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.


Italianhouse int

“This is why I don’t come here anymore.”

The woman was harrumphing herself out of her booth just as I was passing to sit in the one next to it. As near as I could tell, she was unhappy about something concerning her order and even unhappier about having to get up to find her server so she could complain to him.

This was at the generically named Italian House Pizza & Restaurant on South Crystal Lake Drive in the Curry Ford West District. I was tempted to point out to the woman that she apparently does still “come here,” but I let it go. Eventually, I, too, would learn that service here wasn’t exactly trained and professional. “I’m a really lousy waiter,” my server would say at one point in the meal. And I would also have to get up at one point to hunt him down.


Russells shakesThe team from Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe included from left owner Philippe Villain, chef/owner Emmanuel Clement and Josue Perez.

Shake It Up!, the Orlando Shakes gala held Sunday, Feb. 26, was a huge success thanks to the many restaurants that participated either serving food at the reception, as Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe, pictured above, and Tap Room at Dubsdread, or as a silent auction prize.

The silent auction items, including a wide range of restaurants presented as the Scott Joseph Collection, helped to raise a good amount of money for the evening. In fact, the silent auction made more than five times what it raised last year.

And congratulations to Ellen Prague for being the successful bidder to join me for dinner at Enzo’s on the Lake to help me write an updated review.


D21 Bar Area

Cafe Coqui, a Puerto Rican bakery, has opened in Avalon Park, has opened. It’s on the corner across from the Marketplace at Avalon Park and serves pastries, coffee and sandwiches.

Across the way, Roberto Treviño’s Chicharron Grill has also opened inside the Marketplace, serving such things as maduros, tostones and mofongo.

The two new business add a nice Puerto Rican vibe to AP, and with the 1 Cantina’s Mexican restaurant and the Peruvian Brazas Chicken, there are lots of Latin flavors available.