Category Archives: Orlando

Bullet Point Buffet: Openings? A Slew.

Puck rendering

It seems like we spend a lot of time talking about restaurants that have closed, it’s nice to be able to report a slew of openings.

  • Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is expected to officially open at Disney Springs Monday. Puck had previously had Wolfgang Puck Cafe when the area was known as Downtown Disney West Side, but that’s another story. It was a good restaurant when it opened in 1997, with an upstairs dining room that was meant to more closely approximate the culinary experience at the celebrity chef’s popular Spago. Then Levy Restaurants bought the Wolfgang Puck brand and took over the restaurant. How much did the restaurant change? Puck once told me that he considered asking Levy to take his name off of it. Puck, I’m told, is in control of the new restaurant, so let’s keep a good thought.
  • F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen has opened at 2420 Curry Ford Road, taking the place of Peppino’s Organic Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, which operated in that building a very short time. This is the area that the developers have dubbed the Hourglass District. The city’s Main Streets program would rather you call it Curry Ford West (never mind that it’s on the east side).
Tony Roma
  • Over in the Thornton Park District (that’s TPD on the Main Street’s website), the Menagerie Eatery & Bar is open and, presumably, keeping regular hours, though those hours don’t include Mondays or Tuesdays. It’s from the operators of RusTeak and the Stubborn Mule, just across the way on S. Eola Avenue.
  • In downtown Orlando, in the undistricted area near the Orange County Courthouse, the Ramen has opened. That’s its name: The Ramen. It’s owned by Suichi Tanida, former chef at Mitsukoshi restaurant in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. It’s in the former Philly Connection space at 480 N. Orange Ave.
  • À La Cart has opened in the Milk District and no, Cart is not misspelled. The concept is sort of an open-air food court, with food trucks and carts (not cartes) ringing a green space. Beer and wine are available from a central pavilion.
  • Jumping over to Lake Nona, Park Pizza & Brewing is now serving in the Lake Nona Town Center. This is the third local brand from Orlando based Tavistock Restaurant Group. Even though it is open now, the grand opening isn’t scheduled until January.
  • Ford’s Garage, a Florida chain that started in Ft. Myers in 2012, has opened a location at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. It’s in a freestanding building that sort of looks like a garage. It’s a perfect name for a greasy spoon diner, but burgers and beer are the specialties.
  • La Boucherie, which bills itself as “France’s most popular steakhouse,” has opened a restaurant in Bayhill Plaza at 7625 Turkey Lake Road. It’s in the space that most recently was a Graffiti Junktion and, if I recall, the original location of Memories of India.
  • And because the news can’t all be rosy, Kokino, a tapas restaurant also in Bayhill Plaza, has closed.

https://www.scottjosephorlando.com/news/4563-bullet-point-buffet-openings-a-slew


Enjoy Dinner Plus a Ride on the ICON Orlando with Fly & Dine Package

ICON Orlando Fly & Dine package

Want to do date night on International Drive on a budget? ICON Orlando is currently offering seasonal deals and packages perfect for date night.

The deal we’re most excited about is the Fly & Dine dining package being offered through December 20, 2018. Each Fly & Dine ticket includes one flight aboard the ICON Orlando, plus a voucher for a multi-course dinner at one of seven fast-casual and full-service restaurants. 

Participating restaurants include:

  • Tapa Toro
  • Tin Roof Orlando
  • Shake Shack
  • Sugar Factory
  • iCafe de Paris
  • UNO Express
  • Grill I-Drive

The cost is $32/person for fast casual and $45/person for full-service restaurants. For an extra $4.99/person, you can add an adult beverage to your flight. 

Check out the menus for each participating restaurant here.

More Seasonal Deals

In addition to Fly & Dine, make sure to check out some of ICON Orlando 360’s other seasonal deals:

Florida Residents Anytime Flight
Florida residents save 25% on ICON Orlando flights when purchased online. Florida Resident tickets are $19.99/adult and $14.99/child. Available for flights October 1 – December 24, 2018, January 7 – April 12, 2019, and April 22 – December 20, 2019.

Fly Before 4 and Save
Pay only $14.99 per person on any flight on ICON Orlando before 4 p.m. **Block out dates are November 24 and 25, 2018 and December 24, 2018 – January 1, 2019.

