Newsy Nuggets: Let's go outside

Written by Scott Joseph on .


  • Frontyard Festival, the clever initiative to make use of the vast space in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for concerts and other events, is adding a food element to go with the entertainment, including a Sunday brunch series. Seating is in boxes, just like in chichi theaters except these are constructed with metal pipes that look like scaffolding sections and they’re all on the ground instead of above the orchestra section. But they allow for distancing. And each box has a QR code you can scan with your phone to order drinks and food that someone will deliver to you. Upcoming brunches include Latin music performer Ángel López (Jan. 31); opera with Gabriel Preisser and the Opera Orlando chorus (Feb. 7); and jazz with members of the Jazz Orchestra (Feb. 14). Details and tickets at the Frontyard Festival website.
  • Want more outdoor options? The Promenade at Sunset Walk will have a Super Bowl watch party on Feb. 7, which as luck would have it is the day the big game is being played this year.

Newsy Nuggets: Brews and other stuff

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hourglass Hope

A Spoon Full of Hope, the retail product line of Second Harvest of Central Florida, has teamed up with Hourglass Brewing to present An Hourglass Full of Hope, which will bring you a glass full of beer.

A steam lager, actually, made with ASFOH’s orange blossom honey. According to Hourglass’s tasting notes, the beer has “fragrant notes of spiced sap and swirling sweet lemon-lime citrus” there are also “flourishes of golden biscuits and freshly baked bread” plus “a subtle caramel finish” that comes from resting the lager on cracked honeycomb toffee that was made with the same honey. You can experience all that – and help fund Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program – at Hourglass Brewing, the addresses for which you’ll find on its website.

  • Speaking of brewing, Gatlin Hall Brewing is still on tap (see what I did there?) to open this quarter inSoSoDo. Besides an onsite brewing facility, the hall will feature food vendors. Final permitting has been completed and the owners are looking for a mid March opening. Also moving into the strip mall at South Orange Avenue and Gatlin Avenue will be a second location of Winter Park’s The Porch, I hear.

Palma Maria permanently closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Palma Maria exterior

Palma Maria, the longtime family operated Italian restaurant in Casselberry, is closing permanently.

The restaurant had closed Jan. 4 following the death of its owner and operator Peter Rosinola Jr. In a post Monday afternoon on the Palma Maria Facebook page, the family announced that it would not reopen. Besides the loss of Rosinola, the hardships that Covid-19 has visited on businesses, especially restaurants, was another reason, according to sources familiar with the business.

Palma Maria – named for the family's grandmother – was one of the area's older restaurants. I first reviewed it in 1991 when it was already an established favorite among locals. It gained renown for baking its own bread and presenting each table with a whole loaf to enjoy with the meal and bagging up any bread that was left to take home.

A reusable, exchangeable takeout container

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Here’s a dandy idea.

One of the downfalls of the rise in takeout is the regrettable single-use foam and plastic containers in which the food is packaged. The containers are convenient, relatively cheap, easy to use, and potentially an ecological disaster.

So that’s why I like this product from M’Porte, a San Diego company. It’s marketing reusable to-go containers that customers purchase and then exchange with their next order.

Restaurants participating in the M’Porte exchange program will take a customer’s container – rinsed of any food residue – and exchange it for a cleaned and sanitized one filled with more delicious and guilt-free food. Well, at least free of guilt from trashing the environment.

And my understanding of the program is that the container isn’t tied to just one restaurant but can be exchanged at any participating eatery. And, the restaurants take 25 cents off the order, which sounds like sort of a big whoop kind of deal but those quarters can eventually add up.

The containers are leak proof and made of food grade stainless steel. They can hold up to 50 ounces of food and can be placed in the over to reheat the takeout (if you remove the silicone seal that makes it leak proof).

Currently, only a handful of restaurants in Del Mar and Encinitas are participating in the exchange program. But it sure would be nice to see it expand to Central Florida.

What do you think – would you participate in a reusable takeout container exchange program?