The Daily Flog

Fusion 360 lounge

Fusion 360 has opened on Sand Lake Road in the space that previously, and all too briefly, held American Gymkhana. Although the name might lead one to think it features a global cuisine, Fusion 360, like its predecessor, is mainly Indian (see below for the menu).

Watch for a review of Fusion 360 soon.

In a very short span of time, this second level restaurant space has been home to three restaurants — Raga, in addition to the other two mentioned above — all of them Indian and all of them with essentially the same ownership. When Raga failed to catch on, the investors approached Manhattan restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, whose Junoon, an upscale Indian restaurant, boasts a Michelin star, to redo it in a similar light. American Gymkhana was the result.

That restaurant was well received critically, including by this critic, but the investors weren’t pleased with its performance. Bhardwaj and much of the team he had assembled, including chef Aarthi Sampath, returned to New York.

Fusion 360’s menu features many familiar Indian dishes, some with an Asian influence, much as Raga had at one time.

The biggest difference with F360 is that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings the restaurant will be turned into a nightclub called Kerala, with, it claims, the largest dance floor on Sand Lake Road. (Quick, name another place on Sand Lake Road with a dance floor.) There will also be bottle service, a late night menu and a VIP room. Best of luck with all of that.

Later in the summer, a halal menu is planned.

Fusion 360, 7559 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando, is open for dinner daily. Here’s the current menu (prices not provided):

CorkFork logoPlans for a restaurant to replace the recently closed Funky Monkey have fallen through. Chef Ed Hollingsworth stated in a Facebook status update that his investors backed out.

He had planned to call the restaurant Hollingsworth's Fork & Cork. Had he continued, he might have had some pushback from the owners of a new restaurant opening in the former Belle Isle Bayou space at Conway Road and Hoffner Avenue to be called Cork & Fork. That business, which is calling itself a "freshtaurant," is expected to open in the coming weeks.

Back in Mills 50, word comes that Pom Moongauklang will open a second location of her popular Tako Cheena brand in the former Forbidden City location on Mills Avenue. But the first Tako Cheena is just a few doors away, I hear you saying with complete logic. That space will focus on takeout, apparently.

As for the Funky Monkey space, no word on any other takers as yet.

eola wine.001

OK, so you really want to help the cause of the Taste of the Nation event to help end childhood hunger, which I told you about here, but the $150 ticket charge is too steep, even if it all goes for a good cause. I get that.

So do some other good people in the community, including our friends at Eola Wine Company in downtown Orlando.

They’re hosting specials that continue on the next two Wednesdays with proceeds going to Taste of the Nation. Eola Wine Company welcomes guests to raise a glass to end childhood hunger with a series of weekly wine tasting events on Wednesdays from 6 to 8:00 p.m. for a $15 donation at the door. All proceeds will benefit Share our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger, which includes local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Eola Wine Company is  at 430 E. Central Blvd., Orlando.

And here are some other local businesses where you can help raise money for the cause:

TOTN 2015

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation event is coming up, on Saturday, August 8. This is one of the biggest food and wine events of the year, and it’s also one of the most important because it benefits Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program to eradicate childhood hunger.

And we’re not talking about kids going hungry in foreign countries or even rural parts of the U.S. We’re talking about right here in Florida. A report released just this past Tuesday and highlighted in a story by Kate Santich in the Orlando Sentinel, stated that nearly one in four kids in Central Florida is living in poverty.

That’s unacceptable.

So something like Taste of the Nation is very important. All of the money raised at the event will go toward feeding hungry children right here in our own community. So the $150 ticket charge seems a mere pittance when you consider the good it can do.

And it’s not like you’re not getting something for the entrance fee (not that feeling good about yourself for doing good is nothing!). Nearly 45 restaurants will be on hand handing out samples of their menus. These restaurants donate their time, talent and, not incidentally, money to be part of this event. They do it for the cause, of course, but they also know that this is a terrific opportunity to show a large audience the kind of food they do at their restaurants. They’re there to impress you.

I have the full list of participating restaurant below, but I’m especially proud of the restaurants that are part of the SJO advertising family. They include Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes; JJ’s Grille; K Restaurant and Wine Bar; MOOR at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center; Taverna Opa; and The Whiskey. I hope you’ll stop by their booths and thank them for doing what they do.

Taste of the Nation is Saturday, August 8, 2015, from 6:45 to 10 p.m. at the Orlando World Center Marriott, 8701 World Center Drive, Orlando. Tickets are $150 per person and may be purchased at the Taste of the Nation webpage.

I hope to see you there. And by the way, if you can't make it but would like to help, here are a few other restaurants offering specials before the event.

Here’s a list of all the restaurants scheduled to participate:

Hamiltons Supper Club Table

It was another terrific meeting of Scott Joseph’s Supper Club at Hamilton’s Kitchen last week. The entire Alfond Inn staff made all of us feel welcome and treated us to excellent service in one of the beautifully appointed private rooms next to the restaurant.

And chef Marc Kusche and his crew put together a five course feast — not counting a pretty substantial amuse bouche — perfectly paired with wines and, in the case of the first course, a special cocktail.

Hamiltons Supper Club duck

The amuse bouche was a take on chicken and waffles, with shredded duck meat standing in for the chicken. The sweet meat on top of the heart shaped waffle with a drizzle of syrup could have been its own course.