Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
11:20 pm EST
Monday, March 1, 2021

Hot Topics

The seventh annual list of everything we love in Lake & Sumter. It sizzles with Style. It’s a blistering trend. It’s so hot, it’s cool.


Salon Jaylee offers summer’s hot trends

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1. Tyler Sponaugle knows how to wear college summer break—men’s hard part and groomed facial hair.
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2. Lauren Sicari is the modern business woman in summer—monochromatic makeup, which is simple, elegant, and will be around for a while. Use the same color in eyes and on lips and cheeks. Keep color off lids and next to the brow for a more elegant effect.
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3. Lindsay Sutter, with her braids and metallic eyes, is a Boho beach girl. Plaits, Dutch, or French braids are fun and free. Placing braids in different patterns creates interest and variety in style. The metallic makeup in the corner of Lindsay’s eyes gives her an added glow.
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Stylist and makeup: Clinton Kennedy; Photos: Fred Lopez

Hottest Trends in Home Décor

“Retro” is still in, according to Lisa DeCicco, manager at Temptations in Mount Dora, owned by Doreen Densmore.

Edison lamps look vintage but are brand new.

Items with an octopus on them are popular at the shop that boasts “uncommon art for your body, your soul, and your home!”

Don’t forget the clothes. You’ll be the envy of all your friends when you wear the sweater made with recycled rock concert T-shirts. If there’s not any in stock, they do special orders.

Debbie Belton owns Matamo Designs and says her best sellers are wave lamps, handcrafted lighting made from real cocoa, banyan, allbangbang leaves, and other sustainable material. Colorful, lightweight, and leave a small carbon footprint.

Any blue and white mixed with coastal items or neutral corals is popular, along with topography art pillows with your favorite sayings. Items made with shells and driftwood and lovely straw handbags are in.


Hot Wedding Trends

Traditional weddings never go out of style, but some new trends make weddings a little simpler while keeping the bride—and her pocketbook—happy, according to Carrie Petroski, pavilion manager at Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, and Bob Tucker, FSMD, of Events by Miss Daisy’s.



“The hottest trend in flowers is the bouquets,” Bob says. “Brides want a messy, unstructured look for them with lots of flowing greenery, a cascade if you will. They like a fresh garden look—roses, peonies, ranunculus.”

Bob says brides want oversized bouquets so all those glorious colors really pop against their wedding white.

“Years ago, when something hit New York, it was years before we saw it,” Bob says. “Now we all know the trends thanks to Pinterest. These looks are expensive, but a creative florist can find less expensive ways to do what the bride wants.”


5-minute weddings

Tavares Pavilion on the Lake offers a special service that has become very popular—5-minute weddings.

“This has taken off like wildfire,” Carrie says. “Everyone on our staff is a notary, so we perform the weddings in the gardens, on the pier, and we help take pictures. If you don’t want a huge wedding that costs lots of money, this is an ideal way to go.”


Wedding décor

Carrie says she is seeing more minimalist ceremonies with fewer flowers and more greenery and eucalyptus, and Bob agrees: “For the first time in years, the color of the year is greenery—ivy, garlands, trailing vines.”

“This is being used in ceremony areas and on the tables,” Carrie says. “Brides no longer use aisle runners. They may only decorate every other aisle. We still have the traditional weddings, but now there’s a lot of burlap and wood for a rustic look.”

Carrie and Bob agree the most important person a bride needs is a wedding planner to give her the wedding of her dreams within her budget and provide a stress-free wedding day.

Destination weddings are still popular, anywhere from a nearby beach to the traditional far-off places. Small, intimate weddings are definitely in, and Bob says he has some couples who marry and then have another wedding celebration with family and friends when they’re able to afford it.

Hot summer travel destinations


Vancouver, Canada

Cancún, Mexico


Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


Anaheim, California

Anchorage, Alaska

Las Vegas

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Source: AAA Travel, 6/1-8/15, 2017

Hot wheels

“Built Ford Tough” is ringing true with automobile consumers in the United States.

The Ford F-Series, which became the official truck of the National Football League in 2016, has easily been the country’s best-selling vehicle in 2017. From January through May, 351,965 F-Series trucks were sold, outselling the second-most popular vehicle, Chevrolet Silverado, by 139,540.

Here’s a list of 2017’s best-selling automobiles through May.

Source: Automakers

Ford F-Series (351,965 sold)

Chevrolet Silverado (212,425)

Dodge Ram (207,370)

Nissan Rogue (161,340)

Honda CR-V (158,914)

Toyota RAV4 (150,646)

Toyota Camry (147,434)

Toyota Corolla (145,476)

Honda Civic (144,854)

Ford Escape (129,805)

Nissan Altima (118,242)

Ford Explorer (111,266)

Chevrolet Equinox (104,272)

Jeep Grand Cherokee (96,203)

Chevrolet Cruze (92,360)

Nissan Sentra (90,040)

Ford Fusion (89,086)

Hyundai Elantra (86,955)

GMC Sierra (83,410)

Toyota Highlander (82,738)

Muscling in on classic cars

Restoring and collecting classic muscle cars from a bygone era is a time-honored tradition in the United States. So, which ones are most likely to bring about a sense of nostalgia? Here’s a list of the most sought-after muscle cars still beloved today:

1971 Oldsmobile 442

1964-1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500KR

1966-1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS/LS

1964-1969 Pontiac GTO

1970-1971 Plymouth Barracuda

1970 Buick GSX

1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Z-28 SS Coupe

1968-1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440

1971 Plymouth Superbird 440

1968-1970 Plymouth Road Runner



Zooooooming ahead 

Admit it. You’re an automobile enthusiast. The magnificent design, amazing styling, state-of-the-art engineering, and world-class performance get your engine revving with excitement. Here’s a stellar lineup of automobiles coming in 2018.

The 2018 Toyota Camry will feature an edgier exterior and interior design.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey’s second row of seats slides side to side, making it easier to access the third row.

The 2018 Ford Expedition features a body made of lightweight aluminum rather than steel.

The 2018 GMC Terrain will offer a choice between three turbocharged, four-cylinder engines.

The 2018 Kia Stinger comes with a twin-turbocharged, 3.3-liter engine producing 265 horsepower.

The 2018 Toyota CH-R is a sporty four-door vehicle that won’t drain your bank account too much. It starts at $22,500.

The 2018 Audi Q5 packs a powerful punch. In fact, it can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.



Colorful hair!

Any style, any age, you’ll find hair is colorful this summer! From the flowing rainbow effects to the pink or purple streaks among those with white hair, color is in. Check out these sweet treats from Mia Bella Salon in Fruitland Park.

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1. Allison Palmer, Cookies & cream

2. Ashley Rollins, Cotton candy

3. Tara Meyers, Grape soda

4. Doug Clelland, Beard (w/sprinkles, of course)

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5. Hannah Beckham, Bubblegum blue

6. Korey Wilkinson, Men’s haircut (& licorice)

7. Tiffani Hubbard, Rock candy

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8. Jennifer Dempsey, Plum doughnuts

9. Olivia Daugherty, Watermelon pink & green

Makeup: Angelica McDowell; Stylists: Marcus Davison, Kayla Smith, Jessica Karpowicz, Danielle Daugherty (owner); Photos: Fred Lopez
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Hot video games

What’s hot in video games? What day is it?

This month, the ever-popular “Madden NFL 18” comes out just in time for football season, along with “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle,” a crossover of Nintendo’s long-running Mario franchise and Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids, and the much-anticipated “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.”

“Call of Duty” fans must wait until Nov. 3 for “Call of Duty: WWII.”

Other releases scheduled in August:



“Mega Man Legacy Collection 2”

“Agents of Mayhem”

“Cities: Skylines”


“Sonic Mania”

“Uncharted: The Lost Legacy”


“Everybody’s Golf”

“Pillars of Eternity”

“XCOM 2: War of the Chosen”

“Warriors All-Stars”

“Yakuza Kiwami”

“Life is Strange: Before the Storm”



Hottest Music Trends

2017 is the year of streaming music, according to Nielsen Music. On-demand audio streams are at 184 billion so far, an increase of 62.4 percent over the same period last year. Though this means a decrease in album sales, Dave Bakula, senior vice president of Insights, Nielsen Music, says, “The rapid adoption of streaming platforms by consumers has generated engagement with music on a scale that we’ve never seen before.”


Hot toy

Fidget spinners are the fidgety toys that supposedly help fidgety people calm their fidgeting. It’s a simple idea to occupy children for hours: ball bearings set in a plastic frame that spins around on their fingers.

But fidget spinners also have generated debates about whether they are genuine aids to children with ADHD and similar conditions or simply annoying, even dangerous, gadgets banned by some school districts, according to news reports.

