Touchdown! Football Game Day Specials From Solstice Bar & Grille

Let us set the scene…

You’re seated comfortably on a high stool, a tall cold glass of your favorite beer cools your hand as your arm lays comfortably on a bar counter buzzing with activity and conversation. Your senses are overwhelmed by the sweet aroma of spicy buffalo wings wafting through the air as servers deliver baskets of these and other savory bar snacks to fellow bar goers.

Your attention is laser focused on the large high-definition flatscreen several feet in front of you behind the bar and the familiar commentator’s voice you’ve come to alternatively love and resent over the years of dedicated viewing and hard-fought victories and losses on the televised playing field.

It’s the last quarter of a pivotal game, and your favorite team needs to score if they’re going to move forward to the playoffs… and you need several of their players to help make it happen if you’re to have any chance of surviving your fantasy football league. There’s a lot riding on the next several moments. It’s cool and climate-controlled inside, but sweat beads at your temples regardless. You grip your brew and exhale, exhilarated.

It may look, sound, smell and feel like you’re in your favorite local sports bar, as you have been so many times in the past, but you’re not. You’re sitting at Solstice Bar & Grille, and there’s nowhere you’d rather be in the world!

Football season—like vacations themselves in many ways—represent an escape for so many dedicated lifelong fans from routine and monotony of everyday life. That’s why we here at Solstice Bar & Grille have worked so hard to craft an unparalleled football viewing experience that will provide your own personal escape within the escape of your idyllic family vacation at Solara Resort.

Right up to the Super Bowl, Solstice will offer special Football Snack and Bar menus Thursday through Sunday, with unique and varied offerings each day. One special, for example, sports tasty 12 piece wing baskets with your choice of sizzling ghost pepper rub, house fire sauce, tequila lime, island jerk, creamy garlic parmesan, or classic buffalo sauce. You can also try our creative Solstice popcorn flavors or, our personal favorite, the deliciously seasoned, cheesy garlic knots.

On the drink front, Sunday is a beer fan’s dream with $3 drafts of staples like Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and Miller Lite available throughout the day. Bump it up to a $10 pitcher of the same option if you’re here with friends or family and you can really unwind as you watch the game unfold. No matter your selection, our personable and attentive staff will see to your every need as you strike up new friendships over a shared passion for America’s favorite pastime.

We’re here for you! After a long day at one or several of Orlando’s unrivaled theme parks or other similarly thrilling but always exhausting attractions, you’ll love unwinding at Solstice Bar & Grille; it’s a place any vacationing avid football fan, though far from their native watering hole, will feel at home.

Meet Solstice Head Chef Elissa Hayward

Elissa Hayward is the new Head Chef and Kitchen Manager at Solstice Bar & Grille. We sat down with her this week to find out a little more about her past, her passions, and her plans for Solstice.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you grow up? Where are some of the places you worked prior to arriving at Solstice Bar & Grille?

I was born in Florida, and I was raised in Kennesaw, GA. I graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management, and Associates of Science in Culinary Arts as well as an Associates of Science in Baking and Pastry Art.  While going to school, I worked in quite a few higher-end privately owned restaurants. I was very lucky to be able to work at some of the best fine dining restaurants in the city.

I moved to Orlando with an opportunity through Marriott International. I was a part of the Voyager program at the Orlando World Center Marriott working as a Kitchen Manager in many of the outlets on property. After the program, I was offered an opportunity to be the Sous Chef/ Pastry Chef at Root & Branch Bistro + Bar in Clermont, FL. This Chef owned and operated restaurant was a fantastic opportunity to learn all about farm to table initiatives and how to support your local businesses. I am very excited about this new position as Head Chef here at Solstice Bar & Grille!

When did you first realize you had a passion for cooking?

Growing up, I always helped in the kitchen. I loved trying out new recipes with my family and always loved the time my family spent together during the meal. The older I got the more I learned about the similarities and differences in cuisines. And that’s when I knew I wanted to learn about the science behind cooking as well.

