Food Truck Bazaar

Mark Baratelli, the original impresario of Orlando's food truck scene, has announced that he is discontinuing the monthly Food Truck Bazaar at Fashion Square Mall. The second-Sunday event was the first regularly scheduled food truck cavalcade in Central Florida. According to a statement from Baratelli, the gathering has been at Fashion Square nearly every month since its inception in May of 2011. Those early days often saw 15 to 25 trucks and served thousands of truck food fans. (At top, the line for the Korean BBQ Taco Box at the first Fashion Square Food Truck Bazaar.)

"To say the attendance dropped in the past 12 months is an understatement," Baratelli said in the statement.

Maria and Enzos balcony still

Grand is a word that might come to mind when you enter Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, one of a few new dining venues that opened recently at Disney Springs.

Although guests enter the building from street level (or walkway level, as the case may be), they walk past the host stand to discover themselves standing on a mezzanine overlooking the vast dining room below, accessed by a sweeping staircase. The far wall is comprised of two-story floor to ceiling windows with a commanding view of the lagoon outside. It reminds me a little of the opulence of La Coquina, the late lamented fine dining venue at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, but on a larger scale. It's among the most impressive dining venues in Central Florida.

Brad Meltzer credit Michelle Watson Catchlight Group SMALL copyNew York Times bestselling author and History Channel star Brad Meltzer will headline the 11th annual “Reading between the Wines” Adult Literacy League (ALL) fundraiser April 25, 2018, from 6-9 p.m. The event at Orlando Science Center is presented by Bank of America.

Attendees may sample food and wine offerings from top Central Florida restaurants, including: 1921 by Norman Van Aken; Swine & Sons Provisions; 4Rivers Smokehouse; Olde Hearth Bread Co.; Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant; Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen; Urban Tide at Hyatt Regency Orlando; and The Palm Restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel. It's a walkabout event and here will be several wine stations to walkabout up to.

Taste at I drive

  • April 14 presents a tough choice for foodies, or at least for foodies with means. That's the date for Chef's Gala, Beard in Baldwin and Cattle Baron's Ball. Chef's Gala, at Epcot, benefits Heart of Florida United Way; Beard in Baldwin (as in Baldwin Park) raises funds for the James Beard Foundation's National Scholars Program; and Cattle Baron's Ball, at Rosen Shingle Creek, benefits the American Cancer Society. You could, I suppose, support all three -- it would set you back $685 ($325, $110, and $250 respectively). Plus of course the Uber or taxi to take you from Baldwin Park to Epcot with a stop off at Shingle Creek.

It's up to you. But seriously, event planners: don't you consult an event calendar before choosing your dates?

  • Brooklyn Coffee Shop, which replaced Restaurant Ash, which replaced Funky Monkey Cafe, will become Bites & Bubbles. Original Funky Monkey owners will redo the place and offer Champagne and caviar, among other things.