RG-cartoon

Rona Gindin is an Orlando-based multimedia writer, editor and TV personality.

  • Read About Orlando's Top New Restaurants

    Orlando -- In this new Zagat blog, Rona features 11 hot new restaurants in Central Florida. Take a look.  
  • Win a Raft Trip at Canyonlands National Park

    11046710 10152774297554091 9162401919910495944 nUtah -- Win two of 22 seats in a raft trip through in a Canyonlands National Park. The expedition will be a six-day adventure at Cataract Canyon. Here are the details. The co-sponsors, Holiday River Expeditions and National Parks Traveler, will give away two seats. To enter, like this Facebook page, then post a photo of a national park with an explanation of what's so special. Deadline: APRIL 25! Other site visitors will vote, and the most popular poster will get those seats. Email Rona for more details about the trips and the host.  
  • Where to Eat on Mother's Day in Orlando

    Orlando -- It's time to book that brunch or dinner table. You know Mom wants to neither cook nor clean.
    Enzian -- This theater-restaurant combo in Maitland will host a brunch followed by the movie Bye-Bye Birdie. $35/$20
    The Alfond Inn -- Winter Park's boutique hotel will have a brunch buffet with live-action stations in its Park Avenue Ballroom. Adults receive a mimosa or sparkling wine, and a piano player will entertain. $69/$24
    Chef's Table at the Edgewater -- Celebrate at this intimate Winter Park restaurant, where a three-course brunch will include entree options like sweet-potato duck hash with sage-scented maple butter. Email Rona for the full menu. $35.90
    Swan-Dolphin Hotel -- This Disney-property duo will serve breakfast and brunch in its park-like Garden Grove. $35.99/$19.99. 407.934.1618. Additionally, Todd English's bluezoo will give each mother a rose and a $25 gift card for every two adult meals purchased. 407.934.1111
    Hilton Orlando -- This International Drive hotel will welcome moms with a Bistro brunch ($25), a free glass of wine with entree at David's Club Bar & Grill, and chocolate-covered strawberries at Spencer's for Steaks and Chops.
    Palma Maria -- Dinner will be served at this old-fashioned Italian restaurant on the east side of town.
    Ocean Prime -- The seafood and steak specialist that resembles and old-time dinner club will serve brunch and dinner.
    Oceanaire -- The bustling high-end seafood restaurant at Point Orlando will open at noon for Mother's Day.  
  • Celebrate Coffe on the Island of Jamaica

    Caribbean -- Head to the hills of Jamaica and join the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee & Culinary Weekend. You'll lodge and learn in the heart of the island's coffee-growing region. Activities include excursions, a Blackwell rum punch welcome, and visits to the Clifton Mount Blue Mountain Coffee Estate and Kingston Roasting Plant, the Coronation Market, The Old Tavern Blue Mountain Coffee Estate, and the National Gallery. There's also a street food tasting, a luncheon, and a brunch. Participating hotels: Strawberry Hill Hotel, Spa & Garden ($1,250 for four nights) and Mountain Greenwhich Cottages ($300--or maybe $300 extra; check before booking). June 4 to 8, 2015.  
  • Introducing Swine & Sons

    Swine and SonsOrlando -- Swine & Sons is a new take-out shop offering sandwiches, condiments, and hot dinners to go, with every element from scratch. It's owned by the same folks as gastropub pioneers The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder. Rona got to sample a slew of its foods. Read the blog.  
  • Rona's Reaction to Seasons 52 Menu Tests

    Seasons 52 logoNational -- Seasons 52 shucked its 475-calorie entree limit, and listed calorie counts for every single item, on test menus in 10 restaurants across the country. Read about Rona's initial reaction, and then, in a follow-up blog post, the company's reasoning, as explained by a spokesperson. Join the discussion.  
  • See the Harbor Nights Menu at Portofino

    Portofino logoOrlando -- As the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel gears up for its Harbor Nights alfresco dining event with live music, the Universal Orlando property reveals its menu. Highlights are butternut squash ravioli, pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach, and bass with green olives and rosemary. Friday, April 24, 6:30 p.m. $45 standard, $75 VIP.  
  • Save the Date: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

    SwanDolphinfW logoOrlando -- Food, wine, and live music await at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, set for the evenings of October 30 and 31. 40 culinary stations and 30 wines will be on the menu. Tickets are $105 and up, with lodging packages available.  
  • Save the Date: Cows 'n' Cabs

