2014 has been a remarkable year in Orlando, seeing some of the most openings in recent memory as well as many closings. Overall, the quality and depth of the Orlando food scene has without a doubt increased. Here are some of our favorite moments from 2014 locally here in Orlando as well as abroad, and a few favorite new restaurants that we grew to love over the year.
Our Top 23 Favorite Food Moments and Restaurants of 2014
1. The start of the Orlando Foodie Forum presented by Tasty Chomps! on Facebook. The forum is an open discussion forum talking about food and drink in Orlando where members are also privy to exclusive invitations and announcements as well as lively discussion about favorite eats and restaurants around town. We’ve had a great time already with a special lunch at Seito Sushi in Baldwin Park previewing their new lunch menu with many more meet ups to come. Feel free to join in!
2. Interview with Chef Matthew Cargo of Prato – He just returned from working at some of the best restaurants in the world in California, and returned home to make Orlando’s food scene and Prato better than ever with an authentic, honest approach.
3. The fried basa fish and fries platter from Washington Shores Fish Market
4. Chaufa mixta and other Peruvian favorites at Ceviche House
5. Braised Lamb neck with hand cut arugula pasta, ras el hanout, pistachio gremolata by Chef Wade Camerer of Biergarten Restaurant at EPCOT Food and Wine Festival’s Party of the Senses
5. My wife, May, and I showing off the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for ABC’s The Chew
6. The Szechuan peanut wontons and beef coconut kari at Mamak Asian Street Food.
7. Parker House Rolls, made from Khorasan wheat (Egyptian old-world grains) served warm and made from scratch by the new Highball and Harvest pastry team.
8. Bull & Bear’s Frittes are crispy, delicious hand-cut Idaho potatoes soaked in malt vinegar and water then cooked in beef tallow; tossed in homemade garlic powder and served with garlic aioli and all natural ketchup. The frittes are so good they hardly need any aioli or ketchup for dipping.
9. Kappo at East End Market is one of the new shining stars of 2014 and one of my personal favorites, particularly for their chirashi bowls – as beautiful to eat as they are to look.
10. Fried Shrimp and dirty grits with chicken liver, jamon, and shallot at Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market for brunch.
11. The hot, fresh donuts from Sip and Dip Donuts in St. Cloud
12. Judging all the chef inspired fish tacos at the Bite Nite Orlando event hosted by Orlando Weekly
13. The members of GoFLA, including restaurant owners, writers, suppliers, artisans and promoters, gathered at East End Market to kick-off the organization and sign the Sunshine Plate manifesto to promote the remarkable bounty of Central Florida’s fields, waters and producers.
14. The Vesuvia Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Fresh Pear, Ricotta Salata, Roasted Pine Nuts at Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando.
15. The duck confit khao soi curry noodles and scallop hotate nigiri at Sushi Pop in Oviedo
16. The blueberry cobbler at P is for Pie Bakeshop in Audubon Park.
17. Gyro Lamb doner sandwich – Döner served in a “tombik pide” (“fatty” pita) at Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine on Semoran Blvd.
18. Pastries and desserts from US Pastry Competition Champion Chef Yoshikazu Kizu of Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Resort
19. Chicken and Waffles – Nashville hot chicken, cornbread waffle, cheddar, sweet relish, chive crème fraiche, smoked honey at Cask and Larder
20. Santa Maria Tri Tip Steak sandwich from Four Rivers Smokehouse
21. Hanging out with the crew at WESH 2 Sunrise News – Michelle Imperato and Stewart Moore along with Jason Guy, Jazmin Bailey, and Amy Sweezey
22. Nigiri sushi plate at Yuki Hana in Oviedo
23. Being featured in Travel and Leisure Magazine
We are looking forward to many more happy food moments in 2015! Cheers!!