KitchenHouse preview exterior

Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant Wine Bar hosted an informal preview recently of a project he’s been involved in, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House and Culinary Garden.

It’s a stunning structure in the middle of a typical College Park neighborhood. The kitchen looks like something you’d find in a typical house in Isleworth. In fact, there are few kitchens in area restaurants that are this well appointed and as spacious. I can’t help but wonder if Fonzo doesn’t harbor a secret desire to move his popular restaurant into the space. Anyone who has peeked inside his kitchen at K might assume the initial stands for Kramped.

Fonzo got involved with the project after he started helping out at Orlando Junior Academy with elevating the school lunch program and eventually becoming an instructor. Brad Jones, another instructor at the school, had begun a culinary garden. Discussions about expanding the program led to a grant from Lagasse’s foundation. Orlando Junior Academy donated the land, across the street from the school.

I’ll have more on the facility, which will be available to students throughout the area, when it officially opens, later this month, it’s hoped. In the meantime, here are some views.

Posto9 dining room

Update: Shortly following the publication of this review, Posto 9's management discontinued the "no tipping" policy described here.

Who knew Lakeland could have such a wonderful restaurant?

Not to demean Lakeland, but I’ve never thought of it as a dining destination, rather a place one passes through on the interstate on the way to the coast to check out a new restaurant in Tampa or St. Pete or somewhere down the coast. Lakeland, I’d surmised, was the sort of place you’d find Harry’s, the Florida chainlet “seafood bar and grille” that indeed sits on a corner across from downtown’s Munn Park.

But just around the corner, in the middle of a block on Main Street, you’ll find Posto 9, a destination-worthy restaurant with charm, atmosphere and very good food.

Easter Eggs

If you were to graph the interest in brunch as illustrated by Google search trends -- and people do such things, apparently -- you'd see two spikes during a typical year that look like twin Everest-sized peaks towering over the relative Sugarloaf Mountain hills.

One of those peaks represents Mother's Day. The other is Easter.

You've still got a month to go to decide where you're going to take mom this year to tell her how much you appreciate her and to get her loopy on unlimited mimosas.

But times almost up for your Easter selection. There's not need to go to Google to do a search, however. We've got a list of dandy dining options for this Sunday (yep, Easter is Sunday, April 16).

Check out the offerings from Reunion Resort, Chef's Table at the Edgewater, Taverna Opa, Tapa Toro and others on our Easter Dining page. You'll want to make a reservation right away. And remember, if your plans change.

ORLANDO AND TAMPA, – Ocean Prime’s Orlando and Tampa locations are teaming up with The Dinner Party Project to host a sushi pop-up dinner on Sunday, April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1010 W. Church St. in Orlando. Tickets are $100 per person and a percentage of proceeds will benefit The Human Experience (THE) Orlando.

During the dinner, Ocean Prime Orlando Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson and Ocean Prime Tampa Executive Chef Adam Polisei will walk guests through an Asian-inspired, seven-course meal featuring:

Reelfish exterior

When the owners of the Ravenous Pig announced, in October, that they would be moving the popular restaurant up the road, the original space was immediately snatched up by Fred Thimm for a new concept, Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar. That restaurant opened in February.

Thimm, former vice president and chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, said when we spoke in October that he had always been in love with coastal cuisine and that his intention was to create a coastal kitchen in an inland setting.

The idea was to create “a contemporary version of a classic fish camp,” which, the restaurant’s website explains, were simple, rustic eateries established during the Depression to provide workers and families “fuss-free fresh fish” (a phrase I will not attempt to utter when this review airs on WMFE-90.7).