Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

1187 POSTS 17 COMMENTS
Ricky Ly founded TastyChomps.com in 2008 as a local Orlando food blog dedicated to finding the tastiest bits and pieces of Orlando as well as around the world. His first book, Food Lovers' Guide to Orlando: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings (Food Lovers' Series) is available now on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Photography is taken using a Canon EOS 6D and a Sony Nex-3. E-mail him at tastychomps(at)gmail.com. Google

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Florida-based breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant chain First Watch has recently unrolled a new coffee program, called Project Sunrise, using a new single-origin coffee sourced from women coffee growers in Huila, Colombia.

The coffee program helps support a women-led growers organization called Mujeres en Café in Huila, Colombia.

Traditionally, the coffee growing industry in Colombia has been male-dominated. Due to the country’s decades-long civil conflict, many women in Huila lost their husbands, brothers and sons and have now taken over the family business. Together, they formed Mujeres en Café and embarked on a mission to create sustainable businesses that elevate the lives of their families and improve conditions in their rural communities.

“During our visit to Huila, we met groups of women in several villages who have dedicated their lives to producing great coffee. They are proud of their work and were eager to welcome us into their homes, walk us through their farms and share their stories,” Shane Schaibly, corporate chef and VP of culinary strategy for First Watch, said in an announcement of the new coffee program.

“Each year, we serve more than 8 million cups of coffee in our restaurants. Through Project Sunrise, that gives us 8 million incredible opportunities to support these hard-working women and their families in Huila in 2018.”

The high-quality beans these women grow and harvest in Huila are exported to the U.S. and roasted by the experts at Royal Cup Coffee in Birmingham, Alabama, exclusively for First Watch. The restaurant company pays a premium for these single-origin beans, which will be relayed back to the women farmers in Huila to help improve their quality of life and help facilitate their operations.

Schaibly spent months working with coffee growers and roasters to develop a coffee that would complement the complex dishes, flavors and textures found on the First Watch menu. First Watch’s new Project Sunrise coffee fits the bill – it features a medium body, with hints of cherry, orange, toasted nuts, honey, milk chocolate and caramel, which makes for an ideal complement to First Watch’s variety of fresh breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes.

For more information on First Watch’s Project Sunrise, visit blog.firstwatch.com.

We were recently invite to try some of the new coffee at First Watch as well as sample some seasonal dishes like the millionaire’s bacon, four slices of hardwood smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle, and the cinnamon chip panacake. I enjoyed their new coffee, particularly the rich depth of flavor that complimented the dishes well.

Coconut milk chia seed pudding with fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. Served with whole grain artisan toast topped with almond butter and Maldon sea salt.
Coconut milk chia seed pudding with fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. Served with whole grain artisan toast topped with almond butter and Maldon sea salt.
Millionaire’s Bacon
Avocado Toast
Cinnamon Chip Pancake

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“Where the Locals Eat”

Known as one of the best places for breakfast in Jacksonville, winning multiple accolades, Metro Diner has finally expanded further into the Orlando area near the always brunch-happy UCF area in East Orlando. The first Central Florida is in Altamonte Springs.

Founded in Jacksonville in 1992, over 25 years ago, Metro Diner specializes in breakfast specials and comfort diner food and was recently featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. Let the flavor town train roll on!

On a recent visit, the place was packed with local professionals in from the cold on their lunch breaks. People love breakfast and brunch in Orlando and there seems to be more and more options each day.

I ordered their signature Fried Chicken and Waffle – the fried chicken was nice and crispy, but the waffle was the real star – light and fluffy yet also with a nice crisp. The strawberry butter was also a wonderful touch to this sweet and savory dish.


Fried Chicken & Waffle $15.49
Half a fried chicken and a Belgian waffle, topped with powdered sugar and sweet, strawberry butter. Served with their special honey tabasco, sweet and spicy sauce.


Metro Diner
11650 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817
https://metrodiner.com/locations/florida/orlando-university/

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I was born and raised in Palm Beach County so have many memories of Jon Smith Subs growing up. They were the mom and pop corner sub shop where I lived. I was excited to hear that they have finally made their way up to Orlando (though all the way out in Oviedo) and dropped by during the opening recently.

The first Jon Smith shop opened in 1988 in Palm Beach County, FL serving up their signature marinated grilled sirloin steak and real chicken breast subs.

I ordered the Steak Bomb –  Sirloin steak, Grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes & provolone. My sub was quite delicious – the bread was fresh as was the steak. I think next time I’ll try their traditional steak with cheese and forgo the other ingredients – ok maybe I’ll keep the bacon.

The manager/owner was in, a Oviedo native, greeting and welcoming each family and patron entering the shop – it was quite the welcome sight.

Jon Smith Subs – Oviedo
3607 Aloma Ave, Oviedo, FL 32765
https://jonsmithsubs.com/locations/oviedo-fl/
Mon-Sat 10:00am-9:00pm
Sun Closed

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Winter, brief it may be, has arrived to Central Florida with the latest frosty blasts covering most of our region this past week.

The Spanish-inspired Bulla Gastrobar has recently debuted their Winter Menu, featuring savory, hearty dishes that will certainly warm any foodie’s appetite this winter.

Here is the menu:

Sabores de Invierno
Winter Menu

Padrones Rellenos $8 – Shishito peppers stuffed with Mahon cheese, encrusted with panko crumbs and a spicy tomato dipping sauce

Caldo Gallego $8 – Galician Soup, White beans, pork shank, chorizo, kale

Piquillos a la Vizcaina $11 – Ground beef and pork stuffed piquillo peppers, bechamel sauce, black currants

Lechon Asado $23 – Slow Roasted Pig, Pork Demi, Panadera Potatoes

Chuletas de Cordero $23 – Lamb Chops, Honey Beer Reduction, Kale, Potato Foam

Some of my favorites from the menu included the:

Padrones rellenos, crunchy panko crusted, stuffed shisito peppers filled with mahon cheese – each bite oozes with warm cheese – perfect.

The Piquillos a la Vizcaina, stuffed piquillo peppers were both savory and sweet – savory from the ground beef and pork and bechamel cheese sauce but also a touch of sweetness from the black currant reduction and nutty sliced almonds.

If you are a fan of lamb chops, try the chuletas de cordero – subtly sweet from honey reduction, it’s a hearty dish with delicate potato foam and crispy kale.

My absolute favorite on the menu is the lechon asado, thrice cooked slow roasted pig with a pork demi sauce and panadera potatoes – thick and juicy, the pork just melts in your mouth with the crispy pork skin is a fantastic treat.

The menu lasts all winter until March so visit soon!

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
bullagastrobar.com

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Had a truly delicious lunch today at Sticky Rice Lao Street Food!

Located on the first floor of Bikkuri in Mills 50, the owners of Sticky Rice has transformed the small restaurant into something resembling an outdoor Laotian night market stall with dark ceilings and low, wooden tables.

The menu is very affordable with most dishes ranging from $4 to $5, perfect sizes for sharing over Laotian beers with friends if one chooses. You’d be tempted to order the whole menu. It reminded me of places my uncles would go to enjoy grilled meats and beers (they serve BeerLao here!) late into the night growing up.

Alot of the food had flavors that reminded me of my childhood, though Vietnam is a neighbor of Laos there are some similarities as well as differences in the cuisine. I loved the char on the grilled chicken wings seasoned in fish sauce and sugar, and the crispy pork rice lettuce wrap which had little crunchy bits and pieces of roast pork.

chicken laab
papaya salad – spicy!
cucumber salad – also spicy!
grilled wings
crispy rice with pork

It’s important to note that the sticky rice order is meant to be eaten with other dishes such as the pork sausages or beef jerky rather than alone – making a perfect combo of carbs and meat. They also had a delicious noodle soup that reminded me of Vietnamese banh canh or udon noodle soup called khao piek sen.

