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.


blakeKathleen Blake, chef and owner of downtown's Rusty Spoon, will join other members of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs to prepare a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The dinner will be held Thursday, January 15, at 7 p.m.

Joining Blake will be WCR president Elizabeth Falkner; Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill Resgtaurants, Los Angeles and Las Vegas; Jamie Leeds, Hank's Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.; Emily Luchetti, The Cavalier, Marlow, and Park Tavern, San Francisco; Susan Spicer, Bayona and Mondo, New Orleans; Rita Jammet, La Caravelle Champagne, New York; and Anne Rosenweig, a New York consultant.

Follow this link to the James Beard Foundation's website with details of the menu. You can also purchase tickets there. Cost is $200 per person for JBF members and $250 for general public.

The dinners are held in what was James Beard's townhouse on West 12th Street in Manhattan. Visiting chefs cook in the small but well equipped kitchen on the lower level and guests dine at tables set up in what was originally Beard's living room and dining room (and al alcove that was his bedroom).

Women Chefs & Restaurateurs is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the education, advancement and connection of women in the culinary industry.


Santiago exterior sign

One of the more interesting trends I've noticed in the past few years is the reemergence of brunch. Even more interesting is that the most brunches are no longer all-you-can-cram glutfests. The help-yourself buffets used to be synonymous with brunch. Even the perennial brunch favorite at La Coquina, now deceased, was an all-you-can-eat buffet, albeit one without a single steam chafing dish.

Now, you're much more likely to be handed an a la carte menu when you're seated for brunch. That's fine with most people (including me). Most of the folks who gather for a brunch after a night on the town are more interested in the all-you-can-drink options.

Santiago's Bodega offers all-you-can-eat-and-drink at its weekend brunch, and combines the steam-table options with carving stations and made-to-order omelets, waffles and other comestibles.