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

  • Celebrate '50 Shades of Grey' at Brio

    BrioOrlando -- On February 12, the Brio in Winter Park Village will host a 50 Shades of Grey cocktail party followed by a private screening of the new movie across the street at the Regal multiplex. Guests will sip martinis mentioned in the book such as a Frosty Lemon and nibble on bites served in the series including antipasto and mini crème brûlée. $50, includes three drinks and the film. 6 p.m. Reservations: 407.622.5611  
  • 'Que on the Farm in Osceola

    OC GrownOrlando -- A "Finger Lickin' BBQ Cook-off" is part of the fun this Saturday at the Osceola County Grown Farm Market. Guests can taste the 'que, shop for produce, learn to ferment veggies at home, and dance to live music. Saturday, January 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details  
  • Football Food for Fancy Folks

    Cask Larder growlersOrlando -- Spiff up your Superbowl table by buying the Swine & Sons Snack Pack, offered by the take-out shop under construction in Winter Park. The food and beer artisans at this Cask & Larder spinoff will pack the pack with four housemade beer crowlers, "Boubonyaki" beef jerky, bread-and-butter pickles, cheddar malt potato chips, Nashville hot chiccarones, and Fresno hot sauce.  
  • Dine Alfresco at 'Fresh from the Field'

    Fresh from the FieldOrlando -- Fresh from the Field is an over-the-top fabulous open-air wine dinner hosted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Florida. In March, the chef-led event will be held on the site of the new Tucker Ranch Heritage Park in Winter Garden. Chef Robert J. Ciborowski of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will create the four-course menu. Local craft beers and Palm Ridge Reserve whiskey will also be available. Saturday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. $180 ($120 of that is tax-deductible). Tickets  
  • The Date Is Set: Downtown Food & Wine Fest

    Downtown food wine festOrlando -- Food samplings from all over Central Florida will be dished up for two days straight at the Seventh Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest. Participating restaurants haven't been announced yet, but in past years the line-up included some top-notch independents along with upscale chains. Also on the menu: domestic and international wines, and live music. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. February 21-22. Tickets.  
  • At Jade Mountain, a Culinary Cornucopia

    Jade MountainSt. Lucia -- Jade Mountain is an ultra-posh boutique hotel within a larger one-of-a-kind hotel. Now the inn is hosting special culinary events plus others that are held every week. On a regular basis, guests can participate in Cocoa Tree to Chocolate Bar to learn about chocolate; a tandoori cooking class; Chocolate, Wine and Paradise (the name says it all); and a Saint Lucia Rum mixology class. Also on the calendar are food festivals: Cooking in Paradise, March 20-24; Mango Madness Festival, June  12-17; Jade Mountain’s Discover Chocolate, October 2-6; and Spices of the Caribbean, December 11-15. Details  
  • Where to Dine on Valentine's Day in Orlando

    Orlando -- Time for a night out with your sweetheart. Here's what some restaurants have to offer. (I'll post more as details arrive.)
    Normans -- The New World Cuisine specialist's four-course Valentine's Day menu has many choices, such as mango barbecued grilled cobia, filet mignon with shellfish, and coconut tapioca pearls. $150, plus $75 for paired wines.
    The Ravenous Pig -- The Winter Park gastropub will serve a four-course fixed-menu dinner on V-Day (no price provided) and a "Perfect Match" tasting dinner ($70 plus $35 for paired wines) the following evening. Menus
    Spencer's for Steaks and Chops -- The Hilton Orlando's steakhouse has a seasonal tasting menu with a Japanese-style lobster-gnocchi dish for $100, $60 more for paired wines. David's Club Bar and Grill will offer a $40 surf-n-turf special, $60 with a bottle of sparkling rosé.
    Bella Tuscany -- This Italian eatery on the western edge of Windermere is serving a five-course dinner with choices. Options include bucatini with black-truffle paste, crab legs, and poached pear. $70, $95 with wine pairings  
  • Coming Soon: Swine & Sons

    Swine and SonsOrlando -- Charcuterie, sandwiches, biscuits, ice cream, and other wholesome homemade goodies will be on the menu at Swine & Sons, a take-out shop owned by the same folks as The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder. Growlers of beer made by the Cask folks will alo be on Swine shelves. Target opening: March 2015  
  • Gear Up for Amelia Island Restaurant Week

    Amelia IslandAmelia Island -- Thirty Amelia Island restaurants will offer three-course meals for $19 or $26 January 16-25. Some will also sell lunch for $12--an entree plus a beverage. It's all part of Amelia Island Restaurant Week. Nine lodging facilities are offering deals too. Email Rona for details.  
  • 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.  
  • Join the Field to Feast Dinner with Disney Chefs

