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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: 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: 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: Enzo’s Hideaway


In terms of splashiness and go-for-the-awe design and decor, Enzo’s Hideaway, from Patina Restaurant Group, offers much less than its sister restaurants at Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia has an opulent two-story dining room with elegant chandeliers; The Edison resides in what was supposed to have been an abandoned power producing facility, and Maria & Enzo’s has the dramatic effect of a grand old airline terminal with large windows overlooking the lagoon. Enzo’s Hideaway has no windows and no double-height ceilings. It’s dark and slightly dank and several of the walls are covered in graffiti. I enjoyed myself here more than at the others. Which is not to say that I don’t like the other restaurants; I do. But I think …
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