News That Pops!

Sushi Pop will open a Winter Park location this summer. Plus the latest on hops and brews.


Some big local restaurant news, along with oddities from around the world that have caught my eye:

* An exclusive directly from Chef Chau Trinh himself: a new branch of the award-winning Sushi Pop will be opening at 115 East Lyman Ave., just off Park Avenue, in Winter Park. A master of new and inventive sushi, Chau is an inductee of the OMag Dining Hall of Fame; he says his "Chauhaus" menu (Vietnamese phos, banh mi and rice noodle dishes) will be the lunch fare at the new location, with the fun Sushi Pop menu of sushi and kitchen food for dinner. Expect a near-July opening. I've been bugging him to move closer to Orlando since he opened in Oviedo seven years ago … so I'm really excited.

* In a timely follow-up to our very lively March Beer Guide, a researcher at the University Of California, Berkeley, has created a strain of brewer’s yeast he claims will produce a beer with the taste and flavor of hops, that mighty ingredient that brewers swear by and at, without actually using hops. Infusing yeast with DNA from basil and mint, the brew is said to replicate the characteristics of the very popular Cascade hops, of which there seems to be a shortage due to the increase in craft beer consumption.

But if you can’t wait for those bio-engineered fungi, you could fill your Orlando magazine growler (you did get one at our launch party, yes?) and fill up a Hopsy, the coffee pod machine of beer. The countertop machine dispenses beer on tap at home for a mere $180. Or get a Pico Brew, a $499 “beer brewing appliance” that makes craft beer in your home, without that whole blowing up the still thing. PicoPak pods of yeast, hops and grains (I bet Keurig isn’t far behind) are available from craft breweries across the country to re-create your fave.

Or just go out: the DeBary Beerfest brings 30 Florida breweries to River City Nature Park on April 7, sponsored by Central 28 Beer Co.

* The (literally) hot ingredient of the moment is sriracha powder, a sprinkle-on substitute for cayenne pepper that adds the salty, smoky and quite fiery flavor of the hot sauce darling. On a similarly spicy note, I recently received a gift of Weak Knees gochujang sriracha, a blend of Korean fermented red pepper goodness and Thai vinegar spiciness, from Brooklyn’s Bushwick Kitchen. Neither overwhelmingly hot nor acidic, there’s a touch of sweetness and a big, very complex flavor that I’m finding hard to resist. (By the way, pronounce it GO-choo-jahng see-ROTCH-ah)

* Oh, and mark your calendars now for the 23rd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, running for 75 DAYS, August 30 to November 12. Add the International Festival of the Arts, Flower & Garden and International Festival of the Holidays and that’s a minimum of 245 days of Disney food fests. All I would need is a Lying Down & Digesting Festival. Happy eating!

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Categories: Savor Orlando