My New Favorite Ice Cream Is at Epcot

I don’t even have the details yet. I’ll get them and and write them up in Orlando Life. But I just tasted one of Epcot’s new ice creams and must let you know about it immediately.

Epcot ice cream

This is a salted caramel ice cream. Epcot calls it Fleur de Sel or some other fancy take on salt.  It’s sold in the ice cream shop in the France pavilion so that makes sense. I’ll tell you this: I sample salted caramel ice cream of any moniker pretty much anywhere I find it, and this version has the most intense flavor. Blissfully intense. Still, the texture is light and creamy, almost frothy.

This and all the L’Artisan del Glaces ice creams are made right on the premises. Artisan, in more-than-massive quantities. Hey, it works. Indulge!

Boy do I recommend this ice cream.

Eat enthusiastically,

Rona

www.ronarecommends.com

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My Newest Burger Crush

I finally made my way to Oblivion Taproom, which looks like a biker bar but serves scratch-made foods. (Well, mostly. But let’s focus on those burgers.) Oh my those hamburgers!

Oblivion burger

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Take a Look at this Gorgeous Chile Relleno. Stunning!

Chile rellenos is one of those simple Mexican dishes with a mighty flavor. It’s a roasted spicy green pepper stuffed with cheese and topped with a red sauce, usually. It looks as blob on a plate with a splash of color on top.

Paxia uptakes its Mexican fare, and its chile relleno is a prime example. Look at this. It is gorgeous!

Paxia's chile relleno

Paxia’s chile relleno

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Sisters in Crime Writers Blog Hop. What Is Your Writing Process?

Lady bloggers are cross-promoting, so my long-time writer friend Laurie Bain Wilson has nominated me. Laurie is a travel writer; a mystery writer with some Murder She Wrote books to her name, and a baseball guru. Take a look at her kid-lit baseball book, Catcher in the Sky. She’s also the daughter of the guy who wrote Coffee, Tea or Me?, although that was a secret for most of her childhood. She talks about that here. Continue reading

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Dear Chef, You Know Beans About What’s Truly Vegetarian

Today’s text from my friend Wendy was about Shake Shack. Shake Shack lies! she says. The gourmet-burger chain’s vegetarian burger isn’t really vegetarian.

Wendy sleuths out seemingly meat-free meals all over Orlando. She calls or visits to ask probing questions. Often, the answers lead her to denounce the restaurant as not serving proper vegetarian meals.

I balk, even cringe, when Wendy confronts staffers, but she has a point. At Shake Shack, for instance, she cites two crimes against her diet. First, Shake Shack grills its ‘Shroom Continue reading

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Six New Flavors: 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

We gallivant–or schlep, weather-depending–around the Epcot Food & Wine Festival every year. Themed marketplaces sell piping hot foods from several different countries. What’s more, complementary wines and beers enhance each snack with satisfying finesse.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival logo

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Orlando’s Magical Dining Month: Le Coq au Vin

Put on your heels and dust off that credit card. It’s time to dine out in Orlando.

September is Magical Dining Month here. That means dozens of restaurants offer three-course dinners for $33 every night they’re open. Some of the menus give tremendous value, which is why locals find themselves sampling eateries all over town.

magicaldining_header

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Vote for Orlando’s Best Restaurants — Now, Please

Love breakfast at your corner diner, the waitress at a particular Italian restaurant or the happy hour specials at an Asian-fusion place? Let your neighbors know. Orlando Life Magazine‘s Silver Spoon Awards issue is in production, and it invites the community to vote for its No. 1 spots in the Readers Choice poll. Here’s the link.

http://orlando-life.com/content/silver-spoon-2014.

SilverSpoonBanner

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Outside the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We were lucky enough to be in Edinburgh the first three days of its annual Fringe Festival. Without going too wacky telling you how amazing the entire event is, I’ll just say that 3,000 plays, concerts, comic acts and more are offered all over the city during August. We saw a wrenching drama, an inspiring Capella group, and good and awful comedy.

