You can tell that an Indian restaurant is serious about its food if you order something like junglee lal mass, a Rajasthani dish known for its spiciness, and are informed that it is not available mild.
That’s the case at Tabla, the Indian restaurant with touches of Thai and Chinese cuisine that recently opened a second location in the former Paris Bistro space off Park Avenue. The original Tabla, near Universal Orlando, opened in 2008 and is still in operation. When I reviewed it in August of that year, I noted that I really liked the food and service but the location not so much.
So I was really excited to learn that the owners were bringing their wonderful food to Winter Park and to a space I’ve always found attractive.
However, I opted to avail of Tabla’s curbside pickup for takeout, so a report on ambience will have to wait. But do not wait to try the food if you love Indian cuisine because it’s every bit as good as before if not better. I dare say we may have a new contender for Best Indian the next time that Foodster Category rolls around.
Hungry Pants, the curiously named restaurant with a flexitarian menu, had barely been open five months when it closed due to the social distancing guidelines in late March. It reopened on the first of May, but even though Phase 1 allowed for in-house dining, the owners, Joey Conicella and Alex Marin, decided to offer takeout only for the time being.
Perhaps they spent those several weeks closed working on their takeout game, because my experience was seamless.
Hungry Pants’ gimmick is that it has a menu designed to attract diners who wish to maintain a plant-based diet but does not exclude those who want seafood or meat as a protein.
Hopdoddy, the Austin-based burger bar, has permanently closed its restaurant at Pointe Orlando. It had taken over the space that was previously occupied by Funky Monkey in February of 2019. It was the Texas company’s first and only Florida location.
Spoleto Italian Kitchen, the South American-born chain of quick-serve restaurants, may have closed all of its Central Florida locations. Phones are disconnected and the company’s website address leads to a page with an error message. Its South American website is still up, albeit in Portuguese.
Following the permanent closing of his award-winning College Park bakery, Sugarbuzz Dezert Company, Ron James has accepted the position of pastry chef at nearby Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria. James joins owner Denny Tornatore and executive chef Jason Wolfe in the operation as it expands to offer an Italian market next door to the restaurant.
Nearly 30 years ago, I had front-row seats to “Angels in America” on Broadway. It was a moving performance, and out of the nearly to a hundred shows I’ve seen in New York, one of the most memorable.
But I’m remembering it for something other than the stellar writing and superior acting these days. From my up-close vantage I could see that when the actors spoke, a spray of aerosolized spit emanated from their mouths, enhanced and made more noticeable by the overhead lights. I remember thinking that the actors must be drenched by the end of the play (and those of us in the front row were in the splash zone, too, especially when Ron Leibman as Roy Cohn was nearby).
Actors, of course, project their voices so to be heard in the back row of the balcony, which undoubtedly increases the amount of spray. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re on stage or speaking up in a crowded room: When we speak, we spew.
So then, let’s talk about wearing face masks in restaurants.
In this episode of the Tasting Table, a collaboration with WFTV Channel-9 and Inside Central Florida, I discuss takeout from my own dining room table. I have some tips for what I look for in a takeout experience, and a few recommendations from some recent meals.