Local Eats! Cafe Tutu Tango: Aligator Meat& An Upside-down Pineapple Martini? Is This Safe? (With recipe)

A few months ago, I had the pleasure at dining at Cafe Tutu Tango, a restaurant that offers eccentric, globally inspired tapas, bohemian elements such as paintings drenched in vivid splashes of rich textures, and sometimes, live music and dancers. This has always been a special place for me, because I enjoy being surrounded by artists, poets and the like. The energy of Cafe Tutu Tango is unparalleled to most restaurants. I’ve had my fortune told to me one time (for a low low cost of $5) but it offers a fun and enthusiastic ambiance that is sure to please. This location happened to be on International Drive in Orlando, Fl. Now, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of traveling to Orlando, International Drive is home of many tourist attractions such as restaurants, bowling alleys,  museums. This area of town offers exciting and diverse opportunities to try good food and have fun.

Cafe Tutu Tango not only offers a vibrant atmosphere, but you’ll find interesting items on their menus. Offered are classic appetizers like spinach dip and hummus, but you’ll also find unique items like Alfonrno roasted pears with arugula and bleu cheese, and Goat cheese timbale- goat cheese with green apples, seasonal fruit, and toasted baguette. Pizzas are offered, as well as  dishes that include aligator meat, Grilled guava BBQ grilled pork ribs (I’ll discuss this shortly), and seasonal items, like Cajun chicken egg rolls, fish tacos, and  other interesting bites. (Check out their website:  http://www.cafetututango.com/ )

I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to try something different. Something I knew would be unique to Cafe Tut Tangos. Before I even ordered my entree, I visited the crowded bar, and looked over a drink menu that offered fun  featured drinks, like “Matisse Margarita” , “Picasso Punch”, “Munch’s

Not my original photo, but this gives you an idea of how pretty the drink is 🙂

Screaming Jalapeno Margarita” and “Upside Down Pineapple” made with Van Gogh Vodka. The Upside down pineapple martini caught my eye specifically because it was a unique drink made with vanilla bean infused vodka pineapple and caramel. I’d have to  say this drink, (only $7.25) was one of the most memorable martinis I’ve ever sipped. After tasting a layer of caramel that isn’t too thick or rich, you get to the smooth, tropical pineapple splash of flavor that is mixed in with vodka. This was a bliss I hadn’t even imagined, and I have since then dreamed about this drink. I have actually obtained a recipe for this drink as well which sill be included at the end of this post.

Now, the aligator jambalaya. I had eaten gator meat once, and found it reminded me of a mix of chicken and fish- more with a pronounced fish taste, but not overwhelmingly so. The consistency of this meat in this dish made me think of duck- lean, but a little fattening. Perhaps it was the sauce. The portion size was not the biggest for the $8, but it was still fun to try. Seasoned with poblano peppers and incorporated with chorizo, this fun dish was spicy and enjoyable to eat. The meat itself was tasty, just a little lean, and offered a light texture that filled me up without the itis. Although I wouldn’t recommend sharing unless you have others sharing with you, this dish is worth a try.

Cafe Tutu Tango is a fun, lively entertaining atmosphere that is family friendly, usually busy, and colorful as life itself. With local artists providing fascinating surrealist portraits, or funky beaded jewelry, this restaurant is sure to please eccentric crowds, foodies, children, or yuppies looking for good food, and great drinks.

Upside down Pineapple martini Yumfactor– 5 tongues! (5 out of 5 start) Smooth, decadent, and unique, this drink is sweet, and the vodka flavor comes through nicely. $7.25

Aligator Jambalaya Yumfactor– 3 tongues and a tastebud. (3.5 out of 5) This is a fun, unique dish, worth a try, but may not be a favorite for everyone. I enjoyed it, but it could be better. How specifically? That’s a great question.

Now, here is the recipe for the fabolous martini I reviewed: http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink12303.html

Have you ever tried this drink? What do you think of gator meat?

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Healthy Choice pumpkin ravioli (with asparagus, apples and butternut squash) Review.

Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash. What a mouth full.

Ever since the commercial with Mindy Kailing advertising new Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash, I was curious. Mainly because I wondered what butternut squash tasted like. It seems to have become more popular in dishes, such as soups, and as side items. But I also was curious about pumpkin ravioli.

