Bullet Point Buffet: Planning Ahead

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Chef Gala 2020

  • The date has been set for next year’s Chef’s Gala, the food and wine event that has been held at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Showcase for years and years. Next year, however, the gala, which benefits Heart of Florida United Way, will be held at the Contemporary Resort. That might be good news for the folks who didn’t care for the bus ride from the Epcot parking lot through the backstage area. Put May 16, 2020, on your calendar and watch for ticket information soon.
  • The following month, in June 2020, there will be a wizard-themed beer event. A press release calling it a “mystical beer festival” doesn’t give much information other than that it will be June 14 and dry ice will be involved to “set the mood.” Attendees will be encouraged to wear appropriate wizard attire (it’s bring your own wand, I assume). No location, no cost info. So I don’t know what to tell you – most of the people I know that are into dressing up like wizards aren’t old enough to drink beer.
  • Kudos to 4R Restaurant Group for donating $75,000 to World Central Kitchen to aid in relief to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian. World Central Kitchen is the nonprofit organization headed by José Andrés that provides meals to disaster victims.
  • Speaking of José Andrés, his Disney Springs restaurant, Jaleo, will host its first wine dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 10, featuring a five course meal paired with five wines from Ontañón, a fifth-generation winery from Spain’s Rioja Baja region. Tickets are $115 per person and can be purchased here.
  • Word came last week that Robbin Haas had died. Haas was one of the South Florida chefs dubbed the Mango Gang that elevated Miami’s culinary scene in the early ‘90s. The gang also included Mark Militello, Allen Susser and Norman Van Aken. In a memoriam on his website, Van Aken wrote of his friend: “He worked hard and he played hard. But what joy he found in both.” I reviewed Haas’s Coconut Grove restaurant Baleen in 2002 and wrote, “...it’s safe to say that even plankton in the hands of chef Robbin Haas would be transformed into something tasty.” Haas was 66.

Knife & Spoon to Occupy Former Norman's Space

Written by Scott Joseph on .

KnifeSpoon diningSchoos Design

Knife & Spoon, a steak and seafood restaurant headed by Dallas chef John Tesar, will move into the space that was formerly home to Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton. Schoos Design of West Hollywood, Calif., is doing the renovation.

Tesar’s Dallas restaurant, Knife, was named one of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants in 2014, the same year Orlando’s Cask & Larder made the list. Knife specializes in dry-aged prime steaks and specialty cuts of meat.

The Spoon of the name is a reference to the spoon-shaped fishing lure, a nod to the seafood side of the menu.

Beefy King Reopens

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Beefy reopen sign

If you had driven down Bumby Avenue over the weekend, you may have noticed a convoy of service vans surrounding Beefy King, the landmark Orlando sandwich restaurant that was the target of an arsonist Nov. 12. The fire was confined to the exterior of the building, but minor water and structural damage caused in extinguishing the blaze caused the 51 year old restaurant to close.

But thanks to the fleet of electrical, structural and painting service people, Beefy King was able to reopen Wednesday morning.

And Orlandoans came out in droves to welcome back their king.

Local Restaurant has Cameo in Latest Grisham Novel

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Grisham coverIt’s always exciting when there’s a new John Grisham novel. But it’s even more exciting when there’s a little bit of local color included.

Grisham’s latest, "The Guardians," takes place in Florida and at one point the protagonist sets up a rendezvous with a woman who suggests a place for them to meet. “There’s a place called Christner’s on Lee Road. Let’s meet there. And Dutch treat.”

That would be Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster. Co-owner David Christner showed me the passage when I was having dinner there recently and said he had no idea the popular steakhouse would have a cameo in the book or how it came about.

One would assume Grisham visited the restaurant for research. After all, he knew enough about to place to have the character suggest sharing the bill.

Grisham passage