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Slate interior

Slate is a new restaurant that has opened on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row, and I’m not sure why.

It’s a lovely place, and the food is good, but when I visited shortly after it opened as a guest at a media dinner, I found myself looking for a thematic clue, something on the menu, for instance, that tells the guest “This is our specialty” or “This is what is going to make you want to come back again and again.” Unfortunately, I never found it.

Even the restaurant’s name is a misleading misnomer, for if there is a scrap of slate anywhere in the decor, I did not see it. Copper, yes. And exposed brick, white tile, steel, elements of fire, both functional and decorative, too. But no slate.

It is, however, a beautiful restaurant, which is what one would expect from the same people who brought us Luma on Park and Prato. But it’s also because of that pedigree that one should expect more logic here.

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Fairbanks Restaurant Omelet

No one opens a place like Fairbanks Restaurant anymore. And I should say right off that I have a hard time referring to it as Fairbanks Restaurant and not Fairbanks Diner, though everything about the place screams diner, though there is no breakfast counter and the food is prepared in a hidden kitchen. Still, you can hear the sizzles of bacon and the “Hi, Hons” as the servers efficiently work their tables.

This is the sort of place I like to come to for breakfast, and when I found myself in Winter Park at an unusually early hour, I stopped in. I ordered the Fairbanks omelet, wtih bacon, ham, sausage, onion, finely diced green peppers, and a few mushrooms folded into an eggy package with melted cheddar on top. It was accompanied by chunky home fries that were nicely crisped but not nearly as greasy as I would have liked them to be.

Fairbanks Restaurant gravy

My breakfast came with a biscuit, so I also got a side order of sausage gravy to cover it up. I liked it all.

And yes, I mean just liked. This is not the sort of place that causes one to wax eloquently about the food. It’s food. It’s made to order and it fills your belly. The coffee is hot but is not something you’d get from a press pot.

But you’ll be comfortable in the homey setting. (Well, you’ll be comfortable if you don’t sit in the booth that I did, the one with the broken spring.) And you’ll be welcomed when you come through the door and thanked when you leave.

They don’t make places like this anymore.

Fairbanks Restaurant is at 1800 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park. It is open for breakfast and lunch daily. The phone number is 407-645-3199.

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Moor interior

I don’t think Phillip Fisher could have a more appropriate name. Fisher is the chef at MOOR, the recently rebranded restaurant at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, and the man certainly has a way with seafood.

I was invited to stop by and sample some of the menu items, and it was the mutton snapper, one of the “off-the-hook fresh” fish selections that were offered that evening that was my favorite from among several recommendable items.

Moor snapper

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Divas apple iced tea

Everyone needs a little pick-me-up, especially during the dog days of summer. The divas love this cool, refreshing sip that’s full of antioxidants and gives us energy.

Green tea also fights bacteria for a healthy mouth and sweet breath, and if that's not reason enough to sample this deliciously healthy brew, we’ve been told that L-thiamine, an amino acid found in green tea, works with caffeine to improve overall brain function well into the golden years. So, take a break and sip a spell, where the only sweat will be on an ice-cold glass.

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ScalettaHave you ever been to the best restaurant in Moniga del Garda? Neither has anyone else.

A trade magazine in Italy wondered about the veracity of restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor, the popular travel site that includes ratings and comments for hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services. As reported in this Grub Street article, Italia a Tavolo created a listing for a fake restaurant called Ristorante Scaletta, then populated the listing with bogus comments and high ratings. Scaletta soared to the number one spot. 

It was a cheeky prank, but it does bring to mind the questionable reliability of some of the online reviews. Be sure to read them with the proverbial grain of salt.

It also brings to mind another question: Just how many restaurants could there be in Moniga del Garda, wherever that is?