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Rona Gindin is an Orlando-based multimedia writer, editor and TV personality.

  • Orlando's Brewery & Its Distillery Pair Up to Make Barrel-Aged Beer

    Orlando BrewingOrlando -- Using white oak bourbon barrels from the Winter Park Distilling Company, Orlando Brewing has created Bourbon Barrel Red Aged Red Ale and O-Town Brown Ale. The hometown distillery uses the barrels to age its Bear Gully Classic Reserve Bourbon. The two are also pairing up to create a stout: the organic brewery is making its Senator Imperial Oatmeal Stout in the distillery's rum barrels.  
  • Joel Gott Wines to Be Featured at Cafe de France dinner

    Cafe de FranceOrlando -- At its next four-course wine dinner, Winter Park's Cafe de France will pair Joel Gott wines with each course. The event will be held in early October. In other news, the restaurant is offering 20 percent off some meals: lunch Tuesday through Saturday, dinner Tuesday through Thursday. The offer is good through September and only applies if you do not make reservations through Open Table.  
  • Announcing Orlando's 2014 Magical Dining Month

    magicaldining headerOrlando -- More than 75 hand-selected restaurants are signed for Magical Dining Month. Each will offer three-course $33 dinners throughout September. Among the selections are Todd English's bluezoo in the Swan-Dolphin, Bistro CloClo in Dr. Phillips, Mama Della's Ristorante (with fun entertainment) at Universal, Le Coq au Vin in Downtown South, and Park Plaza Gardens, with its new chef, in Winter Park. Rona recently sampled the offerings at Le Coq au Vin. Read her blog about the experience.  
  • Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Will Be a Week Longer this Year

    Epcot Food  Wine Festival logoOrlando -- Start dieting now so you can spend yet more time at the annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival. This year the multi-week, multi-faceted extravaganza will run for 53 days, beginning as early as September 19. Among the newbies will be a Patagonia marketplace featuring South American foods and wines, a Farm Fresh marketplace, a foodie "boot camp" and chat-and-nosh series with celebrity chef cookbook authors. You'll find way more details on the website.  
  • Norman's Will Serve Domaine Serene Wines at its Next Dinner

    Normans logoOrlando -- Only 36 guests will participate in the next wine dinner at Norman's, Norman Van Aken's New World Cuisine restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Domaine Serene wines will pair with each of the five courses. We have no menu details yet. Wednesday, October 8. 7:30 p.m. $170. Reservations: 407.393.4333  
  • Join the First-Ever Florida Local Food Summit

    Permaculture-01Orlando -- Orlando chefs are increasingly keen on getting their meats, fruits, and vegetables from area farms, so it's fitting that the city's East End Market will host the first-ever Florida Local Food Summit. Consumers are invited to join farmers, "foodpreneurs," and policy makers to discuss ways to get edibles from the soil to the table. Several educational sessions will be led by experts. Topics will range from organic farming to food forestry to farmers markets. October 3-4. Tickets.  
  • Hemisphere Highlights 'The Seeker Wines'

    Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport logoOrlando -- Hemisphere at Orlando's airport Hyatt will feature "The Seeker Wines" at its four-course wine dinner this fall. The choices come from around the world. They'll be served with seared cold-smoked sea scallops, roast rack of cocoa-crusted venison with a cabernet sauce, and more interesting foods. Friday, October 17. 7 p.m. $65. Reservations: 407.825.1315.  
  • Special Request: Burgers from Dexter Cows

    Safari Wildernesss logoLakeland -- Guests at Safari Wilderness can soon snack on Dexter burgers. Indeed, the beef will be from grass-fed "little Irish heritage cattle," according to co-owner Lex Salisbury, who also runs the Giraffe Ranch. The burgers will be sold from a "farm-to-food truck" housed on the Safari Ranch premises. Safari Ranch gives African-like savannah tours of fields filled with African and Asian animals that roam freely.  
  • Dine at Norman's Tribute to Charlie Trotter

    NormansCharlieTrotterTributeEmailv6optimus2Orlando -- Chefs Norman Van Aken and Charlie Trotter were close friends. Trotter passed away, and Van Aken is hosting a dinner in his honor. The event will take place in Van Aken's Orlando restaurant, Norman's, located in the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. The evening will involve hors d'oeuvres prepared by top local chefs and wines poured by sommeliers. Proceeds will benefit The Trotter Project, which aids culinary-arts and other endeavors financially. 7 p.m. Saturday, December 13. $200. Reservations: 407.393.4333  
  • Alpine Rush Snow Tubing -- in Orlando!

    Gaylord PalmsOrlando -- This winter, alpine rush snow tubing will be among the holiday-season festivities offered at the Gaylord Palms resort. The resort's facility will have an eight-lane, 18-inch hill covered with 1.5 million pounds of snow. In addition, this year's ICE theme will revolve around The Nutracker. Familar figures will be carved from ice.  
  • Dine & Lodge at the Alfond Inn

    Hamiltons Kitchen logoOrlando -- Winter Park's spiffy new Alfond Inn boutique hotel has a new chef, Marc Kusche. Sign up for the Stay & Dine package through December 30 and you'll get to experience a three-course dinner with a bottle of wine at the chef's table of hotel's restaurant, Hamilton's Kitchen, plus one night in a classic room. Price: $279  
  • Nature & Culture Right Near Orlando

    Orlando -- Seminole County, just north of Orlando, has nature reserves, airboat rides, art galleries, and way more. Rona took a media tour and shares her finds in a series of blogs. Highlights include the Geneva Wilderness Area, Danville B&B, and Gallery on FirstRead the blog posts.  
  • Summer Savings at The Breakers

    The BreakersPalm Beach -- The Breakers is an indulgent beachfront resort, and it's offering all kinds of promotions for summer. Start with this: Through December 17, all guests receive free breakfast (a full American breakfast, not just a continental meal), plus free kids' meals, WiFi, and fitness classes, and unlimited use of the tennis courts. You'll also find promotional prices at the spa, the golf course, and some restaurants. Start here.  
  • A Cozy French Bistro in Dr. Phillips

    Bistro CloClo logo smallOrlando -- Tucked into The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips, Bistro CloClo is a cozy French restaurant named for late Gallic pop singer Claude François. The dining room's walls are deep red and covered with paintings, all for sale. The menu is, delightfully, what you'd expect: nicely composed plates of scallops, steak, and other familiar proteins. Take a look at some foods. A hibiscus and procescco cocktail. Cheese and charcuterie plate. Tuna tartare with tapenade and arugula. Mussels with white wine, shallots, butter, and cream. Scallops flambéed with cognac. Rack of lamb with black risotto and ratatouille. And desserts like a cronut, chocolate mousse, and crème brûlée.  
  • Emeril's Heads to the Frozen Foods Aisle

    emeril kicked up frozen snacksNational -- Here in Orlando, we've been lucky to have two Emeril Lagasse restaurants -- Emeril's Orlando and Emeril's Tchoup Chop. Now the celebrity chef is bringing his bold flavors to grocery-store freezers. Look for Chicken & BBQ Sauce BAM™ Bites, Chili Cheese Mini Dogs, Jalapeño Wontons with Bacon, and Pulled Pork BAM™ Bites. They're typical American snack foods ... plus a punch. They'll be at "select" Walmart stores in 11 southern states including Florida.  
  • Check Out the New B Resort

    Orlando -- As B Hotels & Resorts prepared to open its newest mod-moderate hotel at Walt Disney World, it reveals that the signature restaurant will be a "farmhouse chic" barbecue establishment by Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management. It will "redefine" barbecue and will feature a window through which guests can watch meat being smoked. Other amenities: four tennis courts, a zero-entry mineral-water pool with multiple interactive water elements, private cabanas, outdoor fire pits for s’mores and more, kids programs, and an interactive area in the lobby with games and Monscierge® screens. See photos on Rona's blog.  
  • Mingos Will Help Orlandoans Diet

    MingoOrlando -- A health-oriented steak and seafood restaurant, Mingos serves dinner and brunch in Orlando's South Eola district. Now the restaurant also offers Healthy Lifestyle Cuisine. Essentially, folks who sign up will receive deliveries Monday through Friday. Each day's package contains  breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus dessert and/or snack upon request. All the meals are naturally low in fat and calories. Prices start at $95 per week, or $395 per month, and come with a free weekly boot camp class.  
  • Cat Cora Will Lead a Food Fundraiser

    JFS-chef-logo-1-round-4Orlando -- Chef Cat Cora will lead colleagues in Pantry to Plate: A Chef's Challenge to raise money for the food pantry at Jewish Family Services. The interactive event will also include local top chefs Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Hari Pulapaka of Cress, and Hollis Wilder of Sweet! Guests will make cocktails, vote on dishes, and top cupcakes. $125. Thursday, September 18, 6 p.m. at B.B. King's Blues Club. 407.644.7593  
  • Two Orlandoans Take the Pie Festival Prize

    pieOrlando -- Orlando-area bakers took top prizes at two Great American Pie Festival competitions. Evette Rahman, owner of Sister Honey's bakey, took Best of Show in the professional division for her Sensational Strawberry Cheese Pie. Home cook John Sunvold of Winter Springs places Amateur Best in Show for his creation, Ruthie's Park Avenue Chocolatier.  
  • Immerse Yourself in Chocolate While in St. Lucia

    chocolate smallCaribbean -- In St. Lucia, sister hotels Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet are romantic getaways. Now the properties share a Chocolate Laboratory using beans from their 1,000 cacao trees. Activities include chocolate sensory tastings, educational estate trips, and truffle-making classes. The resorts will offer chocolate packages this summer (think about menu items, cocktails, and spa treatments), and will host the Discover Chocolate Festival from October 10 through 14. Read here for details.  
  • Here's Rona's Take on the Publix Cooking School

