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Anejo ext

Añejo Cocina, a Florida chainlet with locations in Ponte Vedra, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Yulee, has opened in the space in the Ravaudage Plaza that most recently was occupied by the New Standard (né Dexter’s New Standard) and before that TR Fire Grill.

Añejo calls its food “modern Mexican,” which means it isn’t traditional Mexican. In many ways, it isn’t traditional Tex-Mex, either. And that’s just fine. The food I sampled – some familiar, some creatively different – was all good, and the surroundings were pleasant and the service amiable.

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sip and savor weeks logo copy

You can ease into Magical Dining this year with Sip & Savor, a promotion from Orlando’s Main Street Districts running Aug. 8 through 21. During that time, restaurants and bars within the 10 districts will offer food and drink specials. There are no set rules or even set menus such as you’ll find with MagDin, but you might find a special deal on a popular entree, such as Caramelized Cauliflower with Local Whipped Goat Cheese for $10 at The Chef & I (Ivanhoe District) or 25 percent off all taps at Pour House (Mills 50). You can see all the participating restaurants and drinking venues at the Sip & Savor website.

By the way, there’s a new district in town – West Lakes, which encompasses the area surrounding the Bowl formerly known as Citrus.

Popup quiz: Name all 10 Main Street Districts. (Answer after the last nugget.)

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Christners dining room

I try to get to Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster about once a year to, you know, just make sure it’s still one of the best places in town for high quality steaks. It is.

On my most recent visit I was also able to introduce Christner’s to some friends who are new to town. I was able to tell them about the history – now celebrating its 29th year – and about its staying power – there are few independently owned steakhouses of this caliber still in operation, not just here but nationally – most, including Del Frisco’s, which was the original name of Christner’s, are owned by large chains.

But Christner’s is still owned and operated by actual Christner’s, including including Carol, original operator Russ’s widow, her son David and his wife, Alice, and, most recently, her daughter Diana Johnston.

And there seems to always be a Christner on hand, as well as many staff members who have been with the restaurant for years. They all make sure the consistency remains the same, which is to say excellent.

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 Bacan wine dinner

If you haven’t yet had the chance to experience the very good (and Michelin recommended) cuisine at Bacán – and impressive art gallery and sculpture garden of the Lake Nona Wave Hotel – here’s your chance. The restaurant is hosting a five-course wine dinner with pairings by Chilean winemaker Ventisquero. The dinner is Aug. 2 and features a welcome reception at 5:30 p.m.. Tickets are $200 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations made by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 407-675-2000. (The menu is at the end of this article.)

The Community Paper’s Nick Georgoudiou reports that College Park restaurant PR’s Taco Palalce, which is not, and I can’t stress this enough, a real palace, is under new ownership and initiating changes. I’m not sure what they all are but a quick look at the website reveals that they now have clean restrooms. This is announced with an exclamation point, so it must be big news. Can’t wait to experience that (!).

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Magical Logo 22

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining, the popular annual restaurant promotion, returns this year, running from Aug. 26 through Oct. 3. During that time, participating restaurants will feature special three-course menus for a set price of $40.

Yep, even the cost of Magical Dining has gone up from last year’s $37; that’s an eight percent, so it’s roughly following inflation.

As in years past, Visit Orlando will donate one dollar from each Magical Dinner to a local charity (no inflational increase for them). This years beneficiary is The Able Trust, an organization helping to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In addition, Visit Orlando will donate $2,000 to one local nonprofit in each of Orange County’s six commission districts that also supports workforce development.