Local Treats (Winter Garden Edition): David Ramirez’s Chocolates & Macaroons Review

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Macaroons are everywhere, and they should be. This decadent French treat has been around for centuries and has not lost its *insert trendy French word here to describe anything cope/cool/wavy/sassy, followed by a suffix of -ness*. These petite treats, of so very delicate and challenging to make are competition to many other baked goods, and you can find a variety in the Orlando, Winter Park and Winter Garden Area.

David Ramirez’s chocolates, a Winter Garden Plant Market vendor, has decadent varieties of macaroons. They’re honestly one of the best I’ve ever tasted, amongst my favorite (another favorite being Le Macaroon, in Winter Park). My first time there, I noticed the generous sizes and fun flavors, such as mango raspberry, staple flavors like vanilla, chocolates, strawberries, rose and lavender to fun fall flavors, like pumpkin and apple pie. My first out of three was the birthday cake. The “upper shell” and bottom tasted like a standard macaroon vanilla flavor, but the cream filling was a perfect replica of cake batter with fun sprinkles.The texture was pillowy.

Image may contain: foodThe pumpkin, my favorite, was spicy in terms of fall flavors, with a great combo of sweet and last- the mango raspberry, my favorite, has a perfect balance of mango and tart raspberry. On another visit, I tried bacon and peanut butter. Addicting. I love anything salty and sweet, and found this eccentric pairing a winner. Salted caramel was also memorable. The caramel having a deeply buttery aftertaste to dance with the salt.

 

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The chocolate varieties are a fun and colorful assortment. I decided to give the cinnamon habanero chocolate a try. Perfection. The dark chocolate subtly hugs the cinnamon and the habanero peeks its head out. Not at all overpowering.

 

 

Have you ever tried this chocolatier or the macaroons/gelato? What were your thoughts? Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts. Hi. Remember that one time our friendship was compromised when you created the vanilla truffle donut? You’ve redeemed yourself when you make the chocolate pretzel, and now, we’re besties again. Yay for forgiveness!

    I’m a sucker for salty and sweet flavor combo in sweets, and it’s an exciting thing. You’ve managed to catch on very well. The donut features a chocolate cake textured donut, fluffy and decadent. Then you guys take it to level 2 with your fancy pretzel bits. But that’s not all. No sir. You guys add caramel. Well played, Dukin Donuts. 

    I love this donut because it has layers of flavors that are both strong and enticing. The chocolate cake almost mimics a dark chocolate depth on the tongue; the caramel is infused with the salt from the pretzels, and the tastebuds comes alive. Thank you. 

    TheTalkingSpoon Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4 and a half stars out of 5). This has become an addiction. That is all. 

    What are your thoughts? Love it? Dislike it? Wanna marry it like me? Do tell! Don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe. ūüėä

    Vanilla Truffle Donut

    Dunkin Donuts new donut sounds fancier than it tastes. The vanilla truffle donut launched a few weeks ago, alongside a salted whipped cream cold brew coffee, grabbing foodies attention everywhere. I gave the truffle donut a try, but wasn’t quite won over. 

    The truffle donut features curled milk and white chocolate shavings atop a bed of milk chocolate glaze. Inside wasn’t a delicate, vanilla Bavarian silken custard as I hoped for. No. Inside was what tasted like a condensed whipped cream filling. Perhaps I expected more (and how could you not with such a sophisticated name), but I wasnt thrilled. I actually gagged a bit. 

    TheTalkingSpoon Yumfactor: 2 tongues, 1 tastebuds (2.5 stars out of 5) The presentation is artful, and I love the shavings. The chocolate on The donut is always enjoyable. The filling was a bit boring to me.
    What are your thoughts?

    Ihop’s Cupcake Pancakes ūüėć

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    If you haven’t tried Ihop’s limited time cupcake pancakes, you’re missing out. Inspired by bakery-themed sweets, this item is part of a trio of treats, including a cinnamon swirl brioche French toast and red velvet crepes. I have yet to try the other two, but the cupcake pancake features a cake-flavored batter, sprinkles and a sprinkled frosting, that is surprisingly appropriately sweet for both children and adults.

    I highly recommend the combo featuring eggs, bacon and sausage (in my case, turkey bacon and sausage) with the red potato hash versus the hash browns. These are cubed potatoes with onions and peppers. Translation, a party on a plate.

    Cupcake Pancake Yumfactor: 4 tongues. Addicting and fun.

    Red Potato Hash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. A great alternative if you’re not into hash browns like me.

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    Coconut Oil in My Coffee?

    Sleeping Moon–one of my most favorite and frequented local independent coffee shops‚ÄĒmaintains an eclectic menu and fun coffee concoctions. In the past, I‚Äôve tried Turkish coffee, lavender coffee (imagine, the acidic¬†taste of coffee, with a subtle floral finish on the last sip) and today, coconut oil coffee. This coffee has a strong base of espresso, milk and an almond flavor, with the texture of coconut oil creating a delicate drink. All favors are well combined, the espresso containing the core of the punch this coffee has, balanced with the almost sharpened nuttiness of almond; the layer of flavors is a tug of war of sweet and earthy. I added a bit of sugar, as the almond flavor was strong but not overpowering, which made for an even smoother blend of flavor.

    Sleeping Moon is an artsy coffee shop in the Winter Park area known for its weekly poetry readings and local artwork. The establishment combines a global and urban mood with diverse music and a warm atmosphere. Unique treats included here are Thai tea milkshakes, and an array of exotically-flavored paninis (such as the New Zealand Bistro–a turkey panini flavored with a tangy-sweet kiwi sauce) sure to delight your spirit. The¬†pleasant staff is knowledgeable and caters to customer’s questions and needs. I’ve also heard of people adding butter to their coffee, as well as a crushed, raw egg before brewing the cup of coffee. Have you had any interesting, out of the ordinary items added to your coffee beverage? Don’t forget to comment, rate blog posts and subscribe for more food stuff!

    Why you could add coconut oil to your coffee: http://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-oil-coffee/

     

    Panera’s New Dessert Item

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    I admit, this is not the most appetizing angle, but trust me, it’s a must try item.

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    Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad

    Panera has introduced a juicy, ripe and sweet menu item–a strawberry rhubarb mini cake. For $2.29, customers get a moist cake with real strawberry fruit pieces and tangy rhubarb chunks. This little cake comes in a cute mini paper loaf pan and perfectly compliments the strawberry poppy seed chicken salad. Hail the succulent strawberry!¬†

    Tip: Warm it up for 20 seconds. You won’t regret it.

    Don’t forget to Rate, Comment and/pr subscribe!

    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 ūüôā

    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?

    Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

    Arby’s Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Sandwich Review

    There it is...

    This limited time sandwichis a hot deal! Usually, with ordering spicy flavors on food item, I find myself dissappointd, because it’s just ot hot enough. I have even ordered Arby’s japaneno poppers and though they were good, were not as hot as I hoped. ūüė¶ Well, this is not the casr for the “Smoking Chipotle Chicken Sandwich” Firstly, the presentation is¬†impressive. This sandwich looks¬†exceedingly¬†taste and delivers a hot¬†current¬†of savory chipotle and jalapeno spice into each bite. If you don’t like spicy flavors,¬†please¬†don’t try this. It is¬†clearly¬†not for you. Granted, I have tried spicier foods, and I’m not¬†trying¬†to say this is the world’s spiciest sandwich, but it offers rich chipotle spices, and smoking¬†jalapeno¬†peppers which offer a great change from the standard, boring “hot sauce” spice most places offer. ¬†(‘m sure some will disagree,which is fine) The tender all white meat chicken is filling in itself, but the fun part is the where the bacon and¬†jalapenos¬†peppers intersect. Bacon and cheese round out the spiciness and adds another great¬†dimension¬†of flavor. I have a very high tolerance for spicy food and found this to be a great item to eat. It wan’t¬†intolerable¬†spicy, but perfect to satisfy the inner fire needing to be fueled. I¬†enjoyed¬†this with a tall glass of iced peach green tea and fries.

    Arby’s Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Sandwich Yumfactor:¬†4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 ouf of 5) This is just plan good.

    Nutritional Content is as follows (PLEASE NOTE: If you are watching your calories, or are on certain diets, and you know you can’t eat this, please don’t. If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and think the calories are too high, then please don’t eat this. As obvious as this is, there may be some people who state these things, (“this is not healthy!”) which is fine, as you are allowed to have an opinion, but I want to make it clear this is blog mainly reviews junk food, which we all know is clearly NOT healthy. This blog simply reviews food and states¬†calories¬†content,but it NOT directly created for those with certain health conditions. There are healthy food blogs out there, and that may be a better option for you. ¬†I simply eat the food and review it, sometimes,¬†discussing¬†sugar content and giving health tips, but that’s it! It’s fast food for crying out loud.) ¬†Directly copied and pasted from Arby’s website:

    Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Sandwich
    Serving Weight (g) 319 Trans Fat (g) 0 Sugars (g) 7
    Calories 590 Cholesterol (mg) 65 Proteins (g) 35
    Calories from Fat 210 Sodium (mg) 1820 Vitamin A (% DV) 30
    Fat – Total (g) 23 Total Carbohydrates (g) 60 Vitamin C (% DV) 30
    Saturated Fat (g) 7 Dietary Fiber (g) 4 Calcium (% DV) 20
    Iron (% DV)

     

    Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich- Reviewing My Obsession+Copycat recipe

    Close Up

    Everyone who knows me knows how much I love and often crave¬†Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich. Here’s why. It’s light and refreshing, healthy, full of both sweet and savory flavors, and it’s rather exotic in nature. First, let’s analyze this sandwich from inside out. Sun dried tomato and basil bread, with a sweet undertone around the crusts, a tangy hummus spread on the bread adding a nice kick of flavor and complexity,cilantro, ¬†fresh cucumbers, lettuce, spicy Peppadew¬† peppers, red onions, and tomatoes…and FETA cheese!!!! ¬†The bread is soft and full of flavor itself.

    Inside Shot

    And no, I’m not a vegetarian,but this sandwich is good enough to make me order it faithfully at Panera for over 5 years. I have tried other items as well, but this¬†Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with a cup of their epic Iced Green Tea is all I need to have a great day. Plus, it’s under 650 calories!! (or a few little numbers above 650, but not above 670)

    Copycat Recipe link!!!! alla *Debbie Does Dinner*

    http://debbidoesdinnerhealthy.blogspot.com/2010/09/mediterranean-veggie-sandwich-with.html

    Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich Yumfactor- 5 tongues!!! I just only wish there were sun-dried tomatoes versus regular ones, but it’s still amazing! Cost- $6.30 including tax.

    Panera’s Strawberry and Cream Scone Review

    I love variety¬†new flavors and scones so when I went cruising¬†Panera¬†Bread’s website and saw they had a few new items, I was pretty chipper. The one that caught my attention the most was the strawberries and cream flavored

    Panera Bread's Strawberry and Cream Scone.

     scone.  Hmm.. Instantly, I wondered it the scone would be glazed, or have a biscuit colored, creamy texture with bits of the dehydrated strawberries, and occasional tastes of vanilly nuggets. I even wondered if there would be any detection of cream at all, just to make sure Panera was not tricking me into thinking cream was in the scone.  Having already tried and loved the orange scone, I knew this one had to be consumed and fast.

    So I bought one with a¬†no ice, iced green tea.¬†That’s how I do it, so I can get every drop of my drink without th ice deception making it look like I have more than I actually do. Milking it is my middle name. So what? I’m a broke college student. ūüėČ The texture was about the texture of their orange scone-¬†rather hard but soft. Imagine eating¬†a donut stick by Little Debbie¬†this is exactly the consistency it has, and the glaze was a clear, sugary glaze that the donut stick has.¬† I was slightly disappointed, because I was expecting¬† thicker, opaque glaze similar to their orange scone glaze, but obviously in a vanillish¬†cream variety. The taste¬†was both refreshing as the strawberries gave a tanginess to¬†contrast the sweet glaze, almost buttery more so than creamy, however. I;d have to pass on this one, though it isn’t bad, it does nothing in competition with the beautiful orange scone.

    Pros: I love the fact that the scone had real dried strawberries versus those little dried hard balls of fruit you get in jiffy muffin mixes. Bring on the realness!

    Cons: The glaze is like a dried glaze you’d eat when eating a little Debbie¬†caked¬†donut. Twins??? Or rather, it’s three-sided¬†cousin from up North. Either way, they can very well be in the same family. May not be a bad thing if you don’t care. Also, strong buttery taste and a harder than normal scone texture. Perhaps, it’s the hardened glaze?

    Yumfactor: About 3 tongues and a taste bud.