Italian cheesecake, berries and mascarpone. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

Italian cheesecake, berries and mascarpone. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

Third in a Series

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is over for another year, but I have one more restaurant meal to describe because if next year’s selections were as wonderful as this year’s, Il Mulino New York Trattoria at the Walt Disney World Swan will bump up to our “must do” list.

Honestly, the quality of the meal, presentation and the above-excellent service by a team of servers came as a surprise. We went because we’d never eaten

il Mulino chicken piccata with fresh peas

il Mulino chicken piccata with fresh peas

there before and the Italian menu had my husband and two guests salivating at the initial reading.

Russ had his favorite Caesar salad. It’s not that it was fancily presented, but the generous portion and spot-on flavors had him forking every last morsel. Two of us had the plump meatballs, ripe with herbs and melt-in-your-mouth flavors. Our guest had the Italian chopped salad, a bountiful array of color and textures.

For dinner, two had the Chicken Piccata. Two large servings of gently sautéed and lightly coated chicken breasts were doused with the tang of lemon, capers and white wine. The emerald green of the fresh al dente peas were a lovely balance. Our guest who ordered the tortellini in a light cream sauce was dismayed that the promised meat stuffing was negligible and the cream sauce a bit rich. I had the grilled salmon, a large serving dotted in cheese and sautéed vegetables.

Flourless chocolate cake, berries, ice cream and mascarpone.

Flourless chocolate cake, berries, ice cream and mascarpone.

We chose all three dessert offerings. Arguably, the tiramisu was a huge portion of creaminess topped by a plethora of chocolate curls without mangling the flavors of the individual components. Lucky me. We each took home most of our desserts because we were all so full by then, and somehow the servers accidentally gave me the tiramisu.

A bounty of grilled salmon

A bounty of grilled salmon

I had chosen the flourless chocolate cake. I have to be fair. It was a tad dry. Two good-sized slices, berries and mascarpone, but after having Capital Grille’s flourless chocolate cake, I’d say the steakhouse wins that round.

My husband ordered the Italian cheesecake. I knew it would be made with ricotta and have a different texture and taste complexity than a New York style cheesecake, but he didn’t understand that. His tongue waited for the dense creaminess of the New York style, so he was disappointed in what he had. Now that he realizes the difference, am sure the tiramisu will be his future choice (if offered) when we venture next year once again to Il Mulino.

If not familiar with Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, it’s an annual event that began this year on August 24 and runs through September 30. Participating restaurants (mostly upscale because this is the slow season for corporate functions) offer a three-course prix fixe meal for $33. One dollar from each meal sold is given to a charity. This year the charity is ELEVATE Orlando, a program whose mission is to provide urban youth with character education and life skills training.

The tiramisu delivered a creamy concoction of flavors. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

The tiramisu delivered a creamy concoction of flavors. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI and is now serving on the 2015 – 2016 MPI Global advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

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