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Recent Restaurant Reviews and News from the Flog

Written By Scott Joseph On August 17, 2017

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Laurel Latin Cuisine

Laurel cuban interior

There’s something about the name Laurel Latin Cuisine that I find quite forgettable. And that’s not good for a restaurant that’s hidden off the main thoroughfare, tucked in the back of a building on Park Avenue. So when I arranged to meet a friend for lunch in Winter Park, I said, “Let’s go to that new restaurant.”

“Fine,” she said, “what’s the name?”

“I can’t remember,” I responded, “but it’s where Paris-Bistro used to be.”

“Paris Bistro is gone?” She was shocked, even though she works just a few blocks away. That might help to explain why Paris-Bistro is gone.

“Only since April,” I told her.

We met at the designated time at whatsitsname.

Now that I’ve eaten there, I think I’ll have an easier time remember Laurel Latin Cuisine.

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Hourglass Brewing and Wako Taco


With just a little over a week left to vote for Best Craft Beer in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants (voting ends at midnight Aug. 23), I’ve been out doing some practical research. Very demanding, but I insist on it.

To that end, I met a friend at Hourglass Brewing in Longwood recently.But for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to visiting it until now.

It’s a big place and a big operation in terms of its brewing facilities. A big, boxy space, sort of like a warehouse with a bar set up in a corner, there’s plenty of room for tables and stools and still space for brewing tanks, seen behind tall windows behind the back side of the bar.

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Nothing Half-Baked About Local Pastry Talent

Saintemarie sculpture

Olivier Saintemarie, pastry chef for the restaurants and bakery at the France pavilion in Epcot, has been chosen to serve on Pastry Team USA for La Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (World Pastry Cup) to be held in 2019 in Lyon, France.

Saintmarie was chosen following a two-day competition held at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College earlier this week. Participants competed in both sugar chocolate contests to create centerpieces and chocolate cakes. Saintemarie was in the chocolate category; his centerpiece is pictured at top.

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It’s Official: Park Plaza Gardens Will Not reopen

PPG ext

A settlement has been reached in the dispute between Mary Demetree, the owner of Park Plaza Gardens, and the landlord of the building, Park Avenue Plaza of Winter Park, LTD. Details of the settlement have not been disclosed, but Park Plaza Gardens, once a fixture of Winter Park and at one time a venerable dining and special occasion destination, will not reopen.

“After 36 years as one of Winter Park’s iconic gathering places, Park Plaza Gardens will not be reopening,” Demetree said in a statement provided by her spokeswoman, Sara Brady of Sara Brady Public Relations. “The restaurant earned its place as part of Winter Park culture by providing patrons with wonderful memories of brunches, bridal showers, and just enjoying a glass of wine late at night on the Avenue. I am grateful for all those who supported and loved the restaurant for so very long.”

The restaurant has been closed since March 7, 2016, for what Demetree, who has been the owner for 18 years, said were water intrusion and rat infestation issues.

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Other Stuff

No, California Grill has Not Changed to an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Settle down, everyone. California Grill is not turning into a buffet style restaurant.

There was confusion early Monday when the New Year’s Eve menu was mistakenly posted on the website for the restaurant on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The NYE dinner includes various food stations set up in the upscale-casual restaurant, considered one of the resort’s top tier venues. A spokeswoman explained that California Grill features cooking stations every year on December 31.

But a blogger who follows Walt Disney World news saw the post and ran with it, causing California Grill fans to panic.

The NYE menu has been taken down — at least for a few more months — and the blog post has been deleted.

Carry on.

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Melbourne Chef Wins Beard’s Blended Burger Contest

Cedar Burger

Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Cafe in Melbourne is among the winners of this year’s Blended Burger Project, sponsored by the James Beard Foundation and the Mushroom Council.

Elkhouri’s entry, Brevard’s Taste of Summer Burger, was one of five to receive the most votes in the two-month competition. According to JBF, 414 restaurants from 45 states participated in the quest for a “delicious, nutritious and sustainable burger” using a blend of mushrooms and meat. Elkhouri has been invited along with the other winners to cook her burger at the James Beard House in New York on January 23, 2018.

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