Edingburgh Fringe Festival

 

(I do not know why this and art and one photo are flush left. They’re centered like the others inside WordPress.)

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Chip, Chip, Hooray!

I spotted pickle-flavored potato chips in London in 1994, and was so intrigued that I remember the siting still.

American chip-makers have gotten creative in the last few months, placing flavors as odd as cappuccino on supermarket shelves.

Scotland beats that. Not the oddity, maybe. Cappuccino-flavored potato chips sound offensive. But in terms of variety, Scotland’s “crisp” manufacturers are pretty fearless. Here’s an assortment of what I eyed last week.

IMG_0510

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Don’t Touch that Plate!

It happened again on Saturday night. I was sitting in a restaurant with my husband, chatting and enjoying my salad.

Salad

Suddenly a waiter swooped in and took Hub’s plate away. The server stayed around a bit, sweeping crumbs off the table.

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In My Backyard? Yessum. In Seminole County

Last week, I dumped my clients for three days and joined a media tour of Seminole County. I’d always thought of Seminole as a bedroom community just north of Orange County, home to Orlando and Walt Disney World. It is that, but it’s also a multifaceted destination with natural attractions and art. Continue reading

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Immerse Yourself in Nature: Geneva Wilderness Tour Area

Under an hour from Disney World, the Geneva Wilderness Area is a retreat from civilization. It’s 180 acres of pretty scenery, including mixed hardwood swamp, mesic flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and a lake system. I don’t know what all that means; it’s mostly from the website. But I know this: It’s beautiful. And, it’s adjacent to other wildlife areas like the Little Big Econ State Reserve. Continue reading

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Call It Quirky. Call It Pretty. It’s Danville

“Not another hotel ballroom!” brides and meeting planners beg. “Please!” If you’re looking for a gathering spot that’s entirely different from any you’ve experienced before, take a tour of Danville. Its own website calls Danville a bed-and-breakfast, and its two bedrooms are popular choices on AirBnB, but that’s not the point. Danville is an events venue. And, as we writers joked during a recent media tour there, we never use the word “unique,” yet Danville is, indeed, unique. (Ach! The exacting editorial elite will come crashing through the sky and beat my keyboard into mush! Visit Danville, I’ll challenge them. Then tell me “unique” doesn’t apply.) Continue reading

Posted in Orlando restaurants | 2 Comments

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Ritz’s Highball & Harvest

Like all Ritz-Carltons, Orlando’s luxe hotel is known for its fine dining. The food will still be fine at the RC Grande Lakes’ newest restaurant, but a different kind of fine. Instead of frou-frou, the new restaurant, Highball & Harvest, will go for earthy. The menu will be thoughtfully created and the foodstuffs carefully sourced. But the offerings will be relaxed, more like a farm-to-table restaurant and less like a sophisticated coffee-shop-slash-steakhouse. The dining room tables will be stained hickory. Continue reading

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A Manly Meal, an Italian Feast, and Dinner with the Philharmonic — Have We Got Dining Deals for You

Orlando — Compensate for the searing summer sun by having truly good food at a lower price than usual. These three so-called Dining Deals offer value at places with great food. I talked about them recently on Orlando’s Fox 35 with David Didzunas, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, and anchor Lauren Johnson. Here’s the clip. Continue reading

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B Resort Orlando — Value-Priced Chic at Disney World

Orlando will welcome B Resort next week, a Lake Buena Vista property a short walk from Downtown Disney. B Resorts are cheap-chic. In other words, they have a suave, contemporary flair, yet they’re midpriced. The decor is a spiffy, bold white palette with vibrant splashes of color. Continue reading

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Craft Cocktails, Orlando-Made

“We would love to hear your opinion of our drinks,” said an email that came through my website. “We are a small business here in Florida that is providing a culinary experience by way of our line of premium cocktail mixers.”