Sky Bar 360
Enjoy two full rotations (44 minutes) on the ICON Orlando plus unlimited beer and wine for up to 10 guests in a private beverage capsule. Pricing begins at $29/person. **Not available December 31, 2018. 21+ only.

BOGO Black Friday Sale
From November 23 – 26, 2018, buy one General Admission or Florida Resident Anytime ticket online and get a second free. Tickets must be used between November 23, 2018 and January 31, 2019. 

Holiday Light Show
Set to your favorite holiday tunes, the Holiday Light Show is a 10-minute spectacle of over 64,000 LED lights on one of the tallest observation wheels in the world. The show runs nightly now through January 6, 2019. Show times are 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Holiday Friends & Family Pass
Groups of three can ride for $22/person, and each additional rider after that will only pay $14.99.

Parking is available for free in the on-site garage. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit iconorlando.com.

All images courtesy of ICON Orlando

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Enjoy Dinner Plus a Ride on the ICON Orlando with Fly & Dine Package


Central Florida Explorer: Having a devil of a time at Devil’s Den

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

When pioneers came upon the “Devil’s Den” prehistoric spring, they saw what they assumed was smoke rising from Satan’s lair. As such, they kept their distance. But it was just harmless steam rising from the spring. If only they had known how beautiful the place was, they could have discovered something…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/UO7ZHIeF2e4/os-et-s4-central-florida-explorer-devils-den-spring-20181119-story.html


Black Friday sales at SeaWorld, Legoland, Fun Spot

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

We’re gathering up the Black Friday specials for Central Florida’s theme parks and attractions, although they’re not always just for Friday anymore … and in some cases they’ve picked another color to get your attention and your holiday-season dollar. Here’s what we found for SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/Sug63lIoFrM/os-et-s4-theme-parks-black-friday-20181119-story.html


Disney names its ‘Star Wars’ rides, announces Epcot shows

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

Disney has unveiled more details and named names for its Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land that’s under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The two major rides of the area will be called Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

The announcements were part of a…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/84a5gBr2Ovc/os-et-disney-star-wars-rides-names-20181117-story.html


Here are the Finalists for Best Burger Foodster Award 2018

Burger generic

It was another hotly contested category but we have the finalists for Best Burger in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Check out the list below and place your ballot.

You may vote for only one restaurant, and please vote just once.

After placing your vote, leave a comment below telling us why you like your selection (be sure to mention the name of the restaurant in you comment otherwise we won’t know which one you’re talking about). We may use your comments when we announce the winners.

Please note: Even if you placed a vote during the nominating phase, you must vote for your favorite in the finals; all the votes received during the nominating phase have been zeroed out. 

Voting ends Nov. 28. The Winners will be announced in the Nov. 29 edition of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide’s eletter. To subscribe, text SJO to 66866.

 https://www.scottjosephorlando.com/foodster-awards/vote-now/4559-here-are-the-finalists-for-best-burger-foodster-award-2018


More on the Dexter’s Saga

Dexter lake maryNew information coming in on the status of the four Dexter’s restaurants. As reported earlier, and confirmed in this story, Greg Peters, founder of Graffiti Junktion, is part of a partnership that took over the Thornton Park and Winter Park locations.

I confirmed that John Hoffmeister, who was one of the partners with Dexter Richardson and Adrian Mann, has retained the Lake Mary store. In a phone conversation Friday morning, Hoffmeister said that he isn’t sure if he will hold on to the restaurant or sell it. “Right now, I am currently back in control of everything,” he said. “I’m possibly selling everything but now 100 percent sure.” He said that if he did sell to a party that has shown interest, he would likely stay on as the general manager to run things. “I expect to be here another five to 10 years,” he said.

Hoffmeister started as a dishwasher at the Dexter’s on Fairbanks Avenue 30 years ago and worked his way up through the kitchen and into management.

Hoffmeister also confirmed that the owners of the Windermere Dexter’s are Tom and Holly Ziupsnys, who also own a restaurant called Dulcetto in Championsgate. The Ziupsnyses have not returned repeated calls.

As I told you in my article Thursday, the Thornton Park and Winter Park Dexter’s will bring back some old items that had been taken off the menu over the years, including the Chicken Tortilla Pie.

Hoffmeister said that he does not plan to make any big changes at Lake Mary. “We’re killing it up here,” he said.

