Saturday Supper Club at ‘Kesh Restaurant

Last night, ‘Kesh Restaurant had the largest attendance at a sold out Supper Club since its inception last August…19 people! (And, it should be noted, that a dish has never been repeated since the beginning of these events, which is quite a statement, in my opinion.)

To say that these Saturday Supper Club evenings are special events is an understatement. The skills of an extraordinary chef are not just their ability to provide an exemplary meal, but to connect with their guests on a significantly more important level. Chef Helminski allows a personal glimpse into his inspirations and thus, creates an experience where his guests find more than just meal but a bond of friendship and trust unlike any other between a Chef/restaurant owner and customer. It’s rare to find such a truly genuine person that delights in his daily contact with guests. Those who have met Chef Helminski and conversed with him while he prepares their dishes know the passion and love he has for cooking and creating his carefully crafted menu, and that it is equal only to his passion and love of family and friends. Combining those elements, I believe, makes a Supper Club experience at ‘Kesh unlike any other.

To begin our culinary adventure last night, we started with an appetizer of poached quail egg, puffed chicken skin and house-made chicken sausage with gouda cheese.


Our next appetizer was Korean BBQ salmon, house-made kimchi, drizzled with cilantro oil and topped with sesame seeds.


Our first course was Blue crab cakes topped with suprem citrus (sans skin and seeds), grape and cherry tomatoes, in a light Ancient Olive oil.


Our soup course was a light and flavorful black lentil and English pea soup, garnished with fresh English peas, a dollop of minted Greek yogurt and seasoned with crushed red pepper for a hint of heat.


We then enjoyed a salad course. This fried green tomato salad, was served on artisinal romaine, with house-made farmers cheese flavored with red pepper jam and topped with toasted almonds. Finishing this dish is a Fuji apple vinaigrette.


I think I fell in love with this salad. It was only my second time eating fried green tomatoes!


Our main course was a roast pork loin atop smashed potatoes and pork au jus, and garnished with caramelized fennel, and black mission fig vinegar.


Last, but certainly not least, our dessert course. This heavenly dish is Chef Kaminski’s orange blossom marble fudge bread pudding. The sauce is a candied hibiscus, white chocolate, raspberry sauce.


Chef humbly admits he is not a pastry chef, but the array of incredible desserts that have been presented over the past eight months has been extraordinary. (I may be somewhat biased by my love of dessert, so you should try them for yourselves.)

I hope that you will have an opportunity to share a Saturday Supper Club with friends and family, while enjoying the company of new friends you are sure to make at ‘Kesh.

Reservation information can be found online at KeshRestaurant.com.

I hope to eat with you there soon!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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The Smiling Bison

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I know, I know, I’m not the first to get to The Smiling Bison, and you’ve probably visited, but with their decision to open for lunch on the weekend, I was finally able to make an appearance.  And, before I even show you what we had, I intend to return for dinner because…two words…bison filet.  Oh yeah.  I need that in my life.

There were a couple of tempting appetizers, and we chose to start with the Caraway soft pretzels.

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It was so good, we managed to eat one and start on the other before I realized I hadn’t taken a picture.  Whoops.  But you get the idea.

So, for lunch, the hubs ordered a bison burger.

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This 6 oz. natural bison burger, was topped with garlic aioli, provolone, mushroom ketchup, house bacon, and served on Texas toast. You can add an egg for $2, so of course he did. Gorgeous burger, right?  And so juicy. It’s messy, but worth it!

I learned that Smiling Bison used to be a sausage cart before it became a brick and mortar location, so I opted for the fried chicken sausage sandwich.

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The chicken sausage was spicy and tender, and served on Texas toast (split but closed on the bottom so the sausage and contents wouldn’t come out…genius), with Duke’s mayo, and topped with lettuce.  The pickles were a great addition and really made this sandwich.

We both ordered the salt and vinegar fries with our meals.  Oh wow, and I’m not usually a salt and vinegar gal.  These were delish.  They also come with either ketchup or a house made mushroom ketchup.  You’re going to need to try the mushroom ketchup to understand, but it was unique and excellent.

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The child got a grilled cheese with regular fries.

We couldn’t squeeze in a dessert, but we are definitely going to have to return for dinner.  So many interesting selections.

The Smiling Bison is located at 745 Bennett Rd., Orlando, in the old Redlight Redlight building, north of Boston Market on Bennett Road.  You can find out more information about them and their menu on their website at thesmilingbison.com, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thesmilingbison.  Check them out on Twitter as well @smilingbison.