And so I came into possession of three colorful bottles of Bungalow 23 cocktail mixes, each in trendy, inventive flavor:

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An Elegant Food & Wine Experience — at Publix

A spiffy contemporary kitchen with several work stations. Tables set with linens and sparkling wine glasses. Chefs in crisp whites offering warm welcomes. You’d expect this kind of polish at a professional cooking school, maybe, or a high-end restaurant’s wine-pairing repast. But this is an educational four-course dinner at Publix.

 

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Posted in Cooking, Dining, Florida travel, homemaking, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants, Travel | 2 Comments

Gear Up for Orlando’s 2014 Chef’s Gala

Orlando — Chefs are cooking and vintners are pouring at Chef’s Gala, an annual food-and-wine extravaganza. Attendees don cocktail dresses and heels, or jackets (don’t worry gents, you can leave your ties at home). They peruse silent-auction items, then sample all the appetizer-size creations they want from more than 20 local restaurants. Paired wines are poured generously.  It’s fun, and the proceeds help our neighbors in need.

 

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Three Orlando-Area Chefs Are James Beard Award Nominees

Chefs of three Central Florida restaurants are up for the James Beard Foundation‘s Best Chef: South award for 2014. They’ve all been nominated before, as have some others, who didn’t make the list this year. No one from the area has yet snagged the actual title, or others like Best New Restaurant or Outstanding Bar Program.


Here’s a hearty congratulations to the nominees:

James and Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, Winter Park

 

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Hearty Winter Meals – Yes, Even in Orlando

If we can’t fuel up over a bowl of steamy, solid, soul-comforting foods in February, when can we?

These three restaurants do an especially good job with wintry entrees. I’d sure rather eat them without having to shovel snow first. Wouldn’t you? Continue reading

Posted in Dining, Florida travel, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants, Travel | 2 Comments

So Now I’m Telling You to Eat McDonald’s Food … sort of

I felt sorry for the best chefs in town, truth be told. They
were tasked with creating appetizers so delicious that folks would spend $250
to eat their creations, along with others, at a gala event. The catch? Some
ingredients had to be the same as those used in the kitchens of the McDonald’s
fast food chain.
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Posted in Food bloggers, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants | 3 Comments

I Beg You, Windows 8.1. Bring Freecell Back. Please!

It’s not an addiction, not really, my compulsion to play Freecell. Just like Facebook — or Pinterest, or Progress Book, or my online library account — Freecell is simply a distraction. It’s a tool for procrastination.


I lied. It’s more. The simple on-screen card game is a path to calming down. If my head throbs during a writing struggle, if I’m miffed at family, if I just absolutely can not send out one more pitch letter, I call up that green screen with its stacks of virtual cards. I move cards left, right and up, in all kinds of configurations, until the few remainders float up to the top. Glory!


I did, anyway. Then I got a new computer that came loaded with Windows 8, a horrifying software program. And, much to my surprise, the laptop did not come with Freecell. After upgrading to 8.1 so I can at least use the darn machine, I searched endlessly, knowing the pastime has to be somewhere reachable by Windowsign/Search. After all, Freecell has been part of a games package with every computer I’ve purchased in at least the last decade.

Thanks to a google search, I learned that Freecell is gone. Poof! Apparently corporate clients don’t like their employees killing time playing the game so Windows took it out. 

I understand that reasoning, in theory. But I’m in my own office in my own house, so I should have the option to play. And those cubicle workerbees? Trust me, they’re blowing off responsiblity with some sort of taboo procrastination. It’s not as if with Freecell missing they can’t amuse themselves using their smartphones. Scramble, anyone?

Several Freecell variants are available for download via the Internet. I tried a couple. They stink. Fuzzy cards, oversized screens, tiny letters … . Humbug. I occasionally get going on my iPad, but that version has two flaws: It flashes all the cards that can be used, and I do not want that assistance. And it doesn’t state when I’ve blown the game and need to give up. It would be nice to know to stop trying or to start the game over. So I use it, but I feel gypped.

In the meantime, I’ll fill my anxiety-ridden time writing blogs. Until the itch hits. Then I’ll run to the iPad for the subpar Freecell game.

Rona
www.ronarecommends.com
Posted in Procrastinatoin | 2 Comments

All I Want for Christmas … Is to be Served in a Restaurant


Roasts, nogs, chestnuts … mess. Maybe you’re exhausted by holiday prep and prefer to dine civilly this year, seated at a restaurant table, with prepared foods delivered to you, the clean-up not your concern. Here are three tempting options. And here’s a video of Rona talking about all three with Lauren Johnson of Fox 35.

Café de France

Café de France is an intimate French restaurant right on Winter Park’s main drag, with seats in the small dining room and tables on the avenue. Owners Dominique and German Gutierrez treat their guests as friends, welcoming them warmly and sincerely.

On Christmas Eve, they’ll be serving dinner. The menu is still being decided, but you’ll have four or five choices each for appetizer and entree. Likely selections will be foie gras; two fish entrees, including possibly (but no promises) Dover sole; game of some sort, maybe buffalo or venison; and lobster tail.

Festive holiday touches — tinsel and such — will adorn the walls, and a holiday Pandora mix will play.


This is a photo of the cozy restaurant’s interior on an ordinary day.

526 Park Avenue South, Winter Park, 407-647-1869, lecafedefrance.com

Raglan Road

Raglan Road is an upbeat spot at Downtown Disney, where hearty, higher-quality Irish fare is served as dancers perform. It’s a family spot yet, with three antique bars and loads of beer taps, fitting for adults-only groups too.

On Christmas Day, guests can buy a full turkey dinner for $27.95.

The menu looks terrific: mead (mead!)-glazed turkey, butter-whipped potatoes, sage and sweet onion dressing, brussels sprouts, and a cranberry-plum chutney.


This is the official menu.


These are the dancers. The show is impressive, and you’ll see it as you dine.


Here’s the restaurant’s interior.

Downtown Disney, 1640 N Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 407-938-0300, raglanroad.com

Bull & Bear

If you’re up for a splurge this Christmas, book a table at Bull & Bear. Bull & Bear is a stately steakhouse within the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It’s beef is superb, but, unlike many of its competitors, this meatery has real chefs in the kitchen and they tend to get creative.

For Christmas, Bull & Bear is serving a five-course tasting menu. The centerpiece is chateaubriand, an old-timey classic that is essentially an amazing thick and tender beef filet, here served a Bernaise-like sauce called foyot. Brioche toast and potato pave will share the plate.

Preceding the chateaubriand, you’ll receive Jerusalem artichoke bisque, lobster salad Napolean, and a pork rib and loin combo with suc de cuisson, which google tells me is the meat’s own juices. Side dishes will be served family style. Dessert will be an heirloom apple clafoutis. Here is the full menu. Honestly, I think it sounds like a value at $105. 


Here’s the Bull & Bear dining room. It’s posh.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando, 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane,
Orlando, 
407-597-5500, 

waldorfastoriaorlando.com/dining/bullandbear

Happy holidays, and eat heartily, friends.

Rona

www.ronarecommends.com

Posted in Dining Deals, Disney World, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants | 21 Comments

Autumn in Orlando – Four Harvest Festivals

Now that our air has gone from sultry to seductive,
Orlando-area chefs are stepping outdoors and firing up their stoves. Among the
best events are four that celebrate the season. I talkied about these
events on Fox 35 on October 20. Those of you with Facebook can see the clip here. CLIP 

Edible Orlando Field
to Feast Dinner

The editors of Edible Orlando happen to also be co-authors with
Heather McPherson of the groundbreaking cookbook Field to Feast. They’re
teaming up with yet another all-star group – Disney World’s very top chefs – to
host the Inaugural Edible Orlando Field to Feast Dinner.
 The
proceeds will benefit the Kids Café program at the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Sunday supper will have eight courses, each prepared by
a different notable chef and paired with a specific wine. The menu starts with Lake Meadow chicken sausage with Zellwood corn succotash and ends with squash
beignets served with habañero-corn ice cream with Madeira glaze and cocoa dust,
plus chocolate pot de crème with bosc pears and rye bread tuile. Here’s the full menu.


