fabada

This week’s Compliments of the Chef is the result of a reader request from Jim Heekin regarding a favorite side dish featured at the now-closed Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market before original owners Henry and Michele Salgado sold it to focus on their Spanish River Grille restaurant in New Smyrna Beach:

Wrote Jim: “When the Salgados left Txokos, the restaurant stopped serving the fabulous Fabada bean side dish. Any chance that Henry would share with you his recipe for that terrific dish? He isn't serving it at Spanish River Grille.”

Well, Jim, I have two bits of good news for you. First, yes, the Salgados were more than happy to share the recipe, which you’ll find below.

Second, the fabada bean dish is indeed being served at Spanish River Grille, accompanying one of the fresh fish dishes, such as bronzini, a current offering, or the Crispy Skin Snapper, as seen in the photo from SRG above. So you can visit and still get a taste of how it’s done.

In the meantime, here’s the recipe, compliments of the chef.

KFC LogoThat whirring noise you hear is the Colonel spinning in his grave.

Jay Jones, a freelance journalist, may have stumbled upon the culinary coup of the century: Col. Sanders’ secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that have been coating Kentucky Fried Fowl for more than 75 years.

In an article published in the Chicago Tribune, part of the Tronc family of publications that also includes the Orlando Sentinel, Jones recounts a visit to the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, which is a real place in Corbin, Ky., where he was given a tour by Joe Ledington, a nephew of KFC’s founder. Ledington showed Jones a family scrapbook that included a last will and testament of Sanders’ second wife, who died in 1996. On the back of the document was a handwritten note with the spices, numbered 1 to 11, with measurements, to be mixed with “2 cups white fl.”

Here's what people have apparently been licking off their fingers for years (the Ts stands for tablespoon):

CCI Titos

If you're in the market for for some good vodka, wait until Tuesday to buy it. From August 30 through October 3, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits stores throughout Florida will donate $1 for every bottle sold of Tito's Handmade Vodka to Canine Companions for Independence. CCI, one of my favorite organizations and one I've been honored to be associated with, trains puppies to help people with disabilities. By assisting with chores that most of us take for granted -- turning on a light switch or pulling off socks at bedtime, for instance -- these amazing dogs allow people to live independently. And probably happier for the companionship of a dog, as any dog lover could tell you.

And that's where Tito's comes in. The Austin based distiller is marketing itself as the "Vodka for Dog People. "Very smart, but it does make one wonder what the vodka for cat people might be. I shall not speculate.

Part of the vodka-maker's mission reads: "Since the beginning, as we have worked with Tito to bring his dream to life for 20 years, we have been committed to rescuing and protecting the animals that have come into our lives, often serendipitously — many of whom now thrive alongside us at our distillery and our office."

So if you're someone who enjoys a cocktail and a wagging tail at the same time, you might want to make a Tito's purchase at ABC (750ml and 1.75L bottles qualify) between those dates. Maybe make a Greyhound (vodka and grapefruit juice).

I just might name my next dog Tito. Instead of Smirnoff.

Wildside exterior

Wildside Bar and Grille, the downtown Thornton Park barbecue hangout, will have one last blowout on Saturday night before turning over the keys to the corrugated steel-sided building to Graffiti Junktion. Graffiti currently slings its burgers a couple of blocks away at the junktion of Washington Street and Hyer Avenue. No word yet on who they’ll be turning to keys over to other than the building’s landlord.

Wildside did not open as Wildside. Its first name, when it started smoking meats, in September 2001, was Wildfires. But owner Rosario Poma got one of those warm and cuddly Cease and Desist letters that attorneys love to send that said a Chicago restaurant had claim to the name Wildfires. So he changed it. (Before Poma moved in with Wild Whatever the space was home to Out of Hand Burrito Stand, a restaurant I had completely forgotten ever existed.)

For at least the first couple of years, Wildside was the winner of my Critic’s Choice Foodie Award for best barbecue, mainly because of its pulled pork. Good stuff, that.

Poma told me that his decision to turn the space over to Graffiti Junktion was “a good business decision right now.” He is focusing on opening Texas-style barbecue restaurants in the Middle East and will open a Wildside this fall in Janabiya, Bahrain. For those of you who are worried you won’t be able to have the barbecue again, take heart — the Kissimmee Wildside will continue to operate. (It might be easier to go to the one in Bahrain.)

Besides keeping control of the property, Poma is joining Graffiti’s owner Greg Peters as an investor in the Thornton Park burgery.

Wildside will have one last blowout with a party themed “Graffiti on the Wildside” at the restaurant at 700 E. Washington St., Orlando, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Live music, drink specials and, one hopes, some of the pulled pork that made them famous.

Planet Hollywood rendering

When the refurbished Planet Hollywood reopens this fall at Disney Springs as Planet Hollywood Observatory, it will feature a new menu, including a special section designed by the chef and television personality Guy Fieri.

Fieri was approached by Planet’s founder and ceo, Robert Earl, to add some flair to the menu. Fieri’s offerings will feature specialty sandwiches and burgers, including the Prime Time American Kobe-Inspired Burger and the Turkey Pic-a-nic Sandwich, the latter sure to be a favorite of that famous Hollywood star Yogi Bear.

Planet Hollywood is undergoing a massive redo as part of the Disney Springs redevelopment. The original structure, a huge, multi-story globe, is being retrofitted to resemble an astronomical observatory with star-searching telescopes (rendering of new entrance lobby shown at top). Hollywood, observatory, stars — get it?

It will be interesting to see how Fieri’s food fares at PHO. His Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, was given a “poor” rating from New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells in a scathing review in 2013. The critique, written as an open letter to Fieri started : “Guy Fieri, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations?”

Reading the review from a critic’s standpoint, I couldn’t help thinking that Wells had a blast writing it. I’ll keep an open mind, but I’m always up for a good time.