Whiskey Burger

The space that held Cricketers Arms didn’t sit empty too long after that British pub closed. It’s now called The Whiskey, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that any place with such a name is more about the drink than about the food. But based on my recent visit, that isn’t the case at all.

Oh, it’s very serious about the drink part, especially with cocktails featuring the eponymous liquid. There is an interesting craft cocktail menu with some intriguing entries. I chose the one called the Devereaux, which had Woodford Reserve bourbon, elderflower, fresh lemon juice and a splash of sparkling wine. Sort of like a French 75 but with bourbon instead of gin (a Kentucky 75?) The sparkling wine and elderflower took some of the edginess off of the bourbon, which usually is not one of my call liquors.


Chefs Station

The folks at the JW Marriott recently opened two new entities, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen and Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery.

You’ll notice The Kitchen as soon as you walk through the front door of the hotel. It’s just off the lobby, to the right. The Brewery is a little harder to spot. In fact, you’d need a staff person to escort you through the warren of corridors and passageways to the kitchen office where the vats, tanks and necessary gauges have been set up in a corner. It’s definitely not a show brewery such as the one at Cask & Larder.

But the Kitchen is on full display, and what it’s churning out is surprisingly ambitious. I say surprisingly because when it was first announced it was downplayed somewhat, as though it would be more of a bar-menu venue.

But while portions are meant to be more of the small plate size — or, reasonable portions, as I like to think of them — the items are well above the ranks of bar snacks.


Chef Kyle AndersonOrlando World Center Marriott has named Kyle Anderson as chef de cuisine for its farm-to-table restaurant Siro: Urban Italian Kitchen. The position had previously been held by Alexia Gawlak, who left to join her husband, Rhys, at Swine & Sons Provisions in Winter Park.

Anderson is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and the Culinary Institute of America. Among the positions he has held is the title of sous chef under Kenneth Juran at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. 

Anderson is expected to bring his take on classic Italian dishes to the well-received restaurant.

“We’re extremely excited about the unique blend of creativity and the level of passion for Italian cuisine that chef Kyle Anderson brings to Orlando World Center Marriott,” Doug Ridge, general manager of Orlando World Center Marriott, said in a statement. “His experience and ability to master new techniques in the kitchen exemplifies what an incredible asset he is to the team."


Neighborhood Eatery

Hey, downtown, there’s a new eatery in the neighborhood. It’s called Neighborhood Eatery.

OK, so not a real inventive name, but there’s a bit of creativity in the compact menu. That’s because owner Jon Lee, a second generation Korean-American, has fused the cuisines of his heritages into simple but tasty offerings. Think more along the lines of Tako Cheeno.


Second Harvest prep

Update: The date has been changed for the next Chef's Night dinner with Kevin Fonzo. It is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. The story has been updated to reflect that change.

Here’s an event I think you should consider going to. It’s Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank, and there are so many good reasons to attend.

Not the least of those reasons is that the chef for the May 20 dinner is Kevin Fonzo of College Park’s K restaurant. A multiple James Beard Award nominee, Fonzo is considered one of Central Florida’s most talented chefs, and it’s always fun to see what he comes up with for a special dinner like this one.

And it is special because it is held in an event space right there at the Second Harvest Food Bank facility at 411 Mercy Drive in Orlando. If you’re like me, you’ve heard about Second Harvest for decades, maybe even contributed to it or attended other events on its behalf, but have never been there.

I corrected that oversight when I was invited to attend the previous Chef’s Night, in March. On that evening the special guest chef was John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Another thing that makes this dinner extra special is that the guest chef is assisted by students in the food bank’s culinary training program, which, during a 14-week period, teaches participants the skills to help them get a job as a culinary professional. In fact, all of the proceeds from the Chef’s Night events benefit the culinary training program. Click this link to get tickets to the event.

And for that very reasonable fee of $75, you’ll get an impressive dinner with wine. Rivers’ menu included: