Last week I told you about the Epicurious Progressive Dinner Tour going on Fridays and Saturdays at Waldorf Astoria and Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. This week they’re announcing the inaugural Epicurious Sip & Savor Event, Friday, Dec. 9, from 7 to 11 p.m.
This will be a one-night-only upscale food and wine tasting showcasing the resort’s 13 restaurants and lounges with 35 tastings at eight culinary stations and nine pop-up bars. Stations will include the popular restaurants La Luce and Bull & Bear, plus Peruvian Street Fare, Southern Smokehouse, Chef Franck Riffaud’s Grand Patisserie and Maître Cuisiniers de France.
Not too long ago I told you about my experience visiting the Orlando White Castle and how baffling I found its popularity.
But on the same evening I trekked across the parking lot to another Central Florida newcomer, Portillo’s, the Chicago-style beef and hot doggerie. And I liked it a lot.
Portillo’s began in 1963 when Dick Portillo opened a wiener stand called The Dog House in Villa Park, Ill., in metropolitan Chicago. Eventually he slapped his own name on it and soon after a chain was born. There are now more than 70 locations, most still in Illinois. Besides Orlando, there are Florida Portillo’s in Brandon, Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Enzo’s on the Lake, the venerable Longwood Italian restaurant that has been a special occasion destination for Central Floridians for 42 years, has been sold. The new owner is John Khalil, an Orlando dentist with University Dental Group, who is expected to close the deal next week and greet the staff on Tuesday.
When reached Wednesday afternoon, Khalil was with a patient and unable to speak at length about his plans for the restaurant, but others have said that the name, concept and staff are expected to stay the same.
Daana Pani, the Indian bistro I reviewed in March, is now called Gully and wants to be known as an urban Indian eatery. I’m not sure what that means but I hope the food is just as good as before. The ownership is the same – Sunny Corda of Mynt, Saffron and Madras – but there’s a new management team, chef and menu. The restaurant is inside the Laxmi Plaza on Doss Avenue at South Orange Blossom Trail.
Gully is an homage to Sanjay Dutt, also known as Sanju Baba, a Bollywood movie superstar. So why isn’t the restaurant called Dutt’s? Corda explained that Gully translates roughly to street – if you hear someone referred to as a gully boy it usually means he’s a street fighter. And so the new menu, Corda said, features the street foods of Mumbai. Gully’s new chef and partner is Christopher Corda, Sunny’s brother who has been working at fine Indian restaurants in New York. All of the partners, he said, are big Dutt fans, so the new decor features Duttabelia, including a massive mural of the action star.
Both Swine & Sons and The Courtesy have moved in to the Foxtail’s Farmhouse building at 1280 Orange Ave., Winter Park. Swine & Sons moved down the street from its original location at the confluence of Orange, Fairbanks and Pennsylvania Avenues. For The Courtesy it’s a reopening after it its original downtown location in May. When it first opened 10 years ago, it was at the fore of the craft cocktail renaissance.
If you read my recent review of Unreserved, the multi-faceted restaurant at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, you know that chef Peter Kunstek is cooking up some good food there.
One of his more popular dishes is the Beef Cheek Ragout with Gnocchi and he shares the recipe in this edition of Compliments of the Chef. Actually, he shares three recipes: the braised beef cheeks, the potato gnocchi and putting it all together. The latter is shown in the video below.
This is a good full day project, or you can make the beef cheeks ahead of time and use premade gnocchi (Kunstek says that’s fine) and assemble the ragout in just a few minutes.
The folks at Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen, are having a wine pairing dinner and they’re taking Prisoners.
Actually, the wines they’ll be serving are from The Prisoner Wine Company in Napa Valley. The dinner is Wed., Oct. 26, at the wonderful new restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased here. (There is a limited number and only about 10 seats remained as of Monday afternoon.) The dinner will include a bottle of The Prisoner Chardonnay, personalized by an engraver that evening.
The four-course menu (see below) is being curated by executive chef Shelby Farrell is inspired by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. That is significant because the winery’s name and flagship label were inspired by Goya’s Le Petit Prisonnier, a 19th century etching with a subtitle that translates to “the custody is as barbaric as the crime.”
The Prisoner isn’t just a cutesy name – the company is dedicated to fighting social injustices, including those in our prison reform system. So, you can attend the dinner, have some wonderful food and wine and know that you’re helping support a just cause (that aims to correct injustices).
Updated to include the list of wines; see menu below.
Our next Supper Club – and the last for 2022 – will be a special gastronomic dinner at Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe in celebration of the restaurant’s second anniversary.
The five-course dinner with pairings will be curated by chef/partner Emmanuel Clement, who has put together a very special menu that goes above and beyond Russell’s regular fine menu. “We want to make this extraordinary,” said co-owner Philippe Villain, “and Emmanuel has put together some really fine dishes.” See the menu below (I personally can’t wait for the sweetbread and truffles).
We’ll gather on Thursday, Nov. 3, with a reception, including a welcome cocktail, at 6:30 and dinner at 7 p.m. Russell’s is setting aside the entire lower lakeview dining room just for us.
Cost of the dinner is $175 per person (the price includes tax and gratuity). Reservations are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 407-601-3508. Tell them you want to reserve a spot for Scott Joseph’s Supper Club.
As always, Scott Joseph’s Supper Club does not require membership. The only requirement is that you appreciate fine food and wine. And single diners are always welcome to join us.