This by far has been one of my favorite frozen entrees. Firstly, the warm flavors of the apple and the pumpkin bring a ring of autumn depth you often experience with rich flavors like these. The subtle butternut squash adds a tinge of sweetness to the tart apples. The asparagus is sharp, but blends beautifully with the delicate butter sage sauce. I could not imagine the harmony of this dish unless all the ingredients were mixed together. The meal contains 310 calories per serving.  My only gripe is that you get about 9 ravioli. Why? Because it’s so good, I always wish for 10. Or 12. Also, whenever I follow the microwave directions on the package, I notice that one ravioli gets hard, to where when I chew it, it’s overly cooked on the edges.  I have no idea why. This  has also occurred with the Lobster ravioli I sampled from them. (Post coming soon). This balance of bold richness, smart calorie content (which may not suffice if you’re starving, but hey it’s not supposed to) and important vegetables make for a convenient lunch or dinner, and invoke a unique flavor experience.

Another picture of what the box looks like.

Healthy Choice Pumpkin Ravioli with asparagus, apples and butternut squash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 our of 5 stars). I really like this. I find that the flavors are well balanced and very exotic. It can be a bit fall for some, however, it’s very tasty. If you are famished, I recommend possibly eating 2 entrees if you’re not into calorie counting and are buying this entrée just to taste it. That’s what I’m doing. If you don’t, you may be hungry an hour later, just as a sidenote. It may not be flavorful enough for some, but you can always add pepper, garlic or whatever else to spice it up.

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Banquet Pot pies and feeding hunger in America. You can help.

Really quick,I have been buying Banquet’s chicken, chicken and broccoli and turkey pot pies, and not only are they delicious, but there is a code on each box you buy. When you log on to the provided website and enter the code, money goes to feeling the needy in America. As far as the pies themselves,  these pot pies (ready in less than 5 minutes) are delicious. The crust is flaky and they are a great value (<$1). They taste as if they are out the oven and are quite filling. Try it and let me know what you think! But if you do but them, look out for the label on the front that says “Hunger Ends Here”. You’re doing a charitable service to those in need. Nothing but positive instant karma, and the supply of food on the table of those in need. It’s a win win for everyone 🙂

Side note: There are also fruit pies available.

Click http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/business/media/21adco.html for more information on the company, and other products that can help feed hungry children.

Must Try Foods: Limited Edition Cocoa Chex Mix

I have always loved this mix as it balances sweet chocolate with salty pretzels. I tried it a few years ago and have always looked for it, so naturally I was not hesitant in picking up another bag! It was about $2.00 and change, and is normally made available around the winter months, which makes sense considering it is supposed to be a Chex interpretation of hot cocoa. Fun! 😀 Firstly, Chex mix seems to be a crowd pleaser, and the standard flavors tend towards the salty, (although there are candies in some of them) which is to be expected.

Oh, the fun!

This mix  gives a handful of variety as there are chocolate squares, vanilla yogurt cream flavored crispies, plain chex cereal squares, delicate mini marshmallows, salty pretzel, and sweet swirlyness. The mini marshmallows gives it an overall sweeter than salty pretzel experience, but admittedly is my favorite part of grabbing a handful to snack on. The vanilla yogurt cereal squares are also rather delicious as their flavor is strong, and the coating is rich, playing of the sweet chocolaty notes. I bought a bag last night, and finished it already 😦 That is a drawback of this product- you may eat it off before you plan to!  They are 7% less in fat compared to potato chips, and contain only 7g of sugar per 1/2 cup per serving, along with 120 calories! Not too shabby! Not only is this mix delicious, but it captures the spirit of winter because of the hot chocolate association. Try it! You may love it as much as I do! Here is another review of the same product: http://www.betterproductadvisor.com/review-limited-edition-cocoa-chex-mix/

Note: For those who are diabetic, while this snack is low in sugar, please remember than this in a carb than will break down into sugar once eaten and digested.

Almond Joy Flavored COFFEE (not just creamer) vs Almond Joy CREAMER

I was at Home Goods (I love that place) and was shopping when I scoped out a bag of Almond Joy Flavored Coffee (the brand is Grande Kaffe Collection). The coffee smells rich of coconut and chocolate, and upon sipping its smooth flavor, I tasted  well balanced undertones of chocolate, coconut AND almond (which was a complaint of mine in tasting the Almond Joy Creamer) Not only do you get stronger flavors in the coffee, you also save time in not having to add creamer to your coffee, let alone having to find the creamer in the first place.  (NOTE: It may help if you read my blog reviewing the Almond Joy Creamer https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/)

Pretty blue packaging!

