On the House: Annie Oakley from The Whiskey

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Annie Oakley still

I know you’ve seen the beautiful burgers served at The Whiskey, the restaurant and lounge on Sand Lake Road, but you won’t be surprised to know that The Whiskey also specializes in cocktails.

Whiskey cocktails, at that. And one of its signature concoctions is the Annie Oakley, a straight shooter made with Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond with some blackberry puree.

Despite the puree, the cocktail isn’t sweet – that’s thanks to some chili bitters.

Watch the video with bartender Kelli Whitney, then give the cocktail a try.

Here’s the recipe:

On the House: ILLUMination from Illume at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Illume Cocktail thumb

When I first visited Illume, the rooftop venue at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek, I was taken in by the spectacular view and then by the excellent food.

But Illume also has a stellar cocktail program. Some are pretty elaborate, like Magritte’s Pipe, a sort of Japanese Old Fashion made with Hibiki Harmony Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro and tobacco bitters. It’s served in a pipe-shaped pitcher and poured into a smoked glass.

And the Firebird, with Haiku Vodka, sake and freshly juiced cantaloupe, served in a bird beaker with a feathers chaser.

But those aren’t cocktails you can easily prepare at home. So I asked Illume bartender Roberto Cruz for a cocktail recipe we can enjoy on the restaurant’s terrace or prepare ourselves at home. He recommended the ILLUMination, a variation of a margarita.

Watch the video then see the recipe below.


Scott's Kitchen: Polenta from Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill is the wonderful new(ish) steak and seafood restaurant at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek resort. Melissa Sallman is the hotel’s new executive chef and oversees the restaurant. There may be some small changes coming with the menu but you can probably count on this polenta side dish staying on.

Of course, another word for polenta is grits, so when I made the recipe following Sallman’s instructions in the Scott’s Kitchen video below, I grilled up some shrimp to go along with it for my own version of shrimp and grits. Cheesy grits/polenta, too, thanks to both parmesan and goat cheese.

Watch the video then give the recipe a try. And be sure to visit Sear + Sea to sample the polenta with one of their steaks – or maybe some shrimp.

Compliments of the Chef: Veal Scallopini from Rocco's Italian Grille

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Rocco’s Italian Grille serves some of the finest food in Central Florida. And owner Rocco Potami has a certain skill with creating complex Italian dishes.

But in this edition of Compliments of the Chef, Potami demonstrates how to make Veal Scallopini. Give the video a look, then pick up some veal (or chicken) from your market and give the recipe a try. Or stop by Rocco’s and let Potami make you a perfect one.

Scott's Kitchen: Grouper Piccata from Big Fin Seafood Kitchen

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Big Fin Grouper Piccata still

Since taking over the Big Fin Seafood Kitchen in 2020, executive chef Eric Enrique has been making changes to the menu. One of the additions has been his Grouper Piccata, a take on the classic Italian preparation usually done with veal or chicken. Enrique has tweaked it for fish and for added flair deep fries the capers that garnish it. When I recently reviewed the restaurant, this dish was easily my favorite.
In this episode of Scott’s Kitchen, Enrique walks me through the steps to make the dish. This is definitely one that will impress your dinner guests.
Watch the video below then find yourself some good grouper and give it a try.

Scott's Kitchen: Goan Prawns Xacutti from Saffron and Mynt

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Saffron Recipe

Here’s a recipe for the adventurous. It’s for the Goan Prawns Xacutti served at Mynt in Winter Park and Saffron on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row. Both restaurants, along with Madras, are owned by Sunny Corda, who shares this recipe in celebration of Saffron’s 10th anniversary.

This one is presented as a no-recipe recipe. That is, it isn’t in the conventional format with exactly measured ingredients at top and strict instructions for the procedure. That’s because xacutti, which refers to a blend of spices, is open to interpretation and improvisation. You’ll need to feel a little comfortable with tasting and adjusting as you go.

But watch Corda prepare the dish in the video, then gather up the spices and prawns (large shrimp are fine, too) and have some fun.

Scott's Kitchen: The Perfect Negroni

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The Perfect Negroni still

A while back the actor Stanley Tucci caused a sensation when he posted a video of himself making his wife a negroni.

I’m a fan of the Tooch, but he got some things wrong about my beloved negroni, so I decided to set things straight with this video.

In it, I tell you which gin and which sweet vermouth is best – Campari is a constant.

Take a look, then get out your cocktail glass – not a shaker – and mix yourself or your loved one the Perfect Negroni.

Scott's Kitchen: Blue Rebel cocktail from Soco Thornton Park

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Like a lot of people, I make my cocktails in my kitchen – everything’s that I need is there, why haul things out to the dry bar in the living room?

And it’s easy to grab a drink when I’m cooking.

Today I wanted something different, something refreshing, so I called on Tim Wilz, the bartender at Soco in Thornton Park, to see what he could come up with.

He made a delicious Blue Rebel, and he shares the recipe below. Click here to watch the video then give the recipe below a try.

Scott's Kitchen: Beet and Burrata Napoleon from Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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In culinary terms, a Napoleon is a layered dessert. But at Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe, the new restaurant in the Ivanhoe district north of downtown Orlando, chef/partner Emmanuel Clement serves a savory Napoleon with layers of roasted red and golden beets and creamy burrata cheese.

It’s an impressive presentation, and it tastes as good as it looks.

It’s also easy to do, even with making the vinaigrette from scratch.

In this episode of Scott’s Kitchen, Clement shows Scott how it’s done. Watch the video, grab yourself some beets, burrata and pine nuts and give it a go.

Careful when you’re toasting the pine nuts – mine got a little too dark, but it all tasted great anyway.


Scott's Kitchen Tips: How to sharpen a knife

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Trizor 15

I’ve mentioned before that my main knife is the Wüsthof 8-inch chef’s knife, which I really like. It isn’t cheap but it lasts forever.

But even well-made expensive knives have to be sharpened now and then. A professional knife sharpener is great, but it isn’t always convenient to take your knives to a sharpener’s shop, and besides, they need to be sharpened more often than that.

I could never get the hang of using a sharpening stone because you have to keep the knife at a precise angle. Not easy to do.

But I’ve found a home knife sharpener that I really love and is easy to use. I’m never more than a few minutes from turning a dull knife to a sharp knife.

It’s the Trizor 15 from Chef’sChoice. And by the way, I had another Chef’s Choice sharpener years ago that didn’t work very well. This one, though, is terrific. Watch the video to see it in action.

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