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Tyler Kineman

Tyler Kineman has been promoted to the position of chef de cuisine at the newly Michelin-starred Knife & Spoon at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. He replaces Gerald Sombright who recently left to accept the position of executive chef at The Club at the Dunes in Naples.

Kineman was previously banquet chef at the Ritz-Carlton and was was Knife & Spoon’s sous chef when the restaurant opened in 2020. The chef de cuisine serves under executive chef John Tesar, who is based in Dallas.

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Fredsters ext

I guess it really shouldn’t be too difficult to determine whether Fredster’s, a new venue in Maitland wants to be known as an entertainment spot that serves food or a restaurant with entertainment. It says right there in the logo under the name Fredster’s (in smaller letters), “featuring Adrian Mann’s Bar & Grill.”

You’d think that Mann would warrant higher billing. If truth were to be known, the small chain of restaurants (that also had entertainment) that were known as Dexter’s really probably should have been called Adrian’s. Mann was Dexter Richardson’s partner for many years and in the time that led to the recent breakup and selling of the brand it was Mann who was pretty much running things.

And I was a fan of Dexter’s and its food, which satisfied but didn’t overreach, didn’t try to be more than it needed to be. Unfortunately, the food at Fredster’s needs to be more than it is.

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Taco generic

The next category in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants is Best Tacos.

Below are the preliminary nominees. You may vote for up to three candidates. Those getting the most votes will advance to the finals.

You may also write in a candidate. But remember, Foodster Awards are only for Independent Restaurants, defined as those with three or fewer locations. (Sorry, Tin & Taco, you've graduated.) Chains are not eligible and any write-ins that do not qualify will be deleted.

Also, do not write in the name of a restaurant that already appears on the list. Duplicates will be deleted along with any additional votes they’ve received.

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, Sept. 12. Finalists will be announced Sept 15.

After voting, leave a comment telling us which restaurant you voted for and why. We may use your comments when the winners are announced.

Here are the nominees for Best Outdoor Dining 2022:

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Russells exterior

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently – not as much as “What’s your favorite restaurant?” but more than “How come you’re not fat” and “Really, you’re still writing reviews? I thought you were retired/dead.” – is “Is there anything new in town?”

And I’m surprised when I ask in return if they’ve been to Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe and they say they haven’t heard of it. It’s been open two years, now, so it’s high time you gave it a try. Visit Orlando’s Magical dining is a good excuse.

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pops ext

I've heard of ghost kitchens but in this case I'm the one who got ghosted.

Pop’s Pizzeria, which moved into the former Tako Cheena space when that restaurant moved to the former Forbidden City spot down the block, has a very nice online ordering system. I used it the other night to order a pizza for pickup, chose my pie and the size I wanted, then checked out, gave my credit card details and even added a tip even though I had had no human contact to that point.

I still haven’t. When I arrived at the time I requested to have the order ready, the Mills 50 restaurant was closed. Another couple who had also placed an order online were standing at the gated and locked back door, too, trying to call the restaurant. But no one answered and the voicemail was not accepting messages.

I’ve disputed my charge with American Express and I’m sure it will be resolved. I still don't know what's going on with Pop's but in the meantime, caveat orderer.

The most annoying thing about it all was that I was planning on pizza for dinner. Driving home I passed Eola Lounge and decided to stop in. I’ll have my review soon.