A beignet burger, a Puck switcheroo, Seven Fishes celebrations, and making your vote count.
Notes as we approach year's end …
* Disney’s Port Orleans Resort has a beignet burger. Beef, bacon jam and cheese on a modified fried dough bun, heartier (or so I’m told) than the standard New Orleans breakfast treat usually enjoyed with morning coffee but still… a beignet. We’ve had donut burgers like the legendary Luther, originally introduced almost 10 years ago by Treehouse Truck, one of the fabled First Five Orlando food trucks; waffle burgers, such as are found at Teak Neighborhood Grill; the famed sushi burgers at Universal’s Cowfish; croissant, and by extension, cronut burgers (the cause of sickening 223 at the 2013 Canadian National Exhibition—well, the bacon jam was … those Canadians, huh?); and the almost impossible-to-eat double grilled cheese burger from Twisted Plates Food Truck—that is, a burger “sandwiched” between two grilled cheese sandwiches. I can only imagine what’s next on the local horizon. A churro hot dog. Mac ‘n cheese bao. Pasta tacos—I’ve said that before but I’d put money on it appearing. Pastrami hot fudge sundaes?
* Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill just opened at Disney Springs. You may be thinking: Wasn’t Puck already at Disney Springs? And you’d be right. However, the old location of the Puck empire, consisting of Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, Sushi Bar, Express and Dining Room, is being replaced by tapas and contemporary Spanish-themed Jaleo from Nobel Peace Prize nominee José Andrés, due to arrive momentarily—which means, in Disney Springs terms, any time between three months ago and next spring. The new WPB&G will continue to serve Puck’s signature California-style dishes, pizza and sandwiches, plus breakfast. WPExpress is still operating at The Marketplace. After Jaleo opens, the next big DS change is rumored to be a replacement for the 20+-year-old Bongos Cuban Café, created by Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
During the hectic holiday season, please take a moment to celebrate your favorite local restaurants by nominating them for the 2019 Orlando magazine Dining Awards! Ballot and instructions can be found here.
An American adaptation of ancient Southern Italian holiday meals, the Feast of the Seven Fishes (La Vigilia di Natale) is being celebrated at two area locales this year:
* Pizza Bruno offers their second Seven Fishes meal on December 13 with a five-course, seven-fish menu, with delicacies including West Coast and East Coast oysters; multi-seafood risotto; cured fish roe cachapas pancakes and more. $75 per person.
* Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen celebrates on Christmas Eve with a seven-course dinner featuring wild Key West shrimp in Jack Daniels cream sauce; fried hog fish and red snapper; fish cioppino and more. Ten percent of proceeds go to the Coastal Conservation Association. $69 per person; 407-543-3474.
And heading into the New Year, our Greater Florida community is representing at the infamously tiny and prestigious James Beard House in 2019:
* Tampa’s Bern’s restaurant family arrives on February 20 as Chad Johnson and Jonathan Atanacio (Èlevage at the Epicurean), Habteab Hamde and sommelier Gregory Mayer (Bern's Steak House) and Courtney Orwig (Haven) show off their steak and seafood-related expertise.