Truck Stop exterior

In the early days of the nation's interstate system, as people set out on long road trips, it became a popular notion that if you wanted to find good food on your journey you need only look for the cafes with the most trucks parked outside. Whether it was true or not, travelers assumed that truckers knew where to find the best food. (In that regard, they were the precursors to present day Yelpers.)

You won't find a lot of trucks parked outside Truck Stop Pop-up Kitchen, maybe one at the most. For one thing, the narrow streets of Thornton Park aren't suited for 18-wheelers. Also, the concept for this new restaurant is that on most evenings the kitchen is taken over by the operators of a local food truck, giving them the opportunity to cook in a kitchen not supported by rubber wheels and to have their food presented by servers to people sitting at actual tables.

The innovative concept is from Greg Peters, who founded the Graffiti Junktion chain. In fact, the first GJ opened in the same spot in December of 2008. The Graffiti Junktion concept of burgers with an attitude caught on, and as other locations opened, the original outgrew the space on Washington Street. So it moved down the block after Wildside BBQ moved out in August of 2016.

AK and BHR Beer Pairing Flyer LINK copy

I'm definitely going to this and would love to see you there, too.

American Kitchen Bar & Grill at the B Resort & Spa is teaming up with Orlando Brewing, which was way ahead of the hand-crafted brewing phenomenon years before most others in Central Florida, for a beer dinner series. The first is Thursday, March 15, at the resort, 1905 Hotel Plaza Boulevard, Orlando. It will feature six courses and pairings with an Orlando Brewing brew. And it's just $55 including tax and gratuity. 

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will be at 7. Don't be late or I'll drink your first beer.

Tickets are available at I'll see you there. The menu is below.

tip jar

In a front page article Monday and in the lead editorial Tuesday, the New York Times addressed the broad issue of tipping and gratuities, though in different contexts.

Monday’s article, The Tipping Equation, addressed how servers, usually but not always female, face sexual harassment and innuendo by restaurant customers who threaten to withhold or reduce a gratuity to justify lewd comments or actions. It isn’t the first incidence of sexual harassment in the restaurant culture since the beginning of the #metoo movement — see “Batali, Mario” —but it does bring to light the issues of one’s salary being affected by how she addresses the unwanted advances. (Still to come: the issue of the overall culture found in many restaurants where women are expected to dress seductively and the groping and inappropriate behavior among male and female staff workers.)

Tuesday’s editorial, Wage Theft in Restaurants, pinpoints just how paltry those tips are — nothing new there, either — and addresses the issue of paying servers less than minimum wage with the expectation that the difference will be made up in gratuities.

They’re both important issues. But in reference to a tip, there’s a very large iceberg beneath this surface.

Sugarbuzz logo

Sugarbuzz Dezert Company, a College Park baker established in 2014, is your choice for Best Desserts in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. David Ramirez Chocolates was second and, just three votes behind, K Restaurant was third.

Sugarbuzz is owned by Ron James, who made a career change after more than 30 years in a managerial office job. According to the description on the Sugarbuzz webpage, "Every delicious Dezert we create is made from mostly from scratch. We offer homemade simplicity in our classic cheesecakes, cookies, pies, cakes and other goodies"

David Ramirez Chocolates, of course, specializes in fine candies and macarons as well as elaborate chocolate and confectionary sculptures.

And K Restaurant has been gaining a reputation as having wonderful desserts, created by Michelle Hulbert, as well as fine food.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to you, too, for your votes.

We're currently accepting nominations for Best Outdoor Dining. The top 10 vote-getters will advance to the finals. Nominations end Wednesday, March 14, so head over to vote for your favorite now.