Eleven pool

I always enjoy passing along good dining deals, and this is a pretty good one. Two, really.

Reunion Resort is offering a "Taste of ..."  event through August 23, featuring three-course menus for $29 plus tax and gratuity at Forte and Eleven, two of its top restaurants

Actually, Eleven is the topmost, located on the 11th floor of the resort with a dining room and rooftop patio with views for miles. Eleven is a modern steakhouse with farm to table features. I mean, they don't actually walk the steer to your table, but you know what I mean. It's Taste of menu offers such items as Calimari and Sherried Onion Soup, Pork Loin, Cedar Plank Salmon and Baseball Sirloin. (Baseball refers to the shape and doesn't mean that it's stitched together.) For dessert there's Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee and Raspberry Cheesecake.

Forte is an Italian restaurant, in which case you're welcome to pronounce it for-tay. (When you're referring to someone's specialty, as in "that's not his forte," the word is pronounced fort; sorry, personal pet peeve.) Anyway, Forte's forte, as it were, is the cuisine of Tuscany, so your Taste of menu choices include Meatball Forte (your call on that one), Minestrone, Fettuccine Bolognese, Tuscan Grilled Salmon and Chicken Marsala. Finish off with Truffle Cheesecake or Semifreddo, which is just as good as a complete freddo.

The Taste of Forte menu is available Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The Taste of Eleven may be had Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Reunion Resort is at 7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee. You can see the full Forte menu here and the Eleven menu here. Call 407-662-3463 for reservations.

Chef Wang array

The young man who was waiting to take my order at Chef Wang's Kitchen pointed helpfully (if not a little impatiently) at one of the pictured menu items. "Foreigners seem to like that one," he offered.

To understand the level of authenticity, or at least a level that rises above many westernized Chinese restaurants, you need to know that when he said foreigners he was referring to Americans.

Chef Wang interior

Chef Wang's Kitchen is located in the repurposed yet still worn looking shopping mall now known as Chinatown. The West Colonial Drive restaurant occupies a modest storefront tastefully appointed with stone-look tables and substantial dark wood chairs (sturdy enough for any foreigners who come in).

 Nova bar

Next up in out Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants: Best Happy Hour.

 In a perfect world, this category would be Best Happy Days, but if it's only an hour or two that we can grab for our own private joy, we'll take it.

So what constitutes a good happy hour? In preparing the list of nominees, the Foodster nominating committee considered venues that offer a combination of drink specials and bar food deals, plus, of course, an atmosphere that inspires glee.

We think the nominees listed here meet those criteria. If you agree, place your vote to advance your favorite to the final ballot.

Don't see one that you consider to have the happiest hour? You may write in a candidate in the space provided, but remember:

  • The Foodster Awards are for businesses with three or fewer locations -- no chains.
  • Don't write in the name of a bar or restaurant that is already on the list -- doing so may result in that restaurant getting fewer votes as duplicate names -- and the votes associated with them -- will be deleted.

You may vote for up to five names in the nominating phase. The top 10 vote getters will advance to the finals. Write-in candidates will not be accepted in the final voting phase.

Nominations will be accepted through May 9. Voting for the final list will begin May 10 and continue through May 30. The winners will be announced on May 31.