Keeping a Secret

When eating, entertainment become last-minute engagements.



 

The hot thing at the moment is “secret” invite-only events.

The annual Le Dîner en Blanc, held in Orlando since 2016, pops up in 70 cities worldwide, asking guests to dress in white and wait until day-of-dinner to learn where it will be held. And next year, New York’s Underground Kitchen brings unrevealed kitchen and mystery chef to our fair city somewhere between March 9 and 11.

My friends at Sofar Sounds produce a series of house/office/back yard concerts around the world that feature A-list and up-and-coming artists in undisclosed locations, details of which are only revealed to lucky registrants the day before. Local shows have spotlighted everyone from Baltimore electronic vocalist Christen B to Tampa musicians Shane & Emily and Orlando’s own Matthew Fowler. And Edinburgh’s Hidden Door festival takes over forgotten spaces like the decades-abandoned Leith Theatre to present cutting edge art, music, theatre, dance, spoken word and cinema, and you’ve got to know to go.

While Sofar and Hidden Door are inexpensive ways to discover new talent, none of the clandestine food affairs are cheap: Underground Kitchen asks for a $100 deposit per person, and Dîner en Blanc costs $40 and up, and you have to bring your own table, chairs … and food.

What are your thoughts on covert happenings; do you like the idea of being in on a secret, or would you rather know where (and what) you’re eating in advance?

Around Town

Continuing his revamp of neighborhood eateries after the Reyes Mezcaleria overhaul of Citrus, Craig Ustler has partnered with the downtown lounge folks at Church Street Entertainment to take over the space that was, until this week, occupied by North Quarter Tavern and Bar Room. It will be come a “neighborhood-focused local pub” and a “modern interpretation of a classic cocktail lounge.” Which we thought it already was.

End of the Year Food News

* A tractor trailer full of chicken and beef was split open by a CSX train in Lakeland, spilling potential BBQ along the roadside. Area bears were heard celebrating an early Christmas.

* The European Parliament voted to allow phosphate additives in kebab meat, which makes it the least mysterious ingredient in a kebab.

* 3,000 pizza makers of Naples were put on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, along with dolma makers in Azerbaijan, Irish Uilleann piping, and Portuguese Estremoz clay figures. The award will be delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

* Researchers at the National University of Singapore are turning whey from the production of tofu into a fruity alcoholic beverage called Sachi. “The drink turned out to be tasty, which is a pleasant surprise," said PhD student Mr. Chua Jian-Yong. No whey!

* Visit Orlando and local diners chose a honey nougat glacé dessert from Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri Cafe in Winter Park as Orlando’s Signature Dish. Regardless of what some local writers might say, it is a better representation of our fair city than a turkey leg.

Resolving to visit new restaurants in 2018?  Comments? Questions? Recommendations? Stay in touch with Joseph at joseph.hayes@orlandomagazine.com. You can access a comprehensive list of his print and online reviews here!

 

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Savor Orlando

From fine dining to local hot spots, the latest restaurant news, reviews and more.

About This Blog

For the past 20 years, I've made my living as a features, food and travel writer, playwright and jazz producer. I collect odd facts about Central Florida's food scene, such as College Park once being a pineapple plantation; or where to sample local mead (hint: it's in DeLand). I'd rather eat small tastes than a big meal, and my go-to food is noodles.

Find out more at jrhayes.net

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