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Unreserved door

I was invited recently to dine at Unreserved Food Bazaar at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek and I have to say it wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be.

I knew that it featured multiple food stations in a marketplace atmosphere, so I was thinking it was going to be like a typical food court where diners go up to a food counter, order and pay and then have a seat to wait for the food to be delivers.

Nope, not that at all.

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Cowscabs21 Rivers2Organizer John Rivers served alongside Norman Van Aken at the 2021 Cows 'N Cabs.

Cows ’N Cabs, the largest food and wine event not held in a theme park or hotel resort, will celebrate its 10th year edition on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in Winter Park’s West Meadow adjacent to Central Park.

The event was founded by John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse as a fundraiser. This year’s CNC will benefit After-School All-Stars, Winter Park Day Nursery, and 4 Roots, the foundation that grew, if you will, out of the 4 Rivers chain’s success.

This year’s version is expected to showcase more than 30 restaurants and 75 drink vendors. Despite the name, there is much more to consume than cow and a lot more to imbibe than cabernet. More than 3000 people are expected to attend, which historically sells out well before the date. Among the things that make the fundraiser so popular is its outdoor under-a-tent venue (that spills out into the open), the casual cowboy/cowgirl dress code, the boot-stompin’ entertainment, and the fact that you don’t have to drive to the attractions area to attend.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, Sept. 1. How much, you ask? For some reason the cost is being kept secret until the reservation link opens up on Thursday. So click this link then and the ticket price will be magically revealed.

Among the restaurants expected to participate are: Soco Thornton Park, Luke’s, Capa at the Four Seasons, Pizza Bruno, Ravenous Pig, Black Rooster, 1921, and 4 Rivers Barbecue.

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Bovine ext

BoVine is just the sort of restaurant I look for when Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining comes around. It’s an upscale, fine dining restaurant where many of the a la carte menu items are already in the $40 range, so you know you’re going to get a terrific deal with three courses for that price. For many people, this is a great opportunity to try a really good restaurant.

In my original review of BoVine, I mentioned how much I liked the Applewood Smoked Bacon Slab, similar to a popular appetizer at famed Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. It’s one of the starter choices on the Park Avenue restaurant’s Magical Dining menu and I recommend it heartily. Bovine’s Caesar Salad is another good choice.

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Second Harvest Warehouse

September, which is just moments away, is Hunger Action Month and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is hosting two tours of its facility to show the public just how it manages to provide enough food for 250,000 meals every day. That’s right, a quarter of a millions meals every single day in our community.

There will be two tours in September at the facility at 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando – Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sept. 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. Food will be served (lunch on the 14th and a snack box on the 21st) and cost is free, but reservations are mandatory. Reservation deadline is one week before each date. Click here to nab your spot.

If you haven’t been, you should go. It’s an impressive facility, and the organization does tremendous work. A quarter of a million meals each day is mind boggling, and in today’s economy, the need won’t let up anytime soon.

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Rocca della macie wine

Francesco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Maitland is hosting a winemaker’s dinner in September with an actual winemaker in attendance.

Sergio Zingarelli of Tuscany’s Rocca delle Macie winery will be at the Sept. 21 dinner to talk about the wines and the history of the estate. And I’m sure he’ll have stories to tell. He is the son of the late Italo Zingarelli, an Italian film producer known for his “spaghetti westerns.” Italo bought the winery, located in the Chianti Classico region, in 1973.

There is no spaghetti on Francesco Aiello’s five-course menu but there will be some of the great food he’s known for. And each course will be paired with on of Rocca delle Macie’s wines. See the menu and pairings below.

The dinner, Wed., Sept. 21, will begin at 7 p.m. Cost is $100 per person and reservations may be made by calling the restaurant at 407-960-5533.

Francesco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria is at 400 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland. The wine dinner menu is below.