Dan Herman Executive ChefThe Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has named Dan Herman executive chef from his previous role as executive sous chef. He replaces Robert Ciborowski, who left to take a position with a resort in South Florida.

This is a second major personnel change in the resort’s culinary department. Food and beverage director Tony Porcellini, who had been with the Swan and Dolphin since it opened, departed in August. Luciano Sperduto is now in that position.

Herman, at left, had previously been the Swan and Dolphin Resort’s executive sous chef. In his new role, he will oversee the two hotels’ 17 restaurants and food outlets as well as banquets and a staff of over 200. Before joining Swan and Dolphin, Herman was chef de cuisine at Arthur’s 27, a fine dining restaurant that was on the top floor of the Buena Vista Palace hotel.


Bloodhound exterior

I don’t think I’ve ever been served Tartar Sauce Soup before. No, let me amend that. I definitely have never been served Tartar Sauce Soup before.

But that’s the only description for what came with the Fish & Chips I ordered at Bloodhound Brew Pub & Eatery in South Orlando. Seriously, you could have drunk this stuff with a straw.

I’ve also never been served cold Mushy Peas. They’re always served at least warm if not hot. This ice cream-scoop shaped mound seemed to have come right out of the cooler.


Reyes interior

A major change in a restaurant, especially a popular, well-reviewed one, is reason for a revisit, even if that restaurant is relatively new. Reyes Mezcaleria is relatively new — it was the winner of our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants as Best New Restaurant of 2017. But despite its short life, Reyes recently underwent one of those major changes that warrant a rereview, replacing its opening chef, Austin Boyd, with Wendy Lopez.

I returned with little skepticism because Lopez is a known quantity, taking the Reyes position after leading the kitchen at Tapa Toros. (Francisco Galeano is now in charge of Tapa Toros; we’ll look in on how he’s doing soon.)

Lopez’s changes to the menu have been subtle but they arise out of her Mexican heritage. I’ve never been one to suggest that cuisines of a nation or region can only be cooked by people of the same heritage. Nor does having a particular ethnic background guarantee that a cook will turn out authentic recreations of his or her homeland’s traditional dishes.


Sustainable poster

  • David Moscoso, owner of New Smyrna Beach’s Third Wave Cafe, is inviting Cress Restaurant’s Hari Pulapaka to work together on a sustainable seafood dinner called Chefs for Fish. Cost for the five-course dinner is $95. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Third Wave Cafe & Wine Bar. Tickets here. Sorry, I don’t have an information on the first two waves.
  • The owners of the Hammered Lamb bar on Orange Avenue in the Ivanhoe District plan to break through the wall into the retail space next door and open a 24-hour diner called Jack & Honey’s. We’ll assume the retail space is unoccupied and that permission to expand has been granted by the landlord. Several months away.
  • Hey, do you enjoy banging your head against a wall? Are you a fan of feats of futility? Then you may want to nominate a Central Florida restaurant of chef for a 2019 James Beard Foundation Award. Deadline is Dec. 31. Cast your vote to the wind at this link.
  • King Bao, the Mills 50 monarchal bunner, has opened a second location at Alafaya Trail and U.S. Highway 50, an area no one has taken to calling Alf 50 as yet.
  • Last time I told you about the closing of Kokino in Bayhill Plaza. Looks like Kabooki Sushi will open a second location there. Others were interested in the space, but their names didn’t begin with a K.
  • Pita Pit in downtown Orlando has closed. It was one of the first in the area; I reviewed it in November of 2004. I said at the time that it reminded me of the movie The Snake Pit with Olivia de Havilland, probably because it was one of the first in the area to use the assemblage concept. Madness.
  • A chain called Pokéworks is coming to downtown Orlando, opening in the Morgan & Morgan building. Personally, I would have called the restaurant For the Poké.


Hangry Bison Doddzilla

Newcomer The Hangry Bison has been voted Best Burger 2018 in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread was second. Kiwi’s Pub & Grill of Altamonte Springs was third.

If you need any further demonstration that every vote counts, consider this: only three votes separated first place from second place.

The Hangry Bison is merely months old but the Winter Park Villager has become a burger destination.

“Come hangry, leave happy,” wrote Roxanne Marie Mojave after placing her vote. “The Hangry Bison has the best beef,” added Billy Dover.

“Tap Room is always number 1,” wrote Teresa Luttrell Castleman. And it was in 2017 when it took first place in our first ever Foodster Award poll.

“What an array of burger options at Kiwi’s!” said Jim cain. “Kiwi’s Pub & Grill is primarily a sports bar, but they put a lot of emphasis on the quality of their food and drinks.” Kiwi’s is a place that has escaped my notice, but I’m planning to attend soon.

Our final two categories for the year will be Best New Restaurant and Best Restaurant Overall. Watch for the nomination phase next week.