Apr 042016

The Osprey Tavern, helmed by Executive Chef Joseph Burnett, offers a modern take on traditional tavern-inspired cuisine, while embracing the popular movement toward local and sustainable ingredients. Through its partnership with the James Beard Foundation, The Osprey Tavern will raise funds to provide scholarship support to students who demonstrate potential for a successful career in the culinary industry. Kicking off at 7 p.m. on April 9, Beard in Baldwin, a Friends of James Beard Benefit, aims to highlight Florida’s most talented chefs and restaurants in Baldwin Park.

For $75 per ticket, guests will have the opportunity to delight in an outdoor foodie playground on the lake featuring gourmet fare, fine wines and spirits and live music by The Legendary JC’s. Of the more than 25 confirmed restaurants, Beard-nominated concepts, such as The Rusty Spoon, K Restaurant, Norman’s, and The Ravenous Pig will be in attendance, alongside local favorites including Seito, Highball & Harvest, Hawkers and Tapa Toro.

Elevating the experience is an indoor VIP celebration– $150 per ticket– that offers access to The Osprey Tavern, where guests can enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Burnett’s “chef friends” from around the state and craft cocktails by Osprey Tavern’s beverage director, Harrison Cremata. Top-billed talent to be sampled inside The Osprey Tavern include:

  • This year’s two-time James Beard nominated Brad Kilgore of Alter in Miami
  • James Beard semifinalist Timon Balloo of SUGARCANE raw bar grill in Miami
  • Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & the Till in Tampa
  • Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant” semifinalist Cesar Zapata of The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions in Miami
  • Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci will be partnering with Hichem Lahreche of Criollo Chocolatier in Orlando to create a unique dessert experience.

“Blending some of Florida’s best talent and raising funds for future leaders in the culinary industry was the inspiration behind Beard in Baldwin,” says Chef Burnett. “From chefs to local sponsors, each participant enables us to curate an evening that generates well-deserved attention to the Baldwin Park community and greater Orlando.”

For ticket information and a complete list of participating restaurants and sponsors, please visit www.beardinbaldwin.com.

BIB Flier 2016

Apr 012016

The Rusty Spoon is celebrating its five-year anniversary throughout the month of April with a series of chef-driven events featuring some of Chef Blake’s friends and past collaborators within the industry including Melissa Kelly, Kevin Fonzo, Penny Barend and Melissa Khoury.


  • On April 2, Chef Kevin Fonzo will join Chef Blake to celebrate The Rusty Spoon’s five-year anniversary and K Restaurant’s fifteen-year anniversary with a family style dinner featuring the farmer that introduced them to each other, Jim Wood of Palmetto Creek Farm. The menu will be 4 courses of seasonal favorites and of course lots of pork. The dinner includes 4 courses and two wine pairings at $55.

Rusty Spoon Invite

  • On April 21, artisan butchers Penny Barend and Melissa Khoury of Cleveland-based Saucisson will collaborate with Chef Blake for a nose-to-tail dinner. Barend and Khoury worked with Chef Blake during her time at Primo and Penny was instrumental in opening The Rusty Spoon as Chef de Cuisine. The Chefs will be presenting a variety of dishes where locally-sourced and handcrafted is highlighted.
  • On April 22, Chef Melissa Kelly of Primo will join Chef Blake for a very special Earth Day dinner. The collaborative dinner celebrates not only the bounty of Central Florida, the farmers, the artisans, family and friends but also their 20 plus year friendship. Chef Blake was Chef Kelly’s opening Chef de Cuisine of Primo in 2003 and the two have remained culinary confidants ever since.

Happy Birthday to The Rusty Spoon!


Mar 282016

Take a break from Orlando’s scorching heat inside this “cool” bar that’s carved out of 50 tons of ice. Icebar Orlando is hot enough to be featured on several TV shows, including the Food Network’s “America’s Best” and the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Barhopping.” So, if you’re a local or visiting The City Beautiful, it might be time to add our very own ice bar to your list of places to visit.

Check out A Glimpse Into the World’s Coolest Ice Bars

by Jehan Powell at Mode

Mar 252016

I’ve never understood why most happy hours end at 6 p.m. Aren’t they designed for the working force? And these days between endless emails and I-4 traffic, who can make it anywhere by the time the clock strikes six? In a world of overpriced small plates and trendy cocktails it’s nice to find a spot that caters to the after-work crowd with some unique offerings. We recently visited RA Sushi to try out their happy hour and were delighted to find full size sushi rolls and a respectable craft beer and cocktail selection, all reasonably priced and tasty too.

Here’s what we tasted, sipped and enjoyed after a long day of work!

Rainbow Roll: A classic roll served in a colorful display for well under $10. {Score!}

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Viva Las Vegas Roll: The star of the night, fully living up to its showy name. Crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, tempura battered and topped with spicy tuna, crab mix and sliced lotus root, then it’s finished with sweet eel sauce.

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Tuna Tataki: Perfect for sharing and for the novice sushi diner, this mild roll is perked up with some soy sauce and a touch of wasabi.

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Blush Geisha: Cold lemonade mixed with Skyy Raspberry Vodka, Bols Black Raspberry Liqueur and lemon sour; tastes innocent enough, but sip this sly drink slowly – it’s strong!


Lunetta Prosecco – Trentino, Italy: They say bubbles go with everything, and I couldn’t agree more. Enjoy a sip of Italy alongside a taste of Japan for a mere $8.

