3922 colonial

Next up: Chinese.

That freestanding restaurant on East Colonial Drive that has in recent years been Fazoli's Italian, California Burrito Company, Casa Barcelona (briefly) and the Peruvian Gaviota Brasas & More (brieflier) will now be Peter's Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant.

Gaviota Brasas closed approximately three months ago. I reviewed it in August shortly after it opened and, apparently, shortly before it closed. It was meant to be a more casual restaurant with grilled foods as its focus than the Gaviota Seafood & Fine Peruvian Cuisine in Thornton Park. That restaurant, in the Sanctuary Condominiums building, remains.

Workers were putting up the Peter's Chinese signs Friday afternoon, but an opening date is not yet known. So far the restaurant does not have a website or even a Facebook page. There is, however, a Peter's Kitchen Chinese restaurant in Miami. The manager at that restaurant was unavailable to take a call, but the young woman who answered the phone said the restaurant was not opening another location in Orlando.

It seems a bit too coincidental that there would be two Chinese restaurants called Peter's Kitchen -- a name that doesn't exactly scream moo goo gai pan -- in the same state. And if it is coincidence, the owners of the restaurant set to open on Colonial Drive may want to keep the signage company on speed dial so they can take the Peter's Kitchen sign down after the owners get a Cease and Desist order from the Miami restaurant's lawyers.

Krestaurant interior

There's always a bit of trepidation whenever a major change occurs at a popular restaurant. At K Restaurant & Wine Bar, of course, the change was a transfer of ownership from founding proprietor and chef Kevin Fonzo to Chad Phelps, a longtime chef with mainly institutional experience. (His resume includes 21 years as a chef in the U.S. Navy aboard a submarine, which probably prepared him for the cramped confines of the K kitchen.)

Fonzo seemed inextricably attached to the popular College Park restaurant; after all, it's his initial that gives the restaurant its name. And the James Beard Award-nominated chef has been a charismatic and visible promoter of the restaurant, regarded as one of the area's top chefs. Surely things would not be the same without Kevin at K.

Kevin who?

Cows and Cabs tent

They're going to need a bigger tent.

Cows 'n Cabs was held in Winter Park Saturday, the seventh year for the event, and it seems to have grown exponentially.

The fundraiser takes place under a pavilion sized tent set up in Central Park's West Meadow (there is no East, North or South Meadow, as far as I can tell). At least some of it takes place under the tent. This year the food and beverage vendors spilled far outside the confines of the big top.

Organizer John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, estimated the crowd at 1,600, and he was anticipating the event to raise a record $200,000 for After-School All-Stars and Elevate Orlando, two local charities that work with underserved youths. Click the video below to get an idea of what the event was like.

Some of the restaurants that participated included Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro, K restaurant, Soco, Hunger Street Tacos, Pizza Bruno, Norman's at the Ritz and 1921 by Norman Van Aken, 4 Rivers and the Coop, and Hawkers Asian Street Fare.

Restaurants from Disney Springs were last minute participants. They included Morimoto Asia, Polite Pig, Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, and The Ganachery.

There was plenty of food and drink and lots of boot stompin' music.

Watch for the eight annual Cows 'n Cabs when the 2018 date is announced. It's bound to be even bigger, though I'm not sure they can make it better.

Buttermilk ext

I stopped by Buttermilk Bakery on a recent Saturday and found it bustling with people patiently waiting in a line that snaked through the shop.

Of course, we’re not talking about a big shop, so the snake would be more like a large garter than, say, an anaconda. Or maybe more like a racer because the line moved pretty fast.

Buttermilk pastries

A little too fast. You can’t really make your decision about what to get until you’re right up to the glass that separates the drooling public from the tempting array of freshly baked goods.


The finalists in the contest to find a honey-based dessert to represent Orlando’s signature dish have been announced. The 10 top vote-getters in an online poll conducted by sponsor Visit Orlando will present their desserts to a panel of judges on Thursday at a private tasting. The winning dessert will be announced at Visit Orlando’s annual luncheon on Dec. 7.

The competition arose after Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs challenged local chefs to come up with a food that could be touted as the area's signature dish — our own New England Clam Chowder or Philly Cheese Steak. The focus was narrowed to a dessert featuring honey to highlight the abundance and variety of honeys produced in Central Florida.

Twenty-nine chefs submitted recipes for the desserts, which were required to feature honey as a main ingredient and had to be available for purchase by the general public in a restaurant.

The Top 10 Finalists (Listed in alphabetical order by the Chef’s last name)