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Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

By coincidence I posted a comment a few days ago on Chow stories, regarding the same problem. Central Florida, well known so called upscale chain; Half an hour to go before lunch closing time. Server approached table and advised, "I have an appointment in half an hour, You have to be out of here by that time." Fifteen minutes later came by with the same nonsense. Complaining did no good but this guy did manage to ruin a $300 company lunch. Same evening went to very well know seafood emporium (also chain); very busy - Finally got a table. Half way through a mediocre meal, server came by and incredibly dumped a doggie box and the check on the table, along with the great words, "You are not going to eat all that, box it up and take it home, I have nine people waiting for your table." In both cases the servers, quite obviously are in the wrong profession.

Oct 02, 2011
reinaldok in Not About Food

trader joes in SWFL

The TJ story is truly amazing. San Clemente, California - There are two TJs - One in same center as movie house. Other in strip mall, between TWO supermarkets. Parking in both TJs close to non existent. Seems both TJs always packed. Ralph's (Kroger) has opened brand new market with enough parking for an NFL stadium. Been open over one year, literally close to empty. Cashiers milling around passing the time of day. Interesting TJs tells you (same as ALDI) that they do not carry all your grocery needs and that you will have to complete your shopping somewhere else.. I understand New York - same situation. - Just what is the reason.
I think part is that TJs hires first rate grocery people and pays them well. and your typical super - well better left untold. You can rest assured Naples will be exactly the same. TJs always crowded. Customers lauding TJs and telling horror stories about the supermarkets.

Oct 02, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

Formal Dinner in Orlando???

I certainly agree with the opinions of Disney food, however V and A, is making a serious attempt to be at least a bit different. They now limit bringing children to an upscale dinner. Have received a lot of flack claiming that Disney is for kids and how could you etc etc. Well after spending 300 bucks for a pretty good meal you sometimes can expect not to be bothered constantly by a four your old. BTW, I do agree with most selections mentioned here. Norman's I would consider the top of the line. Since Enzo passed away some say the place is not the same. Some people like The Bohemian - about the only upscale place in downtown Orlando. There always are some surprises. I hurriedly pass a restaurant on 17-92 in Debary.
I thought it was a coffee shop in a new building. What a surprise, The place Vienna Cafe and Restaurant. About half way between DeBary and the river bridge , on the east side. Elegant place with great food and very knowledgeable servors.

Sep 25, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

5 Good Reasons to Complain at Restaurants

I had two intriguing cases the very same day. Obviously a story about people in the wrong place of employment. Both disasters in supposedly top of the line chains. One place likes to brag how they only hire the best of the best. Business lunch. Place closes after lunch at 2:00. At 1:30 server announced to all our party, "I sure wish you would hurry up, I have an afternoon appointment and can't miss it. Please be out of here before 2PM" That same evening, I went with my wife to a very crowded well known seafood emporium. When we were half way through the main course, the hardly friendly server, dumped an empty to go box on the table, along with the bill. "There is no way you are going to eat all that stuff. I have a bunch of people waiting for your table, so please hurry up." BTW, I have never been back to either place.
That is the best way to beat surly service. Just go somewhere else.

Sep 25, 2011
reinaldok in Features

trader joes in SWFL

TJs are usually smaller than most supermarkets. It would appear that they since they do not as yet have a dist center in Florida, I would suppose that they will use half the property for that purpose. In Altamonte Springs (Orlando area) ALDI took over an old Winn Dixie and use half. The other half is now an Office Depot.

Sep 22, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

trader joes in SWFL

TJs (Aldi) are the most secretive companies. Last year one of the owners Theo Albrecht passed away. The USA stores would not even confirm the news. Aldi now has over 1100 stores; TJs close to 400. Maybe they work together, maybe they do not. Aldi has a huge distribution center in Haines City; very convenient to the Tampa and Orlando areas. So far they have not opened another center for the Miami area (where they are opening more and more stores). TJs generally have very little warehouse space and it is still a mystery where they will store the merchandise. The Naples store (ex Borders) is much larger than the typical TJs Maybe that is one reason they have chosen the location. Most TJ shoppers still use the super markets for their regular purchases. TJs and Aldi pay much higher wages than Publix, but they expect more (and you do get far better service). You will see cashiers sweeping the floors and re-stocking. Managers too, must be top flight or they don't last more than a few days..

Sep 20, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

Italian Market

Thanks a lot, I live in Seminole Cty and don't get down much to Hunter's Creek, but if in the area certainly will try it out.

Sep 18, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

trader joes in SWFL

One of the national trade magazines recently mentioned in an article that there are really only three stores where shoppers look for private label brands. Trader Joes, Aldi and Costco. 80% of Aldi is private label. Aldi has something unknown in the industry. Double guarantee. That is if you are not satisfied with a product , bring it back and they will give you another one free PLUS your money back. Since they opened in our neighborhood, I have taken back one over ripe avocado. They do not take credit cards or personal checks but they do take debit cards. Many feel that the smart buyers shop at Aldi and save probably close to half of their food bills. We still buy certain things that they do not carry at Publix or Winn Dixie. Interesting Aldi always has some non-food merchandise at really low prices. You never know what they will have. Might be garden tools or pillows or generators. Once you start at Aldi you never change back.
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Sep 17, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

Italian Market

Interesting question. In the Orlando area, several Italian delis have opened and then after a short time closed up. There was a good one in Altamonte Springs. Could not make it and converted into a tiny restaurant. Still there - SR 436 and Montgomery Rd. I understand that there now is an Italian deli in a believe Winter Springs.

