Taste of Thornton Park

Written by Scott Joseph on .

If you’re trying to come up with a dinner idea for tonight (Thursday, Oct. 21), I’ve got a terrific solution: head down to Taste of Thornton Park between 6 and 9 p.m. and you can eat yourself silly for just $30 if you buy your tickets in advance or $40 if you buy them at the gate. You can still get tickets at these places:

Aroma Italian Cafe and Wine Bar
712 E. Washington Street, Orlando, 32801 407-426-8989
Hours: 5 pm till 1 am Wednesday through Saturday
716 E. Washington Street, Orlando, 32801 407-835-8855
Hours: 11 am till 6 pm Monday through Thursday
Publix at the Paramount 
400 East Central Blvd., Orlando, 32801 407-872-7202
Hours: 7 am till 10 pm Seven days a week
Proceeds go to The Thornton Park Neighborhood Association and Outreach Love.

The action will take place around the fountain on Washington Street and Hyer Avenue. For a list of participating restaurants, visit thorntonpark.org.


Brazen Divas: Barbecued Pork Chops

Written by Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole on .

braised_bbq_pork_chops1Why shake and bake when you can braise and praise? These ooey-gooey braised pork chops in a tangy, from-scratch barbecue sauce come together with just five pantry-friendly ingredients.

Boneless chops can toughen up in a hurry, so we’re slowing things down for this classic, budget-beloved main course. Braising is an ideal cooking method for tougher cuts of meat—and best of all? It’s ridiculously easy. A quick sear in a bit of fat, followed by a small amount of liquid and a tight fitting lid is all it takes to fill your home with the mouth-watering aroma of a truly scrumptious supper.

To go with, smash up some sweet ‘taters with butter, a brightening burst of ginger paste and nutty, sweet ground coriander.

Race (Pile of) Rock

Written by Scott Joseph on .


And down she came. The behemoth Race Rock restaurant with its round roof painted in black-and-white checkered flag motif, has been reduced to a pile of rubble. The building on International Drive was demolished to make way for a Dave & Buster’s restaurant, arcade and bar. The building has sat empty for years, a hard-to-miss eyesore on the landscape. It began its life as Caruso’s Palace, an ornately decorated Italian restaurant with a massive dining room beneath a rotunda. Caruso’s Palace was built by Robert Earl in pre-Planet Hollywood days. No word on when Dave & Buster’s will be finished; let’s wait until the dust settles to see how long it takes for construction to start.

First Look: Boathouse Winter Park and Drake's Bar

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Canoes and old outboard motors decorate the new Boathouse restaurant in Winter Park.
Craig Tremblay and his crew are putting the final touches on the new restaurant and bar at the confluence of Fairbanks, Orange and Pennsylvania Avenues. The restaurant will be called the Boathouse, and the bar is Drake’s.

Old-timers will remember this spot as the home of another restaurant and bar combination: Harper’s Tavern and Le Cordon Bleu. Harpers was one of the oldest bars in the region, including a history as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Le Cordon Bleu was one of the few fine-dining restaurants in Central Florida, a place to get dressed up for a fancy French meal. Both businesses had an abrupt end in 1996 when a fire gutted the structure. Following restoration, new businesses occupied the space -- including, in 2002, one called Harper’s Tavern and Grill, that was nothing but a disappointment. The following year it became Coyote Grill and Sports Bar. Most recently it was an O’boys barbecue restaurant.

Tremblay is trying both to recreate the old Harper’s atmosphere and reinvent it. For starters, he has re-closed walls that had been removed to open the bar and restaurant into one big space. The separate names for the two entities will also reinforce that idea, although technically both will operate under the same license.