Florida Film Festival Kicks Off Friday With Celebration of Grits, Grace and Gravy

Written by Scott Joseph on .

williamsThe Florida Film Festival will kick off Friday with an opening night party called No Grits, No Glory. It’s all part of the “Flavors of the South” theme for the festival that promises “Grits, Grace and Gravy.” The highlight of the opening weekend will be a Tennessee Williams-themed dinner called Souther Gothic “Family” Reunion.

For several years now, the FFF has included food and wine events mixed in the movie watching. Sometimes there’s a tie-in, other times not. This year, apparently not. A quick look at the films that will be screened this year has nary a Tennessee Williams flick. Nor does there seem to be any movies that would reflect the three Gs listed above.

But the lack of a tie-in never stops everyone from having a good time. And it’s not like you really need an excuse to get people together for fun involving food and drink.

The Friday night party at 8:00, which follows a screening of the evening’s featured film, Paper Man, at 6:30, will offer tastes from some of the area’s top chefs, including: Josh Oakley (Enzian/Eden Bar); James and Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig); Steven Rujak (Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress); Donna Moore (A Chateau Kitchen); Kevin Fonzo (K Restaurant); Brandon McGlamery (Luma on Park); and Jeff Palermo (4R Smokehouse). Special guests include celebrated masters of Southern cuisine Matt and Ted Lee and Chef Robert Stehling.

On Saturday, the Lee brothers will host a lunch and discussion titled Southern Comfort. Joining Matt and Ted will be chefs John Currence and Martha Foose. They’ll be talking while Josh Oakley, executive chef at the Enzian, does the cooking.

The Saturday evening Tennessee Williams dinner, to be held at a home whose address will be revealed only after the purchase of tickets, will put the chefs from the afternoon’s event to work preparing the food along with Michel Nischan and Robert Stehling.

The food portion of the festival will wrap up on Sunday with a brunch, again prepared by Oakly, called Dial B for Bacon.

For prices, exact times, ticket purchases -- and to find out what sort of house can hold all of Tennessee Williams’ characters -- visit the official site of the Florida Film Festival.


Susan Spicer and NOLA Chefs Will Present Jazz Brunch in Celebration

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Here’s a unique opportunity to sample the food of some of the hottest chefs in New Orleans without having to travel very far. (OK, it’s in Celebration, but that’s a little bit closer.)

Susan Spicer, owner of Bayona in New Orleans and one of my favorite chefs, will be presenting a New Orleans style jazz brunch Susan_Spiceras part of Bocuse d’Or’s participation in the Celebration Exotic Car Festival weekend. (I’ve already told you about the Jetport Food and Wine event on Friday, April 16, and I hope you’ve got your tickets already.) The brunch will be Saturday, April 17, at 11 a.m. at the Celebration Hotel.

Spicer will be joined by some other Big Easy chefs (that’s what they call New Orleans; I’m not implying the chefs are big or easy, you can make your own conclusions). They include: Scott Boswell of Stella! (and a nominee for a 2010 James Beard award for the South region); Adolfo Garcia, A Mano; and Allison Vines Rushing, Mila.

Who else might be there? Well, Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse will be circulating among the guests. And it’s likely that some of the other chefs from the Jetport event will be on hand. By the way, that list has been expanded to include James kent of Eleven Madison Park, who will be representing the USA at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyons, France.

Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased at the Bocuse d’Or USA Web site. Proceeds from the brunch will benefit the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation.

Where's the Best Place To Dine On Park Avenue? Someone From the Wall Street Journal Thinks She Knows

Written by Scott Joseph on .

So a friend of mine sends me a link to an article at the Wall Street Journal’s online Web site about Winter Park. In it, the reporter, Stephanie Raposo, gives advice on “what to do,” “where to eat,” and “where to stay” when visitors want to “take a break from outlet shopping and theme parks.”

The “what to do” section includes the all too predictable Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour and shopping in the various merchant districts (not an outlet store among them!).

The “where to stay” includes the Park Plaza Hotel and “the only other place to stay in town,” the Best Western Mt. Vernon.”

It’s the “where to eat” paragraph that I took umbrage with.

Orlando Will Add Delmonico's To Restaurant Roster

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Orlando is getting a Delmonico’s steakhouse, but it isn’t an outpost of the famous Manhattan steakery or even another location for Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico.

The new restaurant is Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, out of Utica, NY, with three other locations upstate. The Orlando restaurant will be the company’s first outside of New York.delmonicos

Based on the menu’s posted on Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse’s Web site, the fare is more Italian that steak, wich such items as chicken marsala, linguine with clam sauce and veal parmigiana. All entrees on its dinner menu are under $20, including “Delmonico’s Delmonico Steak,” a 24-ounce rib-eye, which fetches $17.99 (and which Capital Region Living Magazine voted “best steak” in 2007, according to the site).

Delmonico’s will take over the former International Drive Steak & Ale spot and is scheduled to open in September.