El Inka ceviche

El Inka Grill, a Peruvian restaurant in Hunters Creek, has opened a second location in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips at Restaurant Row. It occupies the space that was Greek Flame Taverna.

El Inka’s specialty is ceviche, so my lunch companions and I started with an appetizer of Ceviche Mixto, which included octopus, squid, shrimp and fish marinated in citrus juices along with onions and garlic and a touch of heat from rocoto chilies. The octopus and squid were especially delicious, and I liked the forward lime notes and the hint of cilantro in the taste.


Jamba exterior

Today we welcome Jamba Juice to the flog. Everybody say “Hey, Jamba!”

Jamba Juice, as many of you already know, is a smoothie specialty restaurant. I have to admit that it’s a food sector with which I’m not all that familiar. Or at least I wasn’t until I spent some time with the folks who operate the Jamba Juice stores in Central Florida. It’s clear I’ve been missing out on some pretty tasty — and healthful — options.

Which is not to say that every smoothie operator in town is offering healthful foodstuffs. In fact, knowing that some jack up their shakes with sugars and additives is what prevented me from becoming a fan.

So what impressed me about the folks at Jamba Juice was their dedication to using “simple and honest” ingredients. That simple honesty is also an identifiable characteristic of the operation, from the clean, crisp, vibrant decor of the stores to the friendly, no BS folks who work there.


Stefano Cecchini Dinner

As anyone who has ever stepped foot in the elegant Grand Bohemian let alone dined in its stylish Boheme restaurant, the downtown hotel is all about fine art. The name The Kessler Collection is as much about the paintings, sketches and sculptures that decorate the rooms as it is the designation of the accommodations held in Florida and other states.

So when the folks at the Grand Boheme set out to fete a visiting artist, you know they’re going to go all out. On Friday, February 20, the GrandBo is welcoming wildlife artist Stefano Cecchini of Rimini, Italy, with a reception and dinner in the Boheme. The reception to meet the artist is at 7 p.m. with dinner following at 8:30. Cost of the dinner, with tax and tip included, is $121.41. Reservations may be secured by calling 407-581-4801.

Besides the unique opportunity to meet a renowned artist — Federico Fellini called on him to paint scenery for his film “Fred and Ginger” — you’ll get to experience the fine cuisine of chef Laurent Hollaender, as we did a couple of months ago with a meeting of Scott Joseph’s Supper Club. It was a special night; this one promises to be even more so.

Seating is strictly limited and may sell out at any time. Call immediately to guarantee your place at the table and your opportunity to meet a gifted artist.

Here's a look at the menu:

boheme menu



This sounds like a fun event from our friends at Tasty Chomps: A Ramen Rumble pitting three area chefs against each other, with proceeds going to a charity of the winning chef’s choice.

The chef combatants include Chau Trinh, Sushi Pop; Austin Boyd, Seito Sushi; and Greg Richie, Baoery Asian Gastropub. Each chef will prepare a version of ramen, the trendy Japanese broth and noodle dish that has risen above its reputation as a grad student staple, for attendees to sample. Winner will be determined by judge vote with another award from guests' votes. Charities include Kevin Fonzo Foundation (Seito), Best Buddies (Sushi Pop), and United Against Poverty (Baoery).

The Rumble will take place on Monday, March 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Osprey Tavern in Baldwin Park. Tickets are $30 per person and include admission, one tasting bowl from each chef, a draft beer, and desserts. Visit ramenrumble.bpt.me to purchase tickets.

The event is sponsored by Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps and Jason and Sue Chin, owners of Osprey Tavern and Seito Sushi.


Buca lasagna

This will either thrill you or scare the hell out of you: It's a heart-shaped lasagna from the folks at Orlando-based Buca di Beppo. I think it's all a little tongue in cheek, but if you're not able to get a reservation this weekend at your Valentine's favorite romantic restaurant, you'd better get cooking. Looking for Valentine's Weekend specials? Look here. And here's a list of restaurants we've noted as having romantic atmospheres. Enjoy.