Food Stuff

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Waterfront exterior

Here’s a mesclun mix of myriadana.

I Cover the Lakefront
The Waterfront, the now Julie-less little dive on South Orange Avenue has opened. As reported here earlier in the month, Matt Wall, who left North Quarter’s North Quarter Tavern a few months ago, developed the menu. So we might look forward to better food than can be found at places like WAiTiki, Other Bar and Harry’s Buffalo, which some of Waterfront’s other partners have been involved in.

Polish off some Biscuits
It’s only sorta sad that Polonia has closed. Coincidentally, I had just mentioned it a couple of weeks ago when I told of the closing of Paris-Bistro in Winter Park. (P-B used to be on Aloma Avenue where Annie’s Polish restaurant is; Polonia was in that space before Annie.) I say only sorta sad because Polonia’s owners, Rob Plummer and Marek Przemysl, have opened another restaurant across the street. Although the name, Biscuits, doesn’t quite convey it, many of Polonia’s Polish favorites are now available there. (And don’t you just love a name that can have eight letters and only one vowel?)

Sandwiches to Go
Bungalower’s Brendan O’Connor reports that the year-old Restaurant Ash is looking to relocate. While Ash’s owners look for a new space that will allow them “to add a full-liquor lounge” and “access to more parking,” they look for a new tenant for the current location who doesn’t care about those things.

Zen and the Art of Morimoto?
Over at Orlando Weekly, Faiyaz Kara reported that the Church Street space that for a brief whoosh of time was Maddey’s Craft & Cru will be home to Buda Libre, a Latin and Asian fused concept from Roberto Treviño, a former Iron Chef contestant.

Confederacy of Lunches?
Kara also reported that Olde Dixie Fried Chicken will rise again in the form of a food truck.

Tap into the Power

Speaking of lunches, in case you missed the original announcement, Tap Room at Dubsdread won the 2017 Foodster Award for Independent Restaurant’s Best Power Lunch category. Second place went to Nona Tap Room and third to TR Fire Grill. I can on guess that the TR stands for Tap Room.

And don’t forget that voting continues through Wednesday for Best Tex-Mex and Best Mexican, just in time for Cinco de Mayo, which will be held May 5 this year. Next week we will also launch the Best Craft Taco category, so send in your nominations now. Click here to vote.

tap room power lunch

Local Chefs Participating in Fish to Fork Competition at Amelia Island Resort

Written by Scott Joseph on .

icflorida petrakis

James Petrakis of the Swine empire (Pigs Ravenous and Polite) will be representing Central Florida in the annual Fish to Fork competition at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, May 20. Petrakis will be aided by his RavPig chef de cuisine, Nick Sierputowski.

The event takes eight James Beard Award nominated chefs and sends them out to sea in ships to catch some fish. Whatever they catch, they must cook. And just to make things interesting, they will be given a secret ingredient that must be incorporated into the dish.

Guests at the event, who also have the opportunity to go out fishing, will choose the winner by popular vote at the end of the meal.

I spoke with Petrakis and host executive chef Daven Wardynski for icFlorida. Check out the video here 

Tickets for the fourth annual Fish to Fork are $125 per person. The event is from 6 to 10 p.m. the Omni is offering weekend stay packages. Details and tickets here.

Mucho Closing; Muddy Waters Rising

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Muddy ext

EXCLUSIVE -- You have only one more chance to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Mucho, the Mexican restaurant and bar in downtown Orlando. Two days later, on Sunday, May 7, the “Tequila and Tacos” joint will close.

Muddy logoIf all goes according to schedule, Muddy Waters, A Two Chefs Restaurant, will open in its place by the end of the month.

It will be a partnership among Mucho’s current owners, Mark Angelo and Todd Ulmer of Beacon Hill Group, and Bernard Carmouche and Larry Sinibaldi, the two chefs of Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar in the North Quarter.

At Mucho Monday afternoon, Carmouche, Ulmer and Angelo discussed the new restaurant. Carmouche said that while it will be different than the one he and Sinibaldi serve at Two Chefs, the menu at Muddy Waters will also feature specialities of New Orleans.

The space, at 101 S. Eola Drive, will undergo a mostly cosmetic redecoration process, no more Mexican hats on the walls, for instance, and the flaming red motif over the backbar will be replaced with chalk boards. An oyster bar will be prominently displayed up front next to the liquor bar, as they are in New Orleans. Smoked Trout Beignets, Gumbo with duck, sausage and okra, and Grilled Redfish will also be served. Carmouche said he’s planning to feature jazz brunch on weekends.

Angelo and Ulmer said they wanted to change the concept because of the glut of Mexican restaurants and taquerias that have been opening. They had met Carmouche when he was working with Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants and Beacon owned Cigarz at CityWalk. Carmouche often stopped by with friends after work. They all became friends and discussed the possibility of doing a project together someday.

Mucho opened in late 2009. Before that, the restaurant group had the Beacon directly across the street in the corner space that is now the Stubborn Mule. They own and operate several other businesses, including Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge and Stardust Lounge.

Carmouche and Sinibaldi opened Two Chefs in an office building space at 743 N. Magnolia Ave. in April of 2015. They will continue to operate Two Chefs, dividing duties between the two restaurants, although Carmouche said Muddy Waters will get most of he attention when it first opens.

Muddy trioFrom left, Todd Ulmer, Bernard Carmouche and Mark Angelo.

Ulmer and Angelo said that many of the current staff members will be asked to stay on and will undergo training on the new menu and concept. Additional staff will also be hired, approximately 30 servers and 10 bartenders, plus four full-time oyster shuckers. The restaurant will seat approximately 180 people inside and on the wraparound patio, where Carmouche plans to have traditional Louisiana seafood boils from time to time.

David Ramirez Chocolates Expanding

Written by Scott Joseph on .

David Ramirez chocolates sign

It’s been fun to watch David Ramirez Chocolates grow, both literally and figuratively. The business, by award-winning pastry chef Ramirez and his wife, Nicole, is kept busy making high-end confections for both retail sales and corporate clients. Recently, they broke through an adjoining wall in their small South Orlando strip mall — with the landlord’s permission — and just about tripled the size.

David Ramirez chocolates counter2

The added space now features an entrance that faces Central Florida Parkway; the old front door was down a side passage. There’s more retail space and a large, granite-topped bar where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee, maybe some gelato (a new offering) or watch a demonstration on the making of macarons or how Ramirez turns his chocolates into morsels that look like they should be displayed in a jewelry case.

You can walk into the chocolate factory and buy an assortment of candies or macarons. They’re also available in Plant Street Market in Winter Garden.

But you may also have tasted his wares without even knowing it. Enjoyed a colorful macaron sold by a large entertainment entity in town? It’s pretty likely it was made here in the Central Florida Parkway kitchen by Ramirez and his team for buyer to present as its own.