Myriad Mother's Day Dining Options

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Buffet spreadMother's Day is just a little over one week from today. If you haven't made your dining plans, head over to our Mother's Day listings on the Holiday Dining Page for plenty of options.

Be sure to consider our friends at Chef's Table at the Edgewater, The Whiskey, Tapa Toro, Taverna Opa, and the Alfond Inn

Mother's Day is traditionally the busiest dining day of the year, and if you're making reservations at the last minute (read: now) be prepared to be flexible with your dining times. 


SOMM Now Pouring at I-Drive 360

Written by Scott Joseph on .

somm logoSOMM wine bar opened recently at I-Drive 360, the dining and entertainment complex anchored by the enormous Ferris wheel known as the Orlando Eye. It’s a fittingly intimate space with a contemporary design that makes good use of wood tones, with living-roomlike seating arrangements and full walls of wine coolers. There is a sort of free flowing drop sculpture with a non-conforming honeycomb design. There are also places to sit outside next to a pleasant lawn area just on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

SOMM, whose name is derived from sommelier and is not connected to the documentary of the same name, is from the same folks who opened Slate on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row last year.

The wine list is a thoughtful collection, and each selection is available in 3-, 6- or 9-ounce pours, or, of course, the full bottle. It’s nice to be able to have a smaller pour of a wine you’re not familiar with before committing to a fuller glass.

I met some colleagues there for a sip before a recent Supper Club. The staff on hand were welcoming and helpful, eager to offer selections based on preferences. You can make the experience whatever you like — an exploration of new and interesting wines or a chance to relax with friends and have a glass of wine.

As for food to go along with the wine, currently the only offerings are prepackaged charcuterie and your basic bar snacks, such as peanuts. That’s because a different license is required to prepare and serve food.

But that’s coming, said manager Lawrence Head. The food will be designed and prepared under the direction of Slate’s executive chef, Dominick Rice, and in fact prepared at the restaurant on Sand Lake Road. Then it will be heated and served to guests on order at SOMM.

Here’s an opportunity for you to experience SOMM. On Wednesday, May 4, the wine bar will host Georgia based master sommelier Michael McNeill in a blind tasting of six wines — 3 red, 3 whites — from Stacole Fine Wines.

The tasting will begin at 6 p.m., and tickets are $35 per person. Reserve a space by calling 407-500-7528. SOMM is at 8395 International Drive, Orlando. By the way, there is free parking in the I-Drive 360 garage and complimentary valet parking, as well.

One Fewer Vietnamese Restaurant in Mills 50?

Written by Scott Joseph on .

da vi logoIt's looking very much like Da Vi Vietnamese Cuisine is closed. The small restaurant at 1915 E. Colonial Drive has been open only since November. The phone goes unanswered and is not set up to take messages (but is not disconnected). A person who was reached at a nearby business said that he wasn't familiar with the restaurant's business practices, but that "there hasn't been anyone over there for a couple of weeks." 

Sounds closed to me.

H/T: Joe Sarrubbo

Barbecue and Beer Class Offered at Highball & Harvest

Written by Scott Joseph on .

HighballHarvestLogo NoBackground 194x127

Here’s a nice opportunity for those of you looking to improve your ‘cue game. And I’m not talking about pool.

Although the notion of sitting around the pool this summer sipping some cold beer while smoking some prime cuts of meat sounds good, too.

On Saturday, May 7, our friends at Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando will host a Big Brew ’n Que class. It’s a six-hour class, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring instructions from barbecue experts Jeremy Soares of H&H and “Dr. BBQ” Ray Lampe. They’ll go over various techniques for barbecuing using a variety of smokers, including the popular Big Green Egg.

Aaron Libera, Whisper Creek Farm’s brewmaster, will offer tips on home brewing as he demonstrates his recipe for the American Homebrewers Associations National Homebrew Day, which also happens to be May 7.

Then at 6 p.m. there will be a barbecue dinner on the lawn next to Highball & Harvest. There will be various types of barbecue stations and beer pairings offered by John MacDonald of Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing. Live music, too.

The Big Brew ’n Que class is $95 per person and includes barbecue and beer samples. Cost for just the dinner is $85 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under. If you want to make a day and evening of it, the cost for the class and the dinner is $160 per person.

Reservations are required for the class and recommended for the dinner. Call 407-393-4422 to reserve your spot at the grill.

Highball & Harvest is at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando.