Bite 30 Umi

Bite 30, the aggressively named annual restaurant promotion sponsored by Orlando Weekly (see how easy it is to type those words, Large Daily Newspaper?), kicked off yesterday, June 1, which means it is now technically Bite 29.

At least I think the 30 refers to the number of days in the month. It also reflects the cost of the dinners. It doesn’t refer to the number of participating restaurants — there are fewer than that. But while the list isn’t as vast as, say, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month’s, which is the Mother of All Restaurant Promotions, there are nevertheless some noteworthy restaurants taking part.

That list includes some of our favorites, such as K Restaurant, TR Fire Grill, Tapa Toro, Rusty Spoon and Umi Japanese Restaurant.

The way it works is similar to Magical Dining Month. The restaurants put together a multi-course prix fixe menu, with 30 bucks being the fixed prix. Unlike MagDinMo, some of the restaurants offer more than three courses. Umi, for example, is offering four courses — a starter, a sushi roll, a main course and dessert.

There aren’t a whole lot of rules. All you have to do is look over the list of restaurants, choose one whose menu sounds enticing, go, dine. Repeat as often as you like or is humanly possible before the end of the month. One caveat: You may have to request the Bite 30 menu when you’re seated if it isn’t offered voluntarily. Also, be aware that the menu may only be available during dinner -- best to call ahead if you're hoping to do some biting for lunch.

Bite 30 culminates with Bite Night, a walkabout tasting event at the Orchid Ballroom at Church Street Station, on June 26 from 7 to 10 p.m. Proceeds from tickets, which are $40 or $65 for VIP, will benefit Edible Education Experience.

Click here to check out all the participating restaurants for Bite 30 and Bite Night.

Big Kahuna bowl

Things started out really well at Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowls. And let me hasten to say that things ended nicely, too.

The middle part was frustrating.

Let’s start with the beginning. I entered the small storefront on Tuskawilla Road and was greeted by a man sitting in a large comfy chair just inside the front door. I’ll assume he was the owner — Mr. Kahuna, perhaps — and I thought is was nice that he said hello — if he had wanted to he could have pretended to just be another customer.

And I was also greeted quite genuinely by a young man behind the counter, who bade me welcome and said something along the lines of, “What can I start building for you today?”

That’s when things started to get frustrating.

Capsized sign

Capsized Kitchen has jumped the Sunoco ship, as it were.

You’ll recall that just last month I told you about the little seafood restaurant with a Louisiana drawl in the odd location of a corner of a Sunoco gas station on South Conway Road. It had been open only since early February.

In mid May, the restaurant posted a notice on its Facebook page that read, in part: “Today we moved all our things out of Sunoco! Thank you Belle Isle Police Department for helping keep things as classy and professional as possible! The entire time we were moving our things the Sunoco owners were trash talking our business to every single person that came in.”

In response to a private message asking for details, a representative for Capsized Kitchen told me, “It was never the plan to stay there long. We out grew the place even quicker than expected. On top of that the building owners wouldn't fix any of the electrical problems or the air conditioning. Our customers and business started to suffer the hotter it got. Our cooks were suffering so much a customer brought them a portable air conditioner but it only helped so much. We had groups of people coming in wanting to sit down and we couldn't provide tables. It was clear that it was time for us to go.”

A person who answered the phone at the Sunoco station, but who would not give her name or title, said, “They left because they didn’t pay their rent.”

In the meantime, Capsized Kitchen is trying to right itself by looking for a new port, one it promises its regulars will have air conditioning and seating. The spokesperson said they hope to stay in the Conway/Belle Isle area. Whether you’ll also be able to fill up on unleaded remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

Shakers Grandas

I stopped by Shakers American Cafe the other day to present the Foodster Award for Best Breakfast to owners Greg and Terry Granda. They won the platinum award, as voted on my readers of ScottJosephOrlando.

While I was there, I figured I’d have a little breakfast myself. And I have to agree with the majority: this is a darned fine breakfast.

Shakers full breakfast

I had the Mexican Omelet, which had big chunks of sausage with green chilies and black beans, served with some salsa on the side. It came with hash brown potatoes, nicely crisped, and I requested a biscuit, which was fried to give it a little extra butteryness.

As long as I had the biscuit, I thought I should get some gravy to go with it. Sufficiently thick and unctuous, a fine accompaniment.