Sunday, October 27

Long & Scott Farms, Zellwood

$175 each / $325 per couple

edibleorlando.com

TICKETS

East End Market’s Fall
Harvest Dinner

The East End Market is soon to open, bringing Orlando a
compendium of locavore-oriented food vendors in one place, plus a restaurant
and a caterer. The new venue will make a splash with its Fall Harvest Dinner,
where local chefs will cook foods from the area. Beer, wine, a specialty
cocktail and  live music will be part of
the fun.




Saturday, November 16

East End Market, Orlando

$125

eastendmkt.com

TICKETS

Cows ‘n Cabs

Once a year on a big field in Winter Park, under a grand
tent, folks dressed casually in Western wear sample foods from several
restaurants during the Cows ‘n Cabs fundraiser. It’s a low-key, upbeat and
tasty way to spend an evening. Proceeds benefit Community Food & Outreach Center and Elevate Orlando. In addition to foods from restaurants including 4 Rivers Smokehouse, The COOP, Cask & Larder, Christner’s Prime Steak &Lobster, and Cress – which earned the No. 1 spot in the Zagat Orlando City Guide. Guests will also be free to sample 200 wines, spirits and craft beers.

Saturday, October 26

West Meadow, Winter Park

 $110/VIP $140

cowsncabs.com

Harvest Celebration
with Melissa Kelly

The chefs at Grande Lakes, the massive property that’s home to
Orlando’s upscale Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott resorts, has long been keen on
homegrown and locally raised food. A few months ago it opened an event venue
called Whisper Creek Farm. It’s an actual farm, growing fruits and vegetables.
And it’s the setting for grand parties (and intimate ones).

On evening in November, locals are invited to experience
this truly distinctive space without being invited to a wedding or corporate
to-do there. They’re urged to attend the Harvest Celebration with Melissa Kelly. Kelly is the chef-owner of Primo, a progressive Italian restaurant in
the JW Marriott that has had an on-premise garden for several years. The foods will
be cooked on site, as you watch, so you’ll always have hot and fresh tastes for
your plate.

The JW Marriott’s executive chef Chris Brown will be joining me on Fox 35. Tune in to hear the details of this incredible event.




Saturday, November 16

Whisper Creek Farm at Grande Lakes Orlando

$150

Reservations: 407-393-4683

Eat well, my friends.

Rona

www.ronarecommends.com

Posted in Dining Deals, Disney World, Florida travel, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants, Travel | 26 Comments

The Lemon Pledge

On Rona’s rarely used WordPress blog, she will post photos showing how different restaurants respond to, “Can I have lemon with my water–a lot of lemon?”



Take a look at the first entry: http://bit.ly/166g2wA
Eat heartily, my friends,

Rona

www.ronarecommends.com
blog.ronarecommends.com
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The Newest Bites: 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

The mania builds for months before the six-week Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which, on September 27, will start its 18th year. You’ll find all kinds of seminars and classes and lunches and dinners, all well-run and well-done.


My favorite part is the simplest: the marketplaces. All around Epcot’s World Showcase, little kiosks serve up a trio or so of ethnic foods along with appropriate beverages. This year we travel from Africa to France (always a sure bet for garlicky phyllo-wrapped escargot) and from South Korea to the park’s Florida home base. Prices are generally $3 to $7 per dish. I like to arrive just at 11 and stroll, and eat, calmly before the crowds surge. Surge they do, although many folks like making a leisurely evening out of eating, walking and, between tastes, watching the entertainers at the international pavilions.

