The Glass Knife is a little cakebox of a bakery and cafe. The pink walls don't appear to have been painted but frosted instead.
Indeed, cakes are the ostensible raison d'être of the Glass Knife. The name is a reference to cake slicers popular during the Great Depression. Glass didn't tarnish or impart an off taste as metallic slicers could.
The mother of the restaurant's owner, Steve Brown, collected glass knives, so the theme of his cafe was set with an ample stock of the delicate doodads to decorate. (My mother collected elephants; I will not be opening a restaurant.)
While cakes, pastries and other assorted baked sweets are a focus, chef Stuart Whitfield's menu makes a few forays into savory territory, mainly with soups, salads and sandwiches. A chicken pot pie is offered daily. Well, nightly, only after 4:30 p.m. All of the food I sampled was of high quality and expertly prepared.
However, the experience of eating there is less enjoyable, at least when there is a full house, as when I visited for lunch with a friend. And the process is a bit confusing, even with someone at the front door attempting to explain it.
To understate it just a bit, I wasn't all that impressed with F&D Cantina when it opened in mid 2016 in Waterford Lakes. Besides being served food that was at a temperature lower than what could legally be considered warm, the service was lacking and the surroundings offered nothing to enhance the experience.
That location has closed.
But another F&D Cantina has popped up in Lake Mary, not far from F&D Kitchen and Bar, which causes a bit of a problem itself. I arranged to meet an associate at F&D Cantina, but Google Maps sent him to F&D Kitchen, which is not far away physically but is a logistical challenge. Thank God one of us wasn't in Lake Mary and the other in Waterford Lakes.
And thank God, or the chef, that the F&D Cantina in Lake Mary is good enough to put the Waterford Lakes location a distant memory.
Voting is now open for Best Dessert in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. The finalists are included in the poll below. You may vote for one restaurant and only once. Write in candidates are accepted only during the nominating process.
Votes will be accepted until March 7. The winners will be announced in the March 8 edition of Scott Joseph's Restaurant Guide's e-letter.
Here's a note for people who edit travel articles for publications around the world. It's a plea, really.
The next time someone submits an article about Orlando with an opening sentence along the lines of, "There's more to Orlando than theme parks," send the article back for rewrite and tell the author to come up with something more original. That line has been done. Ad nauseam.
The latest iteration is in an article for the New York Times' 36 Hours In... series. I assume that 36 Hours in Orlando will run Feb. 11. It started appearing online last week, but Sunday's article was 36 Hours in Calgary, which the writer somehow didn't feel the need to open with, "There's more to Calgary that stocking caps and moose heads."
If you missed out on the April dates for our trip to France, take heart: New dates have been added for June.
We'll be traveling to Paris and Lyon June 23 through 30. Chef Kevin Fonzo and I will lead the tour, which is being curated by Art in Voyage -- Beyond Travel. We have a lot planned -- even if you're a frequent visitor to France, you'll love some of the "insider" things we have planned, including an exclusive dinner at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, a day-trip to Champagne country, and a cooking class using the ingredients gathered from a local market. In Lyon, we'll pay our respects to Paul Bocuse by visiting his famous restaurant.
I'm especially looking forward to showing you some of my favorite restaurants (they're not all Michelin-starred, some are hidden neighborhood gems) and taking you on a tour of one of the area's market streets to gather a picnic feast, like I did last month (photo above).
Have you ever heard people refer to the Orlando Style of Hospitality?
Neither have I.
We had more than 68 million visitors to the region last year. We'll likely have that many or more this year. And next year. They will be greeted and treated and guided and served by an army of hospitably workers. And, not incidentally, so will those of us who live here and also take advantage of what the service industry has to offer, especially our more than 4,000 restaurants.