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

  • Read About Orlando's Top New Restaurants -- AND VOTE!

    Orlando -- In this new Zagat blog, Rona features 11 hot new restaurants in Central Florida. Take a look. Vote now to have your favorite Orlando restaurants included on the Zagat website and in the next America's Top Restaurants book. Click here to start.  
  • Sample New Restaurants' Fare at Orlando's Taste of the Nation

    No Kid Hungry logoOrlando -- Chefs of sparkling new restaurants will join stalwarts at the 2015 Orlando Taste of the Nation, a food-focused, cocktail-attire gala that, ultimately, helps feed our hungry neighbors. Join the fun at the Orlando World Center Marriott and you'll get to sample creations by newbies including Tapa Toro, Highball & Harvest, Capa Spanish Steakhouse, Soco, TR Fire Grill, Itta Bena and MOOR; I'm pretty sure all debuted within the past year. Among the others dishing out samples will be K Restaurant, Cress, Urban Tide, Dragonfly, and Emeril's Tchoup Chop. Saturday, August 8, 6:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. $150. Tickets  
  • Gets 20% Off Your Cafe de France Dinner

    Cafe de FranceOrlando -- Through July, have dinner at Cafe de France in Winter Park on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and receive a 20 percent discount. Simply reserve your table by phone, not online, and mention this offer when you dine. 407.647.1869  
  • Get Winter Park Discounts by Riding SunRail

    sunrail pama ticket poster 2015Orlando -- Ride SunRail to Winter Park's Park Avenue shopping district from any other Orlando-area station and you'll be privy to discounts at several retailers and restaurants. For example, show your train ticket at the Tex-Mex eatery Cocina 214 to receive 10 percent off your meal. You'll also get 10 percent off at Pannullo's and The Bistro on Park Avenue, and $3 off purchases of $20+ at Peterbrooke Chocolatier. For a full list of retail and restaurant discounts, click here. Valid through September 20.  
  • Concentrics Is Opening Two Restaurants in Orlando

    SOMMOrlando -- Atlanta-based Concentrics brought Orlando Luma on Park, one of our very best restaurants. The company and restaurant have parted ways, and now Concentrics has two more Central Florida establishments coming our way. Slate, which opened recently, is a modern-American indoor-outdoor restaurant next to Trader Joe's in Dr. Phillips. It looks like this. A wine bar called SOMM will open near the Orlando Eye on International Drive. It will carry boutique wines, craft beers, and artisinal soft drinks. Here's a rendering. Opening July 2015.  
  • The Basics about 2015's Epcot Food & Wine Festival

    0721ZW 0158CR 331x248Orlando -- The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival turns 20 this year, and, as always, the event will be chockfull of new and returning food- and beverage-focused snacks, meals, seminars and more. Among the headliners: "marketplace" foods like spicy bush berry shrimp with pineapple, peppers, onions and snap peas, and seared venison loin with wild mushroom ragout and kumara dumpling; drinks such as Scottish Citrus Thistle; and appearances by celebrity chefs Cat Cora, Jamie Deen and John Ash. Kids will enjoy a scavenger hunt called Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. September 25 through November 16.  
  • Summer Wine Tastings at Taverna Opa

    Taverna Opa logoOrlando -- Eat Greek food with paired wines at Taverna Opa, which is hosting a five-course tasting dinner on June 25 featuring Benziger and Luc Belaire wines. The theme is Air, Land & Sea. Quail with oregano and lemon, and Greek yogurt ice cream with honey and pistachios, are among the foods that will be served. Thursday, June 25, 6:45 p.m. $45. Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
  • Watch Rona Speak about Menu Psychology

    Screenshot 245Orlando -- Why do restaurants box certain menu items? Leave off the diner sign? Say a meatloaf is "Grandma's"? Watch this clip, where Rona explains some menu psychology tips to Good Day Orlando's Tom Johnson. The clip  
  • 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.  
  • Happy Hour at Ravenous Pig

    pig happy hourOrlando -- The Ravenous Pig now discounts some food and beverages during happy hour. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30, guests can choose from $4 craft beers, $5 cocktails, and $6 wines, plus $5 snacks like beef jerky or Gruyere biscuits.  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • Opa Orlando Owners to Open a Spanish Restaurant

    TapaToro logo NEWOrlando -- Katerina and Vassilis Coumbaros, owners of Taverna Opa Orlando, are scheduled to open the Spanish restaurant Tapa Toro nearby on June 29. 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".