Taste of the Nation Takes Off Saturday Night

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Share Our Strength’s annual fundraiser, Taste of the Nation, is tomorrow, Saturday, June 5, at Marriott World Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. for those who purchase VIP tickets; 6:45 p.m. for the masses. VIP tickets are $150; general admission is $100. One hundred percent goes toward the cause. Visit the Web site to purchase tickets.

Taste of the Nation brings the area’s best culinary talent together to raise money -- and awareness -- for the nation’s hungry. The funds go toward ending childhood hunger.

This is a terrific event and there’s always a lot of good talent. Click on the image above to see a video I put together at last year’s Taste of the Nation. And here’s a list of some of the restaurants that will be participating this year:

McDonald's Recalls Shrek Glasses containing McCadmium

Written by Scott Joseph on .

A drinking glass tied into the latest Shrek movie has been found to contain cadmium. (The toxic metal is in the paint on the outside of the glass and has nothing to do with the McShakes or other drinks that might be served in them.) According to a report by the AP, the glasses, being sold at McDonald's for $2 each, have cadmium in the dyes of the painted design. Cadmium, which can be used to create yellows and reds, can be toxic with longterm exposure. The voluntary recall was initiated with the fear that children could get some of the dyes on their hands and put their hands in their mouths.

McDonald's will post information on its Web site about refunds for the glasses, but says consumers should stop using them immediately, "Out of an abundance of caution."

By the way, can't blame this one on cheap Chinese production: the glasses were made in the U.S.

O'boys Leaves Former Harper's Tavern Location; Will Become Big Star Restaurant and Osceola Room Bar

Written by Scott Joseph on .

O’boys Real Smoked BBQ has vacated the former Harper’s Tavern on Fairbanks Avenue. Craig Tremblay, whose most recent project was the nearby Winter Park Fish Company, has taken possession and will turn the space into a combination restaurant with a separate bar.

That should sound familiar to locals who remember when the building was home to Le Cordon Bleu restaurant and Harper’s Tavern. The Tavern was one of the oldest bars in Central Florida. Both businesses closed following a fire that nearly destroyed the building.

Tremblay says the restaurant will be called Big Star. There’s no significance to the name, or at least “I haven’t thought of it yet,” says Tremblay. The bar is tentatively named the Osceola Room. The restaurant’s menu will have a southern accent but also feature gourmet burgers and, because the barbecue’s smokers are already there, pork shoulder and other smoked meats. There will be some fish, but that won’t be a focus, says Tremblay. He will feature an oyster bar.

The restaurant will have 4000 square feet; the bar will be 2000 square feet and have a separate entrance. It will serve full liquor. Tremblay hopes to have the restaurant side open in about six weeks with the bar taking a couple of months to be operational.

Tremblay says he is still a partner at Winter Park Fish Company but is no longer involved in day to day operations.

New Restaurant and Bar in the Blend for 55 West

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Clarification: The partners opening the restaurant Blend are no longer associated with the owner of Pranna and Lotus Lounge.

The owners of restaurants in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., have signed a 10-year lease for 6000 square feet of retail space at 55 West Marketplace on Church Street. According to a release by Grubb & Ellis, the commercial real estate firm that negotiated the contract for Netherlands-based landlord FFWO LLC (who knows what it stand for?), the new restaurant and bar will be called Blend and will feature touch technology tables. In addition, guests will be able to both order and pay for their food and drinks using their iPhones, so all you out of work servers shouldn’t start lining up for applications.

The new owners operate Pranna, a Southeast Asian Fusion restaurant in New York, and Lotus Lounge in D.C.

Blend will hold 330 people and offer a menu with a “mix of cuisines.” That’s all I know for now. I’m not certain, but the touch table technology may be similar to this London restaurant that projects images on the table.

More as I find out.