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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On May 25, 2023

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News from the Flog  
 AIV Magellan

Knife & Spoon celebrates Michelin star win with special four-course menu through June 17

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In celebration of achieving Michelin stardom for the second year in a row, Knife & Spoon, the upscale steak and seafood restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando, is offering a special four-course menu now through June 17.

Tyler Kineman, chef de cuisine for John Tesar, the Dallas-based celebrity chef, has put together a table d’hote with each course offering two choices. And there isn’t a clunker among them, with such favorites as hamachi crudo, fresh local oysters, whole fish and prime New York strip steak. (See the full menu below.) There is an optional wine pairing, as well.

Here’s the full celebratory four-course menu:

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Recent Reviews

Turci Pasta

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I have a family recipe, one my mom cooked regularly when I was growing, that I make from time to time. It’s noodle based and I’ve always just used store-bought dried egg noodles.

Then one day I decided to make fresh pasta and I used some in the recipe. And suddenly a mundane dish was a superior one. I’ll never go back to using dried pasta in that recipe again.

Vinicius Turci and his wife, Nathalia Kalil, understand that. Fresh pastas are the centerpiece of their College Park restaurant, Turci Pasta.


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Newsy Nuggets

Newsy Nuggets: Liguori sells Valdiano to Liguori; Wolfe returns to catering; new exec chef at Maxine’s; and odds get better for a local Best Chef award

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Pizzeria Valdiano has been sold, but it’s still staying in the Liguori family. Founder Joe Liguori, who also has the growing Hangry Bison brand, has sold the Pizzeria Valdiano business to his sister Angela Liguori and two longtime employees, Michael Fiorino of the Winter Park location and Adrian Zumbado in Lakeland. Asked if he was selling to focus on Hangry Bison, Liguori said: “Yes, that is the primary reason, but it is also for Mike and Adrian, my sister, and the Pizzeria Valdiano brand as well. The timing is right that The Hangry Bison needs my full attention, and Pizzeria Valdiano deserves new leadership as well.” Liguori is seeking franchisees for the Hangry Bison concept. Closing date for the Pizzeria Valdiano sale is Sept. 1.

Jason Wolfe, who recently left the kitchens of Tornatore’s, has joined Millenia Catering as chef de cuisine under executive chef and owner Lo Soukahvong. This is a return to the world of catering for Wolfe. Before Tornatore’s and K restaruant, he was chef de cuisine at Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events.

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Newsy Nuggets: Wine Quest; Aurora hire; Epcot sushi; Camille; and Homeward Kitchen

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The 2023 edition of Wine Quest, the annual wine tasting and auction benefitting Quest, Inc., will be Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3 from 7 to 10 p.m. each night at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

Friday is the grand tasting event, a walkabout sampling of wines, hors d’oeuvres and craft spirits plus a silent auction.

Saturday is a sit-down, four-course dinner with pairings from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

You can do one night or both. The Friday tasting event is $250 per person and the Saturday dinner is $350. You can get both evenings for $500.

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Hamburger Mary’s sues governor, state over anti-drag bill

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John Paonessa has had a day. He arrived at work Tuesday morning to find news vans from every local television station in front of Hamburger Mary’s, the restaurant he owns and operates with his husband, Mike Rogier. He’s been fielding calls for requests for interviews from NPR and CNN and other national news organizations.

“I never thought this would blow up the way it did,” Paonessa told me.

The “this” is the announcement that Paonessa and Rogier, through their business entity HM Florida-Orl, LLC, are suing Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida in federal court claiming that a bill recently signed by the governor forbidding children to attend drag shows is a violation of their First Amendment rights. The downtown restaurant hosts weekly events featuring drag performers, some of which are attended by customers with children. The lawsuit also names Melanie Griffin, secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.


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We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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