Tony Roma

 https://www.scottjosephorlando.com/news/4562-more-on-the-dexter-s-saga


New Experiences at This Year’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms Featuring ICE!

Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Considered one of Central Florida’s most quintessential holiday experiences, Christmas at Gaylord Palms returns today for 52 days of Christmassy excitement inside one giant festive wonderland. As always, Gaylord Palms raises the bar year after year, adding new experiences and elevating its annual traditions. Christmas at Gaylord Palms presented by Pepsi is open daily from November 16, 2018 through January 6, 2019, including holidays. Here’s what’s new this year:

ICE! Featuring A Christmas Story

For the first time ever, the resort’s signature experience ICE! will feature the beloved holiday film “A Christmas Story.” Brought to life by ice artisans from Harbin, China, this year’s theme is recreated in a colorful frozen showcase, with hand-carved ice sculptures depicting movie scenes throughout the immersive (and very chilly) 9-degree attraction. 

A few tips: bring a hat and gloves to keep cozy while inside, and switch your phone over to airplane mode to preserve battery life while you take photos and video.

Tickets are $28.99 per adult (use promo code FLR18 to save $3 on ICE! tickets when purchased online in advance).

Fra-ra-ra-ra-ra

Dreams of Christmas Light Show

Gaylord Palms’ St. Augustine atrium is home to a brand new dazzling light show, Dreams of Christmas, making its debut. This multi-sensory experience features a new musical score accompanied by millions of dancing, choreographed lights surrounding the resort’s six-story Christmas tree. Shows are free and happen nightly. 

Adults-Only Polar Dash Party

This year Gaylord Palms has added something just for grown-ups. On Thursday, December 13, 2018, the resort will host its first nighttime Polar Dash party, an adults-only evening featuring the chance to experience the frozen world of ICE! in an unconventional way – in your swimsuit! Grab your sweetie and your friends and don your beachwear for this mishmash of Florida fun in a winter wonderland as you dash through the 9-degree attraction. You’ll also have access to eight snow tubing lanes and themed cocktails at the cash bar. Guests will also enjoy free hot chocolate and a live DJ. Details and tickets here

Santa Scavenger Hunt

Scour the resort decoding clues to find hidden Santa characters during the all-new Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt. Guests will utilize a Santa’s Secret Service Decoder Ring to decipher clues hidden throughout the resort’s atrium. $9.99 per booklet

Naughty or Nice Escape Room

Great for participants of any age, the new Naughty or Nice Escape Room has guests finding clues and cracking codes with a (sometimes mischievous) Jack Frost in the room to help or heed the sleuthing. Teams work together to follow the clues and solve the puzzles before the time on the clock runs out!
$15.99 per person

RETURNING FAVORITES

Sounds of the Season Concert Series
For the second year, Christmas at Gaylord Palms will host its Sounds of the Season Concert Series presented by Celebration Golf Club.

  • Grammy award winner Sandi Patty (Dec. 5)
  • Vocalist Deejay Young (Dec. 6)
  • A cappella group Voctave (Dec. 12)
  • Christmas movies Holidays in Hollywood (Dec. 18)
  • Pop star moms 4eva29 (Dec. 19)
  • Theatrical vocals of VoicePlay (Dec. 20)

All performances include a concert patron-exclusive admission to the ICE! attraction. Tickets start at $25 per person. 

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped
“Holiday thrills” take on a whole new meaning during Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, a 25-minute action-packed experience featuring soaring acrobatics, theatricality and imagination that will have guests on the edge of their seats. Cirque Dreams Unwrapped features new acts and performers each year to bring to life a magical and timeless Christmas wonderland, all imagined by Broadway director and renowned Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg. FREE (guaranteed seating from $15.99 per adult)

Christmas Tree Trail
Guests exploring the meandering paths inside the resort’s Everglades atrium will find the Christmas Tree Trail, a display of nine magnificent trees provided by Balsam HillTM. FREE

Holiday Dining and Decor inside the Atrium
Gaylord Palms’ 4.5-acre soaring glass atrium is decked out beyond compare. Plan to spend some time wandering through the festive space and consider dining at Moor, Old Hickory Steakhouse or Socio as part of your visit. 

