Fun Food Ideas for Nov 27-Dec 3: Chanukah and FusionFest


By Black Friday, you’ve probably already made this pot pie and are wondering what else you can do with the Thanksgiving leftovers. When all else fails, there’s always turkey and gravy and stuffing in an omelet. (If an omelet is intimidating, just pile it all on top of scrambled eggs and call it brunch.)

And now starts the sprint toward Christmas. Yes, it’s shopping and peppermint lattes, but that’s not all. Writer John Graham has checked his list twice for food and fun around Orlando. Saturday through Friday, here’s the best bets on what’s ahead.

Small Business Saturday

We get through Black Friday and now it’s Small Business Saturday. American Express cooked up the “Shop Small” idea in 2010 to encourage more holiday shopping at small and local businesses. American Express has a map of small businesses you can search by zip code, but you can also just look around your neighborhood. Here’s three to get you started…

Try the Marketplace at Avalon Park food hall. Here’s the write-up in Edible Orlando’s latest print edition, but it’s all good. BBQ50 is smoking ribs out back on the daily.

Sugar Dough Bakehouse on Corrine specializes in house-made, Asian-inspired, French pastries. That’s their twice-baked blueberry cream cheese croissant at the top of the page.

The Courtesy Bar in Downtown Orlando has made the annual switch to Miracle on Orange, a holiday-themed retro décor and drink takeover that goes until December 30. In past years, drinks have included Bad Santa, the Christmapolitan, and the Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r.

Chanukah, FusionFest, and a Sanford Sampler

This next small business is getting its own item because it’s a bit of an emergency. Whether it’s lunch or

Shantell Williams

dinner, get over to Shantell’s Just Until … in Downtown Sanford for soul food at the only black-owned business left in the neighborhood. The pandemic has been tough so Shantell herself is raffling off her Harley-Davidson, the one that holds a world record for visiting all 48 contiguous U.S. states in only 27 days. Shantell figures she’ll need to raise $100,000 from the raffle to keep the restaurant. So, go buy a ticket at the restaurant by January 1 – or at least get a plate of shrimp and grits.

FusionFest is back in Downtown Orlando, both Saturday, noon – 8 p.m., and Sunday, noon – 6 p.m. Picture different cultures from around Central Florida coming together to share music, dance, fashion, and yes, FOOD. If eating tacos and Thai food while watching Scottish and Polynesian dancers sounds good, you’ll be great at FusionFest. Admission is free to Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. FusionFest is a non-profit organization with support from Orange County government.

The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday and Chabad of Greater Orlando is celebrating with Chanukah on the Park in Winter Park’s Central Park, 5 -7 p.m. Food will be glatt (dairy) kosher, including fresh sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). You’l also see dancers, acrobats, a parade, and the grand menorah lighting. Admission is free.

Chefdance is a little like “Chopped” or “Top Chef,” but you get to eat the food instead of just watch it on TV. Thursday night, 6 – 11 p.m., at the Speakeasy venue next to Chianti’s in Sanford, chefs Jacques Jean-Kaalstad and Josh Oakley will face off for four courses made with mystery ingredients. Dress to impress in your best Roaring ’20s attire. Tickets are $150 for red carpet reception, meal, five bottles of wine per table, and live music with dancing. The night benefits The Jeff Triplett Youth Sports Foundation. The former Sanford mayor passed away earlier this year from lung cancer.

For more inspiration, visit our archives.