Portillo ext

Not too long ago I told you about my experience visiting the Orlando White Castle and how baffling I found its popularity.

But on the same evening I trekked across the parking lot to another Central Florida newcomer, Portillo’s, the Chicago-style beef and hot doggerie. And I liked it a lot.

Portillo’s began in 1963 when Dick Portillo opened a wiener stand called The Dog House in Villa Park, Ill., in metropolitan Chicago. Eventually he slapped his own name on it and soon after a chain was born. There are now more than 70 locations, most still in Illinois. Besides Orlando, there are Florida Portillo’s in Brandon, Tampa and St. Petersburg.


Enzo sign

Enzo’s on the Lake, the venerable Longwood Italian restaurant that has been a special occasion destination for Central Floridians for 42 years, has been sold. The new owner is John Khalil, an Orlando dentist with University Dental Group, who is expected to close the deal next week and greet the staff on Tuesday.

When reached Wednesday afternoon, Khalil was with a patient and unable to speak at length about his plans for the restaurant, but others have said that the name, concept and staff are expected to stay the same.


 SipSavor top

Last week I told you about the Epicurious Progressive Dinner Tour going on Fridays and Saturdays at Waldorf Astoria and Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. This week they’re announcing the inaugural Epicurious Sip & Savor Event, Friday, Dec. 9, from 7 to 11 p.m.

This will be a one-night-only upscale food and wine tasting showcasing the resort’s 13 restaurants and lounges with 35 tastings at eight culinary stations and nine pop-up bars. Stations will include the popular restaurants La Luce and Bull & Bear, plus Peruvian Street Fare, Southern Smokehouse, Chef Franck Riffaud’s Grand Patisserie and Maître Cuisiniers de France.


Gully int

Daana Pani, the Indian bistro I reviewed in March, is now called Gully and wants to be known as an urban Indian eatery. I’m not sure what that means but I hope the food is just as good as before. The ownership is the same – Sunny Corda of Mynt, Saffron and Madras – but there’s a new management team, chef and menu. The restaurant is inside the Laxmi Plaza on Doss Avenue at South Orange Blossom Trail.

Gully is an homage to Sanjay Dutt, also known as Sanju Baba, a Bollywood movie superstar. So why isn’t the restaurant called Dutt’s? Corda explained that Gully translates roughly to street – if you hear someone referred to as a gully boy it usually means he’s a street fighter. And so the new menu, Corda said, features the street foods of Mumbai. Gully’s new chef and partner is Christopher Corda, Sunny’s brother who has been working at fine Indian restaurants in New York. All of the partners, he said, are big Dutt fans, so the new decor features Duttabelia, including a massive mural of the action star.

Both Swine & Sons and The Courtesy have moved in to the Foxtail’s Farmhouse building at 1280 Orange Ave., Winter Park. Swine & Sons moved down the street from its original location at the confluence of Orange, Fairbanks and Pennsylvania Avenues. For The Courtesy it’s a reopening after it its original downtown location in May. When it first opened 10 years ago, it was at the fore of the craft cocktail renaissance.


The Prisoner labels

The folks at Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen, are having a wine pairing dinner and they’re taking Prisoners.

Actually, the wines they’ll be serving are from The Prisoner Wine Company in Napa Valley. The dinner is Wed., Oct. 26, at the wonderful new restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased here. (There is a limited number and only about 10 seats remained as of Monday afternoon.) The dinner will include a bottle of The Prisoner Chardonnay, personalized by an engraver that evening.

The four-course menu (see below) is being curated by executive chef Shelby Farrell is inspired by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. That is significant because the winery’s name and flagship label were inspired by Goya’s Le Petit Prisonnier, a 19th century etching with a subtitle that translates to “the custody is as barbaric as the crime.”

The Prisoner isn’t just a cutesy name – the company is dedicated to fighting social injustices, including those in our prison reform system. So, you can attend the dinner, have some wonderful food and wine and know that you’re helping support a just cause (that aims to correct injustices).

Menu, inspired by Spanish artist Francisco Goya: