Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On November 1, 2018

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Taste of Chengdu

Chengdu sign

If you hear people call Taste of Chengdu the hottest restaurant in town, you should probably know that they may not be referring to its popularity, though popular it certainly is.

It’s also serving some of the hottest, as in spiciest, food you’re likely to find in Central Florida.

Geography geeks will recognize Chengdu as the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Culinary nerds will know that Sichuan cuisine (also sometimes spelled Szechuan or Szechwan) is known for its liberal use of fiery hot peppers, particularly the Sichuan pepper, which has an initial taste that is slightly metallic but then spreads like a wildfire through tinder. It does not make your tongue tingle, it makes it throb.


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Shiraz Market

Shiraz counter

The last time I was at Shiraz Market it was Torterilla la Mexicana. The name is different, the cuisine has changed from Mexican to Middle Eastern, but the experience is pretty much the same.

It’s a small storefront that’s mostly store. There are shelves of Middle Eastern canned and dry goods mixed in with everyday essentials.

One one side of the shop is a counter with some refrigerated items. And behind that is a menu board displaying the few items available to order and eat at one of the rustic tables in front. There are the usual kebabs and gyros but there are a couple of more interesting items, such as the Gheymeh that I selected.

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Dexter’s Restaurants Have Been Sold

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SJO has learned that all four Dexter’s restaurants are under contract to be sold and are to be split up among as many as three buyers.

According to sources, Greg Peters, the founder of Graffiti Junktion, will take over the Thornton Park and Winter Park locations. John Hofmeister, who was a partner with the eponymous Dexter Richardson and Adrian Mann in all four locations, will retain ownership of the Lake Mary restaurant. It was unclear on Saturday evening who would be taking over the Windermere location, the newest of the lot.


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Other Stuff

Lineup Set for Saturday’s Cows ‘n Cabs

The organizers of Cows ’n Cabs have released the lineup of chefs for Saturday’s event and it’s a stellar one.

Cows ’n Cabs has grown each year since its 2012 debut and is now one of the area’s premier food and beverage events. Conceived by 4 Rivers Smokehouse founder John Rivers and cohosted by Dave Larue, vice president of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Cows ’n Cabs is a fundraiser for After School All-Stars Orlando and Elevate Orlando.


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Homestead Harvest a Moonlit Success

Homestead Harvest

Homestead Harvest was held October 26 on the grounds of Whisper Creek Farm at Grande Lakes Orlando Resort.

Lit by candles, artificial moons and campfires, chefs from throughout the state presented dozens of delectable dishes to attending guests.

Check out the video below.


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Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day in Orlando


Sure, sure, you’re just thinking about getting through Halloween. But you really need to start thinking about the next holiday.

No, not Veterans Day. Well, yes, by all means think about Veterans Day, which is, of course, Nov. 11 but observed on Nov. 12 this year because Nov. 11 is a Sunday.

But then turn your thoughts to Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 22 and happens to fall on a Thursday, so there’s no reason to move the official celebration to a Monday.

Anyway, where are you going to eat on the big holiday, meaning Thanksgiving, not Veterans Day? If you aren’t up to the task of cooking this year and haven’t been invited to someone else’s house, you have a number of restaurants and resorts open on the 22nd to choose from.

Here’s that link to the listings.

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Best Italian Finalists


The restaurants listed in the poll below have advanced from the nominating phase and are the finalists for Best Italian in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

You may vote for only one restaurant, and please vote just once.

After placing your vote, leave a comment below telling us why you like your selection (be sure to mention the name of the restaurant in you comment otherwise we won’t know which one you’re talking about). We may use your comments when we announce the winners.

Please note: All the votes received during the nominating phase have been zeroed out. You must vote in the finals for your choice to count.

Voting ends Nov. 7. The Winners will be announced in the Nov. 8 edition of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide’s eletter. To subscribe, text SJO to 66866.

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