    Field to FeastOrlando -- Disney World's top chefs will be preparing dinner out on the Long & Scott farm in Zellwood for this fundraiser sponsored by Edible Orlando. Proceeds will benefit the Kids Cafe program at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Details.  
  • Citrus Restaurant Will Open a Sib: North Quarter Tavern

    Tavern logo finalOrlando -- North Quarter Tavern will open in early 2015. The restaurant, owned by the same folks at Citrus, is being described by the company as a "chef-driven neighborhood tavern." It will be in the upscale Nora apartment building, located on a portion of Orange Avenue being billed as North Quarter.  
  • Read Tons of Short Posts About Orlando's Latest

    Orlando -- I usually depend on the discreet link above to lure readers to my blog, but now I'm self-promoting. I've added so many Orlando newbies that I'm eager to share. Read about Mamak (it's like a Hawkers clone!), Artegon Marketplace, Caribe Royal's gingerbread village, the Venezuelan restaurant Q'Kenan, the French one Paris Bistro, the modern Indian American Gymkhana, and even the new iPhone app by the Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing ArtsTake a look, please.  
  • Lorna Brings Lounge Music to Rocco's Italian Grille

    Roccos logoOrlando -- Before Winter Park residents had time to finish mourning the demise of singer Lorna's  lounge act with pianist Michael Moore at the Red Fox Lounge, nearby restaurant Rocco's Italian Grille has snapped up the act. Starting November 8, the duo will entertain in the Italian restaurant's woodsy, upscale bar area from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday. The schedule will be posted on Rocco's Facebook page.  
  • Orlando's Brewery & Its Distillery Pair Up to Make Barrel-Aged Beer

    Orlando BrewingOrlando -- Using white oak bourbon barrels from the Winter Park Distilling Company, Orlando Brewing has created Bourbon Barrel Red Aged Red Ale and O-Town Brown Ale. The hometown distillery uses the barrels to age its Bear Gully Classic Reserve Bourbon. The two are also pairing up to create a stout: the organic brewery is making its Senator Imperial Oatmeal Stout in the distillery's rum barrels.  
  • 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.  
  • Dine & Lodge at the Alfond Inn

    Hamiltons Kitchen logoOrlando -- Winter Park's spiffy new Alfond Inn boutique hotel has a new chef, Marc Kusche. Sign up for the Stay & Dine package through December 30 and you'll get to experience a three-course dinner with a bottle of wine at the chef's table of hotel's restaurant, Hamilton's Kitchen, plus one night in a classic room. Price: $279  
  • 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.  
  • Check Out the New B Resort

    Orlando -- As B Hotels & Resorts prepared to open its newest mod-moderate hotel at Walt Disney World, it reveals that the signature restaurant will be a "farmhouse chic" barbecue establishment by Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management. It will "redefine" barbecue and will feature a window through which guests can watch meat being smoked. Other amenities: four tennis courts, a zero-entry mineral-water pool with multiple interactive water elements, private cabanas, outdoor fire pits for s’mores and more, kids programs, and an interactive area in the lobby with games and Monscierge® screens. See photos on Rona's blog.  
  • Two Orlandoans Take the Pie Festival Prize

    pieOrlando -- Orlando-area bakers took top prizes at two Great American Pie Festival competitions. Evette Rahman, owner of Sister Honey's bakey, took Best of Show in the professional division for her Sensational Strawberry Cheese Pie. Home cook John Sunvold of Winter Springs places Amateur Best in Show for his creation, Ruthie's Park Avenue Chocolatier.  
  • 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.  
  • Loads of Cooking Classes at East End Market

    East End MarketOrlando -- Many, many cooking and other food-related classes are scheduled for Orlando's bustling East End Market, home to many locavore-oriented vendors. Among the topics are Bringing It To Market: Foodpreneur 102, Seed Starting and Soil Blocks, Tackling Tomatoes, and Brunch & Learn: Latin Flavors. Here's the schedule.  
  • 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.  
  • Hankering for a Burger in the Wee Hours? Here's GOOD Late-Night Food

    Edible Orlando smallOrlando -- These six restaurants take care and pride in their late-night bar menus. Check out Rona's Edible Orlando feature. Included are Shantell's Cafe & Oyster BarOblivion TaproomTeak Neighborhood GrillCask & LarderKasa Tapas & Raw Bar, and The Smiling Bison. Read now  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • Orlando's Hot Restaurant Tables

    Orlando -- With nationally recognized chefs and a burgeoning food scene, Orlando is becoming a culinary destination. Read about it.  
  • 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 2013 Zagat Orlando City Guide.  
  • 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".