Note: To kick off Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, I’m giving away a fistful of free gift certificates to participating restaurants. As with all drawings, the winners will be selected from among the recipients of my newsletter. If you’re already signed up, you’re already registered to win. If not, click this link and enter your address (don’t worry, I own’t share your address with anyone, no matter how much they beg). One caveat: the certificates will be for the Magical Dining Month menu and therefore must be redeemed during the month of September 2011.
I will have two drawings each day for dinners for two at participating Orlando Magical Dining Month restaurants. Any unclaimed certificates will be put back into the hopper for another drawing.
Monday: City Fire (claimed) and Citrus (not claimed)!
Tuesday: Funky Monkey Pointe Orlando (claimed) and Nick’s Italian Kitchen (unclaimed)
Wednesday: Prickly Pear (unclaimed) and Funky Monkey Pointe Orlando
It’s almost September, and you know what that means, don’t you? No, not National Welsh Rarebit Day, though, true, that is September 3rd. And I’m not talking about TV Dinner Day (Sept. 10). Or Sept. 28, Drink Beer Day (seriously, we need a day for that?).
September is Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. And since 30 days hath September, that means 30 days to get out and enjoy some great deals at some of Central Florida’s great restaurants.
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month (formerly Orlando Magical Dining Month) is sponsored by Visit Orlando (formerly Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau). They’ve put together a roster of restaurants that will offer special prix fixe menus every day in September. The menus offer three courses for a set price of $30. In most cases you have two or three choices within each course. One dollar from each Magical Dining Month meal goes to a charity. This year, VOMDM is benefitting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.
This year’s list of participating restaurants offers some logistical challenges — there are 62 restaurants — up from 50 last year — but only 30 days. I have some decisions to make.
Also some homework to do. When I choose a restaurant to visit during MagDinMo I consider the menu they’re offering and compare it to the regular menu. Hey, I’m just like you — I want to make sure I’m getting a bargain. In most cases the savings are huge. Just consider some of the fancy (read: expensive) restaurants that are the list this year, including Bice, both Emeril’s restaurants, Cala Bella, Luma on Park, Roy’s, the Venetian Room, Primo by Melissa Kelly, Chatham’s Place and a few more — you’ll find entrees that approach $30 on some of their regular menus. A three course meal would run over $70, easily. During VOMDM you get three courses for $30.
I have come across some restaurants in the past where the deal was only one or two bucks better than the regular menu, but those are few. Even with the mid-priced restaurants, you’re looking at substantial savings.
Now, there are some things to keep in mind if you participate. Many restaurants will offer the special menu along with the regular one, but in some cases you may have to request it. Don’t just go to a participating restaurants and order the calamari appetizer, filet mignon entree and creme brulee dessert because you had seen the special menu online and knew those were the offerings. That’s not how it works. Make sure your server knows you want to order off the Magical Dining menu.
Here’s a link to the Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month pages where you can see the full list of participating restaurants and download their menus. Plan carefully; National Hot Mulled Cider Day (Sept. 30th) will be here before you know it.