; all cocktails will be judged based on taste, originality and the wow-factor of its name! The cost is $20.00 per person and you may RSVP to this event by emailing Christners@rockawaypr.com, to ensure your spot. To read more about TasteCookSip attending past Christner’s Cutting Board Series events, check out here. For full event details and updates, please visit the official Craft Wars Facebook event page. Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Road Orlando, FL 407-645-4443

Grandma Party Bazaar returns this Sunday, December 14

The phrase “Grandma Party Bazaar” may conjure up some odd images in your mind, so I’ll break it down for you. In the same space used by the Audubon Park Community Market, in the parking lot of Stardust Video and Coffee, local vendors set up shop while local bands perform on stage. The music is loud, the crowd is hip and vendors are crazy talented.

You’ll find locally produced items ranging from jewelry and candles to grooming products, pottery, food, stationary, housewares and more. Last year I picked up many unique items that rounded out my holiday shopping with a creative and local touch. (And, I found a few special items just for me!) Check out the listings of this years local vendors and bands online.

Looking for an epic holiday photo for your Christmas cards this year? Be sure to pop into Stardust from 1-4 pm to visit the free holiday photo booth. We had a blast watching people get their perfect shot and the photos were posted online later that day. The Grandma Party Bazaar runs from 10:00 AM – Sunset on Saturday, December 2014. Visit the official Facebook event page for band schedule and event updates. Follow the fun on Twitter at @GrandmaParty.

Poster art by Chelsey Hyatt

Poster art by Chelsey Hyatt

Grandma Party Bazaar
December 14, 2014
10:00AM- Sunset (Photobooth 1-4PM)

Stardust Video and Coffee
1842 Winter Park Rd.
Orlando, FL 32803

#GivingTuesday has double the impact for Give Kids The World Village

Is your Facebook or Twitter feed blowing up with the hashtag #GivingTuesday? If not, I hope that you will help spread the world.

In 2012, the Giving Tuesday movement started as a way to bring attention to charitable organizations and hopefully raise funds along with awareness. We’ve given thanks on Thanksgiving, shopped till we dropped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and it’s now a perfect time to give back.


I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and volunteering for Give Kids The World, in Kissimmee, Florida. This nonprofit provides incredible week-long vacations for families with children with life-threatening illnesses. Between the whimsical Give Kids The World Village 70-acre resort, donated Disney, Universal and Sea World attractions tickets, transportation and meals, Give Kids The World is making dreams come true every day of the year. Since 1986, Give Kids The World has helped over 120,000 families from across the United States and over 70 countries.

Today, your donation can have double the impact, as an anonymous donor is matching each donation made, up to $20,000. (So, your $10 donation, just became $20!) All donations to Give Kids The World Village are tax deductible, so be sure save your receipt. If you are active on social media, please share this post and get the word out by using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #GKTW. For updates and more information on Give Kids The World Village, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Fabulous Beekman Boys Feed The Need in Winter Park with 11/10 cookbook signing

Maybe you know Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge from the popular Cooking Channel show The Fabulous Beekman Boys or maybe you know them from their big win on The Amazing Race. These would-be farmers changed career courses and have taken up the challenge of operating a farm in Upstate NY while creating their product brand, Beekman 1802. Their online shop features everything from household items to food items and soaps. The dynamic pair has also written several popular cookbooks and will be in town today (11/10) for a special appearance at The Ancient Olive, Winter Park to sign copies of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook. The event starts at 5:00 pm and the duo plans to sign cookbooks until 6:30 or 7:00PM.


Copies of their cookbooks are onsite for signing and part of the proceeds from the book sales will go to support the local charity, Feed The Need, in Winter Park. There is also a full selection of Beekman 1802 products to purchase to stock your kitchen for the holidays. The Ancient Olive will be preparing several dishes from the Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, for guests to sample at no charge. 

The Ancient Olive has also hosted a series of sold out cooking classes with local celebrity chef, Franicis Biondi from MasterChef Season 5. If you love to cook, or know someone that does, follow The Ancient Olive on Facebook for a complete listing of all future events and classes. For full information on today’s tasting check out the Facebook event.

Monday, November 10, 2014
5:00pm -6:30 or 7:00pm
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook Signing
The Ancient Olive
324 North Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

There is no charge to attend the event, copies of the book are available for sale.


