Restaurant Review on Twin Peaks

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL – If you have ever been to a sports bar you know there are many places in the Central Florida area. You want a place with 360 TV sets around the dinning room to watch anything sports related. This place is not just for guys, but for the whole family too.

At Twin Peaks Altamonte, there is plenty of parking when you arrive. This restaurant used to be in the former TGI Fridays location. Also, in this shopping center is the Wing House, which is a few doors down from Twin Peaks. Many customers ask if they compete with one another. To answer that, I asked Twin Peaks General Manager Gunny Green and he said, “no because they are in a different market.”

When you walk into Twin Peaks open doors, you are greeted by one of the lovely outdoors type ladies. They are dressed in plaid cut long sleeve shirt with khaki shorts. They are happy to seat you anywhere inside this restaurant you like. There is even a man cave section with a fire pit great for bachelor parties and other get togethers.

The inside of this restaurant is a rustic outdoors theme décor. There are mounted and stuff game animals on the wall. At some of the long tables you will notice a wooden plank with a red axe. This is used as a divider to separate the different customer parties.

Once you are seated a table, and handed a menu. You will notice they have a limited food and drink menu. On two different visits I have tried the Peak Sampler plate, BBQ Buffalo Wings, Green Chili Parmesan Wings, Buttermilk Chicken Sliders, chips and salsa, and the Hamburger. These are all good choices to eat.

The Peaks Sampler plate is great for two people to share. What is included on the late is fried covered dill chip pickles, mozzarella square cheese, and buffalo tenders. This plate is a unique appetizer.

Although Twin Peaks is not known for their wings, they do have wings on the menu. I have tried the BBQ style wings and Green Chili Parmesan Wings served with blue cheese and ranch dressing along with a few celery sticks. The BBQ Style Wings are very mild tasting. They have a similar taste from a store bought BBQ sauce. Next, the Green Chili Parmesan Wings are mild with a lite kick. There are other flavors that are medium to hot and you just have to ask for them.

The Buttermilk Chicken Sliders is an appetizer or is great for a meal by itself too. When I ordered this menu item I asked for the gravy and honey butter on the side. It is recommended to have the honey butter on the biscuit to keep it soft so it doesn’t crack. The chicken has a mild pepper flavor.

The chips and salsa on the appetizer menu is great to share with a few friends and family. This menu food item is not your typical salsa. The salsa is served warm and not cold like other restaurants. There is a little kick to this mild salsa.

This is considered a classy sport bar restaurant. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for some great food and entertainment on any night of the week. Just remember you can look, but you can’t touch. This goes for all of the guys out there.

For more information on Twin Peaks Restaurant go to www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com . Also sign-up for this FREE Email Club from Twin Peaks so you can receive special offers and food coupons.

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2016 The Battle of Townsend’s Plantation Preview

What: A Civil War Festival and Living History Event

When: Saturday & Sunday, January 30-31, 2016, Gates open at 10am and close at 5pm

Where: Renningers Twin Markets at 20651 US-441, Mt. Dora, FL 32757

How: A group of Civil War re-enactors and merchanants come to Mt. Dora once a year to put on this event.

Why: The Battle of Townsend’s Plantation is a fictional civil war battle that is re-enacted on the grounds of the Renninger’s Twin Markets in Mount Dora. To educate the public and to remember all of who have fought in the Civil War.

Who: This event is open is the public. General Festival Admission is $6.00 for adults and Children 12 and under are $4.00

Parking: Free parking near event area

Overview of the Event: The event is sponsored by Attorney Clay Townsend. The Battle of Townsend’s Plantation started over 25 years ago in Apopka with other Civil War buffs on the grounds of Townsend’s Plantation, a historic restaurant mansion he owned and operated in the 1980s. The structure is now owned by the city of Apopka. The battle now takes place on over 100 acres behind the Renninger’s Twin Market and Antique Mall. The Battle of Townsend’s Plantation is the host event for the 37th Alabama Regiment Co. H.

The event features live Civil War re-enactments, living history exhibits, folk music, weaponry demonstration, authentic camps and sutlers, full scale artillery, cavalry and soldiers in period dress and weaponry, Civil War period-dress-required ball and more.

