Congratulations go out to Kathleen Blake (Rusty Spoon/Pine 22), Scott Hunnel (Victoria & Albert's), Brandon McGlamery (Luma on Park), James and Julie Petrakis (Ravenous Pig/Cask & Larder) and Hari Pulapaka (Cress Restaurant) for being named James Beard Awards semifinalists for Best Chef: South.
As a prelude to the Mighty St. Patrick's Festival March 14-17 at Downtown Disney's Raglan Road, the restaurant is staging "A Tale of Two Chefs" – two gourmet signature dinners March 13-14 featuring Michelin-starred chef Derry Clarke. Clarke will join good friend Kevin Dundon in preparing a three-course dinner with wine pairings March 13 ($55 plus tax) and a five-course dinner March 14 ($105 plus tax). Clarke's l'Ecrivain Restaurant in Dublin has earned a Michelin star every year since 2003. Visit raglanroad.com for more.
A more economical outing can be had at Lakeridge Winery's fifth annual Wine & Seafood Festival, running March 22-24. A $2 donation gains you access to a host of seafood, beverage and arts and crafts vendors, not to mention complimentary wine tastings.
Galopin Winter Park, which made our list of 2012's top five restaurant openings, has galloped into the sunset. The jinxed space will soon be occupied by Matilda's Pub, an Aussie-themed bar based out of Delaware. I'm sure the good folks at St. Mary Margaret Catholic Church across the street will love that.
Looking forward to sampling the fare at Noodles & Rice Café, housed in the former Blue Bistro space on Mills near Colonial … Also just opened: Italio Modern Italian Kitchen, on Orlando Avenue, and Toasted Grilled Cheese, on Aloma … Burger 21 No. 2 has opened near UCF just off University Boulevard, and the strip will also get a 4 Rivers Smokehouse toward the end of the year … Our fave creampuffery, Beard Papa's, has moved from its spacious and gleaming digs in Sanford to a far more humble space off Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Longwood. I think Papa's in trouble deep.
Got local restaurant dish? Send your tips to email@example.com