Sep 16, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

trader joes in SWFL

The German owners don't talk much about it, but they do own both Aldi and TJs., Yes Trader's will open shortly in the Naples area. Have not announced official opening date.
We have an ongoing struggle in our family. We are in Central Florida and my daughter in California. Always the same questions. "When is TJ's going to open in Florida"? and "When is Aldi opening in California" Aldi is opening stores left and right in Florida and now has about 50. Publix might not be quaking in their boots, but stiff competition is competition. Aldi now has over 1100 stores in the USA. TJ finally made it to New York. Opened 8 stores and have caused traffic jams in all their neighborhoods. They now have stores all over Georgia and you can be sure they will do the same thing in Florida. Some of the Publix biggies quite concerned with the present situation. They spent hundreds of millions buying out most of the
Albertson's and some are now just marginal. Aldi takes no prisoners. A few weeks ago, they
opened in a strip mall in Sanford, where Walmart has been for years.

Sep 16, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

Do all farmers markets in Florida stink?

Last Saturday, I tried the Lake Mary (Seminole County) Farmer's market - Quite small but very nice. Very good vegetables and some nice seafood. Also excellent Jamaican ginger beverages.
Nice atmosphere and very convenient. On site good parking.,

Aug 19, 2011
reinaldok in Florida

Jewish deli?

Ole Gourmet is a strictly kosher place in Fern Park - on 17-92. Service and food has been spotty at best. Also, has been closed many times and seems to change owners or management with a certain frequency. Worth a try. Maybe you will get lucky.
Sorry to hear about Amira's - We have been regulars for years and will check it out.
(In that Altamonte area probably half the places have closed recently).

May 24, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

Tarpon Springs - Quaint Places

Tarpon Springs has become one really awful tourist trap. We have been going there for years, but never again. First, we parked on the main street and was immediately advised
by a local citizen that there is now a $2 parking fee for street parking. I handed the guy 8 quarters and he requested only bills. Had a quick lunch. A few burgers. Surliest waitress
imaginable presented me with a hand scribbled check for $22. I asked the cashier to make some explanation. Fifteen bucks for your burgers and tax and $7 the waitress stuck on for her tip. You got to believe, I won't be back.

May 23, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

Orlando, moderately priced.

This is interesting. My physician is originally from Vietnam. I asked, in his opinion which is the best Vietnamese restaurant in the Orlando area.? He did not hesitate to recommend Vinh. We have gone there many times and it is always first rate.
BTW We have tried Bonefish in Longwood several times. The food was acceptable, but the service to put it mildly was an absolute disgrace. (Every time); Unless they wise up, they won;t be around much longer.

May 23, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

Dim sum in Orlando

The Dim Sum at Ming's is really very good. The atmosphere is about as close as you will get to the real Beijing. Vinh on Colonial Dr. used to serve excellent Dim Sum. but they gave it up. Also that very large Chinese restaurant on Colonial (used to be Thayer's drug store) has closed. They had fairly acceptable Dim Sum..

May 23, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

GrillSmith or Bonefish?

In the Orlando area we have the utter confusion that there is a Bonefish and also a Fishbones.
Fishbones is a bit more upscale and the service is far better. Last time we tried the Bonefish in Longwood, the place was quite busy. About half way through our mediocre dinner, the male server threw an empty doggie box on the table along with the check and surly commented, "You aren't going to eat all that. Take it home" An email to the management brought the usual company response, "Sorry about that"

Feb 21, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

Any good Fish&Chips places in Orlando?

We usually try the Fish and Chips place in Altamonte Springs, on 436, about a mile west of 434 in the Forest City neighborhood. It is located in a small strip mall across from Discount Auto Parts. and next to a tattoo parlor, Usually quite busy. We have found it to be good, but I must admit not everyone agrees. I would give it a try.

Feb 21, 2009
reinaldok in Florida

Manuels on the 28th and Harvey's Bistro, CLOSED! :(

The way things are going, we are going to end up here in the Orlando area with only a so-so collection of chain restaurantsl Harvey's tried it in Lake Mary and could not make it.
Even the chains are disappearing. Bennigan's, Steak and Ale, Shells on and on. Was surprised to see that a new Indian-Pak restaurant opened today on 434 Chaat.Will give it a try. Also was presently surprised at the quite new Mexican place on 436, Emiliano Z's. Better than average and they certainly must have courage. The same location has seen Chucks - Shells - Steak in the City all fold. You can still find some smaller places to get a decent meal. But it takes diligence.

Feb 20, 2009
reinaldok in Florida