Date and Location of Next Supper Club Announced

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Save the date: the next Scott Joseph's Supper Club will be November 17th at the new Rangetsu in Maitland. If you haven't been, you're missing one of the area's best Japanese restaurants (I didn't always think so, but this Rangetsu is doing so many things right). And if you have a preconceived notion of what a Japanese restaurant is, you'll be surprised at Rangetsu. (Hint: it doesn't involve a chef banging on a large grill and flipping shrimp tails into his hat.)

We're still finalizing some of the details, but I can tell you that the menu will include Kobe beef and Chilean sea bass. We'll have a taste of sake, along with some misperception-busting instruction on the misunderstood wine, and we'll also enjoy some "western" wines, because many go well with fine Japanese foods. As always, the recipients of my newsletter will get first crack at the reservations. Previous Supper Clubs have sold out on the  newsletter blast alone, so be sure you're on the list.


Best Burger in Orlando Search

Written by Scott Joseph on .

pourhouse_burgerLike a lot of people, I’m pretty particular about my burgers. I like a nice, thick patty, with juices that ooze out, a slice of melted cheese (cheddar or swiss, depending on the mood), a slice of lettuce (if it’s fresh and crisp, otherwise don’t bother), a slice of tomato (optional), onions only if grilled. Other accouterments might include sauteed mushrooms and maybe a rasher of bacon or three.

The bun is very important. It should be fresh -- that should go without saying -- but I like it slightly toasted, on the grill, preferably, with a slather of butter. I don’t care if it has sesame seeds, but never caraway.

And the burger must be prepared medium-rare. The unwillingness of the restaurant to cook it to my specification has been a deal killer. I have canceled the order and walked out of the restaurant on numerous occasions when I’ve been informed by the server that the kitchen will not cook any burgers less than medium-well.

Even worse is when they tell me they can’t  because of a state law that says all burgers must be cooked medium-well. There is no such state law.

The reason that those restaurants want to overcook burgers is to kill any bacteria that may be present in the patty. Note that I said IN the patty. During the slaughter process, usually if the intestines are sliced, bacteria can spread to the meat. This is more common than you probably want to know. The good news is that the cooking process is quite effective in killing the bacteria. Because the bacteria is on the surface of the meat, say a nice thick steak, even rare steaks are considered safe to consume.

But with ground beef, the surface gets blended into the rest of the meat, so any bacteria that was on the surface can now be found inside the patty. Therefore, it’s necessary to cook a burger longer in order to assure that the inside reaches a bacterium-killing temp. Some restaurants don’t want to take the chance, so they refuse to cook ground beef to lower temperatures.

I, however, believe in free will, and if customers want to take a chance on a medium-rare burger they should be allowed.

Luckily, a good number of restaurants that serve a good number of burgers agree with me.

Some of the burgers in town that I enjoy are:

Goat Roast and Rioja Sunday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

This could be fun. On Sunday, K Restaurant is hosting a special "Kevin's Day Off" event featuring a goat roast paired with Rioja wines in the garden in back of the restaurant. In case you haven't noticed, goat is the new lamb, and it's springing (get it? spring lamb) up on upscale menus all over town. We're not talking the curried goat variety, and stews where you have to worry about bones. This is good stuff. And goat goes beautifully with the wines of Spain's Rioja region. Plus, it looks like it's going to be beautiful Sunday -- perfect for a goat roast.


Cost is $40 per person plus tax and gratuity. Seating is limited, so don't delay. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30. By the way, it's called Kevin's Day Off, but that's just tongue in cheek. Like most chefs, Kevin Fonzo doesn't really get a day off; he'll be there. Call the restaurant at 407-342-8624 to reserve.

If you can't make that, you might want to try Friday Night Flights, which are held on, um Fridays, the last one of every month, to be precice. Three whites, three reds, 20 bucks. Good deal. Click here to go to K Restaurant's beautiful new (thank God) website for details. 


Cows 'n Cabs Raises Funds for Area Charities

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Party_pavilionThe first annual Cows 'n Cabs, a food and wine fundraising event, is in the history books, and from what I could see, it was a rousing success.

The event, spearheaded by John Rivers of 4Rivers Smokehouse, raised money for Coalition for the Homeless, Community Outreach and the Winter Park Y Scholarship Fund. It was held Saturday under a large and spacious temporary pavilion constructed in the West Meadow of Winter Park's Central Park, an ideal set-up. An impressive roster of local chefs were cooking up some tasty tidbits for attendees. Despite the name, there was more than beef and red wine available.

One of the more fun booths was Rivers' own, in which he paired with the Meat House to construct "30 Feet of Delicious Meat," 10 yards of shish kabob that Rivers hoped would put him in the book of world records to satisfy a dream of his daughter's. He had read that the previous record was 28 feet, so he figured he had it beaten easily. Unfortunately, someone else in the meantime bested Rivers' attempt -- tenfold. But it was still fun. And delicious, too.30-foot_kabob

Among the chefs participating were Matt Wall-Iannarelli (Citrus), Chico Mendonca (Cocina 214), Kevin Fonzo (K), Matt Cargo (Prato), Hari Pulapaka (Cress), Gregory Richie (Emeril’s Tchoup Chop), Alex T. Brugger (Finesse) and Steve Saelg (The Crooked Spoon).

Guests were decked out in cowboy attire, a country-western band played from a stage at one end of the pavilion, and Food Network host Adam Gertler served as the emcee.

For a first-time event, everything was well organized and seemed to run smoothly. Can't wait for the second annual Cows 'n Cabs.