As we reach the end of a sweltering Florida summer, celebrate the transition to fall with some tantalizing tastes. These last few weeks of August are overflowing with the best of summer tastes and exciting bites of fall. Specials and celebrations abound at many area restaurants as we bid farewell to summer and transition to the new season. Here are a few exciting events to wrap up the month of August:
Thursday, August 21:
Escape to the Greek islands with the final event in Taverna Opa Orlando’s Summer Wine Dinner Series. This Thursday, August 21 from 6:30-8:30pm, Chef Katerina Coumbaros shares a five-course tasting menu to compliment fine Greek wines provided by the Republic National Distributing Company. The dinner series has featured Greek cuisine throughout the summer ranging from street food to fare native to the island of Crete, homeland of Chef-Owner Katerina Coumbaros. There is limited seating for this event, so be sure to RSVP to EatGreek@opaorlando.com or call 407-351-8660 for reservations. Dinner is $45 per person (tax and gratuity not included).
Saturday, August 23:
Feeling cheesy this weekend? Head down to the Orange County Convention Center Hall D2 West Concourse for the O-Town MacDown macaroni and cheese cook-off featuring professional chefs and restaurants as well as home cooks and non-profit organizations seeking the title of Orlando’s Macaroni and Cheese Champion! The event includes prizes in a variety of categories, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations hosted by celebrity chefs, theme park character meet and greets, vendor booths, and a fun zone for kids featuring face painting, a bounce house, and macaroni art station. Attendance and participation benefits Give Kids the World Village, a 70 acre nonprofit resort that provides cost free vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to experience a week of magic and fun in Central Florida. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and includes all the macaroni and cheese you can eat! $5 for children 3-12 (ages 2 and under can come for free!) and includes all you can eat macaroni and cheese and free entry to the Kids Zone. For the big cheeses out there, VIP tickets are available for $35 and includes unlimited macaroni and cheese, premium seating in the VIP area, free O-Town MacDown t-shirt and a free beverage. Advance ticket purchases are open through Friday, August 22, at 5pm. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. There is a discounted parking fee of $9 if you choose to park at the Convention Center.
Throughout the month of August:
August is National Sandwich Month, the perfect time to reinvent your lunch as the kids head back to school or for those tired of the same old sandwich every day. We are lucky enough to live in Florida with access to tons of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year, as well as cultural influences from around the world. Set aside that PB and J and get creative with your sandwich this month! Need some inspiration? Check out these incredibly delicious and creative sandwiches from celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, and try some of his phenomenal recipes at home. You’ll be the envy of the lunchroom when you break out the sweet and spicy Kalua Pork Sandwich, recipe available here.
Sweet Tomatoes restaurants are wrapping up the month with three healthy and delicious summer salads available through the end of August. Bid farewell to the cool and crunchy flavors of summer with the Quinoa and Feta salad, Greek tossed salad, and Mediterranean salad. Visit Sweet Tomatoes for delicious and healthy salads, soups, pastas, and more with a wide variety of vegetarian and gluten free choices. To find a Sweet Tomatoes restaurant near you, visit Souplantation.com
Summer may be coming to a close, but here are a few announcements to celebrate through August and beyond!
Wendy’s restaurants recently announced the return of the much-loved Pretzel Bun, and due to it’s warm reception, Wendy’s has decided to make the beloved bun a permanent fixture on the menu. The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger features the artisan-style pretzel bun, made using the same process of traditional soft pretzels, resulting in a rich flavor and chewy, golden brown crust. The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger features warm cheddar cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, and smoky honey mustard, garnished with red onions, tomato, and spring mix. Look for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger at number 11 on the Wendy’s menu.
And finally, there’s a sweet ending to summer 2014 with a new line of treats from The Sweet Shop. These nostalgic cupcakes will take you back to the days of cereal and cartoon filled Saturday mornings with sweet treats like the Apple Jacks Whoopie Pie, Cocoa Pebble Coffee Brownie, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Milk Cookie, PB+J Rice Krispie Treat, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bar, and Fruit Loops Cupcake. While visiting the Sweet Shop, look for another breakfast inspired delight, the Chicken and Waffles cupcake, a nod to 4 Rivers sister concept, The Coop. This Southern classic is transformed into a beautiful and unique dessert of butter cake blended with waffle batter folded with fried chicken crispies then drizzled with house made bourbon maple glaze, frosted with maple butter cream and topped with a waffle cone wedge.
It’s always hard to let go of summer, send it out with a bang with these events and specials through the end of August and beyond!