Baoery exterior

EXCLUSIVE -- Baoery, the Asian Gastropub from Thornton Park Restaurant Group, is closing. Its last day will be Friday, March 31, according to TPRG partner and executive chef Greg Richie.

The restaurant, which took the space previously occupied by Cityfish, opened in October of 2015.

The restaurant was built around bao, steamed buns with various fillings that resemble a sort of Asian taco that have been a trending food item in the last few years. Baoery also offered other Asian-inspired dishes, such as ramen and Cilantro Seared Pink Snapper.

“We think it’s a great concept,” said Richie, but “that location is probably just a little too big for Baoery.”

Baoery Buddha

The restaurant’s food was well received. “I don’t think anyone had an issue with the quality,” said Craig Ustler, a principal with TPRG. Both he and Richie surmised that perhaps the space was too big for the concept. “It needs something about half that size,” said Richie. Baoery employed approximately 20 people. Richie said that a few would be offered positions at Soco, another TPRG concept a few doors down from Baoery, also in the Thornton Park Central building.

Ustler said he wasn’t sure what would be done with the space. “I don’t have any hard plans right now,” he said.

Richie said he will turn his full attention to TPRG’s remaining restaurant. “We’re really happy with what’s going on with Soco,” he said, “so I’ll take this opportunity to focus on that.”

Tin and Taco ext

Now comes another player in the craft taco game: Tin & Taco, a downtown quick-server hawking “Craft Tacos. Craft Beers. Craft Soda” from a small storefront on Washington Street just west of Orange Avenue.

The Tin of the name apparently refers to the metal trays the food is served on, the sort of conveyance usually seen in George Raft prison movies.

The Taco part of the name refers, unstartlingly, to tacos, though not exclusively. You may also get your chosen ingredients wrapped within a burrito or in a bowl with rice or served in a bag of Doritos.

Most of the selections are $8, which gets you two “tacos.” It’s nice, however, that you’re allowed to get different varieties to make up your twosome. I chose the Taco Bomb and the Tacosaurus and went conventional taco with both, though I was tempted by the bag of Doritos gimmick (and if it had been 2:45 a.m. on a weekend there would have been no question).

F2F longshot

It was another great event out at Long & Scott Farms in Zellwood Saturday as Edible Orlando and Walt Disney World presented the fourth annual Field to Feast.

F2F brings Disney’s top culinary talent close to the food source: the food growers of Lake County.

The evening couldn’t have been more perfect, and the food, which is always a hit, was even better thanks to the wine pairings by George Miliotes. Miliotes, a master sommelier, is keeping his wine expertise sharpened — you might say oeno-filed — as he awaits the construction of his Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.

One of my favorite dishes at the walkabout event was the Cheshire Pork Barbacoa with masa, avocado and gooseberries from chef Michael Gonsalves of Artist Point. (They pounded their own masa to make the tortillas, for crying out loud.) Sommelier Viviana Altesor was pouring Chehalem Gamay Noir, 2014, to pair with the juicy pork.

30 veg cup

Circo, the Italian restaurant from legendary New York restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, who also owns Le Cirque, is coming to Orlando later this year. I was in New York recently and dined at Circo’s original location on West 55th Street.

The food is solidly good, and it will be nice to have another upscale Italian restaurant in the area, especially one with a pedigree such as this one.

One of the restaurant’s signature items is its Thirty Vegetable Soup, one that it popular with regulars for good reason. True to its name, the soup indeed includes 30 distinct vegetables (we’ll not argue the classification of tomatoes here).

I managed to snag a photo of the recipe. (Don’t tell anyone where you got it.) If you’re feeling ambitious, give it a try.

Taste at i drive

The annual Taste event benefitting Esophageal Cancer at Florida Hospital is moving to I-Drive 360 this year. And tickets include a ride on the Coca-Cola Eye. Don’t worry, it doesn’t spin around that fast so you don’t have to be concerned about what you eat before you get on.

And there should be plenty to eat. There will be food from eight restaurants, including our friends at Tapa Toro. See below for a full list.

Taste at I-Drive 360 will be Sunday, April 2, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for kids and $35 for first responders and are available at this link. (And first responder doesn’t have anything to do with how fast you click that link, so don’t even think about it.) Parking is complimentary. I-Drive 360 is at 8445 International Drive, Orlando.

The fundraiser is spearheaded by Pam Sain, who lost her father to the disease. Esophageal cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States. Acid reflux can lead to pre-cancerous Barrett’s esophagus which can be effectively treated to prevent esophageal cancer. The earlier the diagnosis and onset of treatment, the greater chance you will have of beating this disease.

So come out, help raise money for a good cause, eat some good food and go for a spin on the Eye. It’ll be fun.

2017 Participating Restaurants: