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The Restaurant & Allied Partnership of Central Florida (RAPCF) will host Monster Mash Masquerade on Thursday, Oct. 28, to benefit restaurant recovery. The event, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Dr. Phillips House at Lake Lucerne in downtown Orlando, will feature 30 food, wine, beer and cocktail experiences in an outdoor setting.

Tickets are $100 per person with a portion of the proceeds going to the participating restaurant partners, including flog favorite Stefano’s Trattoria. The fee includes entrance to Up in Smoke Cigar & Whiskey Experience on the venue’s rooftop patio and Elevate Below Wine Experience in the cellar. The wine tasting, conducted by Swirlery Wine Bar, will be limited to 10 tasters at a time.

RAPCF is a nonprofit organization founded during the pandemic because, according to its website, “Central Florida restaurants needed a place to get information on how to navigate this new business environment.”

Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can do that at the RACPF website where you can also get a list of other participants.



Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews, a concept out of Fargo, North Dakota, is set to open Nov. 15 in a former Shoney’s on West Irlo Bronson Highway in Kissimmee.

Yes, it’s called Sickies, presumably because Retches was already taken. No, apparently the name came about because a group of friends would get together in a garage to work on motorcycles and cars and would all call in sick to work.

Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to name a restaurant?


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Wa Sushi, the popular Casselberry restaurant, was closed for almost exactly a year, from February 2020 to February 2021. The reason for closing was not pandemic related – we didn’t start seeing closures until the following month. Instead, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page at the time, there was an issue with drainage at its original location that forced it to close and look for a place to relocate.

But really, if you had to close your restaurant for a year, 2020 was the perfect choice.



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The fall version of Grande Lakes Orlando’s Curated Experiences will be Nov. 5 through 7 in and around the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando. It will be a weekend of food, wine, cocktails, exotic cars, fine watches and jewels, demonstrations, workshops and activities. A high point will be a four-course dinner Saturday night with celebrity chefs John Tesar (Knife & Spoon), Art Smith (Homecoming) and Bradley Kilgore (Alter Miami) with Maggie Kruse, winemaker for Jordan in Sonoma County, followed by a concert featuring Sister Hazel.

I attended the inaugural Curated Experiences weekend in February and found so much going on that it took two articles to relate it all. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.


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The last time I had the sandwich known as the Abigail, it was at George’s Gourmet Cookie’s in a small storefront space at the corner of Lee Road and Orlando Avenue in what was then the Kmart-anchored shopping plaza. The sandwich, a take on a reuben, was revelatory. And even though it was in 2016 that I had it, that sandwich came to mind often – usually anytime I ordered a reuben elsewhere only to be disappointed in comparison.

Sometime during the haze of the pandemic, George’s moved to Park Avenue, taking over the former Brandywine Deli space. Gourmet Cookies was dropped from the name, but not from the menu, and it is now known as George’s Cafe.