Jack & Honey’s, the new tenant in the space that most recently was Hawaiian themed The 808 but for decades before that was Dexter’s of Thornton Park, bills itself as an “upscale diner.” What does that mean? Instead of grits they serve polenta? Does the waitress Flo have a French accent?
As near as I can tell, an upscale diner means restaurant. And in the case of Jack & Honey’s, a pleasant one at that.
Have you ever wondered why wine bottles come in different shapes? Perhaps you have even heard their associated names, most of them French. The Bordeaux bottle, the Burgundian, the Alsatian. Actually, there is a reason behind each bottle shape and name, though not always associated to a functionality.
It all started in Burgundy, France, in the 19th century, where winemakers decided to use bottles with graceful, sloping shoulders. Interestingly, that was a thoughtful marketing decision designed to provide a recognizable visual packaging style to Burgundian wines, precisely when they had started gaining ample recognition by the international community. But that was an easy adoption as well, as such smooth bottle shapes were easier to fabricate. A win-win situation.
While many of us spent the pandemic isolation period swilling alcohol, Steve Nichols and Mike Weber used the time to figure a way to make and sell it. The result is Caribbean Moonshine, a craft rum distillery, tasting room and retail outlet that just opened at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet Mall. It’s a 3,000-square-foot facility that pays homage, if that’s the appropriate word, to Florida’s past as a bootlegger’s paradise and rum-runner’s retreat. The Orlando facility isn’t a full-service distillery. The rum base is made in Puerto Rico, then shipped to New Port Richey where it is blended with spring water and cane sugar, and then to the Premium Outlet location for flavoring and bottling. Caribbean Moonshine also sells fruit-flavored rum cakes.
Justin Plank, who has served for seven and a half years as executive chef at Disney Springs’ Terralina Crafted Italian, helping in its transition from Portobello, has left that Levy Restaurants property and will be executive chef at the soon-to-open Voodoo Bayou on Restaurant Row.
Terralina announced that Claudio Daggio, who served as sous chef for Plank, has been promoted to executive chef.
The Aardvark — a restaurant, bar, and bottle shop in Orlando’s SoDo District — is an example of a successful reinvention.
Originally known as Aardvark Beverages, it was primarily a package beverage store and a go-to source for beer kegs for partiers of all ages. Well, over 21. The name almost certainly was chosen to come up first in the Yellow Pages listings. (If you’re under 40, ask your grandparents what the Yellow Pages were.)
Today, The Aardvark is a comfortable little neighborhood boîte serving American and bistro fare, such as this sandwich shared by owner Emmie Olivecrona. It’s called the Spicy Guy and features boneless, skinless chicken thighs, either with a hot-sauce coating or just plain.
This recipe is for one sandwich, but you can scale it up for as many people as you’d like. And if it’s for a big party, you may want to know that The Aardvark still sells kegs.