What is your favorite dish to prepare? What is your least favorite to make?

My favorite thing to prepare would be fresh pasta. I love making all kinds and experimenting with types I have never made before. I really enjoy the challenge. My least favorite thing to make is mashed potatoes. I’ve had to make them way too many times to count.

Professional kitchens are often characterized as a male-dominated environment. Do you find this to be the case? If so, what advice would you give to young women thinking about entering the culinary field?

Yes, I can vouch that kitchens are very often a male-dominated environment. But it is absolutely an environment where woman can thrive! A piece of advice that I would give young women is this: do not ever let anyone tell you it is not the right place for you. If your passion is cooking and you love being part of the culinary world, then stick to your guns and make it the right place for you.

There will always be challenges for female chefs, and there will always be bully chefs and cooks out there against us, but there will also be people rooting for you as well—male and female! If you’re on the fence, take the leap, we need more females in this industry!

Do you have any professional or personal role models who inspire you?

Yes, someone who I considered to be a mentor throughout my schooling and a lot of my fine dining experience is Chef Nick Tarnate. He took me under his wing, and we ended up working together at multiple fine dining restaurants in Charlotte. We worked well together, and I truly value everything I learned from him. We still stay in touch and I am always blown away by his food.

What’s the biggest challenge in managing a kitchen?

My biggest challenge is that I am a young and female. In the past, there were times where my line cooks doubted my knowledge of food because they have been cooking much longer than I have. I have had to manage employees that openly choose not to acknowledge me or my management title. These are very discouraging traits to come across, especially since I have worked so incredibly hard to be where I am today. I am very lucky to have been handed such fantastic staff here at Solstice Bar & Grille!

What makes working at Solstice special?

Something I have noticed that makes Solstice special is the camaraderie of the staff. Everybody seems to work very well together. It is not very often that the servers and cooks have a positive attitude toward each other. It is very refreshing.

What is your favorite food, musical artist/group and movie?

My favorite food is anything Cajun! I love pretty much anything seafood, as well as spicy food. It’s the perfect combination.

I love music and movies so much it is very hard to narrow down to only one favorite! I love Queen, The Smiths, and Bob Dylan. And my two favorite movies are The Fifth Element and The Shining.

Where is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would be to eat my way through Asia! I find Asian cuisine to be very fascinating and I would be able to learn so much and try so many unique dishes I have never had.

What about the upcoming year at Solstice are you most excited about?

I am the most excited about seeing the results of all the hard work we have been putting in as a team. Since I have started, the management team and I have put a lot of new systems in place. The staff has reorganized and refocused. I have noticed the attention to detail continue to grow as well.

A New Menu For Solstice Bar & Grille

Visitors to our poolside eatery are in for a treat this month.

Solara Resort’s fantastic clubhouse restaurant, Solstice, is releasing a new and improved menu to coincide with the Spring/Summer travel season. The restaurant will now be open until 7 pm and is sporting a new take-out option, allowing more guests to swing by for a bite after a long day enjoying Orlando’s unrivaled attractions. The new menu is extensive, but it’s worth taking the time to preview a few highlights below.

Don’t worry, everyone’s favorite midday snack—the Firecracker Shrimp—are back and zesty as ever! This starter’s sweet and spicy sauce always keeps guests coming back for more, and now Solstice is introducing a counterpart to try alongside it, the brand-new Coconut Shrimp. With a distinctly more tropical taste, the Coconut Shrimp’s new pineapple chili sauce is sure to develop its own dedicated fanbase to parallel the Firecracker Shrimp. Let’s hope the two camps keep civil and form a consensus by ordering a basket of each!

Next up, for lighter—but no less substantial—fare, try our new Luau Salad. This Hawaiian-inspired dish is packed with flavorful greenery like mangos, pineapple, strawberries, tomato, cucumber, red pepper, and cilantro. The chilled Thai peanut glazed chicken makes for the perfect Eastern-style protein, and the sesame ginger dressing coating the entire salad will leave you wanting more.

