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HH Bar2

  • Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes is now offering a happy hour menu from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Called South of the Sawbuck, the HH at H&H will feature menu items from a buck fifty to a sawbuck. By the way, do you know how sawbuck came to be slang for a 10 dollar bill? It’s because the tenner had a Roman numeral X, which some people said resembled a sawhorse, also known as a sawbuck. We’re talking mid 19th century, so people had a lot of time on their hands.
  • Ryan Manning, founder of MX Taco, has a new project. Beginning in March he’ll start hosting a popup event called Stammtisch German Restaurant. It’ll feature tapas, or whatever the German equivalent is. Stammtisch is a German word for an informal, unstructured meeting, such as a friendly get together. I’ll be very disappointed if the menu doesn’t feature a Stammitsch Sammich.

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Petrakis portraitJames and Julie Petrakis

Drop into just about any restaurant on Valentine’s Day and you’ll find it filled with couples.

But in several Central Florida restaurants, you can find a couple any day of the year: They’re the married people who own and operate some of the area’s most popular restaurants.

What’s it like working every day with a spouse in such a demanding and fast-paced business? We asked some of them what they do to make it work. Here’s romantic advice from James and Julie Petrakis (Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder); Katerina and Vassilis Coumbaros (Taverna Opa, Tapa Toro); Joey Conicella and Alex Marin (Hungry Pants); Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka (Cress); and Trina Gregory-Propst and Va Propst (Se7en Bites, Sette).

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Streetwise exterior

I stopped in the other day at Streetwise Urban Food, a small quick-serve on Hoffner Avenue that, despite listing its opening date as April, 2019, seems as though it’s just moved in.

There’s a temporary sign hanging in front of the strip mall space, and inside a clear-glass Pepsi cooler had only one lone bottle in it. Perhaps they were anticipating a delivery following a run on soda?

Not sure. When I entered the space it was eerily quiet and there was no one out front. But a young woman soon appeared from the kitchen space and greeted me, asking me what she could get me. I explained that I had only just arrived and needed to consider the menu.

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Downtown foodwine screen

There’s just one week to go until the 12th annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest, which is a festival dedicated to food and wine that takes place downtown.

What else do you need to know?

OK, how about that it is at Lake Eola, on Robinson Street, on Sat., Feb. 22, from noon to 9 p.m. and Sun., Feb 23., from noon to 7 p.m. Besides food and wine, the festival features lots of live entertainment on a big stage.

Tickets are $15 each day or $25 for both – food and wine purchases are separate; more about that in a moment. There are also some VIP package tickets that you can learn about at the website.

And while we’re on the subject of tickets, I’ve got some to give away.

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American Social Cocktail

In this episode of On the House, bartender Ashley Hutagalung demonstrates how to make a Proper Pineapple, one of the signature cocktails at American Social. Watch the video, give it a try, then stop by AmSo and have a proper Proper Pineapple.

American Social is big on its happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with $4, $5 and $6 drink specials and and great deals on shareable plates.

American Social is at 7335 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando.