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Tip Jar

Cask & Larder adds Saturday brunch, Smart Coffee HD opens, you-pick blueberry farm opens for the season and more



If you can’t get a Mother’s Day reservation at Cask & Larder for May 12, you might want to try on Saturday, May 11 – C&L is now offering Saturday brunch (10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) with the same menu items served on Sunday. And if you’re a fan of their heritage fried chicken, it’s now on the menu every day, not just Tuesdays and Fridays.

Opening May 10 in the former Trattoria Toscana space on South Park Avenue is a self-described “environmentally conscious, modern café.” Smart Coffee HD will offer hot beverages from fair trade co-ops as well as comfort food fashioned from organic and locally sourced ingredients. Aside from the oblique reference to free Wi-Fi and a tech-friendly attitude, the “HD” in Smart Coffee HD stands for “healthy decisions.” The first 25 guests on opening day receive a gift; for the rest, all the coffee you can drink until 1 p.m.

The blueberries have finally bloomed in Groveland, which means that Lake Catherine Blueberries is open for picking until the end of the season (late-May/early-June). The
family-run farm has patches of sweet Emerald and tangy Jewel varietals, which you can pick daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A pound runs $4, though there are coupons out there that’ll cut the price in half. Visit lakecatherine for more.

Jake’s Beer Dinner at the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel May 17 presents a four-course meal with beer pairings from Left Hand Brewing. For $45, you get a grilled asparagus starter followed by smoked salmon with lemon-arugula risotto, a palate-cleansing mango-ginger sorbet, pork chops with cheddar and blue cheese tater tots and, finally, warm bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. Call 407-503-3200 for reservations and info.

J. Alexander’s has closed its doors in Dr. Phillips, while another upscale chain, the Capital Grille, has opened in the former McCormick & Schmick’s space in the Millenia Mall … Gigi’s Cupcakes has opened in the Colonial Plaza Shopping Center downtown … the Charcoal Joe’s on South John Young Parkway is now Charcoal Zyka (“zyka” means “taste”). They still serve Portuguese-style chicken, but they also serve a host of Indo-Pak specialties. (I’m hooked on their chapli kebab burgers.)

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