It takes a lot to run a website the size of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide — a lot of time, a lot of eating and, frankly, a lot of funds. From web hosting to site maintenance to restaurant meals, the bills show up and everyone expects to be paid. And it's my pleasure to pay them. That I'm able to do so is thanks in large part to the advertisers you see displayed throughout the site.

If you've read the "About Advertisers" statement, you know that not just anyone can advertise on this site; potential advertisers must meet certain standards of quality. I insist on that in order to maintain credibility. I couldn't in good conscience accept advertising dollars from a business that I did not feel is worthy of your dining dollars. And if you don't believe that I enforce that policy, I would invite you to ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about it. Nicole is the exclusive advertising representative for and she can verify that not only must she get the OK from me to discuss advertising on my site with new or existing restaurants but also that I have said no to a number of potential advertisers.

So where am I going with all of this?

Divas chicken soup

You could open a can, but nothing says "I love you" more eloquently than a fragrant bowl of homemade chicken soup. And with convenient off-the-shelf stocks and broths in your local grocery,

it's easy to nurture your sweeties with a soul-infused bowl of goodness.
For a quickie, no-hassle version of this soup, use a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Remove and discard the skin and fat and toss it right into the broth (the bones will add homemade flavor to canned broth).

Breathe in the love, banish a nasty cold, open hearts and sinuses.

This won't be news to anyone, but what you pay for an item of food at a restaurant, say a plate of eggs, is not the same as you would pay to buy the ingredients at the grocery store. It's usually more (that also won't suprise). The food is marked up to take into consideration the labor involved in the preparation, the energy used, the rent on the building, the cleanup. Plus, restaurants are in the business to make a profit (that part might be news to some restaurateurs) so a certain part of the percentage added on is meant to go to the bank.

But not everything is marked up the same way. Some food items -- those eggs, for example -- may cost you a lot more, statistically speaking, than a fine foie gras. This article from WiseBread lists some common food items that you may be paying to much for if you order them in a restaurant.

Napa dining room

New year, new name.

You'll recall that when the the Peabody left Orlando, it took the Capriccio Grill Italian Steakhouse with it, leaving the new owners, Hyatt Regency Orlando, to rebrand that restaurant as Fiorenzo's. Now it seems  they've come back for Napa.

The rights to use that name for the California themed restaurant expired at the end of 2014. As of January 1, that space is now Urban Tide, a seafood centric restaurant. The name change is effective immediately, but the new menu will be rolled out over the next few weeks.

Even if they hadn't lost the rights to use the name, the Hyatt Regency folks were smart to change it. It was a lousy name for a restaurant that prided itself in using local Florida produce. And it tacitly gave argument to those who would say you can find better food in California than in Florida. We know that isn't true, especially when it comes to our bounty of seafood.

I'm looking forward to trying the new menu, and I'm happy to see the Urban Tide come in.

We packed a lot into 2014. Time to take a look back on all that happened in the Central Florida culinary community.

Notable newcomers

ScratchKappo prepKappo, the cubby hole sushi bar at East End Market, the charming small-plate place on Fairbanks Avenue; The Strand, a homey diner on Mills Avenue; Brown's New York Deli, bring on the half-sour pickles; Artisan's Table, Scott Copeland's three mealer in downtown Orlando; Soco, the Thornton Park HUE replacement with Greg Richie's Southern contemporary menu (the restaurant's parent company is an SJC consulting client); South + York, finally a nice restaurant for the Oviedo/Winter Springs crowd; Highball & Harvest, another Southern style eatery, this one at the Ritz-Carlton; Txokos Basque Kitchen, Henry and Michele Salgado's much anticipated East End Market restaurant; Bistro CloClo, authentic French cuisine in the Restaurant Row area; Hamilton's Kitchen, technically not a newcomer, but new chef Marc Kusche made it feel like it was; Kappo, creative sushi in a cramped corner of East End Market; Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa, fun little Mills 50 'cuerie; Royal Indian, good food for the Casselberry crowd; American Gymkhana, exciting fine Indian replacement for Raga on Restaurant Row; RusTeak College Park, second locale for the Ocoee favorite (I like this one better); Mamak Asian Street Food, tapas with an Asian flair; JJ's Grille, cute little assemblage concept on Curry Ford Road; American Q, cowboy culture meets the churrascaria; Mynt, another fine Indian concept in Winter Park's Hannibal Square; The Coop, John Rivers' homage to fried chicken.

Notable Trends
Southern cuisine (Soco, South + York, Highball & Harvest, The Coop) and Indian food as fine dining (American Gymkhana, Mynt, Royal Indian).

Burger Boom, or the Continuing Trend That Shows No Sign of Ending, saw these newcomers: