Photo via Tapa Toro
Crema Catalana is one of three dessert choices on Tapa Toro's Bite 30 menu
If there’s one month during the year when professional dining is a useful skill, it’s June. Why? Bite 30
: Orlando Weekly’s 30-day celebration of all the above-average food, beverage and hospitality this town has to offer. From June 1-30, more than 20 restaurants will feature prix fixe dinner menus for just $30.
To get the most from Bite 30, you’ll need a little advice. Fortunately for you, I’ve been getting paid to eat for more than 10 years, so I know the ropes. Here are some tips for sucking the marrow out of Bite 30, and saving so much dough on quality comestibles you’ll feel like you’re getting paid to eat.
STEP 1: MAKE A PLAN
Winging it is probably not going to be an option at most of the places participating in Bite 30. Peruse the list and identify favorite spots you’ve been to before as well as places you’ve been dying to try (one thing we're excited about: The Tennessee Truffle's
newly added dinner service). Consider putting a couple of restos you may have never heard of on the list, too. Interested in authentic Spanish food? Visit Tapa Toro
or Bulla Gastrobar
, both on the Bite 30 roster. Adore sushi but rarely branch out from your usual rainbow roll? Umi
on Park Avenue is offering a four-course dinner featuring 13 different options.
STEP 2: CLAIM YOUR SPOT
Some of the restaurants on the Bite 30 list are hot spots where reservations are strongly suggested, like Soco
. Any dining enthusiast knows that reservations are always a good idea, even if the place isn’t packed. Generally, restaurants save the best seats (i.e., not the ones near the server stand or alongside the restrooms) for patrons who have planned far enough ahead to make a rezzie.
STEP 3: ORDER LIKE A BOSS
If we’re honest, we’ll all ’fess up to loving carbs. But during Bite 30, use a little of that George W. Bush “strategery” and work the menu. Starches like pasta and potatoes are tempting, but instead home in on dishes that will make your dining experience worth it, like steaks, seafood and preparations that require intensive labor. At Rusteak in College Park
, make a beeline for the flat-iron steak topped with jumbo Cape Canaveral Shrimp and hollandaise. That dish alone could carry the $30 price tag any other month of the year.
STEP 4: TALK ABOUT IT
You like taking pictures of your food; we get it. During Bite 30, we’ll even encourage it. Take as many pictures as you like of the food, the restaurant, the chef, your server (with permission) or your cocktail and share them on social media. Tag @orlandoweekly on Instagram and use the hashtags #orlandoweekly and #bite30 and you might even win
gift cards from participating restaurants, or a gift certificate for a free trip to Publix Aprons Cooking School.
STEP 5: HIT UP THE GRAND FINALE
Photo by Leanne Leuterio
On Monday, June 26, Bite Night Orlando
goes down like Charlie Brown at the Orchid Garden on Church Street. Bite Night tends to sell TF out, so don’t wait to get your tickets; buy in advance
. All of our participating restaurants
will be set up around the venue dishing out delectable bites. In the past, I've seen people all dressed up in uncomfortable clothes; if you want my advice, skip the Spanx and go full-on stretch pants. By the time you've made your way to the dessert tables, you'll be wishing you had a second stomach.