Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Hamilton’s Kitchen at the new Alfond Inn in Winter Park is sourcing locally and featuring seasonal creations such as Lake Meadow Naturals soft-scrambled eggs in the morning, local pork and Cape Canaveral red shrimp for lunch and Cocoa Beach flounder and Apalachicola oysters for dinner. Chef Christopher Windus says the menu will change often, so you never know what Florida-sourced products you’ll find. 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park; (407) 998-8090.
Products from Healthy Greek Eats, a seasonally inspired line of locally made Mediterranean meze that debuted this year in Central Florida, now at The Meat House in Winter Park. Chef-owner Vassilis Coumbaros uses local produce and traditional Greek techniques to create dolmades, tangy tzatziki with cucumber, and hummus spiked with roasted red pepper or spinach and feta. Complete list of products and retail outlets available on their website.
The Crooked Spoon moves from a food truck to permanent digs in Clermont, where Chef Steve Saelg is expanding his menu, but the signature 420 and Crooked Spoon burgers are still top sellers. 200 Citrus Tower Blvd., Clermont; (352) 404-7808.
Re-opened in September, the California Grill atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort is completely re-imagined, from the decor to the menu. New communal tables and a showstopping, 14-course omakase menu at the sushi bar are highlights, says Chef Brian Piasecki.
The Smiling Bison moves from food truck to permanent digs at 745 Bennett Rd. (the former Redlight Redlight). Serving charcuterie, sausages and sandwiches, craft beer and small-vintage wines, the restaurant is open evenings Tuesday–Saturday. (407) 898-8580.
New downtown: Lotus restaurant in The Sanctuary condominium building. Chef Luis Negrón is using locally sourced ingredients to create international tastes, with most entrées 500 to 600 calories. 100 S. Eola Dr., Orlando. Created by AURA Florida Lounges in collaboration with Alena Hospitality. Sister restaurant Honey is set to open in same building at press time.
Longwood’s Historic District is the new home of Wild Hare Kitchen & Garden Emporium. Owner Cheryl Bryant stocks the shelves with local eggs, honey and produce from R and B Organics, The Barefoot Farmer, Rest Haven Farms, Green Flamingo and more, and even stocks dog treats from Chews Naturally and Sit and Stay Pet Cafe. She also offers “upcycled” vintage aprons from Studio 108, antiques and collectibles by The Farmer’s Wife and Rose of Sharon and food-centric works by local artists. 335 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood; (407) 765-0188.
Memorable tastes from Cask & Larder’s new lunch menu include lamb ribs with green tomato yogurt, a po’boy with crispy oysters and pork belly and chicken wings with Carolina barbecue sauce. Lighter bites, too. Lunch Wed.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (brunch on Sundays). C&L also renamed its brewery: Ravenous Brewing Co., featuring locally crafted beers by brewmaster and certified cicerone Ron Raike. In addition to C&L, you’ll find his creations at The Ravenous Pig, Redlight Redlight, Mellow Mushroom and other eateries. 565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; (321) 280-4200.
Check out Hyppo, a small artisan ice pop chain opened by UCF grad Brandon Chandler. Atypical flavor concoctions like pineapple-cilantro are blended from fresh and often locally sourced ingredients. Offerings change regularly and new recipes are always popping up, including vegan and gluten-free options. 431 E. Central Blvd., Orlando; (321) 348-7677.
Coffee in a beer bottle? Add organic milk, cane sugar, honey, vanilla and heavy cream and you’ve got Lineage Cold Brew, one of the treats from Lineage Roasting Co. Lineage uses small-batch roasting techniques with seasonal beans from Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil and Indonesia. Find them at Audubon Market, Eat More Produce and Vespr Craft Coffee & Allures in Waterford Lakes, with plans to expand.
Serving tapas and three signature sangrias (red, white and sparkling), Santiago’s Bodega is attracting diners who prefer small plates such as beef short ribs, yellowfin tuna ceviche, pan-seared shrimp and chorizo and half-rack lamb. This is the second location; the first is in Key West. Lunch and dinner daily. 802 Virginia Dr., Orlando; (407) 412-6979.
Tesoro Cove, the casual eatery at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, debuted a new menu featuring noodles from Orlando City Pasta, produce from My Yard Farm and ice pops from Peak Season Pops, says Chef Andrew Edwards.
The pizza, breads, salumi and most of the cheeses served are made in-house at Wolfie’s Pizzamia, opened by the folks behind White Wolf Café in Ivanhoe Village. Other ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible. (The salumi platter is a standout.) 1905 N. Orange Ave., Orlando; (407) 237-0921.
Coming to International Drive in spring 2014: Yard House, the upscale-casual eatery with American fusion fare and more than 100 taps of international, craft and specialty ales and lagers. The restaurant also will feature the “Chalkboard Beer Series” with a selection of small, limited releases from mostly craft brewers that rotate frequently and are unique to the Orlando area. Seating indoors and outdoors for 400.
Congrats to the first graduating class of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Culinary Training Program. Seven students graduated in the July ceremony, and another class started Aug. 12. The program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with culinary and life skills to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. Students are recruited from the Food Bank’s partner agencies and other nonprofit organizations.
Those giant carrots sprouting in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville are supposed to remind you to eat your veggies, says Jill Hamilton Buss, part of Healthy Central Florida, a partnership between Florida Hospital and Winter Park Health Foundation. Buss says she got the idea from a farmers’ market in Hood River, Ore., and found a local manufacturer to create nine giant carrots that hug trees. The moveable carrots continue sprouting in new places.
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