There’s no argument, however, about their popularity, and they come in different shapes, designs, colors, qualities, and price ranges.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Leesburg is selling a ton of them in the $3-$5 range, store manager Andrew Richner says. “It’s a very popular item right now.”

Fidget spinners in the $15 range, however, aren’t selling as well at BreakPoint Books & Games in Mount Dora, manager Derek Hemsath says. The higher-end varieties are designed to spin longer than inexpensive ones.

“I hear a lot of gas stations and other places selling really cheap ones are selling a lot,” he says. “Ours are high quality. The price point doesn’t seem to appeal to people.”


Top 10 selling video games of 2017

(through May)

“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands”

“For Honor”

“Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

“Horizon: Zero Dawn”

“Grand Theft Auto V”

“Mass Effect: Andromeda”

“Resident Evil 7: Biohazard”

“NBA 2K17”

“Injustice 2”

“Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare”



Gender reveal

It’s a boy! It’s a girl! It’s a baby!

With most parents knowing the sex of their child early in pregnancy now, gender reveal parties are hot among parents to be. Many parents choose to reveal their surprise with a sweet treat to make the parties even more fun.

Judy Owens, owner of Cupcake Delights in Mount Dora, makes cupcakes or cakes for these parties. “We can bake the cake colored so guests don’t know until they bite into it or we do pink or blue icing, depending on how much time we have,” Judy says. “A lot of people just come in and hand us an envelope, and we go to work.”

Party supplies are at A Simply Unforgettable Party Shop in Lady Lake or Eustis. Sierra Wayne at the Lady Lake store says they have whatever you need. “We have buttons that say boy or girl and confetti with boy or girl and question marks on the bottom. We also have photo props, sunglasses, crowns, and beads.”


Hot Topics for Health and Fitness


Apps are becoming increasingly popular to aid with health issues.

Dario allows you to plug your glucose tester into the headphone port of your cell phone and get a blood sugar reading that is recorded and stored in the app. Other apps include Cholesterol Manager, Portion Tracker, Kidney Diet Foods, and many more.

MediSafe is designed to help people with mental health issues remember to take medications as prescribed. Throughout the United States, it’s reported that only 78 percent of those with mental illness take their drugs properly.


Monitoring Movement 

Wearable tech, body weight training, and high-intensity interval training are big in 2017, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s 11th annual report.

Many of these wearables not only track movement, but also provide heart-rate readings, GPS routes, reminders to move, and more. Now many of them look like luxury jewelry items anyone would envy. You can also buy gym shorts that are fitness trackers.

Smart clothing is also very popular. These high-tech garments can monitor heart rate and emotions, and some of them can even pay for your purchases without getting your phone out. There are also sports bras that are water resistant and have sensors to keep track of workouts.

One item has the feel and look of decadent jewelry­—WiseWear’s Socialite bracelet. It requires a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone. You customize it for your routine: calories, steps, distance (miles), and active minutes. It also stores your emergency contacts. There’s a built-in panic button, and you receive notices of emails, texts, calendar alerts, calls, and even low-phone-battery notices. These bracelets come in Calder Gold, Caler Palladium, Calder Rosegold, and Duchess Gold.

Sworkit is a customizable fitness app that helps users develop personal exercise routines. It can be downloaded on any device and lets you design your own fitness routine.

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Nutritional Health

Supplements from D’AO Labs (Digestive Harmony, Emotional Balance, etc.) are gaining popularity along with mineral supplements. Women are especially prone to losing minerals that they can replace with supplements like Alkamind Daily Minerals.

Another dietary trend has people drinking less alcohol or making drinks that have fewer calories with products like Skinnies Cocktail Mixers, which are made with plant-based ingredients.

Even Yalaha Bootlegging Company makes its moonshine and brandy from fermented organic blueberries grown on its property.


Cosmetic procedures

Face-lifts, facial peels, tummy tucks, arm or thigh lifts, breast augmentation, and body contouring after weight loss are among surgical and non-surgical cosmetic options available locally.

So, what are the most requested procedures? 

Permanent facial fillers

Dr. Rich Castellano, Image Lift

Face-lift and fillers

Dr. Danny Soares, Mesos Plastic Surgery & Laser Center

Silk peel

Dr. Dino Madonna, Face 2 Face


Dr. Fernando G. Serra, Central Florida Plastic Surgery



Blink of an eye

Cataracts—clouding of the eye’s natural lens—are the most common cause of vision loss for those over the age of 40, with 30 million Americans expected to have cataracts by 2020, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Today, surgeons safely remove cataracts with refractive laser surgery followed by implanting multifocal lens to correct patients’ vision so they see clearly.

