Soco magdine sign

As I mentioned the other day, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining restaurant promotion that was to end on Sept. 30 has been extended a week, through Oct. 7. The extension was ostensibly to make up for lost momentum – and revenue – from the threat of hurricane Dorian.

So quick, before Humberto becomes a thing, get out and dine magically some more.

One restaurant you may want to consider is Soco in downtown’s Thornton Park.

I stopped in to try chef Greg Richie’s Magical Dining menu and enjoyed what I tasted.


Steer exterior

Take a look at the menu offered at the Steer, a new steakhouse on South Orange Avenue, and you’ll realize this is not a restaurant gunning after the likes of Christner’s, Ruth’s Chris or even Linda’s La Cantina. When you can get a 12 ounce New York strip for $15, you’re probably not in the realm of fine dining.

The restaurant’s subtitle – Pioneer Steakhouse – might lend a clue, as well. Pioneers weren't historically known for refinement. The Steer occupies a former Pizza Hut hut that most recently, and for decades, was home to Bauern-Stube, a German restaurant noted for its eclectic and cluttered decor. Perhaps the best that can be said for the Steer is that its owner successfully un-Stubed the place.

But go back to the price point and you’ll find it easier to find other kind words.


2019 Magical Dining Logo 20190618160126 0 copy

Well, here’s another reason it’s no longer called Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. The annual restaurant promotion event, which used to be confined to September but which started on Aug. 23 this year, has been extended through Oct. 7.

That’s a full 45 days to try to cram in visits to the 125 participating restaurants. Probably still not enough time, but I know some of you will try. You can find the full list of restaurants and their menus at the Magical Dining website. And be sure to check out my video, How to Do Magical Dining.

In the meantime, tell me in the comments below what MagDine restaurants you’ve visited so far this year and which ones you’d recommend.


Bull and Bear Potato Pave

When I dined recently at Bull & Bear, the fine steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, one of the best things I ate was the Potato Pave that accompanied one of the dishes. It was multilayered, densely packed and loaded with creamy flavor.

So I was delighted when executive chef Bernard Fiemeyer agreed to share the recipe and to demonstrate the proper way to cook it.

Watch this episode of Compliments of the Chef then grab some potatoes and lots of heavy cream and give it a go. And just so you know what you’re making, stop in at Bull & Bear and taste the way it is made by a master.


Dexterswp logoNew name, new logo: a wine glass inside a guitar pick.

The Winter Park Dexter’s is planning to change more than its address when it relocates to Ravaudage Plaza. When it opens in the space formerly occupied by TR Fire Grill, it will be known as Dexter’s New Standard.

And with the new name will come a recommitment to the quality of the food, as evidenced by the hiring of two former K Restaurant chefs: Ryan McLaughlin, as executive chef, and executive chef de cuisine Jason Wolfe.