Also returning this year:

  • Gingerbread Decorating Corner (now located inside the NEW Alpine Village Sweet Shop)
  • Santa’s Snow Throw
  • Snow Tubing

OVERNIGHT PACKAGES

One-night packages start at $250 plus tax, resort fee and parking. Packages include ICE! tickets for two (with option to add additional adults or children) plus a souvenir family photo. Overnight guests may also schedule a visit to ICE! during the daily hotel guest-exclusive Extra Cool Hour from 9am to 10am.

DETAILS

Christmas at Gaylord Palms
November 16, 2018 through January 6, 2019

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
6000 W Osceola Pkwy
Kissimmee, FL 34746

For additional information and to book packages or tickets, visit ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.

Related Posts

New Experiences at This Year’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms Featuring ICE!


Universal Orlando raises starting pay to $12 an hour

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

Universal Orlando workers will be getting a raise as company announced Thursday plans to increase minimum pay to $12 an hour in February.

The pay hike — a 20 percent jump from previous $10 hourly minimum — comes about two months after Walt Disney World Resort and its union reached a contract deal…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/4G9BkF_wyvk/os-bz-disney-universal-wages-20181115-story.html


Disney fans cheer as Mickey Mouse roars to 90th birthday

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

The face of Walt Disney Co. is an orchestra conductor, a global superstar, a sorcerer, a squeaky goodwill ambassador and the icon of an entertainment empire.

But he’s no spring chicken.

Mickey Mouse officially turns 90 years old on Sunday.

The date that Disney designates as Mickey’s birth – Nov….

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/J470E4akx50/os-et-s2-disney-mickey-mouse-turns-90-20181116-story.html


Disney: What’s new at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom

Category : Central Florida , Orlando

For the first time, Walt Disney World is selling special tickets within Magic Kingdom’s annual Christmas party — an event that already requires a special ticket to get into in the first place.

Disney-goers can pay $99 to attend Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party on top of the $95 to $125 entry…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/orlandosentinel/business/custom/tourism/~3/3DCoZ71Dj5c/os-cfb-mickey-christmas-20181116-story.html


Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar

Roccos bar

Ever since I first reviewed Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar, in October of 2006, I’ve considered it to be one of the finest Italian restaurants in the area. And since I don’t get the chance to return often enough, I jumped at the invitation to dine there recently to try some of the dishes that owner Rocco Potami rotates through his menu.

Roccos burrata1

Potami started by serving my guest and me an appetizer of Bresaola, the air-cured beef that is a specialty of Northwest Italian, and fresh Burrata, often known as a creamier mozzarella. The cheese was topped with shaved Parmesan and fresh arugula leaves. Potami admonished us not to put any pepper on the burrata, which I probably would have done to perk up the mild cheese. But with the peppery notes of the arugula, nothing else was necessary.

Tony Roma

Roccos agnolotti1

Next came Agnolotti, similar to ravioli, filled with delicious short rib meat and coated with a creamy pesto.

Roccos risotto1

Paired on the plate was a Scallop Risotto with saffron and asparagus. The nutty rice had bay scallops mixed in and the presentation was topped with a tender bay scallop, perfectly seared. (We were served tasting-size portions.)

Roccos filet1

The main course was a Filetto with porcini mushrooms and grape tomatoes. The mushrooms were sauteed in white wine, created and proper sauce for the perfectly grilled beef.

Roccos dessert

For dessert there was Italian Cheesecake with that wonderfully crumbly texture, and a well-executed Tiramisu.

Roccos dining room

Service, as it has always been, was first rate. The main dining room is subdued elegance, with tables covered with fine white cloths and set with classy stemware. (Have your server fill one of the stems with some Falanghina del Sannio DOP Janare, an Italian white with a forward tastes of apples and citrus.)

When the nearby Mount Vernon Inn and its Red Fox Lounge were razed to make way for the myriad chain restaurants that line the boulevard, Potami started hosting Red Fox entertainers in his lounge. So on the evening we dined we could hear the music of a singer at a piano and see couples dancing. That’s the kind of relaxed atmosphere Rocco’s offers, and that’s the kind of gracious host Potami is.

Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar is at 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park. It is open for dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-644-7770.

https://www.scottjosephorlando.com/reviews/recent-reviews/61-italian/4560-rocco-s-italian-grille-bar


Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0