Of Feasts and Fringe



ROBERTO GONZALEZ

Aseries of random ruminations as I continue to analyze the results of my BuzzFeed “Which Peanuts Character Are You? quiz (Linus):

• While we were tallying the reader votes for our annual Dining Awards, I ran across a copy of our awards issue from 1996. Back then they were called the “Golden Palm Restaurant Awards,’’ and seeing some of the winners brought back memories—the fresh catch at Straub’s Seafood, the view from Arthur’s 27 at Buena Vista Palace, just about anything on the menu at Pebbles. Sadly, these establishments are no more. But the listings also featured restaurants that have staying power and continue to win Orlando magazine dining awards 18 years later—California Grill, Linda’s La Cantina and Café Tu Tu Tango among them.

Starting on page 41, you’ll find reader favorites in 61 dining categories. Here’s a hint on the Best Restaurant winner: It involves more than the luck of the Irish. We’ve also got some great additions to our Dining Hall of Fame, including a veteran chef, the head of a culinary school, a “communitea’’ gathering place, a fantastic duo of servers, and a Vietnamese dish you’ll likely recognize.

• I recently attended the preview of the CNL Arts Plaza at the soon-to-be-completed Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. There is much excitement about the scheduled November opening, as there should be. But as I listened to various speakers, it occurred to me that “The Arts’’ can sometimes seem a nebulous catchphrase. The arts require constant inspiration, training, audiences and funding. You can lend support this month to one area of the arts during the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, which runs May 14-27. The festival offers hundreds of uncensored, unjuried performances, from OMG outrageous to family friendly. Writer Kristen Manieri and photo editor Roberto Gonzalez offer a preview of five shows by local artists beginning on page 33.

• Elsewhere in our magazine, Greg Dawson writes a moving tribute to his mom, Answer Man explains why pointing a laser at an airplane is a bad idea, and Mark I. Pinsky profiles the local “Three Wise Guys’’ clergymen of radio fame. And finally, don’t forget to enter your animal friend in our annual Pet Cover Contest. Contest spokesman Oliver reminds us the deadline is May 31. Oliver is my blue-crowned conure who appears in the promotional magazine ads for the contest. His hobbies include hanging from his cage door by one toe (to applause, of course), chewing up paper towel rolls and occasionally blurting out “Omigod!’’ What are your pet’s favorite things? If he or she makes the finals and wins the most reader votes, you can tell us all about it. See page 113 for details on entering.

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2015 Dining Awards

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