If you were to compare Papa Llama to other area Peruvian restaurants based solely on their menus, you might conclude the new Curry Ford West restaurant was a little meagre in its offerings. Three small plates, or appetizers, and four main dishes isn’t exactly an abundancia of selections.
But just taste the avocado anticuchero with its sulky chili sauce or the arroz chaufa with chicken and overweight kernels of corn and you’ll wonder why the other restaurants bother with any other menu items.
Even the lomo saltado, which is something of a national dish and found on every Peruvian restaurant’s menu, is somehow more special here. Perhaps it’s because the menu is so uncluttered that the kitchen can give more attention to the quality of the few items it offers.
Whatever the reason, Papa Llama is a restaurant worth visiting, regardless of the specialized cuisine.
Ever since I first ate at Las Cazuelas, a small market and cafe on South Conway Road, it has been one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. Authentic food served in a cozy, spotless setting by people who seem genuinely happy that you’re there.
Now comes Taqueria Las Cazuelas, a storefront offshoot on Orlando’s east side. As the name indicates, it’s a taco-centric eatery, though there is no attempt to put a cazuela, or casserole, into a tortilla. Thank goodness.
Eric Enrique, who was the opening chef at Eddie V’s on Sand Lake Road, has moved west on Restaurant Row to take over at Big Fin Seafood Kitchen. Enrique replaces James Slattery, who was the opening chef there.
Philippe Villain, Big Fin’s co-owner, confirmed the personnel change in a phone call Monday. He said he is excited to take Big Fin to the next level up, though he said, “We are going to stay primarily seafood,” but he sees the flavor profiles getting more innovative. “We’re not going froufrou or haute cuisine,” he said. “We have no intention of jacking up our prices.”
Chan’s, the Mills 50 Cantonese restaurant, has announced that it will close after nearly 24 years. The owners announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that the property has been sold to a developer and that its last Crispy Fried Pork Intestines (the menu was pretty authentic) will be served at lunch on Friday, Nov. 20. Besides having good Chinese food, Chan's was a reliable restaurant for Christmas Day dining for many locals, so it will be particularly missed this time of year.
It’s beginning to look a lot like a boozy Christmas, which is a lot like the boozy pre-holiday season but with tinsel. The Whiskey, the Restaurant Row pub and eatery, is hosting Maker’s Monday on Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. During that time you can purchase a bottle of The Whiskey’s Private Label Maker’s Mark, have it personalized in festive green etching, and get a glass hand-dipped in MM’s signature red wax. A shaker, too. All for $60. There will be drink specials, as well.
Thanksgiving is going to be pretty crappy for a lot of Central Floridians this year. Yeah, a lot of us are grumbling because we can’t have the usual gathering of family and friends – we’ll get over it.
But others who are out of work and without assistance can’t even think about a big meal for themselves or their immediate family members.
If you’re in a position to help, consider volunteering for Heart of Florida United Way’s Thanksgiving Project. The second annual effort aims to put together 1500 meals this year.