    Cows n Cabs 2015Orlando -- Cows 'n' Cabs is a festive fundraiser with a western theme. It's held under a huge tent in Winter Park, where top area chefs dole out food and beverage purveyors pour spirits. The 2015 chef line-up hasn't yet been announced, but set your calendar for October 24 and check the website regularly to see who'll be cooking.  
  • Pretty (and) Tasty: The Foods at United Way Chef's Gala 2015

    IMG 2516 23Orlando -- The Heart of Florida United Way will host its grand Chef's Gala on May 16. Rona got to sample five of the 20+ food items that will be served. Click here to read the details.  
  • Win a Trip to Ireland with Raglan Road

    Raglan RoadOrlando -- Raglan Road is holding a culinary contest in honor of its 10th anniversary. Assuming you're a hobbyist cook, not a professional, here's how you enter: Submit a video featuring an appetizer, entree, and dessert that would be appropriate for the Irish pub by April 21. Then, on April 28, chef-owner Kevin Dundon will choose five finalists on his TV show Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food. He'll fly those five home cooks to Ireland on May 21, polishing up their skills. As a final treat, on October 20, each finalist will cook one dish at the Orlando restaurant as part of the anniversary celebration.  
  • Opa Orlando Owners to Open a Spanish Restaurant

    Toca Boca logoOrlando -- Katerina and Vassilis Coumbaros, owners of Taverna Opa Orlando, are scheduled to open the Spanish restaurant Tapa Toro nearby on April 23. Tapa Toro will serve tapas and will be built around a "paella pit." It will be located in International Drive's new I-Drive 360 complex.  
  • American Q Rolls Out Breakfast Cocktails

    Maple martini AQOrlando -- Taking the craft-cocktail movement to a new daypart, American Q has introduced breakfast cocktails. Among them are an apple-bacon bloody mary, a Bailey's iced vanilla coffee, and a maple martini. Here's the cocktail menu. The restaurant is in the B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista.  
  • Hawkers Is Expanding to St. Pete

    Hawkers logoSt. Petersburg -- Hawkers, the wildly popular restaurant featuring the street foods of seven Asian countries in Orlando's Mills 50 District, is expanding again. Its third unit will open in the Gulf-coast city's EDGE District and will complement its food with craft cocktails and 50+ microbrews. The second unit is in Jacksonville, Florida. The St. Pete branch is scheduled to open at 1235 West Centra Avenue in mid-summer.  
  • Disney Employees Receive 20% Off at Plancha

    Disney Plancha FlyerOrlando -- Cuban-American specialties like chorizo burgers, Cuban sandwiches, and mojitos are on the menu at Plancha, the restaurant at the Orlando Four Seasons' Tranquilo Golf Club. Now Disney World's 65,000 or so "cast members" will receive a 20 percent discount off food and beverage purchases. Details.  
  • Citrus Restaurant Will Open a Sib: North Quarter Tavern

    Tavern logo finalOrlando -- North Quarter Tavern will open in early 2015. The restaurant, owned by the same folks at Citrus, is being described by the company as a "chef-driven neighborhood tavern." It will be in the upscale Nora apartment building, located on a portion of Orange Avenue being billed as North Quarter.  
  • Lorna Brings Lounge Music to Rocco's Italian Grille

    Roccos logoOrlando -- Before Winter Park residents had time to finish mourning the demise of singer Lorna's  lounge act with pianist Michael Moore at the Red Fox Lounge, nearby restaurant Rocco's Italian Grille has snapped up the act. Starting November 8, the duo will entertain in the Italian restaurant's woodsy, upscale bar area from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday. The schedule will be posted on Rocco's Facebook page.  
  • Orlando's Brewery & Its Distillery Pair Up to Make Barrel-Aged Beer

    Orlando BrewingOrlando -- Using white oak bourbon barrels from the Winter Park Distilling Company, Orlando Brewing has created Bourbon Barrel Red Aged Red Ale and O-Town Brown Ale. The hometown distillery uses the barrels to age its Bear Gully Classic Reserve Bourbon. The two are also pairing up to create a stout: the organic brewery is making its Senator Imperial Oatmeal Stout in the distillery's rum barrels.  
  • Special Request: Burgers from Dexter Cows

    Safari Wildernesss logoLakeland -- Guests at Safari Wilderness can soon snack on Dexter burgers. Indeed, the beef will be from grass-fed "little Irish heritage cattle," according to co-owner Lex Salisbury, who also runs the Giraffe Ranch. The burgers will be sold from a "farm-to-food truck" housed on the Safari Ranch premises. Safari Ranch gives African-like savannah tours of fields filled with African and Asian animals that roam freely.  
  • Nature & Culture Right Near Orlando

