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Honest sign

Almost inevitably, Honest, a vegetarian Indian restaurant, describes its cuisine as street food. How did we ever find things to eat that weren’t from the streets? But Honest comes to the term, um, honestly, having originated as a family-run food cart in 1975 in the city of Ahmedabad in the Gujarat state of western India. The street cart became a restaurant that expanded to Thailand and now is opening locations in the United States. The Orlando location joins one in Coral Springs.

It’s a quick-serve operation with orders taken at the counter. You may select from the menu board behind the counter with categories that include Bombay chaat, South Indian dishes, Indo Chinese foods and, almost as inevitable as street food, pizza.

You may find, however, a dearth of descriptions, so unless you’re well versed in the various Indian cuisines you may feel a bit at sea. But throw a dart, as it were, and you’re bound to find something enjoyable.

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Paris bahn exterior

Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" is about London and Paris, but for two local restaurants involved in a dispute it’s all about two Parises. The owners of Paris Banh Mi Cafe Bakery in Mills 50 filed a complaint against the owner of Paris Banh Mi & Tea Cafe in east Orlando. Two make it just a little more confusing, both restaurants are on Colonial Drive, albeit separated by nearly 11 miles. A judge has told the Tea & Cafe to stop using Paris Banh Mi in its name for the time being and until a jury can render a verdict. Both parties say they came up with the idea for the name first, but the Mills 50 PBM opened in April of 2019 whereas the east Orlando restaurant didn’t open until the summer of 2020. Hey, maybe one of them can use the name London Banh Mi.

The two Paris Banh Mis may have more to worry about. Besides the Vietnamese sandwiches that are part of their names, both restaurants also serve boba tea, and the world is facing a shortage of tapioca, which is used to make the boba pearls. Have we as a humanity not suffered enough! The shortage is the result of freighters stuck at sea and in ports with a dearth of workers to offload goods. These ships came from Asian countries across the Pacific, so you can’t blame this one on the ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal.

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Southeast LG

Our friends at Southeast Steel, the popular appliance warehouse in downtown Orlando, are in the middle of an exciting project: replacing the working showroom kitchen with a new line of high-end appliances from LG. The Signature Kitchen Suite is LG’s bid to compete with the likes of Wolf, Viking and Sub Zero, and Southeast Steel will be the area’s exclusive dealer.

The most interesting piece of equipment going into the show kitchen is a cooktop with built-in sous vide, even if the cooktop is mainly gas. It features a water chamber with the circulator built in and its own temperature control knob on the stove. I would love not having to pull my sous vide circulator from the cupboard, fill a pot with water and lug it over to a counter whenever I wanted to sous vide something. It makes perfect sense, and LG is the first company to offer it.

The Signature Kitchen Suite also has appliances with both gas burners and an induction cooktop and a steam oven chamber next to a conventional oven.

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TokyoFusion ext

Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine is one of the newer tenants in the repurposed strip mall on the west side of Orlando known as Chinatown. Despite the name, the businesses there represent a panorama of Asian countries and even a few with no connection to the East (unless the Island Taste restaurant’s menu is eastern Jamaica).

Orlando’s Chinatown doesn’t have the allure of the neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco or even London. It isn’t a place to stroll about. But if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, it is a place you need to visit. Several times.

You may want to include Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine on one of your trips. There isn’t anything particularly fusionistic about the menu, although it does feature poke and a couple of Korean specialities. But that’s not what fusion means. However, I found the ramen part quite enjoyable.

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Bozal

Soco, the southern contemporary restaurant in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park, is hosting a mezcal tasting dinner on Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m. The evening will include four courses prepared by chef/partner Greg Richie with each course paired with a mezcal from Bozal. If you’re unfamiliar with mezcal and want to learn more about the agave-based nectar, Bozal’s ambassador Eric Timmerman will be on hand. The dinner, which will begin with a welcome cocktail called a Socorita (Bozal Ensamble mezcal, lime, Chartreuse, fresh orange), costs $85 per person. Tickets may be purchased by emailing Soco’s general manager. Bozal, by the way, means wild or untamed, so the evening has great potential.

“You know what we need more of in this town? Chicken nugget fast food chains.”

~ No one. Ever.

Nevertheless, a Louisiana nuggeteria called Raising Cain’s is scouting locations to unload product in Central Florida, as is a Texas franchise called Cowboy Chicken, according to Orlando Business Journal.