Another new appetizer option setting the Solara foodie scene ablaze are the Dubliner Rolls. Hearty comfort food that goes great with a tall brew and friend to share them with, these crispy rolls are packed with corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Dijon. With a side of horseradish dipping sauce, our friends from the British Isles in particular will love the way this starter transports you back to your favorite pub across the pond.

Finally, what Floridian food destination would be complete without a slice of key lime pie to finish off a great meal? Solstice does not disappoint when it comes to this classic dessert. A creamy and tart filling, graham cracker crust and whipped cream with raspberry coulis makes this sweet treat one you won’t want to miss.

Returning fan-favorites to Solstice’s new menu include, but are not limited to, 14” hand-tossed pizzas (with a variety of toppings), scrumptious Mahi Tacos and the renowned Club Sandwich—the preference of this writer.

So, what are you waiting for? Come visit the Solstice Bar & Grille, conveniently located at the Solara Resort Clubhouse. You’ll find there’s no better place to stop and refuel before or after an adventurous day on your dream vacation!

Perfectly Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Perfectly Pumpkin Pie

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the talented chefs at Solstice Bar & Grille are sharing their recipe for the perfect pumpkin pie with a Solstice spin!

Graham Cracker Crust
– 2 lbs. Graham Cracker Crumbles
– 1 lb. Sugar
– 10 oz. Soft Butter

Combine ingredients and mix well. Spread mixture evenly onto your pie/baking pan to your desired crust thickness. Bake in oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from heat and let cool.

Pumpkin Filling
– 15 oz. Pumpkin Puree
– 14 oz. Condensed Milk
– 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
– ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
– ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
– 2 Eggs

Mix all ingredients together and pour into your pie crust. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove pie from heat and let cool.*

Whipped Clove Cream
– 1 cup Heavy Cream
– 4 tbsp. Powdered Sugar
– 1 tsp. Vanilla Bean
– ½ tsp. Ground Cloves

In a stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment, start whisking heavy cream on low speed and work up to a high speed without spilling. Add powdered sugar 1 tbsp. at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire. Mix in the ground cloves and then put whipped cream into a piping bag for later use.

Coffee Syrup
– 4 oz Espresso Coffee (Hot)
– 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar

While coffee is still hot, whisk in powdered sugar until it reaches a syrup consistency.

Perfectly Pumpkin Pie
– Pumpkin Pie
– Whipped Clove Cream
– Coffee Syrup

Drizzle coffee syrup directly on plate and place a piece of pie on top. Pipe whipped clove cream onto the pie and you’re done!
*For a little something special, add pieces of pie crust to your filling before baking!

Experience the Flavors of Solstice Bar & Grille

Solstice Bar & Grille

At the heart of the Solara Resort community’s clubhouse is our extraordinary restaurant, Solstice Bar & Grille. Our resident chefs exemplify phenomenal attention to detail with every dish crafted. The menu presents enticing weekly specials as well as classic favorites, with a Solstice twist of course!

The delectable food paired with our Resort’s aesthetic creates the perfect environment to enjoy a relaxing, wholesome meal. For those seeking a lighter fare option, we invite you to the café side of our establishment. Hosting a coffee house feel, many guests choose to enjoy fresh pastries, teas, and snacks from the adjoining pantry shop.

Solstice Bar & Grille offers both indoor and outdoor seating, so you don’t have to miss out on the radiant and warm Central Florida weather. The exterior of our building boasts grand windows overlooking the crisp, refreshing pools from the dining area. Be sure to visit us for dinner to appreciate Florida’s breathtaking sunset!

Perhaps you’d like to enjoy your meal and drinks poolside? Gladly! Our impeccable wait staff will accommodate you at the private cabanas and shaded tables. In addition, our main pool is adjacent to our fully stocked tiki bar, where you can find our full menu as well. No matter which part of Solstice you choose to visit, we’ll be thrilled to serve up an experience that you’ll treasure for a lifetime!

Click through the image gallery below to experience some of the Chef’s Specials we’ve featured at Solstice Bar & Grille: