Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is a great opportunity to try new restaurants or old favorites with a very affordable prix fixe menu, all while raising money for Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida. The event was held in September, and we had a chance to try two restaurants this year. We sampled one new location, K Wine Bar in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood, and one old favorite, Funky Monkey Wine Company at Pointe Orlando in the International Drive area.
K Wine Bar
The wine bar moniker might conjure up images of a trendy night spot, but K Wine Bar fits right in to College Park’s friendly, almost small town-ish feel. The restaurant offers a cozy indoor dining room and a spacious covered porch that is dog-friendly. We opted for the porch, so ‘Lil Buddy and Dixie could join us for dinner, and the wait staff was nothing but friendly and gracious to our whole party.
Unlike some Magical Dining participants, K didn’t require us to specially request the prix fixe menu. It was printed right on the regular menu. Each of the three courses had two choices, so my husband and I were able to sample everything from the promotion.
For our first course, I had the roast corn bisque with lobster beignet and tarragon oil, and my husband had the wedge salad. The bisque was average, but it was elevated by the addition of the lobster beignet, which made a light, savory, delightful appetizer. I noticed the regular appetizer menu featured a full order of lobster beignets, which I will definitely order next time I am there. My husband had the wedge salad, which is a pretty standard dish, but well-executed with plenty of rich, pungent blue cheese. My husband is generally not a fan of the wedge salad, but he admitted to enjoying this one a lot.
For our main course, I had the snapper, and my husband had the filet. We enjoyed both dishes. Snapper is always a favorite of mine thanks to its meaty texture and mild flavor, and the succotash on the side was a refreshing pairing and certainly the best tasting succotash I’ve ever had.
We enjoyed one of each dessert: a warm brownie and a bread pudding. We liked them both, but the brownie was the surprise hit of the night. For a somewhat ordinary-sounding dessert, it was divine. The warm berry compote and cool vanilla ice cream were both perfect additions. Sadly, we were too excited to about our desserts to remember to capture pictures of either of them!
As you might imagine from the name, K has a well-curated list of wines, dessert wines and beers. We sampled a couple of craft beers with our dinner and enjoyed a glass of port with our dessert.
Funky Monkey Wine Company
Funky Monkey Wine Company is one of the restaurants we discovered through last year’s Magical Dining, and we wanted to return to see if we enjoyed it as much this year. The restaurant has two locations, one in the Vi-Mi neighborhood of Orlando and the other at tourist destination Pointe Orlando. We chose the Pointe Orlando location because it offers lunch hours. It also has a dog-friendly patio, although we chose to sit indoors on this particular visit.
We started with the Funky Monkey sushi roll and the fried goat cheese from the prix fixe menu, and we added an order of the bison sliders, as well. The sushi was fresh and tasty, and the fried goat cheese was just as rich and decadent as it sounds. The bison sliders were a great concept that didn’t quite come together for us. We enjoyed the bison meat, with its unique, slightly gamey flavor, but the buns they were in were too large and too dry. We felt they overpowered the patties. It should also be noted that the sliders and accompanying fries are a large portion. They would make a light lunch on their own.
For our entrees, I chose the drunken jumbo sea scallops, and my husband had the pork tenderloin. I love scallops and these were quite good, although perhaps a bit heavy on the garlic. The bacon flavor in the micro-brew sauce is also quite pronounced, but bacon is never a bad thing, right? The lobster mashed potatoes served on the side were a real treat with real chunks of lobster meat mixed in. My husband seemed similarly pleased with his pork.
Reversing our recent trend of forgetting to take pictures at dessert, our desserts were the only part of the meal we actually did capture on film this time.
We sampled the bread pudding and the bananas foster. Bread pudding is always one of our favorite desserts, but the bananas foster was a surprise hit with both of us. It was so good we ended up stuffing ourselves on it and neglecting our other dessert.
Once again, Orlando’s Magical Dining Month was a great opportunity to experience local dining at a reasonable price for a good cause. Can’t wait until next September!