Greek Corner

The Greek Corner, the Greek restaurant located, um, on a corner in the Ivanhoe district, has been voted Best Greek in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

The recently reopened Mykonos, in Longwood, placed second and Mediterranean Deli of Orlando was third.

The Greek Corner, which opened in 2005, is known for its patio with a view of Lake Ivanhoe across the street. It's popular for its gyro sandwiches but also such traditional dishes as moussaka and avgolemeno soup.

In placing his vote for Mykonos, Brian N Bengie Murray said, "Much improved quality of food, service and atmosphere at the new and improved Mykonos in Longwood. Our new "go to" place for Greek food since the restaurant moved and reopened."

Mediterranean Deli, on Fairbanks Avenue, is liked as much for the friendly owners as for the delicious food.

Congratulations to the winners and to all of the finalists.

Nominations are currently being accepted for Best Italian restaurant. Place your vote before Oct. 17. The restaurants with the most nominations will advance to the finals.


Selam interior

If you were looking for further validation that Central Florida's culinary scene is becoming more diverse, consider this: Not only do we have an Ethiopian restaurant, Nile, in its second decade of operation, we now have a second one operating simultaneously. What's more, the new restaurant, Selam, features the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. (Though that's a fine line; more on that in a moment.)

Like Nile, Selam is situated in the Tourist World part of town. That's a pretty smart choice. Nile was not the first Ethiopian restaurant in the area. Two or three others tried to introduce the foods from the Horn of Africa over the past 25 years or so but never lasted more than a few months. Location, I assumed, had something to do with it. They had opened in a location next to the 33d Street jail and on a sketchy stretch of South Orange Blossom Trail. But an argument could also be made that the dining public wasn't yet quite ready to be more adventurous.


American Kitchen dining room

Magical Dining Month is over for another year, but that doesn't mean there aren't any great dining deals out there. Just look at what American Kitchen Bar & Grill is offering.

They're calling it, maybe just a tad tongue in cheekily, Enchanted Dining Month and offering a $35 three-course prix fixe menu. Sound familiar?

Executive chef Venoy Rogers explained that American Kitchen, which is the signature restaurant at B Resort, missed the cutoff date to sign up for Magical Dining Month. The restaurant didn't want to run a competing offer at the same time, so instead they decided to run it after MagDinMo was over, so you can now consider the entire month of October to be EnDinMo at American Kitchen.

Rogers invited me to come in and sample the menu choices. I had already known there was good culinary talent at the resort. I had experienced Rogers' cuisine in the past, and his sous chef Jacob Rios recently won my Sous Chef Challenge cooking competition at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show. So I was pretty sure I was going to like what I tasted, and I did.



Jakes Beer Festival 3

You've probably been kicking yourself because you missed Jake's Beer Festival last spring. Jake's, as you know, is a festival created by the folks at Loews Royal Pacific Resort especially for beer lovers. If you didn't make it to the last one, don't be so hard on yourself, we all make mistakes.

And every now and then you get a second chance. Which is good news for you because Jake's Beer Festival happens twice each year, spring and fall. And oh, hey look -- it's fall. The the autumnal fest is Friday, Oct. 5, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.

Jakes Flatbread DSC5079 1

Jake's Beer Fest features more than 50 local and regional craft beers for you to quaff. There's also food, because you shouldn't quaff on an empty stomach, and there's entertainment, too, because this is a festival, dammit.

Tickets are $45 plus tax for regular admission and $55 for VIP, which gets you a few extras. Either way, you'll have good beer and a good time. Click this link to purchase your tickets.

Scheduled to be pouring on Friday are:


Beard celebrity room

The James Beard Foundation's Celebrity Chef Tour stopped in Melbourne Sunday for a six-course dinner cooked by visiting chefs assisted by culinary professionals from Melbourne and Brevard County.

The dinner was held at Brevard Zoo, which shared the proceeds from tickets sales with the Beard Foundation's scholarship fund. The crowd of nearly 200 people gathered for a sparkling wine and cocktail reception on the patio outside the zoo's event space. Volunteer servers passed hors d'oeuvres -- the Jamón Ibérico Fermin, which fairly melted in the late afternoon heat, and the Ceviche in Ajo Blanco from Doreen Colondres of Miami were favorites. Most guests headed to their tables far in advance of the scheduled 7 p.m. seating just to get out of the heat and into the dining room.