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Jake’s Beer Festival plus recent reviews and restaurant news

Written By Scott Joseph On October 4, 2018

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News from the Flog  


Fall Edition of Jake’s Beer Festival is Friday


Jakes Beer Festival 3

You’ve probably been kicking yourself because you missed Jake’s Beer Festival last spring. Jake’s, as you know, is a festival created by the folks at Loews Royal Pacific Resort especially for beer lovers. If you didn’t make it to the last one, don’t be so hard on yourself, we all make mistakes.

And every now and then you get a second chance. Which is good news for you because Jake’s Beer Festival happens twice each year, spring and fall. And oh, hey look — it’s fall. The the autumnal fest is Friday, Oct. 5, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.

Tickets are $45 plus tax for regular admission and $55 for VIP, which gets you a few extras. Either way, you’ll have good beer and a good time. Click this link to purchase your tickets.

Scheduled to be pouring on Friday are:

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Recent Restaurant Reviews

American Kitchen Bar & Grill

American Kitchen dining room

Magical Dining Month is over for another year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any great dining deals out there. Just look at what American Kitchen Bar & Grill is offering.

They’re calling it, maybe just a tad tongue in cheekily, Enchanted Dining Month and offering a $35 three-course prix fixe menu. Sound familiar?

Executive chef Venoy Rogers explained that American Kitchen, which is the signature restaurant at B Resort, missed the cutoff date to sign up for Magical Dining Month. The restaurant didn’t want to run a competing offer at the same time, so instead they decided to run it after MagDinMo was over, so you can now consider the entire month of October to be EnDinMo at American Kitchen.

Rogers invited me to come in and sample the menu choices. I had already known there was good culinary talent at the resort. I had experienced Rogers’ cuisine in the past, and his sous chef Jacob Rios recently won my Sous Chef Challenge cooking competition at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show. So I was pretty sure I was going to like what I tasted, and I did.

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Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine

Selam interior

If you were looking for further validation that Central Florida’s culinary scene is becoming more diverse, consider this: Not only do we have an Ethiopian restaurant, Nile, in its second decade of operation, we now have a second one operating simultaneously. What’s more, the new restaurant, Selam, features the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. (Though that’s a fine line; more on that in a moment.)

Like Nile, Selam is situated in the Tourist World part of town. That’s a pretty smart choice. Nile was not the first Ethiopian restaurant in the area. Two or three others tried to introduce the foods from the Horn of Africa over the past 25 years or so but never lasted more than a few months. Location, I assumed, had something to do with it. They had opened in a location next to the 33d Street jail and on a sketchy stretch of South Orange Blossom Trail. But an argument could also be made that the dining public wasn’t yet quite ready to be more adventurous.

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Greek Corner Wins Foodster Award

Greek Corner

The Greek Corner, the Greek restaurant located, um, on a corner in the Ivanhoe district, has been voted Best Greek in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

The recently reopened Mykonos, in Longwood, placed second and Mediterranean Deli of Orlando was third.


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What’s the Best Italian Restaurant in Central Florida?

Terralina clams

There was a time when a restaurant would boil up some pasta, toss on some meat rolled into a ball, douse it all with tomato sauce and call it Italian.

My how things have changed.

Now you can find more nuanced Italian food inspired by the many regions of the country: Ligurian, Neapolitan, Tuscan, Sicilian. And so much of it is so very good. So let’s find the restaurant most deserving to receive the Foodster Award for Best Italian.

This is going to be a difficult category to narrow down. The restaurants listed here are among the best Italians in town. You may select up to FIVE of your favorites you’d like to see advance to the finals.

Here are the nominees:

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Muddy Waters is Closed; Menagerie Moving In

Muddy exterior

Muddy Waters, the New Orleans style restaurant in Thornton Park, has closed. It closed Friday, according to Todd Ulmer of Beacon Hill Group.

The space has been taken over by the owners of the Stubborn Mule, a bar and restaurant acrossSouth  Eola Drive in the Sanctuary condominium building. Brian Buttner and his business partner, Jonathan Canonaco, plan to open a new concept called the Menagerie Eatery and Bar. Buttner said they plan to have a soft opening as early as next week.

They have also acquired the Mucho liquor store and will replace that with a bar called the Broken Cage.

Muddy Waters opened just last year, in June, and was a 

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Other Stuff

Feeling Really Gassed with My New Cooktop

Thermador top

I have gas!

OK, OK, get all your restaurant critic wisecracks out of your system.

I have for most of my adult life lived in houses that did not have access to natural gas. So that meant cooking on electric stovetops. For the past 14 years, my stovetop had the kind of electric coils that never seem to be seated properly. I don’t think any of them were level. I hated them.


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Brevard Chefs Host James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour

Beard celebrity room

The James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour stopped in Melbourne Sunday for a six-course dinner cooked by visiting chefs assisted by culinary professionals from Melbourne and Brevard County.

The dinner was held at Brevard Zoo, which shared the proceeds from tickets sales with the Beard Foundation’s scholarship fund. The crowd of nearly 200 people gathered for a sparkling wine and cocktail reception on the patio outside the zoo’s event space. 

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