Holidays at Grande Lakes: Gingerbread School and Teddy Bear Tea

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Teddy Bear Tea

Our friends at Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes are in full holiday mode and Gingerbread School is now in session. At the school, you’ll construct your very own Gingerbread House under the tutelage of the resort’s pastry team. You’ll erect prebaked gingerbread panels on a wooden foundation and decorate it with candies and other goodies anyway you want to without having to worry about your homeowners association. And when it’s finished you can list it on Airbnb or just eat the whole thing. (Well, not the foundation.)

Gingerbread School is a popular annual event at the Ritz and several dates have already sold out. Here’s the current schedule:

  • Saturday, December 7th – FULLY COMMITTED
  • Sunday, December 8th – FULLY COMMITTED
  • Thursday, December 19th – 9am + 12pm + 3pm
  • Friday, December 20th – 9am + 12pm + 3pm
  • Saturday, December 21st – 9am + 12pm ONLY
  • Sunday, December 22nd – FULLY COMMITTED

New Details, Renderings for Space 220 Restaurant at (Above) Epcot

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Space 220 Restaurant Interior

New details on the upcoming Epcot restaurant Space 220, scheduled to open sometime next year. It is an immersive experience restaurant that will make customers feel as though they’re dining in outer space with a view of Earth below.

In fact, the 220 in the name is a reference to the number of miles guests will travel via space elevator to get to the restaurant. I had mistakenly assumed it referred to the average check price.

The restaurant will be operated by the Patina Group, which also operates Via Napoli and Tutto Italia, also at Epcot, as well as Morimoto Asia, Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs. Other restaurants in its bicoastal portfolio include the Michelin-starred Patina Restaurant at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Lincoln Ristorante at New York’s Lincoln Center.

Owner of Popular Hourglass Pizzeria Plans Longwood Location

Written by Scott Joseph on .

FD Italian bar

Following the success of his F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen in Orlando’s Hourglass/Curry Ford West district, owner Charly Robinson is planning a second location for Longwood. In a press release, Robinson, who also owns F&D Kitchen and Bar and F&D Cantina, both in Lake Mary, will take over the space that was previously home to Bayridge Sushi on State Road 434.

In a related note, Bayridge Sushi has left its original home on S.R. 434 and now occupies a spot nearby behind a McDonald’s.

F&D Woodfired Kitchen opened in late 2018, replacing a very short lived Peppino’s Organic Italian Pizzeria & Kitchen. The freestanding building has housed a number of restaurants over the years, mostly featuring Latin American cuisine. Most of those, too, were short lived.

One of the reasons, arguably, that Robinson was able to make a go of it here when others failed is that he increased the seating capacity, adding a covered patio to supplement the small inside dining area. Whether a restaurant survives is often a matter of doing the math. More seats, more profit.

Another reason F&DWIK is doing so well is that it serves good food. It has been critically well recieved and continues to maintain the high quality it had when it opened.

The Longwood location is aiming for a spring 2020 opening.

Sapporo Ramen Closing

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sapporo Ramen exterior

Ramenphiles are bemoaning the imminent closing of Sapporo Ramen, one of the area’s earliest purveyors of what is now a popular Japanese noodle trends. In a sign posted on the door of the restaurant, which is in the repurposed west Orlando shopping center known as Chinatown, the owners announced they are retiring and will permanently close on Dec. 28.

An image of the sign has been posted and reposted on Facebook by shocked fans. “I saw this in my feed and didn’t want to believe it. So I went there today to see for myself,” wrote one heartbroken customer. “Nooooooooooooo!!” wrote two or three others.

Sapporo, which I reviewed in 2013, preceded the likes of Domu, Jinya and downtown’s The Ramen and was notable for its more traditional approach to the noodle and broth delicacy.

The owners of the restaurant had also owned Sapporo Japanese Steak House in Daytona Beach, but that hibachi-style eatery closed in 2017.