Newsy Nuggets: Dinners, pigs and milk

Written By Scott Joseph On July 17, 2023

Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine in Orlando

The July edition of Diversitastic! Dining Experience, the monthly series from FusionFest, will be Tuesday, July 18, at Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. and is $59.95 per person. 

The event features a buffet menu of traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean fare, including meser wot, gomen, beef key wot, beef alicha and, of course, all the injera bread you’d like. There will also be cultural entertainment and a talk about the cuisines and heritage by the chef. 

Tickets are available at

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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining returns with a twist: 2 pricing levels

Written By Scott Joseph On July 11, 2023

MagDin 22 lofo
Visit Orlando Magical Dining

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining returns this year with a new twist: two pricing structures, either $40 – last year’s cost – or $60 for the three-course, prix fixe dinner.

The 18th version of the annual restaurant promotion will start a week earlier than last year, running Aug. 18 through Oct. 1. (In its early days, it was Magical Dining Month and was confined to September.)

More than 115 restaurants have signed on to participate this year. The restaurants, which pay a marketing fee to Visit Orlando and agree to donate money from each sale to charities selected by the organization, offer special Magical Dining menus from which diners may select a first course (appetizer, soup or salad), an entree and dessert for the set price. Most restaurants, though not all, choose to spotlight items from their regular menus, and the fixed price often represents a savings over the a la carte prices.

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Newsy Nuggets: Current counter; boutique bowling; Hemingway’s also rises; vegan fest; and free subs

Written By Scott Joseph On July 10, 2023

The Current Seafood Counter

The Current Seafood Counter, the fast-casual fish concept with a stall inside Henry’s Depot in Sanford, will open its College Park location this week. It’s planning a few nights, beginning Tuesday, of soft-opening sessions that are by reservation only, a unique idea for a restaurant that probably won’t take reservations after it opens. (As the name implies, it’s a counter-service operation.) Management explains in a social media post that the reservations-only soft-opening policy is to avoid “the classic ‘Grand Opening Gone Wrong’ scenario.” It’s kind of a convoluted system – prime for a soft opening goes wrong outcome – but you can visit the Facebook page and try to follow the instructions if it’s important for you to be among the first to try it.

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Coop, John Rivers’ chicken concept, closing

Written By Scott Joseph On July 10, 2023

The Coop restaurant in Winter Park
The Coop (Photo via Facebook)

The Coop, the restaurant that was meant to do for fried chicken what John Rivers had done for barbecue, will close on Sunday, July 16. The announcement was made in an open letter to customers posted on the Coop’s social media accounts and signed by “John and the entire 4R family.” The reason for the closing according to the letter is that “current market rates are unfortunately well beyond what our little business can justify in renewing the lease.” In characteristic Rivers rosiness, he said the increased rent was “[a] testament to the vibrancy of the Winter Park market…”

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Newsy Nuggets: V&A best in country; new restaurant from Delaney’s Tavern folks; symbolic addition to deep blu; and “real Peruvian” coming to Winter Park

Written By Scott Joseph On July 5, 2023

Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Victoria & Albert’s, Walt Disney World Resort’s culinary equivalent of the crown jewels, is the number one Best U.S. Award-Winner Restaurant according to Trips to Discover.

Trips to Who-now?

Trips to Discover is a Sarasota-based website published by Strive Media. Its founder and CEO, Dayne Ford, is a self-described digital wonk. Thus, the list at which V&A sits atop was compiled by analyzing various data, including rankings by Forbes, AAA and Michelin as well as customer review counts and ratings on sites like Google and TripAdvisor.

Vicky and Al got a score of 4.81 out of 5, besting Cindy Wolf’s Charleston of Baltimore with a score of 4.79 for second place. Others on the list include The Inn at Little Washington, Per Se, Le Bernadin and Daniel. You can see the full list here.

You may find it interesting that Victoria & Albert’s came in first given that Michelin ratings were part of the equation and it did not have any stars. In fact, according to Trips to Discover, only four of the top 10 have stars, though all, like V&A, are Michelin recommended.

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Disney Springs Flavors of Florida runs through Aug. 13

Written By Scott Joseph On July 3, 2023

Chef Jose Andres at Jaleo, Disney Springs
Chef José Andrés at his restaurant Jaléo in Disney Springs

The Disney Springs Flavors of Florida, an annual event that I somehow hadn’t heard of before, started Saturday and runs through Aug. 13. It’s meant to promote “the tastes, techniques, ingredients and culture of the Sunshine State through deliciously curated menu items at many of the most popular restaurants at Disney Springs.”