Beef jerky

khao piek sen noodle soup

Another favorite was the pork tapioca dumplings, sticky chewy white balls of tapioca stuffed with crispy pork and garlic!

pork tapioca dumplings

Save room for dessert like the sweet pandan jelly in coconut milk, mango sticky rice, and coconut gelato on purple sticky rice served inside bamboo. We dunked our sticky rice in the sweet coconut milk for that extra sweetness.

Overall very impressed by the food and the authenticity of flavors at Sticky Rice – definitely will bring my family back here to try.

Go soon and with friends and enjoy Orlando’s first and only Laotian street food restaurant!

They are open 11:30am to 10:00pm daily.

Sticky Rice Lao Street Food
1915 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida
https://www.facebook.com/pg/StickyRiceStreetFood

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In a world where the customer is always right, is it no wonder that the chipotle style concept where guests get to customize and choose their own ingredients has become more and more popular?

Located in far flung Oviedo/Winter Springs – at the southwest intersection of Tuscawilla and Red Bug Lake – is Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowl. It’s a chipotlified version of a poke joint where you can order your various raw fish topped with items such as avocado, fried onion chips, mango,  and more all on top of rice and a drizzle of sauce. They slice their fish fresh daily just like they do in the islands and it shows in the taste of the bowl. It’s a small place but the freshness in poke fish is critical for obvious reasons and in this regard Big Kahuna shines.

Make sure to save room for the insane $6 Pineapple Dole Whip Float, it’s essentially a pineapple soft serve paradise served inside a pineapple. Don’t worry they give you straws and spoons so you can dig at it.

Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowl
1450 Tuskawilla Rd #108 · (407) 543-3700
http://www.bigkahunasbowls.com/

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Mai’s Bistro is a new fast casual restaurant that has opened up in Orlando’s Mills 50 District, specializing in Vietnamese street food such as banh mi, Vietnamese sticky rice, and banh cuon rice crepes. They bake their own bread and sweets and make everything in house.

On a recent visit, I loved their banh cuon rice crepes and their variety of both sweet and savory Vietnamese sticky rice (xoi). You could get bbq roast pork, chinese sausage, or shredded chicken for savory sticky rice and jackfruit for sweet sticky rice. They bake their bread from scratch on site and their grilled pork banh mi is one of the best i have had. Their staff was very friendly and hospitable. Will try again soon and update!

Mai’s Bistro in Mills 50
830 E Colonial Dr A, Orlando, FL 32803
Menu: maibistrousa.com
Phone: (407) 730-8538

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Pizzeria Roberti can be found tucked in a small corner on the east side of Orlando, off of Curry Ford and Chicksaw Trail.

Here you will find one of the best pizzas in Orlando – from the crispy, tasty house-fermented crust to the house-made mozzarella cheese, Pizzeria Roberti is the real deal.

Joseph Roberti, owner and chef of Pizzeria Roberti, takes a lot of pride in his work and it shows through the quality of the food here.

Roberti tells us, “Our pizza on the surface is a New York Style Pizza, but underneath it is much more complex than that. In reality it is a combination of Artisan style pizza, Neapolitan style pizza, and traditional New York style pizza.”

“Our dough is made from cultivated yeast produced in house similar to the production of artisan sourdough breads (Artisan characteristic). Our sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and less than a handful of all fresh ingredients (Neapolitan characteristic). We bake our pies in a traditional bakers pride pizza oven (New York characteristic), but we cook them at a high heat between 550 and 575 degrees Fahrenheit (similar to a Neapolitan characteristic). Our cheese is a combination whole milk and part-skim Grande Mozzarella (New York characteristic).”

Specialty – Breakfast Pizza – topped with egg, chives, ham, bacon, cheese

“Every ingredient of our specialty pies is produced in house. Our specialty slice pies are often garnished to order not unlike a dish coming out of a high end restaurant. And that is just the pizzas. We also have beer, wine, salads (all dressings made in house), subs, appetizers (such as our homemade fresh mozzarella), pastas (all sauces made in house), and vast catering menu. We are off to a great start in developing our concept and look forward to continually evolve as we grow.

Panko Crusted Mozzarella “Sticks”

“As a kid my father used to take me to a local pizza shop a few days a week and the cooks used to teach me little things here and there. By the age of 8 or 9 I made my first slice pie. Fast forward a bit to 14, I was now living in Orlando, Fl, and about to start high school. I was looking to get started in my cooking career and I got my shot at a neighborhood pizzeria & bar. I started as a prep cook, then learned the hot line, then pizza station, and even serving from time to time.”

Brined and Fried Chicken Wings with Garlic, Parmesan Cheese – Divine

“I liked my job but had ambitions for more, I wanted to pursue a career as a professional chef. As soon as I got my license I took a job on I-drive as a dishwasher in a much bigger and more known restaurant. It was a step backward, but it was also a foot in the door with a successful brand. Fast forward again about 3 years, I worked at few spots around Orlando, most notably the Citrus Club under chef Scott Haegele, and went to culinary school.”

“Upon graduating culinary school I decided to go back to New York to learn how to transition from a cook to a chef. I got my shot, this time with accomplished chef Hung Huynh who took me under his wing, trained me, and gave me the exposure and opportunity to work with many great culinarians.”

“Fast Forward another 4 years, I’m living in Miami, at this point a chef myself running various kitchens. In 2015 I created a company “Motion Hospitality Group” as a hospitality consulting business, with the intention of one day opening a place of my own. Fast Forward to today where Motion Hospitality Group currently owns and operates its first restaurant concept: “Pizzeria Roberti”.”

What are your first childhood food memories?

One of my first memories with food was when I was around 5 or 6, my parents weren’t home and my brother was watching me. He must have fallen asleep or something, and I made an apple omelet. The first thing I have ever cooked by my memory.

What are some of your favorite dishes at Pizzeria Roberti?

My favorite dishes at the pizzeria are the pesto & margherita pizzas, chicken marsala with farfalle pasta, and the pizza dough zeppoles.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

My Favorite thing to eat at home is Mom’s Lasagna.

Housemade meatballs – tender, braised, crisp on the outside

The Sauce

“Our pizza sauce consists of a combination of San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and all fresh ingredients including fresh herbs and garlic. San Marzano tomatoes are known for their natural sweetness and low acidity.”

The Dough

“Our dough is made in house with our specially cultivated yeast, which is fermented on premise. This is an important characteristic of our dough because it creates a more robust flavor and the natural fermentation of our dough, makes it healthier and more digestible.”

Zeppoli

Pizzeria Roberti
Address: 2751 S Chickasaw Trail Suite 107, Orlando, FL 32829
https://pizzeriaroberti.com

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Outback Steakhouse, the Tampa-based Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant chain, has recently moved from its original Oviedo spot down the street to a new location just across the way from Sushi Pop. It was previously the location for Bojangles Fried Chicken.

One of their newest dishes is: Big Aussie Bloom

NEW Address: 215 W Mitchell Hammock Rd, Oviedo, FL 32765

Mon-Thu: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Fri-Sat: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
Sun: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
for more info, visit:
https://www.outback.com/locations/fl/oviedo

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Lobster tacos

I’ve been a fan of Duffy’s since I was young, growing up in South Florida where the chain is quite prevalent, well-known for their tasty wings and sports bar atmosphere. They recently opened up a few restaurants here in Orlando and invited us to check out their new seasonal menu. My favorite was the Oktoberfest inspired fried pork schnitzel!

Here’s a quick look at the new Seasonal Features + Fun Cocktails at Duffy’s Sports Grill (Address: 315 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32828)

Their Lobster Tacos, Tequila Lime Steak Tacos, Jumbo Lump Crab Macaroni & Cheese and Blazin’ BBQ Cheeseburger are the newest specialty features on their football menu.

Blazin’ BBQ Cheeseburger includes: 1/2 lb. char-grilled Certified Angus Beef® with signature Jack Daniels® Single Barrel BBQ sauce, pepper-jack cheese, hot bacon and hot bacon jam, grilled onion, pepper-crusted bacon and house-made burger sauce on a toasted King’s Hawaiian® roll with choice of one side.

Lobster tacos

 

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with Avocado

New menu item on the regular menu includes:

New York Reuben, featuring ½ lb. shaved corned beef with sauerkraut and swiss cheese on grilled rye bread.
Homemade Meatloaf- made from scratch daily, while supplies last.
Mussels Marinara

 

New cocktails include:

Southern Sling, featuring Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Banana Liqueur and Bitters
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select, a special barrel selected just for Duffy’s with subtle notes of caramel and spice with bright fruit notes and sweet aromatics. Served neat or on the rocks

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These Dixie Vodka cocktail recipes can all be prepared in large batches or in single-serve portions, and are sure to become new holiday favorites that your guests will love and remember.


Dixie Autumn Shandy
*can be made in single-serve portion or in a large batch

1.0 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
1.5 oz. cranberry juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
2-4 oz. dry hard cider

Combine first three ingredients in a shaker tin over ice. Hard shake and pour into rocks glass with one large ice cube. Top with cider and serve.

Beauregard’s Buck
*can be made in single-serve portion or in a large batch

1.5 oz. Dixie Southern Vodka
.5 oz. Dixie Mint Vodka
0.5 oz. lemon juice
4 to 6 oz. ginger beer
Squeeze lemons juice into a Collins glass (or Moscow Mule mug) and drop in the spent shell. Add 2 or 3 ice cubs, pour in both vodkas and fill the glass with ginger beer. Stir.


Southern Charm
*can be made in single-serve portion or in a large batch

Fill shaker with ice; add:
2 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
3 cucumber slices
2 oz. apple cider
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 mint leaves

Shake; pour in ice-filled glass. Top with tonic. Garnish with cucumber slice.

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Maitland City Centre, the $68 million, mixed-use development, open-air Festival Marketplace facing the park, where “shoppers and diners can stroll among fresh produce, bakery goods, specialty food shops, prepared foods and casual dining.”

The Spindrift Concepts Food Hall, a 4,593-square-foot food hall led by Dovecote Chef Clayton Miller, first announced as a tenant for the City Centre in February 2017, recently released the below statement on pulling back from the project.

PRESS RELEASE:

“When Brian Grandstaff of Millenia Partners envisioned the downtown Maitland City Centre project during the conceptual phase he desired a community driven aspect; a gathering place where families and friends would come together. The concept evolved in 2015 to be a Chef Driven Food Hall with the assistance of brokers/consultants Mary Ashy and Maria Bonomo. Although at the time Food Halls were spreading from coast to coast like wildfire the idea was new to the area.

Once the concept was vetted and the location in Maitland was determined to be an ideal fit based on its demographics and lack of foodie competition, the team then brought in Chef Clayton Miller to start assembling a lineup of the most highly regarded local independent operators. The team spent years assembling the culinary dream team and planning to bring this concept to Central Florida visiting food halls from coast to coast and internationally, including Eataly Dubai, Chicago & NYC, St Roch New Orleans, Krog Street Market Atlanta, Swans Market Oakland, The Conservatory Houston, City Kitchen NYC, and so on).

Recently Maitland has been exploding with new development activity with many new projects hitting the market at the same time. Given the current landscape of upcoming restaurant and retailers, the Spindrift Food Hall team had to reconsider the sustainability of the project due to oversaturation. The team is disappointed to have to step back from the Maitland City Centre project but is not discouraged. They know the Food Hall concept is here to stay and are considering other urban infill projects with critical mass here in Central Florida. They look forward to supporting local talent here in our back yard and providing the gathering place that was originally envisioned. “

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The Glass Knife finally opens this Friday November 10th from 7am to 10pm at 276 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL , right across the way from Hillstone Restaurant.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque.

The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, and The Walt Disney Company.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives.

From classic cakes to craft coffee (from Onyx Coffee Lab) to artisanal doughnuts and savory dishes like avocado egg toast, The Glass Knife is sure to please. My favorite was the red velvet cake, silky smooth and sumptuous, and definitely one of the best red velvet cakes I have ever had.

Here is a sneak peek inside The Glass Knife:

 

From The Glass Knife:

The Glass Knife is inspired by a loving mother and hobbyist baker whose talents transformed her culinary passion into a creative profession. Fostered through a collection of family and friends, the recipes shared during these time-honored baking sessions are the nostalgic basis for what will come to life within The Glass Knife.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque, and his vision to establish a sophisticated, yet comfortable community gathering place that encourages togetherness and celebration. The location’s design will tell a story that brings its guests back to a specific moment in time, whether through the delicious cakes and pastries, savory faire or the artfully displayed collection of 1920s era glass cake knives which were a treasured collection of Brown’s mother and serve as the origin of its name.

Under the direction and deft hand of Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for some of the country’s premiere hospitality brands (Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, The Walt Disney Company), The Glass Knife plans to make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene by providing its guests with world-class food and service, presented within a refined, yet approachable, environment.

The Glass Knife will offer a variety of stunningly delicious cake options including its Classics, which will embrace timeless family favorites like Red Velvet, Carrot and Coconut cakes, all with Chef Stuart’s modern twist. The Glass Knife Signatures will be created as one-of-a-kind, patisserie-style cakes, that will bring a refined selection of celebratory sweets to Winter Park. Chef Stuart will craft a lineup of artisanal donuts including melt-in-your-mouth versions of Lemon Meringue Pie and Peanut Butter Cup. A variety of additional fresh baked goods and pastries including scones, croissants, and cookies will also be featured.

Recognizing that nothing goes better with dessert than a great cup of coffee and setting the stage to become Winter Park’s premier coffee destination, The Glass Knife will use carefully sourced, fair-trade beans prepared by expert baristas within a unique and engaging serving experience that will utilize stylish and sophisticated technology.

Those looking to combine both sweet and savory will not be disappointed by the café’s offerings, which will include breakfast fare along with soup, salads and sandwiches, plus heartier choices like chicken pot pie alongside a selection of craft beer and fine wine.

“Our cuisine will focus on seasonal, responsibly and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, that will evoke familiar family recipes handed down over time, but created with our culinary team’s unique twist and presentation,” said Chef Stuart. “While we hesitate to call ourselves a bakery, as we will deliver a more complete dining experience, we do envision that our elevated line of cakes, pastries and baked goods will stand on their own.”

The nearly 3,000-square-foot café will include both indoor seating and a covered patio with surroundings inspired by an English garden. The exterior, with its black, gold and pink motif, will conjure up the image of a pastry box, just waiting to be opened. The interior will showcase the founder’s inspiration for a place where the past meets the present, with clean lines, terrazzo floors and intricate attention to detail.

“It is our vision to bring a truly unique experience to Winter Park with a standout offering that features the perfect combination of sweet and savory,” said Brown. “Whether it’s where you start your morning, close out your evening or celebrate a special moment with family and friends, our hope is for The Glass Knife to be as familiar and welcoming as mom’s own kitchen table.”

The Glass Knife, coming to Winter Park this Fall, is bringing elegant decadence to new heights with the introduction of its Signature Cakes collection.

These modern, patisserie-style desserts – hand-crafted by Chef Stuart and team – are known as “entremets.” The Glass Knife’s entremets feature layers of velvety mousse, delicate cake and luxurious fillings, forming a harmonious mix of indulgent flavors and unexpected textures.

