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Doggie Dining

At first glance, it would appear that Orlando state representative Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, has proposed a law that is already on the books.

His proposed bill, HB243, would prohibit household pets from traveling through a restaurant to get to an outdoor dining area.

Except I thought that is already the law.

Florida was one of the first states to enact legislation on dogs at restaurants when then governor Jeb Bush in 2006 signed the “doggie dining bill.” It had been sponsored by Rep. Sheri McInvale, R-Orlando, and was signed at a ceremony on the patio of Sam Snead’s in downtown Orlando (now 310 Lakeside). Ironically, Sam Snead’s did not have a permit to allow dogs on its patio at the time of the signing because the city of Orlando had not yet enacted its own ordinance. So, that was awkward.

I wrote about the issue in my aptly named Chow Hound column in the Oct. 6 issue of the Orlando Sentinel’s Calendar section, which featured dogs sitting on chairs at a table on a restaurant’s patio, which was also a no-no from the get-go. Here’s an excerpt of that column:

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Redlight beer

I had visited the original Redlight Redlight when it was on Bennett Road in the compact building that became the original home of the Smiling Bison and currently houses Blue Jacket Grille. (Redlight's original location was in Winter Park's Hannibal Square – before it was known as Hanibal Square – above what is now Mynt Indian restaurant. Thanks to the readers who reminded me.)

But for some reason I hadn’t visited the popular beer seller since it moved to its current location on Corrine Drive more than half a dozen years ago. Driving by with a friend on a recent Friday night, I decided it was time I stopped in.

The first thing that impressed me was the size of the place. It’s immense, so much more expansive that any of its surrounding neighbors, including Sushi Lola’s, P is for Pie and Junior’s Diner. Redlight squared occupies a former Carrier Air Conditioning sales and service facility, with double volume ceilings. Large velvet curtains in the back space give it a theatrical look, though you feel more like you’re backstage than out front.

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Big Fin exterior

  • Big Fin Seafood Kitchen recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by signing another 10-year lease at Dellagio, the Restaurant Row dining and retail complex. Congratulations to one of our favorite seafooders.
  • Orange County Brewers has opened in Seminole County. You’ll recall the beermaker left its original location in downtown Orlando this summer for a larger facility in Lake Mary. You can find them at Park Lane Plaza on International Parkway.
  • Motorworks Brewing will open in Orange County Brewers’ former spot in downtown Orlando.
  • Ocean Brewing has closed after a three-year run on Curry Ford Road.

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Taste19 raglan

The 30th edition of Taste! Central Florida, which took place last month at the Orlando World Center Marriott, raised $277,154 for its two beneficiaries, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The monies were raised through ticket sales and silent auction bids. Because most services, including the facility, were dontated, all of the proceeds will stay in the area to support childhood feeding programs.

The annual event, which had previously been known as Taste of the Nation, was held Sept. 14 in a sprawling ballroom of the attractions-area hotel. The main focus of the event is the collection of restaurants and local chefs who cook and serve their signature dishes to the roving guests.

Here are some of the highlights:

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Mexcam exterior

The young woman behind the counter at the Mexican Camel, responding to my question regarding how the concept works, said, “We’re sort of like Chipotle.”

Just as a matter of brand recognition, it may not be advisable to suggest you’re copying another restaurant. And if you do, maybe choose one that hasn’t been plagued in recent years with foodborne illnesses.

What she was trying to convey is that the Mexican Camel is yet another assemblage concept wherein diners choose the ingredients to be piled into a conveyance and thus take all responsibility if the melange sucks.

But Mex-Cam has its own unique spin to promote, and that’s that it combines Mexican and Mediterranean flavors in one dining excursion, making it possible to screw up your choices with two separate cuisines.