Where to Eat on Thanksgiving in Orlando 2018

This is a blog post in progress, my friends. I’ll keeping adding restaurants as they come my way.

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Steak-Out – Beef Is King at the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

The 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival kicks off on August 30, and as usual it's enhanced yet more with new foods, beverages and other offerings.

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Let's Start with Lobster – Orlando Magical Dining Month 2018

One week to go, folks. It's time for Orlando Magical Dining Month 2018.

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15 Things You Need to Know About Wine Bar George

Cheap yet decent wine from barrels. Fancy-pants wines you may never get to try anywhere else. Non-snobby service, winemaker sessions, music you kinda-sorta know but not quite. Here are 15 things you need to know about Wine Bar George.

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If You Must Eat Out on Mothers Day in Orlando 2018 ...

If you want dine in a restaurant on Mother's Day 2018, here are terrific Orlando options.

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Why Splurge on Chef's Gala? Let's Talk Lobster, Elderflower and Cava-Vanilla Vinaigrette

Every year, you see me and every other food writer in town urging you to dole out hundreds of dollars to attend Chef's Gala, a food-centered fundraiser for Heart of Florida United Way.  What on earth, really, can justify spending $325 per person, or $600 for two, for one evening out?

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One Delicious Dish: Roasted Sweet Potato Soup at Highball & Harvest

Just lunch. Just soup and salad. Then I took a spoonful of the soup, called Roasted Sweet Potato Soup.

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Bring on the Hot Cocoa. SOUL Haven Ranch Brings Carriage Rides – and Sparkly Little Horsey Shoes – to Winter Garden

In mid-summer, even, you'll be tempted to break out the Swiss Miss and start reading Little House on the Prairie by a fireplace once you get to Soul Haven Ranch. The growing enterprise is four businesses in one, and one of those efforts is not-for-profit.

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If You Love Disney and You Love a Feast ...

Once a year, on a family-owned farm up in remote Zellwood, Florida, a magical merging occurs. Chefs from Disney World's very top restaurants personally prepare and serve spectacular foods to a group of no more than 200 adults.

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Miracle on Orange: The Courtesy Bar Gets in the Holiday Spirit

As the holiday season gets underway, downtown Orlando's The Courtesy Bar has taken on a new identity. Under the sub-name Miracle on Orange, the craft cocktail lounge is using recipes, barware and other items from a global Miracle promotion.

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Where to Eat on Thanksgiving in Orlando 2017

Here are five great places to eat on Thanksgiving in Orlando 2017. I'll be sharing this info on Orlando's Fox 35 about 9:45 on Sunday morning, so please tune in.

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Refreshing - Great Food at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

From bar snacks to fine dining, you'll find great food at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

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Now That's a New York Slice - Pizzeria Roberti Orlando

I think I found it this time -- a really good slice of New York style pizza. It's at Pizzeria Roberti.

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Delicious Disney: Disney's Kinda Sorta Secret Gourmet Society

You can join Delicious Disney. Simply sign up. It's new, and it's ambitious, and it involves eating extraordinarily well at Disney World. Let me explain.

 Ratatouille with braised cabbage and roasted tomato sauce

Ratatouille with braised cabbage and roasted tomato sauce

A few months ago, Disney World's top chefs – the heads of the signature restaurants and the bigwigs in the Flavor Lab – put together Delicious Disney, A Chef Series. The goal: to bring guests who are at once Disney and food enthusiasts together with the kitchen artists behind Lake Buena Vista's most noteworthy meals.

 Miso-torched hamachi, maguro and pea-avocado mousse with tsukemono

Miso-torched hamachi, maguro and pea-avocado mousse with tsukemono

Delicious Disney is tricky to find. The program does not have an official Web page. It has been mentioned on the official Disney blog, but other than that only Golden Oak residents and Tables in Wonderland members receive notifications. Attend once, though, and you'll be added to the email list. (Tables in Wonderland is a food-focused Disney dining discount program.)

