Local Flavor: Creme Brulée from Maxine's on Shine

Maxines brulee

There’s a lot of history in the building on Shine Avenue that has been the home of Maxine’s on Shine for the past decade. The structure started out as a grocery market, but as a restaurant site it has held East Side Cafe, Derby Court, Shine Avenue Deli, Deli Down Under (I actually missed that one), Kia Rose, Union, Union City Tavern, Bravissimo and Shine Neighborhood Kitchen. Current owners Kirt and Maxine Earhart seem to have put an end to the revolving door of restaurant concepts and they’ve recently added a historical note of their own: Maxine’s was on the list of recommended restaurants in the inaugural Florida edition of the Michelin Guide.

There’s history in Maxine’s kitchen, too, where George Vogelbacher has been cooking since 2014. Previously, Vogelbacher owned a restaurant called Le Cordon Bleu that was in the building where Ravenous Pig currently stands. When a fire shut down Le Cordon Bleu and the neighboring Harper’s Tavern, Vogelbacher moved to a restaurant space next to the Enzian Theater in Winter Park and opened Nicole St. Pierre.

Local Flavor: Le Coq au Vin's Coquille St. Jacques

Chef Reimund Pitts BySTCChef Reimund Pitts of Le Coq au Vin with his Coquilles St. Jacques. (Photo by S.T. Cardinal of The Community Paper)

Le Coq Au Vin, at 46 Orlando’s oldest French restaurant, was already in operation for six years when Louis Perrotte and his wife, Magdalena, bought it. It is now owned and operated by Chef Reimund Pitz and his wife, Sandy, in partnership with the Perrottes. Housed in its unique A-frame — the original structure was a model for a company selling beach homes — Le Coq Au Vin is still a go-to special occasion restaurant for many Central Floridians.

In this edition of Local Flavor, a collaboration with The Community Paper, Pitz shares his recipe for coquille St. Jacques, a classic French dish of scallops in a creamy sauce. See the full recipe here.

Local Flavor: Perfect Florida Strawberry Shortcake from Se7en Bites

Se7enbites shortcake 768x768 copySe7en Bites

If you start to notice a lot of culinary-savvy tourists finding their way to the Milk District, it’s probably because they’re looking for Trina Gregory-Propst’s bakery and eatery, now known succinctly as Se7en Bites.

It opened nine years ago, first in a small former sandwich shop (which is a sandwich shop again: Bad As’s) before moving to its more spacious current location. In that time, it has earned numerous accolades and national recognition. Se7en Bites was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” — though it’s really none of those — and recently was recognized as a Bib Gourmand recommended restaurant in the first Florida Michelin Guide.

All the praise is well deserved, and Gregory-Propst’s delicious pastries are the reason why. In the current issue of The Community Paper, she shares her recipe for Perfect Florida Strawberry Shortcake in my Local Flavor column.

Local Flavor: Muhammara from Hungry Pants

Muhammara Sauce

This month’s edition of “Local Flavor,” my collaboration with The Community Paper, features a recipe from Hungry Pants, the SoDo restaurant that is “100 percent plant based 80 percent of the time,” according to its owners, Joey Conicella and Alex Marin.

Marin and Conicella are sharing Hungry Pants’ recipe for muhammara, a versatile and spicy dip popular in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey (the country, not the bird). “I am a big believer in having ‘back pocket’ options to use for quick options at home,” Marin said. “Muhammara is something that both Joey and I are obsessed with. We use it as a dipping sauce for crudité, spread it on toast in the morning with a runny egg for breakfast, and add it to sandwiches for a little extra flavor.”

Find the recipe at YourCommunityPaper.com and give it a try. You can even put it on turkey.

Local Flavor: Roasted Stuffed Mushrooms from Delaney's Tavern

Delaneys stuffedd mush

The latest issue of The Community Paper is out and my Local Flavor column this month features a recipe from Delaney’s Tavern.

Delaney’s Tavern in the SoDo District across from the Orlando Health complex is often compared to the bar on the television series “Cheers.” It has a neighborhood vibe and a friendly staff who may or may not know your name.

But the gang at Cheers had to leave the bar to eat; at Delaney’s there’s great food right there with a versatile menu from executive chef Anthony Albino.

Here Albino shares the recipe for a new Roasted Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer. As written, the recipe is vegetarian and gluten free. Albino says you can adapt it to include chopped crab, lobster or sausage.

At Delaney’s Tavern, Albino finishes the dish with two sauces, a Porcini Goat Cheese Mousse and a Piquillo Coulis, but he says: “I would recommend any kind of aioli, or a horseradish based sauce. Or if you want to kick it up, some kind of chipotle sauce.”

Click here to see the full recipe on the Community Paper’s website.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Soco Thornton Park

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

This month’s Local Flavor, the column I do in partnership with The Community Paper, features a recipe from a downtown favorite, Soco Thornton Park.

Soco has become a fixture of downtown dining, thanks to the cuisine of chef/partner Greg Richie. Here he shares the recipe for his Sweet Potato Gnocchi, which is a perfect example of the restaurant’s style of southern contemporary, from which the name Soco is derived.

Follow this link to see the full recipe at The Community Paper’s website.

Shrimp & Grits with Cornbread from the Pinery

Pinery shrimp and gritsPhoto: The Pinery

Shortly after it opened last summer, The Pinery, the very good lakeview restaurant in the Ivanhoe Village district, had a chef change. Steven Mattix took over the role of executive chef following the departure of opening chef Naomi Freeman. (You can read my review here.)

Mattix moved to Central Florida from the D.C. area where he was a sous chef for Jose Andrés and also opened restaurants for [Jeff] Black’s Restaurant Group.

So far he has maintained most of the opening menu, though there may be some changes to come. I asked Mattix if he could share the recipe for the restaurant’s Shrimp & Grits with Cornbread for my monthly Local Flavor column with Community Paper, and he was more than happy to oblige.

You can find the recipe on the Community Paper’s website. Mattix suggests you make the cornbread, which is essential to the recipe, first so that it’s ready as soon as you’ve cooked the shrimp.

Give it a try.

Blackened Double Lamb Chops with Garlic and Potato Gratin from Russell's On Lake Ivanhoe

Russells double lamb chop

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe was recently voted 2021 Best New Restaurant in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Much of the restaurant’s popularity is due to chef/partner Emmanuel Clement’s French-influenced menu. In the February issue of the Community Paper, he shares his recipe for Blackened Double Lamb Chops with Garlic and Potato Gratin for my monthly Local Flavor column.

You’ll notice in the photo that Clement frenches the bones of the chops. That is, he scrapes off the gristle on the “handle” of the chop. It makes for a prettier presentation but is totally unnecessary.

The recipe calls for eight double chops — ask your grocer’s butcher for them — but you could easily make it with four or even two. (Make all the potatoes, though, because you’re going to want extras.) Click here to see the recipe.

Try this salad from Shakers American cafe for a little Local Flavor

Chicken salad Shakers

I’m happy to announce a new collaboration with The Community Paper, the widely read publication covering College Park and Downtown Orlando. Each month in a column called Local Flavor, I’ll be offering a recipe from chefs and favorite restaurants for you to try at home.

For January, I have the popular Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad from Greg and Terry Granda of Shakers American Cafe in College Park. This is an easy one because it requires little cooking – no cooking at all if you use cooked chicken you already have on hand, such as from a rotisserie chicken.

Take a look at the recipe on The Community Paper’s website and give it a try. And if there’s a chef’s recipe you’d like me to try to get for future editions, let me know.

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