Italianhouse int

“This is why I don’t come here anymore.”

The woman was harrumphing herself out of her booth just as I was passing to sit in the one next to it. As near as I could tell, she was unhappy about something concerning her order and even unhappier about having to get up to find her server so she could complain to him.

This was at the generically named Italian House Pizza & Restaurant on South Crystal Lake Drive in the Curry Ford West District. I was tempted to point out to the woman that she apparently does still “come here,” but I let it go. Eventually, I, too, would learn that service here wasn’t exactly trained and professional. “I’m a really lousy waiter,” my server would say at one point in the meal. And I would also have to get up at one point to hunt him down.


Russells shakesThe team from Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe included from left owner Philippe Villain, chef/owner Emmanuel Clement and Josue Perez.

Shake It Up!, the Orlando Shakes gala held Sunday, Feb. 26, was a huge success thanks to the many restaurants that participated either serving food at the reception, as Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe, pictured above, and Tap Room at Dubsdread, or as a silent auction prize.

The silent auction items, including a wide range of restaurants presented as the Scott Joseph Collection, helped to raise a good amount of money for the evening. In fact, the silent auction made more than five times what it raised last year.

And congratulations to Ellen Prague for being the successful bidder to join me for dinner at Enzo’s on the Lake to help me write an updated review.


D21 Bar Area

Cafe Coqui, a Puerto Rican bakery, has opened in Avalon Park, has opened. It’s on the corner across from the Marketplace at Avalon Park and serves pastries, coffee and sandwiches.

Across the way, Roberto Treviño’s Chicharron Grill has also opened inside the Marketplace, serving such things as maduros, tostones and mofongo.

The two new business add a nice Puerto Rican vibe to AP, and with the 1 Cantina’s Mexican restaurant and the Peruvian Brazas Chicken, there are lots of Latin flavors available.


Shakes Logo

This week I’m showcasing the restaurants that are part of the silent auction for Shake It Up!, the gala for Orlando Shakes in partnership with UCF.

Bites & Bubbles, the Mills 50 restaurant and lounge, is offering a $100 gift certificate PLUS two tickets to one of their monthly wine dinners. You can bid on it online now or at the gala on Sunday. Tickets are available here. Shake It Up! is 5 p.m. Sunday at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park.

And if you missed my review of Bites & Bubbles, you can read it here.