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Mi Casa guac

So I had a friend visiting from New York, staying at Rosen Shingle Creek, and I suggested we get together for a drink and a bite to eat. More for a drink. I quickly went through the options at Shingle Creek and decided I’d visited them all and would rather try something new. I said I’d pick him up and we’d go elsewhere.

We drove a few miles over to the Orange Blossom Trail area and went to a little restaurant I’d heard about. We sat down in a booth and a young woman handed us a menu. I asked about the beer and wine selection. She said they did not serve alcohol, so we left.

The same thing happened at the next two places we stopped at. Then my friend just casually mentioned that he’d had a good meal at the Mexican restaurant at Shingle Creek.

Shingle Creek has a Mexican restaurant? That somehow eluded me. So we got in the car and drove back to the resort we had left a half hour earlier, hungrier and definitely thirstier.

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Gawlaks

Alexia and Rhys Gawlak, longtime employees and collaborators of James and Julie Petrakis, have purchased the Swine & Sons brand from them and will move the business from its current location to the Local Butcher & Market one block away. The space previously occupied by Swine & Sons, which is across the parking lot from the Petrakises’ Ravenous Pig restaurant, has been leased to a dentist, according to James Petrakis.

In addition, the Petrakises will convert the space next to the dentist office, currently an Enterprise car rental, into Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. The new facility will have eight times the brewing capacity of the current equipment located inside the Ravenous Pig. The facility inside the restaurant was providing the beers for Cask & Larder, another Swine Family of Restaurants brand, which is located in an airside terminal at Orlando International Airport.

Cask & Larder’s beers will now be produced at the new facility and will continue to carry its brand name. Petrakis said that the facility will produce other beer brands that they plan to distribute throughout Florida. The facility inside Ravenous Pig will be used to produce specialty beers solely for the restaurant.

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I'm please to announce that once again I am partnering with Art in Voyage -- Beyond Travel to co-host a trip with chef Kevin Fonzo. I had the thrill last year of co-leading the trip to Paris and Lyon, and I was especially impressed with the high quality and attention to fine details that went in to putting the trip together.

This year, we're visiting Florence and Tuscany and I'd love to have you along. Here are the details from the folks at Art in Voyage:

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Domu cjhibi ramen room

Domu, the popular East End Market ramenerie, has opened a new concept, Domu Chibi Ramen, in Waterford Lakes. It’s meant to be a quick-serve operation, but they’ve managed to make it quicker serve in at least one aspect.

Instead of giving an order to someone at the counter, customers are prompted to use electronic tablets in front of it to place and pay for an order. Heck, you might even want to leave yourself a tip as you pay, because unlike other quick-serve restaurants, you must go back up to the pick-up counter to fetch your own food. I’m guessing if they could, they’d find away for a non-human to call the names.

Domu cjhibi order

Indeed, the staff behind the counter, just a few feet away from the ordering kiosk, avoid looking at or otherwise acknowledging the arrival of new customers. This seems to be one carryover from the Audubon Park Domu, which, though full service, also has a staff that doesn’t seem to feel the need to be accommodating to its guests.

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Cuisiniers

Today we salute our friends at Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events as they celebrate 21 years as one of Central Florida’s premier catering companies.

In the video below, executive chef Jamie McFadden talks about the journey from a small company with just a few employees to one with a fleet of six trucks transporting food to up to 30 events each week.

I first experienced McFadden’s food in 1992 when he opened his restaurant, Mimi’s Cafe, in Longwood. It was a small place but it was clear that McFadden had a talent for creative cuisine. His crab cakes were especially memorable. In fact, they’re still one of his most popular items at Cuisiniers, which goes through almost 800 pounds of crabmeat every year.

Congratulations to McFadden and all the staff at Cuisiniers. Here’s to many more years of creatively catered events — and more and more crab cakes.