Festival of arts paint

The 2023 Epcot International Festival of the Arts got underway last weekend – I wonder if there were ice sculptures? – and will run through Feb. 20. Everything seems to be following what has become the standard template for festivals a la Epcot.

You’ve got your displays, your merchandise huts, some entertainment and, of course, food kiosks, which in this case are given artsy names instead of, say, geographic designations as in the food and wine festival.

You’ll find Deco Delights (with dulce chocolate mousse, “decadent” Valrhona chocolate, and orange mousse); the Artist’s Table (three-meat meatloaf, duck and dumplings, and hummingbird cake); and Painted Panda (General Tso’s chicken shumai, charsiu pork bun).

You can also fine L’Art de la Cuisine Française in front of the France pavilion, with creme de brie in a bread bowl and a plant-based Napoleon. And Flavors of the Medina at Morocco, with house-made crispy almond phyllo pockets, and something called “carrots three ways,” about which I have nothing to say.

The headline entertainment is the Disney on Broadway concert series, which will either thrill or horrify you. Also available this year are dining packages in conjunction with the concerts where you can book a prix fixe three-course dinner at select Epcot restaurants and get a guaranteed seat at the concert. Check out the concert schedule and list of available restaurants – as well as other details about the festival – here.


BrestowdkisPhoto of Estera and Henrich Brestowski courtesy of the family.

Henrich Brestowski, the eponymous owner of Chef Henry’s Cafe, a popular Eastern European restaurant, died January 9 at AdventHealth Winter Park Hospital. He was 69.

Brestowski and his wife, Estera, opened the restaurant on Howell Branch Road in Winter Park in 1999. He was chef de cuisine and she was the pastry chef, noted for her strudels. In my review of July 25, 1999, in the Orlando Sentinel, I wrote:

“I don't know what the residents near Howell Branch Road east of Semoran Boulevard in Winter Park did to deserve Chef Henry's Cafe, but it must have been something good.

“Chef Henry's Cafe is a rare find, and let me say from the outset that I didn't find it on my own. Several readers put me on to the place with passionate letters singing the praises of the little cafe run by former Slovakia residents Henrich and Estera Brestowski. They were the kind of letters that make me roll my cynical eyes and read between the lines.

“'Authentic European cuisine,’ they said. Bratwursts on a hot dog bun, I thought.
‘Made from scratch,’ they wrote. Scratch is probably the brand name for a frozen food company, I mused.

“But I decided to pay a visit. Heck, I like brats as much as the next guy.

“What I found was authentic European cuisine, made from scratch, prepared and served by a family dedicated to promoting the foods of their homeland. And they're winning converts one plate at a time.

“They had me with my first spoonful of leber dumpling soup[.]”


Science on Tap logo

The Orlando Science Center will host Science on Tap, a beer-centric version of its popular Science of Wine event, on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Loch Haven Park (yes, it’s an outdoor event; dress accordingly). Attendees will have the chance to sample sample-size sips from more than 30 breweries while exploring interactive science demonstrations. (No pop quizzes – that would be the Science of Soda.)

Also on tap, to use a trite phrase that somehow seems appropriate here so I’ll allow it, will be live entertainment, food trucks and games of cornhole and giant jenga, which I assume involves stacking very tall people.

General admission tickets are $60, $50 for OSC members and young professionals (assuming said professionals are over 21). There is a designated driver ticket available for $30. Those who purchase a ViP ticket for $90 get into the event at noon (it also gets you two ickets for a full pour of your choice, something not available to GenAd ticket holders). Food purchases are extra. Tickets and more information here.


henhog ext

I had hog but somehow the hen escaped me. And it gets top billing.

This was at the Hen & Hog, a new quick-serve restaurant in Winter Park that is ostensibly a renamed and relocated reboot of the Mason Jar Provisions that previously was in Thornton Park.

The new menu is similar to the old, with sandwiches, salads, burgers, a few larger entrees and assorted “snacks” and starters.


Local Flavor Dharma Fried Green Tomatoes 768x756 copy

Local Flavor is a collaboration with The Community Paper.

Dharma Southern Kitchen is a vegan restaurant in the Milk District’s Market on South that opened in 2015. Chef/Owner Shaun Noonan shares his recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, which uses a cornstarch slurry in place of the usual egg wash.

Noonan says there are two keys to this dish: finding truly green tomatoes and slicing them no thinner than 1/2 inch. Otherwise, he says, you’ll end up with mush.

The finished tomatoes may be used in a sandwich, as shown in the photo, or eaten with a knife and fork as an appetizer.

Click here to see the full recipe at YourCommunityPaper.com.