For the first time since it opened in late 2009, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen has a new chef.
His name is Eric Enrique – we share the burden of having two first names – and he moved to Big Fin from Eddie V’s, just down the the Restaurant Row road. I’ve always considered seafood to be Eddie V’s forte, so I was anxious to see what Enrique would bring to Big Fin.
You can’t tell it, though you’d know if you could see the smudged keys on my computer, but I just finished the leftovers of the food I got last night at Mamak Asian Street Food UCF, an east side version of the Mills 50 Malaysian restaurant. And every little bite of noodle, rice and meat and every little drop of sauce and broth were just as delicious today.
When the downtown Mamak opened in 2014, most people, including me, assumed it was trying to profit off of the popularity of Hawkers, which had opened three years earlier (right about this time 10 years ago; seems like it’s been around longer, no?). Both restaurants’ concepts are based on the premise of Asian street fare and, technically, both names mean the same thing. Mamak is the word for food stalls or the people who hawk the food from them.
But Mamak gained its own following with the quality of its food, and based on my just-finished meal from the new location, it may just out hawk Hawkers.
The massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives and is on its way to the president’s desk for signing includes $28.6 billion in funds specifically meant to help small restaurants.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is based on the RESTAURANTS Act – the acronym stands for (deep breath) Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive – that was passed by Congress last year but never introduced in the Republican-led Senate. That bill would have provided $109 billion for restaurants. The American Rescue Plan that the House sent to the Senate last week stipulated $25 billion of the total package for restaurants; the Senate increased it by $3.6 billion.
Central Florida’s infatuation with food halls continues, the newest, Marketplace at Avalon Park, scheduled to open sometime in April. Ten businesses have been announced for the opening: Brazas Chicken; Bowigens Beer Company; LemonShark Poke; Rosso Specialty Coffee; Sip and Roll; BBQ50 BBQ; Rosso Specialty Coffee; NOLA Avalon Park; KBBQ Kitchen (Korean); and Cheese To Share (a concept I need to work on).
MAP joins about a dozen other food halls in the works – Mark Baratelli of The Daily City has compiled a good list of them. Two of the halls, in downtown Orlando, will be about a half a block from each other, Bumby Arcade Food Hall and South Orange Provisions Food Hall.
This is the second of a two-part recap of the Curated Experiences sponsored by the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes Orlando. You can read the first part here.
On Saturday evening, the Da Vinci Lawn was staged for a more formal dinner with large round tables, no more than five people to a table, with each place elegantly set with all the forks, knives, spoons and stemware that would be needed for the five-course meal.