Blended interior

Blended Cafe Bar is an intimate little eatery in a massively large space. It’s funny, Juliana’s Fine Tuscan Cuisine, which held this space previously, never struck me as occupying an airplane hangar-sized room. Perhaps the owners plan on holding line-dancing lessons or renting the extra space out for corporate meetings.

It’s distractingly large is what I’m trying to say.

Blended bench

But it’s bright and tidy —though oddly there’s a plastic carpet protector on the bench that serves as a banquette along the wall — and there’s no reason you can’t have a private conversation without being overheard by the people at the next table, which may or may not be in a different zip code.


Dubsdread catering

  • Our friends at Dubsdread launched a new website for their catering division earlier this week. Most of us think of the Tap Room when we think of Dubsdread, but they do a huge amount of catering, including weddings. The new website, which was unveiled at a party set up like a wedding reception inside and outside the venue (it was a gorgeous night on the patio and the open bar there hadn’t been discovered yet by the people inside), allows prospective clients such as brides to be to meet the team members they’ll be working with and crying to about wanting everything to be perfect. Nice touch.
  • Trina Gregory-Propst and Va Propst, owners of Se7en Bites Bakeshop, announced they would open their new restaurant in the recently available Stir space at Orange Avenue and Virginia Drive. Gregory-Propst said she prefers to think of the address as the former Brian’s Diner, perhaps because that old greasy spoon lasted longer than Stir or its predecessor, Nova. Or Elliott’s Public House before it. Perhaps seeing something lucky in the number, the owners will call the new restaurant Sette. At least it’s not 7ette. They hope to start serving their Italian food within 60 days.


alacart sign

The concept of the permanent food truck rally that is À La Cart brings with it one great advantage over other food truck gatherings. Yes, there is available seating, something that is often nonexistent unless you haul your own lawn chairs. And much of that seating is inside a pavilion, which not only offers said seating -- at tables! -- and shelter from the elements but also has a bar serving an impressive array of craft beers.

Nice things all. But the nicest advantage is something I didn’t realize at first. Something was missing here from other food truck rallies, and its absence makes À La Cart all the more enjoyable. The mostly permanent location allows the participating trucks to operate on electric power and leave their loud, smelly, gasoline chugging generators off.

alacart trucks 1


Christners strip

It's difficult to find independent steakhouses, most have been bought up by national chains. But they're still out there, and we've got some terrific ones in Central Florida. Which is the best steakhouse? That's up to you.

The restaurants listed here are among the best steakhouses in town. You may select up to FIVE of your favorites you'd like to see advance to the finals.

Four our purposes here, a steakhouse is defined as a restaurant that prominently features steaks and chops on its menu. If you have a favorite steakhouse not on the list, you may write the name of the restaurant in. But please, be certain that the restaurant isn't listed elsewhere on the roster already. If it is, your write-in vote -- and any subsequent votes it receives -- will be deleted; the votes will not be added to the previous entry.

Also, remember that the Foodster Awards are for Independent Restaurants with three or fewer locations. Any chains written in will also be deleted. No chains.

Nominations will close on Jan. 16. The restaurants receiving the most votes will advance to the finals.

Here are the nominees:


Four Guys pho

I don’t supposed it’s absolutely necessary to know who the four guys of Four Guys Pho in Casselberry are but it does beg the question. Though as far as I know, no one loses any sleep over not knowing who the five guys of Five Guys Burgers are. (They are the Murrell brothers from Washington, D.C., though the fifth one wasn’t born yet when his older brothers started the business, posing another question that will go begging for now.)

The website for Four Guys Pho says that the Vietnamese restaurant is also the project of brothers, though no names are offered. And when I called the restaurant to ask, the gentleman who answered the phone said that if I wanted to know their names I would have to come to the restaurant because he wasn’t authorized to give that information out over the phone.

Maybe it should be called the Soup of the Secretive Siblings.

Whatever. The food, especially the pho, was quite good when I visited recently.