I guess I was just expecting too much.
I got excited when the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort announced, in September, that it was opening Rosa Mexicano in a space at the Dolphin hotel. Rosa Mexicano is a small chain – the Orlando location is the 11th – that started on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 1984 and bills itself as serving “Mexican food in a fine dining atmosphere.”
What’s more, that atmosphere would be provided by the designer David Rockwell, whose portfolio includes Nobu restaurants worldwide, Union Square Cafe in New York and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London. His group also designs sets for Broadway shows and theaters. Locally, the Rockwell Group designed the Cirque du Soleil theater at Disney Springs and the interior of the now-closed Emeril Lagasse’s Tchoup Chop.
So, one of my favorite cuisines in a fine dining atmosphere inside a David Rockwell-designed restaurant? I’m there.
And by there I mean the Rosa Mexicano on the Upper West Side across the street from Lincoln Center for a pre-theater dinner.
Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe my feelings about that visit and the subsequent one I made to the new Rosa Mexicano in Orlando.
Here are some notes from a recent visit to New York.
One you’re inside this tiny Midtown cafe you’d swear you were in the heart of Paris. When I left I half expected to walk out onto Rue des Archives instead of W. 50th Street.
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Mike Trudnak, who earlier this month left Aurora at the Celeste, the restaurant he opened in 2020, has reemerged in Daytona Beach at the Daytona Grande. He started his new job as the executive chef for the oceanfront resort on Thursday. On Monday, his former executive sous chef and sous chef from Aurora will join him on the coast.
“We’re trying to bring that Aurora magic over here,” Trudnak said in a phone conversation on Wednesday.
Not that it’s going to be Aurora at the Grande. In fact, Trudnak hasn’t even decided yet what he’s going do with the menu for the property’s main restaurant, though he said he expects the cuisine will reflect the diversity of his kitchen staff.
The hotel, which has been open a year and a half, is the only hotel with walkup access from the beach, according to Trudnak.
Jason Wolfe – Photo via Tornatore’s Facebook page.
Jason Wolfe, who became the executive chef at Tornatore’s Ristorante nearly three and a half years ago, is leaving the popular College Park restaurant. His final day in the kitchen is Saturday, April 22.
In a text message Friday, Wolfe wrote, “I have many opportunities lining up [but I’m] just not sure the direction I’m going to go just yet.” He said he’s looking for a position that will allow him to spend more time with his 19-month-old son. He said that he is considering starting a private-chef business but realizes that in the meantime he will have to “keep the lights on and food on the table while I build it. Going to take this week to decide which direction to go in.”
Denny Tornatore texted that he will step back into the role of executive chef. “I will be taking over the kitchen like I did the first 11 years here,” he wrote. He added that he and Wolfe are “best friends and I wish him the best.”
“I have 30 years experience cooking Italian food so I will bring it back to the classics that we built our restaurant on,” Tornatore said. “I am actually excited to get back in there.”
Our friends at Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse in downtown Orlando are introducing a new line of products called LG Studio. I don’t know where they’re going to fit them all because the warehouse is already chockfull of manner of stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines. (Do people still call them washing machines or is that an old-timey term?)
Southeast Steel has been carrying LG products for years, and most recently brought in the LG SKS, an upscale line of kitchen appliances. (SKS stands for Signature Kitchen Suite.)
LG Studio is also an upscale line, but with appliances for both kitchen and laundry. And the really attractive thing – literally, if you’re design minded – is that all LG Studio appliances are meant to match. So if you want a uniform look in your kitchen you can achieve that by shopping the LG Studio line.
If you’d like to get an idea of what they look like, stop in this Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Southeast Steel will have a display set up and an LG representative will be on hand to answer questions about the Studio line. Also, not incidentally, Southeast Steel is featuring a rebate on LG Studio appliances.
I plan on stopping by because I’ve always wanted to tell my friends I have an upscale washing machine.
Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse is at 63 W. Amelia Street, Orlando (map).
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