I hadn’t visited Francesco’s, the Maitland ristorante and pizzeria, since it opened in 2012, so I thought it was time to go back and see how it’s doing.
Nicely, for the most part.
The restaurant was doing brisk business on a recent cold and drizzly night with people glad to accept outdoor tables. My guest and I preferred a table inside and waited patiently between the host stand and the counter of the open kitchen, which was strewn with packets of tablecloths (though tables were covered with sheets of paper), bins of flatware and various wine bottles, some full, some not.
John Rivers, right, greeted attendees and served paella with Norman Van Aken.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect a more accurate estimate of the funds raised.
The 10th – or maybe it was the ninth – Cows ’n Cabs was held Saturday, partially under a massive tent set up in Winter Park’s West Meadow.
The confusion on the anniversary, of course, has to do with the pandemic. As with many annual events, Cows ’n Cabs wasn’t held last year due to social distancing strictures. But the sold-out crowd of two thousand more than made up for the skipped year.
FusionFest, pastry chefs, a food truck headed for the Pass, a Norman's update and Ramsay funds
FusionFest, the annual multi-cultural celebration, returns this year to its usual calendar spot, the weekend after Thanksgiving. The event will take place on the Frontyard Festival space at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 27 and 28. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday it’s from noon to 6 p.m.
FusionFest features dance, music, visual arts and games. Most notably, it features vendors serving foods from various world cultures. It’s free to attend and food can be purchased separately. Or you can buy a VIP Passport for $25 that will include four food tokens. Information here.
Ron James, the award-winning pastry chef at Tornatore’s Ristorante and Italian Market, has announced his “semi retirement,” which I think means he’ll only make pastries using semi-sweet chocolate. Taking over full-time head pastry chef duties will be Christopher Sawaryn, left, who has been working with James for the past four years and was previously with the pastry team at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. He’s also a former master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, which should help keep his napoleons in line.
If you’re not doing anything Sat., Dec. 4, have a thing for Japanese whisky and you’ve got five grand burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to check out the Yamazaki 55 Momokase dinner at Morimoto Asia, hosted by Masaharu Morimoto himself.
The multi-course dinner will feature pairings of Yamakazi’s 12-, 18- and 25-year whiskies, culminating with a taste from one of only 200 bottles in the world of the distiller’s 55-year-old version.
Cost for the experience is $5,055, but I hasten to add that the price includes tax and gratuity, so there’s that.