Nine out of 10 cataract patients regain good vision, between 20/20 and 20/40, the PBA notes.

“As an ophthalmologist practicing for more than 20 years, I am more excited about the options we provide our cataract patients. With the latest intraocular implants, we correct vision more precisely than ever before,” says Dr. Craig D. Fishman of Fishman and Sheridan Eye Care Specialists, with offices in Leesburg, Clermont, and a Eustis site being renovated.

“It is an ever-changing technology and ever-advancing technology,” Linda Ricketson, director of marketing and human resources for Lake Eye Associates, says of the latest intraocular lens (IOLs) that can extend the depth-of-focus for patients. Lake Eye has offices in Leesburg, The Villages, Lady Lake, and Tavares.

“We are waiting on new lenses that have not yet been approved,” Linda says. “Ophthalmology is one of the quickest-advancing technology fields right now, and that makes it exciting.”


Joint Jumps

Photo: Fred Lopez

“We are performing custom total knee replacements and that is the hottest topic,” says Dr. John T. Williams Jr., orthopedic surgeon at Advanced Orthopedics Institute in The Villages.

He says the procedure involves the use of a patient’s CT scan and 3D printing for a customized total knee replacement implant.

“We’ve found they tend to have full range of motion and fast recovery, and the knee feels more ‘normal’ to the patients,” he says, adding the new technology is also used in other areas of orthopedic care.

Unova Health in Lady Lake also offers the latest technology in upper extremity joint replacement, knee and hip replacement, and more.

“The standard in orthopedic care is rapidly changing,” says Dr. J. Mandume Kerina, board-certified in orthopedics. “Increasing value and managing costs while dramatically improving the quality of orthopedic care takes leading technology, unconventional thinking, and an unrelenting determination to put patients first.”


Photo: Fred Lopez

Different Strokes

Many residents of Lake County are giving the nation’s fastest-growing participation sport a spin.

The concept behind disc golf is like golf, except competitors attempt to get a disc into a five-foot-tall metal basket in as few throws as possible. There are no clubs; aerodynamic discs of varying weights serve as putters, midranges, and drivers. And the biggest obstacles are not sand traps and bunkers but rather trees and bushes.

“I love the sport because it is extremely challenging,” says Joe Runnels, tournament director of the Lake County Disc Golf Club. “It’s us versus the course. You’re dealing with nature—wind, trees, and course conditions. Some calculus goes into each shot.”

The 150-member Lake County Disc Golf Club has hosted several Professional Disc Golf Association-sanctioned events, including the Lake County Trailblazer, which drew 214 players from 11 states in May 2016.

The goal is to create the Lake County Disc Golf Trail. This series of six 18-hole, championship-caliber courses built in city and county parks would allow Lake to host prestigious tournaments and world championships while becoming one of the sport’s premier destinations.

Lake and Sumter counties already have several disc golf courses:

Lake Okahumpka Park, 6085 E. SR 44, Wildwood

Lincoln Avenue Community Park, 1200 N. Unser St., Mount Dora

Lake Hiawatha Preserve, 450 12th St., Clermont

Mike and Molly’s Disc Golf Farm, 29000 Thunderbird Lane, Tavares



Hooked on fishing

If something smells fishy, it’s because Lake County continues reeling in prestigious regional and national fishing tournaments. Here are upcoming tournaments for the Harris Chain of Lakes and Clermont Chain of Lakes. 

Aug. 6, Bass Capital Bassmasters

St. Johns River, Astor


Aug. 19, Bassin Buddies Tournament

Clermont Chain of Lakes, Minneola


Aug. 19, Crossroads Bass Club Tournament

Harris Chain of Lakes, Buzzard Beach/Tavares


Aug. 26, Tampa Bay Bassmasters Tournament

Lake Minneola, Clermont


Sept. 2, Florida Disabled Anglers Tournament

Harris Chain of Lakes, Buzzard Beach/Tavares


Sept. 9, MacDill Bass Busters Tournament

Harris Chain of Lakes, Hickory Point/Tavares


Oct. 1, Xtreme Bass Series

Harris Chain of Lakes, Buzzard Beach/Tavares


Nov. 4-5, Bass Assassins of Polk County Tournament

Harris Chain of Lakes, Hickory Point/Tavares


Nov. 18, South Pasco Bassmasters Tournament

Harris Chain of Lakes, Buzzard Beach/Tavares


Nov. 25, Central Florida Bass Hunters Tournament

Clermont Chain of Lakes, Minneola


Feb. 3-4, 2018, Big Bass Tour

Harris Chain of Lakes, Hickory Point/Tavares


Hot way to cool down


Splash pads! The phrase alone lends itself to the use of exclamation points. The city of Leesburg joined the fun trend this spring by becoming the fourth city in Lake County to open a water playground.

The Venetian Gardens Splash Pad & Pavilion, 610 S. 9th St., is a state-of-the-art attraction with a non-slip surface and 20 different features, including a mega soaker, a bloomin’ spinner, a fun-brella, and assorted spray tunnels.

The splash pad attracted 4,252 visitors in its first 25 days, an average of 170 per day, Leesburg Recreation Director Travis Rima says.

“The response has been unbelievable. We expected it to be very popular; that’s why we did it,” he says. “It’s great to see how much the residents have used it and enjoyed it.”

The secret to the splash pad’s popularity is simple, Travis says.

“It’s hot out,” he says. “It’s like a playground with nice cool water on a hot Florida day.”

Other water playgrounds include:

Clermont Champions Splash Park, 100 3rd St., has daily activities such as rubber ducky races, water relays, splashy story time, and more.

The Eustis Aquatic Center, 250 Ferran Park Drive, adjacent to Ferran Park, includes a splash pad and a pool.

Wekiva Falls Water Park, 30700 Wekiva River Road, Sorrento, is a natural sulfur spring with a swimming lagoon and two water slides.

Children’s Splash Park, 100 E. Ruby St., Tavares, offers a seaplane-themed water experience with two small water slides for little ones.

The Wet Zone at Family Adventure Camp, 6545 W. SR 44 in Lake Panasoffkee, features a large pool, two water slides, a dunk tank, water cannons, water balloon sling shots, splash blaster, and bucket dump game.



Hot golf courses

Let the arguments begin over these rankings of the area’s top 10 golf courses:

  1. El Campeón, Mission Inn Resort & Club, Howey-in-the-Hills, par 72, 7,015 yards.
  2. Bella Collina Golf Club, Montverde, par 72, 7,594 yards.
  3. Las Colinas, Mission Inn Resort & Club, Howey-in-the-Hills, par 72, 7,230 yards.
  4. Black Bear Golf Club, Eustis, par 72, 7,018 yards.
  5. Deer Island Country Club, Tavares, par 72, 7,209 yards.
  6. Eagle Dunes Golf Course, Sorrento, par 72, 7,024 yards.
  7. The Legends Golf & Country Club, Clermont, par 72, 6,911 yards.
  8. The Country Club of Mount Dora, par 72, 6,571 yards.
  9. Harbor Hills Golf & Country Club, Lady Lake, par 72, 6,910 yards.
  10. (tie) RedTail Golf Club, Sorrento, par 72, 7,152 yards. Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club, Clermont, par 71, 7,005 yards.

Hot boats

Lake County is experiencing a boating boom. Sales in 2016 were the best ever for some dealers, and 2017 is tracking ahead of that pace, says Scott Showalter, who along with his brother Michael co-owns Triangle Marine Center in Tavares.

Triangle sells Bennington pontoon boats exclusively, and in Lake County, pontoons are “it,” Scott says: “They’re the fastest-growing and hottest segment in our industry.”

Bennington sells a variety of pontoons, ranging in price from less than $20,000 to more than $100,000. One reason for their popularity is the horsepower, which has increased over the years from around 25 to 90, Scott says.

“It’s definitely increasing, as is performance,” he says. “Boaters are finding pontoons are more versatile than their grandfather’s boat used to be.”

Bennington pontoons in the $20,000-$30,000 range sell well at Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina, general manager Joe Lewis says. The 20-foot model with a 60-70-horsepower outboard motor is a common sight on county lakes.

Along with pontoons, bowriders are the most popular boats in Central Florida, Joe says. The top seller at his dealership is the Monterey 204, priced in the mid-$30,000 range. It’s 21 feet with stern drive, seating for 11, and versatility.

“You can cruise it. You can fish it. You can take all types of water sports activities,” Joe says. “It’s a good day cruiser, which is predominantly what everybody does in Central Florida.”

