You'd best get your tickets now for what could well be Winter Park's food event of the year. The inaugural Winter Park Food & Wine Classic Oct. 26-27 will see some of Central Florida's best chefs gather in Central Park for the Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner ($80 per person) Friday night. Limited to 150 guests, the event will feature James Beard-nominated chefs like James and Julie Petrakis, Kevin Fonzo, Hari Pulapaka, Henry Salgado and more serving up a family-style meal with wine pairings. All proceeds will benefit the Rosen School of Hospitality. Then on Saturday, the second annual Cows & Cabs, a cowboy-themed charity event ($110 per person) takes place, featuring wine and craft-beer tastings, gourmet fare from 16 restaurants, live entertainment and a silent auction. Visit wpfoodandwineclassic.com for more information.
Piada & Piada, an eatery specializing in the thin Italian flatbreads native to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, has opened its doors in Lake Mary. GM Luca Centoni gave me the tour, and as impressed as I was with all the imported Italian foodstuffs (like cheeses from the venerable Formaggi della Famiglia Busti), it was hard to pry my eyes away from the brass La Nuova Simonelli Athena Leva – a hand-lever-operated espresso machine. Look for the restaurant's grand opening sometime in October. FIAT plans to bring a fleet of red, white and green cars to help them celebrate the event.
Next time you're at the airport and have some time to kill, head up the escalator to the lobby level of the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport and enjoy a pre-flight meal at the newly renovated McCoy's Bar and Grill. Communal tables, bamboo flooring and a sushi bar are among the new additions, not to mention executive chef David Didzunas' eclectic, locally sourced, globally inspired menu.
Mark Thursday, Oct. 4, on your calendar and keep $45 handy for the Wine Maker Dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. at the All Italian Market & Deli. Some primo wines from three Italian wineries (Fattoria del Cerro, Colpetrone and La Poderina) will be paired alongside a five-course Italian meal.
The new Whisper Creek Farm at the Grande Lakes Resort celebrates its grand opening with a Slow Down Dinner
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12. Tickets are $125 and proceeds will benefit Slow Food Orlando's new Community Garden Fund.
Another day, another "better burger" joint in Orlando: Look for Burger 21 to open this fall in the Shoppes at Millenia.
Got local restaurant dish? Send your tips to [email protected].