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:

Slate interior

When Slate first opened, in 2015, I wasn’t much of a fan. It wasn’t that I couldn’t recommend the Restaurant Row newcomer, I just didn’t see any reason to.

All of the components seemed promising. The restaurant was the project of Atlanta’s Concentrics Restaurants, with several people involved with opening Luma on Park, though everyone was careful to point out there was no ownership connection; a decor by the Johnson Studio (now the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry), which designed Prato (and more recently Luke’s Kitchen and Bar); and a charismatic and promising young chef, Dominic Rice, a Florida native who once worked at Luma on Park before adding some impressive New York restaurants to his resume and returning to Central Florida.

(Rice came back to the area to be the chef at Boca on Winter Park’s Park Avenue but left before that restaurant opened; Slate hired him right away.)

OCB logoThe space that was recently vacated by Cafe Annie, the longtime purveyor of downtown's best falafel sandwich, will become the home of Orange County Brewers. In addition to brewing a variety of ales, lagers and stouts, OCB will offer food via a  kitchen called Orlando Pizza & Wing Co. There will also be a full liquor bar.

Amanda Roberts will serve as OCB's brauen herrin. Her husband, Jeremy Roberts, and Travis Barr, both of  of TDBARR Construction, are the owners. They are designing the space, which will feature exposed brick and dark woods, group seating at long communal tables, and patios in the front and back.

They are aiming for a May opening.

Omelet Bar exterior

I’m sitting at Omelet Bar, a new restaurant across from the main UCF campus that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Or as its tagline says, “Breakfast. Munch. Lunch.” Those of you who associate the urge to munch with late night will be disappointed to know that OB is open only until 2:30 p.m. every day, so you’ll have to satisfy the munchie urge elsewhere.

And it’s not like the name implies other than morning meals, but the menu does feature more than carefully coagulated eggs. Once the lunch hour rolls around there’s an array of burgers, sandwiches and wraps from which to choose. And the early closing hour also doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink — everything from mimosas to bloodies to whiskey sours are yours for the sipping. (College proximity drives demand.)

An early morning appointment brought me to the east side of town, so I decided to stop in for breakfast.

Millenia106 exterior

Suite 106 may have finally found the sweet spot.

I’m referring to the business address in the strip of buildings at 4104 Millenia Blvd., at the corner of Conroy Road in front of the Mall at Millenia.

This same address has been home to short-lived concepts, such as Pasha, an unpassionate Mediterranean restaurant, and Figueira, a “Brazilian Grille & Pizza Bar” where the food was sold by weight (what could go wrong?).

Millenia106 dining area and kitchen

Now it’s Millenia 106, and while the name is ill-advised and uncreative (a misspelled common word and the mail slot number?), the restaurant itself is a pleasant surprise, an inviting and casually upscale decor with food to match.