New Are Guidebook from Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps

Written by Scott Joseph on .

FLG OrlandoLOresI got a peek at the new Food Lovers' Guide to Orlando: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings, part of the Food Lovers’ Series, this one written by Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps, the very good Central Florida food blog. Ly does an excellent job writing about restaurants and food events on his blog, usually accompanied by his gorgeous photos.

The new book, which is available at and Barnes & Noble (but I recommend you click this link to order it), is more than just restaurant reviews. It lists other food-related information, including food festivals, farmers markets, local food producers, and other nuggets. There are even a number of recipes. It’s all very useful and entertaining.

My only regret is that the book doesn’t include Ly’s beautiful full-color photos. But his writing paints very nice pictures. I’m pleased to recommend this guide.

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Orlando's Star Chefs Gather After Hours

Written by Scott Joseph on .

There was quite a gathering of chefs in downtown Orlando last night. Some cooked, but most just mingled, schmoozed, nibbled, sipped and overall just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a private gathering, held after hours at the Rusty Spoon, sponsored by as a preview to the International Chefs Congress to be held in New York in the fall.

The reason for the gathering was NAFEM, the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers convention going on at the Orange County Convention Center through tomorrow. Among those working at the party (as opposed to working the crowd, as surely some did) were the chefs from Prato and Luma on Park, Brandon McGlamery, Matthew Cargo, Derek Perez and Brian Cernell; Alexia and Ghys Gawlak of the upcoming Cuts and Craft at East End Market; and, of course, host chef Kathleen Blake.

Seen mingling around the restaurants were Kevin Fonzo of K; Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers; John Rife, developer of East End Market; Bram Fowler, formerly of Journeys restaurant and now a private caterer; and Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka of Cress in DeLand. Here are some of the sights from last night’s do:

Sushi and the Secret to Using Chopsticks

Written by Scott Joseph on .

I have two new videos up at, produced by the pros at WFTV. One of the videos might be considered Sushi 101, a primer of sorts on how and what to order at a sushi restaurant and how to eat it. My thanks to the folks at Nagoya Sushi for their help (and for all the wonderful sushi they provided during the shoot!).

The other video is about how to use chopsticks. I'm a firm believer that some foods should be eaten with chopsticks, and I'm always a little disappointed when I visit an Asian restaurant and find Western eating utensils on the table. And even more disappointed with my dining companions who request a fork when dining with me at, say, a new Chinese or Japanese restaurant. Yes, I know that using chopsticks intimidates a lot of people, but that's because they're using them all wrong. In this video I'll show you the secret to mastering their use. I promise that if you follow these instructions you'll be able to pick up a single pea and pop it into your mouth. And you can try out your new chopsticking skills this weekend for Lunar New Year. More about that tomorrow.

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A Dinner in the Dark: Eating Without the Sense of Sight

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Blackout.001A picture of my dinner.I attended an unusual dinner over the weekend. It was hosted by my friends Anne and Steve Deli at Country Club of Orlando, and it was conducted entirely in the dark. I don’t mean low lighting, I mean pitch black darkness. The room was so dark that the waiters had to wear special night-vision goggles that Anne had purchased especially for the occasion.

The guests first gathered in the bar area where we sipped on special cocktails fashioned by Aaron Christiansen of Thee Mixology (who is planning on opening a bar of his own in downtown Orlando; details soon). Each of the 30 or so guests had been asked to dress in “black casual,” and upon arrival we were given a “survival kit”: a Harley Davidson fanny pack with chopsticks, a fork, a napkin, a small bottle of water and several packets of moist towelettes. (The Delis own the Harley Davidson dealership, so the fanny packs were easy to come by.) We had been admonished not to bring in anything that might illuminate, such as cellphones or glowing watches.