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Newsy Nuggets: SeaWorld Festival, expensive shark bites, Yelp’s 100, Hen & Hog

Written By Scott Joseph On January 31, 2023

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SeaWorld Orlando’s annual Seven Seas Food Festival kicks off this weekend and continues Thursdays through Sundays until May 7. That’s enough time for you to sample all seven seas.

SeaWorld’s promoters are billing the event as “Orlando’s largest theme park food festival,” an apparent smackdown to Epcot and its yearlong rotation of festivals de food. The official press release also claims that the festival is “bringing ALL-NEW flavors to the theme park,” citing such wild and imaginative items as parmesan truffle fries; ropa vieja; classic Reuben; and strawberry shortcake a la mode. Maybe they mean these things have never been served inside SeaWorld. I’m also curious: Which of the seven seas does strawberry shortcake represent?

Anyway, the festival will feature over 200 food and drink items served at 27 marketplaces throughout the theme park. Food samples are available with the purchase of a lanyard – $70 for 10 tastes. A 15-sample lanyard is also available for purchase “for the best savings,” but the press release doesn’t say what the cost is. SeaWorld annual passholders can get 18 samples for the cost of 15, whatever that is. For more information visit the SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food festival website.

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A food blogger in China who goes by the name Tizi was fined the equivalent of $18,500 by authorities there after she posted a video on social media of herself cooking and eating a great white shark, which apparently is a no-no (or as they say in Mandarin, a 不-不). I’m assuming Tizi will not be attending the SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival, and if she does, she’ll likely be banned from Sharks Underwater Grill.

Yelp, the crowd-sourced reviews site, has released its 2023 Top 100 Places to Eat list and three locals are on it. Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean came in at no. 9; Kadence was 30; and Hungry Pants was 42. The list is compiled from the site’s most popular and highly rated restaurants based on user reviews.

Here’s an interesting news item: Chipotle, the fast-casual food chain, is currently hiring workers for “burrito season,” which the company says runs March through May. Who knew there was a burrito season? (Apparently this is different from burrito seasoning.) According to one report, a spokeswoman said that the spring months brought out burrito eaters because of weather and daylight. Sorry, that doesn’t clear things up; we have weather and daylight pretty much year round. Chipotle’s burrito season must be sort of like the Capistrano phenomenon, except in this case the masses return to swallow.

Hen & Hog, the Winter Park restaurant that is a reinvention of sorts of Mason Jar Provisions, is currently closed and is expected to remain so at least through the weekend. The chef and owner AJ Haines underwent surgery last week for diverticulitis and is still recovering. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help defray costs.

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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