Second-best in sales is the Monterey M4 deck boat. It’s bigger and has more amenities, such as a privacy enclosure and freshwater pump capability, and seating for 14, he says. Price is high $60,000s to low $70,000s.

Hurricane deck boats are the No. 1 seller in the country because they offer so many different models and styles, says Bill Nielsen, sales manager at Holiday Marine in Leesburg. Hurricane deck boats range in price from $30,000 to $100,000.

At Holiday, the top seller is the Hurricane 188, an 18-foot, 10-inch deck boat that can take 115-200 horsepower and sells for about $30,000. “People like the size and price and the features for fishing, skiing, and cruising,” Bill says.

Bayliner deck boats, going for $17,000 to $60,000, also sell well, along with Ranger bass boats, a popular choice in the fishing haven of Lake County. Ranger offers an array of aluminum and fiberglass boats costing as much as $100,000.

After lean years because of the economy, Scott says many retirees are deciding it’s time to spend some of that pension on a boat.



Hot ideas for tasting wine

Wine tastings at home are quite popular, especially with the costs of wine in restaurants. And oenophiles can try high-end wines they normally wouldn’t buy by sharing the costs with others. The first step to creating your own wine club or tasting event is to find six or eight wine lovers and decide whether you want to try reds, whites, or both. Set a budget for four different bottles and then pick your theme. Some popular themes include vertical tastings (comparing different vintages of the same varietal) and location tastings (comparing regions, such as Sonoma versus Napa.) You can also host a “Judgment of Paris” tasting, where participants have a blind tasting of French and California. Will the California wine beat the French again, as it did in 1975? Be sure to have plenty of French bread and cheese on hand.


Hot wine deals

If you’re looking for a delicious wine at a hot price, check out these top-sellers from Leesburg’s Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe:

Olema Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, California

Joel Gott Pino Gris, Williamette Valley, Oregon

Brancott Estate Flight Song, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

Mettler Family Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, California

Foggy Bottom Pinot Noir, Santa Rosa, California

Hot wines that taste great

Head Hag Joyce Huey recommends these luscious, top-of-the-line California wines:

Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Joseph Wagner Family Vineyards, Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Rombauer Chardonnay, Carneros

Kistler Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley



No. 1 desserts

The most popular sweet treats at these restaurants: 

1884 Restaurant and Bar, Éclair

Olive Branch Mediterranean Grille and Bar, Crème brûlée cheesecake

Palmer Legends Country Club, Bananas foster

Pisces Rising, Blackberry mousse cake

Miz Kathi’s Cotillion Southern Cafe, Cotillion coconut cake

Goblin Market Restaurant and Lounge, Crème brûlée

Amelia’s Restaurant at Waterfront Inn, Banana bread pudding

Cupcake Delights, Carrot cake cupcakes

Rose Plantation, Banana cream pie

Turners Kitchen + Bar, Gluten-free/sugar-free cheesecake

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill, Key lime pie

Tillie’s Tavern and Grill, Ice cream sandwich

Legacy Restaurant at Nancy Lopez Country Club, Crème brûlée

Puddle Jumpers, Chocolate Earthquake


Soak up some suds at your favorite craft brewery

Mount Dora Brewing opens at 8am and serves six varieties of craft beer brewed onsite at 405 S. Highland St. Jeff Herbst, owner and brewer of the Rocking Rabbit Cafe & Beer Garden, offers beer with breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Beauclair Blonde Ale: A mild but tasty filtered ale made with organic malt. 7 percent alcohol by volume.

Dora Drawdy Drool: A special blend of two ales—red and blonde, combining brown sugar and caramel malt. ABV 7.5 percent.

Rocking Rabbit Red Ale: Their version of Irish red ale. Made of organic grains and orange blossom honey, it’s the sweetest craft beer you’ll find here. ABV 8 percent.

Dirty Blonde: A blend of Porter and Blonde ales with a mild coffee or chocolate aftertast. ABV 8 percent.

Rabbit Pellet Porter: This beer blends Porter and the Rocking Rabbit Red, and has a stronger coffee/chocolate taste. ABV 8.5 percent.

Pistolville Porter: Made with chocolate caramel malt and dark brown sugar, a smooth finish. ABV 9.9 percent.


Photo: Fred Lopez

Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room, 311 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg.

This site is a “nano-brewery,” says brewer Todd Nystrand, who creates a half-dozen brews designed for drinkability and flavor.

