Matchbook Memories: Samba Room

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Samba Room matches

Samba Room was one of the earlier tenants of Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row. It occupied the space where Rocco’s Tacos currently resides and was next door to Timpano, which was an Italian steakhouse of sorts. (Eddie V’s is where Timpano’s building stood.)

Both Samba Room and Timpano were brands of TGI Friday’s parent company, Carlson Worldwide, which eventually sold them to Orlando based E-Brands. E-Brands was eventually acquired by Tavistock Group. Although both chains had several locations, none seem to have survived. (Correction: A Timpano still exists in Tampa's Hyde Park; h/t Matthew Mervis.) (The Fort Laurderdal Samba Room, which existed for several years after Orlando's, closed in 2010.)

Orlando baker wins national competition for 3d time

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Rahman checkOrlando's Evette Rahman receives check after winning dessert competition at the World Food Championship in Dallas earlier this month. (Photo: WFC)

You may have had some great desserts at your Thanksgiving feast, but you probably didn’t have world champion quality desserts. Unless, of course, you ordered your holiday pies and cakes from Sister Honey’s on Michigan Street in Orlando.

And you didn’t have Sister Honey’s pies and cakes at your holiday feast unless you ordered them before October 1. That’s when the small bakery’s reservations for Thanksgiving filled up.

And sometime between then and D-Day (the D is for Dessert), Sister Honey’s owner Evette Rahman traveled to Dallas to compete in the dessert category at the World Food Championship.

And she won. Again. In fact, it was Rahman’s third time taking first place at the competition, something no one else has ever done.

Join Scott in New York in December 2022

Written by Scott Joseph on .

NYC iceskating copy

Update: Use promo code SCOTT and save $100 per person if you reserve before Dec. 15.

I’m getting really excited about the trip to New York City I’m hosting in conjunction with Art In Voyage – Beyond Travel. It’s just two weeks away and I’m anxious to see the city in all of its holiday splendor again and to share it with others.

And I’m even more excited to announce that because this trip proved to be so popular, we’ve already scheduled another New York trip for December 2022.

Newsy Nuggets

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hall on the YardPhoto: Hall on the Yard

Openings: Food halls, taqueria and Florida kitchen

Openings, we’ve got openings.

The Hall on the Yard, the long-anticipated food, beer and cocktail space, opened Thursday in Ivanhoe Village at 1460 Alden Road, Orlando.

The hall has nine restaurants, with a few more spaces yet to fill, three bars and private event spaces.

Opening restaurants include: Humbl, the quick-service plant-based eatery; Spice Affair, Indian; Pasion, Mexican; the Poke Rose (poke is pronounced po-kay, so is rose pronounced ro-say?); The Chef & I, American fusion; Fork & Hen, Southern; Daily Bread Bakers; True Island, Caribbean; and Wabi Sabi, Japanese.

Hall on the Yard will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, opening 9 a.m. Sundays.

HOTY is the second food hall to open in recent weeks. Milkhouse, in the Milk District, naturally, has two concepts from Bruno Zacchini, owner of Pizza Bruno, and neither involves pizza. Instead there’s Bagel Bruno and Cicchètti by Bruno. Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. is on tap and Foxtail Coffee Co. is there, too. Fittingly for a pace called Milkhouse, Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is there, too.