Pubbelly interior

If your server at Pubbelly tries to tell you that the plates are small, tapas-sized portions suitable for sharing, don’t believe her. Only they’re definitely suitable for sharing, but small? No.

Which is why my companion and I found ourselves with too much to eat on a recent visit to the popular anchor in the Pubbelly group of restaurants. Those include Pubbelly Sushi and Barceloneta, all basically in the same building — sort of like Thornton Park Restaurant Group and its growing brands at the corner of Central Boulevard and Summerlin Avenue.

Contrary to most of the well-known restaurants in Miami Beach, Pubbelly is not on Ocean Drive or even the popular Lincoln Road. It is on the west side of the island, away from the touristy area. But it thrums with locals who flock for the well executed food.

Guavate Exterior

Guavate, a Puerto Rican restaurant, apparently has been around for several years but has somehow escaped my notice. I’m sure some of that has to do with its location, which is eastern Orlando. Actually, if you use Semoran Boulevard and the East-West Expressway as bisecting lines, Guavate is in the southeastern quadrant, which makes it a bit more off of my radar. I understand that there is such a place as Avalon Park in that vicinity.

But Guavate is well before that mythical land. And I ended my ignorance of the little eatery with a blissful little lunch recently.

One of the servers greeted me warmly when I walked in and didn’t protest when I insisted on choosing my own table. She kept her good humor as I quizzed her about the menu and asked for recommendations.


Today, November 17, has been declared for all time to be National Baklava Day. And you thought congress was incapable of accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Baklava, of course, is the sweet and nutty dessert made with multiple layers of delicate phyllo dough, honey, rose water and pistachios. It's a staple of most Greek restaurants, and one of our favorites, Taverna Opa, is commemorating the occasion by offering free baklava all day long. Just show up at the Pointe Orlando restaurant and they'll hand you a square of the gooey goodness faster than you can say "Opa!" (Just to be clear, saying "opa" is not a requirement to receive your free baklava.)

If I were you, I'd take advantage of this offer, because tomorrow is National Vichyssoise Day and I don't know of anyone planning to ladle out cold potato soup.

Taverna Opa is at 9101 International Drive, Orlando. It's open today from noon until 11 p.m.

The folks at T.O. also sent along this recipe for Brandy Baklava:

Divas Pumpkin Bisque

For those of us who have wrestled a fresh pumpkin with sharp knife and lived to tell the tale, it's hardly surprising that we look so longingly at the canned variety. No longer is canned pumpkin strictly a shortcut for the quickie pumpkin pie. With all the nutritional bennies of squash, canned pumpkin fortifies sweet treats such as puddings, cookies, cakes and trifles, as well as creamy soups and bisques.

This bisque takes you on a culinary journey to Southern India. With richly toasted spices and creamy coconut milk, it’s a perfect starter to grace the holiday buffet with a festively exotic twist.

Gaylord Palms AtriumThe Gaylord Palms Atrium will be decked out for the holidays for Thanksgiving Day diners to enjoy.

I’ve been putting together lists of restaurants that serve Thanksgiving Dinner for decades and I can’t remember there ever being as many as there are this year. I don’t know why that is. Maybe more of us are growing weary of the long preparation, drawn out service and the inevitable cleanup after. If that’s you, the good news is that you have a lot of choices.

Click this link to see the list of restaurants in Orlando and Central Florida that will be open on Thanksgiving.

The bad news is — if you haven’t already made your reservations, the longer you wait the fewer choices you’ll have. So don’t wait any longer — check out the list of restaurants that will be open on Nov. 26 (which is a Thursday, by the way) and make your reservations pronto, as the pilgrims used to say.

But be prepared to be flexible with your preferred dining time.