Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of

Ricky Ly of

Florida native Ricky Ly founded 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 and Photography is taken using a Canon EOS 6D and a Sony Nex-3. E-mail him at tastychomps(at) Google

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The Petrakis Family and friends are working in full speed over drive. With the recent announcement of The Polite Pig opening in Spring 2017 to the upcoming move to the Cask and Larder location for The Ravenous Pig, new chef de cuisines, – we now have word DoveCote, led by Chef Clayton Miller, is officially open for business in downtown Orlando! Check out the press release for more information below.


PRESS RELEASE – DoveCote Now Open in Downtown Orlando

Orlando, FL. – DoveCote, the much anticipated new venture from Central Florida culinary visionaries Clayton Miller, Gene Zimmerman and James and Julie Petrakis, is now open on the ground floor of the Bank of America Center at 390 N. Orange Ave. The opening marks the completion of a yearlong renovation project, which transformed an iconic venue into a modern brasserie offering a casual, sophisticated dining experience in Downtown Orlando.

“DoveCote introduces an innovative take on the classic brassiere to Orlando, where guests can enjoy a quick bite, power lunch, after-work drink or a fine dining experience,” said Clayton Miller, DoveCote’s chef/co-owner. “We’re offering an elevated approach to all-day dining as well as culinary offerings found nowhere else in Central Florida.”

While developing DoveCote’s lunch and dinner menus, Miller, a past winner of a “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine Magazine, drew inspiration from classic French cuisine to refine his take on dishes such as Cote De Boeuf, Steak Frites and Bouillabaisse. DoveCote also features a raw bar serving a curated assortment of oysters, shrimp, mussels, clams and other seasonal seafood selections.

Salad Nicoise: tuna tartare, potato, pole beans, egg, garlic, black olive.
Salad Nicoise: tuna tartare, potato, pole beans, egg, garlic, black olive.

Zimmerman, a wine industry veteran and owner of acclaimed Orlando cocktail bar The Courtesy, created DoveCote’s beverage program.

“We’ve compiled one of the most talented and knowledgeable bar teams in Orlando to oversee a cocktail menu that offers modern twists on drinks like the Sazerac and Vieux Carre,” said Zimmerman, who co-owns DoveCote along with Miller. “An equal emphasis was placed on our wine and coffee menus. The wine list leans toward boutique, family-owned vineyards that will be presented by a knowledgeable staff, seven of which are certified sommeliers, while expert baristas oversees the coffee operation.”

Cask & Larder head brewer Larry Foor collaborated with Zimmerman on DoveCote’s craft beer program. The rotating selection falls heavily into French and Belgian-style varieties, including the DoveCote Farmhouse Saison.

In addition to daily lunch and dinner service, DoveCote offers a coffee and pastry breakfast Monday to Friday beginning at 7 a.m. until supplies last. A craft coffee menu and barista service is available all day.

The redesign of the 5,000-square-foot venue was led by Drew White, whose firm, Lot 1433, also designed The Courtesy. DoveCote’s dining room can accommodate 184 guests, with street-side terrace seating for 36 guests as well as additional tables in the center’s lobby. The space is also available for private parties, special events and corporate meetings.

DoveCote's Red Snapper & Shellfish. Local red snapper, shellfish, baby fennel, potatoes, and saffron shellfish broth.
DoveCote’s Red Snapper & Shellfish. Local red snapper, shellfish, baby fennel, potatoes, and saffron shellfish broth.

In addition to the redesign efforts from Lot 1433, local artist Brigan Gresh enhanced DoveCote’s European-style aesthetic with an original wall mural.

It was while sitting outside talking over ideas for the restaurant that the partners came up with the name DoveCote, which is derived from the medieval term for a structure that provides shelter for game birds.

“Some of the building’s architectural features, like the parapets, reminded me of ancient dovecotes seen in Europe,” said Zimmerman. “We started tossing the name around and it grew on us.”

Beyond its reference to a place of shelter, the name has further significance, Zimmerman said, since it offers a nod to the French term côte, which in the viniculture world means a hillside where grapes are grown.

DoveCote is open Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00PM and closed Sunday.





Menu Lunch
DoveCote Menu Lunch

DoveCote Menu Dinner PDF
DoveCote Menu Lunch PDF

Images Courtesy of DoveCote.

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PRESS RELEASE: The Polite Pig, sister restaurant of The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, Florida, to open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Husband and wife chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who have won wide acclaim for their Winter Park, Florida restaurants Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, will expand their Swine Family Restaurant Group to Disney Springs with a new concept, The Polite Pig. Partnering with the James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs will be Brian Petrakis, who owns and operates popular Orlando eatery Greens & Grille. The partnership unites the Petrakis brothers on a restaurant venture for the first time.

Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group
Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group

Scheduled to open in spring 2017, The Polite Pig will feature a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items. The restaurant will also introduce an innovative beverage program that serves all drinks on tap, including Cask & Larder beer, wine, and cocktails.

“As a locally-based restaurant group, it’s great to bring our new concept to Disney Springs where we’ll have the opportunity to showcase genuine Florida cuisine for guests from around the world,” James Petrakis said. “With so many talented chefs opening new restaurants at Disney Springs, we’re really excited to be part of a group helping Orlando distinguish itself as a world-class culinary destination.”

Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group
Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group

The Polite Pig will be located in the Town Center neighborhood. The 5,000-square-foot venue will be open daily, with seating for about 200 guests. Construction will be led by Gomez Construction, and HHCP Architects will oversee the restaurant’s overall design. Anna Schmidt Interior Design will handle interior design and Lure Design will spearhead branding efforts. All four firms are based in Florida.

Photos of the building and construction can be found at

PP Logo

About The Swine Family Restaurant Group:
Since opening in 2007 as one of the first Florida restaurants devoted to seasonal and local food, The Ravenous Pig has won numerous regional and national awards, including multiple James Beard Foundation “Best Chef” nominations for the Petrakises. It has also served as a career launching pad for chefs who have moved onto leading roles at other restaurants. Likewise for Cask & Larder, which was named one of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants in 2014 and continues to garner acclaim not only for its Southern-inspired food, but for its brewery, under the direction of brewmaster Larry Foor, Jr. Swine & Sons, located just a few steps west of Cask & Larder, opened in 2015 under the direction of chef/partners Rhys and Alexia Gawlak. It serves breakfast, eat-in or takeout sandwiches and snacks, along with house-made charcuterie.

The Petrakises are also partners/consultants in a pair of much-anticipated restaurants that will open in the near future – DoveCote, in downtown Orlando, and a Cask & Larder location at Orlando International Airport.

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Domu, a new neighborhood restaurant and bar concept, will open inside East End Market in the location that was formerly home to Txokos Basque Kitchen. The restaurant closed abruptly last month, just months after changing hands from the original owners, the James Beard award nominated Henry and Michele Salgado who still run operate New Smyrna Beach restaurant Spanish River Grill.

The restaurant is a concept by Sonny Nguyen, who in the past has worked with Bento Group and Kappo, but Domu is an explicitly different and separate venture.

“We want our space to be utilized by East End Market patrons when they visit to come hang out and have a place to enjoy their time as seated space is limited in the market. Domu, which means “dome” in Japanese, is a name I chose because I wanted this concept to represent “me”,” said Sonny Nguyen.

“It’s depicted as slang for “coming off of the dome” or in other words, “whatever comes in mind”. Working in the restaurant business for most of my life, I’ve always wanted to create my own concept where I didn’t necessarily have to follow anyone’s rules but my own. I hope that I can portray that with this one.
We plan to release more information as time permits. But until then, I hope everyone will sign up on our website for exclusive details as we get closer at”

They hope to open sometime this fall.


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First, in full disclosure, the three young men who started Viet-Nomz are old friends of mine from college. But even if I did not know these three foolish friends who decided to take on the food industry, I would wholeheartedly feel the same about Viet-Nomz.

Phillip Nguyen, Chris Chen, and Mike Cho began this journey just a few years ago when they started to brainstorm about how to bring their collective love for Vietnamese food together. Phillip, who is of Vietnamese descent, traveled around the world and America, most notably in the Vietnamese enclaves of Southern California as well as the motherland in the streets of Saigon in south Vietnam, to taste and try dishes to bring back to their project in Orlando. With this inspiration, the three friends, each with their own years of experience in the restaurant industry, opened up Viet-Nomz in late June and has hit the ground running ever since.

The space is quite hip, with natural wood ambiance. Order at the counter and your dishes will be brought to you. I visited on multiple occasions and enjoyed everything I had, from the plump, fried pork egg rolls to the grilled beef banh mi sandwiches drizzled with spicy “nom nom” sauce, to the delicately nuanced and flavorful bowls of pho, the staple of Vietnamese restaurants every where. In some ways, Viet-Nomz is the Vietnamese version of a ramen-shop, with piping hot bowls of pho beef noodle soup instead of ramen emanating from their open kitchen.

There are some updates to the Vietnamese menu here, brought on by the founder’s own upbringings. Chris Chen, who is of Taiwanese descent, brought some of the doughy, steamed white buns that make the famous gua baos in Taiwanese street foods, and married them with Vietnamese banh mi ingredients like pickled daikon and carrots and grilled pork. There are also banh mi tacos on the menu, something that was a favorite on our visits.

Photo Jun 23, 12 33 02 PM

Everything is made to order, and you can watch as they assemble and grill the dishes for the rice bowls or noodle bowls, and pour soups from the huge vats of pho beef noodle soup that have been simmering for hours and hours that day. For vegetarians, do try their vegetarian pho, one of the most flavorful renditions I’ve ever tried, made through a special combination of bok choy, mushrooms and vegetables that just speaks volumes of “umami”.

Instead of Vietnamese coffee made by the drip cannisters, the coffee here is made via an espresso machine with a unique house blend of coffee beans. Must try.

The only complaint is the heat from the grills and soup pots that emanates from the open kitchen area – it can get quite uncomfortable, but some say it does bring memories of the hot summers of Vietnam. I hear the heat issues will be remedied soon.

Located just outside of Full Sail on Goldenrod and University, they plan on opening late nights on the weekend in the future for the university crowd.

Overall, I do recommend nomming down on Viet-Nomz soon,  and bring a friend.

Viet-Nomz Vietnamese Pho & Street Fare

7581 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
Corner of University Blvd & Goldenrod Rd
(Across from Winn-Dixie/Tijuana Flats)
Phone: +1 407-636-6069

Sunday – Thursday
11:00 AM — 10:00 PM

Friday & Saturday
11:00 AM — 3:00 AM

Photo Jun 23, 12 32 27 PM Photo Jun 23, 12 32 36 PM

Grilled Pork Bao
Grilled Pork Bao
Fried egg rolls
Fried egg rolls
Grilled beef rice bowl with fried egg
Grilled beef rice bowl with fried egg
Herbs and veggie station
Herbs and veggie station – The Herb Bar
Banh mi tacos
Banh mi tacos
Banh mi topped with egg
Banh mi topped with egg
Chris Chen and Phillip Nguyen
Chris Chen and Phillip Nguyen
Pho beef noodle soup
Pho beef noodle soup
Vietnamese iced coffee
Vietnamese iced coffee

Photo Jul 01, 12 26 21 PM

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Second Harvest Hosts Chef’s Night Featuring the Chefs of LongHorn Steakhouse 

“Year of the Steak” Series to Benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program

WHAT: As part of its commitment to the community, Executive Chefs Jens Dahlmann, Michael Senich and Josh Evans of Orlando-based LongHorn Steakhouse will prepare a special dinner for Second Harvest’s “Year of the Steak” Chef’s Night series.

Chef’s Night brings Central Florida’s top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise funds for a good cause. This year’s series, named “Year of the Steak,” features local chefs and restaurants that have a “steak” in our community.

Guests will enjoy a four-course dinner beginning with a cocktail reception. The event will celebrate steak and the start of summer grilling season, and will also feature several chance drawings and prizes for winners.

All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.


Passed Hors d’oeuvres: Chilled Wild West Gulf Shrimp and Montamore Stuffed Ribeye Meatball

First Course: Grilled Diver Scallop with Braised Pork Belly, Sweet Onion Jam and Preserved Mango

Salad: Heirloom Watermelon with Pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Arugula, Shaved Ricotta Salata, Orange Blossom Honey and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Entrée: Slow Roasted Wagyu Zabuton Steak finished with Pan Jus, Loaded Potato Gratin and Brown Butter Poached Carrots

Dessert: Campfire “Chocolate Stampede”

WHEN: Thursday, June 23
6 p.m.

WHERE: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive
Orlando, Fla. 32805

COST: $100 per person

REGISTER: Purchase tickets at or call 407-514-1048 for more information.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year, with the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed 43 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes. In addition, Second Harvest’s 14-week culinary program teaches foodservice-based technical, life and employability skills to economically hard-pressed adults. Our community turns to Second Harvest’s partner agencies more than 71,000 times per week. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit


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Food and Wine Unite Orlando

There is NOT a required price to purchase a ticket – the event planners hope the attendees will donate for this event based upon what they feel in their hearts. Please register online so they have a record of all attendees
Time:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Open House)
Event Location: East End Market, 3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando 32803


Chef Kevin Fonzo and Chef Jamie McFadden have teamed up to plan a benefit BBQ on Sunday, July 10th. This will be an ‘open house’ from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM at East End Market.

The event will have no cover charge but will rely on attendees for donations. Much like the LGBT Community, it will be about inclusion not exclusion.

This Food and Wine Event will donate 100% of the proceeds to assist The Center Orlando in rebuilding their resources.





Disney Springs



Overeasy Events, Winter Park, FL

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We dropped by the new Mia Supermarket on Bumby and Colonial the other day shortly after their opening. It formerly was home to Winn Dixie for many, many decades.

A few first impressions – still coming together as a market – but there is a nice selection of fruits, vegetables, and seafood, and I think the highlight is the Formosa Bakery inside.

They are a sister bakery to the Sun Pearl Bakery located in the Chinatown plaza on Colonial and Pine Hills, specializing in Taiwanese bakery items and pastries.

I love the smell of the baked goods wafting through the store as they are baked. I had, for the first time, a taro stuffed pineapple bun – and it was glorious.

Mia Supermarket

2415 E Colonial Dr
+1 407-228-9899

Photo Jun 04, 10 17 18 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 34 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 51 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 56 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 18 37 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 19 19 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 19 51 AM

These are molds for little black bean stuffed taiyaki style pastries.
Photo Jun 04, 10 20 23 AM

Baking fresh.Photo Jun 04, 10 19 27 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 20 46 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 21 21 AM

Incense and rice – essentials.Photo Jun 04, 10 22 00 AM

DumplingsPhoto Jun 04, 10 22 34 AM

Ramen wall.Photo Jun 04, 10 25 25 AM

Classic red bowls
Photo Jun 04, 10 25 55 AM

There is a whole section with Goya / Latin grocery goods, too.Photo Jun 04, 10 26 49 AM

A whole aisle dedicated to dried mushrooms and Chinese herbsPhoto Jun 04, 10 28 24 AM

Soy sauces, try them all.Photo Jun 04, 10 28 45 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 24 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 31 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 58 AM

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To help victims and their families in the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando, Florida’s hospitality industry is offering its support by hosting a statewide community event on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Led by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the fundraiser, “Dine Out for Orlando United,” will be a day for Florida restaurants, their employees and guests to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the tragedy.

All proceeds raised will be donated to the OneOrlando Fund, which is designed to provide a way to respond to the needs of the local community, now and in the time to come.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. As an industry, we want to continue to rally around them by offering our support, time and resources. Pulse is a member of the FRLA, a part of our hospitality family and we are proud to lend support. We encourage all Floridians, visitors and those around the country to participate in this Dine Out to help the entire Orlando community,” said Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“The Florida tourism industry stands united as a community. This is a wonderful way for restaurants and Floridians statewide to come together in solidarity with the Orlando community and make a difference,” said Will Seccombe, president and CEO at VISIT FLORIDA.

During the event, guests across the state are encouraged to dine at a participating restaurant and/or choose to make a direct donation.

Employees can work a shift, choose to volunteer their time or donate a portion of tips.

Businesses can join our list of participants and help us promote, organize and/or donate.

To participate, restaurants can:

Donate a portion of total sales
Collect donations received from guests and staff
Donate a portion of total profits
Make a donation for every sale of a specific item
Identify a set donation amount
Media is asked to contact FRLA Communications Director, Elizabeth Ray at

For restaurants interested in participating in the event, please contact Dan Murphy at

More information, along with a growing list of participating restaurants, will be available online at


The 4 Three Nine, Saint Petersburg
4 Rivers Smokehouse, All Florida locations
45 Central Wine Bar, Santa Rosa Beach
60 South Restaurant & Bar at the Doubletree By Hilton Orlando Downtown
310 Restaurants, All locations
400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, Saint Petersburg
717 South, Tampa
1500 South by Chef Art Smith, Naples
1884 Restaurant and Bar, Eustis
A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
Abe’s Place Tap & Grill, Clearwater
Alfies Restaurant, Ormond Beach
American Kitchen Bar & Grill at B Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista
American Social Bar & Kitchen, Fort Lauderdale
Amigos Original Tex Mex Restaurant & Cantina, Altamonte Springs
Anna Maria Oyster Bar, All locations
Another Broken Egg, Lake Mary & Winter Park
Applebee’s, Orlando, Tampa, Panama City, Tallahassee, Gainesville area locations
Applebee’s, South Florida, Southwest Florida and Jacksonville area locations
Aqua Prime Seafood & Steaks, Indian Rocks Beach
Armani’s at Grand Hyatt Tampa
Asia Kitchen, Winter Park
The Attic Door, Winter Garden
Ava, Tampa
The Avenue Eat/Drink, Saint Petersburg
BackStreets Sports Bar, Cape Coral
Baoery Asian Gastropub, Orlando
Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria, Winter Springs
The Bay South Walton, Santa Rosa Beach
Beach Bar at Pier House Resort & Spa, Key West
The Beach House Restaurant, Bradenton Beach
bd’s Mongolian Grill, Lakeland
Beefy King, Orlando
Bella Bella, Tallahassee
Bella Brava, Saint Petersburg
Bella Tuscany Ristorante Italiano, Windermere
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa
Berties Good Eats, Daytona Beach
Better Than Sex Dessert Restaurant, Orlando
The Birch & Vine at The Birchwood, Saint Petersburg
The Bistro at Marriott Courtyard Cocoa Beach
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Florida locations
Black Sheep Restaurant, Jacksonville
Blaze Pizza, GainesvilleJacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota
Bikes Beans & Bordeaux Neighborhood Cafe, Orlando
blu on the avenue, Winter Park
Blue Bamboo, Jacksonville
Blue Door Farm Stand, Chicago, IL
Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, Chicago, IL
Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Clearwater Beach
The Boheme Restaurant at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando
Bolay Restaurant, Royal Palm Beach
Bonefish Grill, All Florida locations
Bongos Cuban Café Orlando
Bongos Cuban Café Hollywood
Bösendorfer Lounge at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando
Boston Lobster Feast, Orlando & Kissimmee
Bowland, All locations
Brevard Zoo, Melbourne
Brimstone Woodfire Grill, Pembroke Pines
Broadway Ristorante & Pizzeria, All locations
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, West Palm Beach
Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, Santa Rosa Beach
Buffalo Wild Wings, All Florida locations
Bull & Crown Public House, Saint Augustine
Burger Craft, Clermont
Burger U, UCF
Café Chardonnay, Palm Beach Gardens
Cafe Gala at the Dali Museum, Saint Petersburg
Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando
Cala Bella at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
California Pizza Kitchen Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
Canvas Restaurant & Market, Orlando
Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
Carrabba’s Italian Grille, All Florida locations
Cask & Larder, Winter Park
Catch Grill + Bar at Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay
The Catfish Place, Apopka
Charlie Mac’s BBQ, Key West
Chick-fil-A, Orange, Osceola, Lake & Seminole county locations
Chick-fil-A, Westfield Sarasota Square, Edgewater, Port Orange Gateway Center locations
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, Orlando
Chuy’s Tex-Mex, Kissimmee & Orlando locations
The Cider Press Cafe, Naples & Saint Petersburg
Citrus Restaurant, Orlando
Cocina 214, Winter Park
Colorado Fondue Company, Casselberry
Compass Grill at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
The Coop, Winter Park
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, All Florida locations
Cooters Restaurant & Bar, Clearwater Beach
Craig Miller’s Field House, Orlando
The Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, Winter Garden
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, Orlando
The Crooked Spoon Gastropub, Clermont
Charley’s Steak House, All locations
Chicago q, Chicago, IL
Chuck Wagon Home Cooking, Apopka
Cork & Fork American Grill, Orlando
Crispers, All Florida locations
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Orlando
Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar, Lake Worth
Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant, Jacksonville
Donatello Italian Restaurant, Tampa
Duffy’s Sports Grill, All locations
Durango Steakhouse, Titusville
Earl of Sandwhich, Lake Buena Vista
EDGE at Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
The Edison, Tallahassee
Elements Bar & Grille at Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal
Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ, Ocoee
Emeril’s Orlando
Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
Everglades Restaurant at Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando
Evo Italian Restaurant, Tequesta
Falcon’s Nest at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
The Fat Snook, Cocoa Beach
F&D Kitchen & Bar, Lake Mary
Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Orlando
First WatchMaitlandLongwoodPlaza VeneziaWinter GardenUCFAlomaMills Park locations
Fish City Grill, Lakeland
FishBones, Orlando & Lake Mary
Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill, Cape Canaveral
Five Star Pizza, Central FL locations
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, All Florida locations
Flippers Pizzeria, Orlando, Clermont, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista & UCF
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, Orlando
Froyo Fresh, Tampa
Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar, Orlando
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Sarasota
Gator’s DocksideCentral Florida locations
Glory Days Grill, All Florida locations
Grandaddy’s, Harmony
GrassLands Brewing Company, Tallahassee
Great Southern Cafe, Santa Rosa Beach
Green Parrot Bar, Key West
Grille 401, Fort Lauderdale
Grub Burger Bar, Tallahassee
Half Shell Raw Bar, Key West
Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park
The Hangar, Saint Petersburg
Harry’s Beach Bar at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
Hash House A Go Go, Orlando
Hawkers Asian Street Fare, All locations
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key
Haven, Tampa
HeadPinz, Cape Coral & Fort Myers
Hemingway’s  at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
High Tide Harry’s, Orlando
Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes
Holy Hog BBQ, Tampa
House of Pizza, Orlando
House of Blues Orlando
Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop, Orlando
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, St Pete Beach
ICEBAR Orlando
Icy Paradise, Daytona Beach
IHOP, Florida locations
Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden, Orlando
Island Dogs Bar & Restaurant, Key West
Jack’s Place at Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando
Jason’s Deli, Orlando & Southwest Florida locations
Jax 5th Ave Deli & Ale House, Lake Mary
Johnnie’s Hideaway, Orlando
Johnny Rockets The Pointe, Orlando
Jové Kitchen & Bar at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
K Restaurant, Orlando
Kahwa Coffee, Saint Petersburg
Kelly’s Landing New England Seafood, Fort Lauderdale
Kiki’s Sandbar, Little Torch Key
Kings Orlando
KING’s Street Food Counter, Saint Petersburg
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park locations
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, All Orlando & Tampa locations
La Mar by Gaston Acurio at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
La Storia Ristorante, Chicago
Larios on the Beach, Miami Beach
Lazy Lobster of Longboat, Longboat Key
Lee Roy Selmon’s, All locations
Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant & Irish Pub, Lake Mary
Lighthouse Lobster Feast, Orlando
Lofty Pursuits, Tallahassee
LuLu’s Destin
Luma on Park, Winter Park
Madison Social, Tallahassee
Mama Della’s Ristorante at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Magnolia Grill, Fort Walton Beach
MainStay Suites, Port Saint Joe
The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant, Longboat Key
Margaritaville, Destin, Key West, Miami Airport, Panama City Beach
Marche Burrette Deli at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Maria’s Italian Restaurant, Cape Coral
Marina Bar & Grill, Sandestin
Marlow’s Tavern, All Florida locations
The Meatball Stoppe, Orlando
Mediterranean BLUE, Orlando
Mellow MushroomOrlando, Winter Park & International Drive
The Melting Pot, Boca Raton
The Melting Pot, Coral Springs
The Melting Pot, Fort Myers
The Melting Pot, Longwood
The Melting Pot, Orlando
The Melting Pot, Saint Petersburg
The Melting Pot, Sarasota
The Melting Pot, Tallahassee
Melts On Main Street, Winter Garden
Metro Diner, All Florida locations
Miller’s Ale House, All locations nationwide
Mojo, Fort Lauderdale
MoonFish, Orlando
Morimoto Asia, Walt Disney World
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Jacksonville
Mulligan’s Beach House, All locations
Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, Saint Augustine
Nature’s TableParticipating locations
Nine 18 at Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando
Noble Crust, Saint Petersburg
Nolan’s Irish Pub, Cocoa Beach
Noodles & Company, Orlando locations
North Quarter Tavern, Orlando
Nothing Bundt Cakes, Orlando Sand Lake Road location
O Bistro, Saint Petersburg
Oasis Restaurant at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center
Ocean Prime, Orlando
Oceans 234, Deerfield Beach
Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Columbia, SC
Oleys Kitchen & BBQ, Orlando
Olio, Jacksonville
Olive Branch Mediterranean-Italian Grille & Bar, Mount Dora
The Original Crabby Bill’s, Indian Rocks Beach
The Other End Restaurant & Beergarden, Destin
Outback Steakhouse, All Florida locations
The Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen College Park, Orlando
Oystercatchers at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Paradiso 37, Lake Buena Vista
Paramount Fine Foods, All locations
Parkshore Grille, Saint Petersburg
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Viera
Phat Thai Cafe, Apopka
Pho 88 Noodle Restaurant, Orlando Mills Ave location 
Pho Hoa Restaurant, Orlando
Pieology Pizzeria, Ponte Vedra
Pinon Grill, Boca Raton
PizzAmore, Mount Dora
Pizza Hut, Central Florida, All Central Florida locations
Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria, Saint Petersburg
The Port Inn, Port Saint Joe
Portobello, Orlando
Prato, Winter Park
The Pub at Pointe Orlando
The Pub Waterfront Restaurant, Indian Shores
Raglan Road Irish Pub, Lake Buena Vista
Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs™, Lake Buena Vista
Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park
Rita’s, Orlando East & Apopka
Red Robin, All Florida locations
Residence Inn by Marriott, Amelia Island
Restaurant ASH, Orlando
Ritter’s Frozen Custard, Port Orange
Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar, Ormond Beach
Rum Barrel Bar & Grill, Key West
Rum Runners Bar & Grille at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
RumFish Grill at Guy Harvey Outpost, St Pete Beach
RusTeak Restaurant & Wine Bar, Ocoee & Orlando
The Rusty Spoon, Orlando
Ruth’s Chris Steak House, All Florida locations
Sally O’Neal’s Pizza Hotline, Tampa
The Sandbar Restaurant, Anna Maria
Sandy Hook Fish & Rib House, Matlacha
Santiago’s Bodega, Altamonte Springs
Santiago’s Bodega, Orlando
Scolapasta Bistro, Fort Lauderdale
Seafood Shack, Marina, Bar & Grill, Cortez
Shake ShackWinter Park,  I-Drive
Shakers American Cafe, Orlando
Shogun at Rosen Inn, Orlando
Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Sarasota
Sinclair’s Ocean Grill at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, Jupiter
SLATE, Orlando
Smith & Adams Confections, Orlando
Soco Restaurant, Orlando
Sonesta, Fort Lauderale Beach
Souzou, Saint Petersburg
Spatz Deli & Billiards, Winter Park
Spoto’s Oyster Bar, Palm Beach Gardens
Square 1 Burgers & Bar, Winter Park
Stillwaters Tavern, Saint Petersburg
Something Fishy, Apopka
Sonny’s BBQCentral Florida locations
Splitsville Luxury Lanes, Orlando
Starbucks Coffee Company, Participating Orlando locations
STK Orlando
Sugar Daddy Bakery, Orlando
Suncoast Cafe, Venice
Sushi Maki, Miami area locations
Sweet Frog, Altamonte Springs & Orlando Avalon Park
Sweet Frog, Daytona Beach & Port Orange
Sweet Frog, Jupiter 
Sweet Frog, Riverside Jacksonville & Town Center Jacksonville
Swine & Sons Provisions, Winter Park
Taberna del Caballo, Saint Augustine
Taboon Bistro, Orlando
Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa
Taproom at Dubsdread, Orlando
The Tasting Room at The Chef’s Table, Winter Garden
Teak Neighborhoord Grill, Orlando
Tee Jay Thai Sushi, Wilton Manors
Texas Cattle Company, Lakeland & Saint Petersburg
TGI Fridays, Central Florida locations
The Tennessee Truffle, Sanford
The Thirsty Goat, Port Saint Joe
Tijuana Flats, All Central Florida locations
Tommy Bahama, Jupiter, Naples, Orlando, Sandestin, Sarasota
Tony Roma’s International Drive, Orlando
T-REX at Disney Springs™, Lake Buena Vista
TR Fire Grill, Winter Park
Tryst, Saint Petersburg
Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Miramar Beach
Turners Kitchen + Bar, Leesburg
Turtle Kraals Bar & Grill, Key West
Umi, Winter Park
Uncle Maddio’s Pizza, Ocala
Union Public House, Pensacola
University Center Club, Tallahassee
Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Florida locations
Uptown Cafe & Catering, Tallahassee
Urban Flats, Winter Garden
Verandah at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Vito’s Chop House, Orlando
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
vomFASS, Winter Garden
The Wave Kitchen & Bar at Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, Vero Beach
Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches, Orlando Doc Phillips location
Whirly Dome, Orlando
Windjammers Restaurant, Clearwater Beach
Wingstop, Hialeah-Miami Lakes
Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Orlando
WonderWorks Orlando Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, Orlando
World of Beer, Altamonte Springs, Lake MaryUCF area
Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Zenith Company
Zona Fresca Fresh Mexican Grill, Winter Park

More restaurants coming soon! Check back regularly.


About OneOrlando Fund
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse tragedy. The distribution of the funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds. For information regarding the OneOrlando Fund or to make a wire transfer, please contact

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.


