New Details and Menu for Homeowners for Haiti Food and Wine Event

Written by Scott Joseph on .


As I told you in an earlier article, on Saturday, March 20, I'm hosting an event in conjunction with the Central Florida Home & Garden Show at the North Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. I'm once again showcasing some terrific chefs on the cooking stage on Friday and Sunday, but Saturday night, from 6-9, we have something really special going on.

It's the Homeowners for Haiti food and wine event to raise funds to send structures, known as Little Haiti Houses, to the earthquake ravaged country. Here's what we'll have going on: Chefs from Cala Bella, A Land Remembered, Jack's Place and Everglades will be cooking up such items as Focaccia-Crusted Lamb Chops, Tropical Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa, Tobias-Braised Short Ribs, Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, and Chocolate Sabayon for dessert. In addition, we'll be pouring wines from Rodney Strong and Opici.

The cost is $25 per person, or about how much you'd pay for just one of the above entrees -- without wine. Here you'll be able to enjoy them all in a casual, walk-around garden setting constructed especially for the event. And thanks to the generous donations of Rosen Hotels and Southern Wine & Spirits and Opici Wines, every cent will go to the effort in Haiti. (One of the Little Haiti Houses will be set up at the Home & Garden Show.)

Also, the $25 ticket gets you into the Home & Garden Show (a $10 value itself). It's a great bargain.

I hope you'll consider supporting the cause by purchasing a ticket or 10, even if you're unable to attend yourself (perhaps you know someone who appreciates good food and wine to whom you could give the tickets). We'll also have entertainment, and I'll have each of the chefs on the stage to demonstrate the dishes and tell you how to prepare them at home -- we'll even get you the recipes.

Follow this link to a Web page where you can purchase tickets. Find the "Rosen Hotels' Homeowners for Haiti" selection and fill in the number of tickets you wish to purchase. Tickets are printed on your printer.

And here are the full details of the menu:

James Beard Awards Nominees - The Complete List

Written by SJO Staff on .

As announced previously, Central Florida chefs Scott Hunnel (Victoria & Albert's) and Kevin Fonzo (K Restaurant) are on the beardpreliminary list of nominees for Best Chef (South Region) in the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Judges may choose up to five names in each category (and attest that they have actually eaten the chef's food). The final ballot, which will be released March 22,  will include the top five vote getters from the long list. The awards will be announced in a ceremony at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall on May 3, 2010.

For those of you who are curious about the other nominees in other categories, here's the complete list. How many of these restaurants have you been to? Who would get your vote?

K Restaurant Update

Written by Scott Joseph on .

If everything goes according to plans -- and we're talking about construction and operational permits here, so that's a huge IF -- K Restaurant Wine Bar will finish its Saturday dinner service at its current location and reopen as K Restaurant four days later in its new spot, former sister-restaurant Nonna Trattoria ed Enoteca.

Nonna has been closed since late January and the cooking crew has been sharing kitchen space at K. In the meantime, remodeling crews have been removing walls, putting in carpeting and basically changing the appearance of the old house at 1710 Edgewater Drive. Assuming the last nail is driven and the paint dries in time, owner Kevin Fonzo says the new K should open for lunch Wednesday, March 3. (I'll let you know Tuesday night!)

Fourth Annual Blues B-Q is Saturday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

blues_bqIt's blues and barbecues -- two of life's essential elements -- Saturday at downtown Orlando's City Hall Plaza. It's an eight-hour celebration of smoky music and smokier meats. It's a free event -- well, the music part of it anyway; the food is available for purchase.

The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. in front of city hall. Scheduled to appear are John Mayall, Shemikia Copeland, the Lengendary JC's, the Kevin Maines Band and Kaligh Baker. (Sorry, the city doesn't provide a time schedule.)

Barbecue vendors include Porkie's Original BBQ (winner of the flog's poll for best barbecue in Central Florida); Four Rivers Smokehouse; Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-b-que; Sonny's Real Pit Bar-b-q; and Mike's BBQ.

(Where is Mike's from? I have no idea. The official Web site doesn't give any qlue, um, I mean clue, and the only Mike's I can find online is from Tampa. The City of Orlando wouldn't bring in a Tampa 'cuer, would they? Anyone have any info on Mike's?)

With temperatures expected to hit the 70s tomorrow, this event will be an ideal way to shake the cabin fever syndrome.

The free Lymmo will be operating tomorrow, so find a place to park and hop on for city hall. (There is an event at Lake Eola Park tomorrow, too, so avoid that area.)

City Hall Plaza is at 400 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. The event is from 2 to 10 p.m.