Bid online for Orlando Shakes Gala restaurant and hotel experiences

Written By Scott Joseph On April 3, 2024

Shakes Gala 24

The 2024 Gala for Orlando Shakes in Partnership with UCF, celebrating the professional theater’s 35th season, is Sunday April 14, and once again I’ve selected a collection of restaurants and experiences for the event’s silent auction.

Unfortunately, the gala is sold out. But you can still participate in the silent auction. In fact, it’s open online now. Just click here.

An impressive array of restaurants and resorts have donated gift cards, dinners, overnight stays and in a couple of cases dinner and an overnight stay. I may be bidding against you on some of these items.

Proceeds will help Orlando’s oldest professional theater to continue producing top notch shows – “Ain’t Misbehavin’” runs April 10 through 28 – and also support its educational programs that help introduce kids to the wonders of live productions.

Here is a sampling of some of the items you’ll find on the gala’s silent auction page.

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Newsy Nuggets: Starry future, tastes of not-Baldwin Park, and new hotel restaurants

Written By Scott Joseph On April 1, 2024

Michelin Man

The Florida Michelin Guide updates will be announced on April 18, and while I already told you the names of the restaurants that will be added to the guide in some way – whether as recommended restaurants, Bib Gourmands or starred we don’t know yet – I can tell you that according to my sources at least one newly-starred Orlando restaurant will be added to the list. Can’t tell you the name yet, but you won’t be surprised. Or at least you won’t be as surprised as when the restaurant first entered the list without a star. 

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The Drake Kitchen + Bar

Written By Scott Joseph On March 28, 2024

Drake logo

The Drake Kitchen + Bar, in downtown Orlando, gives one the impression that the space it occupies wasn’t meant to be a restaurant, at least not a full service one. Its bar area doubles as a foyer, as it were, and the dining spaces just beyond are trapezoidal, as if designed to fit an available space, which is odd seeing as how the building it is in, the Radius Apartments, is itself a new construction.

But the strange configuration actually adds to the allure of this charming addition to the downtown dining scene. In fact, even when the dining areas are full – easy to occur; it’s not a big place – there’s a feeling of intimacy.

Running the kitchen are husband and wife chef team and co-owners Heberto and Rona Segura, who have been operating a food truck parked mainly at Digress Wine Bar in College Park for a while. The food truck is the Duck and Drake Kitchen, which may have something to do with little hints of Guy Fawkes imagery in The Drake’s decor. (Duck and Drake was a pub in London’s Strand where Fawkes and his coconspirators hatched a plot to blow up Parliament in the 1600s.) It might also explain a cocktail on the menu called 36 Barrels, made with Gunpowder gin. But again, that was the Duck and Drake, not the Drake. Might be more appropriate for images of Sir Alfred, but like the wine bar I digress.

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Judson’s Live announces flight of wine tastings with master somm Miliotes

Written By Scott Joseph On March 27, 2024

George Miliotes at Judson's Live
Photo: Judson’s Live

A listening room is about to become a tasting room. I told you a while back that Judson’s Live, the terrific new venue at the Dr. Phillips Center, was planning a series of wine tasting events featuring master sommelier George Miliotes, owner of Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.

Now I can tell you that the first in an initial series of three events titled “Tasting with
Master Sommelier George Miliotes at Judson’s Live” will be Sunday, April 7, at 1:30 p.m. Subsequent tastings will be May 5 and June 2.

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JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek introduces special hand-selected bourbon from Buffalo Trace

Written By Scott Joseph On March 26, 2024

Buffalo trace 1

The JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek recently sent two of its restaurant managers and sommeliers to Louisville, Kentucky, and Buffalo Trace Distillery to hand select a barrel of Eagle Rare whiskey just for the resort.

The tasters settled on Barrel #122 and the distillery siphoned the 10-year-old single barrel select bourbon into bottles stamped with a special label designating it as JW Marriott Bonnet Creek’s own. You can sample the whiskey now in any number of craft cocktails at the resort’s bars. Maybe try it in The Elite, bartender Samantha Deacy’s creation at the Sear + Sea lobby bar that she demonstrated for us in an episode of On the House.

(There’s probably a good chance you’ll get a taste at our upcoming Dinner Party at the resort’s rooftop bar, illume. Watch for an announcement of the date and details soon, but keep this in mind: The last time we did a Dinner Party at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek it sold out within 30 minutes of being announced in my newsletter.)

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