Season of Plenty

Two festivals and a premier culinary event set the table for 2018.


A news item that caught my attention: Dr. Megin Nichols of the Centers for Disease Control warns that 23 percent of the people who reported contracting salmonella from homegrown fowl had recently kissed or snuggled their chickens. No pecks on the cheek for you.


Just when you thought it was safe to start that diet, the seemingly continuous Fest season begins again … maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your year.

* Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival begins February 28 and runs for 90 days (let me repeat that: NINETY DAYS), and food has become a major part of this annual jubilee. This year’s offerings from 15 markets look appealing. New this year is the honey-centric Honey Bee-stro (reflecting the meteoric appearance of the Orlando Signature Dish, which was, well, I’ve forgotten already). The Bee-stro will be serving roasted cauliflower with buckwheat honey carrot puree, honey tandoori chicken flatbread, and Florida Orange Groves Winery's Orange Blossom Honey Wine. Florida Fresh offers spicy blackened shrimp and stone-ground cheddar cheese grits; La Isla Fresca has Caribbean conch salad; Taste of Marrakesh includes Harissa chicken kebab; and Jardin de Fiesta provides pork tacos and capirotada bread pudding. Even with the unfortunate yet predictable rise in entry price, this sounds like an appetizing outing.

* The most star-studded upcoming event is Chef Kathleen Blake of  The Rusty Spoon and friends returning to Lake Meadow Naturals on March 18 for the Women in the Kitchen: Legends, Mentors and Friends dinner. And what friends she has: Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend of the Saucisson meat market in Cleveland; James Beard winner Melissa Kelly of Primo; James Beard “Best Chefs in America” winner Jody Adams from Saloniki Greek in Boston; the amazing Elizabeth Falkner; four-time Beard nominnee Charleen Badman of FnB Scottsdale; Katherine Elder, Elderslie Farm in Kansas; Mount Dora’s own Gloriann Rivera, 1921NVA; and Britt Marie Culey, Coquette Patisserie in Cleveland  This event is worthy of an award all on its own.

* The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort just announced the menus for their Food & Wine Classic on October 26 and 27. The fest is celebrating with special culinary zones, including the Beer Garden; Carnival Corner (with funnel cakes, corn dogs and nitro kettle corn); Chinatown, with specialties influenced by San Francisco; and the Hawaiian luau-themed Pig & the Poke, with tuna and pork dishes. 

Got some tips for dining around Orlando? A question about the best places for your favorite food? Send me a note. Stay in touch at and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando