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Tip Jar: local food news

This week: McKnight's Soul Food, pop-up dinner at Tomazin Farms, Hannibal Square wine tasting festival and much more

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After Johnson's Diner closed its doors in October of 2010, it left a soul-food vacuum in the heart of the city, so it was great to see Mayor Buddy Dyer attend the grand opening of McKnight's Soul Food in Johnson's former space last week. In addition to traditional plates, McKnight's offers pasta, tacos (chicken-bacon tacos with smoked slaw!) and, wait for it … fried Snickers bars.

Reserve your seats now for the April 7 Dinner at the Farm event hosted by Cress Restaurant's Hari Pulapaka at Tomazin Farms in Samsula (near New Smyrna Beach). The event gets underway at 4 p.m. with a private tour of the fourth-generation farm, followed by a family-style dinner, with many of the ingredients coming from Tomazin's bounty. Pre-payment of $75 is required. Tickets are transferable but nonrefundable. Email reservations@cressrestaurant.com for more.

As a prelude to the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival March 15-17, Hannibal Square will hold its 10th annual wine tasting event 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14. The Fine Art of Wine will offer more than 40 varieties of wine, along with small bites from such restaurants as Mi Tomatina, Chez Vincent, Hawkers, Hot Olives and the Winter Park Fish Co. Tickets are $25.

The Miller's Ale House in the ambitious and still-under-construction Ravaudage complex on the corner of Lee Road and 17-92 sure went up fast. That's a good sign for the mixed-use project that will see more restaurants, retail and residential space, and, possibly, a 5,000-seat minor-league baseball stadium. I can almost taste the Kobe hot dogs and craft beer already.

BRIEFLY:
Buy a $5 wristband at Wally's on March 16 and you'll enjoy drink specials at Funky Monkey, Bananas Diner, Peacock Room, BART and other stops during the Mills 50 St. Patty's Day Pub Crawl … Craft beer chain Brass Tap plans to serve its 300-plus brews (and vino!) in the finally-underway Mills Park development later this year … Nona Blue, of which 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell is a principal owner, will open March 15 in Lake Nona Village off Narcoossee Road. Ladies, here's your chance to bed a PGA Tour vet.

Got local restaurant dish? Send your tips to dining@orlandoweekly.com

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