Tapas? Yes, Please!

My friend called me a couple of weeks ago and the conversation went like this:

Friend: “I’m going to a watch a band perform and your coming with me”

Me: “Ok”

Friend: “Also we are going to eat at a new, trendy place called Santiago’s Bodega”

This was also ok with me as I’m really a fan of experiencing new dining experiences.

Santiago’s Bodega is located in the Mills area Orlando – a very up-n-coming neighborhood, that is a little hipster, a little hippy and a lot of diverse. The menu is composed of soups, salads, cold tapas, and hot tapas.

A comfortable atmosphere with ample food choices

A comfortable atmosphere with ample food choices

 Our group of 3 started the night off with the red Sangria (as any self-respecting meal that consists of tapas should be started)

Delightfully refreshing

Delightfully refreshing

Then the fun started. Our server gave us an insightful look into the restaurant’s history and design scheme (I was impressed with his knowledge) before providing pointers on menu delights and portion sizes.

Without further ado: *Tapas come in varying portion sizes and it is common to order 3+ to sample amongst the group – be warned that while it may not seem like a ton of food, your belly will quickly be satisfied.

Spicy Shrimp Bisque: I opted for a cup, as opposed to a bowl. The bisque proved to be warm and comforting, served with a single shrimp floating on the top. There was a hint of spice but for those who do not like “heat” it would still be tasty.

Comfort in a small cup

Comfort in a small cup

Cold Tapas

The beach in a bowl

The beach in a bowl

Yellowfin tuna ceviche: This tasteful bowl contains avocados, mangos, onions, and yummy tuna. The tuna was perfect and the blend of flavors conjured images of life on a beach. The portion was split between 2 people, however would have been enough for 4 people to sample.

Hot tapas

Shrimp and Chorizo – two skewers that you should eat, that is all

Get this - Don't share

Get this – Don’t share

Croquettas – these typically come two to a plate, however if you ask the server is happy to add additional for each member of the table. Filled with potatoes, prosciutto, and provolone cheese these little pan-fried babies are divine and were a table favorite. Be sure to utilize the scallion cream .

Saganaki – I’ve had the flaming cheese dish at other restaurants and enjoy the presentation more so than the dish itself. Personally, I’m not a fan of saganki however I like saying the word….

Saganaki

*warning, this image may contain adult content

Dessert

The dessert menu is small in comparison to the rest of the menu, however ask the server about the specialty of the day. We dined on “cronuts” (the croissant-doughnut fusion that was sensationalized by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York). While I did not order an espresso or cappuccino, I wish I had as they would have paired perfectly.

Perfect completion to the meal

Perfect completion to the meal

All in all it was a marvelous evening. The service was wonderful and the food exuded thoughtfulness and a willingness to satisfy the cravings of a discerning pallet.

Go Forth and Eat

Go Forth and Eat

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End Chapter…a look back

This gallery contains 32 photos.

As an another chapter of my life’s adventure comes to an end, a new one begins. However, I took the time to browse through clicks from the past two years and enjoyed reliving some fun moments. (I also realized that I lost a ton of photos when my flash drive crashed and burned….RIP photos) Here […]

Cruising – Not for All

As part of my duties as an instructor, I chaperone a student cruise. The 2014 Student Cruise was on the Carnival Ecstasy, with stops in Key West and Cozumel.

I have been on two previous cruises and was not impressed. This go-round was particularly un-impressive.

1)  I’m not a fan of the buffet – I did have to eat from the buffet on the first day of the cruise. I managed to not die of hunger, however I also did not return. The buffet aside, dinner in the main dining room was decent.

2) Service – I was extremely disappointed in the customer service that I experienced on the ship. 80% of the staff were flat out rude, it was very sad.

3) Fitness facility: the workout studio had carpeted floors ….

4) Stop 1: Key West. I want to go back! Did not have enough time there. Walked into the Oldest House in Key West – which was really neat. Looking forward to going back and exploring a little more.

5) Stop 2: Cozumel. The water in Mexico is AMAZING. I have truly never seen anything like it. The excursion that I took was the Mayan Ruins of Tulum – Sun and Fun Tours did a wonderful job and Angel was the best tour guide that I have ever had. His passion and love for the culture could be felt. He was extremely well spoken and knowledgable about the Mayan people and culture. It was the best part of the trip for me.

All in all – I made the best of the trip, however I would not rate it as one of my top travel experiences. If I never go on a cruise again, I’ll be just fine.  My next stop will be 3 nights in Key West …