Kings Pizza

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Kings Pizza box

I suppose it wasn’t very sporting of me to visit a pizzeria that claims to serve New York style pizzas on the day I was scheduled to fly to New York.

Actually, it was my second visit to Kings Pizza on Curry Ford Road, a second location for the business, which also operates a restaurant on International Drive. The first time I visited the Curry Ford location was back in June and I remembered thinking they didn’t really seem completely set up yet.

Kings Pizza interior

It was quiet, no noise from the two people in the open kitchen area and certainly none from diners, because there were none. The black wall across from the cooking and ordering station was painted black and had graffiti-like scrawls in chalk that looked temporary. And there was a refrigerated counter, the type you might expect to have grab-and-go selections that need to be cooled but also want to be nicely displayed, that was empty and unplugged.

Kings Pizza meat

The pizza on that visit was just OK. The pepperoni slice had good coverage but the Meat Lovers was pathetically topped with scrawny bits of tiny ham cubes and half moons of thinly sliced sausage as well as a few of the same pepperoni. Not really a meat lovers pizza, more of a platonic pie.

Franciacorta, Italy's Other (and Better) Bubbly

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Franciacorta glass

Do you know the wines of Franciacorta? It's not a winery or the name of a winemaker. It's not even the name of a vineyard.

It's a sparkling wine from Italy in the region of Lombardy.

Usually when you hear the words "sparkling wine" and "Italy" together you immediately think Prosecco. And if you're like me, you turn your nose up. I find most Proseccos to be too sweet and ultimately inferior to Champagnes, a comparison that is inevitable, seeing as how Champagne is to sparkling wine as Kleenex is to facial tissue (speaking of turning one's nose up).

There are some big differences between Proseccos and Champagnes, one being that Proseccos are made only with a grape known as glera. Another is the way the second fermentation -- the one that causes the bubbles -- is achieved. For Champagne, it's a process called méthode champenoise, which has the second fermentation occurring in the same bottle you will pop open for your next celebration.

Winter Park Fish Company

Written by Scott Joseph on .

WP Fishco ext

I hadn't visited the Winter Park Fish Company since it opened more than eight and a half years ago. Opening chef George Vogelbacher left the business a few years ago to cook at Maxine's on Shine. There have been lots of other changes, here and around the neighborhood (who remembers that O'boys was just up the block in the building where Ravenous Pig is now -- and where Vogelbacher's Le Cordon Bleu restaurant was for many years?).

I figured it was time to go back and check it out.

Big Time Street Food Co.

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Big Time ext

It seems to be something of a mini trend for bars to partner with nearby or even next-door restaurants. Most bar owners seem to want to focus on the alcohol and not have to worry about all the problems associated with serving food. Yet they recognize that their customers might want something to eat while they drink. And generally speaking, it's probably a good idea for the drinkers to have something in their stomachs.

Ocean Sun Brewing announced that it would allow customers to order food from La Fiesta Mexican restaurant when the two became neighbors on Curry Ford Road. And Hourglass Brewing in Longwood has an open-door policy with Wako Taco -- literally; there is a door from the bar to the restaurant so people can order without going outside. And when the food is ready, someone from Wako will find them in the bar to deliver it.

That's the setup at Big Time Street Food Co. in Thornton Park. There is a doorway from the nascent food operator into Burton's Bar, the longtime dive that has been a fixture of Thornton Park before it was Thornton Park. Order some food at the takeout-only Big Time and you can walk through the doorway to Burton's and wait for it at the bar. You can eat it there, too, if you like.

Glass Knife Revisit

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Glass Knife wide interior

Paid a return visit to the Glass Knife recently to see how it is settling in. When I first reviewed the cake restaurant, back in February, the place was still quite manic, the new kid in town that everyone wanted to try. The procedure was confusing, seemingly to both the customers and the staff, and there was a wild positioning for open seating, then a struggle to hold a conversation with your companion. The food was good, but the experience was lacking.

