Celebrate Valentine's Day at Tabla

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tabla exterior

Remember when love was the only thing in the air and you didn’t have to wear a mask to protect yourself from it?

Last year we managed to get past Valentine’s Day before the shutdowns began. This year, though there is encouragement as the vaccines continue to roll out, Valentine’s Day dining probably won’t look like it has in years past. But there will still be opportunities, whether onsite, on a patio or with a sumptuous takeaway, for you and your quarantine companion to celebrate on Feb. 14. I mean, if you’re still speaking to each other.

I’ll be sharing some Valentine’s Day specials over the next few days, but today consider the prix fixe menu from our friends at Tabla. It’s five courses for $50 per person and starts with an amuse bouche of mac and cheese love bites and concludes with a rasmalai cake dessert called The Climax (you may want to get that one to go).

There are also good selections for entrees – the full menu is below – all prepared with the expert care we’ve come to expect from Tabla and chef Sajan. Reservations are required and the special menu is available at Tabla Orlando and Tabla Winter Park. Contact the restaurant for more information.

Darden and Feeding America give Second Harvest refrigerated food pantry truck

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Darden food trucks

The good news: Darden Restaurants has partnered with Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., to provide assistance, including enhancing mobile food pantry programs with refrigerated box trucks, in five communities in the country with high levels of food insecurity.

The bad news: Orlando is one of the five communities.

Which could also be seen as good news, since Central Florida’s problem with hunger, especially among children and people of color, has been a well-known issue, one that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Through a $500,000 from Orlando-based Darden’s foundation and support from Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics, five food banks, including Second Harvest of Central Florida, will receive a 26-foot refrigerated truck to help get food to areas that need it. The other organizations receiving aid include: Feeding the Valley Food Bank in Midland, Georgia; Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport; Mid-South Food Bank, Memphis; and San Antonio Food Bank.

Newsy Nuggets: Of kitchens and Cantinas

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Taco Bell Cantina ext

  • The downtown location of Taco Bell Cantina, the alcohol-serving version of the fast food chain that sells menu items resembling tex-mex cuisine, is back on. In fact, if you’re downtown Wednesday you may happen upon its soft-as-a-real-taco-toritlla opening. The TB Cantina, which I hope the company doesn’t call it, has been in the works for a long time and was put on hold last July. At the time, some people placed wagers as to whether it would open at all. And yes, I will honor my bets.
  • Another soft opening is scheduled for Thursday when Outpost Kitchen, which used to be in College Park, opens in its new home in Maitland. The restaurant’s Facebook page asks people to make a reservation and admonishes them to honor its mandatory mask policy – keep it on unless you’re seated and eating and drinking. They’ll also take your temperature and email address for tracing purposes, if needed. Too intrusive? Stay home. We all need to make concessions to keep each other safe, and that includes the people who work in the restaurants.

Newsy Nuggets: Portillo's to the people and other stuff

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Portillo bus

  • Portillo’s to the People: Portillo’s, the Chicago based beeffeeder, is parking its beef bus at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando through Jan. 30. Known for its beef sandwiches and hot dogs, Portillo’s plans to open its first Central Florida restaurant on March on Palm Parkway.
  • Shake Shack, the New York burgery, plans to open its first drive-through facility. Or drive-thru, as shorthand would have it. Artist renditions show three lanes, two for people who want to just drive up and order and one for people who preordered using an app. Considering Shake Shack’s history of long lines, you’d think maybe they’d have a nonglobal-warming lane just for electric vehicles. Later this year, at Vineland Pointe.
  • Bread & Co., the Asian artisan bakery, is back operating out of its facility on Fairbanks Avenue near Orlando Avenue in Winter Park.