Now that I Scripps has bought Travel Channel, I can pimp my sister network more frequently, especially when it concerns a local chef and one of the shows that I DVR regularly. Sameh Wadi, chef/ owner of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge, is the first local culinarian to compete as a chef on Iron Chef America (other Minnesotans have appeared as sous chefs, et cetera) . Wadi will take on Iron Chef Masahara Morimoto in the episode that premiers on Food Network at 8 p.m. CST on Sunday, January 24th. Wadi was a semi-finalist for the coveted James Beard Rising Star award last year and is a doing great things at Saffron.
Doug Flicker’s new restaurant Piccolo opens on January 15th.
I just returned from a family vacation in Florida and had some memorable experiences first off, before the citrus freeze we had some amazing fruit from Natures Harvest on the Florida Turnpike. I think www.davidsonbros.com and www.harveysgrove.com are good options for shipping. The red seedless tangerines I ate down there dripped with sugar. In Palm Beach we ate well at Il Paradiso, Nick and Johnnies, Toojays, Mortons, and, of course, at the hotel. Anyone looking for a great stay should consider the Four Seasons down there, which is an amazing place especially for families. Noah took advantage of all the activities, we ate some ridiculously great food (the stone crabs were insane), and most impressive as always were the holiday sweets the gingerbread men, the homemade candies and lollipops, the Rice Krispie sushi...it was all divine.
Disney World for New Year's Eve was even better than last year’s party. The Epcot fireworks were the best in recent memory and the crowds were huge but in great spirits. I am a dork, this trip was the families fourth to WDW over the last 13 months. The lime-cilantro sherbet at the Yacht Club’s steak house was the best thing we ate the whole trip and my lamb rack there was a close second, but the sound of my kid screaming while we flew around the Test Track or coasted through Soarin’ or lit up the Toy Story ride arcade game was the true highlight. Well, that and the restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studio where they made my mother-in-law stand with her nose against the wall in the middle of a crowded restaurant for not eating all her vegetables.