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 Wiltons dining room

LONDON – I’ve just boarded the Eurostar, headed to France after a too brief stay in London. Even after many visits, I find there are new things to do each time. This trip the first-time experience was the Chelsea Flower Show on the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital. It’s a massive exhibition with millions and millions of flowers, shrubs and other various flora. And by my count there was one person per flower petal there to gawk at them.

Afterwards I went to Wilton’s on Jermyn Street. I told you about The Wolseley, also on this trip; apparently I’ve been to London enough times to have made it to the Ws.

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Wolseley sign

LONDON – The Wolseley looks to be a very old, established London restaurant, but in truth it’s only been around since 2003.

The ornately appointed building it occupies, however, is another matter. It’s provenance goes back a hundred years, still young by British standards, when it opened as, of all things, a car showroom. But the cars weren’t selling very well in 1926 and company went bankrupt. So a bank moved in, Barclay’s, to be precise, and occupied it until the turn of the century.

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ava ext

It’s certainly the most atmospheric restaurant around.

Ava MediterrAegean, the new Park Avenue restaurant from Miami’s Mila Group, didn’t just take over the Luma On Park space, it transformed it. The design, by Olya Volkova of OV & Co., features massive archways of sunwashed Venetian plaster, geometric wall sculptures, wood slats over the still-open kitchen, and upholstered furniture and table lamps that invoke a homey feeling.

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Chicken Guy breakfast sandwich

Mediterranean Blue, the little Greek cafe in the SoDo district that opened almost exactly 12 years ago, will close on Friday, May 27. Owner Bob Givoglu posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “After sustaining Mediterranean Blue with a small, dedicated team (even through a global pandemic), and winning multiple awards from our Orlando foodie community, I have made the difficult decision to bid farewell to Mediterranean Blue!” Givoglu opened the restaurant with his sister Gail, who died in 2015. The restaurant took over the space that had been home to Theo’s Kitchen since the beginning of time when Theo’s moved to a new location on Curry Ford Road. The Givoglus spruced the place up nicely and offered good food based on their mother’s recipes. Givoglu said in the Facebook post that an announcement regarding the small building’s next chapter would be made soon.

Chicken Guy!, the fast feeder project of Orlando’s Robert Earl and the world’s Guy Fieri, is now offering breakfast at its new location in Winter Park on Orlando Avenue’s unofficially named Chicken Strip. Menu items include a sweet and savory Maple Butter Pancake Tender Sandwich; Chicken, Egg & Cheese; Bacon, Egg & Cheese; and Sausage, Egg & Cheese. Breakfast items are available 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.

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DanielDaniel restaurant, New York

A few years ago while I was dining at Paul Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or outside Lyon, a couple walked through the dining room wearing shorts. They had just changed out of the long pants they had dined in, so at least the (then) three-starred restaurant’s staff had required them to change. But the gentleman had not worn a jacket during the meal, something that would have been unheard of in the past (and maybe had something to do with Michelin dropping a star from the restaurant’s most recent rating).

At Daniel in New York last December, the people in the group I was hosting with Art In Voyage had all dressed appropriately, the gentlemen not only wearing the required jackets but ties, to boot (and no boots). But at another table, a group of twenty-somethings sat wearing felt crowns (think Jughead from the Archie comics) that would have looked just right at a Burger King but not in one of Manhattan’s toniest dining rooms. When I passed the host stand on the way to the men’s room, I asked the maitre d’, “What’s up with the crowns?” I thought maybe he hadn’t noticed, but he just shrugged and said they were just being festive. I told him I thought it was odd.

It was also disruptive and changed the dynamic of the dining room.