Twisted Burger is Closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Twisted Burger has closed on Sand Lake Road making that two restaurants to shutter in that same space in less than one year. Pizza Fusion, an organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable pizzeria, at least sustainable in the ecologic sense, closed in November of 2010 after more than a year and a half run. Twisted Burger, whose gimmick was cheese stuffed between two patties and a special “Twisted” sauce, opened in the first quarter of this year. In my recent review, I found the burger to be pretty good, though I was unable to order the burger cooked to my requested temperature, and service was unfriendly. Flogger reports say a sign on the door of the Restaurant Row location gives a hope of revival, but others say the closing looks too permanent. I’ll let you know if I hear anything else.

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Orlando Magical Dining Month is Here

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month begins today and runs the entire month of September. Participating restaurants -- some 60-plus -- will offer special three-course menus for a set price of $30 per person. One dollar from each sale will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Here’s a link to the official Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month website where you can see all the restaurants and get a look at the menus they are offering. This is a good chance to visit a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try but have been waiting for the recession to end. At these prices, you can pretend we’re back in flush times already.

To kick off Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, I’ve been giving away gift certificates to some of the participating restaurants, thanks to the generosity of Visit Orlando and some of the individual restaurants, including Funky Monkey restaurant group and Emeril’s Homebase. This is what we’ve had drawings for so far:

Friday: Cala Bella (unclaimed)
Monday: City Fire (claimed) and Citrus (claimed)
Tuesday: Funky Monkey Pointe Orlando (claimed) and Nick's Italian Kitchen (unclaimed)
Wednesday: Prickly Pear (unclaimed) and Funky Monkey Pointe Orlando (claimed)
Thursday: Prickly Pear (unclaimed) and Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (claimed)
Today: Funky Monkey Orlando and Emeril’s Orlando

Any certificates that haven’t been claimed by Tuesday morning will be put back in the hopper and I’ll have more drawings that day.

As with all drawings, the winners will be selected from among the recipients of my newsletter. If you’re already signed up, you’re already registered to win. If not, click this link and enter your address (don’t worry, I won’t share your address with anyone, no matter how much they beg). You may also sign up by texting the letters SJO to 22828.

One caveat: the certificates will be for the Magical Dining Month menu and therefore must be redeemed during the month of September 2011.

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Taste of the Nation Big Success; One More Event to Follow

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The Taste of the Nation event that was held at the Orlando Marriott World Center a couple of weeks ago was a big success. And there’s one more event planned that is looking like it will put some more money in the coffers to help end childhood hunger in America.

The main event raised $167,500 from the more than 2000 who attended. They nibbled, noshed and sipped on foods and wines that were donated by top restaurants and wine and spirit distributors. There was so much and it was all so spread out over the vast ballroom space that I wasn’t able to visit all the stations, but I didn’t leave hungry. Some favorites were the spicy Durban chicken from Sanaa and the tempura lobster tacos from  the host hotel. They also had a tripletta sandwich, which was a bit daring for one of these events, but pretty darned tasty.

Sonoma Draught House to Open

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sonoma_Interior

Update: Soft opening now scheduled for Thursday and Friday evenings, Aug. 25 & 26, dinner only for now; lunch later.

It looks like Sonoma Draught House is finally ready to open, softly, this week on Wednesday, though I hear it could be as early as today. I was driving by the Sanctuary the other day and noticed that someone had left the door propped open, so I snuck inside to take a peek.

The place looks great, classy in a cabin retreat sort of way. There are touches of horizontal plank wood on the walls and columns of large stacked river rock. Chandeliers fashioned out of beer bottles add a fun touch. Metal stools look like they’d be a literal pain in the butt but they’re actually quite comfortable. And there’s got to be a great story behind the larger than life photo mural inside the front door of a woman of a certain age with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other who appears to be having the time of her life.