The 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival kicked off with its opening-night movie Twenty Feet from Stardom at the Winter Park Regal Cinema and a savory shindig followed at the Enzian Theater.
Films and food are a flavorful formula the Enzian Theater has mastered and audiences have enjoyed for more than 25 years. The Florida Film Festival takes it up a notch with its culinary celebration, featuring area restaurants serving bodacious bites to delectable desserts.
Food, food, glorious food! I sampled enticing edibles by Eden Bar, Ethos Vegan Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Rangetsu, Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen and Whole Foods Market while watching The RedCoats rock out and perform Beatles songs on stage.
Eden Bar, the Enzian Theater’s outdoor bar and restaurant, was my first stop. I tried their yummy chicken quesadilla with pineapples and vanilla ice cream with macadamia nuts and cinnamon. Both food samples were a great start to my edible journey!
Whole Foods Market
Natural-food supermarket chain Whole Foods Market fooled my palate but in a wonderful way. I tried their Vegan General Tso’s Salad. The dish was a little spicy but an explosion of flavor. The dish featured a lettuce and salsa-like mixture on top of chicken. Well, at least I thought I was eating chicken. I was actually eating Beyond Meat, a soy-based substance that tastes, looks and feels like chicken. The company was started by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and former Twitter VP of Product Jason Goldman. The trio’s Beyond Meat line will be available at Whole Foods Market very soon.
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Ethos Vegan Kitchen has been on my restaurants-to-try list for years now. I finally got the chance and my taste buds thanked me. I was cautious about their Coconut Curry Tofu Pinwheel since I’m not a big fan of spicy food. I was assured by the restaurant’s representative that the curry wasn’t hot. She was right! The pinwheel was chock full of goodness and included a mixture of grilled tofu coated in curried veganaise and tossed with celery, raisins, walnuts, coconut and mixed greens wrapped in a spinach tortilla.
I left room for dessert and tried the eatery’s Creamsicle cupcake. The cupcake was light, sweet and refreshing! My hubby Dan tried their chocolate cupcake with Oreo frosting and a cookie on top. He was in heaven!The frosting also tasted just like an Oreo cookie! Watch out, Ethos Vegan Kitchen! We will be back!
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress indulges the senses with their divine desserts every year at the Florida Film Festival. This year they outdid themselves with their Roasted Banana Mousse Parfait with caramel caviar on a stick and Macaroon Lollipops. Talk about a sweet sensation!
Dan and I ate at Rangetsu in Maitland for the first time two weeks ago and were impressed with their seafood and sushi selections and Asian-contemporary ambiance. The restaurant pleased my palate tonight, too. I tried their tuna flatbread appetizer, which consisted of a tortilla topped with Asian slaw, avocado, feta cheese and seared tuna. That’s on my list the next time I visit Rangetsu!
Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen
My food-tasting jaunt came to an end at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen. The restaurant opened last year and has been popular with Cajun-cuisine fans. I should have stopped by this eatery’s table sooner because they ran out of most their food by the time I arrived. I sampled their red beans, which were slowly cooked with ham and topped with white rice (they ran out of white rice) and grilled, Cajun, hot sausage. I was skeptical about the Cajun taste since I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food. The restaurant’s representative assured me that the dish wasn’t hot. I couldn’t even taste the Cajun spices! I really wanted to try their bread pudding but will have to pop in and eat it down the road.
Besides the fabulous food, watch amazing flicks during this year’s film festival. Individual film tickets are $9 and $11 and passes and packages are $99-$1,000 per person. For more information, including the Florida Film Festival schedule and tickets, visit http://www.floridafilmfestival.com.