If you were at the first-ever Homestead Harvest last year, then you're as excited as I am that the event is coming up again soon.
The second annual Homestead Harvest will occur Friday, October 26, at 7 p.m. It's hosted by chef Scott Pizzo of Highball & Harvest and benefits Fleet Farming and Frog Song Organics' Free Mulch Incorporated program.
What sets this event apart from other walkabout food and beverage functions is the setting. It takes place on the grounds of Grande Lakes' Whisper Creek Farm, so there's a real out-in-the-woods feel to the setting. As the sun goes down, the bucolic setting is illuminated by strings of lights, bright artificial moons and the glow of fires the chefs cook over.
The list of chefs this year include Norman Van Aken and Andres Mendoza of Norman's and Camilo Velasco, chef de cuisine at 1921 by Norman Van Aken. Brandon McGlammery of Luke's Kitchen & Bar will be on hand as will Kevin Fonzo, representing his Kevin Fonzo Foundation.
This is another in a series of reviews of Central Florida's classic restaurants that have been in operation 25 years or longer.
Linda's La Cantina is the oldest restaurant in Central Florida, and the reason for its longevity and its continued popularity can be attributed to one thing: it serves damn good steaks. It certainly doesn't warrant hour-plus waits based on its ambience or service, but more on that in a moment.
The Hourglass District, the not-yet-officially-designated area radiating from the intersection of Bumby Avenue and Curry Ford Road and named for an eponymous lake that's supposed to look like an egg timer but looks more like the silhouette of another E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial), is starting to take shape. (But not that shape.)
Claddagh Cottage was one of the first businesses to open in the area. It came after a pizza joint that had a brief tenure and closed when the owner became ill. That freestanding building is under renovations and will reopen as F&D Wood Fired Italian Kitchen. Over on the northeast corner of the intersection, the gas station and storefronts have undergone the most dramatic upgrading, with an attractive slatted facade and bold white lettering announcing a Foxtail Coffee shop and the Hourglass Social House.
The latter is the designation for the shared space that also includes the coffee shop and eventually other food and beverage vendors. One of them, Leguminati, opened in August and has been seeing brisk business from Hourglassians hungry for its all-vegan menu.
Ryan McLaughlin, the former sous chef under Kevin Fonzo at K restaurant who took his place when the restaurant was sold, was fired Wednesday by owner Chad Phelps.
Reached by phone Thursday morning, McLaughlin said he was dismissed because he had hired someone to work in the kitchen without getting prior approval. "I hired somebody last week because it's hard to find [kitchen] talent," McLaughlin said, "and I didn't tell Chad.
"I figured I'd act and ask for forgiveness later."
If you've been to Spain, you know that Tortilla Española is something of a national dish. You know, too, that in this case tortilla does not mean a flat bread. It's a classic eggs and potatoes dish, and Tapa Toro's newly appointed executive chef, Frank Galeano, shows you how to make it in this edition of Compliments of the Chef.
Watch the video, then start cracking some eggs and give it a try.
I had previously shared with you the winner of my Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing that was held in conjunction with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show earlier this month at the Orange County Convention Center. Jacob Rios, sous chef at B Resort, took first place -- and the $1000 prize -- for his Herb Crusted Florida Black Grouper with sweet potato puree with house-made butters. I also wanted to share the names and dishes of the other winners.
The Edison will host a vodka tasting and cocktail class conducted by "modern mixologist" Tony Abou-Ganim, author of Vodka Distilled (Agate, 2013) on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 and seating is limited. There's food, too. Tickets here.
Orange County Brewers, which has nothing to do with government (other than being highly regulated by it), is celebrating its one-year anniversary Saturday, Sept. 22, with a Beerthday party from noon until 10 p.m. New brews, games, raffles. 131 N. Orange Ave.
The Rusty Spoon's Kathleen Blake is on the roster of chefs who will be cooking for the James Beard Foundation Gala on Nov. 9 at the Pierre hotel in New York City. Tickets start at $500.