Category Archives: Restaurant Row

Dafoodie is da Best!

Dafoodie.com, one of the Top 5’s favorite “tweeps,” has been selected to compete in the Road To Success Small Business Challenge by Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites.  Dafoodie, created by Gustavo Hernando, is just one of ten small business selected from across the country to compete for the grand prize of $20,000. To win, he will be traveling the country to meet set goals, but will share his journey with us by posting pictures, blogging, and tweeting about it.

Gustavo and his famed Dafoodie Smart Car at a recent lunch at Dexter's of Winter Park.

So for those unfamiliar, with Dafoodie.com, here’s how Gustavo explains his site:

DaFoodie.com came about after posting pictures of entrees I’d ordered from various restaurants on my Facebook page. I got a lot of comments like ‘Wow, it looks good! Where did you eat it?’ Even at restaurants, it’s happened that people ask me what it is that I’m eating. Not all restaurants have photos of their dishes. So that got me thinking, ‘If you’re a visual person like me, you’d probably rather see an example of a restaurant’s food than read about it.’ So I decided to make a site where all you look at is pictures of food.”

So, be sure to follow Gustavo on Facebook and Twitter as he takes Dafoodie on the road to success.

Good luck, Dafoodie, we’ll be rooting for you!

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Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, General Info, New & Hot, Resident done good, Restaurant Row

Magical Dining Month! Ooooh Yeah! (Cue the yumminess!)

For the entire month of September, Orlandoans can dine like kings at over 50 restaurants around the city for just $30!  And, the best thing about this magical dining, is that $1 from every meal goes directly to benefit the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Central Florida.

Presented by the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Orlando Magical Dining Month allows you to indulge your inner gourmet by featuring a 3-course meal. So, do you need a better excuse to dine out this month? Great meals at a good price benefiting a fabulous cause!

Here are the participating restaurants. (Click here for the actual prix fixe menu for each.)

  • Antonio’s Ristorante
  • Bice Ristorante
  • Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
  • The Boheme
  • Cala Bella
  • The Capital Grille
  • Charley’s Steakhouse
  • Chatham’s Place Restaurant
  • Chez Vincent
  • Circa Restaurant
  • Citrus Restaurant
  • Copper Canyon Grill
  • Crave
  • Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
  • Eleven
  • Emeril’s Orlando
  • Emerial’s Tchoup Chop
  • Everglades
  • Fiorella’s Cucine Toscana
  • Fishbones
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
  • Funky Monkey Wine Company
  • Hue Restaurant
  • Il Mulino New York Trattoria
  • Island Dining Room
  • Johnnie’s Hideaway
  • Juliana’s Restaurant
  • The Kitchen
  • La Luce by Donna Scala
  • La Nouva Cucina
  • Lago
  • A Land Remembered
  • Latin Quarter
  • Le Coq Au Vin
  • Luigino’s
  • Luma on Park
  • Makahiki Luau
  • Mama Della’s Ristorante
  • McCormick & Schmick’s
  • Ming Court
  • Moonfish
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse
  • Nine18
  • Norman’s
  • Ocean Prime
  • The Oceanaire Seafood Room
  • The Palm
  • Portabello Trattoria
  • Primo by Melissa Kelly
  • The Ravenous Pig
  • Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion
  • Seasons 52
  • Taverna Opa
  • Todd’s English’s BlueZoo
  • Vines Grille & Wine Bar
  • Vito’s Chop House
  • Wa Restaurant
  • Zen

Hmmm… now I just need Dafoodie to help me decide where to go eat!

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Filed under Charity, General Info, Restaurant Row, The Arts

The Woodhouse Spa and Lots of Tea

I treated myself to a facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa  in Orlando.  Sand Lake Road is around 20 miles from my house, and certainly there are closer day spas, but this one came highly recommended from my friend Lara. If it has been a while since you have been to this area of town, near Bay Hill and Dr. Phillips and often known as Restaurant Row, it has certainly transformed. I felt as if I were driving through West Palm Beach, rather than just the other side of Universal Studios. Wow!

The Woodhouse Spa

The Woodhouse Day Spa matches this ritzy neighborhood quite well, being located in the Dellagio Town Center.  The spa itself has an upscale feel, light and airy in the lobby, but a dark wood floor hints at the calming atmosphere within.  The spa is clean and friendly and I definitely felt whisked away from the frenzy of Orlando.  I chose the Essential Purifying Facial, which included a head, neck, and arm massage, and so I was left feeling extremely relaxed and refreshed by the end.

One of the standards of a day spa is the offering of tea while you wait. The Woodhouse features Harney & Sons tea, which is certainly a respectable brand.  I found myself enjoying the Earl Grey while reading a wonderful little coffee table book on Tea. A long-time tea drinker, I found this reading fascinating.

Origins of Tea

Knowledge of tea dates back to almost 5,000 years ago in the Chinese and Tibetan area. Legend says water had just been boiled when a few tea leaves blew into the drink of Emperor Shennong, changing the color. He braved a sip, being pleasantly surprised with its sweet taste. He later championed tea for its restorative properties. Tea quickly grew to other countries, but remained exclusive to the Far East until Marco Polo brought back this commodity along with silk and other goods.  Of course, the growing of tea plants remained fairly secret until the British plied this information via the opium trade.

Popular Teas

All teas come from the same type of tea tree, the Camellia sinensis; however, the climate, soil, and watering all have an influence on the quality of the tea leaf. It is then the processing of this tea leaf that determines whether it is black, green, white, oolong, or other.

Black:  Black tea comes from tea leaves being processed to stop the oxidation process, and then heated once again to preserve the flavor.  Black tea usually has more caffeine than the other varieties, but its flavor is usually bolder and lasts longer.

My Favorites:  Any of the Assam teas (from Northern India) and Lapsang Souchong (dried over pine bark for a smokey flavor…not for the faint of heart!).

Assam Tea Gardens in Northern India

Green: Green tea leaves are leaves that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. They contain less caffeine and boast several health benefits.

My Favorites: Gyokuru (grown in the shade to increase the chlorophyll) and Matcha (a powdered green tea, often used to flavor ice cream).

Traditional whole leaf green tea serving

White: White tea comes from the tips of leaves before they open…often still safely inside the felt-covered buds.  Because of this, white teas are very mild and sweet in taste.

My Favorites: Silver Needle (from the Fujian Province and best when harvested between March 1 and April 1) and Ceylon White (from Sri Lanka).

Silver Needle white tea

Oolong: Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is processed somewhere between a black and green tea. These teas are often rolled into long curly strands or into small balls known as “gunpowder” tea.

My Favorites: Four Great Bushes and Pouchong (a light floral aroma).

Oolong tea rolled into curls

There are other types of teas: yellow, blends, infused, Pu-erh, etc.  But, with a general knowledge of black, green, white, and oolong, you can start experimenting to see what type you find desirable.  

Great Orlando tea houses to try:  Infusion Tea  in College Park and Dandelion Communitea Café  in Little Vietnam.

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Filed under Fun, General Info, Just for Me, Restaurant Row