UberEats: The gig economy delivers restaurant food to your front door

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Editor's note: UberEats is an advertiser on the flog.

Restaurants have been delivering food for eons, even before civilization entered the Internet Age.

But it was the internet that made it more plausible.

But now an even more recent development than the internet is changing the meal delivery game again: the gig economy.

And gig giant Uber is leading the pack with its UberEats service.

The H Cuisine

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Hcuisine exterior

If you name your restaurant The H Cuisine, wouldn’t you expect people to wonder what the h the H stands for?

That’s the name of a beautiful restaurant in the Dr. Phillips district. It’s primarily a steakhouse and there are Turkish touches on the menu — Turkish and tulum salads, kafes (rack of lamb) — so might the initial be for halal, the designation for meats prepared by Muslim law?

No.

Maybe it refers to the space, the former Stefano’s Grill, which has been so completely transformed into an upscale and posh dining room that it’s absolutely heavenly? Or for the prices, which are high?

No and no.

The owners all have last names that begin with the letter H. That’s it. As I’ve said before, naming a restaurant is really Hard (with a capital H).

Buster's Bistro

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Busters interior

It was a photo on the website for Buster’s Bistro that threw me. I had heard of the Sanford restaurant and had gone online to do some preliminary research. I was meeting some friends for dinner and wanted something a little more upscale. On one of Buster’s web pages was a photo of a dining room with the tables covered in crisp white cloths. Just what I was looking for.

Buster’s Bistro is a bar. A Belgian bar, to be precise.

And the tables are not covered with cloths, white or otherwise. (The photo that hooked me was from a special event, apparently.)

But BB’s menu is more ambitious than most bars, with such selections as Short Rib Carbonnade, Vol-au-Vent, and Tikka Masala Curry. The results are as varied as the selections.

Tasting Table: Tapa Toro

Written by Scott Joseph on .

This is the first of a new series of video reviews in partnership with WFTV and Inside Central Florida. Vidoegraphy by Zack Schwartz; still photos by Shelly Caran. For more, visit icFlorida.com.

Tapatoro video shoot

Tapa Toro, the Spanish restaurant under ICON Orlando, or whatever the Ferris wheel is being called these days, is now three years old. Wendy Lopez, who opened the restaurant as its executive chef, left late last year to accept a job to lead the kitchen at Reyes Mezcalaria. Frank Galeano was named to replace her. I returned to Tapa Toro recently to see what changes Galeano has put in place.

His menu tweaks include lighter and more healthful entries and a focus on more regional Spanish dishes. Watch the video or continue reading.

 

Roque Pub

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Roque bar

Pub food is hard to do right. Most pubs recognize the need to offer some food, some sustenance beyond chips or peanuts and an olive garnish to prevent patrons from sloshing out of the bar. Food can act as a (temporary) sponge.

But most pubs don’t have a proper kitchen or the necessary equipment to do more than a rudimentary menu. And that’s fine. Sandwiches with big doughy buns are appropriate fare. But when a bar tries to overreach and offer more than it’s capable of delivering, the results are usually disappointing.

That seems to be the issue with Roque Pub, an otherwise fun neighborhood bar in the emerging Curry Ford West district.

Frontera Cocina by (and with) Rick Bayless

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Frontera interior

I was surprised when I was told that Frontera Cocina, the Disney Springs restaurant from chef Rick Bayless was celebrating its third year.

I was even more surprised that the man who told me was Bayless himself.

It seemed like no more than a year ago that Bayless, the well-known Chicago based chef and restaurateur, was on hand to open the Disney Springs venue. I figured that would be the last we’d see of him in Central Florida. Certain celebrity chefs are known for putting their names on restaurants and then practically forgetting where they are.

But Bayless, I’m told, is at Frontera Cocina at least once a quarter, usually to help roll out a seasonal menu. That was why he was there talking to me last month as part of a media preview of the winter menu.

Sus Hi Eatstation

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Sus Hi bowl

Something’s getting lost in the translation. Or at least in the expansion.

When I first reviewed Sus Hi, in July of 2012, it was a nascent fast-fooder on Alafaya Trail near UCF, attempting to do for sushi what Moe’s did for Tex-Mex. It had an exuberant staff that called out “Welcome, Ninja” to each new guest, and they seemed excited about their food and genuinely happy to be serving it.

Now called Sus Hi Eatstation, it has four locations and another opening soon. One of the newer locations is in the Millenia area, and I stopped in there not long ago to see how the concept has fared over the past seven years.

Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria

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Mi Casa guac

So I had a friend visiting from New York, staying at Rosen Shingle Creek, and I suggested we get together for a drink and a bite to eat. More for a drink. I quickly went through the options at Shingle Creek and decided I’d visited them all and would rather try something new. I said I’d pick him up and we’d go elsewhere.

We drove a few miles over to the Orange Blossom Trail area and went to a little restaurant I’d heard about. We sat down in a booth and a young woman handed us a menu. I asked about the beer and wine selection. She said they did not serve alcohol, so we left.

The same thing happened at the next two places we stopped at. Then my friend just casually mentioned that he’d had a good meal at the Mexican restaurant at Shingle Creek.

Shingle Creek has a Mexican restaurant? That somehow eluded me. So we got in the car and drove back to the resort we had left a half hour earlier, hungrier and definitely thirstier.

Domu Chibi

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Domu cjhibi ramen room

Domu, the popular East End Market ramenerie, has opened a new concept, Domu Chibi Ramen, in Waterford Lakes. It’s meant to be a quick-serve operation, but they’ve managed to make it quicker serve in at least one aspect.

Instead of giving an order to someone at the counter, customers are prompted to use electronic tablets in front of it to place and pay for an order. Heck, you might even want to leave yourself a tip as you pay, because unlike other quick-serve restaurants, you must go back up to the pick-up counter to fetch your own food. I’m guessing if they could, they’d find away for a non-human to call the names.

Domu cjhibi order

Indeed, the staff behind the counter, just a few feet away from the ordering kiosk, avoid looking at or otherwise acknowledging the arrival of new customers. This seems to be one carryover from the Audubon Park Domu, which, though full service, also has a staff that doesn’t seem to feel the need to be accommodating to its guests.

City Pub

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Citypub interior

City Pub is the new restaurant and bar that replaced North Quarter Tavern. The bones of the place are the same, with the central bar and surrounding dining tables. But some decorating touches have been added — royal blue paint, wood wainscoting over a tufted banquette along the back wall — that give it a traditional pub mien.

And the food is still above average, though not as creative as when NQT first opened. But then, in retrospect, that menu was probably too ambitious (and costly).

Yet there’s something about City Pub that just doesn’t seem to congeal. It lacks focus, and the staff don’t seem to have guidance to help them in finding the center. On both of my visits, I felt like everyone there would rather be somewhere else.