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Rona Gindin is an Orlando-based multimedia writer, editor and TV personality.

  • Five Top Chefs Will Cook for the 5 Chefs 5 Charities Event

    Alfond Inn logoOrlando -- Five Orlando-area chefs will prepare family-style farm-to-table meals, each for a different charity, at the Alfond Inn's 5 Chefs 5 Charities event on March 13. Sharing the Kitchen will be Fabrizio Schendari from the Four Seasons, Kathleen Blake from The Rusty Spoon, Henry Salgado from Spanish River Grill, Kevin Fonzo from K Restaurant, and the hotel's own Marc Kusche from Hamilton's Kitchen. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13. $150. Tickets  
  • Attend a Pig Roast at The Ravenous Pig

    Ravenous Pig LogoOrlando -- Join the chefs at The Ravenous Pig for a pig-out pig roast on Saturday, February 6. $17 will reap you a lunch of barbecued pork, smoked sausage, braised black-eyed peas, bacon collard greens, cornbread, and maple-bacon cupcakes. Reservations  
  • The Pharmacy Restaurant Now Serves Brunch

    Pharmacy logoOrlando -- The restaurant/speakeasy Pharmacy now serves weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Meals, which include an entree and a cocktail for $25 apiece, begin with complimentary chocolate- and spice-glazed donuts. Food options include buttermilk and chive waffles, and mushroom cream mac 'n' cheese with smoked brown-sugar cured bacon. The Bloody Michelada garnished with cheese, olive, and prosciutto is a cocktail choice.  
  • Enter Cocina 214's Margarita Contest

    Margarita 1Orlando -- Like to gussy up your tequila in the form of a creative margarita? Then join the fun at Cocina 214. The Winter Park Tex-Mex restaurant invites lay and professional bartenders to enter its 2016 Margarita Contest, which will be held on National Margarita Day. Simply send in your recipe by February 15. On February 22, a team of judges will sample the finalists' recipes. The winner will receive $100, and the winning recipe will be featured on the menu. Details  
  • Experience the Palms' Sanctuary Yoga Retreat

    The Palms logoMiami -- Take a tip from Rona. Book yourself a weekend at The Palms Hotel & Spa's next Sanctuary Yoga Retreat. You'll stay right on South Beach, participate in covered open-air yoga and meditation classes -- with a farm-to-table lunch in the middle, and receive way more including 15 percent off the room rate, 25 percent off AVEDA spa treatments, and pool and beach access. The next Sanctuary Yoga Retreats are May 15 and September 16, 2016. Details  
  • Where to Eat on Valentine's Day in Orlando

    Orlando -- Want to do sumpin' special with your hunny? Here are some of the area's best romantic opportunities.
    Emeril's Tchoup Chop -- The three-course Valentine's Day menu will cost only $49. Look for dishes like steamed lobster buns, braised beef short ribs, and chocolate-raspberry torte. Reservations: 407.503.2467
    Capa -- From Matsusaka With Love is the V-Day theme at the Four Seasons' Spanish steakhouse. Indulge in ultra-tender Wagyu beef by sharing the Matsusaka Beef Tasting for Two, featuring a trio of wood-grilled special Matsusaka beef (strip loin, tenderloin, and ribeye) plus three steak sauces and the side dishes patatas bravas, blistered pimientos, roasted asparagus, and truffle aioli. Reservations: 407.313.6161
    Do Good Date Night -- The Orlando Date Night Guide is hosting three group events the weekend of February 12-14, each romantic, fun, and charitable. Click here for details.
    Norman's -- Feast on a four-course New World Cuisine dinner at this Grande Lakes restaurant. The price isn't listed. Details and menu
    Streamsong Resort -- Treat your honey to a luxurious weekend away at this Central Florida resort. The Valentine's Day package includes chilled champagne upon check-in, a five-course wine-pairing dinner at the Italian SottoTerra Restaurant, breakfast for two, and guaranteed late check-out. From $350. Dinner only is $125 per person.
    Harbor Nights Romantico -- Kick off V-Day weekend at Harbor Nights Romantico, a grand event at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. You'll sample foods from the hotel's restaurants, and unlimited wine pourings, under the stars as musicians entertain. Friday, February 12. $50, VIP $85. Tickets
    Hamilton's Kitchen -- Have a three-course dinner, with choices like a crab cake appetizer with sweet corn and mustard greens, and a surf and turf entree with beef tenderloin and lobster tail plus truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus, and Hollandaise sauce, at The Alfond Inn's restaurant. $45
    The Dinner Party Project -- With the theme Five Things We Love About Orlando, this dinner-and-conversation outfit will host a meal on Saturday night, February 13. The evening will begin with live music cand craft cocktails, followed by five courses prepared by Maria Rivera, East End Market's Chef Jessica Tantalo, and Buttermilk Bakery. The event will be "celebrating" Downtown Credo, The Human Experience, the Creative City Project, East End Market, and Redlight Redlight." $75. Tickets
    Chef's Table at the Edgewater -- Winter Garden's cozy fine-dining spot offers two Valentine's Day options. Have a three-course brunch with entrees like duck and waffles, and eggs Sardou. $35. Or share a family-style dinner for two. Both poached cold water lobster tail and Wagyu Wellington are among the luxury foods on the menu. $75. Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Four Seasons Orlando -- Among the many Valentine's day options are this pampering hotel are a five-course dinner at the rooftop Spanish steakhouse Capa (here's the menu), $95, and a four-course dinner at the Italian Ravello (menu), $65, $85 with wine pairings.
    Cork & Fork -- This self-described American Grill will serve a three-course dinner for $35. Options include lobster bisque, steak Diane, and chocolate-covered strawberries. 407.250.6763
    Urbain 40 -- Three -course Valentine's Day dinners at Dr. Phillips' sassy newcomer include menu choices like lobster bisque or a pork belly-date duo, followed by red snapper with grapefruit confit or short rib Wellington, then a dessert trio. Bonus: a champagne toast and a box of chocolates. $59 per person. Reservations  
  • Learn to Cook at Tapa Toro

