TurkeyThe list of restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving Day is big and still growing. There's something for every taste, with such restaurants as Bistro on Park, Tropicale at the Caribe Royale, Eddie V's, both Emeril's, and the traditional vegan option at Drunken Monkey.

Want to eat at home but don't want to cook? There are options for fully prepared meals from Cuisiniers Catering at East End Market, 310 Restaurants, and Maggiano's at Pointe Orlando.

This link takes you to the restaurants open in Orlando on Thanksgiving Day. I'll keep updating the list as I hear about more restaurants.


Wassabi Sushi

A lot of you young'uns won't remember that there was once a time when a Thai restaurant was a hard thing to find around these parts. One of the first was a restaurant called Bangkok, which occupied a pagodalike building in Altamonte Springs. It was a favorite of many people because they didn't have a larger survey of what Thai food should really be, so they didn't know that what Bangkok was serving was pretty mediocre. Once more Thai restaurants began to open in the area, people realized they didn't have to settle. Bangkok eventually closed.

The same thing happened with sushi bars and Japanese restaurants. Once hard to find, they are now quite common. And I mean common in more ways than one.

Now Wassabi Asian Fusion, featuring sushi and Japanese cuisine, has taken over the old Bangkok space, and unfortunately a bit of the mediocrity has apparently rubbed off on the new tenants.


Trotter Tribute

It was exactly a year ago — November 5, 2013 — that renowned chef Charlie Trotter died at the age of 54. So it seems fitting to choose today to tell you about a grand tribute that his friend Norman Van Aken is planning to benefit the organization that was founded in his name.

A Tribute to Charlie Trotter will be held at Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes on Saturday, December 13, from 7 until 10 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person plus tax and gratuity. Proceeds will benefit the Trotter Project, an organization formed to honor the late chef through programs, services and events that promote culinary and personal excellence.

The evening will feature culinary stations helmed by Van Aken and his Norman's staff as well as several of Central Florida's most celebrated chefs. In addition, sommeliers will offer wines to match the dishes being offered. You can expect this to be more than your usual cocktail-party-style nibbles; these chefs will be offering their best efforts to wow the crowd.

Among those participating are:


Tartini arugula

It had been a while since I'd first visited Tartini, the very good "Pizzeria & Spaghetteria" on South Orange Avenue in Orlando, so I was happy to be invited back to see how things are going, and I'm happy to report they're going quite nicely.

And I can reaffirm that the pizzas coming out of the unique oven here are still some of the best pies in town. Well, the oven isn't unique anymore. And the town isn't confined to Orlando. That's because Tartini has opened a second location, at 625 Rock Ridge Blvd. in Apopka, and the new location has the same type of oven. What makes it unusual is that it has a turntable inside the brick oven. But the turntable doesn't just rotate, it also rises and falls, lifting the dough through the hot air. A pizza can cook fully in about 25 seconds.