Tag Archives: Florida

Fulton’s Crab House (Vacation Dining)

12 Aug

During my recent business trip to the Orlando area, I had the opportunity to dine at Fulton’s Crab House for a special event.  I was really excited about this opportunity because I had never been despite walking by many times.  Fulton’s is located in Downtown Disney, right in the middle of the district.

It is a beautiful restaurant, a riverboat that was converted into a crab house.  The basic history behind it is that it was part of Disney’s property, once called Empress Lilly after Walt’s wife (Lillian), before being purchased by Levy restaurant’s.  Levy’s – you may recognize this name as it is the restaurants of Conseco Fieldhouse – has several restaurants in the area, specifically the sister restaurant next door, Portobello.  It really is a beautifully decorated restaurant with interesting space for events and dinners.  Wedding rehearsals, even small weddings, have taken place here.  And the food is quite delightful.  During our event, this is what we noshed on:

Cocktail Hour Starters

There was this great display of crab legs, grilled scallops and shrimp.  Not just your baby cocktail shrimp, these were jumbo shrimp that were perfectly cooked and chilled.  I gobbled a few of these with the subtly spiced cocktail sauce and remoulade.  The crab legs were sweet and divine, scallops grilled to perfection.  Nothing better than eating perfectly cooked seafood while enjoying a glass of chilled wine.

Soup Starter – Crab and Lobster Bisque

The signature bisque was creamy and full of crab flavor.  It was slightly sweet, rich in cream and finished with sherry.  Smooth and rich, a bowl of the bisque is more than needed as it can be filling.  There was also fresh baked bread with a crab butter, giving a touch of sweetness to the butter bread.

Entree – Land & Sea

Duo’s are the perfect dish and this didn’t disappoint.  A beef filet mignon was cooked medium rare for ultimate taste.  It was lightly seasoned so the beef flavor really shined.  Despite being delicious, the Alaskan King Crab claws were the star of this show.  The claws were subtly sweet, extremely tender and easy to break into because of the great service already provided by the kitchen.  They didn’t need the butter, but it did make them a bit more decadent.

Dessert – Biramisu

A specialty by another Levy restaurant, Portobello, we enjoyed this version of the classic Tiramisu.  What made it different was the Orlando Brewing Porter that was used rather than espresso.  The porter still has a coffee like flavor, but it definitely gave a different taste to the classic.  The dessert was light and delicious.  And from conversations, the portion is normally quite large – pint glass large (though it may not seem like it – this was a large shot glass).  In addition, a berry sherbert with fruit and a chocolate shell was served with the dessert – fantastic.

It was a great event due to company, service and delicious food.  I haven’t dined there prior because when on vacation, I couldn’t rationalize the expense of the restaurant.  But the quality of both food and service delivered a great evening.

Fulton’s Crab House * Downtown Disney * Orlando, Florida * 407.934.2628

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Conference Dining: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

10 Aug

As mentioned, I recently spent some time away from Indy for a conference (followed by a vacation).  Conference dining has this banquet food stigma.  Sometimes, it just isn’t true.  Then other times, you get an entree that screams “this is why there is a stereotype!”  While in Orlando, I experienced both sides of this spectrum.

The Good

Many of the good was from receptions.  I fall helplessly for small bite sized food.  My preference is to eat small bites of many items – I like the variety of everything.  Here are a few goods:

From top left, counter clockwise: A cheese display at a reception; these fantastic little goat cheese bites – goat cheese was mixed with a variety of herbs and piped onto toasted bread slices, topped with asparagus; Tacos – a hand made tortilla stuffed with tilapia and topped with a crisp coleslaw; a dessert display at Epcot; scallop on whipped potatoes; and a shrimp salad (though the presentation left a curious look by many).

The Bad

By bad, I mean it just there.  I ate it, but it wasn’t anything to rave about.

Left to right: Two desserts from an evening reception – one was a chocolate covered mousse that was overly rich and not smooth like mousse should be; this was a fried polenta circle, topped with melted asadero cheese (Mexican cheese) and pulled pork.  The pork lacked flavor, the cheese was too mild to taste and the polenta was lacking.

The Ugly

One entree in particular – from the Orlando Convention Visitors Bureau – really stood out.  Stood out to the extreme that attendees literally stood and walked out of the luncheon.  It was unfortunate, especially since it was during a luncheon I had been looking forward to – the Iron Chef competition. Just a note, they were making some amazing dishes that we didn’t get any of – instead, we were served the ugly while the judges noshed on risotto and other brilliant food.

Some sort of sauce (well, two sauces) were used over a dry piece of meat and another chicken.  Nothing was good about this – even in appearance.  This was my second plate because the first had clearly sat for too long as the sauce was baked onto the plate – completely inedible.  The second plate – I didn’t walk out but I unhappily ate the protein and left the vegetables uneaten.  I definitely was not satisfied.

Despite the lunch meals, I pretty much snacked my way through the conference.  And as stated, I didn’t mind that at all.

Anyone have any great or horror stories regarding food at a conference?  Would love to hear your good, bad and ugly.