Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2, part 2 | Food,Wine,Good Times at @CHWinery Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Family and Good Times go together like Food & Wine. All of these things come together at a restaurant in Orlando named COOPER’S HAWK Winery and Restaurants. After a great start to our Day 2 at SEALIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds, my #HeighPartyof3 met up with 2 friends to enjoy dinner at Cooper’s Hawk after hearing so many good things about this place, plus it was a convenient 5 min drive from our hotel on I-Drive. It was such a wonderful dining experience that we were there for 3 hours! I mean when was the last time you had a three hour dinner? Between the stories shared, chef-crafted food, and award winning wines, we simply lost track of time.

We had a 5:30p reservation on a Sunday night. I highly recommend that you make a reservation before you go because this place is popular! Described as a modern, casual dining experience with warm hospitality in an inviting upscale setting, Cooper’s Hawk felt welcoming. With a wine tasting room, gift shop, wine bar and even a place to purchase wine to go, theres was so much to take in and I was quite impressed at first sight!

KIDS MENU

As you know our family enjoys dining out and being introduced to new flavors as well as tasting foods we are familiar with. My young foodie was very happy to see lots of her favorites on their kids menu like flatbread cheese pizza, mac & cheese but for the first time on a kid’s menu we saw chicken potstickers amd that is what she ordered. While we waited some warm pretzel bread and butter came to the table. It was so good, my daughter really wanted it all to herself!

The Kid’s Menu, which is for kids 12 and under, shows what options are vegetarian or gluten free. Since the kitchen is a scratch kitchen, any menu items can be customized if any allergy or dietary restrictions. All entrees include a drink (they offer organic chocolate milk) and served with a side of fresh fruit plus one additional side from a list. My daughter ate everything on her plate and was entertained [and occupied] by the fun games/graphics to color on the menu. The cherry, or shall I say the strawberry on top of her whole dining experience came at the end of her meal. All kid’s menu entrees include a chocolate covered strawberry! Now that’s fancy!

WINE

There is a reason Cooper Hawk’s puts the word “winery” before restaurant in their name. Wine is such an integral part of their experience. You enter the restaurant through the wine store/sampling room, which features high ceilings, beautiful decor and wine gifts. Here you can stand at the bar and sample wines prior to purchase. You can buy by the bottle or the case right on the premises.

Not sure what wine will pair well with your meal? No worries. They have a no risk policy that allows you to ask for a taste before ordering a glass to challenge yourself to try something new! All items on the menu are paired with a wine that is labeled on the menu by bin number as suggested by the winemaker. This takes alot of the guess work out of the “what wine goes with this” scenario we all have faced!

The servers here also operate as your own personal sommelier. They are knowledgeable in recommending all sorts of wines depending on your likes and dislikes. What makes dining here even more special is the ability to have a wine tasting of up to 3 wines complimentary right at the table for you to try before you order. In addition to wine, they also serve beer, a variety of cocktails and other beverages.

DINNER MENU

The menu is described as contemporary American-fusion and contains dishes that incorporates peak of season ingredients and flavors from around the world. With 110 items on the menu, there is truly something for everyone on the menu.

Appetizers***

Just looking at these photos of Mexican Drunken Shrimp and Asian Ahi Tuna Sashimi is making my mouthwater. At the suggestion of our server, I got the Mexican Drunken Shrimp, which is bacon-wrapped shrimp with a tequila lime butter sauce and fresh guacomole. Need I say more? It was as good as described and I would get it again! Soups, salads, flatbreads and other amazing appetizer choices are on the menu as an option to share and enjoy before your meal.

Entrées***

No matter if you want Beef, Pork, Seafood, Pasta, Chicken, Vegetarian, or Vegan, Cooper’s Hawk has something on the menu for you! I appreciate when a restaurant cares about accomodating guests regardless of what type of food is desired. We all loved the taste and presentation of our food, plus the quality,fresh ingredients used. My husband was in the mood for seafood and got the Pan-Roasted Barramundi and my dish, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs was identified on the menu as a Cooper’s Hawk Favorites. As seen below, it comes with oven-roasted vegetables, mustard sauce, Mary’s Potatoes (which are mashed potatoes whipped to perfection)and topped with Crispy Onion Strings. My short ribs were tender and absolutely delicious!

Desserts***

We saved room for something sweet to end our amazing meal! After seeing on the menu that all desserts were vegetarian and made in-house daily, we just had to try something. My family ordered the Key Lime Pie and our friends got the S‘more Budino as seen below. It’s the perfect combination of caramel custard,chocolate mousse and brown butter toasted graham cracker.

SobeSavvy Tip: This is the perfect restaurant for celebrating special occasions, like birthdays or just life in general! When you sign up for the exclusive Wine Club , for one low price you get the wine of the month delivered and also 10% off case discounts, birthday specials and invites to special member only events.

If you follow my SobeSavvy.com Food and Wine experiences, you know that I enjoy dining out and having lots of foodie fun. This was my first experience at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants and I can’t stop thinking about how good everything was. The attention to detail, handcrafted wine selections, amazing dishes and their belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections is why this restaurant is one of the most memorable dining experiences we have had in awhile. Thanks Cooper’s Hawk for taking us on an unforgettable wine and food journey! For more info, go to chwinery.com

COOPER’S HAWK Winery & Restaurants
8005 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on @VivaceCharlotte – Where to Dine in #CharlotteNC #cltfood #SobeSavvyeats #italian

Many Thanks to Vivace Charlotte for hosting SobeSavvy.com for our #SobeSavvyEats Series and #FoodieFriday Feature

When I travel with my family, I know there is one type of cuisine where everyone can find something they love on the menu. Italian cuisine suits my daughter’s love for pizza, my husband’s passion for pasta and my craving for meat or seafood. During our recent trip to Charlotte, we worked up an appetite after our family fun day at Carowinds, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Vivace Italian restaurant located in the Midtown area of Charlotte, NC.

ENJOY DINNER WITH A VIEW

Vivace[yes, it rhymes with Versace] is an upscale modern take on an Italian Trattoria which traditionally isless formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. Upon entering this multi-leveled space, we were impressed by the beautiful wood and lighting. The layout featured bars on each floor and also a dining area. Upstairs they also have lounge chairs and tables on their patio, which offers breathtaking views of the Charlotte skyline.

COCKTAIL TIME

This trendy restaurant had a nice after work crowd of folks who opted for some drinks at the bar to end their week and start their weekend. Other patrons were smartly dressed to match the décor and ambiance.

My husband and I started with a two cocktails from their drink menu which includes wine and an impressive number of NC craft beers. Both of us are Gin fans so he ordered “The Summer Affair” which uses Hendricks Gin, his favorite. I opted for the “Botanico“, which I really enjoyed how refreshing this drink was with the use of cucumber and rosemary. Crafty, creative, classic cocktails can be found here at Vivace.

FAMILY FRIENDLY DINING + MENU

Is this restaurant family friendly? Yes!
Since we had our little foodie,#outandaboutAva with us, we opted for an early dinner. While on the surface this is not a “kids” type place, they do have a Bambini Menu. Our just turned 7 year old daughter ordered a cheese pizza, which came with fresh strawberries and Nutella for dipping.

For starters, I suggest their steamed PEI mussels because its perfect for sharing. It was served with crusty bread, which is essential for soaking up all the flavors in the broth!

For my dinner entrée,I ordered the Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes and a veal demi glace. I love lamb chops and thought the use of pistachios gave it a unique taste while the veal demi glace amped up the bold and savory flavor. The quality of the meat was superb and it was cooked to perfection.