As always, the marketplaces for 2013 will dish up a mix of popular long-timers and newbies. As a member of the press, I was invited to sample some of this year’s debut food and beverage items. Here’s what I learned.

Love Me Some Lobster
The Hops & Barley Marketplace will have a lobster tail. Calls for an exclamation point, right? The Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter will be grilled “on stage,” so you’ll get a waft of the aroma before digging in. It’s quite tasty, but a challenge to pull out of the shell–so snag a table before eating this one.



Belly Up to Brazil
My absolute favorite dish of the tasting was Brazil’s Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Avocado, Onions and Cilantro. Oh my. Disregard my unflattering photo. This is tender, flavorful meat that has been cured for three days, then cooked in front of you until it has a crisp and caramelized exterior. Add a little refried black bean, avocado and such, and you’ll be quite satisfied. Go for the black beer paired with it. They’re quite the match.



Be Frank
At the South Korea showcase, you can pick up a hot dog … sort of. The playful Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard is made by an Epcot master butcher, nestled into a soft sweet bun, and enhanced with kimchi, which is this case is a flavorful spicy slaw. This picture is of half a portion.



Give Me S’More
I’m not much of one for gloppy super-sweet things, but the Frozen S’Mores may convert me. The yummo fixtures like graham crackers and marshmallows are blended into a sweet drink and ooh-la-la.



The Trio Trifecta
Let me end by introducing you to the Trio of Desserts: Cherry Pistachio Mousse, Chocolate/Orange Cupcake and Hazelnut Cheesecake. Say yes.





Or, as they’re presented in the official Disney World photograph,



Add dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens more items, and you’ll begin to get a feel for the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. For a full listing of Marketplace tastes and such, click here.

Eat enthusiastically,
Rona

www.ronarecommends.com

Posted in Dining, Disney World, Florida travel, Orlando dining, Orlando restaurants, Travel | 9 Comments

The Door Bore

So now it’s doors. Every three hours, it seems, I must replace part of my home.

Blame Florida heat and humidity, cheap 21-year-old builders’
materials or plain old age. Whatever the culprit, a sinister house demon siphons off loads of cash
I’d rather keep. And is, specifically, no fun. At all.

Today’s project is the front door to my house. It’s a
double-door, wood, painted green right now, with little glass panes. The glass
gets filthy, the wood is weakening, the color is cracking off, and the ledges
below each window are perpetually filthy no matter how many times I drag a damp
rag across them.


The doors’ multiple windows also let in that brutal Florida
sunshine. As new homeowners,  we adopted
quaint cloth coverings on the interior that kept the sun from warping the floor. They had the secondary benefit of adding an embarrassing Midwestern DIY feel. Years later, a decorator
insisted we replace the kitschy cloth with pricey wooden shutters. At the time,
homemaker genius that I’m not, I didn’t realize I could install new doors for
about the same price.


Now we have a dog, Gigi. She’s a cutie. But she was left
alone too long one day and broke the shutters. Plus, she digs her nails into
the wedge things (louvres?) whenever she wants to look out.


When she’s done with her alfresco escapades, she claws at
the other side to come back in. She does that a minimum of three times every day. That makes the window panes even filthier and
scrapes the paint off the wood, so you can see the original red under the green.

A friend-who-knows-stuff saw the shutter damage and gave me
the name of a company that will fix them.

I called. The salesman showed up —
and told me it would cost so much to fix them that I should buy new doors
instead.

We’d been planning to repaint the house’s exterior, so this would be a
logical time to either replace the doors or slather on another coat of Porter.

