Homecoming cocktail

The 2017 Best Cocktails Foodster Award goes to Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs. The “Southern Shine” restaurant has a quenchingly tantalizing list of creative craft cocktails, including Apple Pie a la Mode, Muleshine, and Moonshine Mash. Watch the video below to get the recipe for Homecoming’s Bootlegger cocktail.


Second place is awarded to the Imperial at Washburn Imports in Sanford. Downtown Orlando’s Stubborn Mule is third.

Scott Joseph’s Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants celebrate Central Florida’s finest. The Foodster Awards are open to all restaurants and foodservice businesses with three or fewer locations. Chain brands are not eligible.

The Foodster Awards are an ongoing program. Categories currently open to voting are:

The winner of the Best Burger Foodster was announced previously

Bocuse dor finalPhoto: Bocuse d'Or

For the first time in the 30-year history of the Bocuse d’Or, an international cooking competition that takes place every two years in Lyon, France, the team from the United States has won the gold. Or d’Or, if you will.

Mathew Peters, executive sous chef from Per Se in New York, and his commis (assistant), Harrison Turone, also of Per Se, were assisted by Phillip Tessier, executive sous chef at French Laundry, who took the silver medal two years ago. Gavin Kaysen, formerly with Cafe Boulud, and Thomas Keller, who owns Per Se and French Laundry were part of the coaching team.

Jacs Place interior

We have a couple of guest critics for today’s review. John and Rita Lowndes were the successful bidders on a silent auction item to have dinner with me and to contribute to the review. The dinner was provided by the generous folks at Rosen Plaza and Jack’s Place, with chef Michael McMullen, and benefitted Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF.

Since the last time we reviewed Jack’s Place, the intimate dining room has undergone a sprucing up. The dozens of celebrity caricatures, drawn by hotelier Harris Rosen’s father, Jack, when he was employed by the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, are still the main decor element.

But the room now seems somewhat softer, more elegant. It’s a lovely oasis in the large convention hotel, a quiet escape for a pleasant meal.


Reyes FINAL LogoCitrus Restaurant, the North Quarter restaurant (before it was called the North Quarter) known for its power lunches, will close on January 28.

Taking its place will be Reyes Mezcaleria, a Mexican restaurant from Jason and Sue Chin of Osprey Tavern and Seito Sushi in Baldwin Park. Craig Ustler, the owner of Citrus, will be involved in the new restaurant as a minority investor and owner.

To go with the Mexican cuisine, Reyes Mezcaleria promises an extensive tequila and mezcal list.

There is no information about the timeline, but the redesign is to feature a central bar, so some reconstruction will be done.

Domu ramen

On my third visit to Domu I was finally granted a seat. On one visit the restaurant, which does not accept reservations, had a wait of an hour and a half. Nope.

On the second visit, middle of the week, there were dozens of open seats, but the hostess said I would have to wait a while because there were only two waiters on that evening and if she were to seat me I might not be greeted right away. So, the logic was, stand here and wait instead of being seated and wait. Nope.

But that proverbially charming third time worked. I was shown an ideal seat at the food bar — there is a bar-bar, too, but they won’t serve ramen there; I would have asked for an explanation of the logic in that but…see above.

Ah, yes, ramen. That is Domu’s raison d’etre, or dearu koto ni kiin shimasu in Japanese. The noodley soups have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and Domu does them nicely.