Orlando Dining Round-Up December 26, 2015: California Grill, McFadden’s, Whole Foods

In this week’s dining news round-up, Disney offers a new brunch, McFadden’s closes, a slew of new openings, plus much more. Ready?

California Grill, at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Walt Disney World’s California Grill, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is now offering “Brunch at the Top” on Sundays.

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Out and About: Sugar Factory Orlando Previews Its Menu

I recently got a chance to attend a media preview of the Sugar Factory Orlando menu, and the items we got to try were good.

Sugar Factory Orlando

Even though most people think of drinks and sweets when they think of the Sugar Factory, they actually have quite a few savory items worth ordering.

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Orlando Dining Round-Up December 13, 2015: Dragonfly Robota, Cask & Larder, Mango’s Orlando

In this week’s dining news round-up, Dragonfly Robata hosts a sushi class, Cask & Larder’s brunch extension, new openings, plus much more. Ready?

Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi - Pink Soldier sushi

Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi will be hosting their second Behind the Knife: Sushi Class on Saturday, December 19. Cost is $60 per person and during the course, Chef de Cuisine David Song will provide his students with the tips, tricks and techniques it takes to make perfect sushi rice, and how to recognize sushi-grade fish based on color, texture and smell.

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CSI: Experience Orlando to Host Live Watch Party for CSI Series Finale September 27

If you’re a CSI fan who is equal parts excited and sad for the upcoming finale movie, you can join up with other fans on September 27 to watch it at CSI: The Experience on I-Drive.

CSI: The Experience in Orlando

EMS Entertainment invites die-hard fans to a CSI series finale party that will start at 4pm with a “best-of” episode rewatch, plus games, light refreshments, and contests. Cost is $15 per person, for all ages.

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Mango’s Tropical Cafe Posts Construction Video Update on Orlando Location

Mango’s Tropical Cafe on I-Drive is getting closer to their fall opening, and they’ve released a time-lapse video of the day-to-day construction of the new restaurant/nightlife venue.

Mango's Tropical Cafe

I think it’s cool watching all the design details from start to finish, and it gives you an idea of how big the inside will be when it’s all finished.

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Lafayette’s Orlando Launches Happy Hour and Night Owl Happy Hour Menus

Lafayette’s Orlando may have just opened a few weeks ago, but they aren’t waiting to launch the daily specials.

Lafayette's Orlando

Their Happy Hour runs daily from 4-6pm and features $4 Bud Light & Yuengling Drafts, $5 House Wine and Wells, and $6 Calls for the beverage specials.

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Taverna Opa Orlando Host First of Three Air, Land & Sea Summer Wine Dinners Jun 25

To enlighten the summer taste buds on Greek cuisine, Taverna Opa Orlando will host the first of its Air, Land & Sea Summer Wine Dinners on Thursday, June 25.

Taverna Opa Orlando Air, Land & Sea Summer Wine Dinners

The June dinner will feature a five-course tasting and wine pairing menu inspired by Air, and highlighting quail as the main dish of the evening. The restaurant’s host Katerina Coumbaros, and wine partners Benziger Family Winery and Luc Belaire, will walk guests through each course and wine pairing.

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Out and About: Hard Hat Tour of Mango’s Orlando

Last week I was invited to a hard hat tour to check out the progress of Mango’s Orlando on International Drive, and discovered things were coming along nicely.

Mango's Orlando artist rendering of building front

Mango’s Orlando is the first outpost of the popular Mango’s on South Beach in Miami. Mango’s COO Joshua Wallack intends to bring that Caribbean/Latin party feel to Orlando.

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Out and About: McFadden’s Grand Opening at Vue 360 on I-Drive

One of the newest businesses to open on I-Drive is McFadden’s Irish Restaurant and Saloon, and last weekend we got the chance to check it out during a VIP & Media Party.

McFadden's Irish Restaurant and Saloon Orlando - Front

McFadden’s is located in Vue 360, right next to the Orlando Eye and I-Drive 360. They even share the same parking garage.

It’s a large venue. There are three indoor areas, with two huge bars. There’s also outdoor seating on a patio in front, and a porch-like area in the back. Both patios and a row of windows along one wall provide amazing views of The Orlando Eye.

McFadden's Irish Restaurant and Saloon Orlando - Orlando Eye view

During the day, it functions as a restaurant with drinks. At night, it adds a party vibe with a DJ or sometimes live entertainment by the likes of Off Kilter.

The food is gastro-pub quality, with an Irish twist, and we got to check out a few samples.

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First Look Artist Rendering of Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando

Last summer, we told you that Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando would be opening on International Drive. This week, we have a first glimpse at the interior, courtesy of an artist rendering provided by Mango’s COO Joshua Wallack.

Mango's Tropical Cafe Orlando

The rendering is of the main bar areas and show floor where Mango’s dancers will perform for guests in the evening. If it’s anything like the original Mango’s Tropical Cafe in South Beach Miami, they’ll even be dancing on top of the bars.

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Out and About: Mellow Mushroom Pizza on International Drive in Orlando

After a day at a local water park, my family and I decided to eat supper at Mellow Mushroom‘s newest Orlando location on I-Drive.

Mellow Mushroom - Funky Q pizza and House Special pizza

The décor is modern and comfortable. We were at a booth that faced outside as the sun was setting. Our one complaint is that they did not have blinds or coverings on the door to block the sun for the 2 that were facing that way. They do have a very cool guitar chandelier, but I failed to get pictures of it or any of the décor. I was focused on the pizza.

I haven’t eaten at this chain before, however my husband has eaten at them other places around the country. We started with a spinach artichoke dip that was very good and gone before I could get a picture. Yep, we were hungry.

We ordered 4 different pizzas for us to try: a small plain cheese for our son; a small Funky Q. Chicken; a medium that was half Thai Dye and half Philosopher’s Pie; and a small House Special.

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Skyfall Drop Tower Announced for Skyplex Complex on I-Drive in Orlando

Skyfall Drop Tower Announced for Skyplex Complex on I-Drive in Orlando

It was announced this week that another tall attraction will be coming to the skyline of International Drive in Orlando, in the form of the world’s largest drop ride.

The new Skyfall ride will stand at more than 460 feet, and be a part of the new Skyplex complex opening at the northeast corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Rd. It will join the already announced 570-foot-tall Skyscraper coaster.

In fact, it will actually be a part of the Skyscraper tower itself.

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Skyscraper Roller Coaster Track Design Revealed in Video

Skyscraper at Skyplex in Orlando

The intersection of I-Drive and Sand Lake Rd is in the process of a transformation and one of the most anticipated parts of that change is the new Skyscraper roller coaster that is scheduled to open in 2017.

The unique design of this coaster winds the tracks around a tall pole more than 500 feet tall, making this the world’s tallest coaster.

This week a 4 minute computer animation was released by Orlando-based US Thrill Rides showing an on-board perspective of what it will be like to be on the ride.

The cars, holding eight passengers in two rows of four, climb steadily up a track that surrounds the tower. The route down is a winding corkscrew path full of sudden drops, loops, dives, spirals, and inversions. Near the ground, the track winds around the edge of the Skyplex shopping and dining structure, as well.

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Shake Shack Announces Plans to Open I-Drive Location in Orlando

Shake Shack mealShake Shack is about to get its second Central Florida location as the eatery announces plans for an I-Drive location.

The New York-based company made the announcement this week that they have signed a lease for space at the upcoming I-Drive 360 complex, next to the recently opened Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, and Yard House.

This location, along International Drive’s tourist corridor and with close proximity to the Orange County Convention Center, should bode well for its success.

It was less than a month ago that Shake Shack opened their first Central Florida location in Winter Park, next to Trader Joe’s. We had a chance to try it’s delicious burgers, hot dogs, and frozen custard, and I don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t enjoy (though if you like heat, go for the SmokeShack burger).

No word as to when the I-Drive 360 location will be open, but as soon as we get a date, we will definitely let you know.

Have you had a chance to try Shake Shack yet? What do you think of their offerings?

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