I now know why the bison smiles.

Toasted: Crafted Grilled Cheese & Burgers

This month’s #sandwicheatup by @DeliFreshThrds was held at Toasted in Winter Park. And it was timely, because April is National Grilled Cheese month. Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese? This place takes grilled cheese to a new level with a variety of cheeses and tasty combinations. It was difficult to decide but here are some of the sandwiches from the event.

I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese, muenster cheese, pulled chicken, buffalo sauce, with celery sticks and housemade Blue cheese dressing.

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Each sandwich (and burger) comes on locally sourced artisan bread.

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With my sandwich…two words, truffle fries. Oh yeah.

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I took a few shots of some sandwiches enjoyed by other attendees too! The Big Cheese, enjoyed by @tastefullykate, was made with cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, and Jack cheeses and arugula, with a side of mac & cheese.

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Scott from @FloridaPlunge ordered the Fig and Goat.

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This sandwich contained Havarti and goat cheese, mission figs, basil and honey.

Toasted also has seasonal specials, and Lisa (@winechix) was able to preview the sandwich for Spring.

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This tasty Toasted grilled cheese was made with brie, blackberries, lemon curd, and basil. (I believe Lisa’s may have contained mint, but I Toasted’s menu currently lists the basil as the “green” in this sandwich.)

I sampled each of these sandwiches and they were all great. I would definitely go back and try some of the other options…you can’t get enough grilled cheese!

I couple of people sampled the burgers at Toasted. This particular one was just to pretty to pass up taking a picture.

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This burger is called the Southern Comfort and was topped with cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, housemade BBQ sauce and mac & cheese. Oh yes they did!

For this #sandwicheatup event, Toasted’s owner created this special “cheese” cake for everyone.

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Looks like an awesome cheese wheel, but was actually…

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…an awesome red velvet cake! A few organic peanut butter cookies were provided (which were really good) and the grape garnish was covered with honey and sugar. Delicious and such a great, unexpected treat!

Thanks to everyone at Toasted for making @DeliFreshThrds monthly #sandwicheatup event another successful gathering.

Anytime you are craving a grilled cheese, I recommend you stop by Toasted. They are located at 1945 Aloma Ave. in Winter Park (in the Outback plaza). Their website is igettoasted.com. And you can follow them on Twitter @toasted131.

Get toasted! #gettoasted

Saturday Supper Club at ‘Kesh Restaurant

With this new android phone I was not thrilled with how my pics looked on Foodspotting, so I’m going to post them again here. Enjoy!

Smoked Scallop Crudo

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Scallops with celery leaf, candied fennel pollen, red pepper, butter flavored olive oil & jalapeno.

Mulligatawny Soup

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Curried lentil soup with fresh spinach, house smoked kielbasa & topped with green apple salad.

Salad Frisée aux Lardons

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Arugla topped with bacon & rendered bacon juice, soft poached egg on beet salad and topped with a beet leaf.

Tomato Braised Red Snapper

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Tomato braised red snapper, paella style saffron rice with conch, mussels, clams and oysters stuffed with braised pork shoulder topped with a plum tomato, garlic, lemon, cilantro & white wine sauce.

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Poached and roasted apple topped with crystalized hibiscus and stuffed with vanilla cake batter and topped with salty pie dough and cream.

You can book a Saturday Supper Club event every other Saturday. Dates and details at KeshRestaurant.com. Hurry though, they sell out almost as quickly as Chef’s ribs!

Chianti’s Pizza & Pasta

We drove out to Sanford to try Chianti’s after following them on Twitter and seeing some pics of their dishes.  They say that men are more visual, but when it comes to food, I believe the sexes are equal.  We are all drawn to food by tantalizing photos.  So, I’ll share what we had and show you some pics that will hopefully whet your appetite.
 
First, our server brought out some freshly made, warm garlic knots with housemade marinara sauce.  

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In restaurants that offer garlic knots, they are generally listed as an appetizer, however, our server advised that Chianti’s offers complimentary garlic knots to its guests.  I was already happy…

The menu is pretty extensive and offers many great options.  We ordered a couple of appetizers to share, since we invited my folks out to eat with us.  First, the Mozzarella Fritta.

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This fried cheese is whole milk battered mozzarella and comes with housemade marinara sauce.

Next, calamari.

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Lightly battered and served with Chianti’s housemade marinara sauce and a delicious basil aioli sauce.

I ordered a Meatball Parmesan sandwich.

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Chianti’s describes this as their “awesome meatball hero smothered with mozzarella cheese” and served with their housemade marinara sauce.  I chose a house salad as a side.

 My husband ordered Veal alla Parmiggiana, served over al-dente linguine.
 

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My folks shared a small (but as you can see, it’s not that small) pepperoni and hamburger pizza…

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and a small house salad.

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The salad was made of romaine, cucumbers, tomato, mozzarella cheese and kalamata olives.

(Chianti’s also offers a gluten free pizza for those so inclined.)

We look forward to visiting Chianti’s again soon.  There are lots of things we want to try…and while we are deciding, we know we’ll have some yummy garlic knots to munch!

Chianti’s Pizza & Pasta is located in Sanford at685 Towne Center Blvd., across the street from the mall and next to a mattress store.  (Where, after eating, would be a good place for a nap.  They really should work a deal with the store to let patrons visit for a rest after their meal.)

You can find Chianti’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChiantisPizza and check out their website at www.chiantispizza.com.  Follow them on Twitter for some delicious pics that will definitely inspire you to visit @chiantispizza.

Also, “We All Gotta Eat” in Italian is “Tutti Dobbiamo Mangiare”.  You should use that to invite your friends to dine at Chianti’s!

The Crooked Spoon Gastropub

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Raise your hand if you remember The Crooked Spoon food truck? Well, now, they have a brick and mortar location in Clermont and apparently they’re doing quite well. While they are missed at the local Food Truck Bazaars, at least you can visit them now on a more regular basis! (The restaurant is beautiful.)

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On our Sunday visit we opted for brunch.

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My father-in-law tried the four cheese and chive omelet that contained swiss, smoked mozzarella, cheddar and farmer’s cheeses.

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My mother-in-law couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the cocoa and coffee burger served with housemade chips.

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This burger is made of cocoa and coffee crusted Florida Angus topped with boursin cheese, spring mix, marinated tomato and raspberry chipotle aioli.

I couldn’t resist the lemon ricotta pancakes.

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The hubs ordered the Thanksgiving pancakes.

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These were stuffed with turkey and stuffing, and topped with cranberry chutney.

We also shared an order of crepes, filled with cream cheese and topped with raspberry sauce.

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An Easter Brunch will be available on April 20th. You can find more information at thecrookedspn.com under the events tab.

The Crooked Spoon Gastropub is located at 200 Citrus Tower Blvd, Clermont, FL 34711. You can follow them on Twitter at @TheCrookedSpn.

Check them out!

Se7en Bites

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Se7en Bites is a sweet and savory bakeshop, new to the Milk District. specializing in nostalgic comfort foods, with a modern twist.  (Via https://www.facebook.com/Se7enbites/info.)

The thing that stands out for me about local restaurants is definitely the service.  I really enjoy when a Chef or owner prepares the meals, and delivers them personally to the customer. That one-on-one interaction and customer attention differentiates small businesses from chains…and I adore it!

My family and I had an opportunity to visit for breakfast (but I can’t wait to go back and try some savory lunch bites too).

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The hubs ordered the Se7en Benedict.

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Biscuit, over medium egg, bacon and crispy green tomato covered in a creamy peppercorn hollandaise.  Gorgeous and delicious!  He also had the most amazing cheddar chive grits.  I am not a fan of grits, but these were fantastic!

I ordered a breakfast dish that could easily be a dessert.

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This cheese blintz contained fried green caramel apples, topped with sweet whipping cream and almond slivers.  Heavenly!

I also tried an aqua fresca of lime, ginger and hibiscus.  Very refreshing and unique.

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There was a generous selection of desserts as well.  You can’t go wrong with any of these house made treats.  There’s something for everyone.

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We took home (and enjoyed all of these) a gorgeous chocolate dipped coconut macaron…

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an oatmeal cream pie, faux-reo, and housemade swiss cake roll.

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Se7en Bites is located at 207 N. Primrose Dr., Orlando, FL  32803 (near the intersection of Primrose and Robinson).  Hours are Tuesday through Friday 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.

Se7en Bites is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Se7enbites and on Twitter @se7enbitesChefT.  Thanks Chef Trina for making our visit outstanding!

This is a definitely a must visit local spot.