    TapaToro logo NEWOrlando -- Join a culinary demonstration at Tapa Toro, a Spanish restaurant on International Drive that will hold classes for up to 12 people the first Thursday of every month. Love at Sea, the first class, will be held on February 11. Later sessions are themed Easter in Espana, A Taste of Spain, and ¡Tapas, Tapas, Tapas! Classes cost $45 and include a glass of wine or sangria. Tickets  
  • Try Fancified Asian Street Food at Baoery Restaurant

    baoery logoOrlando -- Now that the Thornton Park Restaurant Group has its New Southern restaurant Soco up and running, the team has introduced a second neighborhood eatery: Baoery. Pronounced, apparently, like the New York City neighborhood The Bowery, this so-called Asian gastropub serves up hipster versions of Asian staples like bao (buns), wontons, and stir-fries. Read Rona's blog post for menu details. Read  
  • Explore the Gulf Coast on a Four-Day Florida Eco-tour

    combo 2Bradenton -- Locally grown foods prepared by farm-to-table chefs are part of the low-carbon-footprint trips offered by the new ((ecko)), a fascinating and fun enterprise on the Gulf coast of Florida. Experts -- we're talking about scientists, PhDs, folks who make things happen -- take time out from their day jobs to lead portions of each tour. That means novices know what they're looking at and knowledgeable travelers get a more in-depth education. Leave your car in Bradenton and every element will be taken care of for you, including, for camping options, having your tent pitched and your bedding laid out. (Some trips involve hotel stays instead.) Bicycling or kayaking, birding or Indian heritage make this trips worthwhile. Here's Rona's feature and here's the ((ecko)) website.  
  • Provisions & Buzz Adds Brunch

    Orlando -- Truffled eggs, Belgian waffles with apples and caramel, and shrimp and grits are among the items to be served at Provisions & Buzz's new brunch. The Baldwin Park restaurant will serve the items Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with $3 mimosas and Bloody Marys offered with garnishes including arnishes bacon, blue cheese stuffed olives, abd pepperoncini.  
  • Eat for $35 at Emeril's Tchoup Chop

    Emerils Tchoup Chop logoOrlando -- Emeril's Tchoup Chop is offering a three-course dinner for only $35 nightly from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. You'll have the choice of two appetizers, entrees, and desserts including Kahlua chicken eggrolls, hibachi skirt steak, and tropical sorbet. Details.  
  • Cask & Larder to Open at Orlando Airport

    Cask and Larder logoOrlando -- Winter Park restaurant Cask & Larder will bring its New Southern cooking to Orlando International Airport in summer 2016. The owners are teaming up with chef Johnny Rivers, who has airport foodservice experience, to create and run the 390-seat restaurant and take-out shop. Housemade beers, and gin and tonics on tap, will also be served.  
  • Winter Park Distilling Co. Is Expanding

    WDPC Collection smallOrlando -- Winter Park Distilling Company has been producing spirits for awhile, but  could only sell them retail. Now the homegrown business will become a "brewstillery." The building, in the old State Auto body building on 17-92, will include the distillery itself, tours, and a brewery and taproom to be called Bear & Peacock. Expect an early 2016 debut.  
  • Lafayette's Brings Tastes of Memphis to Orlando

    Lafayettes logoOrlando -- Memphis-based Lafeyette's has opened at Pointe Orlando. The restaurant serves Southern fare and features live music frequently. Po' boy sandwiches, and shrimp 'n' grits, are classic menu items.  
  • Guest Chefs to Visit Four Seasons Orlando

    Four Seasons logoOrlando -- Guest chefs are scheduled to host wine dinners at the Four Seasons Resort OrlandoJonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern (November 5, $125), the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour (December 5, $235), and Philllip Foss of EL Ideas (January 16, $195). Reservations: 407.313.6161  
  • Disney Employees Receive 20% Off at Plancha