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Now for the good stuff, the chance to win free food! We’re giving away two $50 gift cards to RA Sushi, all you have to do is comment on our Instagram post featuring this article and share your go-to sushi roll or happy hour drink. Cheers!

RA Sushi serves up happy hour daily from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – close on Monday – Saturday and from 3 p.m. – close on Sundays. Located in Pointe Orlando at 9101 International Drive. Paying a visit? Tell them Spork sent ya!




Spork Orlando was compensated for this post and subsequent campaign. All opinions are reserved by Spork Orlando. Winners will be randomly selected.

Mar 202016

Recently acclaimed for our BBQ, farm to table and taco places, Orlando has another side that’s not often publicized. Amidst the cultural melting pot of The City Beautiful is a subtle French presence which is quietly serving up some of the most flavorful meals in town. From SoDo to hidden spots on Park Avenue, there’s plenty of authentic French fare in town. Here’s some of our favorites!

Le Gourmet Break: An unassuming spot tucked just steps away from the Dr. Phillips Center, it’s home to some of the tastiest croissants in town. Run by a sweet family that moved from France a few years ago, Le Gourmet Break is open for both lunch and breakfast. Try their bacon croissant omelette for a savory start to your day. With everything made on site (like a true French restaurant), I guarantee you’ll return time and time again to this downtown haven.



Le Macaron: We’ve entered an era where the macaron is now for sale at the airport. (Sigh). But true connoisseurs of this confection know that it’s an art, and one that takes incredible care and time. Hidden behind Park Avenue, this quiet macaron spot is serving up some of the most delicate and authentic macarons in town. These treats are handmade on site and come in 20+ flavors ranging from Basil White Chocolate to Orange Chocolate Grand Marnier.


Cafe de France: On the Ave. since 1982 and always owned and operated by French natives, this quaint restaurant mimics many of the bistros you’d find in Europe. All dishes are prepared on site (notice a trend here with the French and their restaurants?) and reflect true care and authenticity. Their cheese platter is uber understated in appearance, yet magnificent in flavor – the French do know their cheese after all! So skip the “trendy” restaurants for a night and treat yourself to the authentic flavors, wine and atmosphere that Cafe de France has to offer.



Le Coq au Vin: Although my last visit was a decade ago (I know, I really need to go back!), I still hear great things about this Sodo spot. This husband wife duo has carried on the tradition that Le Coq au Vin started nearly 40 years ago. Like many restaurants in France, they source most of their ingredients from local farmers and artisans including produce and herbs from their own family farm. And from what I recall, their Crème brûlée is killer. Bon Appétit!

Did we miss your favorite French restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!



Photo Credits: Le Macaron, Cafe de France




Café de France Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mar 192016

Every so often a restaurant comes along that you know is destined to become a beloved location by both locals and foodies alike. Spots like Pig Floyd’s or Black Rooster Taqueria only stay secretive for so long, and soon enough your hidden gem becomes an Orlando staple. And while selfishly I’d like to keep Nova a secret (so I can guarantee myself a table), this new Ivanhoe Village restaurant is just too good to keep to myself.

Situated on the corner of Orange and Virginia, this long anticipated restaurant has finally arrived and is making quite the splash. With outdoor seating, a swanky bar and fascinating menu, Nova may just be your new go-to spot for drinks or date night.

  • Cheese and Crackers: Sounds simple enough, but this house-made Boursin style goat cheese with jalapeño peach jelly and flatbread crackers, was outstanding. And bonus points for making an edible goat cheese! Don’t overlook this simple, yet delectable appetizer.


  • Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes: With a horseradish remoulade it’s everything you’d want in a crab cake; pure, plump and simple.
  • Ahi Tuna: My new favorite tuna dish featuring sesame-crusted ahi tuna with kimchi fried rice, coconut ginger curry and a local vegetable stir fry. Not a dish I’d recommend for every palate, but if you’re into sliced tuna and the flavors of Chinese five spice, this buttery tuna is exceptional.


  • 1409 Burger: This is bliss wedged between two buns with a short rib patty, Vermont white cheddar, over-easy egg, pecan smoked bacon with a side of duck fat fries. It’s a burger so loaded with gooey, fatty goodness you’ll crave this steak and potato dish long after your visit.


  • Chocolate Crème brûlée: There’s always room for dessert right? A twist on the traditional version, this dish was the perfect ending to a star-studded menu lineup.


And of course there’s a substantial variety of craft cocktails, wines by the glass and beers to suit your palate. Weekday or weeknight, Nova will quickly become Orlando’s go-to spot for all occasions. Cheers!


Nova Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mar 182016

Most places in town reserve “happy hour” for hum-drum weekdays, but thankfully RA Sushi hosts a time to nosh and gather everyday. And what better time to celebrate happy hour than on International Day of Happiness, this Sunday March 20. Taste their “RA”ckin’ Shrimp, Spring Rolls, Viva Las Vegas Roll, Salmon Nigiri, and a host of other sushi, appetizers and specialty drinks from 3 p.m. to close on March 20.

Beyond this Sunday, you can enjoy their select happy hour sushi and appetizers ranging from $3.49 – $8.99 on Mondays – Saturdays from 3 – 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close. So basically, there’s tons of time at RA Sushi for sushi and drinks all at a happy hour price.

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So come #unleashyourhappy with us on Sunday and continue all week long with Ra Sushi’s killer happy hour offerings! For full menu offerings and happy hour info, visit their website.

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Spork Orlando was compensated for this post and subsequent campaign. All opinions are reserved by Spork Orlando.