When I attended the Michelin Award ceremony in Miami last month, I was surprised to see only one Orlando restaurant, Z Asian, serving food at the reception on the concourse of LoanDepot Park, where the event was held. Then again, seeing as how this was Miami’s gig – Orlando hosted last year at the Ritz-Carlton; they’ll be in Tampa next year – perhaps it was unusual to have even one Central Florida participant.
And the area was well represented by the staff of Z Asian and its owners, Hien Q. Pham and his wife and the restaurant’s chef Huong Nguyen, who operated a food station overlooking third base. Z Asian was invited because it is a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand restaurant, two years in a row. Bib Gourmand, named for the Michelin tire mascot whose name is Bibendum, designates “good food at a good price.”
The next day, while driving back to Orlando, I was mulling over some choices to go for dinner with some friends that evening. I thought of Z Asian and said, “Why not?” I hadn’t been since the restaurant first opened in 2019, replacing Mai Bistro in the Mills 50 District. And as it turns out, the menu has changed quite a bit.
Linda’s Winter Park Diner will cease to be the last week of July. Owner Linda D’Auria has been the owner of the Fairbanks Avenue favorite for 35 years and decided it was time to retire. She has sold the property and would not say who the buyer is but did say it will no longer be a restaurant. “I feel like I served the community for a really long time,” D’Auria said by phone Tuesday, “I made so many great friends and I wanted to go out on top.”
The James Beard Foundation handed out its chef and restaurant awards Monday at a ceremony in Chicago. As in years past, Central Florida left awardless, though at least we had a dog in the fight this time – and a Michelin Guide-recommended dog at that. Henry Moso, the chef and owner of Kabooki Sushi, was the first Orlando chef to ever advance to the final round. He was nominated for the Best Chef: South region, which also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and New Orleans. I mean Louisiana. For a change, a New Orleans chef did not walk away with the medallion. Instead, Natalia Vallejo, the chef at Cocina al Fondo in San Juan was named the winner.
The Curry Ford West District F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen is set to reopen, perhaps as soon as June 12, The freestanding, newly constructed building sits on the corner of Curry Ford Road and Primrose Drive. It replaces the original FDWIK that was near the corner of Bumby Avenue and was closed a little over a year ago because the block it was on was scheduled for imminent redevelopment. Apparently imminent doesn’t mean within a year – nothing has happened on the site so far.
When the relocation was announced, an official with F&D said that when the restaurant reopened it would likely lose the word Italian from the name. As you can see from the photo above, that didn’t happen.
Reports have come in that two cars were stolen from the valet parking station at the recently-opened Norman’s at Dellagio Town Center on Restaurant Row Friday evening. The cars are said to be a Rolls Royce and a BMW, so at least the thieves aim big. Exact details from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were not immediately available, but a spokesman at Norman’s confirmed Saturday that two incident reports were filed.
This follows another theft two weeks ago at Ava Mediterragean restaurant in Winter Park where a Mercedes G-class wagon was also stolen after parking with the valet.
Local Flavor is a collaboration between Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide and The Community Paper.
Bites & Bubbles, the contemporary American restaurant at Mills Park in the Mills 50 District, is known for its extensive assortment of tapas and charcuterie boards as well as full entrees. And craft cocktails if you’re not in the mood for bubbles.
With summer upon us, chef and co-owner Eddie Nickell is sharing his recipe for Summer Watermelon Salad, which is a perfectly cool option for a hot day. B&B tosses the salad dressing with mixed greens, blueberries and cherry tomatoes, although you could substitute your favorite salad fixings. But do toss in some cubes of juicy watermelon.
The recipe for the dressing makes one quart, but Nickell says you can easily halve it. See the full recipe at yourcommunitypaper.com.