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February 2013

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Classic Elegance

Victor Farina is pictured with his father Mario on the cover of Remodeling Magazine, honoring the nation’s 50 most distinguished remodeling companies. Praised for professionalism and high aesthetic standards, Farina & Sons is family owned with a 63 year tradition of award-winning renovations, additions and custom homes for Orlando’s most established families. Large or small, each project receives Farina’s trademark attention to detail and teamwork approach.


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Volume 14

Issue 2

DEPARTMENTS 8 JAY BOYAR’S LIMELIGHT It’s OK to act up in talkbacks; Bob Carr gets Wicked; Jane Austen at the Orlando Shakes; Michael Andrew with the Orlando Phil; Pink at the Amway; Quink at Rollins.

18 A FEW MOMENTS WITH Octogenarian daredevil Joe Kittinger passes the torch. by Bill Shafer • photographs by Red Bull Stratos

20 DESIGN STYLE / FASHION Something old, something new: wedding gowns at Casa Feliz. by Marianne Ilunga • hair and makeup by Elsie Knab • photographs by Rafael Tongol

42 FLAVOR A Sunday brunch at Raglan Road is more like dinner and a show. by Rona Gindin • photographs by Rafael Tongol




For Orlando’s full-service resort spas, setting is as important as service. by Michael McLeod and Ashley Annin • photographs by Rafael Tongol


Living in a world-class tourist destination has its advantages when it’s time to say “I do.” Plus, a Wedding Resource Directory. by Leigh Duncan

ABOUT THE COVER: Winter Park’s Casa Feliz provides the backdrop for wedding fashions. photograph by Rafael Tongol 2


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84 PROFILE Sandy Shugart is a popular professional folksinger, but he sees no reason to give up his day job: president of Valencia College. by Randy Noles

88 RESTLESS NATIVE A familiar columnist returns to Orlando Life with some thoughts about paranoid parents and zombie cats. by Mike Thomas

49 SPECIAL SECTION Your guide to Homes for the Cure, a tour of spectacular new homes at Eagle Creek and Red Tail Country Club benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Photo: (top LEFT, top right and bottom right) RAFAEL TONGOl; (bottom left) Mike-Briggs-Photography


Lewis Carroll might have designed this imaginative line. by Marianne Ilunga


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from the editor

In Your Face, Facebook; You’re Creeping Me Out


ot too long ago, my 5-year-old grandson, Wyatt, was watching a game

show on television when the host posed a “true or false” question to its participants. “True,” Wyatt ventured. “False,” said the host. “Oh, darn,” said Wyatt. “So close!” That’s a little treasure, that story, a fleeting link to a cherished child who lives in a distant city. It’s also a tale I might have missed had it not been for Facebook, where Wyatt’s mother posted it. So thank you, Facebook. I appreciate what you do for me. But having said that, it’s only fair for me to tell you that you are starting to creep me out. For one thing, every time I log on, you’re trying to strike up a conversation, asking me, “What’s happening, Michael?” or “How are you feeling, Michael?” I assume that most of the other billion-plus users who are on Facebook see the same revolving queries under “update status” every time they log on. Problem is, it doesn’t end there. Apparently Facebook is not above taking things to the next level, and asking me to rat on my friends. Another message from the Facebook gods made the rounds a few months back. It included the name and photo of a user’s friend, and read: Please help us understand how people are using Facebook. Your response is anonymous and won’t affect your friend’s account. Is this your friend’s real name? Do you see what just happened there? How it all starts with an innocent how-doyou-do and the next thing you know you’re being enlisted as an informant? Truth is, Facebook users get free use of a social network, and Facebook makes money — roughly $4 billion a year — from companies who want to sell things to those users. If some of those users are anonymous or even fictitious, it’s a threat to that system. Fair enough. But apart from the creepy factor, I can’t help hating anything that diminishes the fun of social networking. I celebrate the inordinate number of Facebook users named “Ben Dover.” And I perk up every time I see a post from my Facebook friend who calls herself “Perxii Novel T” and lists, on her profile under education, “Independent Studies at the Suffette of Snafu.” You go, girl. I won’t snitch.

Take Note What’s SOCIAL

We have a new name, and a new twitter: @OrlandoLifeMag. We also have and a new Facebook page: orlandolifemagazine. We’re on Pinterest too: orlandolife/.

What’s ONLINE Check out our expanded listing of arts organizations and their schedules of events for the upcoming season.

What you CAN DO


See veteran actor Esau Pritchett in the title role of Othello, Shakespeare’s tragic tale of cunning, deceit and manipulation, at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre through March 16. Bring a handkerchief.

What’s ON DECK In March, we’ll look ahead to the finest in spring fashions, and provide a guided tour of some of the great dining locations within an easy drive of Orlando.

Michael McLeod Editor in Chief 4


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Michael MCLEOD Editor in Chief


Managing Editor


Art & Social Media Director Style and Home Editorial Director

RONA GINDIN Dining Editor

Jay Boyar, Leigh Duncan, MarianNe Ilunga, bill shafer, mike thomas Contributors

rafael tongol

Senior Photographer

Ken lopez

Contributing Photographer



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Copyright 2013 by Florida Home Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. ORLANDO LIFE (USPS 000-140) (Vol. 14/Issue No. 2) is published monthly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Ste 128, Maitland, FL 32751. Periodicals Postage Paid at Maitland, FL and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Orlando Life Magazine, PO Box 5586, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33310-5586 FEBRUARY 2013

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jay boyar


ometimes, when I’m watching a play, my head starts

to fill up with questions for the cast. Most of the time there’s no easy way to get answers. But sometimes there is. Many local theater companies have little presentations called “talkbacks” (or “chatbacks”) in which the actors answer questions about their show and their lives. Often, these take place immediately after certain performances, although they can happen at other times, too. The actors — usually accompanied by the director or a moderator — reassemble on stage (or elsewhere), either in costume or in street clothes, and start taking questions from the audience. 8


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Cast members from a Broadway Across America production of Mary Poppins , talking back. After attending several of these talkbacks, I’ve found that the questions can be, um, unpredictable. At a talkback for a revival of the ’60s-era musical Hair, presented in 2011 as part of Bob Carr’s Broadway Across America series, a gray-haired man in shorts asked, “Did any of the girls [in the cast] not shave their legs or under their arms to get really into it?” When the laughter had finally subsided, a female cast member managed to answer, “It just depends.” Often, it’s the answers that are surprising. During last year’s presentation of the contemporary drama God of Carnage at

PHOTO: (left) ken lopez; (right) joan marcus

Actors and Audiences Improvise When Talking Back is Called For


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Orlando Shakespeare Theater, actress Anne Hering was required to appear to beat up actor Mark Ferrera. When a woman in the audience asked Ferrera how he felt about that scene, Hering stepped in to answer for him. “He likes that!” she said brightly. These talkbacks are nothing new. But in this era of hype, hype and more hype, I think it’s fair to say that they’re underpublicized. Which is too bad, because they give theatergoers a chance to catch a glimpse behind the scenes in a very special sense. Most actors who appear on talk shows are celebrities, and so they are interviewed as celebrities: They talk about their fantasy lifestyles, famous friends and so on. At talkbacks, however, the actors are non-celebs. In some cases, they’re part-time actors who field questions about how they manage to balance performing with the demands of a day job. Or they may be full-time, working actors leading unusual, but not especially glamorous, lives. Audience members “are really interested in the lifestyle,” says Julie Fancy who, as educational coordinator for the Florida Theatrical Association, helps to arrange talkbacks for the Broadway series. “How do they make their living? What’s it like going from city to city? They do get into some of the nitty-gritty about that.” I feel a little mischievous in revealing that a certain type of question at talkbacks always strikes me as unintentionally amusing. In fact, although they are usually worded in the form of a question (as Alex Trebek might put it), they may not really be questions at all. Some audience members just want to boast about their own theater knowledge or experiences. That’s when I hear “questions” that go something like: “Were you influenced by the Broadway production of this play, which I saw three years ago? Or were you more influenced by the production that I saw five years ago in London?” Somehow, the actors always manage to remain polite when responding to this sort of thing. Now that’s what I call acting! Typically, there is no additional charge for a talkback. If you’re interested in attending one, call the box office for the play you want to see and ask when the talkbacks (if any) are scheduled. And if you have further questions, I’m afraid you’ll have to save them for the talkback. n Jay Boyar, arts editor of Orlando Life, has written about film and travel for the Orlando Sentinel and numerous other newspapers. He’s the author of Films to Go: 100 Memorable Movies for Travelers & Others and a contributor to ReelRomance: The Lovers’ Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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A Wicked Take On Oz: It’s the Baum!

Of all the new (and new-ish) shows that Broadway Across America has brought to town these last few years, Wicked is my favorite. If you missed it when it was here two years ago, you’re in luck: It’ll be back at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre from Feb. 20 through March 10 as a special, non-subscription-series presentation. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, this subversive, Tony-winning musical is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that turns L. Frank Baum’s iconic tale inside out. Glinda the Good Witch is now the villainess; the cackling, green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West, meanwhile, is the heroine. Back in 2011, the show impressed me with its cleverness: It carries off its reversals and revisions without flagrantly contradicting what everyone knows about Baum’s story from watching the 1939 movie classic. Instead, it suggests that there’s a lot we don’t know — enough to make you question whether someone who is called, unambiguously, the Wicked Witch of the West is actually wicked at all. I have no idea what Baum would have made of this show or the other spinoffs of his fantasies that have surfaced over the years. Baum himself wrote more than a dozen Oz books. And then there are movies like Return to Oz, Under the Rainbow, The Wiz (which was also a play) and Oz: The Great and Powerful, a 3-D film that’s coming next month from Disney. As for Wicked, if you miss it this time around, don’t blame me. Visit for more information. ORLANDO LIFE


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plan on it The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

The Odyssey

Like the song says, imagine chatting with a chimp in chimpanzee! Doctor Doolittle can, in this stage production featuring animals portrayed by live actors with puppets.

Maybe you hated reading it in high school. But you’ll love this retelling of Homer’s epic tale in a one-man performance by Minneapolis actor, writer and storyteller Charlie Bethel.

Through Feb. 24 Orlando Repertory Theatre

Contemporary Glass Sculpture — Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Studio Glass

Through March 31 Orlando Museum of Art

Mermaids Past Their Time , by Michigan artist Tim Tate, part of OMA’s studio glass exhibit.

An exhibition of some of the world’s finest examples of “studio glass,” stemming from experiments in the early 1960s that revolutionized the use of glass in creating pieces of art.

2nd Annual Uptown Art Expo

Feb. 14-March 17 Orlando Shakespeare Theatre

Hollywood en Pointe

Feb. 15-16 Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre

Principally choreographed by Artistic Director Robert Hill, the Orlando Ballet interprets some of Hollywood’s most memorable movie scores in this worldpremier performance.

Feb. 16-17 Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

Headlined by Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin, the twoday festival features arts, crafts, kids’ activities and oodles of high-calorie food.

18th Annual Film Celebration

Feb. 21-23 Valencia East Campus Performing Arts Center

A showcase of short films and features written and directed by students in Valencia College’s film production program, described as “one of the best” by no less an authority than Steven Spielberg.

PHOTO: courtesy orlando museum of art


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Though any Michael Andrew concert is a sentimental journey, the latest may be more heartfelt than most. When he sings a program of romantic American standards with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre on Feb. 9, the city’s resident retro crooner will include a tribute to an absent friend. Marvin Hamlisch, whose movie and Broadway scores earned multiple Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, Oscars and one Pulitzer, died in August at 68. He worked with Andrew on a regional theater adaptation of The Nutty Professor, the zany 1963 Jerry Lewis comedy. Andrew played a nerdy college professor who invents a potion that temporarily changes him into a smoothtalking dreamboat. Hamlisch wrote the score for the musical, directed by Lewis himself, which producers hope to soon stage on Broadway.

One of Andrew’s most vivid memories of Hamlisch is from the day the composer sent him the score of a pivotal song the lonely professor sings after deciding to give up his identity and forever become his lounge-lizard alter ego. “All he sent was the melody and the end of the refrain: ‘so much for me,’ says Andrew. “But when we sat down and played it, the musical director and I were reduced to tears. That’s how good Marvin was.” Andrew will sing several selections from the musical, along with Hamlisch standards such as “The Way We Were” and “One,” from A Chorus Line. My Funny Valentine will also be performed as a free concert on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. in Winter Park’s Central Park. Visit for more information. — Michael McLeod


An Andrew Valentine for an Absent Friend

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Two centuries have passed since the appearance of Jane Aus-

ten’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, which the author paid to have published. Unlike most vanity projects, this one was a critical and commercial success. So were three other Austen novels published during her lifetime, all under pseudonyms. There’s no longer anything anonymous about Austen, who died in 1817. She’s been a literary star since she was “rediscovered� in the 1830s, and she’s become a pop culture icon thanks to adaptations of her works for the stage and screen. Mark Routhier, director of the latest theatrical rendition of Sense and Sensibility  — which runs from Feb. 6 to March 17 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater — has a simple explanation for Austen’s enduring popularity. “She is such a beautiful, romantic writer. She puts her characters in situations that are both trying and exulting,� says Routhier, add-

ing that Austen “gets what women are going through when they’re dealing with relationships with men and each other.� Jon Jory’s adaptation of the three-volume novel into a twohour stage play is “very fluid theatrically and almost cinematic in scope’� says Routhier. “There’s a tendency to sort of water-ski over the surface of the book and make it a fun, comic romp. We’re trying to find some depth and explore the pain that the characters are going through and explore the intricacies involved in each of their stories.� The cast features Lindsey Kyler as Elinor Dashwood and John Keller as Edward Ferrars. The sets are simple, mostly suggested by minimal furniture, “but there’s nothing minimalist about the costumes,� Routhier says. “They are absolutely gorgeous.� Visit for more information. — Harry Wessel

photo: Tony Firriolo

Still Making Sense After All These Years

Contemporary Glass Sculpture: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Studio Glass On View Through March 31, 2013 Discover exceptional glass art collections in *LU[YHS-SVYPKHYL]LHSLKMVY[OLÄYZ[[PTLPU the OMA’s exhibition, Contemporary Glass Sculpture: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Studio Glass. ;OPZSHUKTHYRL_OPIP[PVUMLH[\YLZV]LY L_LTWSHY`NSHZZZJ\SW[\YLZI`[OLNYLH[ THZ[LYZVM[OL:[\KPV.SHZZ4V]LTLU[Z\JO HZ/HY]L`23P[[SL[VU>PSSPHT4VYYPZ+HSL *OPO\S`HTVUNV[OLYZHZ^LSSHZ^VYRZI` PTWVY[HU[LTLYNPUNHY[PZ[Z Orlando Museum of Art 2416 North Mills Ave Orlando, FL 32803



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It should come as no surprise that the

tattooed, tough-as-nails, fuscia-haired songstress who goes by the name of Pink once dreamed of playing the lead in a movie about Janis Joplin. She almost got her chance recently, until a big-budget Joplin biopic was shelved indefinitely. But in the recording studio and in concert, Pink has emulated the ill-fated rocker’s raw-power vocalizing in visceral, introspective songs such as “So What,” “Sober” and “F****** Perfect.” Fans can expect her trademark highflying acrobatics and her powerhouse vocals when she appears at the Amway Arena Feb. 24 for the seventh stop of

her Truth About Love tour. Despite their vocal similarities, Pink differs from Joplin in at least one major way. Unlike Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose in 1970, she appears to be well on the way to achieving middle age. In fact, wild rebel image to the contrary, she’s a model of stability. She’s an animal-rights advocate and a staunch breast-feeding proponent who abides by a mostly vegetarian diet. After a shaky start, she patched up her marriage with motocross racer Carey Hart, and the pair has a 22-month old daughter named Willow. Alecia Beth Moore, Pink’s actual name, was born in Abington, Pa. Her

first album, Can’t Take Me Home, was released in 2000 and had a distinct R&B-infused sound. However, her subsequent albums all feature punchy, feminist, pop-rock tracks based largely on her life experiences. Pink, named the Pop Musician of the Decade by Billboard magazine in 2009, has won three Grammys and has sold more than 40 million albums. The Truth About Love is her sixth album. Visit for more information. — Ashley Annin

photo: courtesy orlando venues

Powerhouse Pink Knows the Truth About Love

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A Dutch Foursome, a Global Repertoire would specialize in comic parodies. But this group of highly talented Dutch singers has been performing serious classical, Renaissance, folk and modern music for 35 years. Appearing at the Tiedtke Concert Hall at Rollins College on Feb. 10 as part of the Bach Festival Society’s 201213 Visiting Artist Series, Quink has never before performed in Central Florida. But it is no stranger to the States. “This will be our 42nd U.S. tour,” said tenor Harry van Berne in a phone interview from the Netherlands. “We’ve come so often, it’s kind of our second country.” In addition to van Berne, the group consists of soprano Marjon Strijk, mezzo soprano Elsbeth Gerritsen and bass Kees Jan de Koning. The group’s repertoire spans 800 years of Western music, from Gregorian chants to contemporary Dutch pieces. Most of it is performed a cappella. Quink (the name derives from two Dutch words: kwink,

which means “joke,” and kwetteren, which means “to chirp’’) was a quintet up until a few years ago, when back problems made it difficult for the group’s second soprano to travel. Crafting a new, four-part repertoire “was kind of refreshing for us musically, and we still have the possibility to expand the group when needed,” said van Berne. He added that the Rollins concert will include Dutch, Hungarian and Israeli folksongs, all sung in native languages. “Every rehearsal, every concert is like a party. It’s really fun to sing with these people.” Visit for more information. — Harry Wessel

photo: courtesy Joanne Rile Artists Management

You might guess that a quartet with a quirky name like “Quink”


Concert in Central Park AAnn Afternoon Afternoon ooff M Music usic aand nd RRomance omance w with ith Michaeel Andrew and Swingerhead Michael in Downtown Winter Park


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Madama Butterfly FRI, APRIL 5 at 8:00 PM

SUN, APRIL 7 at 2:00 PM

BOB CARR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE Christopher Wilkins, conductor • Robert Swedberg, director Featuring Shu-Ying Li as Cio-Cio San, Brian Jagde as Pinkerton, Thomas Potter as Sharpless & Mika Shigematsu as Suzuki

7jiiZgÄn!VWZVji^[jandjc\\Z^h]V!hVXg^ÃXZh]Zg[Vb^an! ]ZggZa^\^dc!VcYjai^bViZan]Zga^[Z[dgA^ZjiZcVciE^c`Zgidc! Vc6bZg^XVccVkVad[ÃXZgl]d![dgXdckZc^ZcXZhV`Z!iV`Zh ]ZgVh]^hWg^YZ#I]ZhlZZe^c\Zbdi^dcVaedlZgd[EjXX^c^»h bjh^X^hjchjgeVhhZY^cVaad[deZgV# *Sung in Italian with English supertitles


Get Your Tickets NOW! Call 407.770.0071 • or visit ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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1/21/13 9:21:27 AM


joe kittinger

Kittinger and Felix Baumgartner, his skydiving protege.

Supersonic Leap of Faith HOW 84-YEAR-OLD JOE KITTINGER HELPED MAKE IT HAPPEN. ast October a young Austrian daredevil had the guts,

desire and financial backing to attempt the highest skydive in human history — from 24 miles above the Earth’s surface. But Felix Baumgartner knew he needed help from the only man alive with the knowledge to greatly increase his chances of success. To lead his privately funded team, sponsored by the energy-drink company Red Bull, the 43-year-old called upon 84-year-old retired USAF Col. Joseph W. Kittinger of Orlando. In 1960, then Capt. Kittinger leaped into history when he became the first person to skydive from the very edge of space, 102,800 feet. His 4-minute, 36-second freefall during 18


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the “Project Excelsior” jump for the U.S. Air Force remains the longest freefall ever. (Baumgartner’s freefall was from a higher point but lasted “only” 4 minutes, 19 seconds.) Kittinger would go on to become a decorated fighter pilot who endured 11 months as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam’s infamous Hanoi Hilton. In 1984, he became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a helium balloon. In 1997, he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Orlando Life recently talked to Kittinger about his involvement with Baumgartner’s effort and his willingness to tackle yet another adventure at an age when most people slowing down.



By Bill Shafer


1/21/13 2:20:17 PM


Joe Kittinger timeline

Q. You had a pretty exciting year — lots of work, lots of travel, lots of pressure. Where has life taken you and how are you holding up? A. I worked on the Red Bull Stratos project for four years. I was very for-

tunate to have such an exciting challenge at my age. Felix Baumgartner felt there was nobody else alive who knew exactly what to expect every step of the way. Because of the great work of my team over 50 years ago, there were many things I was able to contribute to help Felix be successful. And with his jump from an altitude of 128,100 feet, I’d say he was. Q. Many people were surprised that you worked as hard as you did to help someone else break your long-standing records. Why did you? A. I’ve always felt that records are made to be broken. For me, it was always

about the research. The theory we established in 1960 and the equipment we used on Project Excelsior is still the standard today. Every ejection seat in the world uses a small stabilization parachute; we helped develop that technology. Now it’s time to make some new advances. Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is continue to contribute to the safety and well-being of all aviators and astronauts. Q. You’re well past the age when most people are ready to start taking it easy. What keeps you chasing new challenges? A. I keep active, learn new skills, never give up and stay curious. Each day is a

blessing. I have a lovely wife, and I look forward to every day. Life still holds many wonders. Age, to me, is just a number. Q. You’re an interesting mix of two seemingly different characteristics. On one hand, you’re a fearless adventurer and risk-taker. On the other, you’re a cautious and meticulous planner. How do the two co-exist inside you? A. Risk-taking goes hand-in-hand with meticulous planning. With the Red

Bull Stratos project, we agreed Felix would make three jumps. That’s the way I planned my Excelsior project. The whole team benefited from what we learned in the first two jumps. So when it came time to go, we were ready. Calculated risks you can weigh. Foolish risks you cannot.

Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Q. You’ve gone headlong into the unknown throughout your life. Yet perhaps the greatest unknown is the adventure of age. What have you discovered about the later years of life? A. I’ve had a wonderful, adventurous life and I’ve accomplished a lot. Some

people say, never volunteer for anything. I say volunteer for everything. Everything I did as a fighter pilot, as a researcher and as an adventurer happened because I raised my hand to volunteer. I helped direct my path by setting goals and looking for opportunities. I’ve been a very, very fortunate person. And the later years of life can be equally as exciting. So my advice is: There are always opportunities for adventures; you just need to keep a sharp eye out to find the ones that fascinate you. Once you do, then go for it. n This story originally appeared in Growing Bolder magazine, published by Orlando Life in conjunction with Bolder Media Group. Pick up a copy of Growing Bolder at any Central Florida Walgreen’s. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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1949: After attending the University of Florida, 20-year-old Joe Kittinger of Orlando joins the U.S. Air Force. 1957: Involved with high-altitude balloon tests, Kittinger earns a Distinguished Flying Cross after ascending to a then-record 96,760 feet. 1959: Assigned to the USAF’s Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories in Dayton, Ohio, Kittinger makes two high-altitude jumps for Project Excelsior. 1960: On the third and final Project Excelsior jump, Kittinger parachutes from 102,800 feet, setting a record that would stand for more than a half century. His freefall, which lasted 4 minutes, 36 seconds, remains the longestduration freefall ever recorded. 1972: During his third tour and 483rd combat mission of the Vietnam War, Lt. Col. Kittinger is shot down. He spends nearly 11 months as a prisoner of war. 1973: Released by the North Vietnamese, Kittinger returns home and is promoted to full colonel. 1978: Kittinger retires from the Air Force and goes to work for Rosie O’Grady’s Flying Circus in Orlando, a job that includes flying hot-air and helium balloons around the world. 1984: Kittinger completes the first solo balloon crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. 1992: Kittinger attends dedication ceremonies for the Colonel Joe Kittinger Park at the Orlando Executive Airport. 1997: Kittinger is inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. 2008: The National Air and Space Museum debuts an exhibit depicting Kittinger’s 1960 balloon jump. 2010: Come Up and Get Me, Kittinger’s autobiography, is published, with a forward by Neil Armstrong. 2012: Kittinger’s four years as lead advisor to Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Mission pays off on Oct. 14, when Baumgartner skydives from 128,100 feet, breaking Kittinger’s altitude record. ORLANDO LIFE


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Something Old, Something New by Marianne Ilunga hair and makeup by Elsie Knab photographs by Rafael Tongol



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As one of Winter Park’s most popular wedding venues, the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum has seen its share of trousseaus. None are lovelier than this Empire waist tulle dress with jeweled cap sleeves, $5,350, by Reem Acra, from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park, worn by Brooke R. of Michele Pommier Models. She also wears a stunning platinum drop diamond necklace, $26,500, and cushion-cut diamond stud earrings, $36,300, both from Tiffany & Co. at The Mall at Millenia. Her JB Star emerald and diamond engagement ring, set in platinum, $38,990; JB Star emerald and diamond band, set in platinum, $26,990; and Norman Covan “crown” diamond ring, set in white gold, $6,030; are all from Be on Park in Winter Park. Flowers are by Sharon Crimmings. FEBRUARY 2013

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Brooke’s strapless mermaid-cut dress with jeweled flower appliquÊ, $6,600, is by Lazarro, from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park, and her platinum drop diamond necklace, $26,500, is from Tiffany & Co. at The Mall at Millenia. She also wears a JB Star yellow and white diamond bracelet, $79,990; JB Star yellow diamond engagement ring, $139,990; JB Star yellow diamond cushioncut stud earrings, $119,990; and an A. Link five-row wave white and yellow gold bracelet with white diamonds, $19,900; all from Be On Park in Winter Park. The net and feather bird cage headdress, $118, is from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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fashion The Cowl back A-line dress with Chantilly lace bodice and crystal embellishment, $4,000, by Rivini, and Maria Elena jeweled headband, $813, are from Solutions Bridal at the Shoppes at Millenia. The JB Star engagement diamond ring, $47,990, and A. Link diamond bracelet, $31,750, are from Be On Park in Winter Park.



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The strapless stretch mermaid dress with a tissue organza swirling effect, $5,990, is by Vera Wang, from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park. The Maylin K ruby and diamond drop earrings, $21,250, and Maylin K rubelite and diamond ring, $29,250, are both from Be on Park in Winter Park. The platinum, diamond and tourmaline engagement ring, $6,200, and platinum and diamond wedding band, $3,300, are from Tiffany & Co. at The Mall at Millenia. The tulle headpiece, $450, is from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park.


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The three-quarter sleeve, peplumshaped dress with sweetheart underlay and crystal embellishment, $8,000, is by Rivini, from Solutions Bridal at the Shoppes at Millenia. The platinum and diamond chandelier earrings, $21,125, and white gold diamond bangles, $8,500 each, are from Tiffany & Co. at The Mall at Millenia. The diamond engagement ring, $78,000; Penny Preville white gold diamond bangle, $7,570; and JB Star diamond ring, $33,990; are all from Be on Park in Winter Park.



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RESTORE • REFLECT • RECONNECT Slip into serenity with a stress-melting couples massage. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or an everyday getaway, gift cards are ideal for the person who has everything.

To book a spa experience or give the gift of relaxation, call 407.345.4431. *Offer valid through 2/28/13. Does not include service charge. Visit for complete details.


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Spas S P E C TA C U L A R



AROUND THE WORLD, BUT CLOSE TO HOME: MIND-BODY ADVENTURES IN ORLANDO RESORTS by Michael McLeod and Ashley Annin photographs of Mandara Spa by Rafael Tongol 26


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Photos: (left) rafael tongol; (right) The Peabody Orlando

full-service spa should be a world apart:

an oasis from the day-to-day grind, a soothing embrace for body and soul. The nature of that embrace depends upon the style of the spa. The décor and ambiance, the sights and sounds, the demeanor of attendants — even the aromas can work in concert to impart a sense of calm and evoke ancient healing traditions. Esoteric as it all sounds, there are real-world forces at play. In the highly competitive, $15 billion spa industry, makeovers — not of the clients, but of the facilities themselves — are commonplace. So here’s a quick, updated look, in no particular order, at the latest in the atmospheric touches, trademark treatments and restorative products offered by Central Florida’s leading resort spas.

meditation and tea room decorated with Balinese statuary. It’s easy, in a setting such as this, to imagine that you’ve been transported to ancient, sacred terrain. Slow down. Breathe in, breathe out. Namaste. n Featured Service. The Four Hands Massage is a full-body treatment from two massage therapists, who position themselves on either side of you and work in expert, rhythmic concert to relieve muscular tension and stress. “Our guests tell us it gives them a sensation of floating in midair, or riding across ocean waves,” says Spa Director Lisa Gueorguiev. Cost: $260.

Bali High There’s an island paradise at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. But it’s inside, not outside. The hotel is home to one of the flagship spas of Mandara, an international, Balinese-inspired chain with more than 70 locations throughout the world. If ever a place was suited to serve as the inspiration for a spa, it’s Bali, the idyllic Indonesian province whose nickname is “Island of Peace.” At the Mandara, attendants usher guests past a sandstone fountain, beyond a stunning, hand-carved wooden temple and into a

World Peace Inside The Peabody Orlando, waterfalls cascade down the sheer, sculpted rock walls of a private grotto. It’s hard to shake the feeling that you’ve just discovered an ideal place for a camp out. But this could hardly be described as roughing it. You’ll feel close to nature, but you can also order excellent food, cocktails and other beverages while soaking in heated baths. Or, you can enjoy the simpler pleasure of mango- and ginger-infused water in the plush locker room while awaiting treatments. n Featured Service. Around the World in 80 Minutes is a massage that takes you on a “tour” around the world by combining aromatherapy with regional massage techniques. Therapists knead their way through techniques originating from the Americas, Japan and Morocco, among ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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Photos: (left) gaylord palms resort & convention Center; (right) The ritzcarlton orlando, grande lakes

other places. Each transition is complemented by a matching scent. This might just be the only geography class in history where it’s OK to doze off. Cost: $200.

The Royal Treatment Three stories up and secluded from the hubbub elsewhere in the hotel, the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is styled after the

A Sunshine State of Mind

Photos: (left) gaylord palms resort & convention Center; (right) The ritzcarlton orlando, grande lakes

The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center could be described as the biggest snow globe in the world, with its sprawling, glassy, arboretumlike design dedicated to capturing the essence of Florida’s natural beauty. The resort’s spa, Relâche, complements that theme, with serene lighting and hues of blue, green and silver adorning not just the walls but the floors. If you have time before or after your spa service, relax in steam rooms and state-of-the-art Kohler showers, or lounge in any of the hotel’s pools.

n Featured Service. The Oxygen Facial is designed to rejuvenate skin and alleviate signs of aging. You can add various infusions to the 50minute treatment, which relies in part on the wrinkle-minimizing serum Atoxelene. Spa director Arielle Feinberg has helped to create an “express” Atoxelene treatment, which takes just 30 minutes and can be performed as a single service or in conjunction with any other facial. Additional Florida-themed services include the Everglades Pedicure and the Clearwater Hydrating Wrap. Cost for Oxygen Facial: $225. Express version: $120. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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grand palazzos of Italy: classic lines, decorative columns and draperies cascade from the high ceilings, and each of the 40 treatment rooms is as lavish as the next. You can be treated indoors or out, thanks to an intimate rooftop “eco-space” where healing herbs are grown. Choose your herbs and have them blended with essential oils, Himalayan salt and ground poultice to create a custom body scrub for exfoliating or as a pedicure. What’s left of the scrub after treatment is packaged up and sent home with you, along with a recipe card. n Featured Service. The Asian-inspired, 80-minute East Indian Scalp and Body Massage uses a unique recipe of warmed lime blossom and ginger oil. Cost: $199.

A Grand Design Senses at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which opened in mid-December, was designed by Disney Imagineers as a visual homage to late 19th century elegance. A mural in the lobby captures a pristine Florida landscape, and Victorian-style chandeliers loom over treatment rooms — though the Imagineers, in a whimsical twist, had the fixORLANDO LIFE


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Photos: (top left) Senses at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian (bottom left) the waldorf astoria orlando, bonnet creek; (right) The Grand Bohemian Hotel

crisp, clean pastels that reign in subtle tranquility throughout 22 treatment rooms and more than 24,000 square feet of understated elegance. The spa has recently adopted the Parisian product line Carita. n Featured Service. The Cinect Pro-Lift is a contouring body treatment to fight cellulite. The 80-minute service is designed to break up adipose tissue and smooth skin texture. The device’s gentle electric current immediately firms the skin and lasts days after treatment. Cost: $250.

Photos: (top left) Senses at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian (bottom left) the waldorf astoria orlando, bonnet creek; (right) The Grand Bohemian Hotel

The Art of Relaxation tures cast in lime-green. After a paper-free check in, you can enjoy the aromatherapy of your choice along with a fruit-infused “relax, renew or imagine” elixir. In locker rooms adorned with Italianmade mosaics, you can unwind in heated lounge chairs or let your troubles melt away in bubbling Jacuzzis. This being Disney, you have the option of bringing your children for Magical Manicures and Pixie Pedicures. n Featured Service. The 80-minute Grand Floridian Signature Treatment includes an exfoliating dry body scrub in a fragrance of your choice, followed by a heated body wrap and a full-body massage. The treatment rooms, meanwhile, are dimly lit by chakra lighting and filled with customizable aromas. Cost: $200.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando is known for its art collection, whose presence offers appreciative downtown professionals a chance to decelerate, if only subliminally, and if only for a beat or two. Original paintings hang from the walls in the treatment rooms of the hotel’s Poseidon Spa, as well.

Simple Elegance The Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa is a haven of

n Featured Service. The Privai Anti-Aging Mas-

sage includes an exfoliation using ingredients such as silk polishing powder, aloe, lavender and vitamin C to rejuvenate the skin, combined with a tension scalp treatment and an anti-aging acupressure facial treatment. Cost: $210. n


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by Leigh Duncan

ne of the blessings of living in the world’s best-known vacation destination is this: If you’re looking to throw a resort-

style wedding, there’s no place like home. Central Florida’s formidable resort lineup offers such a broad spectrum of settings that the hardest task for a bride and groom could be choosing a venue from so many intriguing options. We’re here to help. The Orlando Life research team has done some of the legwork for you, and you’ll find the results in this special feature. Have a look, visit the sites that seem to suit your style, stage a memorable ceremony and live happily ever after. It’s just that simple, isn’t it?

photos: (Top left) Nu Visions in Photography; (middle) Mike-Briggs-Photography; (bottom left) Marc Harmon Photography Inc.; (top and bottom right) kelly canova

LOEWS HOTELS While the three Loews’ properties at Universal Orlando Resort each have distinct personalities, all feature complimentary access to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Universal City Walk. Perks for guests at any of the properties include Universal Express ride access, which allows you to bypass lines at most attractions, complimentary resort-wide transportation via water taxis or shuttle buses, and priority seating at select Universal Orlando restaurants. The Loews hotels include Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel. Here’s a look at each, starting with Portofino Bay. nnn Why travel all the way to Italy to get married when you can experience la dolce vita right in your own backyard? This elegant, Mediterranean-style resort, modeled after the romantic city of Portofino, features outdoor cafés dotting the main piazza of the harbor, which is lined with colorfully painted accommodations reminiscent of the Riviera. Portofino Bay also features an exquisite lobby, lush grounds, three swimming pools with elegant private cabanas, a harbor bobbing with picturesque gondolas and fishing boats, charming Italian courtyards and gazebos, and three beautiful ceremony loca-

The bounty of Central Florida’s resort-style wedding venues is such that just one chain, Loews Hotels, offers three possibilities: a rock ‘n’ roll vibe at the Hard Rock (facing page, top); an island fantasy at the Royal Pacific (middle); and an Italian getaway at Portofino Bay (bottom). ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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tions: the Citrus Piazza, the Villa Piazza and the Piazza Centrale. Each site is highlighted by specialty landscaping that includes trees indigenous to Italy. The Citrus and Villa piazzas boast stone and wrought-iron gazebos, while the Piazza Centrale is a brick courtyard with a stone fountain. All are painstakingly designed. The Venetian Ballroom is the resort’s premier reception site. Other options include the colorful Lugurian Ballroom, the Tuscan Ballroom, with its grapevine décor and patio overlooking the Citrus Piazza, and Club Level rooms that offer access to the Club Lounge. nnn At the extravagantly hip Hard Rock Hotel, you can infuse your nuptials with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Ceremony locations include the Woodstock Lawn, an expansive, oval-shaped area lined with palm trees. But, unlike the original Woodstock, you’ll find no naked hippies — unless you invite them. Wedding packages include receptions with a host of options and all-inclusives, such as a cocktail hour with butlerpassed hors d’oeuvres, bridal-party cocktail service and your choice of plated or buffet food service. You’ll also get a custom-designed wedding cake and a preevent menu tasting as well as a stage for a band or a DJ. The bride and groom enjoy complimentary accommodations, with suite upgrades based on availability. Reception locations include the Avalon Ballroom, the hotel’s largest interior space, which sports a sophisticated neutral palette of gray, black and cream to accommodate a variety of themes. More intimate gatherings may be held at the Pantry, a secluded, octagon-shaped space on the Garden Level. ORLANDO LIFE


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The soaring glass atrium at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center (top) offers an outdoor setting with zero chance of rain. The high-rise pool deck at the Grand Bohemian (left and bottom) provides an ideal setting for an above-the-fray ceremony in the heart of downtown Orlando.

nnn At the Royal Pacific Resort, you can get hitched in what appears to be a tropical island paradise. The facility offers a crystal-blue lagoon with an authentic anchored water plane surrounded by lush landscaping and a sandy beach. Ceremonies mirror those at Portofino Bay and Hard Rock, with locations including the Wedding Lawn, ideal for small ceremonies, as well as grand ballrooms for elaborate galas of up to 400 attendees. Reception locations include the Wantilan Pavilion, the hotel’s signature event space. The covered outdoor venue is surrounded by gardens and bamboo. The Tima and Bands Sea pavilions can accommodate up to 150 guests. The Pacifica Ballroom, the hotel’s largest, accommodates up to 1,000 guests. However, it can be partitioned to create considerably smaller but equally posh spaces. A palette of aqua, pomegranate and tangerine paired with organic patterns create a vibrant South Seas ambiance. Award-winning chefs can customize your plated or buffet menus with island fare and exotic foods. royal-pacific.resort

The sprawling Gaylord Palms Resort is divided into regional segments honoring the Sunshine State’s culture heritage and natural beauty. But the highlight is its soaring glass atrium, which encompasses the elegant St. Augustine Wedding Pavilion atop the Castillo de San Marcos Fort, with its sweeping views of Emerald Bay Plaza. Here, in this Oldest City-inspired setting, you can have the best of both worlds: You can exchange vows in an outdoor setting, but with a zero percent chance of rain spoiling the ceremony. The resort’s enormous atrium is filled with plants and wildlife — even alliga36


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photos: (Top) courtesy gaylord palms resort; (center and bottom) grand bohemian orlando



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photos: (Top left and bottom) courtesy waldorf astoria orlando; (top right and center) kelly canova

tors. Footpaths and bridges lead from the hotel lobby to a mini downtown plaza with numerous options for rehearsal dinners. Consider the magnificent Villa de Flora, a Mediterranean marketplace showcasing the influences of France, Italy, Greece and Spain. There’s also an outdoor event lawn with romantic fireplace backdrops and exquisitely adorned indoor ballroom spaces to accommodate both intimate receptions and grand banquets. Further indulgences include an on-site florist, a fully equipped spa, six award-winning restaurants and a world-class culinary team to customize your wedding menu. All wedding packages include a complimentary Honeymoon Suite. The St. Augustine package includes a romantic ceremony in the Wedding Pavilion, the Castillo de San Marcos Fort or one of the hotel’s luxurious ballrooms. The pavilion accommodates up to 130 guests, while the fort has a capacity of 250. Larger events can be held at Emerald Bay Plaza, where up to 575 can gather. Guests get discounted room rates, and a personal wedding planner assists with all pre-event details and onsite coordination. gaylord-palms

White-glove service and pampering amenities are hallmarks of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where venue options include a chic Grand Ballroom, a 25,000-square-foot private island and an array of small formal gardens. The clock tower in the lobby is modeled after the chain’s flagship Manhattan property.

GRAND BOHEMIAN ORLANDO If you find an urban environment more appealing, consider the Grand Bohemian Orlando, a Kessler Hotels AAA Four-Diamond property. This trendy boutique facility, located in the heart of downtown Orlando, is well known for its luxurious appointments, including a world-class art collection. An array of customizable wedding packages are offered, including madeto-order wedding cakes, a tuxedo-clad staff and a complimentary suite not only on your wedding night but also for your first anniversary. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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The three ballrooms at the Hilton Orlando can accommodate exotic themes and handle guest lists ranging from several dozen to several thousand. The amenityrich hotel has become a particularly popular locale for elaborate Asian and Indian weddings.

WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO Although the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando resembles the lobby of the iconic chain’s flagship hotel in Manhattan, the Orlando outpost boasts an ambiance all its own. Re38


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moved from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the facility lives up to its storied name, which has become synonymous with pampering service and white-glove amenities. At the Waldorf Orlando, a dedicated luxury-wedding specialist will help to create and implement your unique wedding vision. The celebration following the wedding may be held in the chic, well-appointed Grand Ballroom, which can be decked out to suit any theme. Outdoor venues include a variety of small formal gardens, while larger functions may be held on the hotel’s private, 25,000-square-foot island. Yes, we said private island. The bride and groom will enjoy the services of a personal butler, while guests have access to resort amenities that include two stunning swimming pools and a world-class golf course. If you’d like to take an offsite excursion, the area’s theme parks are nearby.

HILTON ORLANDO Hilton Orlando has become a popular venue for Asian and especially Indian weddings, with its exquisite mandaps (Indian ceremony altars), ottomans, canopies, handmade guest favors and bejeweled linens. Decorated in natural, soothing colors, the hotel offers both indoor and outdoor venues that ensure your event will flow seamlessly from ceremony to celebration. There are three ballrooms, which can comfortably accommodate small parties as well as those encompassing up to 4,000 guests. Basic services include a complimentary ballroom (provided as a bad-weather backup for outdoor events),

photos: courtesy hilton orlando

Guests will enjoy the edgy Bösendorfer Lounge, a favorite local hot spot to sip martinis and enjoy the sounds of the Imperial Grand Bösendorfer piano. Ballrooms feature intricate chandeliers, plush eggplant-purple velvet and gold-plated ceilings. For a smaller rehearsal dinner, you can dine in the critically acclaimed Boheme Restaurant. One of the more intimate settings for a ceremony is the rooftop Bohemian Garden, offering a poolside setting with elegant lounge furnishings and spectacular skyline views. The covered canopy features elegant white bunting under a permanent tented pavilion, which accommodates up to 75 guests. There are also a number of ballrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and dramatic organza drapes. The Johann Strauss Ballroom, for example, has a dance floor and can accommodate up to 150 guests for either a buffet or served, plated dining. Those interested in a less traditional and increasingly popular “progressive” wedding reception can commandeer the hotel’s entire fifth floor and invite up to 300 guests. Another nontraditional option is the Sunday Jazz Brunch Wedding Package. The Grand Bohemian also offers the Grand Theme Wedding Collection, offering everything from one-of-a-kind tiaras to unusual bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts. The Grand Bohemian Gallery Gift Registry program offers a Boheme Gallery representative to assist in making selections.


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The famous ducks at the Peabody Orlando have been known to turn up as wedding guests. The hotel, known for its lavish Southern hospitality, has facilities for ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and receptions ranging from poolside to grand ballroom to in-suite.

staging for a DJ or band, and a private menu tasting. Guests enjoy preferred room rates. The Hilton Orlando also has a golf course, seven dining venues, a lazy river water park, tennis courts, a health club and a spa tub. Upgrades include the services of a professional wedding consultant as well as guest transportation, theme-park tickets and professional photography.

photos: (left) CastaldoStudio; (right) courtesy the peabody orlando

THE PEABODY ORLANDO The Peabody features “Uniquely You” weddings in this Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond hotel, which is known for its lavish Southern hospitality and, of course, its cadre of resident ducks. The Peabody’s amenities include award-winning restaurants, nightly live entertainment, a resort-style grotto pool and a full-service luxury spa. A total of 300,000 square feet of flexible space can be arranged for small gatherings or major productions with as many as 3,000 of your closest friends in attendance. You can select from locations including poolside, in-suite, indoor/outdoor combinations or grand ballrooms. There are also facilities for magnificent rehearsal dinners, lively cocktail hours and dramatic receptions — and social-event planners to help you pull everything together. Signature three-tier wedding cakes by the executive pastry chef also are part of The Peabody’s packages, as well as a complimentary bridal suite, dressing rooms, discounted room rates and parking, and a private menu tasting. n ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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If you’re looking for resort style but in a more intimate setting, check out one of these stylish, oneof-a-kind venues: n The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne. Southern Victorian elegance makes this historic downtown Orlando inn a popular wedding location. The courtyard is simply breathtaking when adorned with white lights. n Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Mediterranean-inspired architecture, exquisite gardens and pathways overlooking Lake Osceola, a charming chapel and priceless sculptures by the late Albin Polasek set the tone for this beautiful museum venue. n Lakeside Inn. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and located in the quaint shopping village of Mount Dora, this 120-year old inn exudes Old South charm. n Cypress Grove Estate. Nestled on Lake Jessamine in Edgewood, this Georgian estate features a stately gazebo on the water’s edge and an expansive lawn ideal for elegant weddings. n Maitland Art Center. Known for its Aztec/Mayaninfluenced architecture, the center, originally built in 1938 as an artists’ colony, also boasts beautiful gardens and a unique outdoor chapel. artandhistory. org



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Resource GUIDE

rlando Life has been a trusted resource for brides and grooms for more than a decade. The following pages list some of the region’s top wedding and event service providers.


Anna Cakes 407-792-8096 Annie Euro American Bakery (formerly Annie Pies Gourmet Bakery) 407-831-7288 new website to come Chocolate Traditions of Orlando 407-388-5471 Dessert Lady 407-999-5696 Party Flavors Custom Cakes 407-578-2082 Publix SuperMarkets Various Locations Raphsodic Bakery 407-704-8615 Sprinkles Custom Cakes 407-622-7202 The Sugar Suite 321-972-8650 Sweet! By Holly 407-277-7746

CATERING Arthur’s Catering 407-331-1993





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Big Wheel Provisions 407-797-0167

Bravo! Cucina Italiana 407-351-5880

Collins Catering 407-370-6960

Brio Tuscan Grille Winter Park 407-622-5611

Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events 407-975-8763

Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa 866-397-6516

John Michael Special Events Catering 407-894-6671 Puff ‘n Stuff Catering 407-629-7833 Tim Webber:The Coordinator 407-649-9190


Bella Collina 407-469-4915 Bice Ristorante 407-503-1415 Bohemian Hotel Celebration 407-566-6000

English Gardens 407-644-3444 Estate House at Cypress Grove 407-749-0792

Caribe Royale 407-238-8000

EVO (Event Venue Orlando)

Casa Feliz 407-628-8200

Four Points by Sheraton Orlando Studio City 407-351-2100

Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine 888-213-8903

Gaylord Palms Hotel 407-586-2000

Ceviche Orlando 321-281-8140

Grand Bohemian Hotel 407-313-9000


Hard Rock Hotel 407-503-2100

Albin Polasek Museum 407-647-6294

A&H’s Maitland Art Center 407-539-2181

Dubsdread Ballroom & Catering 407-650-9558

407-645-5311 Courtyard at Lake Lucerne 407-648-5188 Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse 407-226-2662

Harry P. Leu Gardens 407-246-2620

I y o a w m v

Heaven Event Center 407-488-1800


Hard Rock LIVE 407-351-7625


Disney Fairy Tale Weddings 321-939-4610


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O N LY AT WA L D O R F A S T O R I A O R L A N D O . Imagine the luxurious wedding of your dreams at the Waldorf Astoria® Orlando. You’ll have your own dedicated specialist who will create the beautiful wedding you’ve always wanted on either our signature private island or stunning Grand Ballroom. For your reception, you and the groom will enjoy your own personal butler and your guests will be treated to classic white glove service. It will be a day where every dream will be brought to life and every moment will last a lifetime. Please contact our Wedding Specialist at 877.747.6048 or visit

EXTRAORDINARY PLACES. A SINGULAR EXPERIENCE. At each of our landmark destinations around the globe, experience the personalized Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts service that creates unforgettable moments.

©2013 Hilton Worldwide

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407-597-3600 Hilton Orlando Hotel 407-313-4300 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress 407-239-3955 Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport 407-503-1234

Paradise Cove Orlando 407-239-6939

Joie de Vie Weddings & Events 407-296-4008

Park Plaza Gardens 407-645-2475

Just Marry! 407-259-2388

407-597-5500 Windermere Country Club 407-876-1112 407-309-5687

Winter Park Wedding Chapel 407-539-1538

Kraft Azalea Gardens 407-599-3334 Loews Portofino Bay Hotel 407-503-1234 Loews Royal Pacific Resort 407-503-3122 Maison & Jardin 407-862-4410 The Mezz 407-704-6261 Orange County Regional History Center 407-836-8500


407-644-7770 Rosen Centre Hotel 407-996-9840 Rosen Plaza Hotel 407-996-9700 Rosen Shingle Creek 407-996-9939 Timacuan Golf & Country Club 407-321-0010

407-896-4231 Orlando Science Center 407-514-2000



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Winter Park Racquet Club 407-644-2226

Tuscawilla Country Club 407-366-1851 Universal Orlando Weddings & Celebrations 888-331-9108

Wyndham Orlando Resort 407-351-2420 Villas of Grand Cypress 407-239-239-4700

COORDINATING & CONSULTING Blush by Brandee Gaar 407-394-8892

CCH Marketing & Events 407-228-1901 Elegant Weddings of Orlando 407-574-4851 A Flair for Affairs 407-896-1476 Jamie M. O’Donnell Event Planning & Design 321-206-6318

Michele Butler Events 407-365-4729 StyleHouse Weddings & Events 407-329-4220 Tickled Pink Brides 407-455-0500 27 Miracles Consulting 407-905-5454 Weddings Inc. 407-964-1215 Weddings Unique 407-629-7111 Wonderful Weddings 407-629-1849

DECORATING Birchmore Group 407-478-1616

A Chair Affair 386-479-4308 Charming Events 407-252-8369 Classic Event Decorating 352-343-5574 Exclusive Linens by S&S 407-448-0680


1/21/13 3:25:56 PM

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1/21/13 4:25:38 PM

BRIDAL & Gift registry

Your Wedding is Unique… Your Gifts Should be Too


Get Lit Productions 407-615-4418 Kamini Design 407-388-1427 Max King Events 407-704-7944

Rentaland Tents and Events 407-851-7368 Occasions by Shangri-la 407-355-7700

520 N. ORLANDO AVE. , WINTER PARK VILLAGE MON. - SAT. 10 - 6, SUN. 1 - 5 | 407-740-8838

Owen Allen_Feb12.indd


Suzanne Nichols Design Group 407-833-9651


Wedding Lighting Orlando 407-478-1616

5:50:52 PM

ENTERTAINMENT Al Dee Productions 321-214-0834

Crystal Lake DJ Productions 407-248-1140 Day Entertainment 407-601-3962 DJ Chuck Johnson-Orlando’s Classic DJs 407-296-4996 Tagas Event & Production Services 407-826-5833


Betty J’s Florist 407-656-3526 44


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1/21/13 12:51:16 PM


Cocktails, Couture & Compassion For more information, please visit: or call Melixa Carbonell at (407) 629.7881 ext. 12106

Easter Seals’ mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or other special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.


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1/21/13 2:16:22 PM


Flourish Floral Productions 407-601-4948  Flowers Of Winter Park 407-975-4935 Greenery Productions 407-363-9151 Lee Forrest Design 407-770-0440 Lee James Floral Designs 407-897-5300 leejames Petals by Design 407-363-1800 Raining Roses Productions 407-854-3500 Sharon Crimmings Flowers 407-256-2333 Weddings by Carly Ane’s Floral Studio 407-294-7978



Cartier 407-248-9886

Katie Meehan Photography 407-574-4852

Marigold Scott 517-667-0722

International Diamond Center 407-770-5991 / 407-629-5531 / 407-862-8990

Kevin Keelan Photography

Makeover Station

MKHWeddings: Bridal Hair and Makeup Artistry 407-276-7703 Primera Day Spa & Salon 407-333-3040 Splash of Color Salon 407-614-8900 True Envy Salon 407-286-4857



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Maureen H. Hall Stationery and Invitations 407-629-6999

Sarah Hanna Calligraphy 407-539-2586



Tiffany & Co. 407-351-3133

K.The Stylimiste SCourtney 407-721-2993


Belles & Beaus Wedding Collection 407-420-1266 Dragony Custom Design 407-521-2144 dragon

e the new you.

Sunshine Photographics 407-481-8425


tylissima is a full service fashion consulting company that provides individual personal shopping, wardrobe assessment, travel packing as well as Glam Squad or special occasion consultation. Stylissima’s goal is complete enhancement - creating an empowered you inside and out with a special focus on color preferences, body shape and personal style.



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‡ CLOSET ASSESSMENT ARIANNE LUNGA IOUF F ASHION C ONSULTING ‡ WARDROBE STYLING STYLISSIMA FASHION CONSULTING ‡ SPECIAL OCCASION STYLING WWW STYLISSIMA COM ‡ TRAVEL tylissima is a full service fashion consulting company that provides individual PACKING personal shopping, wardrobe assessment, travel packing as well as Glam Squad or special ‡ FASHION SHOW PRODUCTION  .,    a %%  




Caroline Johnson Photography . . 407-404-1136 800-478-2895 occasion consultation. Stylissima’s goal is complete enhancement - creating an empowered you inside and out with a special focus on color preferences, body shape and personal style.



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Damon Tucci Photography 407-835-7879




9:41:49 AM

Alpha Limousine & Chauffeur Service S F C 407-483-0658 WWW.STYLISSIMA.COM     a    TYLISSIMA





JEWELERS 407-539-2079 / 407-805-0477 walkonwater.com


Studio222 Photography 407-808-7225


Paper Shop 407-644-8700 407-740-8838

Jewels by Peter B 407-647-5581

KMD Creations 407-212-1845



Bay Hill Jewelers 407-226-6882 / 321-422-0948


Be On Park 407-644-1106

John J. Unrue Photography 407-629-5292

Free Consultation Arango’s Limousine Services 407-430-8402 MARIANNE ILUNGA DIOUF S F C with no obligation (please present this brochure for discount.) TYLISSIMA




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1/21/13 12:51:44 PM


All that glitters …

Anniversary ◆ Birthday Engagement ◆ Wedding

Valentine’s Day Since 1974

232 North Park Av enue •

9OL_Feb13_Wedding_Guide.indd Reynolds and Co FP OL FEb13.indd 47 1

Winter Park •

4 07. 6 4 5 . 2 278•

w w w. Rey n o l d s J ewe l e m

1/21/13 1/21/13 12:51:53 11:39:04PM AM

Wedding Resource GUIDE

High Horse Carriage Rides Inc. 386-334-4386

SugarPop Films 407-575-7565

Formal Spot 407-578-1896

A Triple Crown Limousine 407-660-0060

Voila Cinematic 813-318-1765

Solutions Bridal 407-647-8666

VIP Transportation Group 407-822-7755



VIDEOGRAPHERS Cinematique Films

Lasting Blueprint Productions 407-536-8424 Pro One Video 407-852-0788



9OL_Feb13_Wedding_Guide.indd 48

Brides by Demetrios 407-869-5277

The Collection Bridal 407-740-6003 David’s Bridal 407-355-9811 / 407-767-8215

Bloomingdale’s 407-264-2400

Nordstrom Two Orlando locations 407-888-7889 321-558-3800 Saks Fifth Avenue 407-812-4500 T&A Formal Wear 407-251-6900

John Craig 407-629-7944 / 407-393-3747 Men’s Wearhouse Various locations


1/21/13 4:26:04 PM

February 16 – February 24, 2013

A Fundraising Event to Benefit

2 GREAT LOCATiOnS! The Los Castillos at Eagle Creek

Presented by ®



Help Find the Cure For Breast Cancer.


very day in the United States, an average of more than 100 people die from breast cancer. That’s almost 40,000 victims annually. At Centerline Homes, we’ve personally felt the devastating impact of breast cancer, and have decided to join with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization to help raise funds for research and education. In February of last year, Centerline Homes and Emerson International, the developer of Eagle Creek, hosted the first Homes for the Cure event. Thanks to the support of people like you, as well as companies throughout the region, the event raised more than $85,000 for Susan G. Komen Central Florida, the organization’s local affiliate. So we’re doing it again. Centerline Homes is proud to host the second annual Homes for the Cure at two outstanding Central Florida communities: Eagle Creek and RedTail. Emerson International and Starwood Land Ventures, the developer of RedTail, are co-sponsors. Your $5 admission will go directly to the Susan G. Komen organization, which is the leader in the global fight against breast cancer (see Pages 4 and 5). We’d also like to thank the many organizations in Central Florida that support the event, including Fox News, Clear Channel radio, Cox radio, CBS Radio, Orlando Life magazine, the Orlando Sentinel and the Leesburg Daily Commercial. And thanks to everyone for attending.

ROBERT HUTSOn President, Centerline Homes Central Florida Division

4-5 SUSAn G. KOMEn FOR THE CURE A global leader in the fight against breast cancer. 6-7 CEnTERLinE HOMES 20 Years of innovative designs. 8-9 EAGLE CREEK Country club living near Medical City. 10-11 REDTAiL Prestige and privacy in Lake County. 12-13 THE LAS PALMAS 14-15 THE LOS CASTiLLOS 16-17 THE TESORO 18-19 THE ESTAnCiA 20-21 THE CAMBRiDGE 22-23 SPOnSORS AnD COnTRiBUTORS Magazine design, production and printing by Stalder/Green Advertising and Florida Home Media, LLC.




usan G. Komen for the Cure was established in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the international organization has a network of advocates working through local affiliates to save lives and end breast cancer forever, empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all and energizing scientists and researchers. With $1.9 billion invested to date, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to fighting breast cancer and supporting patients and their families. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has played a critical role in every major advance in the fight against breast cancer over the past 25 years — transforming how the world talks about and treats this disease and helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors. The organization pledges to fulfill its promise to end breast cancer forever, and will commit more than $2 billion over the next decade to breast health care and treatment — especially for underserved women — and to research aimed at discovering the causes of breast cancer and, ultimately, its cures.



ABOUT KOMEN CENTRAL FLORIDA The first Central Florida Race for the Cure was hosted in 1996 in Daytona Beach by a dedicated group of volunteers committed to supporting the Komen mission. Susan G. Komen Central Florida, the national organization’s local affiliate, was established in 1999 and serves Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties by supporting, educating, advocating and funding community-based services for women in the fight against breast cancer. To date, Susan G. Komen Central Florida has raised more than $5 million through various events, including its annual Komen Central Florida Race for the Cure. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised through this and other events, such as Homes for the Cure, stays in Central Florida. The remainder goes to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure grants program, which supports leading-edge research. Locally, funds are distributed to non-profit organizations that provide breast cancer awareness, financial assistance, research, treatment and/or screening programs. The organization is especially focused reaching Hispanics, African Americans, migrant workers, the uninsured and the physically disabled — all of whom are at higher risk for breast cancer. In 2011, Susan G. Komen Central Florida granted 15 local non-profit organizations more than $600,000 for breast health services. The organization contributed an additional $150,000 to national research initiatives. In 2010, Susan G. Komen Central Florida helped to fund more than 1,600 initial screening mammograms, more than 1,100 diagnostic procedures (including biopsies and surgical consults) and numerous educational programs for more than 50,000 people. Breast cancer was diagnosed in 27 women who might otherwise have gone undiagnosed and untreated.

THE NEED IS GREATER THAN EVER As of 2011, Central Florida was home to nearly 2 million women, roughly one in eight of whom will face a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. Of those 235,000 women, 77,000 will be diagnosed as having “advanced stage” breast cancer — and nearly 15,000 will die.

An estimated 25 percent of women in Florida between the ages of 18 and 64 have no form of health insurance. Because of this and many other factors, approximately 30 percent of local women have not had a mammogram in the past year. It is for these women and others that Susan G. Komen Central Florida fills gaps in breast cancer services.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP  Volunteer: Susan G. Komen Central Florida needs your time and talent. The organization relies on volunteers to help raise funds and educate the community. From the annual Race for the Cure in October to educational events and speaking engagements, there are numerous opportunities to help, no matter how busy your schedule. Email volunteer@ for more information.  Advocate: Komen Champions for the Cure is a grassroots advocacy program designed to educate elected officials at the local, state and national levels about the impact of breast cancer on their constituents. You can make a difference by helping to inform policymakers. Sign up at  Partner: Whether it’s through a financial donation or an in-kind service that helps lower administrative costs, Susan G. Komen Central Florida needs partners. Year-round and eventspecific sponsorships are available. Email or call (321) 972-5534 for more information.  Donate: Make a gift in memory of a loved one, or simply to support the effort to end breast cancer forever. Susan G. Komen Central Florida accepts donations online, by mail or any other way that’s most convenient for you. Every dollar helps provide vital services and brings us one dollar closer to finding a cure. Email or call (321)-972-5534 for more information.  Join: Help spread the word about Susan G. Komen Central Florida’s many events and fundraising opportunities. To receive notifications and updates, email

Centerline Homes 20 Years of Innovative DesigN AND QUALITY.





s me







ince building its first home in 1993, Centerline Homes has earned a reputation for well-planned communities, quality construction and innovative designs. Over the past 20 years, the company has built more than 5,000 homes across Florida, and earned dozens of awards for excellence. Centerline’s success starts with selecting exceptional locations for each of its new communities — locations that offer top-notch schools, an array of recreational opportunities and easy access to shopping and entertainment destinations. Then Centerline’s designers go to work, creating homes perfectly suited to each community — whether it’s affordable townhomes and single-family homes or luxurious estate homes along a golf course or abutting a lake. Giving back to the communities in which it builds has been a philosophy of Centerline Homes since it was founded. The Homes for the Cure fundraising event is just the latest example of Centerline’s charitable outreach. “Many of us have personally felt the devastating impact of breast cancer in the lives of our families and friends,” says Robert Hutson, president of Centerline’s Central Florida Division. “Our partnership with the Susan G. Komen organization allows us to help fund research and assist families in need.”

lin e h


Centerline Homes is building at several communities in Central and South Florida. For more information, go to





or the second consecutive year, Eagle Creek is a Homes for the Cure host community. Developed by Emerson International, Eagle Creek is a 1,300-acre, master-planned community that includes a championship golf course, a wide variety of homes and a planned town center. Eagle Creek, one of the first communities in southeast Orlando, is strategically located adjacent to Medical City, the medical research and health care cluster that’s home to the Sanford-Burnham Institute, Nemour’s Children’s Hospital, the UCF College of Medicine and a new VA Health Center opening later this year. The golf course, designed by renowned architect Ron Garl, is rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest. Eagle Creek is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Emerson Group, a global corporation and one of the largest privately-owned property development companies in the United Kingdom. Upon completion, Eagle Creek will include:  Townhomes, golf villas and singlefamily homes on the golf course, lakes and conservation areas.  The 18-hole golf course and twostory clubhouse.  Family-oriented recreational facilities.  A town center including retail and office buildings.  A 150-room hotel.  A public school.



VA Hospital

Sanford-Burnham Institute

The VA Hospital and Sanford-Burnham Institute at Medical City are minutes from the Eagle Creek Clubhouse.



redtail golf Club PRESTiGE AnD PRiVACY in LAKE COUnTY.


edTail Golf Club is one of the premier country club communities in Central Florida. The distinctive covered bridge entrance leads to a classic, 15,000-square-foot clubhouse and a championship golf course that weaves through oak hammocks, water features and along the shoreline of Lake Nicholas. RedTail, which opened in 2004, includes golf-course homes offering some of the most spectacular views in Central Florida from the low $300s. The location is country-quiet, with peaceful horse farms nearby. But it’s also cityconvenient, just 15 minutes from major shopping centers and the office parks of Heathrow and Lake Mary. SLV RedTail, LLC, an affiliate of Starwood Land Ventures, the developer of RedTail, has invested more than $200 million to acquire 17,000 residential lots in four states. The projected sellout value of those holdings is nearly $1 billion. In addition to RedTail, Starwood Land Ventures is developing Independence, Summerlake, Sawgrass Plantation and several other Central Florida communities. RedTail’s country club amenities include:  A championship golf course designed by Dave Harman.  A clubhouse with private men’s and women’s lounges, a restaurant and a veranda overlooking the 18th green and fairway.  A fitness center with state-of-theart equipment, a swimming pool and spa services.  Har-Tru tennis courts.

A distinctive covered bridge marks the entrance to RedTail, a golf course community with spectacular amenities, including a waterfront clubhouse.

The Las Palmas EAGLE CREEK


ig, bold and beautiful describe the Las Palmas, featuring five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a super-sized bonus room. The excitement starts in the two-story foyer, where the space is highlighted by an elaborate staircase and overlook, setting the tone for all that lies beyond. The downstairs owner’s suite is tucked away past the living room, allowing for maximum privacy. Double entry doors lead to a huge walk-in closet and a bedroom that has ample space for a sitting area. French doors allow direct access to the covered lanai and swimming pool. The second floor encompasses 2,174 square feet of living space — that’s more space than many entire homes. And kids of all ages will love it, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and that amazing bonus room, which you’ll have a hard time leaving. It includes a mini-kitchen, a countertop with bar stools, a large sitting area for watching the big game and enough room for all the toys, games and trophies any family could want.

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The Los Castillos EAGLE CREEK


ery few homes offer the spaciousness and flow of the Los Castillos. Rather than using walls to define spaces, this home uses subtle changes in flooring and beams on the ceiling as you move from the living area to the dining area to the kitchen. Even as you step from the interior to the exterior, the transition is almost seamless. The first floor features a family office off the foyer with a fireplace surrounded by glass, allowing views into the living room. The kitchen/dining/ living areas span 40 feet and open to a dramatic pool and deck area through sliding glass doors that stack, creating an ideal entertainment area. The downstairs owner’s suite is almost 22 feet in length and features disappearing sliding doors on one corner, which allows easy access to the nearby pool and spa. Upstairs, there’s even more excitement, including a “hangout loft” that opens to a balcony overlooking the pool, as well as a spectacular bonus room with circular bar, sitting area and enough televisions to keep everyone in the neighborhood happy on game day.

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his home has it all — large, open spaces on the first floor for formal and casual entertaining, a kitchen any gourmet chef would love and oversized bedrooms upstairs along with a bonus room for fun. With a manicured fairway just beyond the swimming pool, the Tesoro was designed to maximize views. The living room, family room and owner’s suite all offer golf-course vistas, and there’s a 20-foot covered lanai as well. The kitchen includes all of today’s most sought-after luxury appointments, including an island and a walk-in pantry plus a butler’s pantry. On the second floor there’s three bedrooms and two bathrooms for the kids, plus a 13-by-22-foot bonus room that will keep them playing for hours. The owner’s suite is a spacious retreat. Accessed through double doors, the bedroom area is almost 21 feet wide. Two walk-in closets separate the bedroom from the owner’s bath, which includes a large shower and a relaxing corner tub. Just close the double doors and get away from it all.

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The Estancia EAGLE CREEK


he Estancia is perfect for families with older children who need their own space and whose parents need privacy as well. The downstairs owner’s suite is strategically positioned down a short hallway past the kitchen, far from the family room and the upstairs children’s rooms. Two walk-in closets near the owner’s suite entrance provide an additional buffer, leading to the large bedroom area. The owner’s bath is both spacious and luxurious, with two sinks, a make-up table, a big corner shower and a lavish tub. The second floor is a playground for kids, no matter what age. There’s a huge bonus room that can be a game room, a media center or an extra bedroom. A cozy loft is perfect for studying or playing video games. All three bedrooms are oversized — the smallest is 11-by-12 feet — and two have walk-in closets. And both bathrooms feature double sinks for easy sharing. Your kids will still fight, but there’s plenty of space to do it in — and you won’t hear them from the owner’s suite.



he Cambridge model, located along the 17th fairway at RedTail, embodies Florida living at its finest. The home is shaded by towering oaks and features pastoral views of the golf course, Lake Nicholas and oak hammocks on the rolling hills in the distance. Designed for growing families or empty nesters living the Florida dream, the home maximizes its unique golf-front setting. The magnificent views draw you to the pool and deck, which features a fountain, a spa, a fire pit and fire accents. The lavish covered lanai includes a summer kitchen fit for any king-of-the-grill. Inside, space and luxury appointments are everywhere, as are the views. Moldings and ceiling details accent the major rooms. The owner’s suite, a retreat unto itself, includes banks of eight-foot windows and an owner’s bath you won’t want to leave. The kitchen is a chef’s delight, with all the latest appliances, ample space around the island and, of course, the omnipresent views that will make any meal a special experience.

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A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors and Contributors.

The Homes for the Cure event requires the time, talent and resources of many companies and individuals to be a success. Our special thanks to these partners for their support:


















our media partners


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rona gindin

Brunch with a Brogue: It’s a Taste of the Emerald Isle at Raglan Road


inding a parking space at Downtown Disney on a

one from Belfast, one from England and one from Scotland. They tap magically, in lyrical pairs and groups, both male and female, changing costumes for every set. You might think that all that banging about would get on your nerves, but it’s so charming and lyrical that it doesn’t. And the food will hold your attention. Raglan Road offers a special brunch menu consisting mostly of upscale, somewhat creative takes on Gaelic favorites, which is Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s forte. Try the Full Irish. It’s a whopping $19 — Raglan Road offers quality and quantity, not bargains — and it’s enough to stuff three large men. A big white plate is loaded with a long breakfast sausage, wedges of clove-flavored black pudding and a white pudding with “secret ingredients.” There’s also a massive slab of “bacon,” which is apparently the Irish word for “ham,” and a heaping helping of roasted potatoes, which they call “roasties.” Button mushrooms, a cooked tomato and two eggs sunny side up finish the feast. The Raglan Road menu lists 11 brunch items in all, including steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar and applesauce, a smoked salmon omelet, and Eggs en Cocotte — baked with

PHOTOS: rafael tongol

weekend might fray your nerves, but your mood will lighten once you hit the road. Raglan Road, that is. Any frustrations, automotive or otherwise, will dissipate once you encounter the spirited music, lively dancing, polished service, old-country surroundings and New Irish foods that comprise the Irish pub’s new “Rollicking Raglan Brunch.” Its woodsy dining room boasts a domed ceiling constructed entirely out of architectural elements salvaged from Irish taverns and churches. Periodically, throughout your meal, a duo sings and strums lilting Irish ditties. But the main attraction is the Raglan retinue of Irish folk dancers who come and go, commandeering one or both of the pub’s stages (one’s a converted pulpit) and stamping their way through traditional jigs, reels, “river dancing” and Sean Nose, which is an ancient, improvisational Gallic style of dance. It’s a regular lord of the brunch. There are seven thoroughbred dancers in the Ragland Road troupe: three from Dublin, one from County Kerry,



8OHL_Feb13_Flavor.indd 74


1/21/13 9:25:43 AM

spinach, mushrooms and cheddar. We began with an un-brunch-like basket of fried calamari. The squid, along with several vegetables, were coated with a salted and peppery tempura batter that was light and not at all greasy. They were served with a spicy remoulade dip. Non-breakfast entrée choices ranged from fish-and-chips to a lobster club. The Cluck Curry was a mild, Indianinspired dish with tender slices of chicken breast and an almost-sweet, curry-in-


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Evoking a traditional Irish tavern, Raglan Road features a variety of brunch offerings, from stacks of pancakes and signature cocktails (facing page) to the whopping “Full Irish” breakfast and a bread-and-butter pudding. Irish folk dancers from across the pond stamp their way through jigs and reels, providing noisy but charming entertainment.



1/21/13 9:26:42 AM

Dining Locally, Brunching Globally: Three Other Ethnic Brunches to Try

New Irish cuisine at Raglan Road includes unexpected brunch offerings, such as the Indian-inspired Cluck Curry, with tender slices of chicken breast. fused sauce accompanied by cilantro, red onion, almond rice, and red, yellow and green bell pepper slices. You won’t be hungry for it, but order dessert. Raglan Road shines here. The Dunbrody Kiss is a ganache-covered dome of rich chocolate mousse with a cornflake base drizzled with chocolate sauce. Superb. The Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding is a bowlful of ultrabuttery, raisin-laced bread served with two sauces, a crème anglais and a butterscotch sauce. You’ll need a to-go box, yet you’ll likely polish off the remainder on the car ride home. You may be back to try the Fluffy Lemon Clouds, strawberry-apple crumble and Trifle Sinful — raspberry jam Swiss roll layers with mixed berries, custard, fresh cream and almonds. n 1640 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 407-938-0300, 76


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Wandering along South Orange Blossom Trail on a Sunday morning, seeking breakfast before an early visit to Costco to beat the crowd, we spotted an OPEN sign at Ceviche House. Turns out this Peruvian dining room — to which I most definitely will return for dinner — serves a special meal on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The breakfast menu has four choices, each a faithful representation of a morning meal in Lima or Arequipa. Although Ceviche House is in a nondescript strip mall, its interior is special. Deep pinkish-red walls are covered with gilt-framed oil paintings. Dark woods and stained-glass chandeliers contribute to a colonial feel. Upbeat Latin music plays. Chicharrón con camote y salsa criollo sounded like the most unusual entrée, so that was my pick. It was a long, white hoagie-style roll stuffed with hunks of flavorful pork with caramelized edges. The meat sat atop thick wedges of fried sweet potato and below “creole salsa,” a red onion and lime combo that finished every dish we sampled. A similar sandwich with sautéed beef tenderloin is another option. The breakfast tamales were served on a tightly formed mound of cornmeal that had been steamed in a banana leaf. Chunks of chicken added protein, and that same onion salsa shared the plate. The restaurant was empty during our 9 a.m. visit, so the server quickly agreed to let us order a ceviche off the regular menu. Of the eight varieties listed, we chose the pescado, or fish. What arrived was a square, white plate loaded with a mountain of tender fillet bites boasting a strong lime flavor from its marinade. Garlic, onions and rocoto pepper enhanced the mix, and the onion salsa sat on the top. A hunk of sweet potato and a pile of oversized corn kernels supplemented the fish. I don’t know that I’d rush back to Ceviche House for breakfast, although our orders were satisfying enough. But that ceviche was exceptional, and the extensive menu is mighty tempting with options such as whole poached red snapper with red onions, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa and white wine reduction; beef stew in a coriander sauce; and mixed seafood with boiled potatoes and Inca pepper sauce. It beats the all-beef hot dogs at Costco. And coming from me, that’s a compliment. 12213 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, 407-812-1717, cevichehouseorl. com

INDIAN In a grand second-story space overlooking Restaurant Row, filled with velour high-backed seats and sleek white banquettes, Raga strives to be more upscale than Orlando’s other Indian establishments.

