triomphe croque

I've been taking French lessons in anticipation of a trip to Marseilles , Bordeaux and Paris this spring. I'm determined this time to be able to ask more than "Ou est la biblioteque?", which is basically what I've been able to say since I first took French in ninth grade and listened to the PLM Series One records. Actually, the problem isn't being able to ask the question in French, it's being able to understand the response. Working on it.

So I was pleased to find Le Triomphe, a small French cafe in Winter Park that took over the space previously held by Dylan's Deli. As I've learned in my French class, the name Le Triomphe translates to The Triomphe. (It's still early in the lessons.)


Rainbow Room skyThe view from SixtyFive Lounge at the Rainbow Room at 30 Rock.

This trip to New York turned out to have a slight Italian bent, with a visit to the high end Ai Fiori and impromptu meals in two separate Little Italys.

But our first dinner was a late one Christmas night at the cumbersomely named Chef's Club by Food & Wine. The restaurant, located in the Puck Building on the corner of Houston and Mulberry, is one of those great New York spaces that is at once old and modern. It has rustic brick walls and ceiling with a modern bar on one side and a state of the art gleaming kitchen on the other. The concept here is to showcase the "best new chefs" from Food & Wine magazine.

chefs club dining

The chef in charge on the night we visited was Didier Elena, and he couldn't have communicated his disdain at having to work on Christmas more than if he went to each table and told the guests to get out. Instead, he just walked around and sneered, and at one point I saw him leaning on an unoccupied table next to the kitchen browsing through his smartphone, something he no doubt would have fired any of his staff for doing.



Our friends over at Barnie's CoffeeKitchen have begun a series of videos featuring executive chef Camilo Velasco. In the initial episode, Velasco explains three of the dishes he's featuring at the Park Avenue Barnie's on the evenings that dinner is serves, Thursday through Saturday. In case you missed it, I told you about some of the good stuff they're serving in this article.

Click the video image above to see Camilo in the Kitchen.


Burger & Beer Joint, the burger and beer joint, has closed. Show of hands: Who's surprised?

Caroline Glenn of the Central Florida Future wrote about the closing. In her article, she quoted one of the management staff:

"This concept is not for this area," said kitchen manager McKinley Cherisol. "We didn't get enough students here, and this area is just mostly for the college."

Rarely do you hear someone contradicting oneself in the same sentence.

I can't attest to the quality of either the burgers or the brews. As I commented back in May, I ended up walking out when no one bothered to serve me.

Burger & Beer Joint, of course, replaced Culpepper's. Culpepper's closed after six months; B&B lasted nine, so there are some bragging rights.

Maybe the property owner should install a revolving door out front.

H/T Joe Sarrubbo


California Burrito Express

California Burrito Express, the 24-hour restaurant on East Colonial Drive across from Fashion Square Mall, has closed. Although it always had a certain dinge in its appearance, its food had many fans. As one commenter on UrbanSpoon put it: "Best Mexican food I've ever had in Florida. The menu looks like it's straight out of San Diego!!"

According to the CBE website, the restaurant opened in 2007, though I don't recall it being in that location before I reviewed it in 2010.

I reached out to the owner for more details and to find out if there are plans to relocate, but as of Friday afternoon I had not received a reply. Sorry, downtown drinkers heading to the east side of town -- you'll have to find somewhere else open late to satisfy your cravings.