bernadin table

NEW YORK — I spent the night drinking stars.

Disney Cruise Lines hosted a small, intimate dinner Thursday in the private salon of famed Le Bernadin. The dinner was a celebration of chef Arnaud Lallement, whose restaurant in Reims, France, L'Assiette Champenoise, recently received the coveted third Michelin star for the second time. Lallement, along with Victoria & Albert's Scott Hunnel, consults on the menu for the Remy restaurants on the Disney Fantasy and Dream ships. Disney Cruise Lines brought Lallement to New York to cook the dinner, which was attended by a dozen food, wine and travel writers.

Remy is the luxurious fine dining restaurant on the two big ships. Only a handful of guests are able to experience the intimate dining room, but no one under 18 years of age is allowed. It's a serious dining occasion.

The dinner highlighted some of the new dishes that will be offered at Remy as well as some of Lallement's favorites from his restaurant in France. Reims, of course, is in Champagne country — the restaurant's name means the Champagne base —and all of the courses at the dinner were paired with Champagne. But not just any Champagne — it was an exclusively Dom Perignon dinner, all vintaged and extraordinary. And everything about it was exquisite.


Bison Poutine

I've been wanting to get back to the Smiling Bison for a while, and brunch seemed like a good excuse to finally do it.

Apparently, the Sunday ritual is already popular with regular Bisoners — I had to circle around a couple of times before I found a parking space I could just barely squeeze into. And once inside, I was told that my only dining option was to sit at the bar if I didn't want to wait at least 20 minutes for a table. I didn't.


File this under Save the Date: Quest Industries has announced the dates for its popular WineQuest tasting and auction. The Grand Tasting and auction will be Friday, May 29. Saturday, May 30, will feature the Premier Dining Experience wine pairing dinner. Both events will take place at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, which of course is nowhere near the Pacific.

Click the photo below for more information.



 ari interior

Ari, a sushi and Japanese restaurant, has opened in the Gateway Village just north of Orlando International Airport. Technically, this is a second location for a restaurant in Celebration. But this new Ari has added hibachi, or teppanyaki cooking, to its repertoire. That's the style of cooking where the guests sit around large griddles while the chefs make a lot of really unnecessary banging and clanging sounds with their spatulas, knives and even the salt and pepper shakers. Eventually, a shrimp tail is going to get tossed somewhere it has no business being. I've never quite understood the allure of this type of dining, except for people who don't have any interest in talking to each other during dinner. Frankly, I had hoped the fad would have faded by now, but apparently not.

So when I arrived at the new Ari location ahead of my lunch guest and the greeter asked me if I wanted the hibachi seating, I perhaps answered "No" a bit too emphatically. I hope I didn't frighten her.


 tinroof interior

Tin Roof, a "live music joint," as its subtitle touts, opened recently in Orlando, the latest in the flurry of eateries, mostly chains, to pop up at I-Drive 360. That's where the Orlando Eye, the mega Ferris wheel, is currently under construction. Developers are hoping tourists will flock to the wheel to see just how flat Florida is. Perhaps while they're up there they can look down and see if the Tin Roof really has a tin roof.

I couldn't tell you myself, but I can attest that it has a tin ceiling. Or some sort of corrugated metal, anyway. The decor is early roadhouse, with vintage metal signs sufficiently aged and battered, rustic wood booths (no padding for the butt), and freestanding tables with red and blue vinyl-clad kitchen chairs. There's a bicycle hanging from the ceiling for some reason, but I suppose you have to store it somewhere.