Purple Cocktails and Chilled Curry-Cauliflower Soup: DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017

Try the DoveCote Magical Dining Menu 2017 for $35. What a value!

 Mulligatawny soup

Mulligatawny soup

Coconut and Madras curry, almonds and lime juice, tart apple and tender chicken chunks, even bits of roasted cauliflower. Did I mention this oddly named soup, Mulligatawny, is chilled? Now's your chance to try it, surely the best version you'll find in town, and at a reasonable price. This refreshing meal-starter is part of the DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017 menu. That means you can order it, or other items, as part of a three-course dinner for only $35.

Magical Dining Month is a city-wide, month-long event put together by the Visit Orlando folks. More than 110 restaurants – carefully chosen ones, I assure you – offer three-course menus for $35, with food choices. In many cases, such as at the brasserie DoveCote, you will indeed receive a significant discount off food that is on the regular a la carte menu for a higher price point. Magical Dining Month 2017 runs from August 25 to October 1.

As part of a media contingent, I was invited to sample all the DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017 menu items. Here's what I learned.

 Dove 75 (photo by Dyannah Byington)

Dove 75 (photo by Dyannah Byington)

Beverages are not included in any Magical Dining Month 2017 menus, but, if you have the cash, I suggest you start your DoveCote experience with a Dove 75. This pretty purple cocktail is tangy, not too sweet, kind of flowery ... it's a winner, made with Horizon gin, butterfly pea flower (Don't feel bad; I never heard of it either), orange oil sugar, lemon and sparkling wine. Like all DoveCote libations, this one was designed by the mixologists of The Courtesy Bar.

DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017 Appetizers

 Tomato water risotto

Tomato water risotto

Honestly, this appetizer sounded awful to me. Tomato water risotto? Even the descriptor mentioning oven-dried tomato, Parmesan foam and Parmesan tuile left me cold. Good thing I got to vet it for you. This is as good as the Mulligatawny soup. It's different -- rich and sharp with an intriguing mix of textures. It's also big enough to fill you up. It sells for $12.50 a la carte.

DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017 Entrees

 Pork cutlet

Pork cutlet

You can bread and fry a cutlet at home, I know. Call it schnitzel or, if you have kids and use poultry, "giant chicken nuggets," as I did to get my pickypants to eat. Those stink compared to the DoveCote version. Chefs do stuff we don't; I don't know what. But this breaded pork cutlet ($18 a la carte) is crazy-good. It's topped with a ton of pungent capers that are part of a brown-butter sauce, along with lemon beurre blanc. It's plated with a thick and meaty "white wine Gruyere cheese pancake." I didn't love the dairy latke as much as the cutlet, but everyone else at the table polished theirs off, so I think I'm in the minority.

 Salmon

Salmon

If you'd rather feel virtuous, go for the salmon. I was too stuffed to taste it. Yes, I fell down on the job; Please, I can only eat so much – but this sounds so tasty I may return and have it for dinner. The Atlantic salmon has several fellows on the plate: quinoa, olive, kale, almond and spiced yogurt. A la carte: $26. 

DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017 Desserts

 Olive oil cake with strawberry

Olive oil cake with strawberry

It takes one bold step to taste an olive oil cake for the first time; it sounds gross. Do it, here or elsewhere. Using olive oil instead of another fat like butter makes cakes both light and rich, and allows fruits and other flavors to shine. For DoveCote Magical Dining Month 2017, the olive oil cake is served with berries, crème fraiche and vanilla ice cream. It's $8 on the regular menu. (If you want to make your own olive oil cake, here's a fantastic recipe.)

 Vanilla crème brulee

Vanilla crème brulee

Vanilla crème brulee: Vanilla-laced pudding, caramelized sugar, made by chefs who actually know what they're doing ... you can't go wrong.

So there you have it. One  of 110+ Orlando Magical Dining Month 2017 meals. Only 109 to go. You'll have to seek out those yourself. I'm stuffed.