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International Sushi Day is coming and Bento Cafe is hosting an All You Can Eat Sushi eating contest on Saturday July 18th. The contest will be held at the Downtown Orlando location and it will begin at 1 pm. Sign up will also be at this location. In addition to the competition, Bento will be running a special all day long for Sushi, buy 2 rolls and get a classic roll free in honor of international sushi day. This special will be held at all of Bento Orlando locations.


ayce contest17x11


Bento Cafe
151 S Orange Ave · +1 407-999-8989
Open until 10:00 PM

Bento Cafe
7335 Sand Lake Rd · +1 407-352-2277
Open until 10:00 PM

Bento Café
12250 Strategy Blvd #443 · +1 407-658-8088
Open until 10:00 PM

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Updated: 5:00pm 6/15/2016

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends who have been affected by last night’s tragic and terrible violence – our community is united in solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in bringing love and compassion in the face of hatred.

In this moment where there is so much terrible loss, there has been a huge outpouring of response from the local Orlando community, trying to help and give back whether it is the thousands who lined up to donate blood or those who donated water and snacks to those waiting in line and the more who donated to help the victims and their families with medical costs.  This outpouring of love in the face of hate is what makes our City Beautiful.

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Blood Donations

Right now, OneBlood is still in urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors – schedule calling 1.888.9.DONATE (1.888.936.6283)or visit The GLBT Center and Zebra Coalition are offering counseling services for those who need it. The community can call the Zebra Coalition hotline at 407-228-1446 or 407-822-5036, and counselors will be on site at The Center at 946 N Mills Ave. You can also sign up to volunteer with the City of Orlando, here

For more info, visit


If you would like to help but unable to donate blood, volunteer at the United Against Poverty Orlando center just a few doors down from the main One Blood center on Michigan St

City officials are asking for bilingual volunteers and mental health counsellors. Call 407-428-5870 or to help

If you want to help, please bring the following to 511 Virginia Drive, The Venue. Water, Coffee, Snacks, Hand sanitizers, Rubber gloves , Paper towels, Toilet paper, Sunscreen, Amongst other things desperately needed! The LGBT Center or The Venue #OrlandoUnited

Donate Money to Local Victims Funds

If you are looking to donate, local groups created an official Go Fund Me page to raise money for the victims. This is the official one being managed by The Center, MBA, Hope and Help, Two Spirit Health, Zebra Coalition, Rollins. –

This is the official Pulse Victims Fund page for Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. Equality Florida is collecting contributions via this GoFundMe page to support the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Funds raised on this page will be going directly to the victims and families affected by the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.


Orlando’s Food Community Gather Support

Already our local culinary community has come together as well to help give back.

Orlando Weekly – Orlando’s food community bands together in face of tragedy –

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide – Central Florida Culinary Community Comes Together in Response to Attack

Chuy’s Tex Mex, 4 Rivers, Talk of the Town Restaurans, Tijuana Flats, Quantum Leap Winery, Kona Ice, Vegan Hot Dog Cart, Old Hearth Bread Company, Swine and Sons, John and Shirley’s Catering, The Meatball Stoppe, are just some of the many many local Orlando businesses that have come together, often quietly, to donate to the YMCA, the LGBT Center, Zebra Coalition, and the blood banks.

Join Culinary Cares: In Support of Pulse Orlando – Facebook Group organized by Gary Appelsies, director of healthy eating for Central Florida YMCA to find out more on how to help.

Sus Hi Eat Station, which recently opened a second location in Altamone Springs, announced that starting today through Saturday (June 18th), 100% of profits from both stores will be donated to the GoFundMe Pulse Victims Fund created by Equality Florida. #OrlandoStrong

K Restaurant is hosting a fundraiser tonight as part of their dinner service to help with a victim’s family costs.

“Join us tonite as a portion of our sales go to Cory’s family…..#prayfororlando

Orchid in Winter Park is accepting toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer.

Pincho Factory, which opened its doors in Dr. Phillips this past March will donate 15% of all sales from this week to support victims of the tragedy. “The city of Orlando embraced us in such an amazing way, we knew we had to do something to show our support,” says Pincho Factory co-owner Otto Othman. Effective immediately (June 13) through end of business Sunday, June 19, 2016 monies will be collected from all sales and donated to, which launched shortly after news of the Pulse shootings broke. “You feel so powerless after something like this happens,” adds co-owner Nedal Ahmad. “We hope any money we raise will help those dealing with the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.”


For the first time 4 Rivers Smokehouse will open its doors on a Sunday in order to raise funds for the victims of the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.
The 4 Rivers Winter Park location at 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave. will ?be open this Sunday, June 19, from 11 a.m. ­ 3 p.m. for dine­in and call­ahead orders.
Proceeds from the day will go toward the Pulse victims and families through the One Orlando Fund.

If you hear of any other ways to help our community, please leave a comment or send us an email at


#OrlandoStrong #OrlandoUnited

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by Emily Brainard

Chef Joseph Burnett of The Osprey Tavern in Baldwin Park was recently awarded the accolades of Best Chef and Best New Restaurant by Orlando Magazine.

“In order to create a productive kitchen that works, hammering and pounding, like a blacksmith to metal, is the wrong approach. Cooks and chefs need nurturing and discipline, but this is about the long haul. A kitchen is a garden and what it needs is gentle guidance. Each kitchen and each chef is unique, some flourish with a more hands on approach and others with a more laid back one. They don’t all grow at the same pace or with the same tenacity, but it takes a lot of careful manipulation to create something and someone that can produce.”

I didn’t expect this kind of patient, methodical, even somewhat spiritual rhetoric from such a stoic looking man. “You’re comparing managing a kitchen to tending a garden?” was my initial reaction when Joseph Burnett told me his approach to being an executive chef.

And the more time I spent watching him, the more I realized that he molds these young minds much in the way he constructs a dish. He works the kitchen the same way he works over an item, taking care that each ingredient/chef is utilized so that it tastes/works the best and each plays its own integral role in everything tasting delicious/coming together.

It’s so meticulously orchestrated that if you aren’t paying attention, you could easily miss it. The management of The Osprey Tavern’s kitchen is as artistic as the food it’s putting out.

I sat down with Chef Joseph Burnett to find out more about where this artistry and thoughtfulness comes from, the journey it took to get here, and where he hopes it will take him.

Chef Joe Burnett
Chef Joe Burnett of The Osprey Tavern

Q. Where did your initial drive for cooking come from?

A. Well, very simply, my parents never had crap around the house. There weren’t any instant snacks to indulge in. Everything I wanted to consume or share with friends, I had to prepare myself, so that’s what I did. We also had a food-centric household. My mother, grandmother, and aunt were constantly cooking so I started with them at a young age.

Q. Where did your professional culinary journey begin?

A. I started washing dishes at 15, and then I was a line cook. I did catering and coffee for a while. I moved to Boston and got a degree in graphic design. After school, I just wanted to be back in a kitchen, so I made a list of best restaurants in Miami, applied, and was hired at my top choice-Norman’s. My wife, Viviana Alestor, and I then made our way up to Norman’s Orlando. I was sous and eventually chef de cuisine there.  I tried my hand at Loews Hotels to see if I enjoyed the corporate hotel aspect of cooking. I didn’t. Shortly after, I became chef de cuisine at The Ravenous Pig where I was allowed to cut my teeth. Finally, roughly a year ago, I ventured to Osprey.


Q. How was your transition to Osprey?

A. Difficult and great. I hit the ground here running. There were some things that needed to be changed immediately, and others that took more time. It was a team effort getting Osprey to where it is now. Initially, there wasn’t anyone here I trusted. It takes a while and is difficult to get to know someone and develop the trust that comes from the long haul in an intense environment. Elek Kovacs (chef de cuisine) joining the team was a relief.  I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have by my side. We worked together at Norman’s and later at the Pig. There wasn’t a task you could give him that he didn’t complete faster and better than what you envisioned. His attention to detail is unparalleled. We are creative in different ways. It took me years to train myself to be organized. For Elek, the organization is more engrained which makes his implementation flawless.

Q. Why Osprey?

A. I had worked under national and local celebrity chefs and I felt like it was time to be on my own. Jason allowed me that platform (Jason Chin owns The Osprey Tavern, as well as Seito Baldwin Park). I admire him. I admire his business sense and his ability to take a vision and bring it to fruition.


Q. Is this style the culmination of what you want to be doing?

A. The style is perfect. I get to mix in ethnic food and comfort foods. I have the ability to work with great ingredients.

Q. How do you continue to find the drive necessary to maintain the quality of your work?

A. The challenge drives me and it’s always challenging. If there’s not challenge, you’re playing it too safe.
There are very few art forms where the result is seen in just a few hours. And although a lot of things we do can take several months for end results, quite a few are fairly quick and the satisfaction is there.
There are also even fewer forms of art that sustain life. And as an artisan it’s incredible to create something that is visually appealing, as well as something that nourishes you.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

Q. Do you ever feel stagnant? How do you get yourself out of that rut?

A. It’s a very intense creative process. Sometimes I think, as so many others, “I’m never going to have another great idea again.” Then something stimulates me, another chef, nature or, another art form triggers something within me. Sometimes these ideas come too quickly to act on and of course, it’s not always a reliable process, but I have a great team that I can lean on and their fresh eyes help. Our paths will intersect, like a brain trust and any block is removed by what we can create together.

Q. What words of advice could you offer to aspiring chefs?

A. Be humble. Start from the bottom. Stay out of culinary school. It’s harder at first, but ultimately an easier route. You’ll avoid a ton of debt to pay off. You will learn the technical tools required on site, as well as all the rest.

Pea Salad at The Osprey Tavern
Pea Salad at The Osprey Tavern

Q. Tell us about how you learned on site.

A. My first time in a kitchen, I had one knife to bring to the table. I didn’t know culinary terms like c-fold or hotel pan. I would write down what I didn’t understand and go home and look it up. I wasn’t going to be made fun of for a lack of knowledge. “Food Lovers Companion,” and Harold McGee books were my reference system. “Becoming a Chef,” was my spiritual and philosophical guidance.

Q. What keeps you humble?

A. I think the mentality a lot of chefs keep, myself included, is that “you’re only as good as your last dish or your last service.”

Striving to constantly make myself better is grounding.

