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Tip Jar: local food news

In this week's round-up, Food Truck Wars, Food Truck Row at Disney, organic gardening classes and more



More than 40 food trucks from Tallahassee to Windermere will hash it out at Food Truck Wars March 23 at the Oviedo Mall. From noon to 6 p.m., the comestible conveyances will compete for awards in five categories: Top Food Sales, Food Truck Appearance, Largest Food Item, People's Choice and the Chef-Off, judged by nationally renowned chefs/restaurateurs. The free event also features a beer garden, live music and silent auction.

Speaking of food trucks, word comes that Disney Springs (what Downtown Disney will morph into by 2016) will have a "Food Truck Row" on its grounds, including a number of rumored restaurants including Shake Shack, a Food Network Restaurant and something from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Allez cuisine!

This year's Central Florida Home & Garden Show will have a culinary component, with the likes of James & Julie Petrakis (Ravenous Pig), Kevin Spencer (Spencer's for Steaks & Chops), Greg Picard (executive chef for Orlando World Center Marriott), and chefs from Whole Foods Market hosting cooking demonstrations. Reps from World of Beer will also be on hand lending their expertise. The event runs March 22-24 at the Orange County Convention Center.

The third (and final) organic gardening class offered by A Natural Farm & Educational Center takes place March 27 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., on the topic "How to raise chicks and hens to get fresh and healthy eggs in your backyard." Each class at the Howey-in-the-Hills farm costs $10 and will last about an hour. Call 352-536-3112 to register.

No surprise that the less-than-stellar Blue Elephant in Lake Mary has now come under the ownership of the folks who run I-Drive's Thai Thani. Here's hoping for better Siamese staples … On March 21, the All Italian Market in Hunter's Creek will stage Festa Italiana, a $40 six-course meal paired with wines from the Campania region … Winter Park's Italio Modern Italian Kitchen is giving away more free food – this time to college students on March 20, from 5-10 p.m. Now if onlyI could find my college ID from 20 years ago….

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