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Archive for the ‘Best of Orlando’ Category

Having an office next to the director of Food & Beverage for Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek  has it perks.  Especially when that office is occupied by Francis Metais, one of the most brilliant minds in food and beverage today.

Sometimes, Francis would emerge from his office and make an official pronouncement of the day’s conquest, often to nobody in particular.  It was a ritual to mark the beginning of his latest project.

This happened time and time again, always with amazing results… and a parade of “test meals” fresh from the Waldorf Astoria kitchens, located one floor below.

These were innovative  ideas that eventually became menu staples, along with raves from our guests – items like “The Lemon” and “Pasta Explosion” at Bull & Bear, for instance. Sometimes they were twists on a favorite, like hummus made from edamame, or a chocolate dessert made from lentil beans.

I didn’t always comprehend his vision, partially because of his perfectly thick French accent.  But the proof, as they say, was always in the pudding.  And I (as well as other members of the Marketing and PR team), made sure we were readily available to lend our taste buds to the cause.

Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Rolls But one day, I understood Francis loud and clear:  “Keith, this week we will make the most amazing cinnamon rolls you have ever tasted,” he said.  “I will bring you one.”

As you can imagine, it was difficult to work that morning.  I love cinnamon rolls, and I had no doubt these would dazzle.  Francis is a classically trained pastry chef from France, and his work alongside executive pastry chef Kurtis Baguley is legendary.  He is the pastry team’s biggest cheerleader, as they have developed new menu items that lead the Orlando market.

That afternoon, I heard the door open, and a team of chefs came in, led by chef Kurtis.  I could smell the sweet aroma of cinnamon.  My mouth began to water.

I heard muffled conversations, followed by a click.  The door closed. The cinnamon smell slowly faded away.

Oh no.  Panic set in.   I could hear the ticking of the clock.  My mind raced.

Confused, I stuck my head in Francis’ office.  “Where’s the cinnamon rolls,” I said, hoping to find a platter in his office.

“They were good – really good,” he said.  “But we had some more ideas.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”

This happened several more times that week:  a team of chef came in… followed by discussions… and the team of chefs would leave with an unfinished platter of cinnamon rolls in tow.

I could barely stand it.

Then finally one day, Francis appeared in my office:  “Keith, we are ready,” he proclaimed.  “Take a bite.”

The magic hour had arrived.  It all came down to this.

And one bite was all it took.  I was in love.

I could see the smile on Francis’ face.  “Now that is a Waldorf Astoria cinnamon roll,” he said.

If this were a movie, there would have been a crescendo of music.  People would have applauded.  Tears would have been shed.

Me?  I took a second bite.

Wow.  The dough,  a wonderful mixture of textures similar to that of a croissant or a Danish, was extremely light, airy, and flaky.  The icing soaked into the dough, creating, well, the perfect cinnamon roll.

Hungry?  You can experience for yourself what we refer to as the Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Roll.  At Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, they are served warm at MUSE, the lobby coffee and sweet shop.   Guests come down early in the morning to claim their treat before we sell out for the day.   Yes, they are that popular.    At Waldorf Astoria Orlando, they are often found on the breakfast buffet at Oscar’s, where a pastry bar is filled with the many of innovations of Francis and Chef Kurtis… all developed with enthusiasm and baked with love.

A visit to either hotel just isn’t complete without a bite.  And listen for the crescendo of music in your head!

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Orlando Home & Leisure  releases their Best of Orlando issue in May.  In anticipation of its release, here is a mention of Bull & Bear from the blog of Rona Gindin, the magazine’s food editor…

Tomahawk steak presentation at Bull & Bear, inside Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Tomahawk steak presentation at Bull & Bear, inside Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Most Indulgent Steak in All of Orlando “Fat equals flavor,” dietitians dictate when explaining why fat-free versions of traditional desserts are unsatisfying. So imagine how sated you’ll feel after sharing the Tomahawk steak for two at Bull & Bear, since the 36-ounce hunk of beef is served with extra “flavor.”

Here’s how it works at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s signature restaurant. Once you order, a server will discretely place a candle that is in a stainless steel gravy boat on your table. When the  28-day dry-aged Four Diamond Harris Ranch steak arrives, your server will pick up that gravy boat with the candle in it and pour some of the “wax” onto your meat

As it turns out, the Bull & Bear candle is made of beef fat, seasoned with the mix that chefs sprinkle onto steaks in the kitchen. As it melts, a “gravy,” let’s call it, accumulates at the bottom of the gravy boat. And it’s that luscious liquid that tops your Tomahawk. This subtle surprise enhances the Tomahawk significantly — not that this expertly aged hunka flesh needs improvement.

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On Friday, Orlando’s newest music series will continue:  The Waldorf Astoria Best of Orlando Showcase, featuring  solo and duo performances in an intimate setting.  This new 10-weekend music series at Sir Harry’s lounge will include performances on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm until midnight.

There’s more!  Visitors can enjoy live music beginning at 7pm, with our featured performers HarvesTown at Peacock Alley, followed by the Best of Orlando Showcase in Sir Harry’s.

We welcome locals!  Visitors can ask for validation of their valet parking charge.

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TONIGHT & SATURDAY NIGHT!

Solo Piano and Vocalist Stephanie Ansley

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COMING SOON!

APRIL

20  Stephanie Ansley (solo piano/voice –  classic variety)

21  Stephanie Ansley

27  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano (guitar & voice, jazz/bossa nova lounge)

28  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano

May

More acts to be announced soon.

Live Music near Disney World

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Tonight, Orlando’s newest music series will continue:  The Waldorf Astoria Best of Orlando Showcase, featuring  solo and duo performances in an intimate setting.  This new 10-weekend music series at Sir Harry’s lounge will include performances on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm until midnight.

There’s more!  Visitors can enjoy live music beginning at 7pm, with our featured performers HarvesTown at Peacock Alley, followed by the Best of Orlando Showcase in Sir Harry’s.

We welcome locals!  Visitors can ask for validation of their valet parking charge.

.

TONIGHT!

Renown Pianist Krzysztof Srebrakowski

Krystof

Artistically expressive performances blended with dynamic technical dexterity, reflects the musical journey of composer and pianist Krzysztof Srebrakowski.  At the age of five Krzysztof, was “discovered” as a child prodigy when he was heard playing the organ at his local church; by the age of eleven Krzysztof composed his first musical piece, “Prelude in f# Minor”.  The rest is history. Krzysztof Srebrakowski was born in Zary, a small town located in the Western part of Poland near the German border.  During his childhood Krzysztof was schooled in the traditions of great masters like Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, and many others.  Most notably, Krzysztof was influenced by magical essence, and pure beauty of Baroque music. Raised in the city of Zary ,where George Philipp Telemann( 1681- 1767) was a kapelmeister, Krzysztof was schooled in the masterpieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Domenico Scarlatti and many other composers of the 18th Century. As a result these musical Influences can be heard in Krystof’s performances to this day.  Learn more about our featured performer at his website:  www.krystofonline.com

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SATURDAY NIGHT!

Sensational Jazz Vocalist DeVonda Simmons Duo

DeVonda SimmonsDaVonda Simmons is a dynamic vocalist who has been dazzling audiences for years with her “drop dead gorgeous voice” — a voice that evokes a smile in your heart and caresses you with the radiant warmth of her style. Learn more about our featured performer at her website: www.davondasimmons.com

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COMING SOON!

March

30    Krystof Srebrakowski  (renown solo pianist)

31    Davonda Simmons Duo   (piano & voice contemporary R&B)

April

6    Marc Osborn (Solo piano/voice – contemporary)

7    Marc Osborn

13  Ron Irizary (solo guitar/voice – variety)

14  Ron Irizary

20  Stephanie Ansley (solo piano/voice –  classic variety)

21  Stephanie Ansley

27  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano (guitar & voice, jazz/bossa nova lounge)

28  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano

May

More acts to be announced soon.

Live Music near Disney World

Read Full Post »


Tonight, Orlando’s newest music series will debut:  The Waldorf Astoria Best of Orlando Showcase, featuring  solo and duo performances in an intimate setting.  This new 10-weekend music series at Sir Harry’s lounge will include performances on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm until midnight.

There’s more!  Visitors can enjoy live music beginning at 7pm, with our featured performers HarvesTown at Peacock Alley, followed by the Best of Orlando Showcase in Sir Harry’s.

We welcome locals!  Visitors can ask for validation of their valet parking charge.

.

TONIGHT!

Renown Pianist Krzysztof Srebrakowski

Krystof

Artistically expressive performances blended with dynamic technical dexterity, reflects the musical journey of composer and pianist Krzysztof Srebrakowski.  At the age of five Krzysztof, was “discovered” as a child prodigy when he was heard playing the organ at his local church; by the age of eleven Krzysztof composed his first musical piece, “Prelude in f# Minor”.  The rest is history. Krzysztof Srebrakowski was born in Zary, a small town located in the Western part of Poland near the German border.  During his childhood Krzysztof was schooled in the traditions of great masters like Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, and many others.  Most notably, Krzysztof was influenced by magical essence, and pure beauty of Baroque music. Raised in the city of Zary ,where George Philipp Telemann( 1681- 1767) was a kapelmeister, Krzysztof was schooled in the masterpieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Domenico Scarlatti and many other composers of the 18th Century. As a result these musical Influences can be heard in Krystof’s performances to this day.  Learn more about our featured performer at his website:  www.krystofonline.com

.

SATURDAY NIGHT!

Sensational Jazz Vocalist DeVonda Simmons Duo

DeVonda SimmonsDaVonda Simmons is a dynamic vocalist who has been dazzling audiences for years with her “drop dead gorgeous voice” — a voice that evokes a smile in your heart and caresses you with the radiant warmth of her style. Learn more about our featured performer at her website: www.davondasimmons.com

.

COMING SOON!

March

23    Krystof Srebrakowski (renown solo pianist)

24    Davonda Simmons Duo (piano & voice contemporary R&B)

30    Krystof Srebrakowski  (renown solo pianist)

31    Davonda Simmons Duo   (piano & voice contemporary R&B)

April

6    Marc Osborn (Solo piano/voice – contemporary)

7    Marc Osborn

13  Ron Irizary (solo guitar/voice – variety)

14  Ron Irizary

20  Stephanie Ansley (solo piano/voice –  classic variety)

21  Stephanie Ansley

27  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano (guitar & voice, jazz/bossa nova lounge)

28  Kate O’Neal & Steve Luciano

May

More acts to be announced soon.

 

Live Music near Disney World

Read Full Post »


Live Music near Disney World

Tomorrow evening, Orlando’s newest music series will debut:  The Waldorf Astoria Best of Orlando Showcase, featuring  solo and duo performances in an intimate setting.  This new 10-weekend music series at Sir Harry’s lounge will include performances on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm until midnight.

There’s more!  Visitors can enjoy live music beginning at 7pm, with our featured performers HarvesTown at Peacock Alley, followed by the Best of Orlando Showcase in Sir Harry’s.

Watch for further details tomorrow, including a schedule of performers for our first few weekends.

Read Full Post »