Progressive Dinner Stop #3: Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen “Surprise, it’s more than coffee!”
For Day 3 of my “12 Days of Birthday” Celebrations, I hosted the Go Epicurista Ultimate Progressive Dinner in Winter Park. It was a perfect way to enjoy several great restaurants in one night in this Foodie hub of Orlando. We started with a fun chocolate party at Peterbrooke Chocolatier (recap here)which set the playful tone for the evening. Then “progressed” to The Wine Room on Park Avenue for an amazing wine and cheese tasting with a hint of secrecy (read all about it here). After strolling down Park Avenue and doing some window shopping, we arrived at our third stop.
I kept the destinations of our Progressive Dinner a secret so I could surprise my guests at each spot.My guests thought we were at the end of our tour and got ready for coffee when they saw the sign for Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen. Little did they know the tasty surprises that awaited them from Chef Camilo Velasco. The name of a restaurant can be so deceiving. Here all my guests were pleasantly surprised to find that there is more to Barnie’s than just coffee – even though their coffee is amazing – hence the term “CoffeeKitchen” in their name.
Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen Chef Camilo Velasco & His Team Provide Warm Hospitality!
Chef Camilo, a jovial guy native of Colombia (appropriate in a coffee restaurant don’t you think?), lights up when you ask him about his seasonal menu. His goal is to create comforting and familiar dishes inspired by the countries in the Coffee Belt, including his own, but in an adventurous and new way. He shared that Spring is his favorite time to cook because of all the fresh seasonal produce available from local farms. It inspires him to change the menu twice during the season. The menu here is ever evolving based on product availability and inspiration. It is exciting to see what dishes are on the menu each month – reason to come back time and time again.
After this introduction, we were ready to sample his delicious and inventive dishes for our salad and entrée courses. Chef Camilo together with Director of Restaurant Operations, Antoine Boissonot, guided us through the menu and made great recommendations. Expertly paired wines were selected to complement each dish. Their wine list offers 4oz portions so that you can taste without over-consuming. This is an important detail to consider when hosting a multi-course dinner with wine pairings. The team at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen created and delivered a personalized experience that blew us all away! This was indeed warm hospitality on a bit of a chilly Orlando night.
One of my guests said:
This is definitely a Go Epicurista celebration of great food, wine and friends!”
Fresh Ingredients from Local Farms Shine at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen
For our Salad Course, we ordered two different salads to sample. A beautiful Spinach salad with dried figs, arugula, candied walnuts, sliced fennel, Point Reyes Bleu Cheese, lightly dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette. It paired quite nicely with Department C Wines Rose of Santa Lucia Highlands California. I enjoyed the Rose’s fruity yet earthy character which complemented the figs and bleu cheese.
The second salad was a Beet & Quinoa Salad of local Kissimmee’s Green Place beets, pickled carrots on a bed of golden quinoa drizzled with sherry vinaigrette, paired with a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. the colors just popped on the plate. Spring was definitely represented on this plate. The bright edible flowers and carrots, the peppery arugula and the beets were a winning combination! Everyone loved their fresh sweetness with the sherry vinaigrette. Both salads were a perfect blend of crisp, fresh flavors with hint of acidity that prepares your palate for the main course. Spring was in the air!
Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen is more than just coffee and these entrees proved it!
For our entrée course, we shared The Filet of Florida Red Snapper. Pan-roasted for a crispy skin, the tender fish was served over sautéed local sweet peppers and fennel in a tomato seafood broth. The peppers and fennel gave it a nice fragrance. The seafood broth was simply savory goodness that inspired some in the group to pick up their bowls and drink it to the last drop. This dish was paired with famed French producer, Jean-Luc Colombo’s Cotes du Rhone Les Abeilles Blanc. A crisp white wine with aromas of fresh peach and herbs, with a balanced taste of stone fruit and citrus. It was a refreshing complement to the bold combination of flavors in the fish.
The second entrée was the Seared Flank Steak served with salsa verde, carrot puree, roasted heirloom carrots and new potatoes. The steak was perfectly cooked to a medium rare and I got a hint of coffee and smokiness on the seasonings. The salsa verde reminded me of Argentinian chimichurri sauce and the carrot puree was amazing. If Chef Camilo sold this carrot puree in stores, parents would have a much easier time getting their kids to eat their vegetables. It was that good! The dish was paired with Tikal “Patriota” Malbec Bonarda Blend, from the popular wine-growing region of Mendoza Argentina. This wine was bold with lots of ripe dark fruit notes, yet vanilla and cocoa gave it a rounder softer mouth feel and elegant tannins. This wine was another favorite of the evening.
After sampling Chef Camilo’s cooking, it was clearly apparent that he has been well-trained and has a passion for cooking. It was a surprise to have such an amazing meal in what many think is just a “coffee bar”. It was no surprise however, to learn he worked at two of my favorite Orlando restaurants with culinary legends, Scott Hunnel at Disney’s Victoria & Albert’s, and Norman Van Aken at Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. Chef Camilo has a bright future ahead and it will be exciting to see how his career and culinary creations evolve.
Dinner is only available Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 5:30pm-10pm. Breakfast and Lunch are served daily. Their Sunday Brunch is so popular it has become an all-day affair from 7:30am-6pm. If you think Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen is just coffee you would be sadly missing out on so much more! For menu info click here and see for yourself. Better yet, go visit Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen and taste for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
My guests were so impressed with Chef Camilo Velasco and his team that they are making plans to come back. The setting in this small restaurant is quaint and comfortable. We were seated in their outdoor patio which was a perfect spot to people-watch along Park Avenue. After an enjoyable and surprising dinner experience we were ready for after-dinner drinks and desserts. The night got a bit chilly (for Orlando!) as we headed to the final destination on our progressive culinary journey. A chic, celebrity-favorite, Luma on Park, where Chef Brian Cernell prepares the most unique dessert creations. Come along and check it out here. Don’t miss this spectacular ending to a fabulous evening!
If you’re curious what 12 Days of Birthdays is all about, click here. It is the best cure for the Birthday Blues. I hope you will join me on this culinary journey!
Now it’s your turn to share. Have you ever been surprised by a culinary experience because of your expectations due to the name of the restaurant? Please comment below. I would love to hear if this has happened to you?
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