May 21, 2024

UNIVERSAL CHALLENGED ME: Review The Food At EVERY Hotel In ONE DAY | Universal Orlando



Published May 22, 2023, 4:20 a.m. by Naomi Charles


Mammoth Club's hotel food - universal Challenge: One Day, All Hotels

I'm up for the challenge. Let's do this!

What's the challenge?

To review the food at every hotel in one day at universal orlando.

Why?

The food at each hotel is unique and offers something different for guests. By trying everything in one day, we can get a sense of the variety and quality of food available at the resort.

How?

We'll start early in the morning and make our way around the resort, trying as many dishes as we can. We'll document our findings so that others can benefit from our experience.

What to expect?

A lot of food. And maybe a food coma or two. But it'll be worth it!

So let's get started...

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Universal Orlando challenged me to go to

every one of their hotels in one day and

review the food along the way challenge

accepted

hey Bam Fam I'm here at Universal

Orlando with a super fun video and

challenge here today I am so excited

because not only do I love a challenge

not only do I love exploring Resorts but

I love eating particularly in theme

parks and at Resorts and a lot of people

don't realize how great the food is here

at Universal Orlando in general but they

really don't realize how great it is at

the resorts there is a whole wide array

of Cuisine so we are going to eat a

bunch of the best of the food here talk

to the chefs I hope you're ready let's

go first up we are at Endless Summer

Resort Dockside this is one of

Universal's value Resorts you're going

to see at sister Resort very soon as

well these are also the only Resorts

that you can't really walk to and from

the park super easily technically you

can but you have to go over I-4 which I

wouldn't recommend but they do have that

great convenient bus transportation to

the Park City Walk volcano Bay and these

rooms come at an awesome price if you

are looking to stay on property and get

the perks of staying at a Universal

resort and not spend the time this is

where you need to go we will definitely

do a staycation at all these places but

for now it's time to eat all right I'm

obsessed walking in here I just realized

I've never been to Dockside before I've

been to Surfside the sister resort we're

going to go to in a little bit but the

good news is I have a good tour guide so

hello chef Robert could you introduce

yourself for us yeah I'm Jeff Robert I'm

the executive chef here for Dockside Inn

and Suites awesome so can you take us

around a little bit and talk to us about

the menu the vibe and the food yeah come

on with us so as we walk into the area

this is Pier eight

um Pier 8 is our main dining area so we

serve three meal periods a day breakfast

lunch and dinner and as you can see from

all the woodwork it's almost like being

under the pier so it's like we're coming

to the beach we're walking under the

pier and into the the restaurant that we

have awesome so what style of food would

you say here what are some favorites and

and must-haves and what do you offer at

this so we kind of have a classic

American east coast feel to the menu

um so we have a lot of different things

one of our main things that we have is

our Fried Chicken and Waffles so we're

really known for our Fried Chicken that

we make here in-house yum also we have

some really good pizzas of course

everybody wants a great pizza some of

our sandwiches and things that we have

we do a Reuben sandwich for lunch also

we do a snapper Taco as well super tasty

and then even for dinner we do have a

couple different items that we make for

dinner we do a nice Snapper entree as

well and then we do a pasta saute

station so you can kind of pick what

you'd like and we actually make the

pasta for you to order I'm pretty

impressed with some of these offerings

because this is a value Resort this is a

quick service restaurant but yet you're

talking to you about Snapper tacos and

House made Fried Chicken and Waffles

absolutely yeah we definitely focus on

the quality of the food we want to make

sure that the guests have an experience

yes we have guests that come that are

that are budget conscious but we want to

make sure that they really enjoy the

food that we have here and the offerings

that we have so we have a wide variety

of different items for them uh even we

have a lot of grab-and-go sandwiches we

make hummus in-house we do a hummus

plate we do a couple fresh juices that

we actually make and bottle in-house so

we make what's called our super green

juice which has kale and spinach and

apple and then we do a strawberry asagi

juice we even make our own cold brew

in-house as well I'm like the world's

number one cauldron fan so that is very

exciting actually we have a mango

cheesecake and it uses real mango in it

super tasty strawberry cheesecake of

course classic

um key lime and chocolate cheesecake and

then you can't go wrong with a peanut

butter brownie or an Oreo brownie as

well and you said all this is with a

local bakery correct all of these come

from a local bakery and then everything

else that's over here we bake in house

yum so we bake fresh all day long

um our cookies our pastries

um from morning noon and night

oh those cinnamon rolls look awesome

what should we eat

um actually we're gonna do the Snapper

tacos oh yum so it's gonna be super

tasty I was kind of hoping you'd say

that large communal tables so that we

can have large families or large groups

kind of uh intermingle with each other

and then we have like all these little

pockets and corners and nooks and so you

have a little bit of privacy but um also

you can have a large group or a large

family yeah it's so light and bright and

welcoming in here I love the decor all

right uh so what we have for you is our

Snapper tacos so this is actually a red

snapper that we pan sear

um the tortillas that we use are

actually a mix of corn and flour so you

kind of get that toasted corn taste to

it but you get kind of that soft uh

texture of a flour tortilla we have some

pickled cabbage underneath red onion and

then we do a Sriracha uh lime Crema over

the top of it yeah and I love a fresh

lime just squeeze on a Taco

on top of it

it's definitely the way to enjoy it I

feel like I'm on a cooking show yeah all

right here we go I'm so excited

those are awesome you can taste how

fresh the fish is yeah the fish has a

nice sweetness to it and that's what we

really like about it and that's why we

use Snapper versus using like Mahi or a

different type of fish because we really

like that freshness and that sweetness

that kind of comes out of it it plays

well with like the pickled cabbage and

then you get that toasty of the tortilla

yeah The Toasted tortilla is a nice

touch of like a little extra crisp and

then I like the crunchy of the slaw yeah

kind of changing the texture up a little

bit I know you mentioned the chicken and

waffles what is something on the menu

here that you think doesn't get enough

attention so one of the things that I

really really like in the morning is we

actually do a breakfast flatbread so

it's a nom style flatbread so it's a

yogurt-based flatbread and then um we

use sausage gravy as the base on it and

then we do um cheese scrambled eggs and

bacon on it

um super super nice and I think it's one

of the ones that really doesn't get a

lot of love in the morning but I think

it would be one that would be really

popular like everybody who tries it

loves it I'm not just saying this

because you're standing here some of the

best fish tacos I've ever had and I love

tacos these are great well I will say

this has far surpassed anything that I

think people have in their mind of like

Value Resort food or budget conscious

food because this is awesome a cocktail

has appeared yes so what we brought you

this is actually called the flyer okay

uh now one of the interesting facts

about the hotel is is this is where wet

and wild used to be I did know that yeah

so what we did is when we were actually

writing the menu for the bars we named

drinks after rides that used to be at

Wet and Wild that's funny so the flyer

was a ride that was Zero Wet and Wild

and so we've turned that into a drink so

the drink that we have for you uh it has

uh Maker's Mark in it it has a little

bit of spicy mango and then a little bit

of orange juice and some sour mix I'm

very delighted by everything you just

said because we were talking in the

kitchen uh that I prefer not super sweet

things and a lot of times tropical

drinks are super sweet and they're

usually rum but I am a bourbon drinker

so I'm very excited yeah

and this cute cup you said this is uh

yes you need to bring you get to take

that cup home with you awesome

that is so good I love it because again

as a bourbon Drinker as someone whose

go-to cocktail is an old-fashioned

um I usually don't enjoy tropical

cocktails because they're too sweet but

I want to enjoy tropical cocktails

because I want it in a Vibe like this

feel like I'm on a on the summer

vacation absolutely this fits that Vibe

but not too too sugary sweet correct and

it's kind of it does have a little heat

from the mango which is fun it's got a

little bit of spice in it which plays

really well with the bourbon

um so it's got a nice balance yeah so

when you're making your drinks and

things that you make a lot of the juices

in-house do you make things for your

drinks and house as well yes we make a

lot of our syrups we make like our own

simple syrup in-house we do have one

drink that we feature out of the bar

that we use a Skittle syrup oh

um we make our own School syrup in-house

College yeah and then we also make for

our uh Endless Summer lemonade we make a

lemon thyme syrup so we make all that

in-house with fresh thyme fresh lemons

um so we add that to each one of those

drinks as well this could be dangerous

too because it's very delicious it's

going down very easily but

I'm sure it would get you if you're at

the pool for too long that's fantastic

but and you also said that these cups

similar to the other Resorts if you

bring them back you get a discount yes

absolutely we love that we love discount

you're you're losing money if you don't

buy more than one drink that's what I

hear so yeah

a thing like a lot of people have this

concept of theme park food and Theme

Park Hotel food they think chicken

nuggets and hot dogs and pizza what are

I mean you guys have an incredible array

of different options and things like

that do you feel like there's been a

huge shift towards food in the last few

years last decade or so absolutely I

really think that the focus on food has

shifted and I think that you know even

with kids and you can bring them to the

theme parks and everything else it's not

just about chicken tenders and french

fries or a hamburger so we do kind of

change the menus and we've kind of

adapted and really provided some great

food and some great experiences for the

guests

um you know and we really try and be

almost anything to everybody here at the

hotel because we have so many different

varieties of people that come through

yeah we were just talking I was saying

how I love that there was a little bit

of spice in the tacos and you were

saying that yeah the great thing about

it is you know we have so many different

things on the menu but when you put

something that says Sriracha in it it

should taste like Sriracha yeah so it

should have a little spice and have a

little bit of heat it's okay season your

food make sure it tastes good and you

know if somebody wants a burger we have

Burgers you know if somebody wants our

barbecue bacon burger we use a bourbon

barbecue sauce we make and uh we put a

fried onion ring on top of it and uh

which is is very nice as well but you

know we also have a regular cheeseburger

if you would like the Snapper tacos with

the Sriracha Crema on it we have that so

we have a nice variety a nice spread of

different things that the guests can

enjoy awesome and before I let you go

back to your very busy job I'm sure

um what would you say if you said that

the breakfast pizza is a must-have we've

talked about the tacos chicken and

waffles is there something that you're

most proud is on the menu that you

really fought for and you said I really

think this will be great on the menu

here at Dockside

um yeah actually one of the things

that's on the menu and it goes in the

whole

um kind of a different uh flavor for our

guests is uh we do a honey garlic

chicken so we make our own crispy

chicken and we make our own honey garlic

sauce and we toss it together and then

we have a house made yum yum sauce that

goes over the top of it we serve it with

rice and steamed broccoli so it's

actually one of my favorite dishes on

the menu every time I go and I'm trying

different things on the menu it's always

one of the things that I always have to

make sure that I try yes

quality troll that's very important

absolutely okay you your answer maybe

how long does it take you to think of an

item before it gets on the menu like

what's the the process I guess

so in this environment we try and do two

menu changes a year okay so we really

look at about six months

um from the time that we kind of come up

with the idea to sourcing the

ingredients

um to bringing them in doing a tasting

doing pictures uh and then getting them

out onto the menu it takes about six

months we try and do it twice a year so

we kind of do a spring summer menu and

then a fall winter menu well this has

been so fun and truly such delicious

tacos

um so thank you so much for chef Robert

for chatting with us thank you yeah I

appreciate it and thanks for coming and

visiting us here yeah absolutely and

obviously you know I'm not leaving

without trying the house made cold brew

it's so delicious

it's a really smooth cold rail I'm

obviously drinking it black don't need

to add anything to it it's not super

acidic it's going down quite well you

know I haven't decided our next

Universal staycation yet but based on

this coffee and those tacos it might be

Dockside walking into hotel number two

this is Surfside so this is the sister

Resort of Dockside still part of Endless

Summer so this is still one of your

value Resorts but you can see the vibe

is a little different here it's a little

more like surfing in the ocean in the

morning you can see it kind of emulates

a wave here you've got the big

surfboards but it's still really bright

and colorful I've definitely stayed here

before and had a great time with both

friends and for work but let's see what

the food's like welcome to Beach Break

Cafe this is the Quick Service location

here at Surfside first thing I got to

point out if you look up it feels like

we're under the ocean because you can

see the Surfers right there fun little

