GrandBo logoIt's becoming something of a tradition around here to have a Holdiay edition of the Supper Club. This year we'll convene at the Boheme in the elegant Grand Bohemian hotel in downtown Orlando. Dinner will be Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. The date and time are key. That's the same day as the official City of Orlando tree lighting, which is scheduled to be over by 6 p.m. So Supper Clubbers can attend the lighing festivities and then make their way over to the Grand Bohemian for a litte extra cheer.

Tickets are a very special $85 plus tax ($90.10) with gratuity included.

Our seating is limited so be sure to get your tickets early. You can see the details, including the menu, at the SJO Dining Deals page.


k logoIt's November, and everyone is anticipating that big, annual feast. That's right, it's time for the Feast of Fonzo. (What were you thinking of?)

Keven Fonzo, owner and executive chef of K restaurant in College Park, has been offering his Feast of Him for 14 years now, and it's become a tradition for many. Basically, it's an Italian supper, served family style. In my family that would mean a lot of yelling and brandishing of knives, but I think here it means big passed platters of the kinds of food K has become nationally known for.

Linda K. Sullivan of Noble Wine Estates will be offering  pairings from her impressive portfolio of Italian wines.

The dinner is Thursday, November 19 (because all the really big feasts in November happen on a Thursday), at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are mandatory and can be made by calling the restaurant at 407-872-2332.




At first glance, this sounds like the sort of story that would strike fear into the heart of a professional restaurant critic. A French court fined a critic for giving a restaurant a bad review. Yikes!

Ah, but take a closer look. According to this article from Grub Street, it wasn’t just that it was a bad review, it was the timing. The review was written and published before the restaurant had even opened. Actually, there is nothing in the ethical guidelines of the Association of Food Journalists that specifically states that reviews should not run before a restaurant opens its doors but it’s sort of taken for granted.

I’ve seen this several times and for local restaurants. It’s common for friends and family of new restaurant owners to jump the gun and hit sites like Yelp with glowing reviews sometimes even before the new business has passed final inspections. And it isn’t unusual for there to be fake negative reviews on those sites, too. But most of those commenters at least wait for the restaurant to open.

This all reminds me of something that helped me make the decision to leave the newspaper. There was so much cost cutting going on that I joked that the editors might one day come to me and ask me to write a review just based on the menu. Suddenly it didn’t seem so far fetched.

But this serves as a reminder to take all reviews — other than those from critics you know and trust — with a proverbial grain of salt.


Ferrytale dock

Well bless Disney’s little revenue producing heart. You have to give them credit for finding new ways to extract monetary blood from the touristing turnips. The latest scheme is called Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise. It really is a brilliant idea: take one of the ferries that ferries guests from the transportation center across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom, a boat that presumably is usually idle during the nightly fireworks presentation, and sell tickets to watch said display of colorful combustibles from a unique vantage point.

And to make it more palatable, they serve a buffet of desserts. And get this: alcoholic beverages, the sort of elixirs that the poor thirsty folks inside the theme park are forbidden to imbibe. It’s open bar in the open waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon, sort of the resorts version of the International Waters demarkation that those gambling cruises to nowhere set sail for.

In fact, I sort of felt like I was on a cruise to nowhere when I was invited to ride along on a media preview of the new feature. The elements are all there to make is sound like a winning proposal: a nice vantage point of the fireworks, with the accompanying music piped in; wine, beer, liquor or soft drinks to sip; and all the desserts you want.

Yet with the exception of the fireworks display itself, the cruise is, in a word, boring. Guests board the ferry more than an hour before showtime and then slowly circle the lagoon. Once you’ve made one loop, there isn’t much else to look at.


VE tableThe room that holds the chef's table off of the kitchen at Victoria & Albert's is scheduled for an upgrade in January.

Victoria & Albert’s, the intimate fine dining restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, quietly changed its menu and seating policies last month, according to chef Scott Hunnel. Previously, diners in the main dining room were offered a seven-course prix fixe menu while guests in the even smaller Queen Victoria Room were treated to a 10-course chef’s degustation.

The Queen Victoria Room was introduced in 2010 as a “third dining option” for V&A, after the main dining room and the coveted chef’s table. Besides the three extra courses, the QVR dining experience featured more tableside service, with servers or general manager and sommelier Israel Perez doing preparations from rolling gueridons. Service might include carvings from butter sculpted to look like a chef’s toque or fine cheese selections.

The Queen Victoria Room’s menu was quite popular, and Hunnel said he had numerous requests to make the longer menu available in the main dining room.