    ApronsCookingSchoolOrlando -- Rona got to try out Aprons, the new cooking school at a Publix in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood. Read the blog.  
  • 12 Lucky Drivers Will Go to Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp

    Richard PettyOrlando -- Deep-pocketed racing enthusiasts may vie for one of 12 spots at the upcoming Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp. Over three days, participants will drive "supercars" like Ferraris at Petty's Disney World racetrack; 600 AP NASCAR stock cars in Daytona; meet Richard Petty; watch the Coke Zero 400 in a VIP suite; and get personal lessons from pros like Dale Inman, Randy LaJoie, and David Green. (This is not the experience for Rona. Read here to learn why. You'll chuckle.) July 4 to 6. $10,500. 704.454.6224  
  • Nifty Shtick at Cooper's Hawk

    Coopers Hawk logoOrlando -- Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants is a wine-focused restaurant chain with contemporary American cuisine. It also makes its own wine in the upper Midwest, bringing in grapes from California and other locations.  The Orlando unit -- Cooper's Hawk's 15th -- offers several noteworthy wine-related options. The restaurant offers wine tastings, including one for sweet wines. Most sweet-wine drinkers are dismissed as not worthy of such attention, and it's nice to see them recognized and introduced to new varietals. Second, since the company makes its own wine, its wine list is refreshlingly clear. Under "WHITE," you'll see, among others, sauvignon blanc, unoaked chardonnay, riesling and viogner -- no winery names. Every wine is available by the glass or bottle and guests are invited to ask for taste before purchasing. Bottles of red are served in a fun gizmo. A wine-of-the-month club reaps invitations and rewards.  
  • Loudmouth Grill Is Upbeat and Fun

    Loudmouth Grill logoOrlando -- When Loudmouth Grill opened in Orlando recently, it surprised with a nice array of food. The sports bar has a "loudmouth" shtick -- bright colors, bold patterns, the works. The myriad TVs are standard sports-bar fare. The menu surprised, in a good way. "Cheese sticks" are usually bland, but here Mama Mia Mozzarella Triangles were truly flavorful wedges of breaded and fried cheese. Delightful, too, was Roman Holiday, a martini glass in which housemade ricotta cheese is topped with herbs and roasted tomatoes and garlic. The Mac 'N Cheeseburger is a great gimmick -- a really good pattie served between slabs of fried macaroni & cheese, although the Classic burger would be feast enough. Burgers are served with homemade chips or waffle fries.  
  • Loads of Cooking Classes at East End Market

    East End MarketOrlando -- Many, many cooking and other food-related classes are scheduled for Orlando's bustling East End Market, home to many locavore-oriented vendors. Among the topics are Bringing It To Market: Foodpreneur 102, Seed Starting and Soil Blocks, Tackling Tomatoes, and Brunch & Learn: Latin Flavors. Here's the schedule.  
  • Adriatico Wins a Coveted Seal of Authenticity

    Adriatico logoOrlando -- The quiet Adriatico Trattoria Italiano in College Park is an exceptionally quality-oriented restaurant. Now Ospitalita Italiana, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, has given the eatery its Seal of Quality. Adriatico is the only Central Florida restaurant to have this distinction right now.  
  • Try the New Bar Menu at Citrus

    Orlando -- The snazzy downtown restaurant Citrus has added several bar foods, which are billed as "chef-driven." You can try to read them all in this photo (it's blurry), or go on what came in the email blast: smoked fish dip with pickled jalapenos, and buttermilk-battered oysters. Those two sure sound like they're worth a try. Fuller details are on this website link: Citrus bar menu.  
  • Gear Up for the Swan-Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

    Swan DolphinOrlando -- The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1, 2014. The evening festival is held outdoors with food tastings, wine samplings, and entertainment. Additionally, classes about wine and food will be held in the hotel. Details  
  • Hankering for a Burger in the Wee Hours? Here's GOOD Late-Night Food

    Edible Orlando smallOrlando -- These six restaurants take care and pride in their late-night bar menus. Check out Rona's Edible Orlando feature. Included are Shantell's Cafe & Oyster BarOblivion TaproomTeak Neighborhood GrillCask & LarderKasa Tapas & Raw Bar, and The Smiling Bison. Read now  
  • Sushi with a Twist at Kabooki

    Orlando Life smallOrlando -- At Kabooki Sushi, 23-yera-old chef Henry Moso serves creative Asian fare in a whimsical restaurant. Read Rona's feature in Orlando Life.  
  • Take an Orlando Food Tour

    Orlando Food Tours logo smallOrlando -- Spend a weekend afternoon checking out Winter Park food sources with Orlando Food Tours. Seven people at a time are brought to places like a spice shop, and olive oil store, and a candy counter. We haven't tried it yet, so report back if you beat us to it. $47  
  • Sample Moroccan Tapas at Spice Road Table

    Spice Road smallOrlando -- Small plates of Mediterranean fare invite lingering at Spice Road Table, a civilized indoors-and-out escape at Epcot's Morocco pavilion.  Sip a just-sweet Lillet, a light chilled wine flavored with honey, orange, lime, and mint. Nibble on crazy-flavorful lamb sliders on a brioche with mint-tzatziki sauce, plus rice-stuffed grape leaves, beef skewers with garlic and fresh hrbs, and spicy garlic shrimp. The fried calamari is tender with a terrific flavor. It's served with two sauces: harissa, and caper aioli.  
  • Straight-up Burgers at the Crooked Spoon

    Crooked Spoon logoOrlando -- West of Orlando in the Clermont, The Crooked Spoon is a rather large gastropub. The menu is varied, but zoom in on a hamburger. The Bleu Burger, for instance, is a remarkable patty of Florida Angus beef topped with bleu cheese, roasted garlic aioli, tomato, and mixed greens, served with exceptional homemade potato chips or, for a small upcharge, terrific french fries.  
  • Learn to Cook at the JW Marriott Orlando

    Grande Lakes e976f8 2Orlando -- The upscale JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, is opening its spiffy, spacious kitchens to folks eager to learn culinary skills. Under the name JW Griffin Cooking School, the resort has five classes on the 2014 schedule: Healthy Living, which includes info on how to cut gluten, meat, and sugar out of cooking; Sushi, where you'll learn how to roll your own; Pizza, from the wizzes at Primo; Mexican Cuisine, including a hearty stew and a mole sauce; and beer-making, a fitting Father's Day gift. Each class is from $55 to $79 per person and includes instruction and a meal (or two bottles of beer, in one case). Call 407.393.4619 to reserve a spot.  
  • Presenting: Lunch at Cask & Larder

    pimiento friesOrlando -- Now that it has the nuevo-Southern thing down at dinner and brunch, Winter Park's Cask & Larder will start serving lunch. Rona got to taste several items. Read about them on her blog.  
  • Go Cowboy-Chic at Creek Ranch

    Creek RanchHaines City, Florida -- Not even an hour from Disney World, Creek Ranch is an immersive cowboy-chic experience. You lodge in the actual family bunkhouse of a working ranch -- it is quite upscale, with pampering service -- and dine, fish, ride horses, take airboat trips, and way more, all at one set all-inclusive price. Rona spent an afternoon touring and chatting with the owner and produced this feature article. Read and enjoy.  
  • This Chick Has No Need for Speed

    Exotic Driving 8 Lambo 570Rona drove a Lamborghini around the Daytona International Speedway. Only she forgot one thing: speed. Read her blog.  
  • Orlando's Hot Restaurant Tables

    Orlando -- With nationally recognized chefs and a burgeoning food scene, Orlando is becoming a culinary destination. Read about it.  
  • Orlando, Zagat-Style

    Zagat Orlando 90Orlando -- Learn what fellow locals and visitors think about 360 restaurants 75 nightspots, 152 shops, and 57 attractions in the 2013 Zagat Orlando City Guide.  
  • French Classics Made Easy

    French Classics Made EasyFrench Classics Made Easy is a cookbook that gets you to satisfying Gallic fare without a ton of sacrifice. Author Richard Grausman simplified a load of recipes and takes away the intimidation factor, shrugging that unbleached all-purpose flour is best "but if you have bleached flour, use it" and casually explaining that using a food processor cuts pasta-making time to mere seconds.  I have bookmarked several recipes to try ASAP and I'm sure you will too.  
  • Ready to Wham Your Picky Eaters Upside the Head? Join the Club

    Read Rona's blog, "Picky, Picky".  
  • Spirited Drinking at The Pharmacy

    Orlando -- Hand-crafted cocktails and seasonally inspired snacks are served at Pharmacy, a speakeasy-style bar in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood. It is owned by the same folks who run The Table Orlando.  Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., 8060 Via Dellagio Way.  
  • In Orlando, Try TOASTED for Grilled Cheese

    Orlando -- Grilled cheese sandwiches are the focus at Toasted, a tiny new restaurant in Winter Park. The roasted vegetable, goat cheese and fig, and Forever Fall with roasted sweet potatoes were each boldly flavored and entirely different, and the fries (rosemary! truffle oil!) were a treat. There are burgers, too, but we didn't try them.