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Grande Lakes launches Curated Experiences, plus recent reviews and news

Written By Scott Joseph On December 17, 2020

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News from the Flog  

Curated Experiences at Grande Lakes will launch in January


Grande Lakes aerial

I have some people on my gifting list who are really difficult to buy for. So lately, I’ve become more interested in giving experiences as gifts instead of things. With things you have to know the right size, the favorite color, or whether the recipients have one already.

But experiences are unique, and people almost never buy them for themselves.

So that’s why I’m intrigued by the Curated Experiences at Grande Lakes, a new program of weekend-long events offered at the luxury resort. The inaugural Curated Experience is Jan. 29-31, 2021, so the timing is great for giving one this holiday season.

This is how it works.

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Recent Reviews

Tornatore’s Italian Market

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The long-anticipated Italian market next door to Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria quietly opened Wednesday with an array of goods from the restaurant and products both imported and from local vendors.

Owner Denny Tornatore was overseeing the market Wednesday night and pointing out favorite items on hand to a few shoppers.

The space is deceptively small – from the outside you might think there couldn’t be much stock. But every available square foot is occupied by shelves and display cases, and there’s a wall of reach-in coolers chockfull with fresh pastas, deli items and foods prepared by Tornatore’s executive chef, Jason Wolfe.

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P’s VietMí Café

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Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a place called P’s VietMí Café I have questions. First, who or what is P? And what is VietMí? The café part I was able to figure out on my own.

But the other two questions remain a mystery. A young man who answered the phone at the south Orlando restaurant, which opened earlier this year, seemed perplexed that I would even ask such questions, as though no one had ever inquired before. P? It’s just the name of the restaurant. Nope, not someone’s initial; it’s just P’s.

As for my other Q, it’s called VietMí because it’s a Vietnamese restaurant. I could almost here the silent “duh!” in his response.

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No Apalachicola Oysters until 2026

logo fwc copyThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has extended a shutdown on wild oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through the end of 2025.

The commission had initially issued an emergency shutdown that went into effect Aug. 1. The extension, which passed unanimously at the commission’s meeting Wednesday, bans on-the-water harvesting equipment such as tongs – long-handled baskets used to scoop oysters.

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Despite fewer restaurants, Magical Dining raised a record amount for a particularly worthy charity

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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining event, pandemic edition, raised a record-setting donation of $345,378, thanks in part to its record-setting run that kept the promotion going nearly four weeks past its intended end date.

The funds represent 345,378 dinners sold by participating restaurants who pledge to donate one dollar from every sale.Read More

Other Stuff

Newsy Nuggets: Closings, openings and other stuff

The Ramen interior

  • A ramen shop has closed in downtown Orlando. Not just any ramen shop, The Ramen, which opened just two years ago at the corner of North Orlando Avenue and Amelia Street. It was a quick-serve operation with a fast food mien, but the main dish was nicely done. I suppose this is another closing that can be attributed to Covid-19 and the loss of downtown office worker traffic, especially from the Orlando Sentinel, which is now permanently empty and due to be razed any time now.
  • A salty donut shop will open in Audubon Park on Friday. Not just any salty donut shop, The Salty, a small operation out of south Florida. The Salty will take over the space vacated by Gene’s Auto Services – no greasy donut jokes, please – on Corrine Drive. The company has two locations in the Miami area and two in Texas.

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Let’s have a big drawing for the holidays

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It shouldn’t be so hard to give away gift certificates to good restaurants. But I’ve had a heck of a time lately.

As many of you know, I have weekly drawings for certificates with winners selected at random from the list of my weekly News from the Flog e-letter. If your name is on my list, you’re entered in every drawing.

Lately I’ve been offering a “winner’s choice” of a $50 gift certificate to Tap Room at Dubsdread; a $50 gift card to Big Fin Seafood Kitchen; or $40 to First Watch plus a First Watch cookbook.

But let’s do something special.

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Brought to you by…

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