Each Signature Cake boasts a unique flavor profile and is finished with The Glass Knife’s signature golden touch (hi-res images are available for download here):

Florida Citrus: Intricate layers of soft and airy yellow sponge cake, zesty orange marmalade, delicate orange blossom-scented pistachio dacquoise, and aromatic orange pâte de fruit enveloped in lush white chocolate mousse finished in a vibrant orange hue with a dusting of gold luster, white chocolate crisp pearls and an edible 23-karat gold-leafed orange slice.

Chocolate Truffle: Tiers of luxurious single origin dark chocolate mousse, silky dark chocolate ganache and smooth chocolate biscuit encased in a gleaming cocoa and gold luster glaçage, adorned with an opulent chocolate lotus flower and truffles.

Berry St. Honoré: Fluffy strawberry cake intertwined with bright raspberry pâte de fruit, zesty lemon curd and house-made strawberry jam veiled in a light vanilla bean white chocolate mousse topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, our signature chocolate curl and subtle golden luster.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield’s southern roots inspired his love of the culinary arts. The vibrant epicurean culture of his hometown provided a traditional backdrop for his food and family focused upbringing. His fondest childhood memories are of gathering around the dining room table with loved ones for a home-cooked meal. With 15 years of professional experience, Chef Stuart has fine-tuned his craft for creating crave-worthy breads, chocolates, cakes, pastries, decadent desserts and savory sensations. He has always been devoted to the philosophy that good food brings people together, creates everlasting bonds and memories to be shared time and time again.

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, Chef Stuart went on to hone his cooking skills at the Four Seasons, Le Cirque, Jovia, and David Burke & Donatella in New York City. Venturing from the Big Apple to the Sunshine State, Chef Stuart found a home at Walt Disney World Resort. He was on the gastronomic task force for the launch of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship and played a pivotal role as a member of the opening team for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. He also lent his expertise in creating the exquisite confections offered at the famed Victoria & Albert’s and added his own creative flair to the magic of the menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant. Chef Stuart was most recently part of the team behind the sweet sensations at Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs.

Chef Stuart is thrilled to showcase The Glass Knife as part of Orlando’s ever-evolving food scene. This concept will add yet another layer of sophistication to the city’s growing reputation as a premiere dining destination, right in the heart of Winter Park. Dedicated to giving guests a comfortable, yet elevated experience, The Glass Knife will feature all of the ingredients of a cosmopolitan eatery enveloped in an approachable ambiance with outstanding service.

Steve Brown’s business-savvy mind and his passion for baking are the driving forces behind his lifelong dream of opening The Glass Knife, a patisserie and café dedicated to providing its guests with an elevated, memorable experience, featuring a stunning array of decadent cakes and confections, exemplary artisanal coffee and a selection of savory fare. This vision is inspired by Brown’s childhood memories of baking alongside his beloved mother, Jacque, and the love that came from those cherished experiences.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives. Handed down through the family, this treasured collection of delicate and iridescently beautiful knives will be artfully displayed throughout the café.

Brown, a Winter Park, FL resident, received his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta and graduated with a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Throughout his illustrious career, serving in a variety of executive roles, Brown gained invaluable experience in pricing strategy, fulfillment operations, financial management and leadership. Combined with his passion and dedication to providing the very best guest experience, Brown’s vision will soon make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene.

Brown’s goal is to bring a one-of-a-kind gathering place to the community, providing guests with a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, to spend time with friends and loved ones. Learn more about his vision at www.TheGlassKnife.com.

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**Sponsored Post**

Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise that serves high quality and fresh southwestern food at 700+ locations nationwide with an extensive variety of menu items to please the entire family – from burritos to specialty items like quesadillas, nachos and stacks!

Moe’s Southwest Grill’s Tour de Burrito traveling restaurant — housed inside a mobile dining truck — will offer guests the chance to experience how their fresh ingredients are made in-house at Moe’s.

They will be in Orlando on November 9th. Claim your spot at the Tour de Burrito pop-up kitchen – seats are available but limited and going quickly: https://moes.timetap.com/


• Tour locations:
o November 2-3 NYC: 395 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
o November 6-7 Atlanta: Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30363
o November 9 Orlando: Harbor Park, 4990 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
o November 10 Tampa: 701 N Marion Street, Tampa, FL 33602

The pop up experience will be prepping new seasonal salsas, grilling all-natural proteins, and chopping fresh veggies Moe’s style– from slicing, dicing and spicing. Moe’s ingredients are made in house at every restaurant, every day. Seasonal salsas on their salsa bar, pico de gallo and even their tortilla chips are made in house.

Each day, Moe’s “roadies” cook all-natural proteins on the grill and chop nearly 25,000 pounds of tomatoes, 10,000 pounds of onions, and almost 3,000 pounds of jalapenos and cilantro across their 700 restaurants.

To showcase the daily preparation of these fresh ingredients, they are touring this pop up experience to allow fans to see, touch, smell and taste what goes into making their Moe’s favorites.

Claim your spot at the Tour de Burrito pop-up kitchen – seats are available but limited and going quickly: https://moes.timetap.com/

Moe’s Southwest Grill
#madeatmoes
http://instagram.com/moessouthwestgrill
https://www.facebook.com/MoesSouthwestGrill
www.Moes.com

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Mills 50 will be home to a new bubble tea shop starting this December. Known for its cotton candy topped bubble tea and other innovative twists to the traditional Taiwanese drink, ViVi Bubble Tea will be located next to Chuan Lu Garden on East Colonial, joining other bubble tea shops such as longtime mainstay Chewy Boba Company and Bubbles and Ice in the Mills 50 District.

From Sam Lau, co-owner of ViVi Bubble Tea:

“I am proud to announce that I have partnered up with a good friend of mine from Hong Kong to bring ViVi Bubble Tea [ A very popular Taiwanese milk tea company with a twist that has been featured by Business Insider ] to Mills 50 District, Orlando. Its located right on the corner of Mills Ave and 50; next to Chuan Lu, & across the street from Little Saigon. Construction is already underway as we speak. We are looking to open up by the end of December. We hope to see you all very soon!”

ViVi Bubble Tea
1111 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida 32803
https://www.facebook.com/ViViBubbleTeaMills50/?hc_location=ufi

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The First Lao Restaurant in Central Florida is set to open fall 2017

In a press release today,Soupa Saiyan owner and head chef, Marshall Phanthachit, is unveiling his latest venture, Sticky Rice.

The first of its kind, Sticky Rice, will be taking over the 1,500 square foot space once occupied by Pho 407 (and Bikkuri Sushi’s original location before moving upstairs) at 1915 East Colonial Drive.

The restaurant anticipates to open its doors November 2017.

Phanthachit and Sticky Rice co-chef Kevin Phanhvilay want to introduce Lao food to the culinary world.

“Growing up, I’ve always been proud of my culture and Laotian heritage,” Phanthachit says.

Laos is a landlocked Southeastern country neighboring Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

“Many people are either unfamiliar with Laos food, or confuse it with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. Opening up Sticky Rice is a catalyst to help put Lao food on the map, while also distinguishing it as its own.”

Patrons can expect authentic Lao street food such as Lao chicken wings, papaya salad, sticky rice, and beef laab salad. Sticky Rice hopes to provide a genuine Lao dining experience in a quick, casual atmosphere with tapas-style, reasonably priced small plates under $10.

Sticky Rice will be open for lunch, dinner, and possibly late night with dine-in and takeout options.

Lao food is distinctly its own flavor with the help of staple ingredients like galangal (closely related to ginger), padaek (traditional Lao condiment made from pickled or fermented fish that has been cured), kaffir lime, and of course the Lao signature dish: sticky rice, which is uniquely Lao, present at almost every meal, and meant to be eaten with your hands.

In fact, the Lao eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world.

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On October 22nd, at 6:30pm, 7 Pastry Chefs from 11 Central Florida restaurants came together for a historic dessert tasting experience! Savory bites were provided by The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria.

The participating chefs were:

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40
Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Esther Rodriguez-The Ravenous Pig
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

Here are images from the first annual Pastry in the Park by Sue Chin of The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria


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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando released a poll to vote for Orlando’s signature dish.

Honey is the key ingredient, an important choice not only due to our region’s abundance of honey flavors, particularly orange blossom, but also because of the critical role bees play in our ecosystem in pollinating our local crops.

In 2016 alone, the state produced 17 million pounds of honey and 500 new beekeepers register every year — many in Central Florida.

In recent years, bee populations have decreased as much as 45 percent due to a mysterious disease called colony collapse disorder, caused by a combination of destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use.

There has been some critique that most signature dishes from cities evolve over time – think Chicago – style deep dish pizza or the Philly Cheesesteak. Some say this is an inorganic and forced measure – you just know it if it is Orlando’s signature dish.

I think with time, Orlando will find its signature dish on its own, certainly. When that might happen – who knows – but in the mean time, I think it is fine to have these competitions which brings much needed attention to our local growing food scene, particularly outside of the theme parks. We know it might not be “the” signature dish, but it’s a start.

The competition is open to all Orlando restaurant chefs with a license to serve food.

Vote for your favorite local Orlando “honey” themed dish by Nov. 3 at: Visitorlando.com/dish

The winner will be presented at the Visit Orlando luncheon on December 7th.

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Orlando Chef-proprietor Sean “Sonny” Nguyen of Domu at East End Market has been chosen as a semi-finalist to compete this month in the New York qualifying competition for the Washoku World Challenge, a cooking contest in which Japanese cuisine chefs from all over the world compete in technical expertise and passion for Japanese food.

The contest, the 5th of its kind, is organized by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for non-Japanese chefs. Chefs must be of non-Japanese nationality with experience in cooking Japanese cuisine AND over 2 years of experience as a chef (current place of residence can be any country, including Japan).

Qualifying tournaments will be held in six cities worldwide (London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo). The six chefs who pass the qualifiers will be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Tokyo on February 13th and 14th, 2018.

The number of Japanese restaurants located overseas has drastically increased by approximately 60% from an estimated 55,000 in 2013 to 89,000 by July 2015.

However, in some of these Japanese restaurants located overseas, there are some cases wherein chefs without appropriate knowledge and skills regarding Japanese cuisine engage in preparing meals.

The Washoku organizers, backed by the Japanese government, have created guidelines to make sure Japanese cuisine created by foreign chefs is prepared with the appropriate knowledge and skill.

Chef Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, has been training with the help of a Japanese masterchef in New York as well as advisement from friend and fellow chef Mark Berdin of Kadence. He has been learning how to make soba noodles by hand and Japanese cuisine in general once or twice a month in New York along with a lot of personal practice and self training.

“The application process was tough and they only select a certain amount of chefs around the world based on their recipes and skill, in which I just found out yesterday that I was chosen to move forward to the NYC competition!” said Sonny Nguyen.

For the qualifying competition, Chef Nguyen had to create a recipe for his own unique dashi soup and a kaiseki appetizer box containing 5 specific Japanese techniques of cooking.

“I think this is a big deal for us here in Orlando, especially if I advance further (not holding my breathe lol) but also because I want to represent our city and put us on the map, even if I don’t place,” Sonny said.

The competition will be judged by Michelin rated Japanese kaiseki chefs with media and live tv coverage to Japan of the cooking competition events in New York.

Kaiseki is focused on simple, clean, umami flavors and is very seasonal.”

The theme of this year’s competition is umami flavor. In Japan, the technique of extracting umami from kombu kelp and bonito flakes to create dashi broth was developed approximately 500 years ago. The basic dashi is made with kombu and bonito flakes. The combination of the glutamic acid in kombu and the inosinic acid in bonito flakes create a delicious umami taste.

For the competition, chefs had to create one suimono soup (with at least three ingredients) reflecting the UMAMI theme, made with fish or shellfish, vegetables, and citrus or sprout of an aromatic plant.

Chefs also had to create one fuchidaka mori (with at least five dishes) reflecting the UMAMI theme, including nimono (simmered foods), yakimono (grilled foods), agemono (deep-fried foods), aemono (marinated foods)/sunomono (foods dressed with vinegar), and arrange attractively in the fuchidaka. Fuchidaka is not the name of a dish or a meal, rather it is the name of the container itself (think bento box).

Contestants in the qualifying competition will compete on:

1. Test of cooking technique (basic knife skills) – 30 minutes
Basic knife skills:
One 15cm long daikon radish
Techniques tested:
– Daikon katsura muki 30cm
– Daikon ken for roughly three people
– Daikon wagiri, shikishi giri, tanzaku giri
2. Suimono (for five people) – 90 minutes
Contestants will be asked to cook the recipe they have submitted for the application screening. The soup must use dashi made from kombu kelp and bonito flakes.

Below are some photos from Chef Nguyen’s submission:

If he wins in the qualifying tournament, Chef Nguyen will:

– Be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Japan
– Be able to participate in Japanese cooking seminars in Japan
– Have the chance to apply for the Certification of Cooking Skills for Japanese Cuisine in Foreign Countries (Bronze)
– Be covered by international media

In the mean time, besides preparing for this tournament, Chef Nguyen is getting ready to open his second ramen shop, Domu in Jacksonville, and who knows what else is in the works.

Sonny Nguyen: “My end goal is to specialize in making noodles. Ramen, udon, soba, all by hand since the technique is rare nowadays and is really an art that goes beyond measurements. It’s about full body movement, feel, and smell.”

“The chef I’m training with has been making soba by hand for over 10 years and learned from his teacher in Tokyo who was 90 years old at the time, making him his last student.”

“We use high quality buckwheat flour that is stone milled by hand in Seattle to make the soba noodles. Pretty expensive stuff but smells great. Plus buckwheat is good for you.”

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On October 22nd, at 6:30pm, 7 Pastry Chefs from 11 Central Florida restaurants will come together for a dessert tasting experience!

Savory bites will be provided by The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria.

The participating chefs are:

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40
Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Esther Rodriguez-The Ravenous Pig
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

Tickets can be obtained by calling The Osprey Tavern at 407-960-7700

We spoke with Kristy Carlucci, pastry chef for The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria, to gain more insight about the upcoming event, the first event featuring and highlighting some of Orlando’s finest pastry chefs.

TastyChomps: How did Pastry in the Park come about?

Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci: I had heard of other cities doing a “pastry-centric” tasting menu where pastry chefs get together and create an amazing experience. I knew we have some extremely talented pastry chefs in Central Florida and felt certain that a great event could come together with their help.


Amanda McFall-Urbain 40 – Tropical Sundae Deluxe – Toasted coconut gelato, rum soaked angel food cake, caramel sauce & pink peppercorn spiced pineapple.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

To shine a light on the restaurants that have a dedicated pastry program. There’s many places that either buy in their desserts or it gets dumped off on one of the line cooks, but Central Florida has real pastry talent. There’s so many fantastic bakeries that get a lot of (well deserved) love, but it’s time for the ones in the restaurants to get their “just desserts”–pun intended!

 

What is something most people don’t know about the pastry chef profession?

That it’s intense! One misconception is that we are wearing cute aprons and baking cupcakes and cookies all day. It is a lot of time management, exact calculations, early mornings, trial and errors, organization, having an artistic eye, fighting for your own space in those tiny kitchens…
Restaurant pastry chefs also save the day–think of all those free desserts that are given out!

Tell us about your background and training and experience.

I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2008. Since then, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant at the CIA, spent time with boutique chocolatiers and bakers, oversaw 2 restaurants at The Greenbrier Resort in WV, and was Pastry Chef de Cuisine at Cask & Larder. I’ve worked for some of the top chefs in America, and fortunate enough to create and present desserts for many celebrities, athletes, and politicians. In addition to being the Pastry Chef at The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria, I also instruct at Valencia College in the Baking & Pastry program.

What are your favorite dishes to bake right now?

I’m in full fall mode! I love the warm spices associated with the season. Right now we have a warm apple cake with spiced caramel ice cream on our Osprey menu and it’s my favorite. My dessert for Pastry in the Park is an homage to the wonderful produce that autumn brings. At home, my 5 year old loves to bake, so we have been making banana bread and will be making pumpkin muffins soon.

What are the most popular pastries right now at your restaurants?

Chocolate is always king! Our chocolate almond torte is very decadent, and that’s what the chocolate lovers are looking for. For Sunday brunch, we have our Pastry Trolley, which features not just breakfast pastries, but also macarons, cakes, and other sweet treats. It’s very popular and we sell out almost every Sunday!

 

Pastry in the Park
A Dessert Tasting Experience
Menu

Amanda McFall – Urbain 40
Tahini Custard, Orange Blossom Figs, Almond Granite
Pairing:

Amy Gilbert – Canvas Restaurant
Mulled Red Wine Pear Galette, Citrus Mascarpone Mousse, Spiced Pistachio Granola
Pairing:

Brian Cernell – Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
TBD
Pairing:

Kristy Carlucci – The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria
“Autumn Harvest”
Pumpkin Ganache, Sweet Potato Doughnut, Candied Squash, Dulcey Crumb, Oatmeal Semifreddo
Pairing:

Esther Rodriguez – The Ravenous Pig
Goat Cheese Tart, Spent Grain Sablé, Seasonal Fruit
Pairing:

Gloriann Rivera – 1921 by Norman Van Aken
“Banana Foster Tart”
Pecan Tart Shell, Smoked Bourbon Chocolate Custard, Banana Semifreddo, Caramel, Candied Hazelnuts
Pairing:

Michelle Hulbert – K Restaurant
“Chunk of Love”
Layered Chocolate Chunk Cookie, Oreo Truffle, Dark Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Mousse
Pairing:

Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

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Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

by Michael Cuglietta

An Open Letter to Anyone Applying for a Job at Kadence

You are at the office, killing time on social media, when Kadence’s latest Instagram post appears on your feed. The trio behind Kappo is looking to hire a kitchen helper for their new restaurant.

This puts an image in your head. One in which you are standing in a busy kitchen, wearing a white chef’s coat and tossing a pan full of sautéed mushrooms into the air with nothing more than a flick of the wrist.

You say to yourself, life is too short to be spending forty hours a week chained to a desk. Sure, you make a good living. But there are more important things in life than money.

I, like you, had romantic notions about working in a kitchen. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of Kadence’s opening crew, I seized it.

I’m here to tell you, despite what the Food Network might’ve lead you to believe, stepping into the kitchen is nothing like playing lead guitar in a rock band. It’s more comparable to being drafted into the armed services.

Your day will start at 7am. If you are lucky, you will be home by 1am. But, usually, it’ll be closer to 2am. You will be working six days a week, for minimal wage. But, for every hour over 40, you will earn time and a half. This means, in order to make a living, you will have to work 80 to 90 hours a week.

You will have to learn to work on an empty stomach. In the kitchen, there’s no time to stop and eat.

On the odd occasion when the chefs do find time, they will prepare a family meal. Usually, fish scraps, which, in most restaurants, would’ve gone in the trash, marinated in soy sauce and served over rice. Or the same ingredients will be fried, along with an egg.

The chefs have spent their entire professional lives in the kitchen. They are trained to eat fast. In just minutes, they will deposit their empty bowls in the sink, for you to wash. They will tell you to take your time. But the first seating is rapidly approaching. So you throw most of your meal away and get back to work. But don’t let the chefs catch you. At Kadence, wasting food is an unforgivable crime.

Think of the job as a game of Tetris. As the blocks fall, you must organize them into neat rows. If you mislay a piece, or fall behind, your tower will reach an unmanageable height. Then the blocks will start dropping at an accelerated rate as you scramble to line them up and make them disappear before you get the game over screen.

The sink will be your home. You will have other responsibilities, which will take you away from your home. But, no matter what else is on your plate, you are expected to keep your home in order.

The chefs will give you small food chores. These are tests. If you pass, you will be given more opportunities, away from the sink. But every time you fail, you are further solidifying your role as dishwasher.

Be careful what you wish for. Each time you demonstrate competency in a new task, it will become a part of your daily routine. And your routine is already so demanding, you spend 15 hours a day racing around the kitchen and, still, there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

Since the stove is directly behind the sink, you will be asked to keep an eye on the chawanmushis, a savory Japanese egg custard, served at each seating. You will be told to take them off the stove the moment they set. If you do a good job, after service, the chefs will complement you. Then, from that moment forward, you will be in charge of cooking the chawanmushis.

You do up to three seatings a night, serving ten guests at a time. It would be ideal if you could pre-cooked all the chawanmushis. Then, during service, all you would have to do is get them up to temperature. But there are only twelve chawanmushi bowls. This means, after each chawanmushi course, you will have to wash the bowls. Then cook the next round.

This might seem simple enough. But during service, you are battling an already unmanageable list of things to do.

You, for instance, are in charge of shucking the oysters. Shucking oysters is not hard. It’s the timing that makes it difficult. The oysters are served as a first course, right after the guests are seated. This is the toughest part of the evening, especially if the first seating is running late and the next set of guests are arriving.

Kadence is a small restaurant, run by a small team, each of whom fill many roles. Jennifer Banagale, in addition to being part owner, is the pastry chef and one woman wait staff. After the savory courses, she must go behind the sushi bar to serve dessert, which means you get a temporary promotion from dishwasher to headwaiter.

You must go into the dining room, pick up everyone’s dirty plates and bring them to the sink in the service station. While you are doing this, you notice the water glasses are near empty. And two guests have asked you to select a sake to pair with their dessert.

The next seating, meanwhile, is standing at the bar in the adjacent room, waiting for someone to come pour drinks. No matter how rushed you may be, you must maintain a calm front. Greet each guest warmly. As you take their drink order, introduce yourself, ask them,

“Is this your first time dining with us?”

They will want to make small talk. There is an art to cutting off a conversation without offending the person you are talking to. You must become proficient in this art. Because Jen has poked her head into the room to tell you she has finished with the first dessert and needs you to pick up the plates before she can serve the final course. She reminds you, the water glasses need refilling and those two guests are still waiting for their sake.

You pour two glasses of sake and put them on a tray. Also, on the tray, you place a pitcher of water. The couple in front of you is telling you about their trip to Japan. You need to get out of this conversation. Tell them you have to go bring drinks to the dining room. Apologize for having to leave. Smooth things over with a generous taste of sake. “Try some of this. Let me know what you think.”

After the water glasses are filled, you drop the pitcher off at the bar. Then take the tray back into the dining room to collect the first round of dessert plates. By now, the sink and every available surface in the service station is filled with dirty dishes.

The guests have just been given their final plate. This gives you ten minutes to shuck the oysters for the next seating. But first you must go to the bar and see if anyone is ready for another drink.

You are happy to see Lordfer Lalicon, one of the chefs and owners, behind the bar, pouring drinks. He tells you, “I got this. Go do the oysters.”

You head back into the kitchen, get the oysters out of the fridge. That’s when you remember, it’s been too long since you last checked the bathroom.

Through a back door, you sneak into the dining room and slip into the bathroom, undetected. The toilet paper roll is almost empty. The seat is up and there is a collection of used paper towels on the floor around the trash bin.

You sneak back out the way you came in and get a fresh roll of toilet paper from the storage closet. You return to the bathroom, careful to conceal the toilet paper behind your back. If a guest were to see you, walking through the dining room with a roll of toilet paper, the chefs would, surely, not be happy.

You put the new roll in the toilet paper dispenser and fold the tip into a perfect triangle. You pick the paper towels up off the floor and put the toilet seat down. You wipe all surfaces with a sanitizing rag, light a new stick of incense. Then race back to the kitchen.

The head chef and owner, Mark Berdin, is standing over your oysters. “How long have these been out of the fridge?”

“I was just about to get to them. Then I remembered I had to check the bathroom.” Your response pisses him off. In the kitchen, mistakes can be forgiven. But there’s zero tolerance for excuses.

These are Shigoku oysters, from Washington. He tells you they are the most expensive oysters currently on the market. He can’t afford to be having his dishwasher ruin them. He orders you out of the kitchen.

That’s when you remember the chawanmushis. If you don’t get them started soon, they will not be ready in time. You fill the bottom of the steamer with water and put it on the stove.

You line up the ceramic bowls and begin ladling in the batter. This is a delicate process. Each ceramic needs the same level of batter, so they will cook at the same pace. And you must be careful not to spill any.

You have half the ceramics done when you hear chairs moving in the dining room. The guests are leaving.

At Kadence, they practice the Japanese custom of walking their guests out. Guest service, Mark will tell you when you first start working at Kadence, is the number one priority. Even the food ranks second under guest service.

You leave the chawanmushis and go to the front door. You stand with your hands folded behind your back. As each guest walks out, you look them in the eye, thank them for coming, and bow. When I say bow, I don’t mean simply lowering your head. You must bow at the waist. Don’t stop until your body is forming a 90 degree angle.

Now that the first guests are gone, the dining room needs to be cleaned and reset. Every guest will need chopsticks, a cloth napkin, which you need to make sure is folded the proper way, and a glass for water, each of which needs to be polished until it sparkles. The bathroom will, once again, need to be cleaned.

As the new guests are being seated, you have just enough time to get the chawanmushis in the steamer. But you must be quick about it. The moment the guest’s bottoms touch those seats, you are expected in the dining room with a pitcher of water. And, after their glasses are filled, you must get each of them an oshibori, a warm hand towel which, before service, you folded according to Japanese tradition, after soaking them in water infused with lemongrass.

You will spend the first part of this seating fighting to get caught up with the dishes. Kadence serves a set menu. The same dishes are used in each seating. You better prioritize your dishwashing. Find the ones that are used for the early courses. Get those cleaned first.

It’s still early but, just to be safe, you leave the sink to check on the guests. The man in seat nine is a camel. All the water glasses are nearly full, but for his. For the next couple of hours, you are going to be chained to this guest. Every few minutes, you will have to return to his side with a pitcher of water.

This is, also, the last seating. The moment it is over, the chefs are going to want to go home. But they can’t leave until the restaurant is clean and reset for the next day. During last service, you better find the time to mop the kitchen, polish the stainless steel, put the trash out and all the cookware must be washed and returned to its proper place.

*

You pull into your driveway at 2:30am. All day, you have been operating on adrenalin. All of a sudden, a switch is flipped. Slowly, the adrenaline leaks out of your body. It’s replaced with hunger and fatigue.

Your feet are so sore, all you want to do is sit on the couch and prop them up on the coffee table. But you are sweaty and smell of raw fish. You need a shower.

You put a frozen pizza in the oven, crack open a beer and take it into the bathroom. You swallow two Advil. Then take a hot shower.

After your shower, you eat your pizza in front of the television. You are careful to keep the volume down. You don’t want to wake your wife. She works normal hours. Tomorrow will mark a week since you’ve last seen each other awake.

By the time you get in bed, it’s past 3:30am. Tomorrow is Sunday. On Sundays, the first seating is at 11:30am. You have to be back at the restaurant by 7am.

There is so much adrenaline in the kitchen, it lingers for hours after you leave, making it hard to fall asleep. When Mark, Jen and Lordfer worked in New York City, they’d get out at 2am and go to a bar, where they’d drink with other cooks until 4am.

When you finally doze off, it’s worthless because, in your dreams, you are back in the service station, bent over the sink, scrubbing dishes.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

Michael Cuglietta is the author of the forthcoming fiction collection, The Feast of Jupiter (Little Island Press, 2018), and the chapbooks Vertigo (Gertrude Press, 2012) and Clams in White Wine (Paper Nautilus, 2017). His work has appeared in NOON, Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review and elsewhere. http://mcuglietta.bigcartel.com

Editor’s Note: Kadence is currently looking to hire a fulltime kitchen helper.

Kadence
kadenceorlando.com

1809 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, FL 32803

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Come JOIN THE 5th Annual Taste of Nona at Marriott Courtyard Lake Nona Town Center, an annual signature event by the Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy an evening out with a huge assortment of delectable dining options.

This year’s Taste will feature more than two dozen fantastic local restaurants, dessert makers, and catering services! Each vendor will be bringing a sampling of some of their most celebrated offerings, and all of this is included in every ticket purchased for the Taste.

 

?There will be live music and a silent auction benefiting the Ronald McDonald House, Nemours.

 

The Taste of Nona and the Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce are not affiliated with or sponsored by, Lake Nona Property Holdings, LLC or its affiliated entities. We are an independent organization made up of business leaders, charity organizations, and individuals dedicating their time to the economic prosperity of the Lake Nona region of Orlando, FL.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-nona-2017-tickets-36314953002

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PRESS RELEASE:

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will celebrate its eighth year October 27 – 28, the largest event to date featuring more than 60 food and beverage stations and 11 educational seminars taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team.

Guests will delight in numerous opportunities to sip and savor along the resort’s causeway, private lake and private beach all weekend while enjoying live entertainment.

Delectable culinary offerings headline the two-night event, featuring cuisine from the resort’s own award-winning restaurants: Il Mulino New York Trattoria, Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and more, with wine and spirits samplings from around the globe.

“One of our favorite parts about this festival is showcasing our creativity and adding new experiences each year,” said Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Director of Food & Beverage Tony Porcellini. “Things that won’t change are the quality of our food and beverage selections and our vibrant street party atmosphere.”

New for 2017
A new seminar, the Grand Tasting Experience, will be presented by a master sommelier, highlighting the unique Nebbiolo grape of northern Italy. Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia, one of only 149 master sommeliers in the Americas, will showcase several rare vintages from the Piedmont region. Tickets to this intimate experience will be extremely limited.

Also new this year is Bubbles Lounge, a secluded, whimsically themed area showcasing sparkling beverages including champagne and sparkling wine, inspired by Lawrence Welk and his champagne style. Guests will receive a special entrance ticket to the lounge upon check-in and can seek out the space to enjoy a light-hearted atmosphere and sweeping views of the festival while sipping champagne.

Bubbles Lounge joins the event’s other themed areas including: Carnival Corner, offering carnival food and games; Chinatown, featuring dishes and drinks inspired by San Francisco’s famed neighborhood; and a Beer Garden, offering a variety of local and seasonal brews from around the world alongside Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. (Access to the Beer Garden requires an upgraded ticket.)

Featured Food
Highlights of this year’s menus include: Kobe beef mini burgers with truffle aioli, Applewood smoked bacon and roma tomato chutney from The Fountain; seared Yellowfin Tuna salad from Todd English’s bluezoo; ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms, baby spinach and fennel sausage from Il Mulino Trattoria and oven-roasted beef ribeye with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steakhouse.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Executive Chef Robert Ciborowski brings back his signature barbecue at the Cib’s Smoke House station with his hand-crafted pork belly and smoked Spanish Iberico pork collar. Popular returning dishes include the dragon sushi roll from Kimonos and fish ‘n’ chips with sea salt and vinegar potato chips from Garden Grove.

