Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On August 26, 2021

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Recent Reviews

The Pass

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I’m not sure how to present the name of this restaurant. It might be The Pass Progressive Cuisine or it might be The Pass, with a descriptive subtitle of Progressive Cuisine. The pass being the surface where the cook passes the plated food to be picked up.

It might be a play on the grammatical term past progressive, at least that’s what I was thinking.

I’m going to go with the name being The Pass and give them a pass on the progressive cuisine part because it really isn’t too.

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The Porch South Orange

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Things are really starting to pop in the Fort Gatlin shopping center in SoSoDo. The much anticipated Gatlin Hall Brewing food market is oh-so-much-closer to opening, maybe even this weekend, with food vendors Frenchy’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Willy’s Original smash burgers, and DaKine Poke, as well as the brewed-on-site beers.

We’ve already told you about Buttercrust Pizza. Nearby, Raptor’s Meals, a takeout-only dinner provider has made room for Clara Jean’s Polish Cuisine to work out of the same space. Brazas Chicken has been there longer than any of them (and I’ll have some news about Brazas soon).

But today we’re visiting The Porch South Orange, an outpost of the original Porch bar and restaurant in Winter Park (on North Orange) .

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Newsy Nuggets

First buffet reopens at Disney, local dive bar chickens out on its smoking policy, plus other stuff.

reimagined citricos at disneys grand floridian resort spaWDW photo by Matt Stroshane

Boma – Flavors of Africa, the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, reopened Friday. Yes, a buffet. In a pandemic. Those things are sketchy in the best of times; not sure I’d feel safe wandering around the heat tables (Boma doesn’t use steam tables, it’s very state of the artsy) with a lot of other people and dishing up food from a communal spread. Maybe communal spread isn’t the right phrase. I’ve reached out to a WDW spokeswoman to see what, if any, protocols have been put in place but I haven’t heard back. Jiko – The Cooking Place remains closed, according to the WDW website.

Speaking of Walt Disney World restaurants and pandemics… as you know, most of the restaurants in the country pavilions are traditionally staffed by young people from those countries who come here on special work visas. But last year, as lockdowns loomed, most of the foreign workers were whisked back to their home countries to await a callback. They’re still waiting, and one restaurant official told me that they don’t expect to be able to bring staff back until at least April. And that was before the current surge. In the meantime, instead of a server whose name tag might read Chen from Chengdu, you might have Brian from Bithlo.

Also at Disney, Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, shown at top, has reopened with a new Mary Poppins theme. Cue “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

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Other Stuff

Scott’s Kitchen: Polenta from Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill

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Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill is the wonderful new(ish) steak and seafood restaurant at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek resort. Melissa Sallman is the hotel’s new executive chef and oversees the restaurant. There may be some small changes coming with the menu but you can probably count on this polenta side dish staying on.

Of course, another word for polenta is grits, so when I made the recipe following Sallman’s instructions in the Scott’s Kitchen video below, I grilled up some shrimp to go along with it for my own version of shrimp and grits. Cheesy grits/polenta, too, thanks to both parmesan and goat cheese.

Watch the video then give the recipe a try. And be sure to visit Sear + Sea to sample the polenta with one of their steaks – or maybe some shrimp.


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Rosso Coffee Bar in Marketplace at Avalon Park will bring locally roasted coffee to East Orlando

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Karen Blankenzee has been on a journey that began in in her native South Korea, took her to Australia and New Zealand before landing her and her new husband in Florida. But it wasn’t until an extended trip back to Seoul that she found her current passion: coffee.

And while she has had a coffee roasting business in Longwood for several years, she will soon have her first coffee shop when Rosso Coffee Bar opens in the Marketplace at Avalon Park.

During that long trip back to South Korea, Blankenzee, 49, found herself with a lot of time on her hands. So a friend who owned a growing chain of coffee shops – “Korean people live on caffeine,” she said – suggested she attend his company’s coffee roasting lab. She was fascinated by the process and set out to learn everything she could about it, earning a certificate to be a professional coffee taster.

When she returned to Central Florida, she set about making her newfound passion her profession.

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Magical Dining Recommendations: Tap Room at Dubsdread

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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining begins Friday and I’ll be bringing you some of my recommendation over the next few days.

First up, everyone’s favorite, Tap Room at Dubsdread.

One of my favorite Tap Room items, the prime rib, is on the MagDin menu. But Tap Room regulars will know that the prime rib is available only on Fridays and Saturdays.

But not during Magical Dining days. Owner Steve Gunter tells me the prime rib will be available every day of the week. 

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Magical Dining Recommendations: Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar

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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining begins Friday and I’ll be bringing you some of my recommendations over the next few days.

Next up: Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar

Chef and owner Rocco Potami is prepared to wow Magical Diners with his three-course menu. Considered one of the best Italian restaurants in the area, Rocco’s is the epitome of fine dining: gracious host, expert service, upscale surroundings and excellent food.

And just take a look at the image at top to see what an incredible deal Rocco’s is offering for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining.

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