I posted a plea on Facebook and got two recommendations for trustworthy
local door guys. The first came. He carries one brand of doors. One. He said my
doors are unusual in size (30 inches by 8 feet) and can be replaced with only two models in the
entire universe. Both are meh — so meh that my homeowners’ association would holler a neighborhood-wide NOOOOOO if I asked for the go-ahead. Still, I chose a design and was told he’d call for a quote. Day 8: still waiting.

So, I called the second company, requesting a home visit
from a rep. “We have so much more in the store than we can show you with a home
visit,” a guy said. “You should come in. We’re open on Saturday.” You know what
happened, right? I cajoled my husband — who does not want a new door, but
instead wants the shutters miraculously and inexpensively repaired — and drove half
an hour to the showroom. One salesman. Fourth in line. I told him my situation,
wrote down all my contact info at his suggestion … and haven’t heard back. Day 5.

So. Online, I found a bunch of doors I could actually get
excited about. 


After pinning them to my Pinterest page, I realized many are by
the same company. I emailed. I corresponded. I was assured the doors can be
custom-made to fit my opening. I wrote back with rough measurements, the door
of my choice, and the request for a quote. Is the door $2,000 or $20,000? I’ll
get serious with the tape measure once I know if I’m wasting my time and that
of the rep.

No answer. Day 3.

Here’s the plan: Paint the dowdy door, knowing the dog will scrape off the paint, so we’ll soon see green and red under the new hue. Leave the broken shutters and shudder every time we walk by. Buy a new door in 15 years when we’re ready to sell. Someone may as well enjoy it.

Eat well, live well, leave the decorating to the competent,

Rona


www.ronarecommends.com

Posted in homemaking, Housekeeping | 1 Comment

A Funky Local Food Joint, in Jerusalem

Jerusalem has a seriousness about it. The holy sites, the prolific white-stone buildings, the religious folks in assorted traditional attire … the place is magical, but it gives off an aura of somber. Yet the city has a hipper side, and the restaurant Mahneyuda represents it well.


According to Fodor’s, Mahneyuda is “considered one of the best in Jerusalem, possibly the country.” So of course The Hub and I sent the kids off for pizza and hauled our curious tushes across the city.
We found what here in the States would be called a farm-to-table concept, although the marketing materials don’t mention that the food is fresh from local farms. 
The table settings create a down-to-earth feel. Look at this: dishtowels with utensils. Homelike, no?



The menu is creative but fun. I especially like the menu names “Lamb interior parts, can you handle it?!” “Sweetbread and malawach like in Yemen” and, in the second photo, “Jew – York cheese cake, deconstructed.”





I foolishly either didn’t take notes or lost them, but we enjoyed our meal and here are some specifics. We were given bread — sliced white bread, in a brown paper bag — with what I believe was a tahini dip. 



And we were invited to mush ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.



These may or may not have been part of a signature appetizer, Shusterman tartar. The “tartar” was a dozen ingredients that we were free to mix and match at will. 



I was still stuffed from the ginormous Israeli breakfast we’d had hours earlier, plus lunch, so I ordered an appetizer for dinner. It was huge, and wonderful. It’s called “pizza on a lafa with mincemeat.” It was basically a large, tasty and filling flatbread pizza.



I guess I was beyond functioning at that point because i have neither photos nor memories of Hub’s entree or, if he ordered one, dessert. But I can say this: the tartar was fun and fresh but only OK taste-wise. Everything else we had was phenomenal. So if you’re headed to what my devout evangelical friend calls “The Holy Land,” make a reservation (long in advance), settle into the rustic space, and have a satisfying, fun, if not kosher, meal.

By the way, the restaurant is right outside a market called Machane Yeheda. It has a mix of produce, treasures and junk. It’s worth going just to see this halvah stand.



I’m glad I got that photo in. The only halvah in Orlando is prepackaged mediocrity in the supermarket, and a wonderful but super-expensive version in the cooler at Whole Foods.

Eat well, my laptop eater-travelers,

Rona

www.ronarecommends.com
Posted in Dining, Travel | 5 Comments