World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard sweetens the evening with decadent desserts like the crunchy chocolate passion fruit truffle and key lime vanilla cream. The returning Sundae Action Station allows guests to choose their own toppings like caramelized hazelnuts and raspberry whipped cream.

Seminars and Brunch


Favorite hands-on educational seminars, taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team, return for foodies who want to add a little something extra to their festival experience. Seminars offered this year include: wine blending, Italian wines, Argentinian wines, champagne, beer, Riesling, craft cocktails, pasta making, sushi and sake and wine and cheese pairing. All seminars require separate tickets, and space is limited.

Guests can extend the indulgence into Sunday morning with the Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria, featuring a lavish menu of traditional and unconventional dishes like various cured meats and imported cheeses along with an array of sushi and trattoria-inspired entrees. The Sunday Bubbles Brunch is a separate ticket option and does not require an evening ticket or overnight accommodation to participate.

With 18 restaurants and lounges, a distinguished culinary and beverage team and unmatched customer service, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort continually receives national recognition for its food and beverage program. The culinary team has had the honor of presenting multiple dinners at the distinguished James Beard House. The resort boasts more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections, including organic and rare vintages. The resort’s restaurants are annual winners of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence including Shula’s Steak House, a multiple-time recipient of the exclusive Best of Award of Excellence.

Tickets to the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic are available as part of a resort package or individually. For more information or to book, please visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com or call 1-800-227-1500.

Calendar Listing Information

What: Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

Info: The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort returns October 27 – 28, showcasing a vast array of food and beverage options and informative seminars conducted by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team.

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic consists of 11 food and beverage seminars, live entertainment, a beer garden and more than 60 food and beverage stations, featuring appetizing selections from the resort’s signature restaurants: Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Todd English’s bluezoo, as well as wines, beers and cocktails from around the world.

When: Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2016
5:30–9 p.m. (for seminar schedule, check www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com)

Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Causeway
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
407-934-4000

Ticket
Information: – Overnight packages and multiple-night package options are available for the eighth annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic starting at $424 and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850

– Advance purchase unlimited food and beverage samples are $115 per person; upgraded ticket including the Beer Garden is $140 per person including taxes

– Interactive seminars start at $50 per person, per class including taxes

– Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery is $94 per person including taxes

– For more information or to book, please visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com or call 1-800-227-1500

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HIGHBALL & HARVEST ANNOUNCES MENU AND SILENT AUCTION ITEMS FOR HOMESTEAD HARVEST AT WHISPER CREEK FARM ON OCTOBER 26

 

ORLANDO (October 1?2?, 2017) – On October 26, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Highball & Harvest will be hosting Homestead Harvest, the first chef-collaborative dinner at Grande Lakes Orlando’s on-site farm, Whisper Creek Farm. The evening will benefit Fleet Farming, a local non-profit organization whose goal is to assist in fostering a movement which moves towards a more sustainable farming and food production system in the region.

Highball & Harvest’s Chef Scott Pizzo and Peter Zampaglione, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes will be joined by an all-star line-up of local chefs who are donating their time and resources to creating a once in a lifetime culinary adventure.

Menu

Scott Pizzo, Highball & Harvest

Whiskey Shooter

Argentinian Roasted Suckling Pig, charred pumpkin

 

Kenny Gilbert (Top Chef), Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen/Gilbert’s Social

Smoked Alligator Ribs with SC BBQ Sauce

Field Peas with okra, smoked gator broth, radish, savory herbs and spices 


Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon

Deviled Eggs

Duck Mortadella

James Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig

Wood-Grilled Octopus, black garlic skordalia, roasted beets

Lamb Kofta, quince yogurt, dill pesto

 

Elek Kovacs, The Osprey Tavern

Pickled Shrimp, chili citrus marinade, fresh garden vegetables

Pheasant, local rice grits, corn succotash

Kevin Fonzo, Kevin Fonzo Foundation

Red Kuri Squash Soup, truffle, Brussels sprouts, pears, apple

Smoked Duck Leg Confit, wild mushroom, duck liver, mushroom broth, garlic chips

Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Palmetto Creek Farms Pork Belly, truffle grits & collards

Wahoo Crudo, pickled heirloom tomatoes and chili peppers

John Janucik, JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Lobster Deviled Duck Egg, house bacon, surplus mustard aioli, chili oil

Smoked Short Rib, butternut squash pierogi, local mushrooms, sour cream

Espuma, horseradish crumbs

Stanley Miller, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

Lamb and Chorizo Empanada, olive, raisin, pimento

Chilled Heirloom Tomato and Melon “Tea”, Popcorn, Avocado, Lemon Oil

 

Sebastien Thieffine, The Ritz-Carlton Naples

Daisy – Florida Keys Honey Millefeuille, candied raspberries, crunchy pistachio

Coonies: chocolate chip cookie/brownie bar, salted butter caramel ice cream, vanilla bean gel

Stephane Cheramy, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes

Assorted Pastries

 

In addition to a feast from some of Florida’s star chefs, the event will also host a silent auction with a number of luxury items from local businesses. Items include a Spa Day for Two at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Omakase Dinner for Two at Seito Sushi, and A VIP Dinner for 10 Guests in Your Home with Chefs from Ritz-Carlton Properties.  Homestead Harvest will offer a beverage selection from local vendors including craft cocktails from Highball & Harvest and there will be live music from Brocato Entertainment.

About Fleet Farming: Fleet Farming strives to reduce the environmental impact of food production through a pedal-powered, hyperlocal urban farming model that creates a culture of health and vibrant ecosystems by: teaching an intergenerational fleet of volunteers how to grow their own food, activating and re-engaging the community through biweekly Swarm Rides, and creating a breathe free and biodiverse environment through emissions-free, organic farming.

 

Tickets are $135 per person and can be purchased online here. For more information please visitHomesteadHarvestatWCF.com.

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I recently was tasked by Universal Studios to do this article on the dining options during their annual Halloween Horror Nights. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time – getting scared out of my wits. It had been a long time since my last visit for Halloween Horror Nights – I was actually a scareactor for a season during college as a hillbilly zombie.

I must say, the haunted houses were superbly done this year – at times, I felt like I was walking into a horror film or some very real nightmare brought to life. My favorite was the Reaping maze, filled with creatures that put the “scare” in scarecrow.

Check out the article here and some photos from our visit:

https://blog.universalorlando.com/food/foodies-guide-hhn2017/

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Rumaku is a little new Japanese restaurant in East Orlando, just north of UCF on Alafaya. Most recently, it was Hawaiian Grindz, but was briefly home to many other restaurants before that.

Though they advertise their ramen, don’t get the ramen bowl here because it’s pretty much instant ramen noodles and broth with a few added ingredients in. Don’t. Do. It. Unless you like that kind of thing then go ahead and order it.

There are some other cool things to order here like Japanese burgers, sushi donut and the Korean beef bowl.

The Japanese burger’s buns are made with panko crusted fried bao buns and are quite delish.


Spider Burger – Soft shell crab


Salmon Glaze Sushi Donut – Pretty much what it sounds like, the rice forms a ring in the shape of a donut and the salmon is placed on top and torched with some eel sauce. Fun to eat but hard to hold up so you’ll be knife and forking or chopsticking this dish.


Tuna Sushi Donut

Pork bulgogi rice bowl
Curry Katsu ramen

Roast Pork ramen

The staff are friendly and helpful.

3050 Alafaya Trail ste 1036, Oviedo, FL 32765
www.rumakusushi.com/menu/

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