    Orlando -- Seminole County, just north of Orlando, has nature reserves, airboat rides, art galleries, and way more. Rona took a media tour and shares her finds in a series of blogs. Highlights include the Geneva Wilderness Area, Danville B&B, and Gallery on FirstRead the blog posts.  
  • Here's Rona's Take on the Publix Cooking School

    ApronsCookingSchoolOrlando -- Rona got to try out Aprons, the new cooking school at a Publix in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood. Read the blog.  
  • Loads of Cooking Classes at East End Market

    East End MarketOrlando -- Many, many cooking and other food-related classes are scheduled for Orlando's bustling East End Market, home to many locavore-oriented vendors. Among the topics are Bringing It To Market: Foodpreneur 102, Seed Starting and Soil Blocks, Tackling Tomatoes, and Brunch & Learn: Latin Flavors. Here's the schedule.  
  • Adriatico Wins a Coveted Seal of Authenticity

    Adriatico logoOrlando -- The quiet Adriatico Trattoria Italiano in College Park is an exceptionally quality-oriented restaurant. Now Ospitalita Italiana, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, has given the eatery its Seal of Quality. Adriatico is the only Central Florida restaurant to have this distinction right now.  
  • Take an Orlando Food Tour

    Orlando Food Tours logo smallOrlando -- Spend a weekend afternoon checking out Winter Park food sources with Orlando Food Tours. Seven people at a time are brought to places like a spice shop, and olive oil store, and a candy counter. We haven't tried it yet, so report back if you beat us to it. $47  
  • Sample Moroccan Tapas at Spice Road Table

    Spice Road smallOrlando -- Small plates of Mediterranean fare invite lingering at Spice Road Table, a civilized indoors-and-out escape at Epcot's Morocco pavilion.  Sip a just-sweet Lillet, a light chilled wine flavored with honey, orange, lime, and mint. Nibble on crazy-flavorful lamb sliders on a brioche with mint-tzatziki sauce, plus rice-stuffed grape leaves, beef skewers with garlic and fresh hrbs, and spicy garlic shrimp. The fried calamari is tender with a terrific flavor. It's served with two sauces: harissa, and caper aioli.  
  • Straight-up Burgers at the Crooked Spoon

    Crooked Spoon logoOrlando -- West of Orlando in the Clermont, The Crooked Spoon is a rather large gastropub. The menu is varied, but zoom in on a hamburger. The Bleu Burger, for instance, is a remarkable patty of Florida Angus beef topped with bleu cheese, roasted garlic aioli, tomato, and mixed greens, served with exceptional homemade potato chips or, for a small upcharge, terrific french fries.  
  • Go Cowboy-Chic at Creek Ranch

    Creek RanchHaines City, Florida -- Not even an hour from Disney World, Creek Ranch is an immersive cowboy-chic experience. You lodge in the actual family bunkhouse of a working ranch -- it is quite upscale, with pampering service -- and dine, fish, ride horses, take airboat trips, and way more, all at one set all-inclusive price. Rona spent an afternoon touring and chatting with the owner and produced this feature article. Read and enjoy.  
  • This Chick Has No Need for Speed

    Exotic Driving 8 Lambo 570Rona drove a Lamborghini around the Daytona International Speedway. Only she forgot one thing: speed. Read her blog.  
  • Orlando's Hot Restaurant Tables

    Orlando -- With nationally recognized chefs and a burgeoning food scene, Orlando is becoming a culinary destination. Read about it.  
  • Orlando, Zagat-Style

    Zagat Orlando 90Orlando -- Learn what fellow locals and visitors think about 360 restaurants 75 nightspots, 152 shops, and 57 attractions in the Zagat Orlando City Guide.  
  • French Classics Made Easy

    French Classics Made EasyFrench Classics Made Easy is a cookbook that gets you to satisfying Gallic fare without a ton of sacrifice. Author Richard Grausman simplified a load of recipes and takes away the intimidation factor, shrugging that unbleached all-purpose flour is best "but if you have bleached flour, use it" and casually explaining that using a food processor cuts pasta-making time to mere seconds.  I have bookmarked several recipes to try ASAP and I'm sure you will too.  
  • Ready to Wham Your Picky Eaters Upside the Head? Join the Club

    Read Rona's blog, "Picky, Picky".