raglan dancers

  • Raglan dingleIt’s St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday but our friends at Raglan Road at Disney Springs are starting the party Friday. Dubbed “The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival,” it’s three days of rip-roaring rollicking. Part of what sets it apart from other St. P day celebrations is the entertainment. There’s great entertainment from Irish musicians and dancers at RR all year long, but for the Mighty Festival they bring in some extra talent. I especially enjoy watching the dancers and I’ve always wondered how many people wind up in emergency rooms because they attempted to do some of the moves. Seriously, don’t try this at home. But do try the food and especially the drink. Most people go straight to the Guinness, but consider trying the cocktail called The Pride of the Peninsula. It’s made with Dingle Irish Gin — gin has become as popular as whiskey in Ireland over the last few years — elderflower tonic, fresh lime juice, mint and cucumber. I winced when I saw the cucumber but it helped make it a really refreshing cocktail. Check out the Raglan Road website for the entertainment schedule. You can make reservations for Friday and Saturday but Sunday is first come, first seated.
  • Tonight (March 15) is the first of what will be a monthly event at East End Market called Evening Exchange, or EvEx for hip people. (Do hip people still call hip people hip people?) It’s from 6 to 10 p.m. and includes workshops, demonstrations, specialty cocktail bars and food specials.


Hcuisine exterior

If you name your restaurant The H Cuisine, wouldn’t you expect people to wonder what the h the H stands for?

That’s the name of a beautiful restaurant in the Dr. Phillips district. It’s primarily a steakhouse and there are Turkish touches on the menu — Turkish and tulum salads, kafes (rack of lamb) — so might the initial be for halal, the designation for meats prepared by Muslim law?


Maybe it refers to the space, the former Stefano’s Grill, which has been so completely transformed into an upscale and posh dining room that it’s absolutely heavenly? Or for the prices, which are high?

No and no.

The owners all have last names that begin with the letter H. That’s it. As I’ve said before, naming a restaurant is really Hard (with a capital H).


Jaleo exterior construction

The much anticipated Jaleo from José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup will open at Disney Springs on Sunday, March 17. It will be the company’s fifth Jaleo location, its first in Florida, and its largest.

Also opening on that date is Pepe by José Andrés, the first brick and mortar iteration of the chef’s popular Washington, D.C., food truck. It occupies a space in the front corner of Jaleo. The quick-serve Pepe will will open for both lunch and dinner. Jaleo will open initially for dinner service only with lunch hours to be added later in the month.

Jaleo, with locations in Washington, Maryland, Virginia and Las Vegas, is known for its modern Spanish cuisine and tapas menu, including paellas cooked over a wood-fired paella pit, hand-carved Iberico ham, and shrimp sauteed with garlic and chili.

The restaurants were designed by Juli Capella of Spain with an exterior that mimics opening petals.

Jaleo exterior construction 2

Andrés is a much celebrated chef, recognized as Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. He was recently profiled by the news magazine 60 Minutes for his efforts to feed citizens of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of its hurricanes.


Sentinel Logo

Orlando Sentinel food reporter Lauren Delgado announced Wednesday that she is leaving the position she has held for the past three years.

In an article published on the newspaper’s website, Delgado said that this would be her last week at the Sentinel and that she was taking a position in the marketing department of a local nonprofit organization. On her Facebook page, she said the organization is Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County. In her article, she thanked the readers, the local culinary community and her Sentinel colleagues.

In a private Facebook message, Delgado declined to comment further. Neither her supervisor nor the Sentinel’s managing editor was immediately available for comment.

Delgado’s duties included articles about food and recipes and writing restaurant reviews for multi media platforms. She also oversaw the annual Foodie Awards. The position has evolved over the years — food editor and restaurant critic used to be separate positions. Any further changes to the position — and indeed whether or not it will be filled — remain to be seen.


Busters interior

It was a photo on the website for Buster’s Bistro that threw me. I had heard of the Sanford restaurant and had gone online to do some preliminary research. I was meeting some friends for dinner and wanted something a little more upscale. On one of Buster’s web pages was a photo of a dining room with the tables covered in crisp white cloths. Just what I was looking for.

Buster’s Bistro is a bar. A Belgian bar, to be precise.

And the tables are not covered with cloths, white or otherwise. (The photo that hooked me was from a special event, apparently.)

But BB’s menu is more ambitious than most bars, with such selections as Short Rib Carbonnade, Vol-au-Vent, and Tikka Masala Curry. The results are as varied as the selections.