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SeaWorld Orlando’s annual Seven Seas Food Festival kicks off this weekend and continues Thursdays through Sundays until May 7. That’s enough time for you to sample all seven seas.

SeaWorld’s promoters are billing the event as “Orlando’s largest theme park food festival,” an apparent smackdown to Epcot and its yearlong rotation of festivals de food. The official press release also claims that the festival is “bringing ALL-NEW flavors to the theme park,” citing such wild and imaginative items as parmesan truffle fries; ropa vieja; classic Reuben; and strawberry shortcake a la mode. Maybe they mean these things have never been served inside SeaWorld. I’m also curious: Which of the seven seas does strawberry shortcake represent?

Anyway, the festival will feature over 200 food and drink items served at 27 marketplaces throughout the theme park. Food samples are available with the purchase of a lanyard – $70 for 10 tastes. A 15-sample lanyard is also available for purchase “for the best savings,” but the press release doesn’t say what the cost is. SeaWorld annual passholders can get 18 samples for the cost of 15, whatever that is. For more information visit the SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food festival website.


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When Mikael Audebert founded Art In Voyage, in 2011, he meant for it to be a conventional travel agency – putting together vacations, booking flights and securing hotels – albeit an agency that specialized in upscale experiences and luxury properties.

AIV still does that, and business has been so good that the company now has headquarters in Orlando and Cape Town, South Africa, which Audebert calls home base.

But over the last several years, Art In Voyage has expanded to feature curated journeys that focus on food and wine as major components of the destination.

“Everybody loves to eat and everybody loves to discover what other people eat.” said Audebert. “No matter what theme journey we do there’s always a way to bring a culinary element to it.”


MosoHenry Moso is a semifinalist for Best Chef: South in the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards. Photo via Kabooki Sushi

The James Beard Foundation has announced the semi-finalists for its 2023 restaurant and chef awards. In what has become a near annual equivalent of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, some Central Floridians are on the list.

Brothers Johnny and Jimmy Tung, who built the Bento empire, are on the long list for Outstanding Restaurateur, a national category. They are up against 19 other semifinalists, including Mohamed Ali Alkassar and Niven Patel of Alpareno Restaurant Group (Ghee Indian Kitchen, Orno, and Mamey) in Miami. Besides the Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi restaurants, the Tungs also have Doshi and Camille, the latter a popup restaurant that will move to a permanent location this year.

Henry Moso, chef/owner of Orlando’s Kabooki Sushi, has again been nominated in the Best Chef category for the South region. Although in years past the semifinalist list often included multiple chefs from Central Florida among the 20 names, Moso is the sole nominee from the area. There are other Florida chef nominees, but most are from South Florida. You can see the list of all semifinalists in each category here.


BitesBubbles inside dining room

It occurs to me that Bites & Bubbles, the Mills 50 restaurant from longtime local restaurateurs Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri, is somewhat misnamed.

Not the Bubbles part. There is a a very nice list that does indeed include sparkling wines as well as good selections of still wines, both by the glass and by the bottle, and craft cocktails, too.

But Bites? That conjures images of nibbles and noshes or tapas-sized tidbits. That doesn’t describe the portions here, which, based on my multiple visits, have been ample and filling. And high quality, too.

Maybe Big Bites & Bubbles?


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Tornatore’s, the popular College Park Italian restaurant and pizzeria, is trying something different with a sort of later-in-the-evening happy hour concept. While many restaurants will offer special pricing earlier, say, 6 to 7 p.m., Tornatore’s is doing it from 8 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They’re offering BOGO deals on pizzas for takeout or delivery, and BOGO on wines for people dining in. Also, they’re promising special secret menu items. What might those be? I don’t know, it’s a secret.

  • You know BOGO means buy one get one, right?
  • When the 2023 South Beach Wine & Food Festival kicks off next month, Central Florida will be represented by Alexia and Rhys Gawlak, owners of Swine & Sons. They’ll be participating in an event called Chicken Coupe, hosted by Michelle Bernstein in Miami’s Design District, Sat. Feb 25. And on Sunday, Ryan Whaley of the pop-up bakery Parlor Kitchen will be part of the Grand Tasting Village.