Fusionfest togo

If Thanksgiving is this week and [checks calendar] yep, there it is, on Thursday (weird, pretty sure it was on Thursday last year, too), that means that FusionFest is this weekend.

FusionFest, the multicultural celebration, is in its fifth year and will once again take over Orlando’s Front Yard, the plaza between city hall and the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. It will feature musical performances, dancing, cultural heritage displays and, most notable for our purposes here, an international food court of restaurants and food trucks representing a variety of cuisines.

The event is on Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 27, from noon to 6 p.m. It’s free to attend, with food and beverages available for purchase.

FusionFest is a project of the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs office, which also sponsors the monthly Diversitastic! Dining Experiences throughout the year.

Find out more at the FusionFest website.


Credo Logo

Downtown Credo, the name-your-price coffee shop with locations in Health Village and North Quarter, will take over the cafe space in the Downtown YMCA that was long held by Tropical Smoothie.

Tropical Smoothie always seemed to do a good business with Y members – and even people who would stop in just to visit – selling not only smoothies but sandwiches and other foods. A lot of members would stop in after a workout to get something to eat.

Downtown Credo isn’t known for its food. It serves pastries, which isn’t exactly a post-workout meal. Perhaps this will be the first one to venture into more prepared foods? No one at DC or Y could be reached, but a whiteboard on an easel in front of the cafe space announced the new tenant would be offering Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, tea, pastries “and more.” We’ll just have to wait to see what the and more entails.

Publix is adding a feature called Publix Pours to select supermarkets. Essentially bars, the Pours will feature coffee, kombucha on tap, açai bowls, smoothies and beer and wine. Limited locations currently, including Ecco Plaza in SoDo; Clermont Town Center; and Publix at Halifax in Ormond Beach. And yes, you can stroll through the grocery aisles with your beer or wine if you like.

Publix, Where Getting Sloshed is a Pleasure.


Naan Stopp top

As an ardent aficionado of the art of restaurant naming, I appreciate the multi entendre’d Naan Stopp, the extraneous extra p notwithstanding.

It’s whimsical, pun-ish, and instantly communicates that this is an Indian restaurant. It could only be more appropriate if it were a 24-hour cafe. And while the name might convey whimsy, the food is seriously good.

Naan Stopp occupies the small space in the shops of Windermere Village that was originally home to Humbl, the plant-based fast food concept that didn’t quite, um, take root. The structure of the brightly lit room is the same, though it sports new wall coverings and art. The long counter that was part of the fast food concept is still there, even though NS is a full-service restaurant, with, not incidentally, a very attentive staff. And three televisions on the wall behind the counter that were once menu displays now show loops of Bollywood dance extravaganzas.


Chases storm damageChases on the Beach, via Facebook

Chases on the Beach, the New Smyrna Beach mainstay, sustained major damage in last week’s storm. Ironically, the bar and restaurant had closed at the end of October to undergo renovations. A post on its Facebook page said: “We are devastated as we look at the photos of what was once the deck. Since we still in the beginning of our remodel process, we will keep everyone updated on what the future looks like for Chases on the Beach.”

Though the name is unapostrophe’d, the restaurant at 3401 S. Atlantic Ave. is named for owner Chase Breiner. A hotel was previously on the site, and when I reviewed it in 1996 a manager told me that local laws restricted them to rebuilding only on the existing foundation. So it had various structures and shapes and included a swimming pool that was a focus of the beachfront deck. The food was good, though not destination worthy in itself. But paired with the location, the food got somewhat better. Especially after a few cold beers.

Speaking of renovations, Tornatore’s Ristorante in College Park has completed its redo. Also, owner Denny Tornatore has launched his new podcast, “Denny Tornatore Eats the World My Way.” New episodes drop every Tuesday morning so go to this link to find the latest.