On my recent visit, in the evening, things were much calmer. The ordering procedure is still a bit confusing, but this time there were plenty of open seats — even one of the small booths so that my friend and I wouldn’t have to sit across from each other at the large communal table — and everything was more relaxed.

Antonio's House of Pizza

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Antonios House interior

I sometimes feel that navigating all the restaurants with Antonio in their names is like playing a pizza version of Where's Waldo. By my count, there's a pizzaiolo's dozen of eateries named Antonio, and that doesn't count the one's named Anthony's.

Add now to the list Antonio's House of Pizza, the new, though not original name for the business that was Maestro Cucina Napoletana. Maestro, you may recall, was a project of longtime area restaurateur Rosario Spagnolo (Terramia) and business parther Antonio Martino. (Maybe there's a law that all pizzeria must have an Antonio involved.) Maestro opened in late 2016; Spagnolo sold it a year and a half later because he did not see a way to scale the business and open others, which was his original plan.

And yes, the new owner is named Antonio. Well, he goes by Anthony. Zeka is his last name, and he owns the Park Avenue restaurant with his wife, Sandra Valencia. (The two of them are responsible for two other pizzerias Antonio's.)

Inay's Kitchen

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Inays kitchen food int

Even with the pin on my phone's Google Maps app indicating I had arrived at my destination, I had a hard time spotting Inay's Kitchen, a Filipino restaurant in Ocoee. Despite the open signs in the window, which were covered with bamboo matchstick blinds, I had a hard time identifying it as a restaurant.

Once I figured it out, I went inside and was greeted by a sign inside the door instructing me to proceed to the back of the space.

That's where you'll find the actual Kitchen, tended to by the actual Inay and a couple of other women.

Urban Hibachi Sushi + Grill

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Urban Hibachi rolls

Urban Hibachi Sushi + Grill, a minichain with three locations spread across Greater Orlando, is really slick. Or at least the Oviedo location I visited is. The decor is bright and modern with minimalist decorations.

I think maybe I just misordered.

Stopping in for lunch, I selected the Makimono Lunch Special, which allows you to choose two selections from a small list of specialty rolls. The two that sounded the most interesting to me were the Sumo and the Tokyo.

Urban Hibachi sumo

The Sumo had escolar and salmon rolled with avocado and scallions with a bit of spicy mayo dotted on top. I somehow missed the note that said the roll was deep fried, but I don't think it would have been a deal killer anyway. I was in the mood for some escolar. Also, not at all sure why this was called the Sumo. No wrestling was involved and they certainly weren't bigger than other rolls.

Café Linger

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Cafe Linger interior

I expected to find Avocado Toast on the menu at Café Linger, a new coffeeshop with food in College Park. I'm pretty sure a coffeehouse can't pass city inspection without Avocado Toast on its menu. I expected to find a Croissant Egg Sandwich, too, and I wasn't even surprised by the Smoked Salmon & Avocado Tartare.

But Spaeztle? That I didn't expect. Or Cod Fritters. And even Steak Frites, considering the place closes most days at 7 p.m.

But there they were, and there I was, so I ordered the Spaeztle (which for the record is spelled Spätzle on the menu). I had just returned from, among other places, Germany and was feeling bad that I hadn't had any of the traditional egg noodles the entire trip.

Cafe Linger spaetzle

Café Linger tosses its Spaeztle, which were uniform enough for me to wonder at first it they weren't actually bucatini (they weren't), with cream and mushrooms and tops it with frizzled fried leeks. The sauce was creamy and the mushrooms delightfully chewy. The leeks added a nice bit of crunch.

But it still seemed an odd thing for a coffeehouse menu.

Eastside Asian Market

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Eastside Asian exterior

There’s an interesting little Asian market on the East side. It’s called Eastside Asian Market.

What makes it more interesting is that along with the aisles and shelves of specialty foods and dry goods that you won’t find in your basic Publix, a corner of the store is dedicated to small cafe with an exclusively vegetarian menu. In fact, a note at the top of the menu board next to the kitchen reads, “Everything is vegetarian. Deal with it.”

There isn’t a whole lot to deal with. The menu is succinct and the food is good.