You see egos in kitchens, people who think they’re great and they usually fall flat where it counts. I don’t want that ego. It’s the death of creativity.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

Q. Most people don’t pair artistry with management. Is leading a team something that you ever wanted?

A. Certainly. I enjoy the human aspect of it. I count myself lucky to be part of so many journeys. You can’t ever completely know where someone is headed and sometimes an artist comes out, flourishes and goes on to do the most incredible things. It can be frustrating at times, of course.  At this level, it’s a thinking man’s game. Leading a pack of “yes men” is not something I want. I want opinions that count. I want thinkers. I want them to question recipes, question ingredients, question delivery. I do not want a team of people going through the motions. Most chefs learn early with multiplying recipes that you have to question everything. One teaspoon of cayenne can multiply to one cup in no time, so an open door is everything. The kitchen is a crash course in psychology. You find yourself running into the same personalities, culling the herd to avoid drama and ego. Eventually, you tailor your approach to different people. Some are best set free and some thrive with discipline or a gentle mix of both.

Q. Do you ever find it difficult to comingle passion with business?

A. Yes. Ingredients that I love to work with are sometimes expensive and therefore not economically viable, for example, European white asparagus.
However, it’s becoming easier with the tremendous development of Orlando’s palate in last 10 years. If we would serve squab, some guests would see the little feet and flee the dining room. Now, guests are ordering second and third plates of chicken liver mousse.

Q. If someone doesn’t enjoy a dish on your menu, what’s your reaction?

A. I know that every dish or message isn’t for every person and I keep that in mind when something isn’t well received. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t take it personally and get angry or disappointed, initially. But it quickly transforms into a learning opportunity. We look for patterns in things. If something is constantly getting a bad reception then it has to change. If we failed as a team, it has to be addressed. But if it isn’t a common occurrence and just that a particular guest doesn’t mesh with a particular item, my mindset is “to each their own.”
Often guests want what they expect rather than our interpretation of a dish. It’s the classic “dish in quotes” dilemma. The quotes are suggesting there is riff on this and it may be whimsical and fun, but that’s not always suitable to where their mind has taken them and that’s quite alright.

Q. What gets you to work every day (other than your car?)

A. Creativity, building something.
People creating together is an incredible thing and it’s interesting to see what they are going to bring to the table each day.
I feel like I’m just beginning.

Q. What brings you joy?

A. My children. It’s always good to come home. No one is more proud of me than my kids. Sebastian, 7, and Isabelle, 3, call my crew “my friends”, and they aren’t wrong.

Q. What are your hopes for The Osprey Tavern?

A. I hope it will be another jewel in the crown of Orlando’s culinary scene.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

There is no doubt in my mind that The Osprey Tavern is quickly earning its position as “another jewel in the crown of Orlando’s culinary scene.” While in it’s first year, Osprey went through many changes and growing pains, Chef Joseph never shied away from acknowledging its flaws or making the necessary modifications. He readdressed, regrouped, and represented whether it was to endure criticism or praise. The Osprey Tavern is clearly carefully tended. It is to be concluded that if as many people took the kind of approach to their lives that Joseph Burnett takes to his kitchens, the world would in fact be a much finer, kinder, and more delectable place.

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For foodies that love a good glass of wine, TR Fire Grill is hosting a Wine Dinner that includes a chef crafted four course meal expertly paired with Hope Family Wines.

Created by TR Fire Grill’s Head Chef Bob Gallagher and Sommelier Andrew Bateman, each course will highlight elements in the wines and showcase certain flavors.

When:   May 15, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

Where: TR Fire Grill, 1035 North Orlando Avenue

What:    Four courses chef-inspired courses

  1. Charcuterie & Cheese with grilled wine infused onions, Treana Chardonay
  2. Market Salad with white wine vinaigrette, Treana White Blend
  3. Surf & Turf with red blend demi-glace and Chardonnay butter, Treana Red Blend
  4. Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle with wine infused blueberries, Troublemaker Red Blend

Price:     $60 per person, tickets can be purchased here.

WEB_Fire Grill_Wine Dinner

Charcuterie & Cheese

Grilled bread, grainy mustard, cornichon pickles,

and grilled wine infused onions

Treana Chardonnay

Second Course

Watermelon, cucumber, mango, kiwi, blueberries,

pickled red onion, Feta cheese, sunflower seeds,

Treana white wine vinaigrette

Market Salad

Treana White Blend

Third Course

Smoked flank with Treana Red Blend demi-glacé,

potato hash, cedar wood shrimp, Treana

Chardonnay butter, smoked asparagus

Surf & Turf

Treana Red Blend

Fourth Course

Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle

Chocolate waffle, tempura strawberry bananas,

wine infused blueberries, mango sauce, ice cream

Troublemaker Red Blend

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Jeff and Isabella Morgia di Vicari chatted with us about their restaurant – The Meatball Stoppe in East Orlando!

Isabella is first generation American born of Italian decent, with a large Italian family from Calabria and Trieste Italia.

“Born in Brooklyn NY and growing up in Orlando since 1970 and raised in my famiglia’s restaurant businesses which they owned and operated, has taught me many life lessons including the wonderful culture of food. I did not become a Chef through a Culinary Institute, I became a Chef the “old fashion” way. My true teacher was my Nonna Isabella, my namesake who lived with our famiglia our entire life. It was in the home, with Nonna’s influence that we lived and breathed all the wonderful Italian traditions that we embrace today. Those family traditions bring the Morgia di Vicari family back to the table where it all happens for them.

My Nonna Isabella, my namesake, lived with us our entire lives up until the end. Everything she made came from her garden. She made everything from scratch. When we came home from school the aromas’ in our home made everyone crazy. All our friends came to our home for their after snack.”

What are you most passionate about?

People always think I’m passionate about food but that’s not true. I’m passionate about people, about living, about bringing the famiglia back to the table. Food is the vehicle I use to get them there.

Jeff and I developed the Community International Culinary Program for kids. Our mission is to feed families physically, emotionally, and spiritually…a focus on healthy families as well as healthy bodies. It’s about giving kids hope, inspiration, and getting them back to the table. We teach that the tools of the kitchen are the tools for life.

Check out this video put out by City of Orlando’s and Commissioner Regina Hill.

City of Orlando’s Video of The Community International Culinary Program

Watch this 5 min Ignite talk I gave at the National Council of Behavioral Health Conference of 5k at the Gaylord.

It started with Jeffy, the Meatball Man! Jeff has been talking about a meatball shop for the past 3 years and when we acquired a small catering company that has this space, the first thing out of his mouth was….The Meatball Shoppe! The first thing out of my mouth was “do you want to stay married?”. LOL. Seriously, it is very challenging to own a restaurant and work it together 24/7. We both come from very strong restaurant backgrounds our entire lives. When Jeff and I came together it was “Mom and Pops’ marries ‘Corporate America” and a beautiful marriage it was. Jeff is brilliant and with his talents and expertise in Corporate systems he developed the systems to make The Meatball Shoppe what it is today. The system in place will make it possible to grow and open ‘many’ Meatball Shoppe’s! I’m so proud of all he’s done for the business and the famiglia. I love him very much.

What are your favorite dishes to cook and enjoy

I have two favorite dishes. Pasta Aglio Olio (Pasta with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, fresh basil and crushed red pepper….a poor man’s food but because we’re a sophisticated society today it’s a delicacy. My Nonna Isabella, my namesake, use to make this for the famiglia all the time. The second is my Mamma Adriana Vicari’s signature dish…Pasta potate e piseli (pasta potato and peas). Again a dish that my mamma was raised on because that’s all they had. This dish is my children’s favorite too because this is when we clean out the frig and throw all the vegetables we have left over in the pot and create this amazing comforting dish that leaves you craving for more.


What are some interesting facts that most people might not know?

I love to sing and dance, I grew up playing the accordian and am a Brown Belt in Go Gu Ru Karate. My Sensai would kick my butt if he saw how I let myself go and get out of shape. But as I tell my children for as long as I have breath, it’s not too late and I can make the changes needed to get back to good health!

It is my hearts desire to have my own show. I believe God gave me this gift to touch people at the heart-string level. To use this gift to impact people to make a move, to make a change from within.

My show will not just be a cooking show but a show of hope and inspiration, a show that will allow me to bring the famiglia, our community, our corporation and our America “Back to the table”, back to their roots and traditions. You see it’s not all about the food but when you’re wondering why your famiglia doesn’t want to have dinner together, let me encourage you to look in the mirror. After all who wants to come to the table with a puss face and a lousy meal? I know, I speak from personal experience. Change must first happen with the person we see in the mirror. Then and only then will we begin to see change in our famiglia, our community and in our America.



Nonna’s Traditional Italian
Chicken Marsala
Vegetarian – Gluten Free
Spicy Pork
Mediterranean Lamb


Roasted Tomato
Signature Pesto
Creamy Provolone Cheese
Marsala Mushroom
Spicy Pork


Creamy Polenta
Penne Pasta
Smashed with Sandwich Bread


Housemade Cannoli







The Meatball Stoppe
7325 Lake Underhill Rd, Orlando, FL 32822
Phone:+1 407-270-6505

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According to their facebook page, “Viet-Nomz is a modern take on delicious Vietnamese cuisine. We are here to satisfy your appetite with popular Vietnamese fare in a fast casual environment! Viet-Nomz is a Vietnamese QSR restaurant created with a new concept and freshness in mind. Every rice and noodle bowl is handcrafted in our kitchen with only quality ingredients. We believe in flavorful and wholesome meals with a modern, yet authentic, twist to traditional Vietnamese cuisine.”

It is founded by friends Chris Chen, Phillip Nguyen, and Mike Cho.

They are also going to be offering late night pho on Friday and Saturday nights (until 3 AM). GAME CHANGER!

They are now under construction and expect to open summer 2016.

Background Summary:

Viet-Nomz is a Vietnamese QSR restaurant created with a new concept and freshness in mind. Every rice and noodle bowl is handcrafted in our kitchen with only quality ingredients. We believe in flavorful and wholesome meals with a modern, yet authentic, twist to traditional Vietnamese cuisine.


Viet-Nomz is a modern take on delicious Vietnamese cuisine, serving noodle soups, rice and noodle bowls, and contemporary-style Asian street food.


Restaurant (fast-casual)

Drivers and Goals:

My partner Philip Nguyen and I (Chris Chen) love pho and Vietnamese food. However, we’ve noticed a lack of a modern twist to this traditional cuisine. In today’s world, QSR (quick service restaurants) are rapidly growing as the traditional sit-down dining restaurants are declining. With that being said, there’s a lack of QSR Viet restaurants in Orlando and Florida, unlike QSR Chinese and Japanese restaurants, which are already mainstream.


