Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries, daisy pineapples, and tomatoes getting in touch with their fruit roots in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Cuisine Type: European-style
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Delivery/Takeout Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
With more than 1,000 different types of cheese made within its borders, France is known as the cheese capital of the world. So naturally, it's the country from which The Cheese Course imports most of its inventory?75 types to be exact. These include brie de meaux, fromager d'affinois truffles, and roquefort, one of France's oldest cheeses and one that is still ripened in the same cool, damp caves of Combalou.
Of course, France isn't the only region represented at The Cheese Course. The European-style cheese shop introduces patrons to more than 150 artisanal cheeses imported from dairy farms all over the world. Most of the cheese makers use the same cheese-making methods that have been passed down through their families for generations via email. The house cheesemonger guides patrons through the cheese-selection process and teaches them how best to serve each one.
The shop also shows off its wares in various bistro sandwiches, including gourmet grilled cheese and the popular prosciutto di parma. This 14-month-aged, imported Italian meat gets its nutty flavor from the parmigiano-reggiano whey in the pig's diet.
During World War I, Greek immigrant Louis Pappas served in the Army as a personal chef to General John Pershing. To give the hungry general some extra nutrition, Louis began adding scoops of potato salad to his traditional greek salads. When Louis returned to the United States, he opened up his own restaurant, Louis Pappas Riverside Café, where he would re-create this signature dish using fresh produce from his own ranch in Tarpon Springs.
Today, Louis Pappas's grandson continues his grandfather's old Florida family tradition at Pappas Ranch. There, he and his kitchen serve up a new menu of fresh seafood, poultry, sandwiches, street tacos, hand-cut steaks, and barbecue dishes whose "family flair" has been lauded by Metromix Tampa Bay. They continue to scoop savory housemade potato salad into their internationally renowned Louis Pappas Famous greek salad, tossing it in massive bowls that serve as many as four diners. Bartenders dole out glasses of locally brewed craft beers and wine or mix cocktails and martinis at the full center bar with flat-screen TVs.
The restaurant's decor channels that of the original Pappas family ranch. In the dining room, spacious booths are surrounded by rustic wooden walls, and outside is a covered outdoor patio.
With more than 30 sweet and savory olive oils and vinegars to choose from, Kalamazoo Olive Company may overwhelm the shrewdest gourmand. That?s why the shop?s expert staff members happily lead customers on tasting tours, pouring small samples from the gleaming fustis that line wooden shelves. Customers can taste oils infused with exotic ingredients such as chipotle peppers or persian limes and lap up sweet, syrupy dessert vinegars. Oil experts are also happy to recommend complementary food pairings from their shop?s selection of Italian pastas, antipasti, and stuffed olives. Once customers have honed in on their ideal oil or vinegar, staff will bottle and seal them onsite to ensure they stay fresh and free of genies.
In the outdoor mall, tables and stages stand in a ring under the open sky or beneath white tents. People drift around the circle, clutching cocktails in plastic cups and eye-catching Vietnamese sandwiches on their paper plates as they spy more must-grab food-and-drink samples from the area's best hotels. Though it started 26 years ago, Bacchus Bash hasn't drifted from its original aim to let the populace revel in the offerings of local hospitality establishments while funding high-school and university students studying in the industry. Since its inception, the festival has grown from 20 vendor booths with one entertainment stage to encompass 100 booths helmed by upscale local restaurants and bars alongside six entertainment stages.
Among the must-experience flavors of the fest is the tongue-wilting bananas foster by Chef Jean Louis of the Royal Plaza Hotel, which has won Best Dessert at the fest for the past 10 years. Other restaurants' teams showcase flavors such as American and Vietnamese barbecue, which are up for fest awards such as Best Original Drink and Most Interactive Booth. Live music from talents that include local barefoot folk singer Alan Byrd and country-western rock quintet Think Big streams from the entertainment stages, as well as the dueling ivories of two pianists from Howl at the Moon. The organizing party, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Foundation, further immerses guests in its services with a travel, tourism, and dining silent auction, offering up more than 200 prizes to further raise funds for its students.
Equipped with in-depth product knowledge and bottles from all over the world, the consultants of PRP Wine International waltz into homes ready to answer nearly any question a novice oenophile may have. As they pour samples for small groups, they explain everything from the intricacies of flavor profiles and the correct pronunciation of “pinot noir” to the most dramatic way to throw a glass of red at a mortal enemy. After tastings, guests can select any of the wine varietals sampled, all of which are chosen by PRP consultants after thorough scrutiny.