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Boca exteriorPhoto Be-1 Concepts

Moving the bar was a brilliant idea. Not just moving it, but making it a focal point of the room. It certainly worked for Prato just down the block.

It was Prato that came to my mind the first time I saw the renovated space that is now Boca and that has been a half dozen or so other restaurants over the years, Matilda's the most recent. (I won't run the whole list of names, but I mentioned them in this article.) The bar-central scheme may be one of the reasons that Prato is always packed. It just passed its three-year mark and I don't think I've ever been in there when I haven't had to jockey for a position at the bar just to get a drink — never mind getting a seat. Boca was enjoying the same sort of busy-ness when I visited for dinner recently. My dinner companion remarked that he couldn't remember when he'd seen so many people in that space. It's really wonderful to see, and I hope that it continues and Boca packs them in for a good, long time.

To that end, it would do well to emulate Prato in another area: its food.

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New Year's Eve has passed but there's never a wrong time to enjoy these two great pairings: Great Champagne and fancy chocolate dipped strawberries. Lauren Brown of Brown's New York Deli and Tim Varan of Tim's Wine Market helped out for this edition of The Daily Chew.

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It takes a lot to run a website the size of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide — a lot of time, a lot of eating and, frankly, a lot of funds. From web hosting to site maintenance to restaurant meals, the bills show up and everyone expects to be paid. And it's my pleasure to pay them. That I'm able to do so is thanks in large part to the advertisers you see displayed throughout the site.

If you've read the "About Advertisers" statement, you know that not just anyone can advertise on this site; potential advertisers must meet certain standards of quality. I insist on that in order to maintain credibility. I couldn't in good conscience accept advertising dollars from a business that I did not feel is worthy of your dining dollars. And if you don't believe that I enforce that policy, I would invite you to ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about it. Nicole is the exclusive advertising representative for ScottJosephOrlando.com and she can verify that not only must she get the OK from me to discuss advertising on my site with new or existing restaurants but also that I have said no to a number of potential advertisers.

So where am I going with all of this?

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Divas chicken soup

You could open a can, but nothing says "I love you" more eloquently than a fragrant bowl of homemade chicken soup. And with convenient off-the-shelf stocks and broths in your local grocery,

it's easy to nurture your sweeties with a soul-infused bowl of goodness.
For a quickie, no-hassle version of this soup, use a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Remove and discard the skin and fat and toss it right into the broth (the bones will add homemade flavor to canned broth).

Breathe in the love, banish a nasty cold, open hearts and sinuses.

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This won't be news to anyone, but what you pay for an item of food at a restaurant, say a plate of eggs, is not the same as you would pay to buy the ingredients at the grocery store. It's usually more (that also won't suprise). The food is marked up to take into consideration the labor involved in the preparation, the energy used, the rent on the building, the cleanup. Plus, restaurants are in the business to make a profit (that part might be news to some restaurateurs) so a certain part of the percentage added on is meant to go to the bank.

But not everything is marked up the same way. Some food items -- those eggs, for example -- may cost you a lot more, statistically speaking, than a fine foie gras. This article from WiseBread lists some common food items that you may be paying to much for if you order them in a restaurant.