Easter Eggs

I hope your bonnet is ready because Easter is just a week away – Sunday, April 17.

As always, we’ve comprised a list of restaurants that will be offering special Easter dining opportunities, including flog favorites Knife & Spoon at the Ritz-Carlton, the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek (speaking of bonnets), Citron at JW Marriott Grande Lakes, and the always popular Tap Room at Dubsdread.

Find the details for those and others on our Holidays Listings page.


Koshergrill ext

Anyone who strives to maintain a kosher diet can tell you the options for dining out are close to bupkis. But not totally. Kosher Grill is among the few glatt kosher restaurants in the area, and its International Drive location allows it to serve visitors as well as locals.

In simplest terms, the word kosher is derived from a Hebrew word that means to be pure, proper, or suitable for consumption. In that respect, we should all eat kosher.


Pinery shrimp and gritsPhoto: The Pinery

Shortly after it opened last summer, The Pinery, the very good lakeview restaurant in the Ivanhoe Village district, had a chef change. Steven Mattix took over the role of executive chef following the departure of opening chef Naomi Freeman. (You can read my review here.)

Mattix moved to Central Florida from the D.C. area where he was a sous chef for Jose Andrés and also opened restaurants for [Jeff] Black’s Restaurant Group.

So far he has maintained most of the opening menu, though there may be some changes to come. I asked Mattix if he could share the recipe for the restaurant’s Shrimp & Grits with Cornbread for my monthly Local Flavor column with Community Paper, and he was more than happy to oblige.

You can find the recipe on the Community Paper’s website. Mattix suggests you make the cornbread, which is essential to the recipe, first so that it’s ready as soon as you’ve cooked the shrimp.

Give it a try.


Hunan Taste interior

I first heard about century eggs from my father after he returned from one of his trips to Southeast Asia in the nineteen-sixties. They’re also known as hundred-year-old eggs, thousand-year-old eggs, pidan, millennium eggs, black eggs and, as they’re more simply known at HuNan Taste in West Orlando, preserved eggs. Some have even referred to them as one of the world’s most disgusting foods.

I don’t think I’d go that far but the mere thought of them might be enough to turn some people away. And if the thought doesn’t do it then the appearance might.


Branlard headshotLaurent Branlard, the award-winning pastry chef, is leaving the Lake Nona Wave hotel just months after its opening to take the pastry chef position at the Fountainbleu Miami Beach.

Branlard is the only person to win the World Pastry Team Championship competition twice, in 2002 and again in 2008. He said Monday that he had been recruited by a headhunter to move to the fabled Miami hotel. He’ll be leaving Florida’s newest hotel for one of its older

Just last week, we reviewed Bacán, the signature restaurant at the Wave and singled out Branlard’s dessert as one of many hight points.

Prior to joining the Lake Nona Wave, Branlard had been at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort since 2002. When he announced in October that he was taking the position at the then not-yet-open Wave, he told me that one of the attractive points was that it was a boutique hotel with only 234 rooms. “We won’t have to mass feed and do mass banquets,” he said then.