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

  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • Spring Roast at The Raveneous Pig

    Ravenous pig logo 2015Orlando -- Lamb with be front and center at The Ravenous Pig's Spring Roast, a lunch featuring smoked legs of lamb,  lamb sausage, spanakopita, falafel, pita, pickled vegetables, and a Greek dessert called tulumba.  
  • Indian Flavors with a Modern Twist

    Flavor Farm Series American Gymkhana Invite 4.03.15Orlando -- India-born chefs Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant and Aarthi Sampath of American Gymkhana are teaming up to host a five-course dinner. Called Flavor Farm, the event will feature locally grown foods plus wine and cocktail pairings. Friday, April 3. Seatings at 6:30 and 9:30. $110 with spirits, $75 without. Reservations  
  • Easter in Orlando

    Here are some dining options for Easter holiday meals on Sunday, April 5.
    Luma on Park -- This progressive American restaurant will serve an a la carte brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Prato -- Contemporary Italian brunch and lunch items will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Hemisphere Steak & Seafood Restaurant -- Buffet brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $39.95. Menu
    Norman's -- A la carte New World Cuisine dinner 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Eddie V's Prime Seafood -- Easter brunch with two prix-fixe menu choices. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $45 adults, $15 kids
    Ocean Prime -- Brunch and dinner with special menus from 11 a.m.
    Texas de Brazil -- Brazlian churrascaria offering free soft drinks and desserts from 11 a.m. on.
    Four Seasons -- At the Golden Oak hotel, Ravello will have a buffet from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Capa will serve an a la carte menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Easter bunny will visit both restaurants.
    Seasons 52 -- The fashionable American restaurant will be open and serving an a la carte menu.
    Capital Grille -- The upscale steakhouse chain will serve a three-course Easter brunch with menu choices. Entree options include lobster fritatta, and dry-aged steak with eggs and cheese grits. $49/$15. Reservations
    The Alfond Inn -- The boutique hotel will have an Easter egg hunt from noon to 2 p.m. and will serve a brunch with a harpist from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $59/$24
    310 Restaurants -- The casual trio 310 Park South, 310 Lakeside, and Blu on the Avenue will be open for brunch with the full regular menus plus Easter specials.
    Universal Orlando Hotels -- The Loews Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific, and Hard Rock hotels all have brunch buffets. $48/$16 to $65/$22. Reserve on opentable.com or at 407.503.DINE.
    The Oceanaire -- This bustling upscale seafood house will open at noon and serve items like crab cake Benedict and brioche French toast. Reservations
    American Gymkhana -- Easter will have an upscale Indian twist with entrees such as slow-cooked lamb servedwith masala-poached egg, peas, pao bread, two sides, and two brunch cocktails.
    Taverna Opa -- From April 5 through April 12, guests will receive a glass of Greek wine and red eggs to play an Agean game called tsougrisma.
    Soco -- Thornton Park's new Modern Southern restaurant will offer up a la carte dishes including truffle-infused steak tartare with quail egg yolk, crispy chicken skin, and toasted baguette.  
  • 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.  
  • Peju Wine Dinner at Chatham's Place

    chathams wine dinnerOrlando -- Chatham's  Place, the continental restaurant in Dr. Phillips, will host a special dinner featuring Napa Valley's organic Peju wines on April 9. Reservations: 407.345.2992  
  • Gear up for the Taste of Winter Park

    Taste of Winter Park logoOrlando -- More than 45 food and beverage purveyors are set to give comestibles at the 2015 Taste of Winter Park. In addition, guests can buy $10 tickets for a raffle awarding a weeklong European cruise for two, valued at $10,000. Participating restaurants include mi Tomatina, Umi, The Porch, Pi Hole Pizza, Hamilton's Kitchen, Cocina 214, and the Canopy Cafe. Wednesday, April 15, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. $40 in advance, $45 at the door. Tickets  
  • 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.  
  • Food-focused Events at Artegon Marketplace

    Artegon Art of Beer FlyerOrlando -- The Artegon Marketplace retail and entertainment has several food- and beverage-related events on the calendar. Signature events include The Art of Beer, with free beer with craft brews and live music at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill on April 14, and Food Truck Fridays on the fourth Friday of every month, beginning March 27. See the calendar for other happenings.  
  • 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 Toca Boca nearby on April 23. Toca Boca 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.  
  • Get a Free Bar Bite at Bonefish Grill

    150216 Free BarBites Doughnuts emailNational -- Download and present this Bonefish Grill coupon and your table will receive one Bar Bites appetizer for free through March 15. Choose from BBQ pork or chipotle shrimp dim sum-style sliders, Mac + Cheese Bites, or donuts. You'll find descriptions of each item here.  
  • 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".