F2F20 crowd

The day couldn’t have been more perfect for the seventh annual Field to Feast, sponsored by our friends at Edible Orlando with Walt Disney World Resort. The day was sunny and crisp, and luckily the light wind was blowing the smoke from a brush fire away from Long & Scott Farms where the event took place on Saturday, Feb. 22.

F2F is a fundraiser for Second Harvest Kids Cafe that features food stations helmed by some of Disney’s top chefs assisted by a small army of cooks and wine experts. Once again, this year’s wine selections were chosen by master sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George at Disney Springs. With a donation of $65,000 from Walt Disney World Resorts, announced by Jean Marie Clement, vice president of food and beverage, the event was expected to raise nearly $100,000 to help feed hungry kids in Central Florida.


Elize tuna

I’ll admit that I mourned a little bit when I first heard the news that Rusty Spoon had been sold. I considered it to be one of Orlando’s true gems and its chef/owner, Kathleen Blake, one of our culinary stars. Losing it and K Restaurant seemed like a double punch to the literal and figurative gut.

And hearing that Rusty Spoon’s name would change to Elize with a menu featuring cuisine from the Netherlands didn’t inspire bated anticipation.

But the food at Elize, though decidedly different from that of Rusty Spoon, is every bit as wonderful, and the dining experience is exceptional enough to place it not only on the list of downtown Orlando’s must-visit restaurants but all of Central Florida’s as well.


Henry MosoPhoto of Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, via Facebook

Henry Moso of Kabooki Sushi has been named a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award as a Rising Star Chef of the Year. The category honors exceptional chefs under the age of 30.

Moso, 29, is the only Central Florida chef to be nominated in any category.

Twenty-nine young chefs are on the list of Rising Star semifinalists, which will be pared to five names in an announcement on March 25. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on May 4.

Six chefs from five South Florida restaurants were among the list of 20 nominated for Best Chef: South, a region that also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Mississippi and Louisiana, or more precisely, New Orleans.

Representing the Sunshine State are:


Twisted Root burger view

Twisted Root Burger Co. is an odd name for a burger joint, so you’d think there might be a logical explanation for it. But I’ll address that later. TRBC is a youngish chain out of the Dallas area with a hefty handful of locations. The one that opened recently on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park is one of 17.

Owners Jason Boso and Quincy Hart started the concept in 2006 after meeting in culinary school, where they both were seeking new careers after jobs in stock brokerages and telephone line repair. That first Twisted, in Deep Ellum, a Dallas neighborhood, caught the attention of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” television program, and, as has happened so many times before, it took off.

The newest Twisted is in the Grove at Winter Park shopping mall on Aloma Avenue at Old Howell Branch Road. The entrance sits under a marquee-like sign. You can spot the front door because it says “Get you buns in here” right next to it.


Sushi platter

  • In sushi news, up in Oviedo, Yuki Hana is out and Koi Sushi is in. I’d say that’s a lousy name but I don’t like to carp.
  • In other sushi news, Kabooki Sushi, which recently opened a second location on Restaurant Row, is going to expand the original location on Colonial Drive by punching through the wall into the space that was a Jet’s Pizza. Yes, they apparently have permission to do that.
  • More sushi news: Ari Hibachi & Sushi in the Gateway Village north of Orlando International Airport closed about two weeks ago. Frankly, I’d been expecting this, but closer to the date of the review I wrote about it almost exactly five years ago. This was a sort of second location for Ari Japanese Cuisine in Celebration, which is still open. The Orlando restaurant was distinct in that it had teppanyaki tables for people who like to see their food get slapped around before they eat it. Orlando Weekly reports that Agave Azul Cocina Mexicana will take over the Gateway Village space. Agave Azul also opening a location in Lake Nona and Windermere.