PHOTO: rafael tongol



1/21/13 9:26:52 AM

In fact, its lunch menu — for our purposes, its Saturday/Sunday brunch menu — reads thusly: “Fast, Fresh & Healthy Gourmet Fare.” The food is indeed a notch above the competition, although I had a couple of serious service issues. First the food: Raga’s brunch menu is a la carte featuring 13 combo plates, most served with a creamy lentil soup, papadom lentil crackers, rice and a flatbread called naan. The three I tried were all superb — a richly flavored tandoor-cooked eggplant purée, chicken in a spinach sauce and prawns in a savory “pepper Masala” gravy. With the accoutrements, each was a full meal, and prices range from $9 to $16. It took some pushing, but eventually our server let us order two breads. I loved the vibrant cardamom flavor of Bakar Khani naan, a sweet Kashmir specialty made with milk and sugar. My brunch sidekick preferred the Gulmohor naan, stuffed with a raisin and nut paste; the filling resembled marzipan. A success overall. But, throughout the first half hour of our visit, the wooden floor around us was being washed, and we couldn’t escape a strong ammonia smell. The tidying should have been done before customers arrived. And, when the restaurant had trouble processing our ReferLocal coupon, the manager first had the waiter claim the deal was just for dinner, pointing to “dine-in only” on the paper. Though he finally agreed to talk to us himself, the manager made us wait a long time before he emerged from his office. He conceded, eventually, after we pointed out that we were locals and that we had ordered quite a bit of food for two people. Still, as I left I wasn’t exactly in a brunchy frame of mind. In fact, I was toying with the idea that perhaps “Raga” should be spelled “Rage.” 7559 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 407-985-2900,

AMERICAN I cheated a bit here. “Ethnic” ordinarily refers to countries other than our own. But here’s an option if your family, like mine, has grown weary of traditional American brunch favorites such as eggs, bacon and sausage and might take an interest in a regional culinary subculture decked out in red, white and blue. The second Sunday of every month, K Restaurant packs away its eclectic American and authentic Italian dishes and opens to serve a wholesome, somewhat Southern midday meal from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I’d seen ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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it promoted on Facebook month after month, so I packed up the crankypants contingent and hauled them to College Park. Even they liked it. A lot. Chef-owner Kevin Fonzo goes way beyond the ordinary when preparing this meal at his ever-popular eatery, where the sunshine brightens the comfy dining rooms and many guests eat on the patio and in the backyard. I opted for a brunch classic, eggs Benedict. Only here — oh, my. The base was flaky biscuits made with both pastry and bread flour. On top were slices of tomato along with thick squares of braised pork belly and ultra-tender pig meat with crisp, caramelized tops and bottoms. Add on poached eggs and a silky Hollandaise sauce, plus some microgreens, and your brunch is A-O-K. One dragged-in dining companion gleefully gobbled up the soul-food classic chicken and waffles. The buttermilk waffle was crisp, yet tender. Alongside were three enormous pieces of buttermilk-soaked chicken dusted in a simple flour, ultimately enticing outside and in. A small carafe of warmed bourbon maple syrup was a sweet touch. The total breakfast loather asked for a double portion of an appetizer called Creole BBQ Shrimp with Logan Turnpike cheesy grits and Creole spices. Hit! A heap of mollusks from local waters was smothered in a rich, Worcestershire-based sauce and plated with a creamy mound of cooked Georgia cornmeal. The entire menu is enticing for those who don’t fear a gram of fat or two. Pimiento cheeseburger. Grilled bacon and cheese sandwich. French toast with housemade peanut butter, Nutella, bananas and bourbon syrup. And starters include deviled eggs, bacon-cheddar biscuits and parsnip bisque. Consider beginning light with the just-sweet, honeywalnut coffee cake or the cranberry-orange biscuits. You’ll never be quite content with a simple diner breakfast again, not once you’ve experienced the A-plus, or should we say K-plus, renditions of these classics. 1710 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, 407-872-2332,

Rona Gindin, dining editor of Orlando Life, has written about Orlando’s restaurants for Fodor’s and Zagat, among many other publications. She’s the author of The Little Black Book of Walt Disney World.



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AFRICAN Nile Ethiopian

7048 International Dr., Orlando, 407-3540026 / Locals willingly navigate International Drive to dine at Nile, a family-owned restaurant specializing in the exotic cuisine of Ethiopia. Order a few dishes to share and scoop up the intriguing concoctions with the eatery’s signature spongy bread. End with a strong cup of aromatic, brewed-to-order coffee. $$

Sanaa 3701 Osceola Pkwy., Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-

3463 / Sanaa, one of Disney’s most interesting restaurants, offers dishes based on cuisine from the Spice Islands, a coastal African area rich with Indian influences. Flavors are intense, but spicy only upon request. (Curry, the chefs insist, is a melding of flavors, not one particular spice.) The marketplace-style dining room boasts picture windows overlooking the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s savannah, so you might spot zebra or wildebeest while lunching on tandoori chicken or a vegetarian platter with stewed lentils and a vegetable sambar (stew). $$


942 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, 407-480-2200 / Bananas has a split personality. It’s a wholesome, family place to grab higher-quality versions of such classics as burgers, shakes and pancakes (the Buffalo Benedict is a surprise pleaser). Other times, it’s a delightfully outrageous experience for more adventurous diners who enjoy the antics of cross-dressing servers. The Sunday drag gospel brunch (“Sinners welcome!”) is like no church service you’ve ever attended. $$

Cask & Larder 565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 321-280-4200 / Billing itself as a “Southern Public House,” this casual Winter Park eatery serves up modern twists on traditional favorites. Look for a three-ham platter with pepper jelly; pimento cheese; and seasonal favorites such as grilled pork belly and chicken-and-biscuits. Many beers are made on the premises. $$

Chatham’s Place 7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando, 407- 345-2992 / For an old-fashioned dining experience – a subdued dining room and doting personalized service by a longtime staff – dine at this hidden Restaurant Row establishment. Locals return regularly for Chef Tony Lopez’s classic dishes such as black grouper with pecan butter, rack of lamb and filet mignon. $$$

Citrus 821 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, 407-373-0622 / A clubby yet stylish restaurant in a convenient downtown Orlando location, Citrus features modern American cuisine with a nod toward regionally grown and produced ingredients. International influences also highlight the menu, from smoked chili aioli complementing herb-marinated chicken to balsamic rum glaze topping juicy pork chops. $$$

Dexter’s 808 E. Washington St., Orlando, 407-648-2777;

558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-1150; 950 Market Promenade Ave., Lake Mary, 407-805-3090 / dexwine. com. Central Florida has three Dexter’s locations, and each has become a neighborhood magnet, drawing diners of all ages for hearty portions of creative American fare (at fair prices), good wine and, in some cases, live music. Casual dress is the rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. $$-$$$

Emeril’s Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd. Orlando, 407-

224-2424 / Get a taste of New Orleans at Emeril’s, a fine-dining restaurant at always-bustling Universal CityWalk. You’ll find classics from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, including the signature barbecue shrimp, andouillestuffed redfish, double-cut pork chops and banana cream pie. The service, of course, is superb. Consider sharing appetizers at the bar area. $$$$

Graffiti Junktion 900 E. Washington St., Orlando,

407-426-9503; 2401 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, 407-377-1961 / The Graffiti Junktions in Thornton Park and College Park are loud and purposely grungy looking, hence “graffiti” in the name. But this ultra-casual duo dishes up great burgers, wings and zucchini fries. Live entertainment ranges from performance art to trivia contests. Watch for daily happy-hour specials. $

Hillstone 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-7404005 / Formerly known as Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a high-end chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs 78


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overlooking Lake Killarney. Many proposals have been popped during dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$

Rusty Spoon 55 W. Church Street, Orlando, 407-401-

8811 / Foodies flock to this Church Street gastropub, a warm and welcoming space at which meals are described as “American food. European roots. Locally sourced.” Your salad will consist of über-fresh greens, your sandwich will be filled with slow-braised lamb, your pasta will be hand-rolled and your meat will be robustly seasoned. $$-$$$

Seasons 52 7700 Sand Lake Rd., Orlando, 407-3545212; 463 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs, 407-767-1252 / A Darden concept founded in Orlando, the two local locations turn out creative and tasty meals in grand, bustling spaces. The food happens to be low in fat and calories; that’s just a bonus. The wine selection is impressive and the itty-bitty desserts encourage sampling without guilt. $$$ Shipyard Brew Pub 200 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 321-274-4045 / This ultra-casual brewpub has been packed night and day since it opened in 2011, and not just because it pours a great lager. To complement suds brewed both in-house and elsewhere, a from-scratch menu offers Buffalo chicken dip, amazing white-bean hummus, sandwiches, flatbreads and entrées, including étouffée and pot roast. Stop in any time to pick up a loaf of some of Orlando’s best bread. $-$$

Tap Room at Dubsdread 549 W. Par St., Orlando, 407650-0100 / One needn’t play golf to dine at this historic course-side tavern, a College Park icon offering a varied menu – and a reputation for fine burgers. Options other than the famous half-pound patties include steaks, salmon, tequila-citrus chicken and a dandy Reuben sandwich. $$

The Table Orlando 9060 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-900-3463 / For special occasions, book a place at The Table, a tiny restaurant that serves a five-course gourmet meal with wine pairings. Up to 22 guests at a time share the repast around an oversized table. The New American menu changes regularly and is comprised in large part of locally sourced foods. The price is a set $100 including tax and tip. Groups can host private events here. $$$$ TooJay’s Various locations / When it’s time

for a taste of Jewish Brooklyn – pastrami on rye, latkes, blintzes, knishes – the six local outlets of this South Floridabased chain have it all. You’ll also find diner foods such as omelets, sandwiches and pot-roast dinners. Take home some black-and-white cookies. $

ASIAN Anh Hong

1124 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 407-999-2656. You’ll receive a bundle of fresh herbs to tear into your soup at this Mills 50 Vietnamese eatery, and another bunch for a roll-your-own entrée that’s like a DIY summer roll. Asian classics, such as grilled meats and scallion pancakes, are done exceptionally well here, which makes Anh Hong a top choice for local Vietnamese-Americans longing for a taste of home. $

Dragonfly 7972 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-459-1892 / Stylishly attired 30-somethings regularly pack this oh-so-hip restaurant, where groups share sushi, grilled “robata” items, and tapas-style Asian foods such as soft-shell crab tempura, crispy black pork belly and shisowrapped spicy tuna. $$

Hawkers 1103 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, 407-237-0606 / This Mills 50 mainstay, named for street vendors of Asian fare, serves up generous tapas-size portions of curry laksa (an aromatic Singaporean soup), roti canai (Malaysian flatbread with a hearty curry sauce), five-spice tofu, chilled sesame noodles, smoky mussels and sensational beef skewers with peanuty satay dip. $$


$ Inexpensive, most entrées under $10 $$ Moderate, most entrées $10-20 $$$ Pricey, most entrées over $20 $$$$ Very expensive, most entrées over $30 indicates the restaurant is a Silver Spoon winner (Judges’ Choice).

Ming Bistro 1212 Woodward St., Orlando, 407-898-9672.

Enjoy perhaps Orlando’s best dim sum for dinner or, on a weekend morning or afternoon, select shrimp dumplings, beef balls, turnip cakes, sticky rice, barbecue pork buns and egg tarts one small dish at a time from carts that roll between tables. The a la carte menu features Hong Kong-style staples from stir-fry beef to chicken feet. $

Seoul Garden 511 E. Horatio Ave., Maitland, 407599-5199 / Seoul Garden is so Asian-focused that the “about us” section of its website is written in Korean. That authenticity extends to the food. Barbecued meats are grilled to order in the dining room. Be sure to try the marinated beef short ribs and the soft tofu stew. $

Sushi Pop 310 W. Mitchell Hammock Rd., Oviedo, 407-542-5975 / Oviedo is an unlikely location for this cutting-edge restaurant, a popular spot for sushi. The food is serious and often experimental, as chef-owner Chau uses molecular gastronomy to create some of the fusion fare. The aura is fun: Asian anime on the walls, playful colors, and servers who dress in outrageous themed outfits. $$

BARBECUE 4 Rivers Smokehouse

1600 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; 1869 W. S.R. 434, Longwood; 1047 S. Dillard St., Winter Garden / 407-474-8377, A diverse array of barbecue specialties – from Texas-style brisket to pulled pork, smoked turkey and bacon-wrapped jalapeños – has gained this rapidly growing homegrown concept a large following. The Longwood outpost even includes a bakery and an old-fashioned malt shop featuring homemade ice cream. $


Johnny’s Fillin’ Station 2631 S. Fern Creek Ave., Orlando, 407-894-6900 / Neighbors gather for hearty burgers, along with wings, subs and wraps, at this homey spot in a residential downtown neighborhood. Beer flows, TVs broadcast big games, and families love the pool tables and dart boards. $ Pine 22 22 E. Pine St., Orlando, 407-574-2160 / pine22.

com. Burgers go chic at this fast-casual downtowner, where every ingredient is special. The burgers are from happy cows, the eggs from free-roaming chickens, the pork from lovingly raised pigs. Mix and match your toppings over a patty of beef, turkey or black beans (or pulled pork), with options ranging from mango salsa to sautéed mushrooms. $$


8101 World Center Dr., Orlando, 407-238-8060 / Walk though a runof-the-mill convention hotel to reach the AAA Four-Diamond Venetian Room, an elegant, domed-service, continental restaurant that hearkens to the heyday of unapologetic, butter-and-cream-enhanced fine dining. The lobster bisque is an absolute must. After that, try the filet mignon, duck a l’orange or Dover sole. $$$$

CREATIVE/ PROGRESSIVE Chef’s Table at the Edgewater Hotel

99 W. Plant St., Winter Garden, 407-230-4837 / Husband-and-wife team Kevin and Laurie Tarter are your personal servers at this intimate Winter Garden hideaway, where Kevin prepares the evening’s three-course, prix-fixe meal and Laurie helps choose the wine. Both stop by every table to chat with guests. Adjacent, the Tasting Room offers tapas-size portions of international dishes and a full bar. $$$

Finesse 7025 County Road 46A, Lake Mary, 407-805-9220

/ Talented chef Alex Brugger runs a remarkable kitchen at Finesse, a stylish Lake Mary restaurant with an ambitious menu. Begin with the tender duck confit encased in puff pastry, the complex black bean soup and whatever raw tuna appetizer happens to be on the menu. Continue with the creamy seafood paella, made with risotto, or the steak or pork with chimichurri and duck fat French fries. End with the chocolate-orange soufflé served with peanut butter anglaise. $$-$$$

Funky Monkey 912 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, 407-4271447; 9101 International Dr., Orlando (Pointe Orlando), 407FEBRUARY 2013

