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Spotlight

Spotlight: Tandoori Bowl


Next up in the assemblage line of restaurants: Indian cuisine. Tandoori Bowl is a new restaurant on Alafaya Trail in Oviedo that employs the “one from column A, one from column B…” style of meal construction. Indian cuisine being what it is, however, you can expect more columns. Here you start with your carb, either white rice or brown, which is simple enough. (You also have to begin by choosing regular or large size bowls; regular is plenty big.) Next you choose your protein, which might be chicken, lamb, paneer, chickpeas, pork or steak. Pork or steak? Holy cow, what kind of Indian restaurant is this? Then you add a vegetable, a less contemplative decision in that only carrots or …
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Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph.
Spotlight

Spotlight: Mai Bistro In Mills 50


Mai Bistro, a Vietnamese restaurant, has opened in the Mills 50 district, bringing a bit of difference to the Asian-restaurant-rich neighborhood. Not only different, but very good. The menu features street foods of Vietnam — nothing new there, Hawkers and Mamak are also in the street food business. But Mai — that’s M-A-I —brings a combination of fast- and quick-serve. And instead of the small-plate, Asian-style tapas servings, Mai Bistro offers full sized portions. You’re going to want a complete serving of the Sticky Rice, one of Mai Bistro’s specialties and a dish that is surprisingly hard to find locally. I love sticky rice and it’s one of my go-to street foods whenever I’m in New York’s Chinatown. In Vietnam, …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Cork & Fork


I recently made a second visit to Cork & Fork, a restaurant in the Belle Isle neighborhood. I made my first visit there two years and three days earlier. I didn’t write about it then because I found the restaurant, its food and its service to all be equally banal. (The name of the place, too, as long as I’m at it.) Also, it occupied a space that had not been known for keeping tenants very long. I figured it would slink off into obscurity without any help from me. But it’s stayed on. So I figured it was time to stop in again and check the place out, to see what has kept it going. And it certainly appeared …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: The Halal Guys


If you’ve ever been to New York City and wandered around the around the area of 6th Avenue and West 53rd Street — and as a tourist, there’s a pretty good chance you have since it’s in the area of Rockefeller Center and the corner that the New York Hilton is on — you’ve undoubtedly seen an omnipresent food stand there where meats and onions are cooked on a griddle day and night and mounded in a corner of the hot surface awaiting customers. You may have even ordered a pita sandwich there. I did, many, many years ago, on one of my early visits to the city, while attending a convention, at the Hilton, in fact, in the days …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Kona Grill


Silly me, I was expecting Hawaiian, or at least Polynesian. I mean, what else should one infer from a name like Kona Grill? And there are a lot of Asian and Pacific Rimmy kinds of dishes on the menu. There are sushi offerings and the requisite poke bowls, some egg rolls and some stir-frys. But of course the first thing I spot on the large menu is Jambalaya. The second thing is a Cuban Sandwich. So immediately I’m thinking WTF, which stands for What’s the Theme? I’m going to go with “big and splashy,” with a side of “feed as many people as you can at once.” It’s a very large space, and it doesn’t appear to have been cheaply …
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Spotlight

Spotlight: Naguará K’arepas


Are you an arepas fan? If so, you’re going to want to get over to the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Chickasaw Trail and try Naguara K’arepas. If you’re not an arepas fan, you should also go here; you’ll soon be a fan. If you’re not sure whether you’re a fan or not, it might be that you just aren’t familiar with them. Arepas are essentially little round corn cakes made with masarepa, a ground cornmeal. Think of a fatter type of tortilla or a South American version of a pita. Like those devices, arepas can be stuffed sandwich-like with any variety of good fillings. They’re especially popular in Colombia and Venezuela, where they’re part of the daily diet. …
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