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A Holiday Weekend at Grande Lakes Orlando, plus recent restaurant reviews

Written By Scott Joseph On February 11, 2021

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News from the Flog  

Celebrate Presidents and Valentines all weekend at Grande Lakes Orlando


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Grande Lakes Orlando is planning a bunch of activities and specials for this holiday weekend, celebrating both Valentine’s and President’s Days, which is especially helpful if your Valentine is also a president.

Things get started on Friday with Valentine and USA crafts in the Ritz Kids Garden. You can also join in a fish feeding session on the Lakeside Terrace.

That evening, you can reverse it by enjoying a nice seafood selection at Highball & Harvest, the Southern-inspired restaurant at the Ritz, or Primo by Melissa Kelly at the JW Marriott.

There are similar activities on Saturday and Sunday with other fun things thrown in, including eco-tours on Shingle Creek, fishing excursions and falconry classes. Notice that all these activities are outdoors?

Sunday, of course, is Valentine’s Day, and the new and critically acclaimed Knife & Spoon has some creative specials. Such as:

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Recent Reviews

Brick & Spoon

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During February, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring restaurants that are Black-owned or that have Black chefs in observance of Black History Month.

As coincidence would have it, Brick & Spoon opened its Maitland location almost exactly one year ago – on Feb. 11 and got a good several weeks in before the bottom fell out.

It has survived and is thrumming along, apparently attracting a loyal fanbase among Maitlanders.

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Viet-Nomz Downtown

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February 11 is Lunar New Year Eve, the celebration by Asian countries of the beginning of another calendar cycle and the beginning of spring. Each year of the Asian calendar is represented by an animal. This year is the year of the ox, or buffalo.

Last year, by the way, was the year of the rat, which so sums up 2020.

In Vietnam, the New Year celebration is called Tet, so I thought it might be a good time to try out Viet-Nomz’s new ghost kitchen operation west of downtown Orlando.

Actually, I came to visit the new operation circuitously. I was looking for another restaurant that had a West Pine Street address, but when I got there, no restaurant could be seen. Talk about a ghost kitchen. As I circled the block to head back home, I passed Dollins Avenue. That sounded familiar, so I pulled over and soon found that I’d seen the address in a post by Viet-Nomz.

I pulled into the parking lot at 18 N. Dollins Ave., searched for Viet-Nomz on my phone and placed my order online. It was simple, intutitve, I was able to prepay, with a tip, and when I finalized the order I received a text message saying it had been received and telling me to stay in my car until it was ready. It’s like they knew I was sitting right outside. Eerie.

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Other Stuff

Valentine’s Day Dining

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Valentine’s Day is just a little more than one week away and reservations are going quickly, especially in restaurants that are operating at reduced capacity.

But there are still some lovable options out there. Here are the details and special menus from some of our favorite restaurants.

Click on the restaurant name to see the specials.

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Visit Black-owned restaurants during February (and the rest of the year)

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As you may know, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide is featuring Black-owned restaurants during February in observation of Black History Month. So far, we’ve visited Chicken Fire, Caribbean Sunshine Bakery and Brick & Spoon.

This is not an exhaustive list but mainly those I’ve reviewed. If you know of others you’d like to see reviewed, drop me a note or leave a comment.

More will be featured in the coming weeks, but I wanted to revisit some that I’ve reviewed in the past for your patronage consideration. All are worthy. Click on the name of the restaurant to ready my past review.

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Brought to you by…

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