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I’ve been telling you about some of the new food concepts that will be located at the Marketplace at Avalon Park, which has softly opened and will do so grandly on Saturday. But there is at least one veteran in the food hall, if you consider a 15-year-old restaurant a veteran (and I do).

It’s Brazas Chicken, which I first reviewed in late 2006 when it opened in the Fort Gatlin Shopping Center. Brazas specializes in polleria, a Peruvian style rotisserie chicken, and even though it’s been 15 years since I’ve eaten there, I still remember the wonderful flavors of the marinade and the crispiness of the chicken skin. And I remember the warm hospitality of the staff.


FWFall donuts

Ah, September. An extra blanket on the bed at night, cool; crisp walks with the dog in the morning as my corduroys make a croosh, croosh, croosh noise; and I’ve started to look for firewood to stack on the hearth.

OK, ok, I know it’s still in the nineties, I’m cranking up the air overnight and I wear shorts on the morning walk (though oddly I still make that croosh, croosh, croosh sound).

But work with me here – it’s time to check out the fall menu options at First Watch.


Magical Dining 21

In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition, Visit Orlando has extended its Magical Dining promotion an additional two weeks. The event, scheduled to end on Oct. 3, will now run through Oct. 17.

“We’re thrilled to offer more time for visitors and locals to take advantage of this incredible program, which has raised over $1.8 million for local charities since 2009,” Casandra Matej, president and CEO for Visit Orlando, said in a press release Monday. “The two-week extension opens the opportunity to raise even more money for this year’s charity beneficiaries while continuing to support our local restaurants.”

The two charities chosen to receive the monies – $1 for each three-course dinner sold – are Pathlight Home and iDignity.

Restaurants participating in Magical Dining offer a special menu with choices for a starter, entree and dessert for $37. Because the set menu usually offers customers the chance to try the food at a savings, Magical Dining has become one of the most popular annual dining promotions.

Visit Orlando has previously extended the dates for Magical Dining. Originally it took place only during September and was known as Magical Dining Month. Last year the event was extended due to pandemic constraints, and in other years hurricanes have prompted extensions.

This year, 95 restaurants are participating. See the full list at the Visit Orlando Magical Dining website.


Bubbalous wp

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-b-que has closed its original location on Lee Road in Winter Park. In an unsigned post on Facebook, the restaurant faulted the pandemic and an inability to find workers as the reason. The post noted that the restaurant closed Saturday with just four employees on staff. They will relocate to the Apopka location.

Sam Meiner opened the first Bubbalou’s 35 years ago and it was once the hands-down favorite among locals. It was awarded numerous Foodie awards by the Orlando Sentinel including several Critic’s Choices from me. Bubbalou’s was an offshoot of Meiner’s Pit Bar-b-que, renamed when Sam Meiner’s grandfather bought Old South Bar-b-que in Fairvilla.


Makers Boulevardier

It’s National Bourbon Heritage Month; what did you get me? Here’s a nice gift idea. Our friends at The Whiskey are hosting another of their Maker’s Mark Dipping Events. These are different from Arthur Murray dipping events. The Whiskey’s involve bottles of their Private Select Single Barrel bourbon and glassware dipped in the thick red wax that is a signature of Maker’s Mark. You might say it’s the Maker’s Mark mark. Anyway, the event is Thursday, Sept. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the restaurant, 7563 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando. You don’t need to register but keep in mind that the last time The Whiskey held this event the bottles sold out, so do your dipping early.

The Whiskey will also host a Heaven’s Door whiskey tasting on Wed., Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. This one is limited to 25 guests. Tickets are $60 and include four bourbons to taste, food and your own bottle of Heaven's Door Cask Strength Barrel. So, yeah, you need to hit this link and get your tickets now.

Fall on farm 21

Our friends at Grande Lakes Orlando will once again offer their series Fall on the Farm. This is different from Fall Down on the Farm and much more fun. Held on the resort’s own Whisper Creek Farm, it includes hayrides, a maze, arts and crafts, a farmer’s market and food from the resort’s culinary team. There will also be demonstrations on falconry and fly fishing, which is different from fishing for flies. It’s every weekend during October and ticketing information is at this link.