New Restaurant's Name: Prato

Written by Scott Joseph on .

It has a name!

The new restaurant from the Luma on Park team, heady from its recent visit from Paul McCartney, will be called Prato, an Italian word that means lawn or meadow.

Prato (say prah-toe) will occupy the former Ann Taylor clothing store space a couple of doors down from Luma. Brandon McGlamery will be executive chef and Matt Cargo will serve as chef de cuisine. Both recently took a cooks’ tour of Italy to get some menu inspiration and to visit the ovens that are being built for the restaurant in Naples.

McGlamery says the restaurant will be “more accessible” than the upscale Luma on Park with a lower price point but with the same sort of creativity found at Luma. There will be no cross-over of dishes between the two restaurants, although they may share local ingredient sourcing.

Both McGlamery and Cargo are participating in the Rioja Street Fare Festival later this month, so attendees will have the first chance to taste the type of food that will be served at Prato.

More details to come.


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.


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.


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.