Wine Pops, plus restaurant reviews and news

Written By Scott Joseph On July 11, 2019

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News from the Flog  

Pop in at Pizza Ponte

Ponte pop

I was at Disney Springs one recent sweltering day — I know, that doesn’t narrow it down much — so I decided to pop in to Pizza Ponte for a pop.

I’d say I stopped in for a popsicle, but Popsicle® is actually a brandname. The generic term is ice pop, though I’ve never heard anyone say, “Hey, I could sure go for an ice pop right about now.” But the brand became so identified with the genre that they’re interchangeable. Sort of like, “Hand me a Kleenex®, would you? This Popsicle® is running down my arm.”

But in any event, I stopped eating popsicles a long time ago. Ice pops, too.

But a frozen device on a wooden stick fashioned out of sangria can certainly get my attention. So that’s what I was at Pizza Ponte to try.

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Recent Restaurant Reviews

Saporito Italian Restaurant & Bakery

Saporito interior

For some reason the name Saporito sounds like it would be Japanese takeout place.

But, no, it’s an Italian restaurant, and a very pleasant one at that.

Or should I say a tasty one, for tasty is the translation of Saporito.

Remember the Slow Food Movement? It was buzzphrase about a dozen years ago. I wrote about it becoming a trend in Central Florida in 2007, though its origins can be traced back to 1986. In Italy, to be exact.

There is still a Slow Food organization and an Orlando convivium, or chapter, though the last entry on its Facebook page was in 2016. My guess is that people embraced the farm-to-table as their preferred buzzphrase.

But Saporito proudly embraces the Slow Food philosophy. And it’s not like we’re comparing organic apples to locally-grown oranges. A well-crafted red sauce by any other name would taste as luscious.

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Felipe Rodriguez Tequila House + Kitchen

Felipe door

Of all the restaurants that have occupied the space at the corner of Washington Street and Hyer Avenue in downtown’s Thornton Park, Felipe Rodriguez Tequila House + Kitchen feels the most permanent.

That may be because for the first time the main dining part of the restaurant has an actual hard roof. Before that it had an elaborate tent-like structure to keep out the elements, and before that it had nothing. The elements were everywhere.

But there’s more to the commitment of a real roof and all the other cosmetic and structural redesigns inside. It shows a dedication to this concept. Even more, the people involved in the restaurant seem to understand that the food needs to be more than an afterthought. On my two visits to the restaurant, I was surprised to find the food as good as it was.

I don’t mean for that to be a backhanded compliment. But let’s face it: Any place in downtown Orlando that calls itself a tequila house isn’t a place you’d expect to spend much time on food. Fortunately, that’s not the case here.

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Negril Jamaican Restaurant

Negril exterior

I had originally gone to the west side of town for a completely non-eating reason — it happens every now and then — but when I saw Negril Jamaican Restaurant I immediately changed course.

Negril is a fast-casual restaurant, more casual than it is fast and it’s pretty fast: most of the food is already prepared and in a steam table set behind glass.

The menu has Oxtail, Brown Stews, Jerked dishes and Jamaican Fried Chicken. But every menu listing for a curried dish — available in goat, chicken and shrimp — included the line “Best Curry in Town.” How could I not go with that?

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Shin Jung destroyed by fire

Shin Jung front

Shin Jung, one of the area’s oldest Korean restaurants, is closed after a fire Wednesday destroyed the building in which it was housed.

The structure, a former house in the Mills 50 district, caught fire early Wednesday morning (June 26) at approximately 1 a.m. The restaurant was closed and no one was injured. According the the Orlando Fire Department the cause was possibly due to an electrical problem; foul play is not suspected.

Flames shot through the roof, and considerable damage can be seen from the outside.

Shin Jung condemned

A bright orange sign affixed to the front door declares that the property has been condemned.


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Other Stuff

Supper Club at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster will feature wines of Chalk Hill Estate

Christners Logo FINAL 1 copy

Our Supper Club at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster featuring the wines of Chalk Hill Estate has sold out. But the Christners have graciously allowed us to offer a few more seats.

The dinner is 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the restaurant, 729 Lee Road, Orlando. Cost is $145 per person, which includes tax and gratuity, a bargain even before you start to add in the wine pairings. Call the restaurant at 407-645-4443 for reservations.

Click below to see the menu.

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Finalists for 2019 Best Vietnamese Restaurant Foodster Award

Vietnomz pho

Here are your finalists for the 2019 Best Vietnamese Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants. You may choose just one favorite. Click the circle next to its name then click VOTE at the bottom of the list.

Voting will continue through July 24.

Click Read More to see the finalists:

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