Chopped Steak Challenge
We like to call it Burger Battle, and it's being waged September 23. Get your tickets now!
We’re about a month away from the Orlando Burger Battle, but I thought I’d bring it to your attention while tickets are available. The search for a local burger champeen takes place on September 23 at the Ace Café Orlando and will feature a host of area burgermeisters grilling, frying and generally battling for your approval—and mine! The ever-growing list of combatants is on the website, but at last count there were 12: Raglan Road Irish Pub, Hash House A Go Go, Jimmy Hula’s, The Whiskey, Artisan’s Table, White Wolf Cafe & Bar, Planet Hollywood Observatory, Chroma Kitchen & Bar, Liam Fitzpatrick’s, Shula’s 347 Grill, The Tap Room at Dubsdread, and our host, Ace Cafe Orlando.
The judges will be Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Orlando Magic community ambassadors and former star Magic players; Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap; Kathleen Blake, the James Beard Award-nominated chef-owner at The Rusty Spoon; my favorite judging companion and Food Network star Emily Ellyn; and one of the nicest people I know, Mister Tasty Chomps himself, Ricky Ly. And me, of course. The best part is, all I have to do is hang out with friends, sample some heavenly hamburgers, and pass judgment—my three favorite things.
I’ve been a fan of Chef Robert Walker since 2011, when I wrote about his extraordinary cooking at the late Boathouse of Winter Park. A graduate of Doc’s Restaurant and Harmoni Market, he left Boathouse far too soon (although it did close not long after, so …) to become sous chef at Norman’s, and then banquet chef, sous and chef de cuisine at The Grand Bohemian Hotel’s Boheme restaurant under exec Laurent Hollaender. Until this week, that is, when he told me he is joining the little chain that could, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, as their Area Culinary Manager. “It’s a scratch kitchen,” he says, “and a growing company. It was time for a new challenge.” With the upcoming locations in Windermere and Atlanta, and even more expected in the near future, it will be a worthy challenge indeed.
It’s official: Park Plaza Gardens will not be reopening. The iconic Winter Park restaurant spent 39 years at the base of the Park Plaza Hotel, a go-to spot for the well-heeled and connected, with a convoluted history that continued to be … interesting … until last March, when legal debate began between Demetree Global, owners of the restaurant, and hotel owners Park Avenue Plaza of Winter Park, Ltd. Demetree and the hotel came to an undisclosed settlement this month and called a close to the eatery.