A smorgasbord of bits and tids.
- Cask & Larder was cited recently in USA Today's 10Best list for Best Airport Dining. Actually, it was on two lists: Best Airport Local/Regional Dining (second) and Best Airport Sitdown Dining (fifth). (Don't confuse that last category with Best Airport Sitdown -- I'm pretty sure that's still owned by Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport.) Granted, the airport dining category isn't a hotly contested one, but it's nice to see Cask & Larder get some buzz.
- Ace Cafe was given an Award of Excellence from the Downtown Orlando Partnership at its annual Golden Brick Awards luncheon last month. No word on who won the Award of Mediocrity this year.
- Perhaps trying not to become the Todd English of Disney Springs, Rick Bayless plans to visit his restaurant there, Frontera Cantina, for An Evening with Chef Rick Bayless, Tuesday, May 1 from 6-8 p.m. Details are a bit sketchy but it appears that a special a la carte menu will be offered in addition to the regular menu. So, I guess Bayless will just be wandering around? Reservations can be made here.
- Speaking of Mexican-sounding restaurants, Pepe's Cantina will open its third location Monday, April 16, on International Drive in the former Giraffas Brazilian Grill space. (There's no reason in the world that you would know that's at 5451 International Drive.) Orlando Weekly reports that the Monday opening will be soft, with a hard opening on Cinco de Mayo, which should be somewhere around May 5.
- If you've ever wanted to be on a slow boat with Jamie McFadden, now's your chance. The chef, caterer and winemaker (Snowbirds Vintners) is leading a tour not to China but to Europe and a river cruise on the Danube. The trip is June 9 to 16, 2019, so there's time to clear your calendar. Here's the itinerary.
- If you want to take a trip sooner -- this is called a segue, folks -- we still have one room available for our trip this June (23-30) to Paris and Lyon. Chef Kevin Fonzo and I will be your hosts. Check out the itinerary and snag that room at this link. And no, we won't magically find additional rooms once that last one is taken -- this is a small, intimate group. Well, not that intimate. But then, on the other hand, it is Paris.
- Locally grown Huey Magoo's is implementing "Spirit Nights," a community fundraising program. According to a release: "The way it works is simple: All local charitable organizations, school clubs and community groups interested in being selected for a 'Spirit Nights' are encouraged to apply online or submit an application at the desired hosting Huey Magoo’s location. If approved, the group is invited to spread the word and join Huey Magoo’s with family and friends for a memorable meal, and with every purchase made during the time of the event, Huey Magoo’s will donate 15% back to the organization."
- Chuy's is winding up its companywide fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Through Monday, April 16, guests can make a donation by buying a $1 pin-up.
- Shake Shack was scheduled to hard-open its Mall at Millenia location Friday, April 13. It held a soft opening Thursday with guests invited to come in and let the staff practice on them. The invited guests had to pay for the privilege, but the proceeds went to BASE Camp Children's Cancer Foundation. It takes over the old Elephant Bar & Grill space at 4068 Conroy Road, Orlando. Regardless of what you think of Shake Shack, it has to be an improvement over the former tenant.