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The About page on Thai Farm Kitchen Orlando’s Facebook page describes the new College Park restaurant as having, “Award winning authentic Thai food from Thailand and the New York Times.” Sort of conjures up images of someone from the paper’s Food staff cooking up a batch of laab khai jiaw in the test kitchen to send out to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is where the original Thai Farm Kitchen is, and the Times mention is apparently a reference to a review by Ligaya Mishan in 2019 in the paper’s Hungry City column. Mishan, who now writes for the Eats column in the New York Times Magazine, named the Kensington neighborhood restaurant an NYT Critic’s Pick. 

Perhaps New York doesn’t have as many fine Thai restaurants as we do here in Central Florida. Ot maybe it’s the same old story of out-of-state restaurants moving to Orlando and figuring they don’t have to try too hard to impress. I could be wrong, but consider this: The back page of the College Park menu has a four-step process on “How to enjoy phad Thai correctly”; I could find no such instructions in any of the dozens of online photos of the Brooklyn menu. Because, you know, New Yorkers are born with the necessary knowledge to eat any kind of food.

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Many restaurants close on Mondays, but these restaurants are open and recommended. Be sure to call ahead before going – hours are subject to change.

BoVine, the upscale restaurant on Winter Park's Park Avenue, serves its premium steaks on Mondays. Sit on the patio to people watch or in the dining room for quiet conversation. But do be sure to have one of the fine steaks.

BoVine, the upscale restaurant on Winter Park's Park Avenue, serves its premium steaks on Mondays. Sit on the patio to people watch or in the dining room for quiet conversation. But do be sure to have one of the fine steaks.

Delaney's Tavern south of downtown is a great spot for any day but especially Mondays. The Shrimp & Scallops with Purple grits is a favorite.

Delaney's Tavern south of downtown is a great spot for any day but especially Mondays. The Shrimp & Scallops with Purple grits is a favorite.

Hangry Bison is a great spot to satisfy a Monday burger urge. Besides the original in Winter Park Village, a new HB recently opened in Winter Garden.

Hangry Bison is a great spot to satisfy a Monday burger urge. Besides the original in Winter Park Village, a new HB recently opened in Winter Garden.

The Whiskey, the popular Restaurant Row bar and grill, is another place for a start of the week burger – and a good stiff drink, too.

The Whiskey, the popular Restaurant Row bar and grill, is another place for a start of the week burger – and a good stiff drink, too.

Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe is a recent winner of our Best New Restaurant Foodster Award for Independent Restarants. Besides a great view, Russell's has terrific food, including a tuna tartare appetizer.

Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe is a recent winner of our Best New Restaurant Foodster Award for Independent Restarants. Besides a great view, Russell's has terrific food, including a tuna tartare appetizer.

Tabla, the fine-dining Indian restaurant, now has three locations, in Orlando, Winter Park and Lake Nona. They all have the same great food, and it's all available on Mondays.

Tabla, the fine-dining Indian restaurant, now has three locations, in Orlando, Winter Park and Lake Nona. They all have the same great food, and it's all available on Mondays.

Perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread is great any day, but it's especially nice to know it's open on Mondays. Burgers and steaks are the usual go-to here, but the seafood deserves equal attention.

Perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread is great any day, but it's especially nice to know it's open on Mondays. Burgers and steaks are the usual go-to here, but the seafood deserves equal attention.

Saffron, another Restaurant Rower, is also a good choice for Indian cuisine. And it's open for lunch and dinner on Mondays.

Saffron, another Restaurant Rower, is also a good choice for Indian cuisine. And it's open for lunch and dinner on Mondays.

Sear + Sea at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has a beautiful veranda overlooking said creek. The menu is balanced between meat and seafood options, and it's all good.

Sear + Sea at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has a beautiful veranda overlooking said creek. The menu is balanced between meat and seafood options, and it's all good.

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Adrians logo

Either Fredster’s, featuring Adrian’s Bar & Grill, or Adrian’s Bar & Grill/Fredster’s has (have) opened in Maitland. The way the name appears depends upon which site you’re viewing. The Adrian of the name is Adrian Mann, who was a partner in the Dexter’s Wine Bar restaurants from their early days. In the last days of that once-popular mini chain, it was arguably more Adrian’s than Dexter’s. So you’ll probably know what to expect when you visit. The other part of the name comes from Fred Badalli, a local musician. The restaurant/music venue (or music venue/restaurant) took over a space that had been home to the Silly Grape, at 1720 Fennell St.

Fat Shack, an unfortunately named franchise out of New Jersey, has opened its first Florida shop in Orlando near UCF. Sandwiches have names like Fat Cow and Fat Slob, which just makes me want to run right over there. (Literally run, to burn the 1450 calories the Fat Slob contains.)

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Pho 813, a Millenia-area outpost of a restaurant out of Tampa (hence the 813), doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, sitting between a Chipotle and a Zöe’s Kitchen in a small outbuilding in front of a SuperTarget, Pho 813’s facade looks rather bland.

But inside is bright and pleasant, and so were the staff when I visited. Even better: the food was all quite good.

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shake shack drive thru main entrance copy

When the news is as grim as it has been recently, with war, inflation, a persistent pandemic that threatens another wave, and gas prices – good god, don’t forget the gas prices – we look for the glimmers that remind us we are civilized and innovative people, and we know that not only will life go on, it will be better, and the world will once again be envious of our American lifestyle.

Which is all to say that Shake Shack is opening its first Florida location with a drive-thru window. So now, instead of standing in a line of humans who all have been tricked into thinking the New York chain has magical burgers – I mean, they must be special because New Yorkers, who are born with an innate sense of what good food is, will wait in line for hours for one – Central Floridians can queue up and idle in the comfort of their automobiles. (Did I mention gas prices? I meant to mention gas prices.)

What’s more, you just know that on Thursday, Mar.24, when the drive-thru window opens at Vineland Pointe, dozens of people will drive dozens of miles, likely passing one of the other four Shake Shack locations, just for the privilege of being among the first to have a burger and a milkshake handed to them through a window. Because apparently this has not been possible before this.