 Meyer lemon-olive oil cake with hibiscus sorbet and vanilla-infused stone fruits

Meyer lemon-olive oil cake with hibiscus sorbet and vanilla-infused stone fruits

For Delicious Disney, each meal has a theme, and each dish is tied to an element of that theme. The series kicked off in 2016 and has several events so far in 2017.  I was lucky enough to participate in Walk Around the World with Disney. Here's how it played out.

 Slow-smoked short rib and char-grilled sirloin with watercress and watermelon foam

Slow-smoked short rib and char-grilled sirloin with watercress and watermelon foam

This Delicious Disney dinner was held in the warm and elegant Markham's Restaurant, the exclusive eatery in the private Summerhouse clubhouse at Golden Oak, a high-end residential community located on Disney property. The evening began with a signature cocktail plus pass-around hors d'oeuvres that were upscale twists on theme park foods. For example, a corn dog on a stick, like those sold on Disneyland's Main Street, were here made with a fine German sausage in a natural casing. It was an ironic twist in a room filled with gentlemen wearing jackets and ladies in cocktail dresses.

 Master sommelier Brian Koziol sharing insights on wine

Master sommelier Brian Koziol sharing insights on wine

Promptly at 7, guests were escorted into the main dining room. The room is a lovely space with vaulted brick ceilings, tufted red leather banquettes and classic lamps, all in view of the open kitchen. A long rectangular menu was at each seat. One one side, the menu showed the Disney castles around the world featured with each course. On the flip side was each of the seven menu items tied to the castle. The wines paired to each course were written out too.

 The menu with castles l-r of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, Disney World and California

The menu with castles l-r of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, Disney World and California

As each course was served, a chef described it in detail. Then Master Sommelier Brian Koziol talked about each wine. The chefs and Koziol also visited with tables throughout the meal.

 Menu specifics, each matched to a Disney park

Menu specifics, each matched to a Disney park

Seven courses later, guests received one final gift: the same colorful, informative menu again, this time signed by each of the chefs above castle representing the course he or she created.

 Shanghainese dumpling

Shanghainese dumpling

Two more Delicious Disney events are on the calendar for 2017: A Culinary Tribute to Mickey Mouse's Birthday at the Contemporary Resort's California Grill (November 18); and a Farm-to-Table repast on a tree farm (December 6; a few seats left). The meals are not inexpensive: Prices range from $199 to $499 per person, per event. These are legitimately what you'd call gourmet dinners though. They're prepared by experienced chefs, made with luxury foods, and paired with exquisite wines. And, the groups are intimate, with no more than 60 diners total.

For food details on my meals, hover your curser over each photo for descriptions.

 Szechuan pepper-crusted squab breast with congee, chilies and yu choy

Szechuan pepper-crusted squab breast with congee, chilies and yu choy

If you'd like to join either of the last two 2017 Delicious Disney dinners, call 407-939-5773 between 9am and 5pm to make a reservation. I'm told these fill up quickly, so don't dally.

 Another play on California Disneyland food: churro with Mexican chocolate sauce served squeeze-it-yourself style and planted in a cork

Another play on California Disneyland food: churro with Mexican chocolate sauce served squeeze-it-yourself style and planted in a cork

If you can't make it this year, stay tuned. The Delicious Disney chefs are already buzzing with ideas for a Star Wars-themed dinner when the space-themed land debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2018. Let's hope the Delicious Disney, A Chef Series stays around that long, because a Star Wars-themed dinner would be out of this world.

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

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

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Asian Street Food in Orlando: Hawkers Crispy Chicken Skin Skewers

Crispy Chicken Skin Skewers, and other culinary adventures from Hawkers new menu.

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Game of Thrones, for Real: See African Tribal Art at Bronze Kingdom

Thrones and slaves, weapons and stories -- you'll see an astounding collection of African tribal art at Bronze Kingdom.

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Exceptional Expeditions – Take a Giraffe Ranch Segway Safari

Talk about fun in the Florida sun. I just took a Giraffe Ranch Segway safari. What a fun way to spend the day.

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Need Space? Try The Grove Resort and Spa Orlando

Now that my kids are grown, I seek out family lodging options with a residential layout. That way we can make our own little breakfasts, play Bananagrams at the kitchen table and watch movies in the living room. Now The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando offers that option -- plus it will soon have a water park.

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