Opening, closings, festivals, and a chance to learn about plant-based cooking.
Welcome to the only month in 2018 without a full moon...
* There will be a reunion, of sorts, when Wine Bar George opens at Disney Springs this (Disney) spring. Alongside Master Sommelier George Miliotes will be Chef Ron Rupert, who was part of the opening team of California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where he teamed with Miliotes.
* The 10th Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest happens in a few weeks. I actually enjoy wandering around Lake Eola while stuffing my face, and I think you will too Participating restaurants for the event, which runs Feb 24-25, include Shari Sushi, Hawkers, Pisces Rising, Four Rebels Tacos, LePHO, Izziban Sushi and Korean BBQ and many, many more. A portion of the proceeds benefits UCF Foundation, Inc. and Valencia Foundation. I’ll be one of the judges, so look for me—I might even share some of my food.
* I spent an afternoon recently at the Edible Education Experience, the new teaching facility affiliated with Chef Kevin Fonzo and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation that teaches kids from Orlando Junior Academy and people in the surrounding community about good eating. It is a fabulous space, surrounded by a working garden, and an enviable setup. Their Chef Night event on February 22 is an interactive introduction to plant-based cooking under the tutelage of Chelsie Savage, the marvelously named owner of The Sanctum Café, and open to the public. Chelsie is a fun person and does wonders with veggies.
* Dinner service starts Thursday at the new/redesigned/repurposed Tartine Wine Bar that evolved from Croissant Gourmet in College Park. Chefs Jaimie and Josh Martin join pastry chef Francois Cahange, and have already upped the neighborhood food game. I’m looking forward to this new player.
* Foxtail’s Farmhouse opens next Saturday in Winter Park, a new venture from the Foxtail Coffee folks, an amalgam of large coffeeteria, fresh market and shop. Craft cocktails and small bites will be, serendipitously, courtesy of The Courtesy and DoveCote.
* This month may see the rebranding of Orlando mainstay Cavanaugh’s Fine Wines into Digress Wine, under new owners Rob Chase and Brian Kerney. Pop-up wine dinners and a new, bistro atmosphere are promised.
* Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar, which opened before Trader Joe's and the contentious rebirth of Orlando Avenue in Winter Park, has closed. I thought they did a decent job, and some of their dishes I quite liked, but I guess California Casual isn’t a winning formula here.
Discovered any new faves on the Orlando scene? Comments? Questions? Recommendations? Stay in touch with Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can access a comprehensive list of his print and online reviews here!