Magical Dining at Hemingway’s at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The last few nights of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining month are upon us! If you are looking for a way to close out this tasty month on a high note, consider Hemingway’s in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Chef Juran is creating delicious Key West and island inspired cuisine at this picturesque Orlando property. The Magical Dining menu features full portions of popular items from the year-round Hemingway’s dinner menu. Diners can enjoy 3 gourmet courses for $33 per person, with $1 of each meal being donated to charity.

Hemingways Key Lime Ceasar

I started with the Key Lime Caesar salad, a beautifully composed salad that was as tasty as it looks. I particularly enjoyed the delicious zing from the key lime Caesar dressing.

Hemingways FL Rock Shrimp Corn Chowder

I also sampled a bite of the delicious Florida Rock Shrimp Chowder, the tender rock shrimp and Zellwood Sweet Corn shine in this Florida inspired chowder.

Hemingways Cuban Criollo Chicken

Cuban Criollo Chicken: Fired grilled chicken flavored with Cuban inspired herbs and spices is served with roasted mushroom escabeche, sautéed spinach, fingerling potatoes and a savory Chorizo sauce.

Hemingways Crab Cakes

Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes, two jumbo lump blue crab cakes served on local sweet corn coconut grits and topped with zesty corn salsa. These ulta-premium crab cakes are made with minuscule amount of binder to form the generous cake- it’s all sweet and succulent crab meat. The sweet corn coconut grits are subtly flavored and infuse the dish with festive tropical notes.

Hemingways Duval Street Shrimp Scampi

Duval Street Shrimp Scampi is an impressive dish, four Jumbo tiger shrimp rest on fried green tomatoes with a centered nest of pappardelle pasta, a scrumptious pool of flavorful, slivered garlic and white wine butter sauce finishes the dish.

Hemingways black fin snapper

The Crispy Black Fin Snapper entree is a generous portion of crispy skin local Florida Snapper and asparagus perched on a yucca cake with roasted tomato and fennel jam topped with a delicate yellow pepper espuma. The snapper was perfectly cooked and complimented by the bold flavors in the roasted tomato and fennel jam. The yucca cake was a delicious compliment to the rest of the entree.

Hemingways Key Lime

Magical Menu diners have a choice of the Peanut Butter Bombe, a decadent peanut butter mousse covered in dark chocolate ganache, or the Key Lime Tart.  I finished my meal with the tart, made with a brightly flavored key lime curd filling, a buttery graham cracker and almond crust and finished with a baked meringue topping. I particularly enjoyed the wonderful balance of tart acidity and sweetness to this traditional Florida dessert. Either option is a delicious way to end a lovely meal at Hemingway’s.

Reservations can be made by calling (407) 239-1234 or by booking through OpenTable.com. The three course Magical Dining Month menu runs through Sepetember 30, 2014, and all items are available on the regular Hemingway’s dinner menu year round. Complimentary Valet Parking is offered for all Hemingway’s guests.

Disclosure: I was a guest at a media dinner, no other form of compensation was received and the opinions in this post are my own. Cheers!

Hemingway’s in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
One Grand Cypress Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 239-1234

Broissants are back at Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park for a limited time

Last August I stumbled upon a decadent pastry treat created by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park. The well known chocolate and gelato shop had re-envisioned a Cronut and was serving up warm, flaky Broissants faster than you can say, Broissant. The popular treat was made by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park’s pastry team who painstakingly made the laminated croissant dough in-house, a four hour process, then cutting out the familiar doughnut shape and frying them up to order.

The resulting Broissants were then topped with a variety of scrumptious toppings from peanut butter cream with milk chocolate drizzle and crumbled Nutter Butter cookies…or pictured above, the Dark Chocolate and Carmel with Sea Salt. Broissants quickly became a top seller and a cult favorite; the smell of buttery dough and chocolate mingling in the air of the Park Avenue shop was quite addictive.

The beloved Broissants are back for a limited time and Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park has introduced a tempting new flavor to their popular line up, using Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. I asked co-owner, Jami Wray, Why use Cookie Butter for a new Broissant flavor? “We were inspired to try cookie butter from all of the mentions on social media…all of the pics with different recipe combinations got me drooling! As you know our local TJ’s recently opened and we wanted to try them out, so we went and bought several jars of the crunchy Cookie Butter for our broissants. One taste and I knew we had a hit!”

