When I put together my "How to Do Magical Dining Month" video last year, which emphasizes comparing the MagDinMo menu to the restaurant's regular menu, found on most of their websites, I dinged deep blu seafood grille for changing the makeup of its Bouillabaisse (the regular menu had lobster, the Magical menu did not). I had previously dinged it for its inability to use capital letters and misspellings.
So I made a point of checking deep blu's Magical menu this year, and boy howdy, is it a bargain. At least on paper -- the three entrees on the MagDinMo menu range from $35 to $42. And since the three course special menu is $35, there's no need to pull out a calculator.
This is certainly an unusual location for any restaurant let alone a barbecue joint. The Noble Smokesman occupies a space in a compound of offices and nonfood businesses on Lake Ellenor Drive, about a block off of South Orange Blossom Trail. (The street name sounded familiar to me and it wasn't until I found the smokehouse that I realized it was across from the former Darden Restaurants headquarters.) The complex looks more like a place you'd find an accountant's office or maybe a dentist.
Also unlike other barbecue restaurants, Noble has a polished and spiffy look inside, but that's probably more because of its newness. It has clean wood-look floors and a white subway-tile wall in the area behind the counter. For some reason there are logs on some of the tables.
Wendy Lopez, who opened the Spanish restaurant Tapa Toro as executive chef three and a half years ago, is leaving to assume the executive chef position at Reyes Mezcalaria in Orlando's North Quarter district.
Francisco Galeano, who goes by Frank, and who has been serving as Tapa Toro's chef de cuisine, has been promoted to executive chef, according to owner Katerina Coumbaros.
Jacob Rios of B Resorts is the winner of Scott Joseph's Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing. Rios competed along with five other sous chefs in the competition, which was part of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show this past weekend at the Orange County Convention Center.
The chefs were challenged to create a dish they thought would represent a coming trend, whether it be an ingredient, a cooking style or a presentation.
Orlando chef and restaurateur Kathleen Blake was presented the 2018 Beacon Award at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Friday. The Beacon Award is presented by the Foodservice Council for Women and The Food Shows to recognize a woman in the industry for her leadership and inspiration.
If you know people fleeing the Carolina Coasts, tell them to head to one of the Rosen hotels for a special Florence distress rate -- $59 per night at most; $79 and the three posher places. No pet fees, kids eat free, and they should know that many of the Rosen restaurants are participating in Magical Dining Month, so there's that. Details here.
Viet-Nomz, the very good fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant that opened on University Boulevard in Winter Park in 2016, has opened a second location at the corner of Alafaya Trail and Colonial Drive in Orlando. I like to see restaurants with good food succeed.
Which is why I'm disappointed to learn that Mai Bistro, which opened less than a year ago in Mills 50 district has closed. Also fast casual, also good -- why didn't it make it?
Celebrity chef and television personality Guy Fieri and restaurateur Robert Earl recently dedicated their new collaborative Disney Springs restaurant, Chicken Guy. In the video below, Fieri tells me that Chicken Guy wasn't his first choice for a name.