RG-cartoon

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

  • TONIGHT! Two Orlando Chefs Team Up for 'A Southern Affair" Cooking Demo

    ASouthernAffairOrlandoOrlando -- Chef John Rivers of The Coop and Greg Richie of Soco will be part of an interactive cooking demo as part of the A Southern Affair series. Chef Richie, as guest chef, will make chicken-fried steak with truffled pan gravy. Chef Rivers will present cinnamon roll bread pudding. Samples and recipe cards will be provided. Wednesday, April 27. 6:30 p.m. Free. Details  
  • Try Argentinian Wines at Cafe de France

    Cafe de FranceOrlando -- Winter Park French restaurant Cafe de France is hosting a three-person Argentinean wine-pairing dinner. The Latin American meal will begin with beet and shrimp risotto, followed by an arugula/hearts of palm salad, stuffed flank steak with queso blanco, and an Argentine sweet-potato cake. Thursday, April 28. $69. Reservations: 407.647.1869  
  • Highball & Harvest to Celebrate Barbecue and Beer

    HighballAndHarvestlogoOrlando -- New Southern restaurant Highball & Harvest will host two barbecue-and-beer events on May 6. For the Big Brew 'n' Que educational portion, smoking gurus including Dr. BBQ Ray Lampe will host a six-hour class. Certified Cicerone Aaron Libera will chime in with home-brewing tips. Following the class, the restaurant will serve a barbecue-and-beer dinner with live music. All events will take place at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes. Class: $95. Dinner: $85/$35. Both: $160. Reservations: 407.393.4422  
  • Join the Spire Collection Wine Dinner at Norman's

    NormansSpireCollectionWineDinne 20160421113633Orlando -- Norman's, the New World Cuisine restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, is hosting a five-course tasting dinner paired with wines from the Spire Collection. Master Sommelier John Blazon will talk about each wine as it's served with foods prepared by Executive Chef Andres Mendoza. Friday, May 27. $170. Reservations: 407.393-4333  
  • Where to Eat on Mother's Day in Orlando

    Orlando -- Every restaurant in town will be open on Sunday, May 8, as Mother's Day is a boondoggle for the hospitality business. Here are some of O-Town's best options. (I'll post more as the emails come along.)
    Hamilton's Kitchen -- This farm-to-table restaurant within Winter Park's Alfond Inn will host a brunch with live music, complimentary mimosas, and chef-attended food stations including salads, Belgian waffles, antipasto, carving, and cold seafood areas. Seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. $69/$29; free valet parking. Reservations
    Bella Tuscany Ristorante Italiano -- This Windermere restaurant will serve a brunch featuring carving, pasta, omelet and dessert stations. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. $40/$18. Reservations
    Emeril's Tchoup Chop -- This Polynesian-fusion restaurant in a Universal Orlando hotel will host brunch from noon to 3 p.m. and dinner thereafter until 9 p.m. Brunch options include ahi tuna poke, stuffed French toast and lemon-ricotta pancakes. Among the dinner options are lobster bisque, furikake-roasted Hawaiian butterfish and surf 'n' turf. Here's the full menu. Reservations
    Provisions & Buzz -- Head to Baldwin Park for a brunch of strata (savory egg bread pudding), prime rib, snow crab or oysters on the half shell, among other items.   
  • Attend a Beer Dinner at Seito Sushi

    Seito Sushi 2Orlando --Dr. Phillip's Seito Sushi is hosting a tasting dinner, pairing foods with Red Cypress Brewery beers. The meal will have six courses. Specifics have not yet been announced. Thursday, April 28. 6:30 p.m. $65. Reservations: 407.248.8888  
  • 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  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • 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.