shark fact that I'm gonna insist on

entering into this video is that this is

often why Surfers get attacked by sharks

because if you look at them from the

bottom it does look similar to a seal

which is a shark's favorite food so you

can't really blame the Sharks anyway

that's not relevant to this video at all

but we have a couple of stations here

the same way we did over at Dockside

first up we've got a salad and sandwich

station you have kind of your entree

section where you've got some roasted

Citrus chicken as well as blackened

Snapper again elevated menu you don't

expect at a Value Resort necessarily

you've got some different Pizza options

here as well as kind of your grill

station where they've got Burgers

including a Beyond Bon Me Burger a spicy

fried chicken sandwich a couple of

quesadillas a snapper sandwich and then

you have those delicious desserts that

we saw in the last resort as well what I

love and what I chatted with the chef

the last spot off camera is that all of

the grab and go options look so good so

they even house make the potato chips

and he said that because this is a value

Resort there isn't a pool bar at these

places but they wanted to make sure that

there are plenty of options for people

to bring either out to the pool or to

their room and so they've got a lot of

great grabbing go options and they want

to make sure that even though there's

our grab-and-go even though this is a

value Resort even though people are

eating at poolside that they are eating

delicious fresh food I am sampling the

pipeline Burger which is one of their

signature dishes it's got their

signature sauce on it burger patty

provolone cheese House made tomato bacon

jam and then of course lettuce tomato

and red onion comes with fries with a

signature House made seasoning blend

this burger looks awesome

hello

I've said it before and I will say it

again eating this burger Universal does

Quick Service Burgers so well I've often

said they're better than Disney Quick

Service burgers and this is no exception

the Patty is fantastic you can tell it

was a house made Patty as I eat this

delicious Burger I love that it's a

burger so if you want a classic burger

when you're at the parks you can have

them but it's a really good burger and

it has just a little bit enough of a

twist with that bacon Jam to be a little

something special and unique also trying

the fries

yeah

super crispy on the outside I love the

seasoning blend kind of reminds me a

little bit of like an Old Bay seasoning

blend but they're not too salty they're

perfectly cooked

also sampling another cocktail this is

called the blast and it is truly so

beautiful look at those fresh

blueberries on top but it is Aviation

Gin House made lavender syrup lavender

blueberry syrup excuse me tonic water

fresh lemon juice it looks delicious

[Music]

these resorts are crushing with the

tropical but not sweet cocktail which is

awesome because it's still really fun

it's still really refreshing it's

obviously beautiful this would taste

great poolside but it's not super syrupy

sugary sweet like a lot of tropical

drinks

oh stirring it I can really taste the

lavender it's not too overpowering it's

really fresh and bright because of the

lemon a little bit of sweetness from the

blueberry and it does have that gin

flavor so if you're not a gin Drinker

maybe don't do this one but if you're

looking for a refreshing poolside

beverage this is great

I'm truly so blown away by both the

quality and the selection at the value

Resorts

um I was just talking to Chef Chris who

made the burger he said they made the

fried seasoning in-house that is his fry

seasoning mix that they put on there he

also said that at breakfast here they

serve eggs benedict and I've never heard

of a Valley Resort serving eggs

Benedicts before they've do a classic

version and like a steak and eggs kind

of Tex-Mex Twist on eggs Benny so I'm

pretty impressed so far but we've

checked off the two Valley Resorts and

we're on to the next I hear there's

milkshakes stop number three we are at

Cabana Bay this is a prime Value Resort

so a little bit more expensive than the

Dockside and the Surfside Endless Summer

but also one of my favorite Resorts in

Orlando and in my opinion the best value

Resort in Orlando we've done a whole

staycation here check that out if you

want to know more but they have a

bowling alley a lazy river it's this

awesome 50s throwback theme and what

would go better with that than some

milkshakes welcome to shakes this is The

Malt Shop attached to the Cabana Bay

Lobby and dining area opened up just a

few months ago and it is 50s Malt Shop

inspired you can get Sundaes and splits

smoothies milkshakes malts floats boozy

milkshakes and all kinds of desserts it

is so delicious if you're looking for

something sweet so I'm excited to try

something trying it two different treats

here at shakes first up this is their

brownie sundae it's got chocolate and

vanilla ice cream brownies whipped cream

chocolate sauce and of course a cherry

on top and then I also have one of their

boozy shakes this is the creamsicle it's

got Orange Blossom ice cream orange

vodka whipped cream and a candied orange

on top first up brownie sundae this may

be my life as of eating in theme parks

but I really like the serving size of

this it feels doable by one shareable by

two if you want to try a few different

things but it's not like massive I a lot

of desserts

in theme parks and I guess maybe if you

don't live in the theme parks you think

this massive but I don't

know it's not brownie is so good it is

moist and delicious and chocolatey and

then you've got the classic vanilla and

chocolate ice cream whipped cream

I've said it before and I'll say it

again I prefer simple and delicious

desserts and not things that are over

the top and that's exactly what this is

very simple very classic how can you

beat this we're gonna try and beat it

though with a boozy adult milkshake

first thing this is a weird thing but

I'm obsessed with the straws that they

have here they are still plastic free

but they feel like plastic and they

don't feel like they're going to

disintegrate in your drink which is very

important

oh

that really tastes like a creamsicle I

can't taste the Vodka which is probably

dangerous it mostly tastes that orange

flavor that vanilla flavor

I feel like a child right now especially

because we're listening to like 50s

music The Beach Boys were just playing

and I used to listen to The Beach Boys

and the Beatles every single day in the

car with my dad on the way to school so

I'm feeling like I'm seven right now I'm

someone who in my older age leans Less

on chocolate and more on fruit-based

desserts and this is very very good the

last time we were here I got the peanut

butter and jelly milkshake as well that

was also delicious so I fully recommend

if you're staying at Cabana Bay doing a

resort day because there's so much to do

here I love the Lazy River I love the

bowling alley and you got to add a

milkshake into the mix too

also trying the banana pudding ice cream

I've never had banana pudding ice cream

before but I also just learned that the

ice cream is brought to you here by

Hershey but not Hershey

chocolate Hershey's Creamery which is an

ice cream brand out of the same town so

I'm excited to try this he said this is

what sealed the deal on having Hershey

do the ice cream for the shop

[Music]