We are designing for foodies and pho lovers who share the same passion and excitement for the Vietnamese cuisine. Our demographics ranges from young adults to families who simply love pho and Viet food and want it in a fast-casual environment.


Asian street feel – not quite urban; industrial rustic modern atmosphere. Breaking the traditional feel of Asian cuisine. Contemporary Cali-inspired.


Quality and wholesome foods in a fast-pace way of service. We want customers to see our shop as a place to enjoy pho on-the-go or a more relax/chill place for friends and family to eat popular Vietnamese fare and kick back.




Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge takes its diners on a trip back to all the nostalgic swank and sophistication of the 1940s big band era with a classic yet seasonally changing American and European continental menu. It’s become one of my favorite new restaurants in Orlando!


Mr. Rashid Choufani
Mr. Rashid Choufani

Urbain 40’s owner-operator Jaafar Choufani, an executive for parent company Boulevard Restaurants, teamed up with his father, famed restaurateur and former Bocuse d’Or judge Rashid Choufani, to run the brasserie. Mr. Rashid Choufani also leads the restaurant operations at Walt Disney World’s Morocco pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.


A faithful devotee of the slow-food movement, Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard sources the freshest ingredients locally when possible, from vegetables and herbs to meats and fish, to transform continental and American classics into original creations, bringing his interpretations of French favorites with a decidedly American, and often Southern twist.


A French classic, the luxurious Billi-Bi Soup, is an elegant saffron cream broth of Prince Edward Island mussels “beignet” given a Southern touch here at Urbain 40 with smoked paprika oil.

For dessert, there is a bit of a sweet dilemma as the bevy of goods created by pastry chef Amanda McFall all sound so enticing that it’s hard to choose just one.

Urbain 40 is both enchanting and charming in its comforting food and intimate ambiance.

Keep an eye out for the full review on Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine in the coming month.

Saffron Cream, Prince Edward Island Mussels Beignet, Smoked Paprika Oil

Cast Iron Skillet Roasted, Drawn Butter, Lemon, House-made Baguette

Chef’s selection of Cured Meat, Cheese, Pork Terrine, Onion Confit Marmalade, Cornichons

Caramelized Onion, House-Smoked Maple Bacon, Shallot Confit

Roasted Garlic Confit, Gruyere, Asiago, Fig Reduction

Brown Butter, Cauliflower Potato Purée, Fennel, Lemon Confit

Garlic and Royal Trumpet Chips, Goat Cheese Sphere

Slow-roasted Beef and Pork, House-made Pappardelle Pasta, Grana Padano

Raspberry Macaroons, Chocolate and Pistachio Pops, Chocolate Truffles

Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40
Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40





Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge
8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 872-2640

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We’ve had a few local Orlandoans cast on the MasterChef series, most recently Zac Kara in Masterchef Junior and Francis Biondi in the original MasterChef series in season 5. Biondi was actually found by production staff who met him while he was a server at The Rusty Spoon.

Zac Kara – no relation to Orlando Weekly’s Faiyaz Kara – from Masterchef Junior is an Orlando local

America’s first MasterChef winner, Whitney Miller, is now chef de cuisine leading recipe creation and development of John River’s The Coop here in Orlando.

Francis Biondi from Masterchef Season 5 was found by producers at The Rusty Spoon

Now, America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, is returning for its eighth season with a visit to Orlando for open casting calls on Saturday April 16, 2016.

Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

Master Chef’s first winner Whitney Miller – now with The Coop!

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

check out the last time Master Chef was in town with our article from Season 5 here.


Press Release


Casting Calls for FOX’s Hit Cooking Competition Series to Take Place in San Diego, New York City, Oklahoma City, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Orlando, Portland, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Visit for the Most Up-to-Date Casting Information

America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, begins casting for its eighth season Saturday, March 5. Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

Open casting calls will be held in the following cities:

San Diego – Saturday, March 5
Oklahoma City – Saturday, March 12
New York City – Saturday, March 12
Chicago – Saturday, March 19
New Orleans – Saturday, March 19
Dallas – Saturday, April 16
Orlando – Saturday, April 16
Portland – Saturday, April 23
Boston – Saturday, April 23
Los Angeles – Saturday, April 30
Washington D.C. – Saturday, April 30

Additional details, including venues and times, will be announced soon. Visit for the most up-to-date audition information including eligibility and other audition terms and conditions.

For those unable to attend an open casting call, home video may be submitted. Instructions can be found at

All applicants must be 18 years or older on or before August 1, 2016.

Season Five winner Claudia Sandoval’s cookbook “Claudia’s Cucina” featuring authentic Mexican recipes with innovative and modern flair is now available for preorder on and will be released wide this summer. Season Four winner Luca Manfe launched his cookbook, “My Italian Kitchen,” in 2013. Season Three winner Christine Ha, the series’ first blind contestant, continues to be an inspiration to millions. Her cookbook, “Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food,” is a New York Times bestseller.

America’s first MASTERCHEF winner, Whitney Miller, is the author of “Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm.” Her recipes have been featured in various national publications, such as People and Cooking Light. Fans can also find their favorite All-Star contestants, including Luca and Claudia on the MASTERCHEF Cruise setting sail in the Caribbean Nov. 2016. For more information on the cruise visit

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato, and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. “Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at Follow the series on Twitter @MasterChefonFOX and follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay – @gordonramsay; Christina Tosi – @christinatosi.

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Epcot’s Tapestry of America: Celebrating African American Heritage

Guests can celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February with special experiences at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot. From historical displays and intriguing artifacts to book signings by Celebrity Chef G. Garvin and best-selling author Terry McMillan, guests can take a stroll through the pages of America’s history and learn about the influence of African-American culture.


Dorcas Williams, marketing manager at Disney Parks and Resorts, tells us that Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion features Legacy Portraits of famous African Americans and their contributions around the rotunda as well as “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, which draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. The exhibit will be available all year long.


At the Liberty Inn at the American Adventure, guests can try out a peach cobbler based on Mrs. Fischer’s recipe. Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes.

Chef G. Garvin, one of many authors visiting Epcot for Black History Month this month, spoke with us about his plans from upcoming food product projects as well as a new cook book based on tastes of the South (which includes not only Georgia and the Carolinas, but also New York and Los Angeles). He currently has a list of spices, olive oils, cookies, and sea salts available at


Chef Garvin grew up cooking for his mother and grandmother as part of his daily chores – yardwork, cleaning, making dinner. It wasn’t until when he was 18 years old when he worked at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta that he fell in love with cooking. The streets in his childhood were rough – kids were getting jailed or killed, and he did not want any part of that.

“Food didn’t save me, I saved myself through food,” Chef Garvin tells us.

Today he works with Magic Johnson as Chief Culinary Advisor for SodexoMAGIC, which serves as the catering culinary team for Walt Disney World. He also has several successful shows under his belt, including Road Trips on Cooking Channel.

The first person who told Chef Garvin that it might be a good idea to get into television was Chef Tim Keating of The Flying Fish. When Chef Garvin was 20 years old, the two actually roomed together at the opening of the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. Chef Keating told him he had the personality that would do well on TV and gave him opportunities to demo when he could.

His latest book, “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”, is available now online.

Press Release

Black History Month Author Series
In honor of Black History Month, guests have the opportunity to meet three renowned African-American authors and cultural icons select Saturdays during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

Terry McMillan, author of “Who Asked You?”
Saturday, Feb.6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan is known for her powerful novels and short stories about African American women. Her novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” was adapted into a film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995. Many of McMillan’s other novels, including the award-winning “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Disappearing Acts,” and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” have also been brought to life for film and television audiences. McMillan recently published her eighth novel, “Who Asked You?,” a story about the challenges and strength of a family.

Chef G. Garvin, author of “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”
Saturday, Feb.13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Acclaimed chef and television host, Chef G. Garvin has mastered the art of cooking as well as writing. His first cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple,” received an American Literacy Award and nomination for an NAACP Image Award. Chef Garvin has enjoyed continued success with his subsequent cookbooks and television show “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on The Cooking Channel.

Pattie LaBelle, author of “Recipes for the Good Life”
Saturday, Feb. 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (one signing only): Patti LaBelle is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, three-time Emmy nominee, and star of the cooking television series, “Pattie LaBelle’s Place.” This beloved soulful performer is just as captivating in the kitchen as she is on stage with her hit cooking show and cookbooks filled with southern-style recipes, including her recent book, “Recipes for the Good Life.”

Terrence Roberts, author of “Lessons from Little Rock”
Saturday, Feb. 27, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Terrence James Roberts, Ph.D. is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of history-making African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Roberts was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1999. His book, “Lessons from Little Rock,” is a memoir of his experience during the integration of Little Rock Central High School and the lessons learned from that historic episode.

New pieces at Epcot’s Kinsey Collection exhibit
“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. Philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and their son Khalil Kinsey share some of their vast personal collection of artifacts spanning 400 years of history. Touch screens and guest-activated lanterns with narration by Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer and other celebrities help bring the history to life. Three new pieces recently have been added to the exhibit which is open daily.


“Banneker’s Almanack and Ephemeras” by Benjamin Banneker, is the mathematical and mechanical work of Benjamin Banneker. Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, read and approved of Banneker’s work. The almanac was published in 1771.

“My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass, is an autobiography recounting Frederick Douglass’s life as a slave and that as a freeman. Published in 1855, the book is a first edition.

“Survivor” by Elizabeth Catlett, is a beautiful Linoleum block print inspired by a photograph taken by Dorthea Lang titled “Ex-slave with a Long Memory.” The print was created in 1983.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more information about the collection, visit


Legacy Portraits Tell a New Story
As guests explore the American Pavilion Rotunda, they are greeted by images of influential men and women who contributed to the progress of America. New portraits have been added to the collection for the month of February to further illustrate the contributions of many African American notables.

The new displays feature African American figures such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Ronald Erwin McNair, the second African American to fly in space; and Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to stage a public airplane flight in America.

Taste of Southern Comfort
Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes. One popular dessert recipe featured in the cookbook, Mrs. Fisher’s Peach Cobbler, is available for guests to purchase and enjoy at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure Pavilion.


