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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On April 12, 2018

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Maria & Enzo’s

Maria and Enzos balcony still

Although guests enter the building from street level (or walkway level, as the case may be), they walk past the host stand to discover themselves standing on a mezzanine overlooking the vast dining room below, accessed by a sweeping staircase. The far wall is comprised of two-story floor to ceiling windows with a commanding view of the lagoon outside. It reminds me a little of the opulence of La Coquina, the late lamented fine dining venue at Hyatt Refency Grand Cypress, but on a larger scale. It’s among the most impressive dining venues in Central Florida.

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Tartine interior

How could I not order something called a Tallow Candle? Tallow is a more lyrical name for lard, and the very thought of it whisked me back to a bar in Firenze that listed lardo as one its bar snacks. And it was just what it promised: little chunks of lard to put on a cracker or slice of bread. With each bite it was like saying, “Here it comes, arteries; deal with it.”

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Tommy Bahama Cafe and Retail Store Closing at Pointe Orlando

Tommy Bahama

The Tommy Bahama Cafe and retail store at Pointe Orlando will close April 23. It opened in late 2006.

According to someone reached by phone at the International Drive restaurant, the corporation could not come to an agreement with the Pointe’s leasing office to renew the lease.


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Sanford Jailhouse to Become Restaurant


Bram FowlerBram Fowler will be serving time at the Old Jailhouse in Sanford. He’ll also be serving what he describes as Sunbelt Smile Cuisine.

Fowler, formerly of Journeys restaurant in Longwood and ever so briefly Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park, will be the chef and operations manager for The Old Jailhouse, a restaurant currently under renovations in the city’s former clink. “We’re just building it out now,” said Fowler by phone, “we just got our permits a couple of weeks ago.”


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Baratelli Closes Monthly Food Truck Gathering, the Original, at Fashion Square Mall

Food Truck Bazaar

Mark Baratelli, the original impresario of Orlando’s food truck scene, has announced that he is discontinuing the monthly Food Truck Bazaar at Fashion Square Mall. The second-Sunday event was the first regularly scheduled food truck cavalcade in Central Florida. “To say the attendance dropped in the past 12 months is an understatement,” Baratelli said in the statement.

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Other Stuff

Author Brad Meltzer will Headline Reading Between the Wines

Brad Meltzer credit Michelle Watson Catchlight Group SMALL copyNew York Times bestselling author and History Channel star Brad Meltzer will headline the 11th annual “Reading between the Wines” Adult Literacy League (ALL) fundraiser April 25, 2018, from 6-9 p.m. The event at Orlando Science Center is presented by Bank of America.

Attendees may sample food and wine offerings from top Central Florida restaurants, including: 1921 by Norman Van Aken; Swine & Sons Provisions; 4Rivers Smokehouse; Olde Hearth Bread Co.; Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant; Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen; Urban Tide at Hyatt Regency Orlando; and The Palm Restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel. It’s a walkabout event and here will be several wine stations to walkabout up to.

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Vote Now – Best Outdoor Dining


The restaurants listed here are the finalists for the Best Outdoor Dining Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

To vote for your favorite, check the box next to it and the press the Vote button. You may vote for only one restaurant one time.

After you vote, leave a comment below telling us which restaurant you voted for and why. We may use your comment when the winners are announced on April 19.

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