That might mean anything from Key West Pink Shrimp Ceviche from The Polite Pig to Chicken Guy!’s Sunshine Shake made with Florida orange juice. (Actually, looking at the various menu offerings on the Disney Springs Flavors of Florida website there appears to be a preponderance of pink shrimp items. I fear Key West might be shrimped out before the middle of August.)

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Welcome to the new site; let’s celebrate with a drawing

Written By Scott Joseph On June 30, 2023

Gift certs

You may have noticed some subtle changes around here, a few cosmetic tweaks. After 14 years we’ve switched the site from Joomla!, an open-source software platform, to the more universally-used WordPress.

Most changes will be unnoticeable. But I think you’ll find more functionality in the search option, and listings will be displayed more appealingly. Many thanks to my webmaster, David Clow, for doing all the heavy lifting to move the thousands of articles, reviews and photos from one platform to the other. There will be some glitches as we get everything sorted – if you see something, please say something – but I think you’ll be pleased with the “new” site overall.

You’ll also see a difference in the appearance of the weekly newsletter. I really like the nice, clean look of the new version.

And speaking of the newsletter, it’s time to have another drawing for restaurant gift certificates. And since the Fourth of July is coming up, let’s have a drawing for four winners. The prizes will be $50 gift certificates to either the Tap Room at Dubsdread or Big Fin Seafood.

As usual, the winners will be drawn at random from among the recipients of my surprisingly unannoying weekly newsletter. If you’re already subscribed, you’re already entered in the drawing. If not, you can sign up filling in the form below.

The drawing will be held the evening of July 4 and winners will be notified by the email address used to sign up for the newsletter – so make sure it’s a valid address and that is a whitelisted domain.

Signup for the newsletter

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Add appliance shopping to your holiday weekend activities with rebates exclusive to Southeast Steel

Written By Scott Joseph On June 27, 2023


Southeast July 4 23

If your holiday weekend plans involve shopping for new appliances, you’re going to want to stop by Southeast Steel Warehouse in downtown Orlando. It’s time for their Red, Hot and Rebate Days, with up to $600 in rebates exclusive to Southeast Steel. 

SES has move than $3.5 million of inventory on hand with such brand names as BOSCH, LG, KitchenAid Café, Beko, Samsung, Profile and more. That’s in stock, so you can take it home right away or schedule a delivery.

And as you know, at Southeast you get to talk directly to people who actually know something about the appliances in the warehouse, not like in the big box stores where a clerk named Todd who usually works in lumber and was passing by the appliances on his way to the break room when you stopped him but he’ll try to answer your question anyway. And he’s not getting you a rebate, either. (Not to take anything away from Todd; the man really knows his lumber.)

Check out some of the deals on the Southeast Steel website and then visit the store with your questions.

But please don’t ask them about wood.

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Hamburger Mary’s prevails in lawsuit against state rule banning some drag performances at its restaurant

Written By Scott Joseph On June 26, 2023

Hamburger Mary's in downtown Orlando

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction Friday against a recently enacted Florida law that would have punished restaurants, bars and others that hosted appearances by drag performers with kids in attendance. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by popular downtown Orlando restaurant Hamburger Mary’s, which hosts weekly events, including Gayme Time on Tuesdays and Sunday Broadway Brunch, often attended by parents who bring their children. The lawsuit was against the state, Governor Ron DeSantis and Melanie Griffin, secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

After the law was passed and signed by DeSantis in May, the owners of Hamburger Mary’s reported a loss in business because patrons who were not able to bring their kids to the shows were forced to cancel reservations.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell, of Orlando, said in his written order that the law was “specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.” In essence, they have the right to free speech even if they are lip syncing.

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Winedos brings fine wine and education to Central Florida

Written By Scott Joseph On June 21, 2023

Ivan Del Barco, left, CEO of Winedos, and Enrique Del Barco, academic director.

Winedos is a new wine delivery and mail-order business based in Casselberry and owned by Ivan Del Barco with an assist from his father, Enrique, as the company’s academic director. A key aspect of Winedos is education and conveying details about each wine they sell through video documentaries. And the Del Barcos go to great lengths to produce them.

No, really, they actually go to the wineries, wherever they are. So far they have produced dozens of documentaries in multiple countries. Spain has been a recent focus.

The name Winedos is pronounced like the opposite of Winedon’ts. The DO stands for Denominations of Origin, the geographic designations assigned by wine producing countries and regions to assure the authentication of the grapes produced there.

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