Newsy Nuggets: 'tis the season for openings

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Kung fu tea

Kung Fu Tea is the business that will replace Too Much Sauce at Mills Park in the Mills 50 district. KFT is a franchise that started in Flushing, Queens, in 2010. It specializes in Taiwan-style bubble tea and claims to be the largest bubble tea brand with over 350 locations across the U.S. “[a]s one of the OGs of bubble tea...”

Just curious – how much longer do we have to put up with businesses and menu items being labeled as the OG? For those not wishing to Google it, OG stands for original gangster and its provenance, you shouldn’t be surprised, is in gang culture. Cute, huh?

A tenant has been found for another vacant space, this one in downtown Orlando. Solita Tacos & Margaritas will move in to the former Wahlburgers on the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue. Solita is from Xperience Restaurant Group, which also owns, among other brands, Chevys Fresh Mex. Wahlburgers, which opened in 2016, closed permanently in June 2020. Solita is coming this fall.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek adds kitchen garden for fresh ingredients

Written by Scott Joseph on .

JW Garden4 copy

The JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has a new garden that not only serves as a tranquil spot for guests to relax but also provides ingredients for the resort’s chefs to use in its signature restaurant.

JW Garden sprang up in April, the creation of landscape designer Lily Kwong. It’s an elevated garden with a stone pathway and benches for seating, planted with herbs and citrus – oranges, kumquats, tangerines and Meyer lemons – as well as vegetables and edible flowers.

It’s very much a kitchen garden, and Melissa Sallman, executive chef at Sear + Sea, the hotel’s very good steak and seafood restaurant, and chef de cuisine Jose Escanio are incorporating the hyper-locally sourced ingredients into their dishes and cocktails. (More on that in a moment.)

To further the JW Garden mission, the resort has partnered with the Orlando City Foundation to donate gardens to two local schools – Rolling Hills Elementary School and Lockhart Elementary School – as part of the organization’s efforts to promote good nutrition and to bring fresh ingredients to the area’s food deserts. Which is a pretty nice thing to do. The produce from the gardens will be donated to the Orlando community and will educate kids about healthful eating habits and sustainability practices.

But back to how the garden’s bounty is being used at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek. As you’re probably aware, the resort has a pretty dynamic craft cocktail program. Here are a couple of drinks that are making use of some of the ingredients outside the kitchen door.

2nd Winter Flavors of New York tour scheduled for December

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Winter Flavors

This time of year you see all sorts of references to Christmas in July. So it’s July, and I’m thinking about Christmastime.

Specifically, about the culinary tour of New York I’ll be hosting with Art In Voyage – Beyond Travel this December 7-11.

This will be the second year for the Winter Flavors of New York journey. If you missed my recap of last year’s trip you can read about it here. I’m still amazed at everything we packed into those days. And I can’t wait to do it again.

We’ll do have some of the same experiences but add some new adventures, too. I’d love to have you join me and let me show you my favorite city in the world. New York is special any time of the year, but it’s magical in December.

Check out the details here.

Newsy Nuggets: Unreserved, Uncommon, Nobu, Goff's and more

Written by Scott Joseph on .

UnreservedUnreserved Food Bazaar

JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has opened its Unreserved Food Bazaar, a food hall-style restaurant under the supervision of chef Peter Kunstek. It features pizza from a Josper oven; a sushi and raw bar; seasonal salads (currently featuring peaches and burrata); and fresh fish selections. Also new: the JW Garden, which grows herbs and produce used throughout the resort’s restaurants (more on that soon).

From Unreserved to Uncommon. Uncommon Catering & Eatery is dropping the & Eatery after July 23 and will focus on its catering business. It will remain in its Curry Ford West district space and will offer occasional wine dinners and popup events, according to a post on its Facebook page.

Nobu Hotels, a luxury brand whose partners include actor Robert DeNiro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will open a hotel in Orlando. It’s scheduled for 2024, which probably means late 2025 in Orlando-construction years. Yes, that probably means a Nobu sushi restaurant will come with it.