Fluffy Cloud Cookies

December is cookie time, and every year we look for a winner for our diva pal Julie's annual Cookie Party competition. That sublime sweet that will outshine all the others.

We think we found it at the Biltmore in beautiful Asheville, N.C., and with a little coaxing, we got Chef David Ryba from The Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore to part with the recipe. You'll be on cloud nine after baking these Fluffy Cloud Cookies, a riff on traditional chocolate chip cookies with added lightness from cake flour.

Happy holidays from the divas!


edge steakhouse Park City

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa will break ground Monday on a retail center that will include a new steakhouse and a sports bar. Edge Steakhouse is described by the Orlando based time share company as a premium dining concept. Its Edge Steakhouse in Park City, Utah, is highly rated, ranked as the second most popular restaurant out of 207 on Tripadvisor. 

The planned $11 million retail village will also include Drafts Sports Bar & Grill, a grocery store, game room and two-lane bowling alley. In addition, the facility will have 32,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space, so maybe they can set up a couple more bowling lanes.

The steakhouse and sports bar are scheduled to open in June, although some aspects of the village will be available in April.

Orange County mayor Theresa Jacobs will take part in the Monday groundbreaking ceremony along with VisitOrlando president and CEO George Aguel and Orange County commissioner Scott Boyd.



David Ramirez of David Ramirez Chocolates was my guest on Thursday's The Daily Chew segment on WFTV-Channel 9 and icFlorida. It's a really simple thing to do, and if you've got kids, they'll love helping you make it -- and eat it.

You can make your own star pattern on drawing paper. You'll need to draw stars that are 5 inches, 4 inches, 3 inches and 2 inches across, about five of each. It doesn't matter if they're not perfect stars -- this recipe is very forgiving. 

Take a look at the video above, and then you can find some of the instructions here.




The other shoe has dropped in the latest saga concerning the Mingos brand. You'll recall that things got iffy for Mingos when one of its investors was indicted for fraud and was forced to sell off assets. The original Mingos in the Sanctuary condos in downtown Orlando closed recently. Another restaurant that bore the Mingos name in the DoubleTree hotel near UCF will now be known as The Bistro. (Hey, they've got enough on their minds -- they don't have time to come up with clever names.)

There were other Mingos planned -- Mingos Chophouse, Mingos Prime, Mingos the Musical. Needless to say those aren't going to happen.


Elliots signIt looks like we have another contender for this year's "Boy, That Was Fast" award. Elliott's Public House, which took over the space that had been occupied by Brian's restaurant across from Lake Invahoe, is currently shuttered and has the eyeroll producing "closed for renovations" notice on the door. I'm skeptical, even though in my review of Elliott's in September shortly after it opened I noted that the food was better but the ambience was lacking. You'd think that if renovations were actually taking place the phone would be kept in service for the use of the workers and contractors. Instead, Elliott's phone has been disconnected.

It's difficult to know why a restaurant -- any business, really -- would close after such a short time. It's a general rule of thumb that a restaurant won't make money immediately; it's a prospect new restaurateurs should be prepared for. And it's especially disheartening in this situation because Elliott's was making the effort to bring better food to the Ivanhoe Village district.

Although Elliott's life was terribly brief, I think Blackfin has the shortest length between opening and closing this year with five weeks.