Written by Scott Joseph on .

Taglish plate

“Hi, welcome,” said the man behind the counter at Taglish. “I’m Mike, I’m the owner.”

That was the pleasant beginning to a visit that got even better as it went along. Well, as pleasant as food-court dining can be, but we’ll come back to that.

Taglish is a Filipino-American stall in the food court at Lotte Market in West Orlando. The name is a portmanteau of Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines, and English. I’m not sure how that translates to the menu, which seems to have more fusions of Filipino and Spanish. But then if you combined those two you’d still come up with Taglish, so we’re good.

Todo Sushi

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Todo exterior

I don’t think a whole lot more could go wrong with my meal at Todo Sushi than it did.

First I ordered the Sashimi Combo and got the Sushi and Sashimi Combo. Because I had ordered only sashimi, or so I thought, I also ordered a separate yellowtail nigirizushi by the piece.

Regardless of which item I had ordered, or the server thought I had ordered, it was to come with both salad and miso soup. Neither arrived.

Kathi Rolls

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Kathi exterior

It wasn’t even a year ago that I told you about a new restaurant on Curry Ford Road called Forever Naan.

Unfortunate name, that.

It was doing full versions of classic Indian dishes – Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry – and doing them good enough, but for whatever reason it closed.

In its place now is Kathi Rolls, named for a food made popular by street vendors in Kolkata. A kathi roll, sometimes spelled kati though it’s pronounced kha-thee, is essentially a kebab served in a folded paratha. So it’s basically an Indian wrap sandwich. Or a subcontinental taco. As served at this eponymous restaurant, it’s also very good.

Happy Snapper Seafood Market & Restaurant

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Happy Snapper exterior

I take it as a generally positive sign that after I order a bowl of clam chowder the first thing the cook does is grab a handful of fresh clams.

That’s what happened when I stopped in for lunch at Happy Snapper, a seafood market with a hot food menu in the Pine Castle area south of downtown Orlando.

It’s a small shop and the inventory of fresh fish, displayed in the counter on crushed ice, is limited. Don’t expect to find the array of a Lombardi’s or Bar Harbor. It’s more the type of place where you ask, “What’s fresh,” and plan your menu from there rather than go expecting to find a certain fish or shellfish for your evening’s dinner.

The menu is compact, as well, but offers a good representation of fruits of the sea.

Spice Indian Grill

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Spice exterior

I would think that Spice Indian Grill would be quite popular with grad students. First, there’s its proximity to the UCF main campus. And second, the food is quite affordable, especially the lunch buffet. Thinking back to my days as a starving grad student, I might have “splurged” once a week on a feast like the one served at Spice and felt full and stated for several days after. I probably wouldn’t have been hungry enough the next day to eat the Pop Tart that had become a daily regimen.

And that the food at Spice is good is all the more reason to recommend it, and not just for students on a food budget.

Happy Hour at American Social

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Amso pbj

I love the beginning of the year when people make resolutions to eat less and go on diets and even do a Dryuary, where they give up drinking for the month of January.

I don’t participate in such things, mind you, but I love that people do because it means less crowding at fun happy hours. And speaking of fun happy hours, American Social.

AmSo, or AmSosh, as I like to call it, is the South Florida sports bar and grill that moved into the Orlando market last year, taking over a former Bar Louie spot on Sand Lake Road and immediately improving the neighborhood.

American Social is big on its happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with $4, $5 and $6 drink specials and and great deals on shareable plates of chef Freddy Figuera’s food.

Tasty Wok BBQ & Noodle House

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Tasty Wok exterior

I enjoy going to a restaurant where the staff greets me warmly when I come through the door, serves the food with an easy smile and thanks me for my business when I leave.

I hope to visit a restaurant like that soon, but for today I’m at Tasty Wok BBQ & Noodle House.

Tasty Wok is a new/not new Cantonese restaurant in the Mills 50 district. The location is new but the business is not. For many years it had been on the corner of Shine Avenue and Colonial Drive, but late last year it moved across the street, presumably for more seats and to be closer to across-the-lot sister restaurant Ming’s Bistro. (More parking, too, without patrons having to co-opt the spaces in Publix’s lot.)

On my most recent visit to the new space, I was...well, greeted isn’t the right word. I was noticed, eventually, by an unsmiling woman who pointed to a table that she presumably wanted me to sit at. This dour person turned out to also be my server. She brought me a menu and put down a plate with a paper napkin and a fork on it. (I’d have to flag someone down later for some chopsticks.)

Hungry Pants

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Hungry Pants interior

I have no idea why it’s called Hungry Pants. It could just as easily have been named Famished Footwear or Starving Sweater.

I also can’t say what it is that makes these particular pants so peckish. That will just have to remain a mystery.

Hungry Pants is the project of Joey Conicella and Alex Marin who were the original owners of the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, one of the early entries in Orlando’s food truck scene. They describe Hungry Pants as offering “a plant-curious menu in a fast-fine setting.”

Tap Room at Dubsdread, a Guest Review

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taproom corner

As has become an annual tradition, I participated as a silent auction item at the Orlando Shakes gala. The prize is for a couple to join me at a restaurant and help me review it.

And as has also become a tradition, the successful bidders were John and Rita Lowndes. And so we gathered at Tap Room at Dubsdread, whose owner, Steve Gunter, had graciously donated the meal to benefit the theater company.

We gathered at the restaurant on a Thursday evening and found it at full capacity, but our reserved table was waiting for us. Tap Room at Dubsdread has been known as a place for power lunches with the city’s movers and shakers gathering to see and be seen as much as to have a good meal.

Tori Tori Pub

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Toritori exterior

At first glance, it’s hard to tell whether Tori Tori wants to be a restaurant or a bar that serves food.

Its name, which, roughly translated, is Japanese for Poultry Poultry or Chicken Chicken, would suggest the former. Its mien, however, is more of a cocktail lounge, with a large bar that dominates the sizable space and a few booths that ring the perimeter of the room. Even for those who choose to sit at a table – or can find an empty seat at one – there is no table service; orders for food and drinks must be placed with a bartender; food runners deliver the orders.

And there seem to be more drink options on the small booklet-size menu than food, which is all small plates (and presented in small print for that matter). There’s even a section of the menu labeled Bar Food.

But none of this is “bar food.” Each dish is thoughtfully conceived and expertly executed.