that is Bonkers could there are little

Nilla Wafer chunks in there and it

really tastes like banana pudding

but with the creamy consistency of ice

cream

this is some of the best ice cream I've

ever had that's not a joke this is

fantastic and now whilst four minutes

ago I would have recommended a milkshake

now I'm going to tell you to just come

eat this ice cream

a great thing to know about Shakes as

well is they do have grab-and-go

breakfast so they do a couple breakfast

sandwiches they've got coffees they can

do basic coffee but they also have like

some lattes and other fancier coffees

they do house-made yogurt parfaits and

acai bowls again these are value

resources is a prime Value Resort and

you're going to find very very good food

but now we are on to the next spot we

have made it to our first of the Premier

hotels at Universal that is their top

tier of hotels this is the Hard Rock

Hotel it's super fun all over the resort

you're going to see instruments and

costumes and photos of some of your

favorite musicians they've also got a

great eating and drinking scene as you

might expect and we are headed into the

kitchen I just audibly gassed it's the

jacket Michael Jackson wore in the bad

video

which is one of my favorite Michael

Jackson songs it used to be on my alarm

clock

Alan hated it but I'm

geeking out right now

so we are here at the kitchen at the

Hard Rock Hotel and I've got Chef

Roderick here thank you for chatting

with us can you let um first of all let

us know what your role is here at the

Hard Rock and at the kitchen absolutely

I am the restaurant Chef I basically do

the entire menu for the entire

restaurant the kitchen is our signature

restaurant at Hard Rock so I'm in charge

of the menu for there but I also

overlooked the pool restaurant room

service and Bellevue and so this is your

signature restaurant I understand you

just redid the menu is that right yes

ma'am we did we like to do the menu

every season so right now we're in the

middle of our spring menu a lot of fun

flavors a lot of bright colors what's

your favorite thing on the menu right

now right now would be the salmon oh

great I hear

that soon to us

what's so special about it oh just the

bright flavors for it you know I change

it every season right now we have a

honeycare puree wild rice asparagus and

a red pepper pesto oh yeah a lot of

bright colors a lot of fun flavors

just seem to enjoy it what else are you

known for here at the kitchen we're also

known for our Tomahawk Steak okay it's a

three pound ribeye bone in it's

basically the size from your elbow to

your fingertips oh

it comes in a big platter it's enough to

feed two people it's three pounds of

meat so yeah yeah that's we're the only

campus that offers that so awesome and I

Signature Kitchen Sink yes

that's uh Chef Patrick our executive

pastry chef that's his Masterpiece it's

a seven layer cake has a brownie

chocolate chip cookies cheesecake

chocolate cake vanilla cake it's a

challenge to eat it right if you can

finish it you can finish it along with

our kitchen Burger it's a half pound

Kitchen Burger a pound of fries and the

cake itself weighs close to three pounds

so if you finish that half an hour we

have a challenge do you get a prize or

just bragging rights bragging rights can

you use multiple people to try and

finish the challenge Oh I thought I had

a hack but maybe Alan my husband can can

do it on his own he's a bigger guy he

likes to eat so maybe he'll take it on

I've seen many trying has anyone made it

I I've seen only a handful of people

okay so it's not impossible barely

barely what is the item on the menu

especially the new menu that you think

isn't getting enough love

it isn't getting enough love uh I

probably ain't say our lamb

um relatively new but um we serve smoked

lamb lamb chops with uh corn polenta

um yeah people you know they have their

feelings about land but but it's a great

dish yeah and when they do order it they

don't regret it they love it so awesome

well I'm very excited to try the salmon

most beautiful salmon dish has arrived

um Chef Rider can you tell us what we're

looking at here absolutely so we have a

60 South salmon um it's actually caught

out in the ocean there's a farm right

there 60 miles south of the Arctic that

Harvest all the salmon from us a wild

cotton sent to us we have wild black

rice fresh asparagus from one of our

local farms and then we also have a

honey carrot puree and a red roasted red

bell pepper pesto gorgeous now the

edible flowers and the micro Greens on

it yeah it's very spring bright colorful

and it smells amazing thank you

beneath the knife that is falling apart

beautifully very excited to have a

vegetable

s

that is delicious hmm

you can see that the salmon is just

falling apart like you don't need a

knife as soon as you touch it it's flaky

and delicious there's a little bit of

sweetness from the

the sauce and then I like that there the

rice is almost done Al Dente or is that

just the style of rice there's a little

bit of crunch and then you've got the

fresh asparagus this is not a normal

theme park food that's for sure being

completely honest I'm not normally a

fish person at a restaurant like this I

would normally order something like the

signature Tomahawk this is fantastic and

I'm obsessed with Chef roderick's red

pepper and Spanish almond pesto on top I

want to put that on everything and it's

so perfectly cooked and if you're

looking for something a little bit

lighter after you've been in the Parks

all day this is fantastic and it feels

like you're really still indulging and

having something with a bunch of light

bright flavors and you're not

sacrificing uh flavor for something a

little bit lighter I'm truly blown away

by this and this is so far my surprise

favorite hit of the day move to a second

spot here at the Hard Rock Hotel this is

the Velvet bar it is an absolutely

gorgeous space where you can get craft

cocktails and you're again surrounded by

memorabilia I'm looking at Lenny

Kravitz's pants right now I'm looking at

Edge cheering shoes they've got Johnny

Cash's jacket John Lennon shoes but

maybe the coolest thing in here Prince's

jacket is right here

so we're gonna have our cocktail with

Prince's jacket all right so this is

called The House of the Rising Sun it is

a newer drink on their seasonal menu

right now and bartender Ken came up with

it because he wanted to do a twist on a

Sazerac which is the oldest cocktail in

America from New Orleans but he said a

lot of people don't love a Sazerac

because of the absinthe that's a little

too aggressive so he wanted to make it

kind of your intro Sazerac if you will

for people that wouldn't normally order

this cocktail so they made House made

absinthe infused banana syrup they added

that to some rye to some bitters to some

cognac

cheers

that is so good now I do like a Sazerac

I'm a bourbon Drinker this is right up

my alley but that taking the absence out

and putting in the syrup

it curbed that

harsh alcohol burn that you would

normally get with this cocktail and it

