NASCAR Refuel 2

If you’ve ever thought to yourself that the only bad thing about the NASCAR experience is that you can only have food from the track concession stands on race days, I’ve got big news for you.

Virtual Dining Concepts, the not-a-ghost-kitchen project from Robert Earl, announced Friday that it is partnering with NASCAR and DoorDash to offer NASCAR Refuel, a delivery-only virtual restaurant brand.

NASCAR Refuel, a restaurant that does not exist but somehow has dozens of locations, will offer favorites from various NASCAR racetracks, including the Daytona Firecracker Dog, the Talla-mento Dogwich and the Darlington Pimento Cheese Sandwich. Other menu items include the Lap Dog (get it?), a Mac Dog, and a Victory Lane Burger Dog, designed, apparently, for those people who can’t decide between a burger and a hot dog and want to get both in the same bun.


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Things are really starting to pop in the Fort Gatlin shopping center in SoSoDo. The much anticipated Gatlin Hall Brewing food market is oh-so-much-closer to opening, maybe even this weekend, with food vendors Frenchy’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Willy’s Original smash burgers, and DaKine Poke, as well as the brewed-on-site beers.

We’ve already told you about Buttercrust Pizza. Nearby, Raptor’s Meals, a takeout-only dinner provider has made room for Clara Jean’s Polish Cuisine to work out of the same space. Brazas Chicken has been there longer than any of them (and I’ll have some news about Brazas soon).

But today we’re visiting The Porch South Orange, an outpost of the original Porch bar and restaurant in Winter Park (on North Orange) .


Roccos Italian Grille 2021 Magical Dining Revised copy

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining begins Friday and I’ll be bringing you some of my recommendations over the next few days.

Next up: Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar

Chef and owner Rocco Potami is prepared to wow Magical Diners with his three-course menu. Considered one of the best Italian restaurants in the area, Rocco’s is the epitome of fine dining: gracious host, expert service, upscale surroundings and excellent food.

And just take a look at the image at top to see what an incredible deal Rocco’s is offering for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining.


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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining begins Friday and I’ll be bringing you some of my recommendation over the next few days.

First up, everyone’s favorite, Tap Room at Dubsdread.

One of my favorite Tap Room items, the prime rib, is on the MagDin menu. But Tap Room regulars will know that the prime rib is available only on Fridays and Saturdays.

But not during Magical Dining days. Owner Steve Gunter tells me the prime rib will be available every day of the week. The rack rate for the queen cut is $28, so pair that with any of the appetizers and a dessert and you’re already ahead of the $37 prix fixe Magical Dining rate.

Take a look at the image at top. I’ve added the a la carte prices to the Tap Room’s Magical Dining menu to help you make your decision. If you want your buck to be banged to the fullest, get the Buffalo shrimp, the sushi grade ahi tuna mignon and any of the desserts. Those would run you $54.50 if you ordered them separately.

Truth is, even if you order the least expensive item from all three courses you’ll still come out ahead.


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Karen Blankenzee has been on a journey that began in in her native South Korea, took her to Australia and New Zealand before landing her and her new husband in Florida. But it wasn’t until an extended trip back to Seoul that she found her current passion: coffee.

And while she has had a coffee roasting business in Longwood for several years, she will soon have her first coffee shop when Rosso Coffee Bar opens in the Marketplace at Avalon Park.

During that long trip back to South Korea, Blankenzee, 49, found herself with a lot of time on her hands. So a friend who owned a growing chain of coffee shops – “Korean people live on caffeine,” she said – suggested she attend his company’s coffee roasting lab. She was fascinated by the process and set out to learn everything she could about it, earning a certificate to be a professional coffee taster.

When she returned to Central Florida, she set about making her newfound passion her profession.