Tamarind UCF interior

Tamarind, the very good Indian restaurant in Winter Park, has opened a location in the culinarily starved eastern part of town. It apparently is not a secret — when I arrived one afternoon for lunch it was packed with happy diners.

Unfortunately, lunchtime has come to be synonymous with all-you-can-eat buffets in Central Florida Indian restaurants. Of course, the buffets are wildly popular because they offer what appears on the surface to be a good value. You get a tremendous amount of food for a reasonably small price. However, there's an uncounted cost of ingesting too many calories, but my complaint falls if not on deaf ears then ears that are filled with their owners' chewing noises.


Flavors pounded yam

Let me say right off the bat that a visit to Flavors Nigerian restaurant isn't for the faint of heart. There's something about the place that doesn't feel quite right, as though it isn't finished or ready to be open to the public.

But let's face it, if you're faint of heart then you probably wouldn't step inside a Nigerian restaurant in the first place. So never mind the smudges on the glass in front of the steam table with the day's offerings or the way the covers on the trays don't quite seem to fit. Come on in and try something different.


Divas Kale SaladPhoto: The Walt Disney Company

Spring is one of Florida's beautifully subtle seasons, when we get a jump on our neighbors to the North with blueberries, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon. It's also time for one of the divas' favorite outings, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (through May 17), showcasing our state's fabulous farms and flora.

This year they've ramped up the food to include all sort of wonderful tastes at little Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon – what a perfect place to nosh and burn off calories.
One of this year's new dishes is this vegetarian, gluten-free kale salad, a bowl packed with protein and good-for-you crunch. You'll find it at the Urban Farm Eats kiosk, but it's also super-easy to make at home.


TJs Gumbo

Here's what you need to know about TJ's Seafood Shack: gumbo.

TJ's is a fast-casual restaurant (order at the counter, take a seat) on the east side of town, with locations in Oviedo and on East Colonial Drive, which is the one I visited. It's in a Publix-anchored strip mall and occupies a corner space, with shacked-out decor.


brass tap taps

I'm trying really hard to come up with a reason that people would choose to go to the Brass Tap, the beer-centric chain that recently opened at Mills Park with others planned to open soon.

It has 60 taps of craft beers, but other places in town have beer lists just as impressive. So what else would make someone want to come here more than once?