Paradiso Pizza

I have a favorite little pizza joint — well, it used to be a favorite — in New York that was always a go-to for quick slice. It’s Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street, between Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue. I felt smug that I had found it years before Jon Stewart did his now-famous pizza rant after watching video of Donald Trump take Sarah Palin out for some authentic New York pizza at the generally reviled Famous Famiglia Pizza. (Although it seems like it could be ripped from today’s headlines, the Daily Show segment, which included both polibrities eating their slices with a knife and fork, aired in June 2011.)

Anyway, the quality at Joe’s has waned a bit in the past few years. It’s still OK after a long walk down lower Broadway and a jaunt across Bleecker from the East Village, but it’s missing something.

I was reminded of the Joe’s Pizza of old after stopping in at Paradiso Pizzeria’s new restaurant on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando in a just-constructed strip of businesses. The slice of pie that I had there was as good as Joe’s.



It’s only Tuesday and I’m already thinking about the weekend. Actually, I’m looking forward to the weekend end. That’s because Sunday (March 13) is the second annual Five Chefs, Five Courses, Five Charities Event at The Alfond Inn. I was fortunate to be at the first one last year, and I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait to see what they do this year.

As the name implies, the event features five chefs, each preparing one course. And each chef chooses a charity to benefit from the ticket sales.

This year’s five chefs include: Fabrizio Schenardi, Four Seasons Resort; Henry Salgado, The Spanish River Grill; Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon; Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant; and Marc Kusche, The Alfond Inn.

the Five Charities include: National Blood Clot Alliance (Kusche); The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program (Blake); Kevin Fonzo Foundation (Fonzo); PACE Center For Girls (Salgado); and Nemours Hospital For Children (Schenardi).

The dinner is served family style at large tables set up in the hotel’s beautiful courtyard (and the weather should be lovely on Sunday). Live entertainment and drinks are also included.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30 and dinner follows at 6:30. Tickets are $150 per person, tax and service included. Click here to purchase tickets to Five Chefs, Five Courses, Five Charities.

The Alfond Inn is at 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park.


Diva corn salad

Ah, it’s almost Florida Zellwood corn season (if weather cooperates, April is the month). And while there’s other corn in season, we hold out for the sweet, tender Zellwood version.

And it’s also the season for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which not only celebrates blooms, but also edible plants with more than a dozen Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon for noshing March 2-May 30.

This Roasted Corn Salad is served with ribs at the festival’s Smokehouse Kitchen, but we think it’s great as a side with grilled fish or roast pork – or all by itself. It takes a little time to roast the corn in the husk, and to roast and peel the poblano, but you’re rewarded with intense flavors that make this dish sing.