With good weather visitors may see up to 1000 Union and Confederate soldiers bringing history to life. People can watch demonstrations of weapons and hear the booms of full-scale artillery. Thrill at the charge of cavalry soldiers on powerful steeds. In addition to the centerpiece battle, living history exhibits, folk music, period camps and a period-dress-required ball round out the experience. This is a great educational experience for all ages!

Sight and Sounds of this Event: When you drive onto the property of Renningers in Mt. Dora you will notice two buildings one on the North and one on the Southside. Drive on a path between both buildings until you see rows of cars parked for the Civil War Festival.

When walking through the gates of the The Battle of Townsend’s Plantation, you will notice many civil war era tents with merchandise and historical artifacts. Some Civil War merchandise are reproductions. Most vendors take cash but a few may take credit cards. There are some unique items you cannot buy in any stores. Some items are hand made.

On the battlefield, there are a few cannons set-up on display and used on the Civil War Re-enactment. You are welcome to view these cannons and other items on display before the battle starts.

For a good seat of the Civil War re-enactment battle come early to reserve your spot and don’t bring a folding chair or blanket to sit on. Another item I recommend bring is earplugs and or noise canceling earmuffs. Some parts of the battle have guns and canons going off. It is not recommended to you’re your dog to this Civil War Battle because of loud noises might frighten your dog.

During the Civil War Re-enactment Battle, the battlefield is block off for the safety of the general public so the Union Soldiers and Confederate Soldiers can move around. A long the viewing area you will see up and close action of how the soldiers found one anther. It is unknown who will win the battle. This is decided behind closed tents before the battle re-enactment. Just remember to bring your camera to get some good Civil War photos

At the end of the battle, there is a meet and greet with all of the Civil War Re-enactors. Plus, some of the wounded soldiers that are taking to the triage area with the hospital tent to get some medical treatment. A warning to all spectators who watch this battlefield surgery, there are scenes of blood and body parts getting amputated. This may not be suited for small children to see.

After seeing everything this event it will conclude a long and fun day. For more information on this event go to: www.battleoftownsendsplatation.com

Photo Tip Series – Photo Equipment Maintenance

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Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about photo equipment maintenance. When you use your photography equipment all the time one must take care of it so it can last a long time.

The topic on camera and lens cleaning will vary in the industry. My personal recommendation is take your camera to a well-qualified camera repair service. You can take it to a local camera repair shop or ship it out to on-line camera repair service. I have dealt with both. I believe you get a more personal service with the local camera repair service compared to an online camera repair service. There is one local camera repair shop I personally use in the Central Florida area. This camera repair service is called Kiwi Camera Service. Mike is the sole proprietor and technician at this shop. He recommends a basic camera cleaning every one to two years based on camera usage. Before going to Kiwi Camera Repair please contact Mike for an appointment.

For lens cleaning, one can do it your self and save some money. All you need is some distilled water, lens solution, a microfiber cloth, cotton cue tips, When cleaning a lens, clean the front and back of the lens. Take your time. If you see any smudges, then re-clean the lens until it is perfect. Also, clean the filter if you have them too.

After cleaning the glass of the lens, now clean the exterior too. To clean the exterior of the camera use a barely damp cloth to clean away the dirt. Do not get the internal electronic wet! The hot shoe is metal so keep a damp cloth away from this area.

If you find you are having out of focus lens problems then here are some solutions. First read your camera instruction guide for more detail on how to proceed. There is some online information for do it yourself calibrating your lens to your camera. This is only recommended to seasoned photographers. If you feel your lens is still slightly out of focus take it to your local camera repair shop for service.

Other photo equipment that one should check out is the monopod and tripod. Check the equipment for any damage and or missing parts. I recommend tightening some of the joint to keep it from getting loose. Sometime Photographers lose the monopod/tripod adapter out while having fun in the field. I personally, have had this happen to me. Don’t worry, you can buy a replacement adapter at most local camera retail stores or go order another one online.

When you get finished cleaning and maintaining your photography equipment it will feel like your ready to go and have some fun to photograph the world. I wish everyone Happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.

Cheap Eats – Little Caesar’s Pizza

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

While I was out in about, I came across Little Caesar’s Pizza in Central Florida. You might have seen the Little Caesar Pizza commercial on TV for the Hot N Now special for $5 plus tax. Just stop by one of their many locations and most of the time they will have one Hot N Now Pizza ready for you when you walk into the store.

Little Caesar’s was founded in 1959 in Garden City, Michigan. This pizza chain has both corporate and franchise locations. In the Central Florida area there are fifteen locations. When you walk through one of the many locations you are greeted at the door.

This pizza chain staff is friendly when walking through the door and wants to give you the best fresh pizza for the price. You can choose between plain cheese or pepperoni pizza. If you need more than one pizza please call ahead before showing up. Most of their customers walk up to purchase Hot N Now special.

There are a lot of different flavor pizzas you can order. Customers mostly order the cheese and pepperoni, but there is a ultimate supreme pizza, 3 Meat Treat Pizza, Hula Hawaiian Pizza, veggie pizza, and a custom pizza to your liking. Besides pizza, Little Caesar’s has Caesar Wings, Italian Cheese Bread, Caesar dips, and Pepsi products.

Little Caesar’s is one of the most inexpensive pizza products in the Central Florida area. Some of Caesars’ competitors are Dominos, Papa Johns Pizza, Pizza Hut, and the independent pizza stores. No one comes close to this special priced pizza.

To spice up my pizza, I recommend adding Italian seasoning, crushed chili peppers, Parmesan Cheese. This will give your pizza some more flavors. Try it for yourself.

For more information on Little Caesar’s Pizza go to www.littlecaesarspizza.com

 

Food Review on Altamonte’s Amigos Restaurant & Cantina

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL – There are many Mexican Restaurants in the Central Florida area. What distinguishes one from another is the taste. Amigos Restaurant & Cantina is a full service Tex-Mex style Restaurant which there is a true difference. Tex-Mex food is a milder form of the Mexican style food.

I have been eating at this location restaurant for twenty-seven years since it has been opened. There are been several changes that have occurred throughout the years. First, the restaurant changed ownership a while ago. The food has stayed the same with a modified dining menu.

When you drive up to the Altamonte Springs Amigos location there is plenty of free parking available. They have a welcoming décor on the outside with yellow and red decor. Plus, there is a patio dinning area available for the smokers. Inside this restaurant it is non-smoke by Florida law for all restaurants.

Upon entering the front door you will be greeted by a friendly hostess who will seat you in the dinning room at one of many tables or booths. You will find a Texas-Mexico style of antique décor hanging from the ceiling and walls. On the menu there is a large selection of food items to choose from. Amigos is know for there burritos, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, and much more. There is also a kid’s food menu too with all of their favorites.

While deciding what to eat for dinner, Amigos has a long list of alcohol beverages. I recommend trying their homemade margarita. Plus, imported beer from Mexico. You can’t go wrong on any of the beverages. If alcohol is not your thing, they have Pepsi products too.

The day I came into this restaurant to conduct a restaurant review I choose the Uno Taco Plate. Other times, I have ordered the Taco Salad, which is a great choice too. The Uno Taco Plate is served with two beef tacos, a side of Spanish rice, and side of black beans. While waiting for the order the wait brought to the table a basket of chips and salsa. Amigos can prepare the fresh food made to order from five to fifteen minutes to your table.

There are a few flavors of salsa you can request. The original salsa brought to the table is very mild. Even children will love this salsa. The next salsa is the habanero salsa that has an orange color to it. It can give a burning sensation on your tongue. Another salsa is the jalapeno salsa, which is a green color to it and is a little milder than the habanero salsa. Both can be added into the regular salsa.

Other restaurant special events coming up are the Cinco de Mayo Day on May 5, 2016. On this day, the Restaurant Manager was telling me that this restaurant is full throughout the day. People want to celebrate and eat some great Mexican food on this special day.

