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Spotlight

Spotlight: Tiffins


When I think about the top tier restaurants at Walt Disney World Resorts I usually think of Flying Fish, Citricos and California Grill, though the latter has declined somewhat in terms of experience. What those restaurants have in common is that they are accessible without the requirement to purchase a ticket to one of the theme parks. Which is not to say there aren’t good restaurants inside the parks. Certainly Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Monsieur Paul at Epcot’s France pavilion offer a higher standard than a basic meal. In that category of restaurants I now include Tiffins, a surprisingly adventurous and slightly upscale restaurant appropriately located inside Animal Kingdom. What does it say that two of …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Enzo’s On The Lake


I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our classic restaurants, venerable dining spots that have withstood the vagaries of the industry and the fickleness of the public to endure and even thrive. This week: Enzo’s on the Lake. Enzo Perlini opened the restaurant in 1980 along with his then wife Jo Anne. They bought a private home on Lake Fairy and converted it from a house to a restaurant. The couple divorced in 2000 but they remained business partners. When Perlini was diagnosed with leukemia, he relinquished day to day operations to Jo Anne. Perlini died in 2006 at the age of 61. Jo Anne is still at the Longwood restaurant. So are …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Wine Bar George


This is not your average wine bar. But then knowing George Miliotes, no one would have expected it to be. Miliotes is the George of Wine Bar George, the latest venue to spring up at Disney Springs. It’s big, situated in a newly constructed two-level building with a balcony overlooking the walkway below and part of the lagoon just beyond. Wine, of course, is the main draw here, and the list, personally curated by Miliotes, is extensive and varied. He wisely included popular names, go-to wines that people order out of habit or because they’re intimidated by some of the more obscure names. But if Miliotes gets to those people before they place their order, chances are they’re going to …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Brunch At Soco


Brunch isn’t new. The concept of something in between breakfast and lunch has been around a long time. The craze of making the meal an all-day affair is newer, but even that has been going on for years now.
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant


This seems to be the year of milestones, at least for area restaurants. Beefy King, of course, is getting a lot of attention, as it should, for hitting the half century mark. And Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobsters has been touted for its 25 year anniversary, even though the first 20 were as Del Frisco’s Prime Steak & Lobsters. Quietly, Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant is also celebrating its silver anniversary at its Park Avenue address. It’s not the oldest along the avenue but its 25-year achievement is worth noting. Also worth noting: It may have been 25 years since I last dined there, or pretty close. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but knowing of the anniversary and needing …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Bulgogi House


I’m not really big on places where the customers are expected to cook their own meals. I call that home. When I go out to eat, I want someone else to do the cooking. I’m apparently in the minority. At least I was the first time I visited Bulgogi House, a Korean restaurant on West Colonial Drive between downtown and College Park. Each table has a grill set into it, and most of the tables were occupied with people happily turning over meats and vegetables as they sizzled in front of them. My friend and I looked at each other and thought, Nah, not tonight. (We went elsewhere and had a wonderful prime rib dinner, all of it prepared in …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen


I’m sure the staff at Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen were just trying to be nice. They were effusive in their greeting when I walked into the strip mall storefront restaurant on East Colonial Drive. And the young man who took my order had a smile on his face at all times. But no one could quite believe me when I told them, multiple times, I didn’t need the fork they kept trying to place on my table. The chopsticks were fine, I said. Not showing off, I just think Chinese food tastes better when the proper utensils are utilized. And I eat less. I had stopped in on a whim, noticing as I drove by the banner out front announcing …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub


Was it ever really gone? Any out-of-towners wandering into Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub in the last few weeks might be surprised to learn that it has been away for close to a year and a half. It thrums with the laughter and chatter of a full house, background to the lilt of traditional music, sometimes recorded, sometimes live. Despite its relative newness, it feels comfortably worn, familiar. We in-towners know that this is a new location for Claddagh, which was forced out of its small strip mall spot to make way for a new Walgreens. (You can blame us aging Baby Boomers and our need to have a pharmacy close enough get to using a walker.) The original closed its …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Chef Wang’s Kitchen


The young man who was waiting to take my order at Chef Wang’s Kitchen pointed helpfully (if not a little impatiently) at one of the pictured menu items. “Foreigners seem to like that one,” he offered. To understand the level of authenticity, or at least a level that rises above many westernized Chinese restaurants here is Central Florida, you need to know that when he said foreigners he was referring to Americans. Chef Wang’s Kitchen is located in the repurposed yet still worn looking shopping mall now known as Chinatown on West Colonial Drive. The restaurant occupies a modest storefront tastefully appointed with stone-look tables and substantial dark wood chairs (sturdy enough for any foreigners who come in). The item …
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The “Crunchy Chicken.” Photo: AJ’s Press / Facebook
Spotlight

Spotlight: AJ’s Press


AJ’s Press is, despite the name which makes it sound like a news organization, a Longwood sandwich shop in a small strip mall near the railroad tracks.
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