    Disney Plancha FlyerOrlando -- Cuban-American specialties like chorizo burgers, Cuban sandwiches, and mojitos are on the menu at Plancha, the restaurant at the Orlando Four Seasons' Tranquilo Golf Club. Now Disney World's 65,000 or so "cast members" will receive a 20 percent discount off food and beverage purchases. Details.  
  • Special Request: Burgers from Dexter Cows

    Safari Wildernesss logoLakeland -- Guests at Safari Wilderness can soon snack on Dexter burgers. Indeed, the beef will be from grass-fed "little Irish heritage cattle," according to co-owner Lex Salisbury, who also runs the Giraffe Ranch. The burgers will be sold from a "farm-to-food truck" housed on the Safari Ranch premises. Safari Ranch gives African-like savannah tours of fields filled with African and Asian animals that roam freely.  
  • Nature & Culture Right Near Orlando

    Orlando -- Seminole County, just north of Orlando, has nature reserves, airboat rides, art galleries, and way more. Rona took a media tour and shares her finds in a series of blogs. Highlights include the Geneva Wilderness Area, Danville B&B, and Gallery on FirstRead the blog posts.  
  • Here's Rona's Take on the Publix Cooking School

    ApronsCookingSchoolOrlando -- Rona got to try out Aprons, the new cooking school at a Publix in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood. Read the blog.  
  • Adriatico Wins a Coveted Seal of Authenticity

    Adriatico logoOrlando -- The quiet Adriatico Trattoria Italiano in College Park is an exceptionally quality-oriented restaurant. Now Ospitalita Italiana, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, has given the eatery its Seal of Quality. Adriatico is the only Central Florida restaurant to have this distinction right now.  
  • Orlando, Zagat-Style

    Zagat Orlando 90Orlando -- Learn what fellow locals and visitors think about 360 restaurants 75 nightspots, 152 shops, and 57 attractions in the Zagat Orlando City Guide.  
  • This Chick Has No Need for Speed

    Exotic Driving 8 Lambo 570Rona drove a Lamborghini around the Daytona International Speedway. Only she forgot one thing: speed. Read her blog.  
  • Take an Orlando Food Tour

    Orlando Food Tours logo smallOrlando -- Spend a weekend afternoon checking out Winter Park food sources with Orlando Food Tours. Seven people at a time are brought to places like a spice shop, and olive oil store, and a candy counter. We haven't tried it yet, so report back if you beat us to it. $47  
  • Sample Moroccan Tapas at Spice Road Table

    Spice Road smallOrlando -- Small plates of Mediterranean fare invite lingering at Spice Road Table, a civilized indoors-and-out escape at Epcot's Morocco pavilion.  Sip a just-sweet Lillet, a light chilled wine flavored with honey, orange, lime, and mint. Nibble on crazy-flavorful lamb sliders on a brioche with mint-tzatziki sauce, plus rice-stuffed grape leaves, beef skewers with garlic and fresh hrbs, and spicy garlic shrimp. The fried calamari is tender with a terrific flavor. It's served with two sauces: harissa, and caper aioli.  
  • Straight-up Burgers at the Crooked Spoon

    Crooked Spoon logoOrlando -- West of Orlando in the Clermont, The Crooked Spoon is a rather large gastropub. The menu is varied, but zoom in on a hamburger. The Bleu Burger, for instance, is a remarkable patty of Florida Angus beef topped with bleu cheese, roasted garlic aioli, tomato, and mixed greens, served with exceptional homemade potato chips or, for a small upcharge, terrific french fries.  
  • Go Cowboy-Chic at Creek Ranch

    Creek RanchHaines City, Florida -- Not even an hour from Disney World, Creek Ranch is an immersive cowboy-chic experience. You lodge in the actual family bunkhouse of a working ranch -- it is quite upscale, with pampering service -- and dine, fish, ride horses, take airboat trips, and way more, all at one set all-inclusive price. Rona spent an afternoon touring and chatting with the owner and produced this feature article. Read and enjoy.  
  • Orlando's Hot Restaurant Tables

    Orlando -- With nationally recognized chefs and a burgeoning food scene, Orlando is becoming a culinary destination. Read about it.  
  • French Classics Made Easy

    French Classics Made EasyFrench Classics Made Easy is a cookbook that gets you to satisfying Gallic fare without a ton of sacrifice. Author Richard Grausman simplified a load of recipes and takes away the intimidation factor, shrugging that unbleached all-purpose flour is best "but if you have bleached flour, use it" and casually explaining that using a food processor cuts pasta-making time to mere seconds.  I have bookmarked several recipes to try ASAP and I'm sure you will too.  
  • Ready to Wham Your Picky Eaters Upside the Head? Join the Club

    Read Rona's blog, "Picky, Picky".