It’s Appetite for the Arches, a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, and it will be Saturday, March 2, at Rosen Shingle Creek, from 7 to 10 p.m.
This is a walkabout food and beverage event like many others, with food stations featuring some of the area’s top chef talent set up around a ballroom, each paired with a wine or cocktail vendor.
But this one has a big twist: All of the chefs have been challenged to create dishes using one or more ingredients found on the menu at McDonald’s. But remember, we’re talking about some really creative culinary talent, so expect something more than McNuggets a la king.
For example, past creations have included Charmoula Chicken, an appetizer fashioned out of chicken breasts, hash browns and pickled red onions from Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon. Or Chipotle BBQ Beef Enchiladas using steak, tortillas, iceberg lettuce, onions, cheese and barbecue sauce, a past entry from chef Kevin Fonzo.
Over the past 30 years and on several occasions I’ve had the pleasure — and it was always a pleasure — of dining at Victoria & Albert’s, the ultra fine dining restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Sometimes I’ve been in the sumptuous dining room and other times I’ve been at the chef’s table, overlooking the kitchen. Over the years I’ve seen some changes (including the hotel’s name, which was originally the Grand Floridian Beach Resort).
One of the first big changes was to correct a design flaw that allowed guests sitting under a central dome in the dining room to hear intimate conversations of other guests sitting across the room.
Central Florida certainly has a lot of dingy strip malls, but I can’t imagine there are too many that are dingier than the one on the southeastern corner of Dean Road and University Boulevard in East Orlando. It always has the look and
feel of a place that is run down and neglected. Ironic then that it seems to attract independent restaurateurs.
Luckily, the interior of one of the newest tenants, Naroodle Noodle shop, a Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen and other noodle-centric dishes, doesn’t reflect the exterior.
Central Florida has a new Margaritaville, and depending on where you stand on the Salt! Salt! Salt! spectrum you’ll either find that thrilling or horrifying. Margaritaville Resort Orlando had a grand ribbon cutting ceremony last week to officially open the Kissimmee hotel. Yes, of course there are restaurants (though some are open only to resort guests). But don’t expect to find a Cheeseburger in Paradise — that food item is trademarked elsewhere. There’s no Jimmy Buffett, either, though you’ll certainly hear his music playing. And before you ask, no, there is no relationship between the Kissimmee resort and the Margaritaville restaurant at Universal CityWalk. I obviously don’t understand the intricacies of branding and intellectual property.
Everyone is waiting for the announcement of the opening date for Jaleo, the José Andrés at Disney Springs. The arrival of a truck should be a good sign, right? But unfortunately it isn’t a moving truck but rather a food truck. Or at least a food truck concept. It was announced last week that Jaleo will have attached to it a brick and mortar version of Pepe, a food truck owned by Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup. It will serve a menu of hot and cold Spanish-style sandwiches. As for when Jaleo will open, I’m hearing that we should have a date by the end of the week. Stay tuned.
I wanted to light a fire the other night and I couldn’t find the clicker. That’s what I call the long-handled butane lighter with the trigger. Couldn’t find it anywhere, so I had to go the analog routed and use a book of matches. I reached up into the cupboard to the tall stein I store old matchbooks in and pulled down a piece of Central Florida dining history.
Do you remember Freddie’s Steak House? For many years it was a mainstay for local diners. It opened in 1943 as a roadside diner and was purchased in 1960 by Steven Larsson who turned it into a fine steakhouse. It was in a freestanding wooden structure at 7355 U.S. Highway 17-92, just south of State Road 436, in Fern Park. It was old-school steakhouse and even served a complimentary relish dish to each table.
The American Culinary Federation Central Florida Chapter presented longtime restaurant critic Scott Joseph with its 2018 Achievement in Culinary Excellence Award at its annual president’s gala Sunday, Jan. 20, at Isleworth Country Club in Windermere.
Chapter president, Brian Frick, shown above with Joseph, presented the award in recognition of his work with the chapter in establishing Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing, a cooking competition held in conjunction with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention and Visitors Center.