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Hangry smoked bison

The Hangry Bison in Winter Park Village is known for its burgers — it recently won the Best Burger Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

But it has great cocktails, too, and its signature drink, The smoked Bison, is a real show stopper. The Bison’s Fernando Prince shows you how they make it in this episode of On the House. And if you don’t have a big glass dome for the smoky reveal like they do at Hangry, he’ll show you how to get some of the same smoky effect at home.

Watch the video then give the recipe a try.

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Hangry smoked bison

The Hangry Bison in Winter Park Village is known for its burgers — it recently won the Best Burger Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

But it has great cocktails, too, and its signature drink, The smoked Bison, is a real show stopper. The Bison’s Fernando Prince shows you how they make it in this episode of On the House. And if you don’t have a big glass dome for the smoky reveal like they do at Hangry, he’ll show you how to get some of the same smoky effect at home.

Watch the video then give the recipe a try.

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Christners dining room

The readers of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide have voted Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster Best Steakhouse in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Longtimer Linda’s La Cantina was second and Bull & Bear at the Waldorf Astoria came in third.

Christner’s recently celebrated its 25th anniversary (though its first 20 years were as Del Frisco’s) and was the subject of a review in November. “Best steaks in town,’ wrote Tomas DeAddio. “Love Bull but it's about the steak and Christners is number one.”

“Christners by far,” said Beat Gfeller. “There should not even be a vote. Everything else is fake news.”

Following her vote, Trisha Malkiewicz Colvin wrote, “Love La Cantina. Their ribeye is the best and I love the casual homey feel.”

And Michael V. Elsberry said, “Voted for Christner’s as Best, but best value is Linda’s based on price and quality. Can’t beat. Christner’s filet however!”

Nicole Giordano preferred Bull & Bear. “Great service, nice ambiance, and the best food. No knife needed to cut your steak. Super tender and flavorful. #1 for sure, no question.”

Thanks to everyone who voted and commented. And congratulations to the winners.

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Puck exterior

Wolfgang Puck is back in town after a very long absence.

And by that I mean a lot longer than just the closing of the former Wolfgang Puck Cafe. That was the big, two-story restaurant that opened in 1996 in Downtown Disney’s then-called West Side, about the same time as House of Blues and Bongos. Puck was one of the first celebrity chefs to have a presence in Central Florida, and the first iteration of his cafe was quite good, especially the dining room on the second level that was supposed to be an approximation of his Beverly Hills hangout Spago, although it couldn’t be called that because of licensing restrictions.

Oh, here’s a fun bit of trivia: When the Ritz-Carlton was in development to open at Grande Lakes, it approached Puck to open a restaurant there. But because of a noncompete clause in his agreement with Walt Disney World Resort he was unable to consider it. So instead, the Ritz pursued a Miami chef who had recently won a James Beard Award to recreate his popular Coconut Grove restaurant. Norman Van Aken accepted, and that’s how Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton came to be. (The Coconut Grove restaurant closed many years ago.)

At the height of Puck’s popularity, he sold the cafe concept to Chicago’s Levy Restaurants, and the quality of the Disney restaurant plummeted dramatically. After I wrote an updated and largely negative review of Wolfgang Puck Cafe in 2004, I had occasion to speak to Puck by phone on another topic, but I brought up the quality of the local restaurant. He was aware of it and told me that at one point he considered asking the owners to remove his name.

Which brings us now to Disney Springs, the dining, entertainment and retail project that subsumed Downtown Disney, Pleasure Island, Disney Village and the former West Side, and one of the newest restaurants to open there, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. It does not stand on the old site — scorched earth, perhaps — and it’s removed in another substantial way: The food and ambiance are as good and enjoyable as when his old restaurant first opened in ’96.

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Cos dEstournel logo

The organizers of the first Orlando Wine Festival and Auction, March 15 though 17, have announced the initial list of participating wineries, and it’s a stellar lineup.

The bulk of the 26 wineries are from Napa and Sonoma counties in California, but don’t look for any of the names you’d see on the wine shelves at your local supermarket. They include Accendo Cellars, Lail Vineyards, Peter Michael Winery and Rudd/Edge Hill. Bordeaux wineries Château Cos d’Estournel and Haut Medoc Selection will also be pouring. (See below for the complete list.)

They will take part in the vintner dinners on Friday of the festival, held in private homes, and at the event Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes.

The Orlando Wine Festival and Auction is to be the Magic’s signature fundraiser for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. "The Orlando Magic are thrilled to announce these initial 26 exceptional wineries as the first commitments to participate in our Inaugural Orlando Wine Festival and Auction," said Magic CEO Alex Martins. "Most importantly, we are so excited to have them share in helping a very worthy cause, at-risk youth in Central Florida. We look forward to an amazing weekend of wine, food and charity.”

As previously announced, the list of chefs participating in the event includes: