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(Everybody!)

We finally had our big Florida Foodies gathering this weekend in Orlando and as expected it was awesome! It was part of Foodbuzz‘s Dine On Us Program that is available to all of their featured publishers.

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(Jenn and Ryan)

We were fortunate enough to have Ryan fly all the way from Foodbuzz headquarters in San Francisco to join us. She was just as delightful in person as I would have thought from all the communication we have had in the past several months.

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(Christey, Peter, Jenn and Roberto – photo courtesy of Judy – No Fear Entertaining)

It was wonderful to get a chance to put faces to the people behind the blogs and getting to know everyone. We had so much fun! Everybody was so nice and I had a great time chatting throughout the night.

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(Ingar, Jenn, Judy, Ryan and Erin)

It felt like getting together with old friends, which in reality it was! It is amazing how in the world of blogging you get to know so many people without ever really meeting face to face. I was glad to be able to meet a few of you in person. This should certainly be a yearly event. It was a joy to be able to spend the evening with such great people who love food as much as I do and to be able to talk about it all night! If you want to read more about our night, please visit these other blogs, who I am sure will do posts of their own soon (if not already!):

Lys from Cooking in Stilettos
Christey and Peter from Foto Cuisine
Rachel from My Little Marshmallow
Judy from No Fear Entertaining
Chris from Pickles and Cake
Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Ingar from Taste Memory
Erin and Chris from The Olive Notes
Bryan from The Tattooed Gourmet

I had never been to The Blue Zoo before, and I honestly did not know what to expect, but it surpassed all expectations! The restaurant is located in the Swan & Dolphin Hotel and it is gorgeous. The interior colors were all in blues and metallics and it made for a very striking and unique ambiance.

I was really bummed because when we arrived, I was in a bit of an allergy induced Benadryl fog having had a major allergic reaction to something earlier in the day. I never had benadryl before and I don’t think I will ever be taking it again! Mixed with a Zooberry cocktail (which I do totally recommend) and much debauchery and colorfulness can ensue! LOL! :)

The service at the Blue Zoo was some of the best I have ever had – the staff were very attentive and knowledgeable. Before each course was served, they explained it – the food is what I would call modern classics – deconstructed this and that, so there was a lot of explanation needed. It was definitely one of the most fun meals I have ever enjoyed. They even brought out the chef at the end of the night, which was great! He certainly got a lot of accolades from this group of Foodies!

We started off with Amuse of a Fresh Littleneck Clam with Bacon Ragout, served in a small glass filled with sea salt. The presentation was lovely.

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First Course and my personal favorite - Shrimp Cocktail Steamrollers – it was served layered in a big tube. You sucked on the tube to get it out. It was a delicious taste explosion and really fun to eat.

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Second CourseBeet salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese fondue. Yum. Again the presentation was beautiful.

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Third CourseSpice Route Char – it was the first time I had ever had char and it was delicious. It was nice and crispy on the outside and it was served with beautiful beluga lentils. This was another of my favorite courses and it was plated so nicely.

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Fourth CourseSous Vide Amish Chicken. This was my least favorite course. The chicken was a little dry and although it was good, seen in the light of the past courses, it didn’t quite measure up! However, the polenta and picholine olive sauce it was served with was awesome!

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Dessert - Warm Chocolate Cake, Maracaibo Cream Pudding and Peanut Ice Cream. This dish was hard to describe. It was cakey, pudding and liquidy all at the same time. A nice sweet ending to a fabulous dinner.

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I would highly recommend the Blue Zoo to anyone going to the Orlando area. It is well worth it. The food is excellent and everything about our experience there was top notch. My thanks again to Ryan and everyone at Foodbuzz for making it all possible, Judy for helping me with the legwork for getting this event happening and to Ingar for bringing us all wonderful goodie bags!

Thanks everyone for coming and making it such a memorable night!