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Four Seasons Set to Open Soon (But Not All the Restaurants Yet)

4season sign

I got a sneak peek at the brand spanking new Four Seasons and its restaruants on Thursday. Well, not all of it — just a couple of seasons, actually. But what I saw was enough to be hopeful that the property is going to be every bit as luxurious as you would expect the Four Seasons' brand to be. It should be, considering that you have to pass by the multimillion dollar homes of Disney's exclusive Golden Oaks community to get to it.

As part of a media preview, I got a look at Ravello, a two-level venue that features a bar and lounge on the entry level and a restaurant down a steep staircase to the pool level. The bar hadn't quite been outfitted yet and still had an unfinished look. But that's where we sipped the proprietary champagne a nonvintage brut by Louis Roederer— a bit too early for bubbly at 4 p.m. but we managed — and were greeted by the hotel's management team, including regional vice president and general manager Thomas Steinhauer.

Read more: Four Seasons Set to Open Soon (But Not All the Restaurants Yet)

New Ritz Restaurant May Open Sooner Than Expected

HandH bar

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is getting ready to open its newest restaurant. It's called Highball & Harvest, and for the record I was not consulted on the name.

Highball & Harvest — let's call it H&H, shall we? — takes the space that was originally occupied by the Vineyard Grill. Right now the resort is saying only that the new restaurant will open in September, but I'm hearing that it's more likely to be August 25, or even earlier — someone making reservations at the resort recently was told H&H would be serving on Aug. 17.

The restaurant will feature a railroad-inspired design and Low Country and cajun cuisine from chef Mark Jeffers.

It will also feature an interactive cocktail table with bar chefs muddling and conducting personalized cocktail classes. Ingredients for the bar and the food will be sourced in part from the resort's Whisper Creek Farm.

Taste of the Nation is August 9

Share logoTaste of the Nation, Share Our Strength's annual gathering of community chefs to raise money and awareness for childhood hunger, will be held August 9, 2014, from 6:45 to 10 p.m. at the Orlando Marriott World Center Marriott. I'm very sorry to report that this is the 25th anniversary of the event.

That means that another year has gone by without making enough inroads to end childhood hunger. Frankly, it's an embarrassment for a country like ours. But let's keep trying. The bulk of the money raised at the event goes to the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank. Tickets are $150 per person, and for that you get to taste the food of some of the area's top chefs, who all donate their time, talent and ingredients for the cause.

See below for a full list of participating restaurants, but one you may be particularly interested in is Soco, the restaurant that will move into the former HUE Restaurant space in downtown Orlando's Thornton Park district in September. This will be the first preview of the food that executive chef Greg Richie will be serving there. I've tasted the dish (parent company TPRG is a client of Scott Joseph Company's consulting services) and its one of my favorites from the menu. Also participating in TOTN is Capa from the soon-to-open Four Seasons Resort Orlando.

There will be plenty to eat and plenty to drink, but getting your money's worth isn't the point here. Let's all get together to make certain there isn't a 26th Taste of the nation. Go to the Taste of the Nation Orlando website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Here's the full list of participating restaurants:

Read more: Taste of the Nation is August 9

Raga Now Closed; Transformation to American Gymkhana Underway

As of today, Raga, the Indian restaurant on Sand Lake Road, is closed. As I told you in this article, the owners are bringing in New York restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj to create a new concept. The space is undergoing renovations and will reopen as American Gymkhana. A mid September opening is planned.

Bhardwaj is the owner of Junoon in Manhattan, which was awarded a Michelin star. He will also open a Junoon in Dubai this fall.

Friday, 25th July 2014

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