My husband always says you judge an Italian restaurant by their gnocchi. So that’s what he went with. Vivace serves theirs with grilled chicken and asparagus tips. Luckily, I was able to procure a few of his disappearing gnocchi before they were gone. He
commented on how he could tell that unlike so many Italian restaurants that just have them sitting in warm water that these gnocchi were “dropped to order”.

After speaking with their chefs, they confirmed that indeed that was the case! In fact all their pasta is made in-house. And ingredients used to prepare their dishes focus on local/regional ingredients.

Our dining experience at Vivace was wonderful not only because our server was sweet and attentive but the food was great. I would recommend dining here because not only with you find traditional Italian eats but dishes that will also cater to some American likes.

The location and layout is beautiful and the restaurant’s atmosphere is unique. My husband mentioned that he was relieved that finally a spot’s style matched it’s substance.

Lil Miss Foodie aka #outandaboutAva and her Mom, Leslie/Founder of SobeSavvy.com bid arriverderci to Vivace, but look forward to coming back!

SobeSavvy Tip: Their private events manager, Blythe Bayrd informed me that they host numerous holiday parties with great package prices. The
schedule is filling up fast so book your companies or your own private event for the holiday season NOW.

HAVE YOU EVER DINED AT VIVACE BEFORE? WHAT IS YOUR GO TO CUISINE THAT SUITS YOUR FAMILY? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW 🍴

Top 4 Reasons Why @Kankirestaurant in #Durham #NC is the “Best Tasting Show In Town” #kankirestaurant #SobeSavvyEats

Hey guys! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Mine was filled with foodie fun because I had an exciting opportunity to try a restaurant and share about my experience with you! SobeSavvy.com recently was invited to a tasting experience at Kanki Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse Durham, which just happened to coincide with my mom’s visit to the Triangle to celebrate her 64th birthday. I decided to combine some work with pleasure and treat the whole family!

From the moment we stepped inside of Kanki Durham, I could tell by the crowd that this was a popular place. They do not take reservations or hold seats, so make sure your whole party is there if requesting to sit at a hibachi table for dinner. If you’re not familiar with hibachi,it’s where the chef prepares your meal right before your eyes. After dining at Kanki Durham on Saturday, I liked to share with you my Top 4 Reasons Why Kanki Durham is The “Best Tasting Show in Town”:

1. Cozy & Beautiful Decor

If you’ve ever been to Kanki at Crabtree and Kanki off of Wake Forest Road, then you are familiar with the delicious menu. This location offers same menu but has a different feel than the other locations. From the beautiful stain glass decor, the aquarium, the lovely bar area and their cozy dining room, this restaurant is the perfect spot for dinner and a show.

2. Entertaining & Fun

#outandaboutAva is amazed by the hibachi Chef at Kanki Durham, the “Best Tasting Show in Town” | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Our hibachi chef, Ricky was entertaining and showed special attention to my 6 yr old. She loved the food “show”. Chef Ricky did a myriad of delightful tricks that kept a smile on her face. She loved the “egg roll” the best! Watch this video to see a bit more of the action. It was so fun and entertaining to everyone young and old!

3. Flavorful & Fresh

If you like Japanese cuisine that’s flavorful and fresh, Kanki Durham‘s menu offers a great variety. The delicious menu is full of fresh sushi options, yummy appetizers and of course their well-known hibachi. Hibachi is what we wanted and hibachi is what we got. We started with a few appetizers of Gyoza pork steamed dumplings and also their lamb chops, which I plan to get everytime I visit. The lamb chops were so good they disappeared quickly before I could get a food pic! However, check out the Gyoza appetizer which comes 6 to an order and is perfect for sharing!

SobeSavvy Tip: Dine at Kanki Durham and enjoy a FREE appetizer per party with the purchase of an entree! Use coupon code: SOBESAVVY .Offer expires May 14, 2018

In addition to hibachi, Kanki Durham also has superb sushi choices. I ordered the sashimi sampler. It was fresh and delicious. My family ordered a classic chicken and steak, Ribeye and scallop and a Emperor‘s delight. Most hibachi entrees come with soup, salad and grilled shrimp prior to the main meal. Also there are a choice of two sauces to enjoy with your dishes. You’ll want to put the WHITE SAUCE on everything by the time you leave Kanki Durham! They have a great kids menu as well.

