Matchbook Memories: The Bubble Room

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bubble Room

It’s difficult to describe the Bubble Room to anyone who didn’t experience it firsthand. It occupied a building in Maitland that is now the home of a Buca di Beppo and it was known for its humongous portions and its over-the-top decor. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe it. One of my reviews said, “The decor looks like grandma’s attic exploded and landed in the Land of Oz on Christmas Day.”

Here’s what I wrote in my first review of the Bubble Room, which ran in the Sentinel on July 21, 1991:

Dates, restaurants announced for Visit Orlando's Magical Dining

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Magical Dining 21

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining will run from Aug. 27 through Oct. 3 this year with participating restaurants offering special three-course menus for $37.

This is the sixteenth year for the promotion, which began as an attempt to help boost business during what is historically a slow time for area restaurants. (Originally called Magical Dining Month, it ran only during September.) It quickly became one of Central Florida’s most anticipated culinary events.

Newsy Nuggets: DoveCote down, culinary job fair and, of course, a new chicken franchise

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Dovecote 2018 interior

I’m guessing that DoveCote, the French brasserie in downtown Orlando, was looking forward to a cheerier summer. Just earlier this month it announced that Brian Lamparski had been hired as its new executive chef. Lamparski had previously been with Walt Disney World (sous chef at Golden Oak, according to his Linkedin profile) and had also, according to a press release, “[established] his bonafides in internationally known restaurants such as Spago’s,” which Wolfgang Puck would tell you is called Spago. (Also, bona fides.)

But it would seem that Lamparski doesn’t currently have a kitchen to cook in. A post on DoveCote’s Facebook page yesterday announced that on July 12 a fan in the kitchen’s exhaust hood “malfunctioned and broke apart, causing extensive damage.” Thus the restaurant will be closed through August 1. Not sure how the restaurant operated with a damaged hood system for more than a week; seems like an important piece of equipment in a professional kitchen.

This comes amid news of a dispute between DoveCote’s owner and the landlord for the space in the former Bank of America building (also former Barnett Bank Building and former DuPont building). According to news reports, the landlord, Southwest Value Partners, is seeking to evict the restaurant for hosting disruptive events. DoveCote’s owner, Rob Tazioli, has said that the landlord just doesn’t like that the events are attended by Black and Hispanic patrons. He says SVP has discriminatory practices.

Do not, says SVP.

Do too, says DoveCote.

The issue is expected to go before a mediator. One hopes the hood system will be fixed before then.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is up and running, but it's not quite a full stride

Written by Scott Joseph on .

EpcotFW21 sign

After more than a year of offering abbreviated editions of its year-round schedule of festivals, Walt Disney World has dropped the qualifying words “taste of” and is once again hosting the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Except that it’s still not the food and wine festival you know from prepandemic days. There are no cooking demonstrations from visiting celebrity chefs; no wine tastings hosted by world renown winemakers; no food-pairing dinners or luncheons; and most notably, there are no Party for the Senses events on the schedule, the Saturday night extravaganzas that were always a highlight of the festival.

So basically, it’s still just a “taste of” or a festivalette.

EpcotFW21 closed

Also, you should know that even though the food & wine festival kicked off on July 15, some aspects of it will not open until Oct. 1, including the Ireland, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Kenya, India, the Alps, Mac & Eats, and Lobster Landing marketplaces.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good eats to check out right now, including some new marketplace offerings, but I’ll let festival chef Kevin Downing give you the details in the video below.