Rincon Latino exterior

For many years I’ve had a little favorite Cuban cafe on Forsyth Road called Rincon Cubano. I’ve been recommending it to people for a long time, and I always hear back from those I’ve sent there how much they liked it, too.

So I was a little concerned when I was driving by recently and saw that the name had changed to Rincon Latino. I figured I’d better stop in and give it a try. My fears worsened when I walked inside and found the small dining area empty of any other guests, even though it was the height of the lunch hour (and the cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch). But I also noticed something else: the place was tidier than I remembered it. And the pleasant young woman who stepped up to take my order at the counter allayed any lingering worry when she assured me that even though the name had changed, “It’s still the same food.”

It might actually be better.


Wahlburger logo

In an agreement scheduled to be announced Thursday, Central Florida restaurateur Manny Garcia has signed a deal for the Florida franchise of Wahlburgers, a casual burger restaurant in the Boston area owned by brothers Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. That restaurant — along with the brothers, two-thirds of whom were somewhat famous beforehand — is also the subject of reality television show, called Wahlburgers, on A&E.

The company also will announce Thursday a similar agreement with John Cestare of Big Apple Burgers to franchise the concept in Manhattan and Coney Island.


Plates app

Have you ever gone out to dinner or lunch with a group of friends with everybody ordering different things, some plates to share, others, like that ridiculous salad whatshername always gets and keeps to herself (as if anyone else wanted any of it in the first place), some friends getting wines by the glass and others, like ol' Salad Sal, getting elaborate cocktails? And then at the end of the meal, someone, usually you-know-who, will suggest you split the check evenly? Of course you have. And then you spend the time after the check is delivered painstakingly trying to determine who ordered what, because there's no way your paying for that extra dressing and the top-shelf cocktail (she had three of them, of course). Then you cave and just split it evenly.

Well, next time it happens — and you know it will — whip out your smartphone and open the Plates app. It will help you figure out who ordered what, what was shared evenly and what each person owes, including his or her fair share of the tax and tip.

There is still some painstake involved in the process; it isn't all done with a quick flip of a switch, but the drag and drop process makes it somewhat easier. This article at Yahoo! shows the steps involved. And when you get down to who owes what make sure you also have your Square credit card swiper so when your tipsy friend says she doesn't have any cash you can say, "MasterCard or Visa?"


Outpost bar

The College Park neighborhood has a new eatery that even includes that word in its name. The Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen is charming and has a rustic mien that belies its newness. It isn't perfect — few restaurants are right off the starting block — but most of its shortcomings are from trying too hard, and that is something i'm hesitant to suppress.

I like the menu because it does not try too hard to be more than it should be. Fried or roasted chicken, pulled pork sandwich, a meatloaf melt — nothing haughty or overwrought, all very approachable. That makes sense for a restaurant that wants to cultivate a clientele of neighborhood regulars.


PH GoaA photo of one of the rooms at the Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Goa, from the hotel's website.

Orlando based Planet Hollywood International has opened its newest resort, this time in India. Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Goa follows the company's first big hotel, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. PHBR, G is located in Uttorda Beach in South Goa, an area known for its white sandy shore. The new resort has "130 rooms, suites and luxury tents paying homage to various genres of cinema." I believe that is the first time I've typed the words luxury and tents in the same sentence. For comparison, the Vegas hotel has 2,567 rooms. But no white sand beaches.

"We are extremely excited to have opened the newest incarnation of Planet Hollywood in Goa," said Robert Earl, founder and chairman of Planet Hollywood International. "India has long been a center for cinematic creativity and innovation so it is only natural that we bring the iconic Planet Hollywood brand to the area with this exciting new property."

The hotel will have a grand opening celebration Wednesday. I'm not sure what Earl has planned for the event, but when he opened the Vegas property he hired Barbra Streisand for a private concert in the resort's grand theater. It was impressive.

You can expect more PH branded hotels as the company plans to expand.