Archive for the tag “beef”

Tapas, mom, not topless! Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando, FL

I was traveling for work last week and found myself in Florida in February – there are worse places to go at that time of year!  My colleagues and I were staying at The Grande Vista Marriott, the world’s largest Marriott property.  At least that’s what the bell man told me as he drove me from the lobby to my hotel room!

After our fist full day at the ICE Convention in the Orange County Convention Center, nine of us went for a late dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango.  One of my colleagues, Lianne, had been there before and really enjoyed the tapas menu, the energetic vibe, and the local artistry on display in the cafe.

The wall behind our table...Campbell's soup artwork.

The wall behind our table…Campbell’s soup artwork.

Even the the silverware was a little work of art…


Now, the reason for the name of this post is that my mom thought I said we went to a topless place for dinner when I told her it was tapas.  Ahhh, Pamcakes…

Back to the evening… In addition to a bevy of cocktail, beer and wine options, we enjoyed a slew of small plates.  Each of us ordered a couple of plates to share with the table.  Here’s the list of delicious orders…

Guacamame (Edamame, chickpeas, avocado, salsa roja, chips) and Tuna Sashimi (Yuzu vinaigrette, cucumber salad, avocado, sesame seeds, jalapeño, micro cilantro): 
Guacamame and Ahi Tuna

Guacamame and Sashimi Tuna

Spiced Alligator Bites (Local florida wild gator, key lime mustard):


Goat Cheese Timbale (Whipped goat cheese, arugula, nuts, parmesan baguettes, balsamic glaze):


Dynamite Shrimp (Crispy shrimp, sweet chili aioli):


Hazelnut Lemongrass Mahi Mahi: (I failed to take a photo of this beautifully plated dish!)

Blackened Fish Tacos (Citrus and cilantro marinated white fish, avocado coleslaw, fresno peppers, microgreens)


Picadillo Empanadas (Chipotle spiced ground beef, manchego, cilantro sour cream):


Southwest Chicken Flatbread (Chipotle spiced ground beef, manchego, cilantro sour cream):


Cajun Chicken Egg Rolls (Blackened chicken, roasted corn, red onions, cheddar, goat cheese, creole mustard sauce):


Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza (Ricotta, eggplant, tomatoes and basil):


Pork Belly Reuben (Roasted pork belly, house-made sauerkraut, thousand island, pretzel bun ):


Argentinian Chimichurri Steak (Tostones, marinated steak, garlic mojo):


Jalapeno Mac & Cheese (Oven-charred tomatoes, crispy pancetta, caramelized onions, jalapeño-horseradish mornay sauce):


And…saving my favorite for last… the Short Rib Wraps (Kimchi, scallions, cilantro, bibb lettuce wrap): 

Such a light dish, but rich with flavor.  Tender meat, the right amount of heat (I’ve loved Kimchi since I dated man of Korean descent in high school), and perfect flavors surrounding the dish.

While I enjoyed most of the dishes, my three favorite would be: 1) the short rib wraps, 2) goat cheese timbale (I’m a cheese fanatic, so please take that into account), and 3) the Cajun chicken egg rolls.

I was not a huge fan of the pork belly reuben, and I found the spiced alligator bites to be a bit lackluster.  The other dishes were great, IMO.  I loved the guacamame as an appetizer, and the dynamite shrimp was another worthy plate!

Have you been to Cafe Tu Tu Tango?  Do you have a favorite dish?  Have you ever purchased artwork there (I had my eye on a Michael Jackson, circa “Beat it” days painting)?

In general, do you have a favorite tapas plate?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.



MKE Chili Bowl 2015, Potawatomi Casino & Hotel – My winner has been declared!

Just a quick post about how I spent my gloomy Midwest Sunday afternoon…

It didn’t take long for my friend and neighbor, Andrew and I to decide we wanted to go to “The 2015 Chili Bowl”, so he purchased tickets and off we went to the Potawatomi Casino and Hotel.  When he handed me my ticket, ticket number 1770, I cracked a joke about whether there would really be almost 1,800 people at the event.  Well… rest assured that there were several thousand people at the Chili Bowl!

People waiting to get registered for the Chili Bowl. The actual registration is beyond those doors in the background!

People waiting to get registered for the Chili Bowl. The actual registration is beyond those doors in the background!

Tickets were only $13 in advance ($16 at the door), and that allowed for eight 3 oz tasting from a list of 33 vendors.  It was also a fundraiser for the Hunger Task Force (2 cans of food allowed folks two additional tastings).

Please note: Handling cups of chili, a cold beverage, while trying to take pictures just didn’t work, so please forgive the lack of photos.

I mapped out our first four adventures (4A, 15A, 20A, and 4B), Andrew picked our fifth location (7A), then Andrew’s friend Max picked vendor number six (7B), and we all agreed on vendor number seven (9B) – at which point we quit – bellies just full enough!  Don’t you just love our high-tech method (tearing out notches on the printed page!)?


In the first ballroom, we all liked “4A” best – Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub’s effort.  A traditional chili described as “…filet, ground chuck & andoullie sausage.  Topped with onions, our famous cheese curds, sour cream and garnished with sour dough toast”.

The overall consensus winner was in ballroom B though…”4B” – Superior Culinary Center with Lisa Keefer from Puddle Jumpers, described as “Smokey Green Chili topped with Cheese & Sweet Corn Bread”.


Superior Culinary Center submission – smokey green chili topped with cheese and sweet corn bread.

It had really good consistency, tremendous flavor, and was just different enough to be special without being too much of a departure from “chili” as I grew up knowing it.


The very close second place vote (again, consensus) was “9B” from Braise.  We all agreed to try the chili tagged with “most unique” title in past competition.  This year the submission was “white bean & pork chili with rainbow cornmeal croutons”.  We tasted a hint of curry to the chili – which also had great consistency and was full-flavored.  It might have been difficult to consume an entire bowl of this flavorful fun, but 3 oz was a perfect taste.

