Calddagh Scotch Eggs

For this month’s edition of Local Flavor, the recipe column I do in collaboration with The Community Paper, I’m featuring the scotch eggs from Claddagh Cottage in the Curry Ford West District. St. Patrick’s Day is in March, after all, and Claddagh Cottage is one of the area’s most popular Irish pubs.

But why feature something Scottish from an Irish pub? you ask. Well, a scotch egg (notice the lowercase s) is not Scottish (uppercase S). Scotching (an uppercase S only because it’s at the beginning of the sentence, otherwise it would be scotching) is the process of wrapping minced meat around something, in this case an egg. If you were to wrap minced meat or sausage around, say, a strawberry it would be called a scotch strawberry. And it would be a lousy appetizer. And indeed, scotch eggs are very popular appetizers in Irish pubs, at least in American Irish pubs.


Tawa ext

Usually, if I walk into a restaurant during peak lunchtime and find it mostly empty, alarm bells start going off in my head. True, the bells help drown out the voices, but generally it’s a negative thing.

But for some reason when I walked into Tawa Modern Indo-Pak Cuisine in the Dr. Phillips/Restaurant Row district just after noon and found only one other table occupied, I didn’t turn and run.

Maybe it was the pleasant interior, cool and quiet, or the warm smile and welcome from the young woman who bade me to sit wherever I wanted. Or maybe it was that I had limited time and no other options and just wanted to have lunch. The voices in my head told me to stay.

And they were right for a change. The food was delicious and plentiful – even the item ordered from the lunch-specials menu.



Francesco Aiello, the eponymous owner of Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in Maitland, offers occasional classes in Italian cooking. This weekend, on Sunday, Mar. 5 – and again on Mar. 19 – he’ll focus on the secrets to making a perfect artichoke. For more information and to sign up for the class, call the restaurant at 407-960-5533.

 Hemisphere at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, will host its March wine dinner next Friday (3/10) with a four-course Tour of Italy, with wines from Lombardia and Piemonte. Tickets are $165 per person plus tax and gratuity. Valet parking is complimentary (seriously, it’s super easy to park when you’re going to Hemisphere; just pull up to the Hyatt Regency’s entrance, drop your car off with the valet, then take a few steps to the elevator and rise above all of the airport bustle.)

The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7. Call Hemisphere to reserve your place at the table – 407-825-1234.


KnifeSpoon23 dining

As we await the announcement of this year’s Florida Michelin Guide winners – they could come at any time within the next couple of months – I took the opportunity to revisit one of Central Florida’s starred restaurants, Knife & Spoon, to do an inspection of my own. Based on my visit, I expect the Ritz-Carton headliner will hold on to its star or even gain an additional one.

There have been a couple of changes since last year. Tyler Kineman took over the position of chef de cuisine from opening cdc Gerald Sombright. Kineman, who previously was Knife & Spoon’s sous chef, serves as the permanently-on-site head of the kitchen when Dallas-based John Tesar isn’t in town.


Orlando Made

Exploria Stadium, home to Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride, announced recently an “Orlando Made” food initiative to feature concessions from local restaurants. They include 4 Rivers Smokehouse, The Coop by 4Rivers, Teak Neighborhood Grill, Black Rooster Taqueria and Harrell’s Hot Dogs + Cold Cones (math skills not required). The program, a permanent addition to the stadium, is a result of season ticket holders saying they wanted “more local, authentic Orlando food options,” according to Orlando City’s website.

In addition to the concession stands, there will be vendor carts with a rotating roster of other local purveyors, including Cholo Dogs and Sus Hi Eatstation. Mmmmm, sushi from a vendor cart; can’t wait.