Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Return of Chef Jerry

Back in 2013 I encountered a restaurant called Kesh on the east side of town. I had many great meals, conversations and experiences with friends and Jerry Helminski the owner and chef. It closed a few years later and the chef went on to work at other places. 

I've kept in touch with him over the years and recently we started talking about his next endeavors. He's got a few different things in the works. 

Recently we got together for a supper club and to try some of his culinary creations and discuss some techniques of preparation.

We started with some marinated olives and peppers, they were marinated in oil and I believe crushed red pepper flakes.

The theme of the dinner was salt, we were presented with a variety of salts to taste and smell including Hawaiian black and red, kosher, maldon and smoked.

Course 1 was Compressed Watermelon with Pickled Onions, Aged Balsamic, and Black Salt. This had a great flavor excellent combination of salty and mildly sweet.

I wanted to better understand the process of compressing watermelon, it involves a Cryovac. So Chef demonstrated it for us. 

Course 2 was tuna tartare with cucumbers, this was simple and pleasant. We discussed sourcing of fish you can eat raw, which may be challenging for some who don't have connections with a seafood distributor. The smoked sea salt elevated this dish.

Course 3 up was Grilled Korean Style Beef Short Ribs with Kimchi BBQ Glaze, I loved this. I like the visual of the plating as well.

Course 4 was red salt seared scallops with mushrooms & ginger hot siphon infused broth and blistered tomatoes. Chef demonstrated how to use the infusing machine, which reminded me of high school chemistry class, the infuser is similar to some high end coffee machines with the beakers and glass. The broth is in the bottom and is boiled up to the top where the ginger, lemon and peppers are. Then the broth drips back down through a strainer.

Course 5 was crispy-salty skin pork belly with sherry syrup & almonds, The skin was exceptionally crispy the sauce was sweet. This was an excellent dish.

Course 6 was kombu & pink salt cured salmon belly with shaved truffle and black and salmon roe. Kombu is a seaweed that can impart dishes with umami flavor.

The final course of dessert was a selection of beets, dried fruit and chocolate hummus, I was a little skeptical about the chocolate hummus, but it was actually fantastic. I could lightly taste the chick peas flavor. This course was a unique take on dessert. 

Overall this night was one to remember, an excellent experience.. My favorite part other than the fantastic food is discussing the cooking techniques to see what I can absorb for my own home cooking attempts. 

I can't wait to see what Jerry has in store for the future.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Ice Cream for Breakfast at Kelly's

Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day was created by Malia Grace’s mom and aunt in 2013 in honor of her memory after Malia Grace passed away from cancer in 2010.

She loved ice cream and her family wanted to commemorate her birthday in a way that would be fitting for Malia Grace.

During her wish trip at Give Kids the World, Malia Grace had the opportunity to Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast and it was a highlight of her family's experience.

February 18th has become an annual international childhood cancer awareness event. Each year the celebration has grown; increasing support for those fighting, celebrating the survivors and remembering the children we have lost.

During the month of February, Kelly's Ice Cream will be donating a portion of proceeds from certain flavors to Arnold Palmer's Hospital for Children. 

On the date of February 18th, 50% of the proceeds earned on ice for breakfast will be donated as well. Additionally customers can donate during their visit in February all month long.

The two featured ice cream flavors are Blueberry Pancake and Maple Bourbon Bacon. I got to try both and I really loved the maple bourbon bacon, it had real pieces of crispy bacon.

So go out to one of the Kelly's Ice cream locations and enjoy some ice cream and make your donation. 

More Details here: https://www.kellyshomemadeicecream.com/eaticecreamforbreakfast

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Drake


The Drake, a highly anticipated new restaurant, has finally opened its doors in Orlando after gaining a loyal following as a popular food truck. With its brick-and-mortar debut, The Drake brings its signature flavors and creative cuisine to a new level. 

We started with the mushroom meatball appetizer, it had an interesting flavor. Very rich, maybe a little salty for some. Good in small amounts. 

Next we had the Winter Greens Salad - Roasted Local Squash, Kale. Pumpkin Seeds, Feta, Tomatoes, Red Onions. Honey Sherry Vinaigrette $15. It was excellent, well mixed and good combination of flavors.

For our main courses we opted for the Mushroom Risotto and the Duck entree. 

The Fungi Jon Mushrooms Risotto Miso Dashi was a creamy, savory delight with Siano Fior di Latte Burrate and Broad Beans adding a pop of freshness. 

Meanwhile, the Duck, Duck, Goose entree - made with Strudel, Aged Breast, Foie Gras, Pomegranate Gastrique, and Quince was a great entree with its rich flavors and textures. Each bite was a masterful combination of flavors and techniques.

We finished with dessert, I let the server make the selection, she suggested the Pavlova de Maiz Corn Husk Meringue, Local Corn Custard Brown Butter Ice Cream $12. It was a bit unique, the ice cream was good, but the Custard was not my favorite.

Overall the staff and decor were very nice and I look forward to returning. 

361 N Rosalind Ave Suite 1, Orlando, FL 32801


Sunday, July 2, 2023

Prato Winter Park

We had dinner at Prato, a regular destination for us. They consistently have creative and unique dishes.

Red Pepper Corn Soup - tangy with a nice crunch from the corn, onion topping. They always have great seasonal soups.

Watermelon, Avocado Salad. This had compressed watermelon, I liked it but the creaminess of the avocado puree didn't pair well with the watermelon in my mind. However my dining companion loved it.

Squid ink pasta with Shrimp - Squid Ink shells with a strong tomato sauce

Lamb Ravioli - the broth was super light, lamb filling was fantastic.

Mustard Spaghettini - this is our go to dish every time, the best pasta dish in town.

Prato is always busy, we can usually get one or two seats at the bar, reservations are strongly recommended.


124 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789