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The Eighth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v12

Date / Time: Saturday, February 27 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 28, 2016 (noon to 7 p.m.)
Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street
The live entertainment schedule* includes:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

12:50 p.m. Adam Moreno
2:30 p.m. Orange Avenue
4 p.m. The Mud Flappers
5:30 p.m. Special acoustic performance by Mike Posner
6:30 p.m. Michael Franti Acoustic Duo
7:45 p.m. American Authors

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v14

Sunday, February 28, 2016
12:45 p.m. Nicholas Marks
2:15 p.m. Sidereal
3:45 p.m. Derek & The Slammers
5:20 p.m. Best of the Fest Awards
5:45 p.m. Firefall

*Performance times and artists subject to change without notice.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v4


One-Day General Admission
Admission is $15 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $20 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission
For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $25 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club
A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $15 per person at the Fest. Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience
A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $100 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v13

The Downtown Food & Wine Fest is produced by MIX 105.1, 1059 SUNNY FM, and 101.9 AMP Radio in partnership with the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Educational Foundation.

“With more than 1,000 events a year, Downtown Orlando offers residents and visitors alike with unique experiences and affordable entertainment options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Reoccurring community events like the Downtown Food & Wine Fest help to highlight our growing dining scene and bring awareness to our local businesses, strengthening economic growth to the area.”

Food Samplings at Downtown Food & Wine Fest v4

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the FRLA and Orlando restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Thirty top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings including the return of the 2015 Foodie Award winners as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2015 Foodie Award: Marlow’s Tavern Shrimp & Grits
2015 Sweet Treat Award: Primo at JW Marriott Orlando Cannoli Gelato Cone
2015 Best of Show:Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott (winner 2013-2015)

Food Samplings at Downtown Food & Wine Fest v2

Stay Connected
For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:
Like Downtown Food & Wine Fest on Facebook
Follow @DTFoodWineFest
Use #DTFoodWineFest on Twitter and Instagram
Call the events hotline at 407-919-1048

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Marlow’s Tavern is bringing the tempting taste of the Big Easy to Central Florida with its annual Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu, available through March 28.

“I have always been impressed by Louisiana’s rich culinary heritage, which draws on French, German, Spanish, African and Native American influences,” said John C. Metz, executive chef and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern. “We’ve been letting the good times roll in our kitchen creating appetizers, entrées and cocktails that show off that unique blend of flavors from New Orleans with a Marlow’s twist. Let’s just say we’re throwing our own parade for the palate.”

To kick up the local spice another notch this year, Metz’s team has added Classic Creole seasoning from Woodstock-based GG’s Fine Food to several of its recipes.

“Linda “GG” Gibson learned to cook Creole the old-fashioned way – from her grandmother,” Metz said. “Her seasonings are very traditional in the classic Louisiana style.”

When the Cajun craving strikes, the Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu is ready for lunch and dinner. New items on this year’s menu include the following:

crab dip

· Bayou Lump Crab Dip – Creole-spiced lump crab, andouille, spicy mustard, Asiago, Parmesan crust and toasty French baguette

redfish poboy

· N’awlins-Style Po’ Boy – fiery spiced red fish, apple-cabbage slaw, shredded lettuce, Roma tomato and Creole rémoulade on toasted baguette

Marlow's Muffaleta
Marlow’s Muffaleta

· “The Big Easy” Muffaletta – imported mortadella, Genoa salami, spicy capicola, GG’s secret recipe olive salad, melting provolone on pressed ciabatta bread


· Sweet Bourbon St. Rib-eye – blackened Jack Daniel’s Honey-blazed rib-eye, jumbo asparagus and a creamy crawfish pie

Plus, Marlow’s signature Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu favorites include Roasted Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo, Daily Flatbread from the Bayou, Deconstructed Jambalaya and Honey Bourbon Bread Pudding.

For guests who prefer to be spirited away New Orleans-style, Marlow’s has crafted a special menu of drinks and handcrafted cocktails including:

· “Pat’s” Marlow’s Hurricane – a New Orleans tradition stolen from Pat O’Brien’s. His secret recipe all “jazzed up” with Bacardi light rum, fresh orange juice and a floater of Bacardi. Hold onto your beads!

· Bourbon Rum Punch – Old Forester, Meyer’s Dark Rum, vanilla, cream & nutmeg

· Bourbon Street Lemonade – house-made New Orleans original, Southern Comfort, lemonade, kiss of mint, fresh lemon & lime and a dash of simple syrup

· Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon 16th Edition – unique blend of nine different white grapes, produced and bottled in Oregon with hand-selected Oregon, Washington & California fruit, bright straw, exotic tropical citrus, hints of spicy apple with lush, crisp, bright finish

· ABITA® Turbodog-Draught – Turbodog Dark Brown Ale brewed with pale, caramel, chocolate malts and Willamette hops, rich flavors, perfect partner for all things Cajun!

· ABITA® Wrought Iron IPA-Bottle – Abita Wrought Iron IPA is the resilient, indestructible nature of New Orleans. India Pale Ale forged with intensity of apollo, equinox and mosaic hops, bright as iron from a fiery forge, perfect for a night on the bayou

During the celebration, one lucky grand prize winner and a guest will enjoy a weekend in New Orleans listening to music legends such as Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Flo Rida and many more at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Visit for contest details and registration.

Marlow’s fans can also enter on the tavern’s Facebook page for a chance to win Bayou ‘n Bourbon prizes between February 19 and March 17. A prize winner will be randomly selected to win dinner for four ($100 value), with a second drawing for dinner for two ($50 value).

Finally, Instagram users are encouraged to share their Bayou ‘n Bourbon experience and tag @marlowstavern. Lucky winners will have their image regrammed and receive a complimentary Honey Bourbon Bread Pudding.

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Truly excited for this event coming up – Beard in Baldwin hosted by The Osprey Tavern – bringing in acclaimed chefs from not only Orlando but also South Florida, all in one place – and for a great cause to raise funds for the James Beard Scholarship program.

See Press Release Below


Beard in Baldwin

The Osprey Tavern, helmed by Executive Chef Joseph Burnett, offers a modern take on traditional tavern-inspired cuisine, while embracing the popular movement toward local and sustainable ingredients.

Through their partnership with the James Beard Foundation , The Osprey Tavern will be hosting Beard in Baldwin, to raise funds for the James Beard Scholarship program.

On Saturday, April 9, Beard in Baldwin will aim to highlight Florida’s most talented chefs and restaurants in Baldwin Park.

For $75 per ticket (tax additional), guests will have the opportunity to delight in an outdoor playground filled with gourmet fare, different wines and spirits and live music by The Legendary JC’s.

Guests will enjoy more than 15 local favorites, like The Rusty Spoon, K Restaurant, Soco, 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The Ravenous Pig.

Guests have the option to elevate their experience at $150 per ticket (tax additional) which grants access into The Osprey Tavern, where guests can enjoy craft cocktails and passed hors d’oeurves.

The restaurants participating are:
· The Rusty Spoon
· Hamilton’s Kitchen
· Urbain 40 American Brasserie
· The Smiling Bison
· Black Rooster Taqueria
· Citrus Restaurant
· Hawkers
· Highball & Harvest
· K Restaurant
· Norman’s
· P is for Pie
· Se7enbites
· Cusiniers
· Seito Sushi
· F & D Kitchen and Bar
· Soco
· Tapa Toro
· Taverna Opa
· The Swine Family
· 4 Rivers Smokehouse
· Pane D’or

Top-billed talent to be sampled include:

· Kenny Gilbert of Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen in Jacksonville and past contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef
· Timon Balloo of SUGARCANE raw bar grill in Miami and James Beard Award Semifinalist
· Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster and the Till in Tampa
· Sergio Navarro and Maria Orantes of Pubbelly Restaurant Group in Miami
· Hichem Lahreche of Criollo Chocolatier in Orlando


The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. You are what you eat not only because food is nutrition, but also because food is an integral part of our everyday lives. Food is economics, politics, entertainment, culture, fashion, family, passion…and nourishment. The James Beard Foundation is at the center of America’s culinary community, dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives.

A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by offering a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture. These programs include educational initiatives, food industry awards, an annual national food conference, Leadership Awards program, culinary scholarships, and publications. In addition to maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs, the Foundation has created a robust online community, and hosts conferences, tastings, lectures, workshops, and food-related art exhibits in New York City and around the country.

The James Beard Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in New York City.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit

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Soco stands for Southern Contemporary, with Southern roots and a contemporary interpretation of American cuisine, and is situated in Thornton Park. It’s also got one of the best Sunday brunches in town.

“It’s a new and adventurous culinary approach to dishes that we have all come to know and love. At Soco we are focused on true Southern hospitality, and we are committed to overall excellence.” said Executive Chef Greg Richie.

“We are local, both in terms of the products we use and the neighborhood where we reside. Soco is committed to enriching Thornton Park and cultivating the culinary renaissance of Downtown Orlando.”

Chef Richie graduated with honors from the acclaimed Johnson and Wales University in Charleston. He worked with Yamaguchi at the original Roy’s Restaurant in Hawaii and was selected to be the first executive chef/partner for Roy’s in Orlando. He was then chosen by Lagasse to take over the kitchen at Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.

Here’s a look at the fabulous Sunday brunch at Soco:

Crab-Stuffed Deviled Duck Eggs – 12
Crisp Bacon, Lemon, Truffle

Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickled Okra and Little Gems Greens – 10
House-Made Farm Cheese, Benton’s Country Ham, Vidalia Onion Buttermilk Dressing

Lake Meadow Naturals Korean-Style Fried Chicken – 23
Pickled Radishes, Sweet and Spicy Sauce

Lobster Eggs Benedict – 18
Buttermilk Biscuits, Benton’s Ham, Lobster Hollandaise

Sunday Burger – 15
Fried Egg, Aged Cheddar, Red Onion-Bacon Marmalade, Brioche Bun, Crispy Onion Rings



629 E. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801

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It’s the start of a new year – and time for a scratch-made meal at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen after the holiday season. They’re based out of Texas and have been widely popular here in Orlando since opening their new locations on Semoran Blvd and also near UCF in East Orlando. Almost every time we’ve visited it’s had a line out the door.

They specialize in home-style cuisine like baked chicken pot pies and burgers, but also great fried dishes like fried chicken and fried shrimp.


The folks at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen recently invited us to try some of their dishes as part of the media. We’ve been several times before and were glad to be back.

You start with the honey butter croissants – buttery, sweet, honey fresh goodness that is baked to order.


For those who enjoy onion rings, their onion ring stack appetizer is a mountainous treat to behold.

