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Cinema and Cuisine are an Enticing Pairing at Florida Film Festival

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

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!


Quesadilla with pineapple by Eden BarPhoto by: Sandra Carr

Quesadilla with pineapple by Eden Bar.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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.



Vegan General Tso’s Salad by Whole Foods Market.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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.

Coconut Curry Tofu PinwheelPhoto by: Sandra Carr

Coconut Curry Tofu Pinwheel by Ethos Vegan Kitchen.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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!


Creamsicle and chocolate cupcakes with Oreo frosting and a cookie on top.Photo by: Sandra Carr

Creamsicle and chocolate cupcakes with Oreo frosting and a cookie on top at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. Yum! 
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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 is eating the Roasted Banana Mousse Parfait with caramel caviar at the Hyatt Regioncy Grand Cypress.Photo by: Sandra Carr

My hubby Dan Carr is eating the Roasted Banana Mousse Parfait with caramel caviar from the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress!
Photo by: Sandra Carr

Sandra Carr samples a Macaroon Lollypop at the Hyatt Regioncy Grand Cypress!Photo by: Sandra Carr

Sandra Carr samples a Macaroon Lollipop at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress!
Photo by: Dan Carr


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!


Tuna FlatbreadPhoto by: Sandra Carr

Tuna Flatbread at Rangetsu.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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.


Red beansPhoto by: Sandra Carr

Red beans at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

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.

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The Florida Film Festival = Film, Food and Fun

The 21st Annual Florida Film Festival kicked off with its opening-night movie Renee at the Winter Park Regal Cinema and a culinary celebration followed at the Enzian Theater. It was a foodie’s paradise! I enjoyed sampling delectable dishes by Sushi Pop, White Wolf Cafe, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel, K Restaurant Wine Bar, the Black Bean Deli and Whole Foods Market while watching The Mud Flappers jam on stage.

Sushi Pop

Sushi Pop was a hands-down favorite during the food festivities. The restaurant served its White Tiger sushi rolls, Pork Tacos and Bubblegum Sorbet. The yummy sushi featured fresh ingredients, including Kampyo, Escolar, cucumber, sweet chili and topped with salmon, shallot-ginger sauce and Daikon sprouts.

The Oviedo restaurant’s Pork Taco also pleased the palate. The mini taco featured a marvelous mixture of cinnamon and Star Anise braised-pork, avocado puree, greens, cilantro sprouts and Hoisin barbeque sauce.


A Bubblegum Sorbet was a delightful ending to a three-course edible extravaganza. The sorbet was prepared liquid nitrogen-style with Pop Rocks (I haven’t had Pop Rocks since I was a kid!) and whipped cream. The delectable dessert was an amazing combination and the Pop Rocks popping in my mouth were a nice surprise. Peruse Sushi Pop’s menu or better yet, visit their restaurant with chop sticks in hand: http://sushipoprestaurant.com/


White Wolf Cafe

White Wolf Cafe always delivers and they didn’t disappoint during the Florida Film Festival’s opening-night gala. The eatery served a hot dog but it wasn’t your average Oscar Mayer Wiener! This specialty beef dog and short rib combination was cooked the sous-vide way and smothered with shallots and chives and presented on a white bun.


The Cracker Jack cotton candy concoction was a pleasant ending to the White Wolf’s two-course meal. Butter, popcorn and Isomalt were fused together and voila, you have Cracker Jack cotton candy!

White Wolf Cafe: http://www.whitewolfcafe.com/

K Restaurant Wine Bar

K Restaurant Wine Bar was the only restaurant with a salad on their menu and it was very refreshing. The Cape Canaveral Red Shrimp Salad is perfect for a spring or summer day in Florida. The name didn’t hurt either. K Restaurant got it. The green mixture wasn’t spicy and featured chilled Royal Red Shrimp, mango, hearts of palm, Jicama, cilantro, citrus and chili.

The BBQ Pork Belly Slider was also delish and included house-cured Palmetto Creek Farms Pork Belly with savory bacon marmalade and tomato jam.


K Restaurant Wine Bar: http://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Restaurant-Wine-Bar/106618472590

Black Bean Deli

Winter Park’s Black Bean Deli is a family-owned Central Florida institution. The tiny eatery is packed for lunch and it’s worth the wait. The restaurant serves Cuban recipes and bakes homemade bread. The restaurant’s pork sandwich was tasty but mum was the word with the chef. Heck, some things are worth remaining a secret! You will just have to wait and taste it for yourself!

Black Bean Deli: http://blackbeandeli.yolasite.com/

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel always entices my sweet tooth during the Florida Film Festival’s opening-night gala and this year was no exception. The hotel provided attendees with six dessert options. I sampled the Mango Cream and Grapefruit Caviar Push-Up, Bouchee of Banana Bread Pudding with Foster’s sauce and the Spicy Pecans with Powdered Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

All three desserts were delicious but I really enjoyed the Mango Cream and Grapefruit Caviar Push-Up or as my husband Dan would say, a dessert shooter. I don’t recall having a dessert or candy push-up as a child, so this interactive experience intrigued me. In fact, I had two just to fulfill my sweet sensation and it was worth it!


Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel: http://grandcypress.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp?null

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is renowned for their natural and organic groceries but I never sampled any of their food offerings until now. The grocer served Tomato Gazpacho Shooters, which included a blend of farm-fresh veggies in a shooter cup. I sampled their yummy pork slider with Thompson Farms’ New 5 Plus Step rated pork and topped with a blue cheese slaw.


Whole Foods Market: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Top Chef Marcel Vigneron

Top Chef Season Two runner-up and star of the Syfy cable network’s Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen Marcel Vigneron attended the Florida Film Festival’s opening night gala and raved about Sushi Pop’s Bubblegum Sorbet and White Wolf Cafe’s Cracker Jack cotton candy and was impressed with the Black Bean Deli’s specialties and homemade bread. Me and a Top Chef think alike and have great taste! I guess it’s the foodie in me!


See Marcel Vigneron, two-time cookbook author and award-winning Southern maven of deliciousness Martha Foose and blogger/author and culinary artisan Gui Alinat during the Digital Dish on Saturday, April 14 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Enzian Theater. A special complimentary taste will be prepared by Marcel Vigneron and served during the panel discussion. Tickets are $10. View the entire Florida Film Festival schedule and purchase tickets at http://www.floridafilmfestival.com.

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