The opening weekend at Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival revealed these top finds: chicken chipotle sausage and filet mignon with truffle butter sauce from Canada; grilled lamb chop with mint chutney from Australia; beef empanadas from Argentina; mung bean pancakes with kimchi from South Korea; Kona Brewing's Pipeline Porter from Hawaii; Florida Beer Co.'s Devil's Triangle IPA from the Craft Beer kiosk; and the dark chocolate mousse with chili and salted caramel (which made me a repeat offender) at the Dessert & Champagne pavilion. Vegans, be sure to give the chili Colorado with house-made chips, cashew cheese and Gardein beefless tips from Terra a go. And drinkers, beware Malaysia's Singapore Sling – it sneaks up on you.
A Taste of Thornton Park may not be as big a culinary happening as Epcot's, but proceeds from the annual event help fund various community initiatives for the Thornton Park Neighborhood Association. Now in its 11th year, TOTP will feature more than 40 food and drink vendors like Hue, Dexter's, Cityfish, Prickly Pear and Nick's Italian Kitchen. The event goes 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, and tickets are $30 ($40 day of the event). Visit thorntonpark.org for more info.
Over in Altamonte Springs, the Latin Food & Wine Festival takes place Friday-Saturday, Oct. 12-13, in Cranes Roost Park. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), the festival will stage two events: Savor the Night, a wine-and-dine walk-around ($85; $120 per couple) Friday night from 6:30-10 p.m.; and the Grand Tasting, a free event with various restaurants as well as spirits, wine and beer distributors selling their goods for anywhere between $1 and $5. Visit latinfoodandwine.com for more info.
Mama Millie's at the University Shoppes on University Boulevard has closed its doors; Quantum Leap, Orlando's first winery, opened last week in the Mills 50 District; the seventh annual Central Florida VegFest takes place Oct. 27 at Orlando Festival Park on Robinson Street; Wasabi Modern Japanese Cuisine (read: conveyor-belt sushi) is now open at the Florida Mall; and look for various specials at Padrino's Cuban Bistro, also in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
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