Tori Tori chef killed in motorcycle crash

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Foss plaquePhotos Tori Tori via Facebook

George Foss, chef de cuisine at Tori Tori, the popular Mills 50 Japanese pub and restaurant, was killed March 10 when the motorcycle he was riding crashed with another vehicle on U.S. Highway 27 in Davenport. He was 35.

His death was announced on Tori Tori’s Facebook page on Mar. 11. It read in part: “George has been the heart and soul of our company for the past 4 years and is an extraordinary person, father, leader, and son. He has inspired so many lives, brought laughter, brought hope, and a sense of family to many individuals.”

The restaurant closed Mar. 11 to allow the staff time to grieve.

Magic's Orlando Wine Festival & Auction picks up again this weekend

Written by Scott Joseph on .

orlando wine fest barrels

Two years ago, the stage was set for the second annual Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, hosted by the Orlando Magic and benefitting its Youth Foundation. Approximately 600 people were expected to attend, with highlights including a dinner hosted by celebrity chef Michael Symon and a concert by Boyz II Men.

And then, well, you know.

Now the event is being revived and will take place Saturday, March 19, at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando. Can we still call it the second annual when the first one was three years ago?

Newsy Nuggets: Wine dinners, wine fests, wine strolls and beer flights

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hemisphere22 overhead

Hemisphere, the swanky restaurant on top of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, has a regular roster of wine dinners and the next is scheduled for Friday, Mar. 25. It will be a Tour de France celebration with a selection of French wines paired with a special menu created by executive chef Jeff Powell and chef de cuisine Jason Moltz. Here’s a look at the full menu with pairings.

The dinner will begin with a reception at 7 p.m. Cost is $140 per person plus tax and gratuity. And remember, whenever you attend Hemisphere, valet parking at the hotel entrance is complimentary and you never have to walk through the airport terminal. For wine dinner reservations, call 407-825-1315 or send an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek is inviting everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the poolside Unreserved Beer Garden with beer flights from Florida breweries. The flights include four beers of your choice from among 11 local brews. And here’s something to consider: the flights are half off during Unreserved Beer Garden’s daily social hour from 4 to 5 p.m., even on St. Patrick’s Day.

Vernal events at Grande Lakes Orlando begin with Easter specials

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Knifespoon dining room

Our friends at Grande Lakes Resort Orlando have a bevy of springtime activities and events coming up beginning with Easter specials.

Easter Sunday is April 17, just a little more than five weeks away. Brunch is always a Eastery thing to do and Knife & Spoon, the John Tesar-led restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton does a terrific brunch setup with its uniquely aged meats and not-so-aged seafood. Brunch will be offered from noon to 7 p.m. at $250 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made at 407-393-4034.

Across the way at the JW Marriott, Citron will have a breakfast buffet from 7 a.m. until noon.

Also on the grounds of the JW, an Easter Weekend Carnival and Food Truck Rally, April 16 and 17, will have games, arts and crafts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And what’s Easter without an egg hunt? Can’t think of a better place to have one than at the resort’s Whisper Creek Farm. There are plenty of good hiding places, but successful egg hunters will be able to keep the prizes in the eggs they find and gather them in their very own Easter basket. The hunt will be Sunday, April 17, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $65 per child and reservations are required. 407-393-4034.

Once Easter is over we’ll start concentrating on Mother’s Day (May 8 this year) and I’ll catch up up on all the Mother’s Day activities later. In the meantime, you can take a look at the Grand Lakes Orlando Spring 2022 Event & Activity Guide for more details.