goes down very very smoothly it's not

super sweet I don't even really taste

banana which is a flavor that's not my

personal favorite

that is really really smooth

slight sweetness

that is an A plus cocktail

and I'm just

drinking it with Princess jacket

but this bar is actually really cool not

only is the vibe and the decor awesome

with all the memorabilia but they do

live music a lot they can open it up

into the lobby and have more seating

they'll even do The Velvet sessions

which are small intimate concerts with

different performers so hard rock

definitely on our list of places to stay

all these places are I keep saying that

but this is a premier Hotel meaning you

get that included Express Pass when you

stay here and this is actually the

closest hotel to any of the parks so if

you are a music fan a pop culture fan

and you want to get that free express

pass this is probably your hotel

headed into Resort number five we are at

Sapphire Falls Resort this is a

preferred Resort it's gonna be a little

more expensive than those values um but

it's not quite as much as those

premieres it's also not going to get you

the express pass like at the premieres

but I love this Lobby also it smells

really good in here and we are headed to

a spot that I've only been to once

before but it truly surprised me and

blew me away and I'm very excited to go

back this is a rum bar here inside

Sapphire Falls they also have a tapas

menu they are inspired by a dining in

the Caribbean welcome to strong Water

Tavern I am here with Chef Carlos hello

could you explain your role here at

Strongwater Tavern for and the hotel in

general I am the restaurant chef of

Strongwater Tavern we are what they call

a specialty restaurant

um we specialize in rum and we

specialize in Tapas style food from a

Caribbean and Latin America so you'll

see things that traditionally find like

jerk chicken empanadas the Queens which

you're going to try in a minute curry

goat yum you know and then we fuse

different things as well so a good thing

about us the Korean Caribbean there's

influence for all over the world we're

not boxing yeah so to speak we can cross

over move around it's actually very cool

I want to eat these before they sit here

for too long can you tell us what these

are these are the candles this is

basically it's a Venezuelan appetizer it

is puff pastry stuffed with a sliced ham

and queso fresco and deep fried yeah and

served with a roasted pepper sauce and

salsa Rosado which is a tomato uh

mayonnaise yeah which they put on

everything it's funny that sauce is fun

with every single culture of the

Caribbean Latin America and there's some

place where we put on everything that's

just the thing the combination of

everything you know and this is

typically um you get out of Club at two

in the morning you see a food truck

that's what they're gonna be selling

Venezuela perfect yeah so it works for

us yeah with all the rums and all the

bars late night business so yeah it's

actually very cool all right I'm gonna

grab one go for it

they're so cheesy oh my gosh that is

awesome that sauce is great too it

breaks up all the accommodation

everything yeah definitely one of the

most popular dishes what else I know you

said these are popular you've got curry

goat what else is really popular on the

menu jerk chicken that's a big one

that's a really big one empanadas it's

actually a Momo's recipe wow yeah yeah

you know when we decided to do the

restaurant I only wondered if we could

see the authentic sugar Cuisine and I

remember as a kid making empanadas we

make our own Philly make our own dough

and we haven't changed it we haven't

deviated that's amazing yeah it's cool

we sold tons of tons of ceviches are

popular Ceviche is something that's it's

taking a while to take off because

people really don't understand it yeah

but it's it's become very popular what

is something on the menu that you think

don't doesn't get enough love that is a

favorite of yours that maybe is a little

underrated we take a plantain it's a

plantain hash if you planting stuff it

traditionally do with meat we do a duck

coffee wow and we talk about a fried egg

then we hit a truffle oil yum yeah and

it sometimes it smells very well

sometimes it doesn't move but it's

definitely one of the most underrated

dishes that we have I got a list of

stuff to get inside yeah it's also

decorative so Chef you use a lot of

fresh ingredients right and seasonal

ingredients yes and you mix it up a lot

how often do you change up the menu the

menu you change the menu twice a year

and we also do daily specials a lot of

stuff that you think wouldn't grow here

like cacao beans haven't seen cookout

since like we can in Colombia where when

it came to the door it's like what whoa

what is this uh and it happens all the

time it's shocking so it's fun for

people that are visiting because they're

actually eating local they're low yes

local summer stuff uh we get blueberries

from a place called uh Tom West which is

20 minutes down the road that's awesome

and Windermere a lot of Farms central

Florida Ocala Ocoee you know heading up

north we have a company down in Vero

Beach that delivers all our cucumbers

and peppers and tomatoes you know it's

not just the produce it's the seafood

like we have a great Seafood abundance

of seafood here in Florida Gulf of

Mexico fantastic fantastic so we have

something called the red Ceviche where

fish comes in everyday fresh but again I

don't know what I'm getting somewhere

I'm getting red snapper yeah they got

trigger fish yeah they got Hogfish

golden tile it's all local and you can

just see it I mean it's incredible it's

incredible so whenever people come in

they're gonna get something fresh

something unique absolutely so they're

probably not expecting absolutely that's

what we're hoping for now along with the

food people come in for the rum yes how

many kinds of rum do you have here I

think we're at 130 plus wow yeah and

we're adding more and we just rolled out

our new strong water rum Privateer so

it's a rum you can only get here that's

correct that's amazing now I'm not

really a rum Drinker I'm more of a

bourbon Drinker I usually find that rum

drinks are really sickly sweet yes what

do you do with someone like me who comes

in and it's like I have no idea what I'm

doing rum is such a complex creature

and there's you know there's so many

varieties and I think there's this

misnomer misunderstanding that

Brunswick's Equity sweet and they don't

sugar or syrups will add to the flavor

of the room but to me the best part of

it is drinking and meats

and that's where you get all the nuances

for example we have a room called Silver

Ray which is owned by Bruno Mars it was

in South America he was doing its work

and he went to Panama and he encountered

this room

and when you smell it it actually smells

like chocolate cocoa yeah and coconuts

you know and I was we were talking

before I gotta run from Costa Rica to

have bananas in it but at least so rum

in itself

um is an art obviously we're at a rum

bar gotta drink some rice

this is it so we're going to start from

a very very top right here okay that is

our New England Reserve rum is uh Asian

American Oak from two to eight years it

is 90 Proof uh you're gonna get notes of

hazelnut golden raisin and orange zest I

get the orange zest

if you put your nose in there you're

gonna really get it

smell citrusy yeah

oh yeah you can taste that yeah you can

really pick it up when you drink rum's

neat the complexities really come out

your second room is our name after a

strong Water Tavern rum it is a American

old kid it takes for two years it is a

hundred eleven proof whoa I think we're

approaching moonshine territory there

this one I get coconut I get vanilla

bean yeah definitely there caramel okay

yeah it's a little sweeter than this

it's a little bit sweeter uh these are

Guatemalan molasses it's imported and

you can even see it in the color yeah

it's got a really like deep mahogany

yeah you can taste that kind of yeah

smooth sweetness yeah once you get past

111 proof it's definitely definitely

there that's good the next one is called

a Navy Yard this is more of a bourbon in

my opinion all right well that's my

favorite yeah you're gonna like this one

and they put this in a charred American

Oak so you're gonna pick up some of that

smokiness okay I can smell it actually

yeah and look at it's more it's more of

a of a bourbon than anything else this I

get brown butter and apricot so that

one's awesome yeah that does taste more

like this yeah it's more like more like

a bourbon I think the using a charred

Barrel really yeah

that's what makes them with bourbon too

yeah yeah and then and then your last

one is called a queen share now this is

interesting because they they use a

cognac technique to distill it

yeah it's very interesting nutmeg and

vanilla bean are gonna be you're too uh

major components taste the vanilla the

vanilla yeah yeah

smooth that's awesome yeah it's smooth

yeah yeah that one is maybe the

smoothest I think it's more like an

after dinner drink drinks more like a

dessert drink yeah so this is something

folks can do when they come in right you

do a flight up at the bar and you can

yeah you can pick we do flights you can

pick three different rooms and uh our

room Captain will come over and tell you

the history the way it's done anything

you should be looking for in the flavor

profile it's really cool we do a lot of

that actually there's something that's a

rope happens running all over the

restaurant because people really get

into it yeah you know that's fun because

if you are a new rum Drinker versus or

an experienced Drinker there's something

there's something for you and your team

can yeah you know if someone had not

experience with rum definitely a good

good way to start if you love rum then

it's a boy being in a toy store you know

you're in heaven man this is it yeah

this is it for you well thank you chef

thank you for coming I can't wait to

come back and eat a lot more tacos

absolutely let me know yeah if you're a

fan of the Universal Hotels then the

site of these musically inclined frogs

might have tipped you off to our next

spot we are at the Royal Pacific hotel

this is another Premier Hotel Alan and I

actually stayed here very recently for a

staycation so if you want the full

Resort Tour room tour dining tour you

can check that out but for now we're

headed for our next meal I am so

obsessed with the little frogs

everywhere

welcome to Orchid Court Lounge this is a

sushi restaurant they have a ton of

Japanese whiskey and can make some

excellent cocktails lots of different

sushi rolls to choose from again if you

remember our very recent Royal Pacific

tour we came here Alan was in heaven

with all the delicious choices so I'm

excited to see what we have today got

quite the spread here at Orchid Court

here are my three cocktails that I'm

personally gonna drink all of after

having many other cocktails today

hopefully you can sense my sarcasm and

no I will not be consuming all three of

these I have helped but for starters

this is the she's so gimlet it's made

with tinos vodka sake and lime and it is

beautiful this one right here is the

purple Samurai another gorgeous drink

it's made with uh Mars ey whiskey which

is a Japanese whiskey blueberry Rosemary

and lemon and this one I am most excited

about probably surprising to no one but

it is the kimuri it is uh Akashi blended

whiskey Bitters and cherry wood smoke

and she smoked it tableside and it was

gorgeous and it smells amazing so

excited to sample all three of these

first up the give one

oh I'm not someone who's normally a sake

drinker but that is fantastic the fresh

lime is amazing it almost reminds me of

a margarita in that sense it's got a

little bit of kind of fruitiness I would

say from the sake but it's not sweet at

all it's more tart very refreshing now

we'll try the purple Samurai which I'm

excited about because I love Rosemary

it smells so good

that is like a fancy Japanese Cosmo if I

were to describe it you can definitely

taste the lemon you can definitely taste

the blueberry but it's not sickly sweet

it's definitely sweeter than the gimlet

and that's about as sweet as I want to

drink but again still very refreshing

and a little bit of herbaceousness

because of that Rosemary but last and

certainly not least

cheers

it's so smoky it smells like smoke it

tastes like smoke it tastes like a

really good old-fashioned Japanese

whiskey though is not as sweet as

bourbon which is what I normally drink

in an old-fashioned however the

smokiness is kind of curbing that

burning alcohol flavor that you often

get with whiskey

this is fantastic also trying one of

their appetizers this is the tuna Aki it

is peppered seared tuna with ponzu sauce

and scallions and you can see it's got

your Ginger and your Wasabi and some

cucumbers it looks very delicious and I

will be the first to admit I'm not

always a huge tuna person I'm not an

expert on ahi tuna but I can tell you

this looks amazing now it's time for

everyone's favorite segment white woman

tries to use chopsticks I'm not great at

it but I try and that's what's important

oh I did it

mmm

the seasoning on the tuna is awesome

it's very peppery and it actually has

some heat there's definitely some

chili maybe some garlic but there's

definitely heat to it so if you're

heated verse this is probably not an

appetizer you want to try mixing it with

the Cucumber which was light and crisp

and refreshing was Perfect Blend I

understand for some people the texture

of something like tuna or knowing that

it's mostly raw is can be something that

you're not excited about

but it's cooked perfectly I don't think

the texture's off-putting at all

um and it's you can tell it's really

high quality so this is very good I

would definitely eat this again even

though again I'm not always the biggest

sushi and seafood person sampling a few

more things here at Orchid Court we have

the Miso soup which has got tofu wakime

shiitake mushrooms and scallions as well

as their house salad which is lettuce

tomatoes cucumbers carrots and a ginger

soy vinaigrette which I'm very excited

about okay

it's warming me up it's starting to rain

a little bit it's not cold but I feel

like it should be cold because it's

raining and that is delicious really

pretty broth lots of mushrooms and now

some salad

super jazzed about this dressing

there's a little bit of crunch from all

the produce and that dressing is

excellent what I love about this

restaurant when I said this in our hotel

tour which I feel like there's not a lot

of sushi places in the theme park

universe but people love sushi people

love Japanese food and this is really

delicious and I think pretty well priced

I don't think it's theme park expensive

I think it's pretty comparable to a nice

sushi restaurant anywhere so if you're a

sushi fan

highly recommend say hello to a literal

boat of sushi this is something anyone

can order this is the Tahitian Long Boat

there's also the Bora Bora boat it comes

with a chef's selection of 12 nigiri

pieces 12 Sashimi pieces a rainbow roll

California roll dynamite Roll Mexican

roll salmon hosomaki and then it does

come with that house salad and miso soup

that we started with

this is a spectacle and I'm here for it

trying a couple of the different

specialty rolls here this one I am most

excited about I've had this before it is

the Mexican roll it's shrimp tempura

with avocado cucumber pickled jalapeno

and spicy mayonnaise this right here is

part of the rainbow roll it's topped

with tuna salmon Esquire Whitefish and

shrimp and it makes a rainbow I went for

a piece topped with white fish this one

is the dynamite Roll which is tuna

yellowtail it's top to a shrimp avocado

eel sauce and spicy mayo and last but

not least on my plate a classic

California roll which is snow crab

Connie mix with Japanese Mayo cucumber

and avocado starting with the basic and

working our way up we've got the

California roll gonna dip it in some soy

sauce

simple delicious if you're like me and

not a an expert Sushi eater it's a good

starter Sushi next we're going to move

on to the rainbow roll

that is delicious as well and I wasn't

sure if I would like that one because it

is topped with the raw fish but the

white fish was very mild it wasn't super

salty or fishy this is very good now we

are moving on to the dynamite roll

I love spicy mayo so happy to see that

make an appearance

oh

that one dare I say it is dynamite fish

is so fresh and delicious I love the eel

sauce and the spicy mayonnaise on top

again everything is Super Fresh this

restaurant is is turning me into a sushi

lover and last I'm gonna do the Mexican

roll

you know I thought the Mexican roll

would be my favorite since I love

jalapenos and it is very good but I

actually think I prefer the not cooked

meat versus the the tempura which is

surprising me as much as it's probably

surprising you

um just the fish is all really fresh and

delicious and especially when you have

this much of it it and have been eating

all day it's nice to have something

fresh and light and not fried so this is

all really really delicious obviously

you can split this with as many people

as you like it's got a fun presentation

and if you're looking for good sushi

this is a good spot now I'm trying to

decide

which piece of nigiri or sushimi to face

my fears of eating raw fish he did just

the tiniest bit of Wasabi because I know

what will happen otherwise

can I pick this up is the real question

okay I did it

you know what I've never eaten raw fish

like that in my life and it was

delicious it mostly tasted like the

Wasabi and the soy sauce but of the

texture wouldn't be my favorite but that

was that was tasty and fresh and again

if you are a sushi fan this is a great

spot to come it's really pretty in here

and you don't be staying at any of the

hotels to go to the sit-down restaurants

you can be staying at a different Hotel

you don't even have to be a universal

hotel guest just let your server know

and they can bring you something to comp

your parking when you're leaving the

garage or leaving the parking lot so

this is a great spot you can make

reservations for if you want to make

sure you have a table but this is pretty

good we're uh two more spots been eating

all day but we are gonna finish strong

Ciao Bella and welcome to Lowe's

Portofino Bay Hotel this is one of my

favorite hotels ever I just love how you

pull into this Resort turn a corner and

then all of a sudden you're no longer in

Florida

you're in Italy and they have live

musicians that sing out here on the

Piazza in the evening they have a wine

bar again BJ upstairs over here that's a

signature restaurant amazing meal

they've got really really good pizza

little shopping areas and we are headed

to Mama Della's Italian oh man

80 pounds yeah you're working out for

this one right

whoa

we got mushrooms we got English beans

we've got green chicken stock 11 miles

oh yeah

yeah man yeah I've been eating all day

and Chef Leo here is making us tableside

risotto with a wheel of cheese that's 80

pounds and I

I'm gonna eat and I'm seeing them out I

don't care how full I am I am so excited

about this look at this look at this

cheese wheel that's incredible

we've got all kinds of toppings Chef

Leo's gonna make some magic for us

now this is something that Chef Leo used

to do on the weekends it's not back yet

uh postcovid by their hoping to bring it

back at some point in the future but

we're getting a special treat today of

course you can get risotto here you can

get pastas and all kinds of delicious

traditional Italian and you said this is

your menu is that right Chef Leo it is

yeah just look at this Perfection on a

plate he cooked the risotto and then you

put it in the cheese wheel and now I've

got risotto with mushrooms and shallots

and garlic and so much parmesan and

cream and butter they topped it with

some some greens and some olive oil and

some fresh Cracked Pepper also got a

nice glass of Pinot Grigio and his

recommendation

clear here right now

I might cry

that is easily the best risotto I've

ever had oh my gosh the rice is cooked

perfectly Al Dente so it has just that

little bit of crunchiness on the back

end I love the mushrooms I am a huge

mushroom fan and they've got that earthy

flavor coming through there's a big

nuttiness flavor to the cheese which is

balancing out the rich cream sauce a

little bit of truffle oil that you can

taste coming through you put in just the

smallest amount but you can absolutely

taste it and just creamy it is dreamy

it's buttery drink a little this Chef

recommended wine

oh

it's really a white wine drinker but

with a dish like this you do typically

go white and that's what Chef

recommended it's a lemony a little pear

it cuts through that Citrus cuts through

the richness of the risotto

I'm in a very good place right now

oh how stunningly beautiful is this

Resort

this may just have to be our next

staycation definitely let me know down

in the comments of all the resorts we

got one left that you want to see I had

to actively stop myself from eating all

that risotto but I have a delicious

to-go meal for Alan maybe some lunch

tomorrow huh that was so scrumptious but

we've got one more spot left let's go

made it to our eighth and final Hotel

here at Universal this is the Aventura

Hotel this is another Prime value hotel

so same categories Cabana Bay

conveniently right across the street

from Cabana Bay and also pretty close to

Sapphire Falls this is a delightful

Resort it's definitely on the smaller

side I would say this one caters a

little more to the childless millennial

older kid crowd than say Cabana Bay but

there are two super cool things about

this Resort number one they have a robot

that will bring you things to your room

like extra towels or toiletries you may

be missing and number two a rooftop bar

guess where we're headed welcome to Bar

17 Bistro 17 floors up the top of

Universal Orlando you can see Universal

Parks from here you can see the Disney

parks from here you can see I drive and

all of its Glory from up here and you

can grab a great cocktail and a bite to

eat it's definitely not for you if you

have a fear of heights I mean come up

here but don't come up to the glass but

there is all glass paneling right here

you're safe let's take a look around

first of all you can see volcano Bay

right here with the glowing glimmering

volcano Cabana Bay right in front of it

pop over this way and you can see the

Universal Parks

quite clearly right in front of us right

here that Sapphire Falls where we were

earlier and if you look back you can see

the theme park Incredible Hulk coaster

that's the green coaster just past that

the red coaster that's Rip Ride rocket

you can see it taking off right now it's

really hard to see the track for

velocity coaster but you can see a blue

light zooming around over to the right

hand side of Hulk and that would be

veloci coaster and of course if you come

up before it becomes night you can see a

lot better if you look straight from

where I am you can see a glowing ball

and some light circling it well that's

Epcot of course trying two different

cocktails at our final stop I will once

again remind you that I'm not drinking

all of these and it's also been

literally all day long but first up we

have the 17 apples this has got Maker's

Mark bourbon Rosemary infused apple

juice lemon juice and a brown sugar

simple syrup sounds amazing we also this

one which is so very beautiful this is

the Butterfly Kisses it's got Tito's

vodka butterfly PT simple syrup and

strawberry boba balls are popping pearls

down in the bottom which is why you get

the big straw to be able to slurp those

up I'm gonna stir this one it's going to

change the color

because that's what happens with a

butterfly pea it changes from kind of a

bluish color to a purple color when you

stir it cheers

now I will admittedly say I don't always

love Boba balls because they surprise

you and they pop in your mouth

unexpectively but this is really fun

it's obviously a very beautiful drink I

love that it's got the butterfly PT it's

certainly on the sweeter side but it's

not overwhelmingly sickly sweet which I

really don't care for probably because

they make a lot of their syrups and

mixers in-house so if you like a sweet

drink very refreshing on this Rooftop

Bar it's good but I think we all know

this other one is more up my alley

cheers

that is my kind of cocktail it's

definitely sweeter than your average

bourbon cocktail because of the simple

syrup in it but it's also very

refreshing because of the lemonade it'd

be perfect so it's not hot right now

because it's been raining and it's

Breezy up here in the evening but on a

warmer afternoon

this would be delicious and last feeding

of the day these are the signature bow

buns typically you get to choose three

and they come with a little wakimi salad

they are 18 and you get to choose your

own adventure tale so mix and match we

have the sweet chili shrimp here on the

left which is a mango Citrus aioli and a

mango papaya salsa in the middle there's

the crispy pork belly with balsamic

drizzle and a grilled Peach and on the

right the coffee braised beef hello with

a cumin Crema and roasted corn relish

trying the shrimp one first

very gracefully eaten

shrimp is fresh the mango salsa is right

I wish there's a little more of the

sauce on there but I'm sure you could

ask for it but very very delicious the

bow bun itself is cooked perfectly it's

that nice kind of doughy and soft now

the pork belly with the peach

foreign

that pork belly was cooked perfectly

nice and tender sometimes pork belly can

get a little dry and chewy and it's not

at all I like the sweetness from the

Peach on there as well as a little bit

of acidity from the balsamic that one is

awesome and last but not least our beef

coffee rubbed beef amazing

that one is hands down my favorite I

love the cumin Crema I love the flavor

of cumin I love the coffee raised beef

again really moist and tender I could

put that on a lot of stuff that's nice

and shredded corn sauces fire these are

really really good I think this is such

a fun dish a very shareable dish you

could get a couple of these as well some

other small plates but again you can go

to any of the hotels even if you're not

staying at one and this is such a great

place to come end your evening after

being in the park all day come get the

rooftop views great drinks and good food

what more could you ask for it well

friends that is a wrap on a very long

but very fun day here at Universal

Orlando we went to all eight of their

resort hotels and sampled the best of

eats and drinks along the way big thank

you again to Universal Orlando and

Lowe's hotels for inviting me to make

this video setting everything up I had

the best time I truly don't know if I

could pick a favorite thing that I had

today if I had to it would probably be

the risotto made in cheese which is

surprising to no one but I think the

most surprising dishes for me today were

the salmon Hard Rock just because that's

not something I would typically order

and it was incredible as well as the

food at Endless Summer the value Resorts

that food was awesome and full of flavor

and such high quality and I'm so

impressed with not only the tacos I got

to eat but the grab-and-go station the

house made cold brew you can really tell

that the chefs and the team here care a

lot about where they're getting their

ingredients so much of it across all

properties is sourced locally or made

fresh in house it was awesome so let me

know down in the comments which one

looked the best to you what your

favorite thing to eat at Universal

Orlando is and where we should stay next

on our next staycation we're working our

way through all the hotels love eating

our way across property so let us know

those things down in the comments and in

the meantime friends make sure to rate

review subscribe follow us on social

media please come hang out with us at

Discord we have a lot of fun and until

next time friends I'm Molly and it has

been so magical cheers

foreign

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