4. Family Friendly

When planning a family dinner, there are very few places as memorable as Kanki Durham. If you are looking for place to handle a big party, Kanki’s hibachi tables seat 9 people. We were a party of 5 so it was a communal affair with our other friendly table guests who were also celebrating a birthday! Our waitress made sure to ask if anyone was celebrating a special occassion. At the end of the meal, a traditional Japanese drummer appeared. He banged out their version of happy birthday to my mom’s delight. They gave her a sherbet with a candle. A sweet ending to a memorable night!

Thank you Kanki Durham for the invite and gift card for dinner for 2 to use towards my meal. In my opinion, your motto of being the “Best Tasting Show in Town” fits this restaurant well! The next time you are in Durham, make sure you dine here. Per my mom, it was “the best meal she has had all year”!

HAVE YOU EVER DINED AT KANKI BEFORE OR ANY OTHER HIBACHI STYLE RESTAURANT? HOW DID YOU ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW⤵

Kanki Durham
3504 Mt. Moriah Road

Facebook: @KankiOfficialPage

Instagram/Twitter: @kankirestaurant

#TastyTuesday Spotlight on @HelloFresh Family Meals ! Check out these #HelloFreshPics ..#YUM

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post. I received a HelloFresh box for review, however 100% of the opinions are my own. 

Hello November! It’s time to start preparing for the holidays. Some feel this time of year can be stressful and expensive, but it does not have to be. Something I like doing to relieve stress is cooking with my family and for my family. So when I heard of HelloFresh offering a convenient and easy way to cook healthy meals at home, I wanted to try it.

What is HelloFresh ?  It’s a weekly recipe-kit delivery service where you get to choose from delicious recipes and receive a box full of fresh ingredients at your door for you to cook at home. Here is what my box looked like:

*Surprise..A lovely apron was included!

You can choose from 3 Meal Plans: Classic, Veggie or Family Plan, which is what I received,  filled with family friendly ingredients. It came with the following 3 handpicked recipes: 

…and a cocktail recipe card was included also! 

Each meal recipe card is yours to keep. It gives a description on the front and list of ingredients, recipe details and nutrition per person info on the back. I liked the size of the cards which makes reading the recipe easy. 

Now let’s talk about the dishes. First meal made was the Shrimp Lo Mein. Out of all 3 recipes, this was the families favorite. It had all the flavors of Chinese takeout without the high fat and sodium. Plenty of shrimp were provided and fresh produce. They say variety is the spice of life but I say sauce is the spice of life!  I really enjoyed the soy and hoisin sauce in this dish giving it a balanced sweet and salty flavor.

Next meal was the Baked Parmesan Chicken Strips. This one was a good one to get all family members involved. I had my daughter washing produce and my husband chopping while I breaded the chicken strips with toasted panko and parmesan cheese. My least favorite thing about this meal is that string beans were being repeated. Since they were already featured in the Shrimp Lo Mein meal, it would have been great to pair with a different green vegetable. This meal was adult and kid approved because we all loved the rosemary potatoes and dipping the chicken strips in the homemade honey mustard dressing was fun. Here is a fun video we made of our Hello Fresh Meal #2 : https://www.instagram.com/p/BMRutuVAH_F/

Lastly, we had the Honey and Orange Chicken Jambalaya.  This Creole dish is served with tomato rice and was given a burst of citrus flavor by adding orange zest. My daughter thought it was too spicy, so this was her least favorite. All the meals were nut free and took about a total of 45 mins to make. 

HelloFresh encourages us homecooks to share our masterpieces on social media. Take a look at #HelloFreshPics and follow HelloFresh on Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook to get inspired!  

Savvy Tip:  Get $40 off your first box here