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TURKEY

Well, Thanksgiving is just creeping up on us, just like it’s some subtropical storm or something. It’s expected to make landfall next week, most likely on Thursday.

If you want to ensure there’s less cleanup to do than for Hurricane Nicole, consider having your Thanksgiving dinner at one of the many local restaurants that will be offering special menus on Nov. 24.

Check out our continuously updated Holiday Listings pages to find a meal that best suits you and your fellow feasters. You’ll want to pay especial attention to favorites like Tap Room at Dubsdread, Hemisphere and McCoy’s, as well as relative newcomers Four Flamingos, Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill, UnReserved Food Bazaar and Wine 4 Oysters.

Wherever you decide to go, be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible, and if your plans change, let the restaurant know so your space can be given to someone on the waiting list. And keep in mind that reservationism is not an exact science and that on holiday dining days you may have to wait even when you have a designated time slot.

And please be kind. Remember that the restaurant staff is working on the holiday instead of spending it at home, hunkered down.

Click here to see the full list and check back often – new restaurants are added as the information comes in.

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SwanDolphin22 skyview

Tropical Storm/Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Subtropical Storm Nicole has quite conveniently left the area just in time for the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, which begins this evening, Friday, Nov. 11, and continues Saturday evening. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend.

As in years past, the event will take place along the waterfront concourses and the causeway that connects the two hotels. However, this year there is an added event Saturday, a VIP Champagne and Dessert Tasting, that will take place on the 15th floor of the new Swan Reserve, which is where the photo at top was taken.

It’s a great view and will be perfect for watching the Epcot fireworks that will take place as the tasting ends.

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PDsoul ext

I would have been upset that I got practically nothing of what I ordered from P&D Soulfood Kitchen if what I ended up with hadn’t been so darn good.

P&D is mainly a takeout restaurant in the Village Square complex on Goldwyn Avenue in Orlando. The building doesn’t look like it would be home to a restaurant – it’s more office-like – and P&D occupies a small space inside a door accessed down a hallway on the first level. Finding it was considerably easier than finding a website and way to order online.

In fact, it doesn’t seem that P&D has a website, and an order portal could only be accessed via a Google search. There you can find a menu and place an order for delivery or pickup through a third-party. (Even if you plan to pick up your order, as I did, you have to go through DoorDash, UberEats or one of the others.)

But I found my way to the online form, made my selections, including side dishes, and clicked the button to complete the order. About two minutes later I received a call from the restaurant telling me nearly everything I had ordered – including the side dishes – was not available. That sort of thing happens when dining at a restaurant, too, but it’s easier to open up the menu again and choose something else. Not so easy when you’ve already shut your computer down.

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Storm Map

Last updated at 10:38 a.m. Thurs. 11/10/22

Tropical Storm Nicole is forcast to reach hurricane strength when it hits the coast of Florida this evening, then drop back to a tropical storm as it crosses the state and heads to Central Florida. It's likely to bring strong winds and heavy rains, which will affect the operation of many businesses, including restaurants.

Here are the current storm plans for some of Central Florida’s restaurants. This list will be updated throughout the day.

Tap Room at Dubsdread: From owner Steve Gunter Thurs. morning: "We will be open Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. with limited menu."

Tornatore’s Ristorante & Market: According to owner Denny Tornatore: “We are staying open regular hours and will be doing deliveries during the storm to help people that cannot go out.”

Hemisphere: Closed Wednesday and Thursday.

McCoy’s: Open as normal.

JW Marriott Bonnet Creek (Sear+Sea, Illume, UnReserved): All open as usual with only outdoor dining suspended.

Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen: “Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress and Four Flamingos will remain open and fully operational.”

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe: Open Wednesday with last reservation at 8 p.m. Thursday open as usual.

Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria: Open Wed.; for takeout on Thursday.

Wine 4 Oysters: Open 4 to 9 p.m. Wed. and Thurs.

Francesco's: From owner Francesco Aiello:  "I will be open today regular hours Wed., closed Thursday and reopen Friday regular hours. I  have family items available for takeout.

Tell customer to call in please 407-960-5533, grazie."

Stefano's Trattoria: Reopens Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Shakers Cafe: Shakers will close on Thursday and reopen Friday.

Big Fin Seafood: Closing Wed. at 7:30 p.m.; open regular hours Thursday.

Soco Thornton Park: May close early Wed.; phone ahead. Closed Thursday.

Se7en Bites: Closed Thursday if storm continues on current track. Reopening Friday.

Pizzeria Valdiano (all 3 locations): Reopening Thursday at noon.

Hangry Bison (both locations): Open Thursday at noon.

Disney Springs Restaurants: All restaurants will close at 7 p.m. Wed. and likely remain closed through Thursday morning, possibly reopening later in the day.

Aurora at the Celeste: From chef Mike Trudnak: "Aurora @ The Celeste Hotel, open with business as usual 7am until 10pm offering full service. We are more reliable than the post man. Running our new Fall/winter menu."

Nauti Lobstah: Open at 3 p.m. Thursday.

 

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Kudos to Quantum Leap Winery on its 10th anniversary.

Owners Jill Ramsier and David Forrester managed to do what no other Florida based winery had done before or since: produce wines worth drinking. They key to QL’s success is that it doesn’t use Florida-grown grapes to make its wines but rather imports grape juice, shipped in large vats, from small producers around the world. Once its at the Mills 50 facility, it’s blended, stored in tanks and barrels, aged and bottled or transferred to kegs, pouches or boxes. (Quantum Leap was one of the first to pioneer wines-on-tap in the Orlando area.)

Why doesn’t it use Florida grapes? Due to something called Pierce’s Disease, most of the grapes that can be grown here disease-free tend to be overly sweet varietals. Sweet grapes, sweet wine.