Former Luma spaceFormer Luma next

Anyone who was still harboring hopes that Luma would move back into its old space should be convinced by the photos above. Seen through the front windows, the interior is gutted as workers remodel it for the new tenant, Ava, a Mediterranean style restaurant with owners from South Florida. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it won’t be opening any time soon.

As for Luma, word is that the owners were negotiating for another Park Avenue space, the site of a former high-end appliance venue on the lower part of the boulevard, but that fell through. I’m also hearing that the restaurant group is looking to open one of its existing brands, which include Prato and Luke’s, outside the area, possibly North Florida.


Ramsay ext

I am not a fan of Gordon [expletive] Ramsay. I think he’s rude as [expletive], a demeaning little [expletive] to his staff and generally comes off in his television appearances as a [expletive] [expletive]hole. When you read about restaurant staffers saying they’re reluctant to return to a toxic work environment, it’s places like Ramsay’s kitchen they’re referring to.

That said, the food at the new Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at Icon Park in Orlando is pretty [expletive] good.

For all its standing as an iconic and even stereotypical dish of Britain, fish and chips is not an easy dish to pull off. And not just in American restaurants trying to recreate a bit of Old England. I’ve had mediocre to downright lousy fish and chips in London and other villages throughout the British Isles. For the record, the best f&c I’ve had was at the pub owned and operated by Kevin Dundon next door to his Dunbrody Country House Hotel in County Wexford, Ireland.


Brazas logo

I’ve been telling you about some of the new food concepts that will be located at the Marketplace at Avalon Park, which has softly opened and will do so grandly on Saturday. But there is at least one veteran in the food hall, if you consider a 15-year-old restaurant a veteran (and I do).

It’s Brazas Chicken, which I first reviewed in late 2006 when it opened in the Fort Gatlin Shopping Center. Brazas specializes in polleria, a Peruvian style rotisserie chicken, and even though it’s been 15 years since I’ve eaten there, I still remember the wonderful flavors of the marinade and the crispiness of the chicken skin. And I remember the warm hospitality of the staff.


FWFall donuts

Ah, September. An extra blanket on the bed at night, cool; crisp walks with the dog in the morning as my corduroys make a croosh, croosh, croosh noise; and I’ve started to look for firewood to stack on the hearth.

OK, ok, I know it’s still in the nineties, I’m cranking up the air overnight and I wear shorts on the morning walk (though oddly I still make that croosh, croosh, croosh sound).

But work with me here – it’s time to check out the fall menu options at First Watch.


Magical Dining 21

In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition, Visit Orlando has extended its Magical Dining promotion an additional two weeks. The event, scheduled to end on Oct. 3, will now run through Oct. 17.

“We’re thrilled to offer more time for visitors and locals to take advantage of this incredible program, which has raised over $1.8 million for local charities since 2009,” Casandra Matej, president and CEO for Visit Orlando, said in a press release Monday. “The two-week extension opens the opportunity to raise even more money for this year’s charity beneficiaries while continuing to support our local restaurants.”

The two charities chosen to receive the monies – $1 for each three-course dinner sold – are Pathlight Home and iDignity.

Restaurants participating in Magical Dining offer a special menu with choices for a starter, entree and dessert for $37. Because the set menu usually offers customers the chance to try the food at a savings, Magical Dining has become one of the most popular annual dining promotions.

Visit Orlando has previously extended the dates for Magical Dining. Originally it took place only during September and was known as Magical Dining Month. Last year the event was extended due to pandemic constraints, and in other years hurricanes have prompted extensions.

This year, 95 restaurants are participating. See the full list at the Visit Orlando Magical Dining website.