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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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Spotlight

Spotlight: Tartine In College Park


How could I not order something called a Tallow Candle? Tallow is a more lyrical name for lard, and the very thought of it whisked me back to a bar in Firenze that listed lardo as one its bar snacks. And it was just what it promised: little chunks of lard to put on a cracker or slice of bread. With each bite it was like saying, “Here it comes, arteries; deal with it.” A Tallow Candle, as presented at Tartine in College Park, sounded like a more inventive presentation. And it was. Essentially, the tallow was in the form of a tealight with a lighted wick that was to melt the lard into a spreadable goo. Unfortunately, unless you’re …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante


Grand is a word that might come to mind when you enter Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, one of a few new dining venues that opened recently at Disney Springs. Although guests enter the building from street level (or walkway level, as the case may be), they walk past the host stand to discover themselves standing on a mezzanine overlooking the vast dining room below, accessed by a sweeping staircase. The far wall is comprised of two-story floor to ceiling windows with a commanding view of the lagoon outside. It reminds me a little of the opulence of La Coquina, the late lamented fine dining venue at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, but on a larger scale. It’s among the most impressive …
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