So a friend of mine sends me a link to an article at the Wall Street Journal’s online Web site about Winter Park. In it, the reporter, Stephanie Raposo, gives advice on “what to do,” “where to eat,” and “where to stay” when visitors want to “take a break from outlet shopping and theme parks.”
The “what to do” section includes the all too predictable Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour and shopping in the various merchant districts (not an outlet store among them!).
The “where to stay” includes the Park Plaza Hotel and “the only other place to stay in town,” the Best Western Mt. Vernon.”
It’s the “where to eat” paragraph that I took umbrage with.
“For lunch,” writes Raposo, “select a panino named after one of the restaurant locals at Palmano’s Trattoria and Wine Bar like the ‘Mr. P,’ filled with salami, pepperoni and other trimmings for $8.95.” We’re left to wonder who this mysterious Mr. P is and why he is filled with salami.
Then this: “Homemade family recipes for classic Italian dishes make Pannullo’s the best place to eat on Park Avenue, Winter Park’s main street.”
I couldn’t take any more. I had to submit a comment to the article. But wsj.com did not publish my comment (they published one from a guy who said he could never find any good food in Orlando, and asked for advice). So here is the comment I submitted that the Wall Street Journal didn’t see fit to publish:
Pannullo’s? Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some very nice meals at Pannullo’s. But the best place to eat on Park Avenue? There are, within a few blocks, a couple of dozen restaurants from sushi to upscale Thai to Turkish to Brazilian to creative American to French to raw-food vegan, any of which might be a better contender for “best place to dine on Park Avenue.” And Palmano’s “Trattoria and Wine Bar”? The last time I checked it was a coffee shop with sandwiches. I would suggest the next time your reporter might want to consult my online resource, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, for recomm…
Oh, wait. I just noticed the date on the article. April 1st! You got me. For a minute there, I thought she was serious.
Something about that response offended someone at the Journal. But, dear Journalians, quite a bit about Raposo’s article is offensive to those of us who live here. Beginning with the assumption that outlet malls and theme parks consume most of our lives and finishing with an unqualified opinion about the best dining choice — based on, what, two meals, one at a coffee shop that the writer thought was a trattoria and wine bar? — the flip way a really terrific area of Central Florida has been literally written off by a publication of record is infuriating.
I know how these things usually happen. Someone goes on vacation, comes back and says to her editor, “Hey, I could write you one of those ‘what I did’ pieces.” Then goes back to her regular beat until the next vacation. (A Google search on Raposo brought a recent article on a mobile paper shredding company in new Jersey.) It’s a great way to claim your vacation expenses on your tax return. I did a ton of them over the years. But I hope I never did the sort of disservice that Raposa did to the town she visited — and, ultimately, to her readers.