Peterbrooke Broissants

And after sampling the new Cookie Butter Broissant yesterday, I can attest to the fervor I’ve seen with the release by searching #Broissant on Instagram and Twitter. The warm Broissant dough softens up the cookie butter and the rich, Peterbrooke milk chocolate is drizzled right off of the chocolate wheel. (Taking this picture had me feeling like a character out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) Just when you think nothing can be added, there is a flourishing garnish of crushed cookies.

All of the Broissant flavors will be available for the remaining weekends of Magical Dining Month and then only available by request for special events. After all, the Peterbrooke chocolate kitchen will soon be in full holiday preparations to ensure that everyone has a sweet ending to 2014.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
300 S. Park Ave
Winter Park, Florida 32789

Hours of Operation
Mon – Thu: 10:00 am – 10:15 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00 am – 11:15 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 10:15 pm

Local Orlando vendors and products showcased at The Daily City pop up shop

The Daily City Pop Up shop is back and greeting shoppers through the weekend in Downtown South in the SODO Plaza. Located in an air conditioned storefront space in front of the Super Target and across from the TJ Maxx, the shop is filled with unique and artisan local vendors.

There are items ranging from home goods, mens and womens apparel, stationary, accessories and food vendors. Enjoy familiar favorites like Cloak & Dapper, Retromended, Rifle paper, OPP, Lure, Whisk & Bowl, Wondermade, Credo and Yum Yum Cupcake Truck. Discover a newer vendor like Project Pop, J & G Chocolate & Tea, Nathan Selikoff, Bookmark It or Hog Eat Hog. For a full list of vendors, check out The Daily City.com.

Along with great merchandise, there is an opportunity to enjoy seminars and tastings. Participate in a sewing class, learn how to mix the perfect cocktail, gentleman can learn how to pick the perfect suit, ladies can learn how to dress for their body type.

On my visit had left with a delicious Yum Yum Cupcake Truck Orlando, FL chocolate cookie with citrus icing, Bungalow 23 all natural cocktail mixer, addictive Eat Project Pop all natural Kettle Corn, several Lure cards, a beautiful Rifle Paper Co. calendar and Juice Lab juices. Some items were special gifts and I kept a few treats for me. I’m still spying a few items, you can bet I’ll be back to check out some of the demos and rotating food vendors.

I asked Mark Baratelli of The Daily City.com, if we could again expect a Daily City Holiday Pop up shop in December. He smiled and replied “keep your fingers crossed”. We will!

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month 2014, adds preview week [Kickoff Event Recap]


This week starts the most Magical Time of the year for Central Florida foodies as Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month kicks off with an extra week of Magical Dining deals. Dine at Orlando’s top restaurants and enjoy gourmet three-course meals for the fixed price of $33.00 per meal. This year $1.00 from each Magical Dining meal will be donated to The Foundation For Foster Children. Along with Magical Dining is the Magical Nights promotion, featuring special packages from area resorts and hotels to enjoy a night away throughout the month of September. To kick things off in style, Yelp Orlando hosted a kick off party for Magical Dining at the beautiful Ballroom at Church Street Station.

Lucky attendees sampled delicious Magical Dining items from Hemingway’sFiorenzo Italian SteakhouseNapaK RestaurantRuth’s Chris SteakhouseSiro Urban Italian Kitchen and Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar. What a fun way to explore new restaurants and preview their Magical Dining menus.

MD Yelp HemmingwaysSiro

Hemingway’s made a petite version of their “Cayo Hueso” jumbo lumb crab cakes, served on local sweet corn coconut grits with corn salsa. A must try for seafood lovers.

MD Yelp Italian

Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse made Vesuvio Pasta with Butternut squash puree, dandelion greens, fresh pear, ricotta salata, toasted pine nuts.

MD Yelp Ruths Chris

Ruth’s Chris wowed guests with hand-carved beef tenderloin and succulent Florida shrimp, all Orlando area Ruth’s Chris locations are participating in Magical Dining.

MD Yelp Siro WatermelonSiro Urban Italian Kitchen presented several dishes, the compressed watermelon salad was vibrant and fresh with a decadent creaminess provided by the Burrata cheese. Check out my full review on Siro’s 2014 Magical Dining menu, loaded with plenty of pictures.