Saison: Like a French farmhouse ale, it’s a light beer. Flavors derived from the yeast and higher alcohol content, at 5.5 to 6 percent ABV.

Pale Ale: A hoppier, American-style beer influenced by Todd’s Northeastern roots with oats. A little bitter with a sweeter, fruity undercurrent.

Red: Brewed as an experiment, Todd says, it has no oats or wheat, a “roasty” aroma and flavor. ABV 5 percent.

Porter: A brown ale not as heavy as typical porters. Also has a roasted flavor bordering on coffee or chocolate. ABV 4.8 percent.

Raspberry Wheat: Light and smooth with just the right amount of raspberry flavor.

White Wheat:  A beer made with Belgian-style yeast, sweet orange peels, and coriander. ABV 5.3 percent.


Photo: Fred Lopez

Backyard Barn Winery & Microbrewery, 1945 E. County Road 462, Wildwood.

Farm-based, small batch, handcrafted beer with a tasting room, an outside bar area, and a pergola next to a fire pit.

The Barn’s “Big Ass” brand of house beers include: Stout, ABV 4.5 percent; Pale Ale, 5.3; Pepper IPA, 5.5; Irish Red Ale, 5.7; British Brown, 5.8; Hefeweizen, 6.0; White Stout, 6.0; Saison, 6.4; Original IPA, 7.2; Peanut Butter Porter, 7.7; West Coast IPA, 8.5; Imperial IPA, 9.5; and Imperial Stout, 9.5.



Bavarian Brewhaus, 2738 Brownwood Blvd., The Villages.

An in-house microbrewery making European three-mash beers. The Brewhaus serves four Austrian/German beers brewed under the German Purity Law of 1516: no chemicals, no preservatives, naturally carbonated, and nonpasteurized.

Pilsner: Pale, straw-colored, and crisp with medium body and more hops than traditional lager, smooth and clean.

Bock: Generally stronger than typical lagers, a robust malt character and a dark amber to brown hue. Most are only light-hopped.

Marzen: This brew has a toasted quality with a sweet tinge, robust malt flavors, and a deep amber hue.

Bohemian Amber: A dark amber with a smooth, slightly caramel flavor from roasted malt. 


Fancy Food

At the recent Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, consumer trends indicated shoppers want more natural, farm-to-table foods in grocery stores. Gill Schneider, CEO of Pereg Natural Foods, says, “Baby quinoa is predicted to become the next ‘new’ ancient superfood. This grain cooks up with a crunchy texture and offers a nutrient-rich food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”


The whole-food trend continues to be among the most popular diets out today, according to WebMD. “Whole food” simply means you stay as close to the natural form of the food as possible—no canned or processed food items. The diet includes:

Whole grains

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and beans for fiber and vitamins Wild-caught seafood, locally raised pork, beef, and chicken in moderation

Natural sweeteners (honey, pure maple syrup) in moderation

Snacks including dried fruit, seeds, nuts, popcorn (organic, unsweetened, and raw)

Water, milk, all-natural juices, coffee, tea, wine, and beer (in moderation)

This means no refined grains, sweeteners, packaged, deep fried, or fast foods.



Grocery shopping

Food shopping has moved into the digital age. According to a joint study from the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen Marketing, the “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” is ready to change the marketplace. More shoppers buy groceries across channels:

23% of American households buy food online today.



Food home delivery

Photo: Fred Lopez

Leesburg’s Gourmet Today Catering began delivering freshly made meals directly to homes soon after opening six years ago. Chef Jessica Flinn says it was a relatively new concept, but one she knew was good for the company. “At that time, restaurants were adding meals to take home and refrigerate, and you could get meal kits, but you still had to cook yourself,” Jessica says. “Our client base liked that we cooked the food and delivered it ready to be reheated. We design our meals so in the reheating process, the food tastes as fresh as possible.” She says she believes the meal-kit delivery brought more awareness to what Gourmet Today Catering does. “Thankfully, our business has done well. The only thing stopping us from growing is storage capacity.”


Meal Kits

Another hot trend is meal kits. Food is fresh, in prepackaged portions, and includes easy-to-follow instructions. These are delivered to your home or available in grocery stores. According to a recent Harris Poll, the top reasons people like meal kits are:

Saving time, 46%

Short prep and cook times, 45%

Less grocery shopping, 37%

New recipes, 36%

Healthier recipes, 34%