The local pie that took first-place honors in a national contest is a beauty. Plus some exciting popups on the horizon.
The 24th Annual APC National Pie Championships rolled into the Rosen Centre Hotel in April. You might not be aware of this competition, but it’s a big deal for amateur pie makers, professional bakers and commercial pie manufacturers who create 714 baked goods for a chance at a medal. This year, Chef Kathy Hanson from the Ritz Carlton Orlando won the professional best of show (along with four other first places) in the one-time Royal Wedding category,commemorating the upcoming British royal nuptials. Her winning pie (above) featured bananas foster with vanilla bean and Marcona almond honey cookie crust, sprinkled on top with “Markle Sparkles.” I don’t know what a Markle Sparkle is, but it must be regally good.
* Dylan Eitharong and Jordan Neumann have been setting up their portable kitchen in parking lots and dining rooms around town since 2016 as Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen, selling out sessions at Redlight Redlight and Swine & Sons to appreciative fans of Thai cuisine. On May 15, Thai meets Italian for a crossover collaboration popup at Pizza Bruno. Dylan, Jordan and pizza-meister Bruno Zacchini promise spicy treats like gai yang (wood-oven roasted game hen rubbed with lemongrass and white pepper), Bangraks’ famous Waterfall Beef (nam tok neua: sliced steak tossed with lemongrass, chili and toasted rice powder) and khao soi nam naa (pork broth, rice noodles, crumbly pork/tomato/fermented soybean paste and pork rinds). Thai-Italian mashups abound: wood-fired octopus with chili jam dressing, tomatoes and Chinese celery; smashed cucumber salad; a Thai version of Bruno’s legendary garlic knots; and Margherita pizza embellished with black soy ground pork, Thai basil, Thai chilies and egg. It all happens at Pizza Bruno beginning at 6 p.m.
* Continuing the world cuisine/popup theme, Peruvian specialists Papa Llama brings their scratch kitchen fare to Redlight Redlight the very next night, serving items such as spicy tuna causa, pan con chicharrón and braised carne ají panca. The Peruvian Popup happens May 16 at 6 p.m.
* One of the biggest charity events of the year is the Chef’s Night celebration from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on May 31. This year, chefs from Disney’s BoardWalk restaurants will craft the menu, with dishes by Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno; Paul Napoli, ESPN Club; and Tim Majoras and Ted Letsch, Flying Fish. The dinner will be held at Second Harvest’s facilities on Mercy Drive.
* Orlando mainstay Beefy King celebrates its 50th anniversary on June 2nd. Owned by four generations of the Smith family since 1968, Beefy King still serves its fresh roast beef sandwiches on steamed buns and hand-spins milkshakes the way nature intended. All-month specials, anniversary T-shirts and Original Beefy and Hammy sandwiches, Beefy Spuds and sodas for a 50 percent discount on June 2nd abound.