MD Yelp Napa

Napa prepared Crispy Fried Florida Snapper, served over Lemon Risotto with broccolini and a charred pepper coulis.

Chef Kevin Fonzo of K restaurant made a delicious Seafood “Minestrone” with fresh Clams, oysters, shrimp, summer beans, local greens in a flavorful bacon broth and a wonderful Roast Palmetto Creek Farm Pork Tenderloin served with Onion soubise, berry-sage preserves and pinot noir sauce that was out of the world. Cuba Libre whipped up refreshing mojitos and served their Lechon Asado, made with Leidy Farm’s slow roasted marinated pulled pork, sour orange mojo, Amarillo chile smashed yuca & black bean broth. Topped with Vigorón slaw. If you enjoy a Cuban sweet, be sure save room for their rice pudding or traditional flan.

Each dish we sampled had us making our list to check out the full versions sometime over the next month. We hope you do the same and enjoy each delicious bite. Join the conversation online! Check out great pictures and tidbits on Twitter and Instagram by searching the hashtag #MagicalDining. Let us know what you are loving and we’ll do the same @TasteCookSip on Twitter and Instagram. For a full list of the Magical Dining restaurants and their menus, be sure to check out Visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants.

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month 101

Who- Anyone living in or visiting Central Florida can enjoy Magical Dining Month

What- Enjoy a three course meal for $33 per person, not including tax or gratuity

When- August 25-September 30, 2014

Where- Throughout Central Florida, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining site has a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus

Why- Check out a new restaurant or one of those “special” places you keep meaning to try. Plus, $1 of every Magical Dining meal will be donated to The Foundation for Foster Children. Helping never tasted so good.

Eat great food, drink Craft Beer and fine wines- while helping hungry kids. Taste of The Nation is this Saturday, 8/9/2014

You’ve heard the statistics about hungry kids across the nation. If you think hungry kids are limited to urban areas, somewhere else, you are wrong. My friend Kelli at Exploring Orlando reports that her daughter’s middle school in Winter Park (Orange County) has 48% of the students receiving free or reduced lunch.

Surprised at that seemingly high number, I asked my teacher-husband about the discounted lunch ratio at his A rated Winter Park High School (Seminole County) and he replied “Well over 50%, with some kids going hungry because they didn’t want the stigma of being on free or reduced lunches.” Hungry kids are all around us in Central Florida.

Before you flip the channel because you are hearing the sad Sarah McLachlan song in your head, and you know the sadder puppy pictures are coming…there are some easy things you can do (right now) to help childhood hunger go away.    


Purchase a bottle of Olive Oil from The Ancient Olive in Winter Park. $1 for each bottle sold will go right to No Kid Hungry. I really like the Ancient Olive Blood Orange, it’s great for salad dressings and marinades. (PS. They are running a free summer shipping special, too! Ship a gift or drop a hint to that out of area relative.)



Drink beer! This Thursday, World of Beer in Dr. Phillips is donating money from the sales of select craft beers. Sales will benefit Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. ALSO, guests who purchase one of the fundraising brews will receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including Taste of the Nation Orlando tickets.  



Drink wine! Orlando’s orginal wine bar, Eola Wine Company Downtown is hosting their final #WineWednesday in the series to benefit the feeding programs of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, the two local beneficiaries of Taste of the Nation Orlando. $15 donation gets you great wine from 6-8pm this Wednesday.

Eat at the following local restaurants. When restaurants are full, they can support local charities.

Buy tickets to Taste of The Nation Orlando, this Saturday, August 9th. Use discount code FRIEND15 to enjoy a special price on the tickets.

Francis B will be at Taste of The Nation on Saturday, August 9th!

Francis B will be at Taste of The Nation on Saturday, August 9th!

If you are attending Taste of The Nation Orlando this Saturday at the Orlando Word Center Marriott, bid in the silent auction for a chance at former Master Chef contestant Francis Biondi cooking for you! Or a cellar full of wine! Or a trip to Octoberfest! There are some amazing things to bid on this year and proceeds are donated right to charity.

Contact Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida year-round for volunteer opportunities and needed donations.

A big thank you to each of the 2014 Taste of The Nation Participating Restaurants!


More information on Taste of the Nation Orlando and a sneak preview of what this gala event will showcase, please watch this great video!

Taste Of The Nation from DeMarco Films on Vimeo.