Onion Ring Prep Onion Rings__113

I’ve really enjoyed their fried items as well – from the chicken fried tenders to the chicken fried steak and fried shrimp. It’s all quite affordably priced and in large quantity making for a satisfying meal.


All that cooking over the holidays – makes you want some time for a break and savor the length of preparation time done in the early morning hours, the quality of scratch made goodness, and a rare moment for hosts to enjoy precious family time in a warm and inviting environment – with absolutely little work at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – made from scratch without the mess at home.


Everyone has a host in their family who makes guests feel like family – they’re genuine, warm, and welcoming. Hosts often go above and beyond as they prepare for visits with family and friends, spending countless, selfless hours to ensure everything is done the right way, not the easy way, with grace and ease.


At CSK, we know hosts spend much of their time preparing for visits with family and friends that it’s often hard for them to enjoy the season of giving. Visit them soon!


6650 S Semoran Blvd
(407) 438-8878
Open until 11:00 PM

875 W Osceola Pkwy
(407) 348-2159
Open until 11:00 PM

12201 E Colonial Dr
(407) 282-8100
Open until 11:00 PM

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On far-flung World Center Drive, near the Epcot area, you can find authentic Shanghainese Chinese cuisine at the newly opened iShanghai. It’s a hidden gem that is a welcome addition to the rather bleek Orlando Chinese restaurant landscape.

Shanghai, the bustling port city on the central coast in China, is known for their seafood and the use of fresh flavors and methods that retain the taste of the ingredients.

Shanghai dishes usually are pickled in wine, stewed, braised, steamed, or deep fried.

A notable Shanghai delicacy is xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings in the United States. Made popular by the Michelin starred Din Tai Fung restaurant, which is headquartered in Taiwan, but have locations around the world including in the US, the xiaolongbao is a type of hot steamed bun made with a thin skin of dough and stuffed with pork or minced crab, and notably, soup.

The soup is said to be congealed first before placing into the pork mixture and then steamed, allowing for the soup to stay inside the dumpling. Often times in local Chinese restaurants here in Orlando, they may advertise xiaolongbao and the flavors are there but the soup is not there to many a disappointed patron.

Photo Jan 16, 7 49 31 PM

So let’s just say we have finally found the holy grail of dumplings in Orlando – the soup dumplings are found here at iShanghai – with a few caveats.

A good xiaolongbao should be able to hold in the soup until it is bitten – nothing is worse than a soup dumpling that has its soup just missing from the dumpling. The soup dumplings here at iShanghai do hold up well, and there is some soup, some very little soup – but still soup, inside the dumplings.

Photo Jan 16, 7 52 53 PM

A common way of eating xiaolongbao is to place it on your spoon, puncture the dumpling or bite off the top, blow on it to cool down the steaming soup, and then drink the soup from the spoon. Then, finally, eat the whole dumpling together.

Photo Jan 16, 7 55 17 PM

It’s satisfying and quite tasty – but I do believe it is priced a bit high at $6.00 for 3 dumplings, or $2.00 a dumpling. I think even Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings at locations in California are priced at $10-$13 for 10, or about $1.00-$1.30 each. For that much, there better be a whole cup of soup in those dumplings.

Overall, it was a good soup dumpling and I am glad we finally have a place to try some here in Orlando, even though it is nearer to Epcot than to downtown Orlando.

Photo Jan 16, 7 24 48 PM

The other dishes we tried at iShanghai were also quite good – we started with the salami ham and winter melon soup, a very authentic Chinese soup that is quite refreshing, hearty, and healthy.

Photo Jan 16, 8 04 58 PM Coo Lao Meat (Pork Belly)

Our coo lao fried pork is a sweet a sour crispy pork belly dish that had praises from all around our table that evening. Crunchy, sweet, and sour – you’d hardly realized you were eating a dish that is literally half pork and half bacon fat.

Photo Jan 16, 8 02 12 PM Stir-Fried Grouper Fish with Pine Nut

A rather exotic dish – the crackling eel – piqued our interest, but we decided to go for a safer
Stir-Fried Grouper Fish with Pine Nut dish instead.

We were quite happy with the selection – the fish, sliced and tender, went well with the pine nuts that added a nice crunchy texture to the dish.

Photo Jan 16, 8 31 04 PM Crispy Skin Chicken

We ordered the Crispy Skin Chicken, a super crispy fried salt and pepper chicken for an appetizer, but they seemed to have put it the order in late – maybe they forgot – so it arrived after our entrees.

They were very apologetic though and service overall was pretty good.

They upgraded the interior from what was formerly the location of an Asian buffet. They need to play some light music or something because it is awkwardly silent inside.

Photo Jan 16, 7 33 09 PM

I noticed an elderly couple helping out in the back – you know the food is good if you have grandma and grandpa making it.

I definitely recommend coming here with a family or a group of at least four to try several dishes and share family style.

IShanghai Orlando
8216 a World Center Drive, Orlando, FL, United States
+1 407-238-2997, 407-238-2998

Mon – Thu 12pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat 12pm – 11pm
Sun 12pm – 10pm

IShanghai  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Offering prime steak, fresh seafood and top of the line hospitality, Del Frisco’s Orlando is an exceptional steakhouse, and one of the newest additions to the restaurants on International Drive.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House features an impressive, diverse wine list of more than 1,200 labels,  including a number of notable verticals from both old and new world producers.

With two floors that include two bars, four private dining rooms and a picturesque patio, Del Frisco’s Orlando boasts over 400 seats.

The restaurant’s price point is closer to probably better for those with an expense account or for a special occasion, but the dishes from the succulent lobster tails and lobster mac and cheese  to the juicy ribeye steaks. Leave room for dessert – the crispy on the caramelized outside, pillowy soft on the inside butter cake with butter pecan ice cream is really one of the best desserts in Orlando.


Executive Chef Greg Thompson spoke with us recently about Del Frisco’s and his background in cooking.

He tells us, “Del Frisco’s commitment to quality, in everything we do makes us stand apart. From the staff to the ingredients and the restaurant standards we hold, we embrace this commitment to quality each day.”

What are some of the most popular items at Del Frisco’s here in Orlando?
The Crab Cake, for sure. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had! Also, of course the Bone In Filet!

How did you get your start in cooking? Where were you before Del Frisco’s?
I love to eat! I was always fascinated by the metamorphosis of ingredients into magnificent food; almost like alchemy. I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, and I worked in NYC for a long time before a stint in Charlotte, NC (both are great food towns). I have traveled around the world opening up steakhouses in locales like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City as well as the lower 48 states and Canada.

What is your favorite childhood food to eat?
Ice cream! It’s still my favorite food, to this day.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life from Del Frisco’s – what would that one thing be?
Definitely the Butter Cake!

What were some of your favorite eats while traveling the world?
The Chicken Thigh Sliders at Blue Frog in Shanghai, and also anything at Da Dong in Beijing! I also really love Tacos “al pastor” in Mexico City.

What is your favorite thing to eat at home after a long day?
A really good deli sandwich piled high with all the “fixings”

Take an inside look at Del Frisco’s:

Private Rooms available
Private Rooms available


House baked bread
House baked bread
Classic Caeser Salad  - $9.5
Classic Caeser Salad – $9.5
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce - $19
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce – $19
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre Bourbon Molasses Glaze - $14.5
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre
Bourbon Molasses Glaze – $14.5


Broiled Lobster Tail Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Broiled Lobster Tail
Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. - $59
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. – $59


Seared Chilean Sea Bass Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce - $44
Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce – $44
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese - $16.5
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese – $16.5
Buttercake Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce - $12
Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce – $12

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Orlando Ramen Rumble
Orlando Ramen Rumble

Chef Austin Boyd of Seito Sushi, Chef Greg Richie of Baoery Asian Gastropub, and Chef Chau Trinh of Sushi Pop Restaurant will battle each other on Monday March 7th from 6:00pm  – 9:00pm in Orlando’s first Ramen Rumble.

The chefs come together in a friendly competition to see whose bowl of ramen reigns supreme. The prize to the winning chef is not just bragging rights, but the decision to which charity the proceeds will go. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the growing culinary scene in Orlando through these magical bowls of slurping wonderment.

We all win as long as we have one of these bowls in front of us!

Orlando Ramen Rumble

Ramen, the Japanese noodle dish that has continued to grow in popularity in Orlando, will be made by the chefs from scratch from the broth to noodles.

The event is organized by Ricky Ly of in partnership with Jason and Sue Chin of The Osprey Tavern to bring together local chefs and the local Orlando community in appreciation of ramen.

The proceeds from the event will be donated to the winning chef’s choice of charity.

The ticket prices are $30 and will feature a tasting bowl of ramen from each chef, 1 draft beer, and housemade sweet desserts.

For tickets, visit

Illustrations by Sue Chin

Orlando Ramen Rumble

Pharmacy is now opening their doors to guests on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-2pm to introduce their new brunch menu. Diners have their choice of any entrée and cocktail for $25.

Read further below for the Press Release info:

The owners are putting their unique spin on well-known brunch favorites. Guests are greeted with a complimentary assortment of freshly fried chocolate and spiced glazed donuts for the table to enjoy.

The menu offers a range of fresh entrées, cocktails, and sides.

Diners have their choice of any entrée and cocktail for $25.

Entrées range from buttermilk and chive waffles made with farm fresh eggs and salmon cured in-house to mushroom cream mac and cheese alongside smoked brown sugar cured bacon.

IMG_0821-2 copy

A variety of cocktails are also available such as the Bloody Michelada garnished with cheese, olive and prosciutto, or their spin on a traditional mimosa known as the Buck’s Fizz featuring Marcel Martin Cremate Brut, Orange Juice and their in-house grenadine.

Pharmacy isn’t just known for its trendy speakeasy environment, but for their menu filled with local and organic foods.

The restaurant’s chef, who was featured in Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 10 Chefs in the Country along with the owners all bring their talents to the table to create unconventional dishes and cocktails.

While guests can always expect delicious and unique dishes, the menu selection changes seasonally.

Here are 6 Delightful Dishes from Pharmacy’s New Weekend Brunch Menu

1. Buttermilk & Chive Waffles

2. Pulled Pork Hash Eggs Benedict

3. Cinnamon Buns

4. Chocolate and Spice Glazed Donuts

5. Pharmacy Mac & Cheese with Double Corn Grits and Brown Sugar Cured Bacon

6. Rose Champagne

Photos via care of The Pharmacy

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