If you Google Amigos Restaurants, you will find there are three in the Central Florida area. Each location is individually owned and operated. So stop the Altamonte Springs Amigos Restaurant & Cantina location and try it for yourself. The menu prices range from $3.59 to $27.99. Amigos Restaurant & Cantina is located at 120 North Westmonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714. 407-774-4334, www.amigos-texmex.com

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2016 Shen Yen Play Preview

What: The Chinese people bring their traditional Chinese culture Shen Yun Play to a live stage. Furthermore, Chinese Communist Party does not support the performance arts of Shen Yun. You have the opportunity to see this dying Chinese play. This production has been seen around the world. You will be amazed by the beauty and musical experience. The show depicts—through classical Chinese dance—the violence perpetrated against Falun Gong practitioners and their peaceful resistance.

China’s 5,000 years of uninterrupted history has yielded an endless treasure trove of legends, myths, and literary classics. These stories come to life in vivid detail through Shen Yun’s awe-inspiring performances.

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra breathes new life into themes and musical styles from ancient times. From the elegant and soothing music of imperial courts to lively folk melodies, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra captures the spirit of five millennia of Chinese civilization in a way never heard before. Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra seamlessly combines the distinct sounds of Chinese instruments with the foundation of a powerful Western orchestra.

When: Shen Yun will only perform two shows in Orlando on February 9th and 10th, 2016, @ 7:30pm.

Where: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPAC)

How: The Chinese has brought their theater production to the United States and shown around the world for people to learn and be entertained everywhere.

Why: For thousands of years, China was known as the Divine Land.  But under 60 years of communist rule, authentic Chinese culture, including traditional arts, have been almost lost. That is why you cannot see a performance like Shen Yun in China today.

Who: Shen Yun is entirely non-profit based in New York. Its artists have come from around the world to revive this glorious heritage.  Since its establishment in 2006, the company has become a global sensation, performing for over a million audience members across five continents around the world.

So mark your calendar and bring your family out to this event. For more information and ticket prices on this event go to: www.shenyen.com

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Image Courtesy from Shen Yun

The 39th Annual Central Florida Scottish Highland Games Preview

What: A look into the European culture of the Scottish right in our own back yard and you don’t even have to fly to Scotland. The Central Florida Scottish Highland Games is open to all walks of life. Anyone can compete in these games. They’re more than just the games, which include music and dancing, clans parade, food, and authentic Scottish merchandise. Experience the Scottish culture up close and in-person.

When: Saturday, January 16, 2016, from 8am to 8pm and Sunday, January 17, 2016, from 8:45am to 5pm

Where: Central Winds Park in Winter Springs, Florida

How: The Scottish-American Society of Central Florida was founded in 1976 to celebrate and carry on the Scottish traditions here in the U.S. The purpose of this organization is to provide education to the Central Florida community through schools, churches, civic lectures and demonstrations, as well as organizing and hosting the annual Central Florida Scottish Highland Games held on the third weekend in January.

Why: This is one of the biggest events in Seminole County and one of the largest highland Games outside of Scotland.

Who: The Highland Games are open to all adults. There is an admission fee to be a spectator. Bring your family and friends down. Children are welcome too.

Overview of the Games:
When you pay and walk thru the event main gates there is a large highland games field setup to the right for the Open Stone Put, Braemar Stone Put, 56lb Weight for Distance, Hammer Throw, Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss, and Weight for Height. There are separate competitions for both men and woman. Come cheer them on. Please be advised not to sit too close to the fence line because there may be a risk of injury from some of the athletes’ actions.

There is more than just the Highland Games. Don’t forget about the great entertainment. Come see the Scottish Country Dance. The Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is a sociable dance form with roots stretching back for centuries. Participants are grouped into sets, typically of 3, 4, or 5 couples arranged either in two lines (men facing ladies) or in a square, and work together to dance a sequence of formations. This will leave them in a new order, and the dance is repeated enough times to bring them back to their starting positions, with everyone dancing each position in turn.

Don’t forget about the live music on two separate stages. Just relax and listen to some of the Scottish traditional music. Some of the bands on stage are Albannach, Rathkeltair, Breakers, Off kilter, and Juniper.

To round off your day at the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games check out the many vendors selling made handcrafted and reproduction authentic clothing and merchandise. Take home a piece of history and culture.

By the end of the day you will feel you have taken in all the sights and scenes at this year’s Scottish Highland Games. Each year these games are different. So mark your calendar and bring your family out to this event. For more information and ticket prices on this event go to: http://www.flascot.com/index.php

Photos courtesy of Flascot.com