As people begin to travel again, cuisine and culture determine the destination

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sted shopping for spicesOn a Sated Ventures tour in Oaxaca, Mexico, shopping for spices to be used in a cooking class.

As the world begins to reopen and restrictions lifted, or at least normalized, people are beginning to travel again. With increasing frequency, their travel plans are centered around food.

Not just deciding where they’re going to eat while they’re away or doing an online search for the destination’s best restaurants, which, by the way, can be quite unreliable. (A quick search for “best restaurants Orlando” brought up one list that included a fast-food chain and a now-defunct restaurant that served what was arguably the worst Cuban food in town.)

The new travel trend makes food the main focus rather than ancillary. And travel agencies have started to take note of this growing segment of food-centric travelers and are curating tours and journeys especially for them.

A Farewell to Hemingway's: New concept will replace longtime favorite

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hemingways ext

Hemingway’s, long a featured restaurant at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, is closed and will be replaced by a new restaurant concept from television chef Richard Blais. The name of the restaurant has not been disclosed, however, it will have a tropical concept. The resort has announced a job fair for positions at the new venue for Tues., Oct, 12, so it would seem that an opening is imminent.

Blais was the first winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars and will be a co-star of the upcoming Fox cooking competition Next Level Chef with Gordon Ramsay. He currently owns Juniper & Ivy in San Diego and the unfortunately named Crack Shack, with three locations in Southern California. He also developed a restaurant called Ember & Rye that opened recently at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. He consults and develops concepts through his company, Trail Blais.

Galeria closed, relocating "by Disney"

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Galeria exterior

Galeria, the Baldwin Park steak and seafood restaurant that opened in September of 2019, has closed. It’s website notes that it is in the process of relocating to an “exciting” location “by Disney.” That doesn’t narrow down the possibilities and no further clues are available.

Newsy Nuggets: Cookies, cakes and progressive dinners

Written by Scott Joseph on .

A Spoon Full of Hope Shortbread Cookies copy

A Spoon Full of Hope, the product line from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, has added three new cookies flavors to its roster: chai, strawberry lemonade and cranberry pistachio. I count five. Well, four, because I’m not sure chai counts as a flavor. You can purchase the cookies and other food items at the website. With holiday season coming up, keep in mind that gift baskets are also available. Sales directly support Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which teaches qualified, economically challenged adults culinary and life skills training to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.

  • Robert Earl’s Virtual Dining Concepts has added another celebrity chef to its repertoire. Buddy V’s Cake Slice from baker Buddy Valastro can now be ordered for delivery with five flavors available: Confetti, Vanilla Rainbow, Fudge, Red Velvet and Black and White Fudge. (I count six.) Virtual Dining Concepts partners with existing restaurant kitchens to secretly cook – or bake – the recipes of its various brands, which are then picked up by third-party delivery companies.