Taste! Central Florida 2017 to Offer Local Tastes to Benefit Local Community on August 19th at the Orlando World Center Marriott

Hi everyone!

Taste! Central Florida will be held at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 from 6:45 p.m.-10:00 p.m. This yearly event was formerly called Taste of the Nation, but it is back with a new name AND a new local focus with all proceeds going to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. 40+ restaurants and 20+ beverage vendors will be participating in the event, not only from Walt Disney World property (including STK, Raglan Road, Paddlefish and Satu'li Canteen), Universal Studios and SeaWorld, but many other local restaurants and beverage companies. I am delighted to be an ambassador for the event this year. Taste! Central Florida tickets cost $150.00 and allow for an evening of tasting portions along with fine wines, craft beers and cocktails. Check out also the Golden Ticket Game in case you plan to dine at any of the restaurants on the list. You may win two tickets to the event!

Review: The Polite Pig at Disney Springs Delivers Modern Barbecue with a Fresh Twist

Hi everyone!

It's only been a couple of short years since the dining landscape at Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) consisted of a few restaurants I would want to occasionally visit. How times have changed, as more quality venues are added - I could dine at Disney Springs every day now.

The newest restaurant at Disney Springs is The Polite Pig, located in Town Center. We were invited to a media tasting last Friday, and we then went on our own on Saturday to try a few other items and see how the ordering process worked. The Polite Pig is a modern barbecue restaurant and a sister restaurant to The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park (I haven't yet been, but it's very well reviewed). The Polite Pig serves barbecue dishes, filling a niche that was underserved on Walt Disney World property. The food items often have a twist to them, usually with suprisingly great results (like the brussel sprouts). The Polite Pig is co-owned by James and Julie Petrakis, as well as his brother Brian Petrakis. They were approached by Disney to have a local restaurant, or as James put it, the "first local chef presence".

Here is a look at the menu with current prices. The sides can be less expensive when ordering three of them or with a sandwich.

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Paradiso 37 at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs Offers Unique Flavors for Cinco de Mayo (or Anytime)

Hi everyone!

We were invited to Paradiso 37 at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) to taste a variety of items from their menu in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo. Everything we tried - and it ended up being many more items than the sampling menu listed - is available every day at the restaurant, but there is a special dish (snapper) and a mariachi band playing for Cinco de Mayo.

It had been a number of years since I've been to Paradiso 37, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the food. The restaurant was quite lively as our evening ended, with most tables filled. Here is a look at the restaurant and food we tried.

Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons of KISS to Open Second Orlando Area Rock & Brews Location at Lee Vista on April 24th, 2017

Hi everyone!

The second Orlando area Rock & Brews is opening on April 24th, 2017 in the Lee Vista Promenade near the Orlando International Airport. Just over two years ago, we covered the opening of the Oviedo location and were told at that time that expansion was planned. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons plan to attend a charity event at the restaurant in August. Read the press release below for more information!

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons open Oveido Rock & Brews in 2015, photo by Denise Preskitt

MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIF. (April 4, 2017) -- Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS will open their second Rock & Brews restaurant location of their popular franchise in the Orlando, Florida area. Located at 6897 South Semoran Blvd. in Orlando, the family-friendly restaurant will open to the public on April 24th. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will visit their newest Orlando location for a charity event slated to take place in August.

Developed in partnership with franchise partners Scott Paul & Kris Maronpot of R&B Florida, LLC, the 6,500-square foot restaurant will offer the brand's signature quality American comfort food with a California twist and two full bars stocked with the largest selection of international and craft beers in the area.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Oviedo, 2015.

The rock-inspired environment will feature live music on weekend nights; multiple flat screen televisions showing rock & roll music videos and sporting events; rock artwork and a Great Wall of Rock which includes artwork of iconic rock & roll legends. Al fresco dining is available and guests can entertain themselves with a variety of games including bean bag toss and giant Jenga. Dogs are welcome on the patio area, which spans 3,500 square feet.

Paul Stanley talks Rock & Brews, veterans in 2015

 "With the opening of the new restaurant, we look forward to serving and getting to know all our new guests and becoming a part of the community," said Scott Paul, R&B Florida franchise partner. "In partnership with Gene and Paul, we are excited to bring to the area a high-quality entertainment and dining experience for rockers of all ages."

For information about Rock & Brews, visit www.rockandbrews.com.  

About Rock & Brews

Rock & Brews is a one-of-a-kind, rock-inspired restaurant and entertainment concept designed to engage people of all ages with quality comfort food and local favorites, a broad selection of craft and international beers, and an energized environment that is reminiscent of being at a family-friendly music event. The brand was founded by rock icons Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, along with partners, restaurateur Michael Zislis and concert industry veterans Dave and Dell Furano. Each location boasts a backstage environment showcasing a "Great Wall of Rock," iconic rock art, concert trusses and lighting and multiple flat screens sharing some of the greatest rock concert moments of all time. Most offer a play area for kids and many are dog friendly. For more information, please visit www.rockandbrews.com.

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STK Disney Springs Weekend Lunch Review (Brunch Coming in April)

Hi everyone!

We've posted a number of dining reviews at Disney Springs recently - mostly media events this year, but there are a few newer restaurants we've not yet tried. STK was one of them (except for an opening event with appetizers and drinks, which our group left early from). There was a great STK promo over the holidays that included an extra $50.00 with a $50.00 gift card. That offer was too good to pass up, and we went last weekend for lunch. Lunch is now only on weekends, although there is a brunch coming and the server said it'd be served every day (I know that would be unusual, so we'll see how it pans out). Apparently that will begin around mid-April, though there wasn't an exact date available when I asked. With so many restaurants at Disney Springs, and fantastic steak at The Boathouse within a quick walk, I think brunch would be a very good addition to bring something unique to Disney Springs. At the same time, lunch was excellent and we'd dine here again. Here is a look at our experience!

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