In the nearly eight years since she opened her restaurant in downtown Orlando, Kathleen Blake has established it as one of the premier restaurants in Florida and herself as one of the area’s most prestigious chefs.
She was recently presented with the Beacon Award by the Foodservice Council for Women; is a leader in the national organization of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs; and has been nominated four times for a James Beard Foundation as Best Chef South Region. And on Nov. 9, she will be one of the featured chefs at that organization’s annual gala, a $500-a-ticket dinner held at the swanky Pierre Hotel in New York.
Nona Tap Room is gone and Nona Social Bar + Kitchen has taken its place. Except for the variation of the name, I can’t see a whole lot of difference between the two.
It’s still a neighborhoody place that is more bar than kitchen. Still a bit on the small, cozy side. It still features a menu that is burgercentric. And the kitchen still can’t cook a burger to a medium-rare temperature. Or perhaps just refuses to.
Too bad because the burger I had when I visited recently, the Bacon Bleu, was a good burger than could have been better if it had been cooked properly.
More Asian food is scheduled to come in off the street when Lotus Asia House opens at Pointe Orlando next year. The new restaurant will take over the space formerly held by RA Sushi.
Lotus Asia House is being developed by restaurateur Karim El Sherif along with chef/consultant Scott Drewno. El Sherif’s Linkedin profile says that he has been owner of Lotus since July of this year. Previously, he was director of food and beverage/taskforce consultant at the Waldorf Astoria, The Roosevelt in New Orleans.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has launched its own line of food products. Called A Spoon Full of Hope, the line includes tomato basil Soup for Good, shortbread Cookies for Good, and Honey for Good in various flavors. Sounds good. Visit A Spoon Full of Hope for details.