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Mynttogo ext

I always gravitate to the same dishes when I order from an Indian restaurant. Part of it is the comfort of familiarity and knowing that it’s something I’ll probably enjoy. It’s also partly to have a benchmark that allows for comparisons.

But when I ordered recently from Mynt Fine Indian Cuisine in Winter Park, I decided to focus on dishes I haven’t had before.

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Tap Room note

  • Despite Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing Friday: “Everybody in the pool, the water’s fine” (I’m paraphrasing), most restaurateurs are preferring to dip a toe first before diving into the deep end of questionably murky water. (I believe I’ve sufficiently overused that analogy.)

The Tap Room at Dubsdread posted a note to its guests on its Facebook page Friday that read, “Even though restaurants have been given the green light to go back to 100% capacity, we have decided out of an abundance of caution and respect for our guests’ safety to continue with fewer tables inside while utilizing our adjacent banquet room for extra social distancing seating.”

Greg Allowe of Delaney’s Tavern said his SoDo restaurant would start lifting the restrictions in phases of the next week and evaluate. “We respect what the governor is doing but we want to make sure our guests and staff are safe,” he wrote in a text message.

Denny Tornatore, owner of Tornatore’s Pizzeria & Cafe, also said his College Park restaurant would “ease into it.” “As much as we could use the money we don’t feel safe enough jumping back in.”

Comments to Friday’s article announcing the lifting of restrictions supported both sides of the issue. Some people said they were glad to see everything open back up, while others said they would be less likely to go to a restaurant that was operating at 100 percent of its prepandemic capacity.

I’d like to say the commenters all got along, ahem, swimmingly, but there were some rancorous exchanges.

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DeSantis presser

Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Friday announced an immediate implementation of phase three, the final step of the state’s reopening plan.

As part of that plan, restaurants and bars may now operate at full, pre-pandemic occupancy levels. In addition, DeSantis declared that cities or counties would be prohibited from superseding the state’s directive to establish their own lower-capacity mandates. He also said he would hold in abeyance any fines that local municipalities had levied for pandemic-related violations, including mask requirements.

Speaking in St. Petersburg, the governor acknowledged that the pandemic was not over and that increased case levels were still possible. But he rejected any notion that the state would shut down again should a surge occur.

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Masonjar ext

When I first moved to Orlando, in 1988, and was still becoming familiar with the dining scene, I often found myself in conversations with locals about favorite restaurants. And one name that kept coming up as a favorite special occasion restaurant was the Mason Jar.

I couldn’t imagine how a place named Mason Jar could be a fine dining restaurant. And it would be some time before I realized that Mason Jar was a tongue-in-cheek reference for a restaurant whose real name was Maison et Jardin. (It’s possible that people just didn’t know how to pronounce it correctly and anglicized it, much in the same way that l’Enfant Castille in London came to be known, officially, as Elephant & Castle.)

Now there is a restaurant in Orlando whose actual name is Mason Jar, Mason Jar Provisions, to be precise, and no one will be referring to is as Maison et Jardin.

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MagDin20

Citing a “notable positive impact benefitting local restaurants,” Visit Orlando announced Wednesday that it is extending its Magical Dining promotion through the end of October.

The program had been scheduled to end on Oct. 4. With the extension, Magical Dining will have the longest run of its 15 year history. When it began, the promotion ran only during September, and in fact was originally called Magical Dining Month. The event was devised by Visit Orlando as a way to boost restaurant business during a traditional lull.

But restaurants have been experiencing an extended lull because of the pandemic. Many customers are still anxious about going out to eat, and restaurants are restricted to allowing only 50 percent of inside dining capacity.