Other honorable mentions go to: “15A” – The Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill, mainly for the Fry Bread Bowl in which it was served.  “7A” (Red Rock Saloon) was another well-received submission – bourbon, beer, bacon and beef…need I say more?

All in all, we had a fun time navigating the dense crowds and figuring out which chili recipes we wanted to taste. It was a perfect event for an overcast Milwaukee Sunday afternoon.

I’m looking forward to seeing who wins the coveted “Golden Ladle”!

I’m off to Orlando for business tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have more good eats to write about soon.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment!



The Melting Pot, Roswell, GA – It wasn’t just the server doing the surprising!

I’m so excited to share yet another guest post here!  Folks, I can honestly say that this screwy little idea is catching on.  In the few weeks since I launched this site, I’ve had several people tell me – both in person and in writing – that they’ve tried allowing their server to surprise them.  And, the list of guest post requests is growing!  Thank y’all for your support of

This post is from Lisa, someone I met through my friend Dennis.  She’s full of wonderful personality, up for adventure, and was delighted to document her first “She Ordered What?!?” experience for your reading pleasure!  Please feel free to leave comments for Lisa above.  Here is the story of her dining adventure.

Lisa’s adventure:

An unexpected dinner date led to a night full of fun surprises…
On Friday I was reading the “She Ordered What?” blog and came across Jerod Morris‘s guest post about his first date adventure, all the while modifying this in the back of my mind to work in any new restaurant situation, not just the first date scenario… Knowing that my weekend was already pretty planned out to the minute with events, I didn’t think about the blog again until Sunday evening.

My boyfriend and I had tickets to attend a concert in a part of town we don’t usually find ourselves out in, and thinking we would be late to the event, we made no plans for dinner.  So when my boyfriend wanted to leave the event early (and we hadn’t eaten), he left the decision of dinner up to me… and that is where my story begins..

Being on a side of town I wasn’t all that familiar with I had no idea in which direction to begin so in the honor of a little spontaneity in our life I hit the little “Places” app on my handy-dandy smart phone and clicked “restaurants”,  deciding that the first place that popped up would be where we would go.  We walked into The Melting Pot without reservations on Sunday evening and were immediately seated in a cozy private booth.

Having never eaten at a fondue restaurant, I didn’t really know what to expect.  The décor was dark and sensual – in a “romantic evening out” sort of way.  Seeing that we had just come from an outdoor rock concert, we were a little underdressed, but the maître d’ and the wait staff made us feel completely at home.  They  took their time to explain how the menu worked and what we could expect with each course.

I surprised both my boyfriend and the waiter when placing my drink order – I told the waiter to surprise me… He asked several questions: such as about what I liked – which I declined to answer.   He glanced at my boyfriend with a questioning look –  to which Joey replied, “Go for it”.   He returned with my boyfriend’s water and my Gummy Bear Martini.  PERFECT! Strong, but sweet and refreshing after a long day in the sun!  The waiter was pleased at my response to his choice, and didn’t flinch when I told him to surprise me with the remainder of my meal.  He actually was enthusiastic about surprising me!

His only question was if I had any food allergies.  I informed him I did not, and he went to the kitchen with a smile on his face.  As he walked away my boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy (he does this frequently), and asked what this was all about, and I then explained the blog to him.  He laughed and shook his head.  It is a fortunate thing for me that he loves it that I am a little “out there” sometimes and will try anything at least once.

I was thrilled when the server brought out our first course of Cheddar Cheese Fondue: Consisting of aged medium-sharp cheddar and Emmenthal Swiss cheeses melted beautifully with lager beer, garlic and seasonings complete with bread bites, veggies and APPLES! Cheese melted and cooked in Sam Adams Beer.. My life is oh so good – and this is just the first course!

Our salads came out in perfect timing, just as we were finishing the appetizer.  My boyfriend ordered the house salad with their tangy house dressing, and I was brought a California Salad: Mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans and rich Gorgonzola cheese with Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette… I was impressed; it was exactly what I would have chosen – had I looked at the menu.  The candied pecans added a perfect crunchy texture and sweet flavor to the Vinaigrette dressing.

Our main course came out within several minutes of the staff removing our salad plates, and I waited in anticipation for our server to explain what he had brought me… My boyfriend, being a little picky about his food, had ordered The French Quarter (Filet mignon, chicken breast, and white shrimp all seasoned with Cajun spices and accompanied by Andouille sausage). I, on the other hand, was rewarded by a plate full of chicken breast, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, white shrimp, citrus-infused pork tenderloin, breast of duck and chicken and vegetable pot stickers – also known as the Pacific Rim.

Our server had chosen the cooking style known as Coq au Vin to complement our entrée’s.  He also explained the multiple sauces brought to the table and the cooking times for each meat before leaving us to enjoy our dinner.  I loved being able to taste a little of everything and was upset that I couldn’t eat it all.

I would love to say that we left the dessert decision up to the server, but I honestly was so full from the meal that we had to pass on the dessert menu.  If it had been something we could have taken home with us I would have let him pick for us both, but it has been my experience in the past that melted chocolate doesn’t travel well.

The Melting Pot is definitely a place we will visit again and big thank you to the staff for their excellent service and superb selection of food.  Thank you to Jerod Morris for the idea.   It was great fun, and I will do it again at the next new restaurant.  Thank you to Kerri for allowing me to share my experience on her blog…
– Lisa Hadden


Thank you so much, Lisa!  I’m so happy you enjoyed “dining by surprise”, and that you shared your story.

You can find out more about Lisa at her: food blog, personal blog, and Facebook page.

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