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418-9463 / Every meal begins with complimentary lime-garlic edamame at these eclectic eateries, known as much for sushi and intriguing wine lists as for creative American cuisine and an ever-changing menu. FMI Restaurant Group also owns Bananas, Nick’s Italian Kitchen and Prickly Pear as well as a catering arm and the Funky Monkey Vault, a wine shop that also sells gifts, apparel and furniture. $$

Hue 629 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, 407-849-1800 / hueres- Hue is a progressive American restaurant on a busy corner in trendy Thornton Park. Well-dressed 30-somethings sip colorful martinis at the bar and dine, indoors and out, on of-the-now items such as tuna tartare, duck breast with cranberry reduction and amaretto risotto, and grouper with smoked paprika olive oil. $$$

on select evenings gets the whole dining room swaying together in a spirit of schunkel abend. $$

Yalaha Bakery 1213 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, 321-8005212; 8210 County Road 48, Yalaha, 352-324-3366 / Fans of hearty German breads and scratch-made German pastries can drive to this homey outpost in rural Lake County, or they can pick up their loaves and sweets at an Ivanhoe District storefront. The Yalaha unit also sells sandwiches and hot lunches. $


Roy’s 7760 W. Sand Lake Rd., Orlando, 407-352-4844 / Hawaiian-fusion flavors enhance familiar and exotic fish dishes at this Restaurant Row pioneer, a link in a Honolulu-based chain owned by namesake chef, Roy Yamaguchi. $$

INDIAN Aashirwad

6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando, 407-503-2467 / Emeril Lagasse’s Polynesianfusion fare is executed by locally renowned chef, Greg

K Restaurant 2401 Edgewater Dr. Orlando, 407-8722332 / Kevin Fonzo, the go-to chef in College Park since 2001, owns this homey eatery, which is, in fact, located in an erstwhile residence. The menu is mostly creative-American, along with Italian favorites celebrating Fonzo’s heritage. Casual wine tastings and themed special dinners, along with a constantly changing menu, bring back regulars for singular experiences. $$-$$$

Richie. Within a dramatically decorated space, diners enjoy tropical cocktails, steamed dumplings and creative entrées such as pan-roasted duck breast with gingered pear chutney and umeboshi (pickled) plum glaze. $$$$

5748 International Dr., Orlando, 407-370-9830 / Begin with kashmiri naan, a slightly sweet bread stuffed with nuts, coconut and raisins, and continue with chicken biryani, cauliflower in exotic Manchurian gravy and a mixed tandoori grill. Whole spices

Luma on Park 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-5994111 / If there’s pancetta in your salad, the salumi was made in the kitchen, by hand, starting with a whole pig. Most herbs are from local farms, fish from sustainable sources, pickled vegetables jarred in house and desserts built around seasonal ingredients. Luma’s progressive menu, which changes daily, is served in a sleek and stylish dining room in the heart of Winter Park, under the passionate direction of Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery, Chef de Cuisine Derek Perez and Pastry Chef Brian Cernell. $$$

Norman’s 4012 Central Florida Pkwy., Orlando, 407-278-8459 / Celebrity Chef Norman Van Aken’s restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, turns out artistic New World cuisine combining the flavors of Latin America, the Caribbean, the Far East and the United States. The dining room is dramatic, the food astounding and the service polished. Be sure to begin with a Norman’s classic: foie gras “French toast.” And you’ll be delighted with the Mongolian veal chop. $$$$

Park Plaza Gardens 319 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407645-2475 / After 30-plus years, Park Plaza Gardens is practically an institution on Winter Park’s tony Park Avenue. People-watchers gather at the small bar and sidewalk tables to linger over casual meals and cold beers, while those looking for an indulgent experience dine in the garden-like back dining room, which boasts atrium windows and plush décor. The menu features a melding of American, European and Asian flavors and cooking techniques. $$$-$$$$

Ravenous Pig 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333 / After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s first genuine gastropub. Dinner reservations have been tough to snag ever since. The ambitious menu changes daily based on the fish, meat and produce that’s available, and it’s executed by a dedicated team that abhors shortcuts. Besides daily specials, The Pig always serves up an excellent burger, soft pretzels, shrimp and grits and a donut dessert called Pig Tails. $$$

Victoria & Albert’s 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-3463 / Indulgent, sevencourse prix-fixe feasts are served in the serenely elegant main dining room, accompanied by live harp music, while 10 courses are offered in the more intimate Queen Victoria’s Room. But what the heck? Why not go for 13 courses at the Chef’s Table? Chef Scott Hunnel, Maitre d’ Israel Pérez and Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek travel the world to seek out impressive food and service trends, then adapt the golden ones locally. That’s why V&A, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is Orlando’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant. $$$$

EASTERN EUROPEAN Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café

What would our impressive menu be without passionate people like you to enjoy it all? Thank you Orlando for 10 award-winning years of enchantment and elegance. We look forward to serving you for many more years to come. 407-238-8060

205 E. 1st St., Sanford, 407-321-2204 / If you like to indulge in a good schnitzel with a liter of hearty beer, head to Sanford. There you’ll find Theo Hollerbach overseeing the gemütlichkeit while serving up authentic German foods from sauerbraten to a wurst sausage platter. Live music


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are roasted and ground daily on site, further enhancing the cuisine’s authenticity. $$

ITALIAN Antonio’s

611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-645-5523 / Fine Italian fare comes at reasonable prices at Antonio’s, proprietor Greg Gentile’s culinary homage to his ancestors. The upstairs restaurant, recently remodeled and expanded with a balcony overlooking Lake Lily, is somewhat formal, although the open kitchen provides peeks of the chefs in action. Its downstairs counterpart, Antonio’s Café, is a more casual spot that doubles as a market and wine shop. $$$

Bice 5601 Universal Blvd., Orlando, 407-503-1415 / orlando. Bice, with 50 locations around the world, has a local outpost of ambitious Italian cuisine at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal. Homemade egg pasta is

used for several dishes, such as spaghetti Bolognese; other choices include veal piccata and steak with a Gorgonzolademi sauce. $$$$

Alfredo is rich, buttery and more than you should eat in one sitting. The homemade soups are always a dependable starter. $$

Enzo’s on the Lake 1130 U.S. 17-92, Longwood, 407834-9872 / Long before Orlando became a serious foodie town, Enzo’s was serving up lovingly prepared Italian specialties inside a converted Longwood home. Little has changed. Split a bunch of antipasto to begin your meal. After that, you pretty much can’t go wrong, but standout dishes include homemade ravioli stuffed with chicken and spinach, veal with artichoke-caper-white wine sauce and possibly the best spaghetti carbonara in town. $$$

Peperoncino 7988 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407440-2856 / The menu changes every night at this cozy Dr. Phillips Italian, where chef-owner Barbara Alfano puts out plates of fried pecorino drizzled with honey, pear- and four-cheese pasta, and fish steamed in parchment paper. $$$

O’Stromboli 1803 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, 407-6473872. This innocuous neighborhood eatery isn’t fancy, but the food is filling and fresh. That’s why it has become a favorite of residents of Merritt Park, Rose Isle and Baldwin Park. The carbonara is particularly hearty and the fettuccini


• •

Prato 124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-262-0050 / This is one of Orlando’s very best Italian restaurants, but don’t expect a classic lasagna or chicken parmigiana. Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and Chef di Cucina Matthew Cargo oversee an open kitchen in which pastas are made from scratch, pizzas are rolled to order, sausages are stuffed by hand and the olive oil is a luscious organic pour from Italy. Try the chicken liver Toscana, a satisfying salad Campagna with cubes of sizzling pancetta tesa, shrimp tortellini and citrusy rabbit cacciatore. Begin with a Negroni cocktail; it’s possibly the best around.


Rocco’s 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-7770 / Calabria native Rocco Potami oversees this romantic Italian eatery, where fine authentic fare is presented in an intimate dining room and on a secluded brick patio. Classics include carpaccio (raw, thinly sliced beef with white truffle oil and arugula), ricotta gnocchi and a breaded veal chop topped with a lightly dressed salad. It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a Winter Park strip center, but once you find it, you’ll be back. $$$

LATIN Mi Tomatina

433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321-972-4317 / This eatery bills itself as a paella bar, and indeed guests share a half-dozen varieties of the signature Spanish rice dish. Yet others come for a mellow meal over tapas (garlic shrimp, potato omelet, croquettes) and sangria, enjoyed while seated within a small contemporary dining room or outdoors overlooking Hannibal Square. $$-$$$

Pio Pio 2500 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, 407-207-2262; 5752 International Dr., Orlando, 407-248-6424; 11236 S. Orange Blossom Tr., Orlando, 407-438-5677 / Latin American-style marinated roast chicken is a mainstay at the three Orlando locations, each a dark, midscale den where families fuel up on heaping platters of pollo along with garlicky salad, fried plantains (sweet and green) and rice and beans. $$


7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando, 407-352-6766 / Sensational Turkish food in an upscalecasual setting makes Anatolia a popular choice in the Dr. Phillips area. Start with any of the “cold salads” and a piping hot puffy lavash bread, then try chargrilled whole fish, tavuk doner (Turkish gyro), lamb chops or spinach-feta pide, sort of like a boat-shaped flatbread. $$

Bosphorous 108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-6448609 / This is the place for flavorful Turkish fare in either a white-tablecloth setting or alfresco along Park Avenue. Many couples fill up on the appetizer sampler with oversized lavash bread. For a heartier meal, try the ground lamb “Turkish pastry,” a shish kebab or a tender lamb shank. Outdoor diners can end their meals by smoking from a hookah. Or not. $$

Taverna Opa 9101 International Dr., Orlando, 407-351-

Sip the finest margarita Taste guacamole made fresh at your table Savor fresh seafood and steaks with authentic sauces

Dellagio & Sand Lake Road

8000 Via Dellagio Orlando 407.345.0186 follow us on Facebook JOIN US FOR VALENTINE’S DAY 80


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8660 / The food is excellent, but that’s only half the reason to visit Taverna Opa. On busy nights, the place is festive indeed: Some guests join a Zorba dance around the dining room while others toss white napkins into the air, joyously shouting “Opa!” Then there’s the belly dancer. $$


8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407345-0186 / Modern Mexican cuisine in a spiffy setting draws lovers of cilantro, jalapeño and pico de gallo to this Restaurant Row eatery, where the margaritas flow, the guacamole is made tableside and the portions are generous. The spinach enchilada is a vegetarian-friendly treat. $$


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Cocina 214 151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407-

790-7997 / Tex-Mex food is top quality here (214 is the Dallas area code), with salsa, savories and even margarita flavorings made from scratch. The spinach-mushroom quesadilla and braised pork tacos with “orange dust” are especially noteworthy. $$

El Tenampa 11242 S. Orange Blossom Tr., Orlando, 407850-9499 / Many Orlandoans make El Tenampa part of their Costco shopping ritual, since the restaurant is located only a block from the OBT warehouse store. This authentic eatery features fresh fruit juices, spicy chicken chilaquiles (a Mexican breakfast, available all day long, made with fried tortilla pieces and a green sauce) as well as a satisfying shrimp quesadilla in addition to the standard enchiladas and fajitas. $

SEAFOOD Ocean Prime

7339 W. Sand Lake Rd., Orlando, 407-7814880 / Designed to evoke the ambience of an old-time supper club, Ocean Prime’s white-jacketed servers offer sensational steaks and fish dishes along with creative options such as sautéed shrimp in a spectacular Tabasco-cream sauce, crab cakes with sweet corn cream and ginger salmon. End with the chocolate peanut butter pie. $$$$

Todd English’s Bluezoo 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, 407-934-1111 / Creatively prepared seafood is served in an over-the-top undersea setting at this fine-dining restaurant, located in Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotel. The fashion-forward choices might be a misoglazed Hawaiian sea bass or fried lobster in a soy glaze. The desserts are among the best in town. $$$$

Winter Park Fish Co. 761 Orange Ave. Winter Park,

407-622-6112 / Fish and seafood dishes are fresh and well-prepared at this humble Winter Park spot, where a counter service format helps keep the prices reasonable. Crab cakes, lobster rolls, mahi-mahi sandwiches and more ambitious dishes such as grouper

cheeks in parchment and stuffed grouper are among a day’s assortment. $$

STEAK Bull & Bear

14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, 407-597-5410 / Orlando’s Bull & Bear looks similar to New York’s legendary steakhouse (except for the pool and golf course views), but ours has its own ambitious menu. Guests of the Waldorf Astoria’s fine-dining spot can feast on traditional items such as veal Oscar and prime steak that’s dry aged for 21 days, and intriguing ones like appetizers of gnocchi and escargot with crescents of black garlic, and shrimp and grits presented under a dome that, when removed, introduces a waft of aromatic smoke. The chocolate and lemon desserts are superb. $$$$

Capital Grille 4600 N. World Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 407939-3463 / Capital Grille tries to one-up its upscale steakhouse competitors by dry-aging its beef, an expensive process that results in especially flavorful meat. Try a beautifully unadorned chop or a more creative dish, such as citrus-glazed salmon or Kona-crusted sirloin. The setting is clubby; the wine selection is generous. $$$$ Christner’s Del Frisco’s 729 Lee Rd., Orlando, 407-

645-4443 / Locals have been choosing this prototypically masculine, dark-wood-andred-leather enclave for business dinners and family celebrations for more than a decade. Family-owned since 1993, Christner’s features USDA Prime, corn-fed Midwestern beef or Australian cold-water lobster tails with a slice of the restaurant’s legendary mandarin orange cake. And there’s a loooong wine list (6,500 bottles). On select nights, Kostya Kimlat hosts magic shows along with a prix-fixe menu in a private dining room. $$$$

Fleming’s 8030 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-352-5706; 933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-699-9463 / Fleming’s puts a younger spin on the stately steakhouse concept, featuring sleek décor and 100 wines by the glass along with its prime steaks and chops.

The tempura lobster “small plate” with soy-ginger dipping sauce is a worthy pre-entrée splurge. For a taste of the oldfashioned, visit on Sunday, when prime rib is served. $$$$

Ruth’s Chris 7501 W. Sand Lake Rd., Orlando, 407-2263900; 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-2444; 80 Colonial Center Pkwy, Lake Mary, 407-804-8220 / ruthschris. com. With three stately steakhouses and corporate headquarters by Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando special-occasion mainstay. Its service-oriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. $$$$ Shula’s 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Orlando, 407-934-1362 / Coach Don Shula, who led the Miami Dolphins through a perfect season in 1972, is now in the restaurant business. His Orlando outpost, located in Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin resort, is a dark, tastefully sportsthemed steakhouse where the menu is painted on a football. Offerings include Premium Black Angus beef as well as barbecue shrimp, wedge salad and crab cakes. $$$$

VEGETARIAN Dandelion CommuniTea Café

618 N. Thornton Ave., Orlando, 407-362-1864 / Proprietor Julie Norris meant to open a crunchy teahouse, but her organic, locally sourced foods were such a hit that the Dandelion is now a hot spot for lunch and a mecca for the “OurLando” movement. Even carnivores can’t resist Henry’s Hearty Chili, Happy Hempy Hummus, and wraps and sandwiches. As for dessert, Razzy Parfait’s vanilla soygurt is delicious, filling and healthful enough to be a meal. $

Café 118 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-389-2233 / Raw foods – none cooked past 118 degrees – are the focus of this crisp Winter Park café, attracting raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$

Featured in

Orlando Restaurant Guide 2013

W inter Park 400 South Orlando Avenue s 407-644-7770 Reservations online at ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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Whimsical Ware


ings, you can’t help but think she’d pick MacKenzieChilds. The luxury home-goods company, founded by Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs in 1983, features whimsical dinnerware and furniture straight out of the authors’ zany wonderland. We caught up with the current mastermind of MacKenzie-Childs, creative director Rebecca Proctor, who made a recent swing through Orlando to promote this cultish and rapidly expanding through-thelooking-glass brand.

Q. How do you come up with each collection? A. Inspiration is wherever you find it — and I find it just about

everywhere I look. Our beautiful studio in Aurora, New York, is certainly a great source. We work on a 65-acre former dairy farm, and every view is of lakes and fields. It’s quite beautiful. I also travel a great deal and find inspiration in the fact that people everywhere appreciate the idea of “home.” Q. What have been your bestselling items? A. Several pieces come to mind that have been perennial

Q. Are there MacKenzie-Childs collectors? A. We have many passionate collectors who’ve been follow-

ing us since the ’80s. Private collections have been featured in magazines. Some homes are trimmed from top to bottom with MacKenzie-Childs, while others pepper the designs sparingly in very special spots. Q. Do you have pieces that are considered classics? A. Classic MacKenzie-Childs covers some broad territory

these days. Everything Courtly Check, which is our most popular pattern, and the iconic silhouettes of our ceramic teapots and tuffets [small ottomans]. Our uniquely shaped garden furniture also falls into that category. Q. Which interior design styles do MacKenzie-Childs products best complement? A. We really leave that up to our customers. I think

the beauty of MacKenzie-Childs is that it has no boundaries. It’s great paired with antiques, but it also looks great in contemporary environments. It’s



f Lewis Carroll’s Alice were to choose a line of furnish-

favorites. For instance, our Courtly Check Enamelware Tea Kettles are in kitchens all over the world. We have a collection of wrought-iron pieces inspired by an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Powers. We also have named a bell, a garden gate and many other designs in her honor. They were instantly very popular. Our Underpinnings Upholstered Furniture has really taken off.

The Parchment Check line from MacKenzie-Childs includes a paper towel holder, $70; and four sizes of everyday bowls, ranging from $44 to $72. The Aurora line includes a two-quart teakettle, $110, and a utensil holder, $65.



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it with other things — it always plays nicely with others. Q. Can you tell us a little about the furniture line? A. Furniture has always been part of our

home story. One of our very first offerings was the Freckle Fish Chair, and we’ve been doing armoires for studies, bedrooms and kitchens for 25 years or more. For me, furniture is the grounding element that sets the stage for all our other products; it’s the foundation for the story we tell from season to season. It has really gained in popularity with the addition of upholstery and our all-weather garden furniture. Q. What kind of new products are on the drawing board? A. The sky’s the limit. This year we’re

introducing some exciting new collections such as a line of totes and jewelry, children’s furniture — which is a really amazing collection — and a few other great surprises. A Courtly Check hot air balloon has crossed my mind, but there’s the FAA to deal with. Just kidding.

MacKenzie-Childs Creative Director Rebecca Proctor ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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MacKenzie-Childs’ new line of steel-enforced, dishwasher-safe Aurora Enamelware: pitcher, $72; serving bowl, $55; charger, $45; dinner plate, $38; salad/dessert plate, $36; mug, $36; and breakfast bowl, $36. The Aurora line will be available later this month at Neiman Marcus, The Mall at Millenia.



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sandy shugart



by Randy Noles

oody Guthrie hopped freight trains, played

for tips on small-town street corners and wandered through migrant camps, where he entertained fellow Okies headed west. Since the Dust Bowl Troubadour’s heyday, however, most of the folksingers who followed in his footsteps have been an educated, even elite bunch, keeping the iconic minstrel’s legacy alive without emulating his rough-and-tumble lifestyle. Pete Seeger, born in Manhattan, was the son of classically trained musicians. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was born Elliot Charles Adnopoz, the son of a Brooklyn surgeon. And Bob Dylan, originally Robert Zimmerman, was a would-be rocker from a solidly middle-class family in Hibbing, Minn. Sandy Shugart is perhaps a more unlikely folksinger than any of them. Shugart, 55, is president of Valencia College, one of the largest and most highly regarded community colleges in the nation. He is also one of Central Florida’s most influential movers and shakers. Shugart is no casual hobbyist who picks and sings for his own amusement. He is every bit as serious about his music as he is about his other careers as a college president, a nationally known speaker, an acclaimed author, an insightful poet and an acknowledged guru on topics related to leadership. “I don’t separate those aspects of my life,” says Shugart, a charismatic figure with salt-and-pepper hair and piercing blue eyes. “I wouldn’t know how to do that. As a teenager I learned a Robert Frost poem called ‘Two Tramps at Mud Time,’ and it became a big theme in my life.” The poem, which Shugart readily recites, reads in part: But yield who will to their separation/my object in living is to unite/my avocation and my vocation/as my two eyes make one in sight. Shugart’s music is folk music in that the instrumentation is acoustic and the lyrics tell stories. But it isn’t in the mold of the rabble-rousing anthems of Seeger, the angry screeds of Dylan or the faux-Guthrie stylings of Elliott. 84


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“I knew I had to put singing, storytelling and speechmaking together. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”


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He taught himself to play guitar when he was 9 or 10 and later was inspired by popular singer-songwriters of the day, such as James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot, and more traditional folksingers like Peter, Paul and Mary. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a Ph.D. in education in 1978. While in school he began playing in local coffeehouses and came to know Livingston Taylor, brother of James and a popular folksinger in his own right. After graduation he became a highschool teacher, an instructor at UNC Charlotte, a research associate at the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, and vice president for program services of the North Carolina Department of Community Colleges.

“I had kind of put the music aside,� says Shugart during an interview in his expansive office overlooking Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. “Then I went into a music store in Raleigh and bought myself a really good guitar. Pretty soon I was back into it.� In 1991 Shugart became president of North Harris College, a community college in Houston, which he describes as “a great music town with great venues.� He began playing at open-mic nights and writing songs and was even offered a recording contract, which he had to decline because his job kept him from touring. It appeared to Shugart that music would have to be relegated to sideline status until he and his wife, Olivia, traveled to San Francisco in 1999 to attend a conference on student retention.






His songs, which Shugart dubs “urban folk,� reflect his time and his place, tackling themes of growing older, coping with love lost and found, and dealing with work and family issues. He sings in a smooth, cultured baritone, avoiding the kind of nasal whines and rustic idioms that sometimes subject the genre to ridicule. His latest CD, Distances We Keep, was just released on FlatFoot Records, a label operated through Valencia’s Music and Sound Technology program. The disc features nine songs, most selfwritten, and several covers, including Jimmy Webb’s pop ballad “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.� Shugart was born in Charlotte, N.C., the son of a “serial entrepreneur� father and a mother who played piano.


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sandy shugart


Forms and Themes OF Art Nouveau Opens February 12, 2013 An exhibition of nearly 100 objects from the Morse collection exploring nature, sensuality, and metamorphosis with the lively line and organic form of the international art phenomenon of 1900. Free admission Fridays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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“It was boring. It was death by powerpoint,” recalls Shugart. But at a hotel-ballroom luncheon, he and the other attendees were surprised when the organizers announced that folksinger and activist Joan Baez had agreed to appear and perform. “Joan said, ‘I don’t know anything about student retention because I dropped out of school my freshman year to sing,’” says Shugart. “So she sang, and I was transfixed.” At that moment Shugart realized that music could be used to communicate important information. People who tuned out speeches, he reasoned, might listen to songs. “I knew I had to put singing, storytelling and speechmaking together,” he says. “And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.” Shugart was already in demand as a speaker on “servant leadership,” a philosophy in which the leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people perform at the highest level possible. He adapted his usual presentation to include original music. In 2000 Shugart was hired as president of Valencia College, one of the largest community colleges in the U.S. with more than 48,000 students, including those enrolled in continuing professional education. The college has thrived under his leadership, last year winning the top prize in the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. Valencia was awarded $600,000, which it used for a faculty training facility and student scholarships. More than 1,000 community colleges were vying for the honor, which was based on various metrics measuring student achievement. The award further raised Shugart’s national profile and landed him a spot at No. 11 on the Orlando Sentinel’s list of 25 Most Influential Central Floridians. Florida Hospital Publishing has just released Shugart’s first book, Leadership in the Crucible of Work: Discovering the Interior Life of an Authentic Leader. FEBRUARY 2013

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Unlike most business books, Shugart’s work eschews trendy management theories and multistep processes and instead offers a series of conversational essays on how work shapes identity and character, how to set and achieve goals, and how to emerge from setbacks better prepared for future challenges. It even contains snatches of poetry. The Shugarts have four children: Kate, 26; Hannah, 22; Sophie, 15; and Curtis, 13. The family lives in West Orlando and has a farm in rural Virginia, “in the middle of bluegrass country,” where Shugart says he is learning to appreciate traditional mountain music. And he’s playing and recording with renewed purpose. He and his band, consisting of fiddler Jason Thomas, bass guitarist Dave Sutton, and mandolinist Stu Kinniburgh, recently performed a concert at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden. Proceeds will be used to help maintain the 1930s movie house, which was restored and reopened in 2008 by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. “When we first starting talking about restoring the theater, Dr. Shugart was one of the first people to come out and tour the facility,” says Managing Director Alauna Friskies. “He had a vision for what it could be right away.” Valencia Technical Theater Production students design and build sets for the facility’s Theater Summer Camp, and several Valencia administrators serve on the facility’s board of directors. “I wasn’t surprised when I found out Dr. Shugart was a folksinger,” adds Friskies. “I guess when you think about it, a college president saying he’s a folksinger might invite some skepticism. But when you know Dr. Shugart and you realize how delightful and eloquent he is in every way, then you just think: ‘Well, if he says he’s a folksinger, then of course he’s a folksinger.’” n ORLANDO-LIFE.COM

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FLAVOR An expanded dining guide featuring reviews, profiles and listings by RONA GINDIN, one of the region’s best-known, most-respected food writers. It’s part of




1/21/13 5:19:53 PM


mike thomas


don’t see the laser’s red dot moving around on my leg.

I’m too busy writing this column. And then the fur ball launches at me, the claws wildly flaying at the dot. I come up off the couch about two feet in the air. “Zoey!!!’’ My 9-year-old daughter looks so repentant, standing there with the laser pointer in her hand, directing where her cat will attack next. “Sorry, Daddy.’’ Then she points the laser at her sister’s foot. Another cat. It has been eight years since I killed the last one, quite by mistake. Chester was George Burns in human years. His fur was lackluster, his interest in life fading, his every internal organ failing. One morning, as if planned, he nestled himself under the car and I didn’t see him. I vowed no more cats. We became dog people. Our yellow lab Buffy was everything a cat was not. She was interactive. She could be deterred from aberrant behavior. She lived to please. She always was just so damn happy to see you. But Zoey wanted a cat. Badly. My wife got her a mechanical cat — a cat-bot. It meowed, moved its head mechanically, stared at me unblinkingly, as if it was from Stephen King’s Pet Semetary. But Zoey carried it around. She petted it. She talked to it. She showed it a picture of Chester. Cat-bot looked at it and meowed. My wife looked at me and her eyes said: How can you do this to Zoey? But I held firm. At least, I did until Zoey’s annual physical last fall when the doctor had her touch her toes. When he did, he noticed a slight curve in her spine. My curse is that if you give me a computer and any topic, in one hour I can write a complete report on it. Seven years earlier, a medical exam had revealed that Zoey’s head had expanded rapidly in a year’s time. On the chart, she was a full inch above the diagonal line denoting average circumference. So I got on Google and discovered hydrocephalus, which is a chronic fluid buildup under the skull. I uncovered every worst-case scenario, completely freaked out and demanded a CAT scan. The doctor came in with the X-rays and said, “Mr.



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Thomas, your daughter has a big head.’’ And she grew into it. I should have learned a lesson from that, but did not. And so I went through the computer at a blistering pace, learning all there was to know about scoliosis. At her age and sex, a curve in the spine could progress rapidly. I stayed up until all hours, learning ever more. Thoracic curves. Lumbar Curves. Thoracolumbar curves. Idiopathic curves. Milwaukee Brace. Boston Brace. Providence Brace. Hybrid growth rods. Vertical Body Stapling. Fusion. If this was what awaited her, I could not envision her going through it with cat-bot. And soon we were at a pet shop, waiting for a table at the nearby Magic Mushroom. There were two rescue cats: a big lazy one reminiscent of Chester and a smaller, tortoiseshellgray one. Zoey held them both. Squeezed them. The small one was her favorite. “Isn’t she beautiful, Daddy?’’ She put them reluctantly back in their cages with a resigned look on her face. I went back the next morning and returned home with little Misty. A few days later the orthopedist pulled up the X-ray images. Zoey’s spine was straight as an arrow. He said something about her right side being bigger than the left side. She would grow into it. All my hours, days, of relentless research said nothing about this. There was no take-back on Misty, of course. And now here we are. She jumps on the counter and eats my smoked salmon. She yowls at night. She maniacally darts to and fro for no seeming purpose. Anything that moves is fair game. She attacks Buffy’s wagging tail and makes her yelp. It is enough to wipe the smile off her face. Labs don’t get mad; they get hurt. Given the longevity of cats in this house, Misty will be here until my interest in life is fading and my every internal organ is failing. Somewhere Chester is getting the biggest kick out of this. n Native Floridian and longtime Orlando columnist Mike Thomas is a freelance writer.


When a Child Needs Comfort, a Faux Feline Can’t Cut the Catnip


1/21/13 12:10:44 PM

Special Deliveries At Health Central Hospital

Here at Health Central Hospital, you have an extended family of caregivers ready to receive you and your special delivery. Our oversized labor and delivery rooms, spacious family-oriented maternity suites and level I newborn nursery are located together on the third floor and offer a state-of-the-art security system to ensure your baby’s safety. Should the need arise, a specially trained pediatric physician is on staff and on call 24/7 to ensure your newborn receives the best possible care.

Health Central Hospital also offers board-certified lactation consultants, who are healthcare professionals with specialized knowledge and experience to help breastfeeding families from pregnancy through weaning. When you and your family are ready to experience a truly special delivery, you will find comfort at Health Central Hospital where board-certified physicians and speciallytrained nurses deliver more than 1000 babies each year.

For a specially guided tour of our facilities, please call 407.296.1380

Find a local board-certified OB/GYN physician at

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���� MKZ

Statistically speaking, they’re all the same person. (But we’re not about statistics.) When did luxury lose focus on the individual and start seeing us all as one? When did it swerve from a singular vision and head for the middle road? We’re not sure who led this detour, but a new road starts here with the ���� MKZ by the Lincoln Motor Company. Now with an innovative push-button shift designed to create an elegantly open and very personal interior cabin space. Get to know the MKZ at

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Orlando Life February 2013  
Orlando Life February 2013  

Orlando Life magazine