If I had to compare it to the creamer, I’d say this is a better deal.  The only challenge may be not being able to locate this at Home Gods, T.J. Maxx, or Marshalls stores as it may be a seasonal flavor, however, I cannot say for sure, so be on the look out! I paid $6.99 for a 160z bag of coffee.  The fragrance has velvety top notes of chocolate, and the rich, tropical intensity of flaky coconut, and the warmth of almonds. Again, well balanced in all three flavors. Perfect with vanilla creamer, which in its subtlety brings out the flavors.  The coffee itself is an Arabica blend, which tends to be your standard coffee used in these types of flavored varieties. This blend may or may not be strong enough for some, but you can always amp up the coffee in your coffee maker.

Almond Joy Coffee Yumfacotor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) I love the even textures of all three flavors that I felt lacked in the creamer. This flavor is exotic, fun and makes for an alive cup of coffee. Vanilla accentuates the almond flavor, as well as defines the coconut and the chocolate characteristics. A must try. Gourmet indeed. May even make a great gift for foodies!

Have you tried this before? What are your thoughts? Think I’m bashing the creamer a little too much? Rate. Comment. Subscribe.

Sonic’s Pumpkin Pie Milkshake Review. (And Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Overview)

Too artificial and "spicy" to be well rounded. Just so you know.

I went to Sonic’s to try the pumpkin pie milkshake which of course is available for a limited time, along with their new Kickin’ Coney and Bacon and Bleu hotdog. I had a previous run in with a pumpkin flavored dessert that left me dazed, hurt and disappointed. Actually, I’ll name names 🙂 Edy’s pumpkin pie ice cream is overly artificial in flavor, with too much focus on the sweet with poor traces of spice.  And the spice that IS there tastes off balanced. Too cinnamoney to me. I was not a fan at all…Now, I know some of you are going to say “Duh, it’s ice cream. What did you expect?” Certainly not that frozen weirdness I tasted.  Apparently, Sonic understands what I mean. Why? because their pumpkin pie flavored milkshake is amazing; it has lovely layers of rich pumpkin flavor that delicately infuses traces of cinnamon nutmeg that do not over power the pumpkin flavoring.

I took a pic, but it got deleted, so I borrowed this one.

It’s not an overly spicy shake it’s just a nicely balanced cup of bliss.  And I think Sonic’s whipped cream is indulgent and creamy and the fact that it’s topped with pie crumbles makes it even more so epic. So take that all of you who think I should expect pumpkin pie flavored ice creams/shakes to be disgusting. 😛

The texture is rich, creamy, and thick, like regular Sonic shakes are.  There is an earthy depth to the shake, as the first sip is laden with ripe, sweet pumpkin that doesn’t scare the taste buds.  Then, there is a warm undertone of cinnamon and nutmeg that add a well rounded feature to it. I felt this milkshake aptly used fall flavors of pumpkin and spice to make for a fun and sweet shake- and I feel it’s very easy to mess up frozen pumpkin type desserts by over using spiciness. I got a medium for $2.29. I wouldn’t recommend it for diabetics. Again this is fast food, so it’s not for the health conscious who are concerned with calories, fat or sugar. According to their site,the calorie content is 710. Wow. 78 g sugar, 9 g protein, and 1 g of fiber. But hey, there’s 0 g trans fat! 😀 And that’s the best of it with nutrition, folks, bt what do you expect? it’s a milkshake from Sonics!

Pumpkin Pie Shake Yumfactor: 5  tongues!! (5 out of 5 stars) I think this is flawless, and I have a friend who is scared of pumpkin flavored drinks and she agreed that is was rich, true to pumpkin pie goodness and yummy.

Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud. (2.5 out of 5 stars) I wanted to like it, but it was not well balanced in flavor. I like the color though, so I added an extra “.5” 😀 It is “light” so perhaps the lack of extra fat manifests itself in the way it tastes.

What are your thoughts? Rate. Comment. Subscribe.

Must Try Food: Honey BBQ Cheeto Puffs.

These Cheetos are the best things I have found in a long time. At first, I thought cheese, honey and bbq would be gross as a cheeto, but once I tasted a few, these were all I wanted.

Honey BBQ Cheeto Puffs

It appears they came out about a month or so ago (or rather that’s when I first discovered them), and shortly after I tried them, I thought they were discontinued.  I just recently found them at Kroger grocery stores.  I find that the cheese is not at all overbearing in contrast to the honey, and the tangy BBQ ties everything together. Most people I know love these puffs just as much as I do, so hopefully, you will enjoy them as well.  These are absolutely perfect! 5 stars, easily!

Tell me what you think if/once you have tried them!