It's no mystery that vultures have become downtown Orlando's latest attraction. Plaguing high rises like the luxury apartments at 55 West, Orange County has invested as much as $140k in electrifying ledges of the government center to ward off the hovering, vilified vultures. Reports suggest that the boring birds of bother are attracted to the thermals of hot air that rise from the baking concrete below -- essentially the perfect climate for a good, effortless hover.However, Orlando Insider's staff ornithologist, Hank the Ever-Under-Paid Skunk Ape, has a different theory."It's pretty clear that they're the third portent of the apocalypse," Hank said between slugs from a bottle of Florida Beer's Swamp Ape India Pale Ale [Orlando Insider- and Hank the Skunk Ape-approved. -- Ed]. "Those meteor flyby's last month and Justin Beiber were the first two portents."After a few more Swamp Ape beers and forty-three minutes of arguing about how a background in ornithology couldn't possibly qualify Hank to comment on portents of the apocalypse, Hank did pose an even more horrific theory:"F*ck. It could just be another sequel to 'Birdemic'."
Orlando Insider- and Hank the Skunk Ape-approved. We'd write more, but we just drank a lot of beer. Here's Florida Beer's description of this magnificent brew:
Firsthand accounts describe an intense beast with a potent aroma and bite. Proof that the elusive mystery monster exists? Or proof that brewing with five distinct varieties of hops creates an unbelievable, relentlessly hopped India Pale Ale? One taste and you'll know, Swamp Ape is real.
Swamp/Skunk discrepancies aside, we definitely approve. We found this at our local Publix in Baldwin Park, but your results may vary. Check out Florida Beer's website for more info.
The simplest solutions are usually the best, but if you were out for a jog and you paused momentarily to catch a breath after a short stretch of moderately elevated terrain, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz would probably swoop in with an ambulance, lay you out on a gurney and hook you up to an oxygen machine while administering CPR, all the while racking up thousands of dollars in medical fees.
Regarding SB1250, Florida's medical marijuana bill, Gaetz is quoted as saying that the bill stands no chance of passing the Florida Senate. He says that with the latest advances in pharmaceuticals, it's possible to ease the pain of the seriously ill without "resorting to marijuana".
In other words, why use something that's cheap, effective, and comparatively non-addictive when we can continue to stuff the pharmaceutical companies' coffers with billions of dollars?
Makes perfect sense.
This is not the sinkhole you're looking for.
A sinkhole opened underneath a home near Tampa and swallowed a 36-year-old man. The man is currently trapped inside and rescue efforts have been halted due to the instability of the sinkhole.
Here at Orlando Insider, we're saving our usual commentary until after the man in the hole has been recovered. Sinkholes are a real danger in Florida and CFNews13 has shared a list of the top 10 sinkhole prone counties:
- 1. Pasco
About a month late [we never promised we'd be timely, did we? -- Ed.] but still worth mentioning: 'The Adventures of My Dexterous Shadow' was a scavenger hunt-based art display by Orlando artist, Christopher Tobar. At the start of February, Tobar released a map and clues, encouraging art enthusiasts to track down his pieces, as "found in Orlando".
It's an exciting and original idea about how to share and experience art, and for that we'd like to give a hearty tip of the hat to Mr. Tobar.
Photo and mural by Christopher Tobar.
Cool pic, bro. Cooler video:
This isn't particularly 'new' news, but we recently ran into Orlando Sentinel's paywall and we thought it was worth mentioning. Back in April of 2012, the Sentinel rolled out new digital subscriber access for their website.
• For up to $4.99 every 5 weeks, you have unlimited access to Orlando Sentinel.
• For your time to register (and having another login user/password to track), you have access to 15 local stories per month.
• For no action, you have access to 5 local stories a month.
After you've exceeded those 5 stories, you get this paywall:
Here at Orlando Insider, we understand wanting to make a buck or two for all the hard work you put into your website. But ignoring how the internet fundamentally works and charging for content that is widely and freely available is not the way to do it.
[Orlando Sentinel is owned by Tribune, which also owns Cars.com which holds a monetary partnership with Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) which is owned by Autotrader.com which is owned by Cox Enterprises -- think about that incestuous relationship and the newspaper's narrow focus on potential ad dollars the next time you see a car advertisement in the newspaper or their website -- Ed.]
TIP: If you absolutely need access to OS, put your browser in private (or incognito) mode. The paywall operates on cookies and your browser's private mode removes access to those cookies. A better idea: don't give Orlando Sentinel your traffic. There are a lot of local news sources and games like convoluted paywalls are disrespectful to the internet-at-large.
TIPS FOR ORLANDO SENTINEL: If you need to generate more revenue (which you clearly do since you're trying to sell subscriptions to your website -- oh, and PS: you know who else sells website subscriptions? Porn sites. GREAT company you're in, there, eh?) maybe you should think about developing some exclusive, kick-ass content that advertisers actually want to get behind; produce better videos for YouTube; and generally stop acting like you can just transplant the newspaper business onto the internet without any kind of drastic evolutionary changes.
The Subscription-Hating Writing Staff at Orlando Insider
Some inhuman beast -- surely the spawn of Satan (if not Satan himself) -- stole the cash box from a group of Girl Scouts in front of a Blockbuster in Clermont. The alleged 'man' got away with $280. Local police plan to help replace the stolen money.
Fox Mulder: one of our top five dude crushes.
Truer words have never been spoken, Fox.
Fun Spot on I-Drive erected a 250-foot SkyCoaster that originally resided at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Apparently, MGM couldn't afford the Viagra payments anymore.
The SkyCoaster combines "thrills of skydiving and hang gliding in one action packed ride" and basically amounts to a swingset. A very tall swingset. Fun Spot's new SkyCoaster is the second largest in the state, the first being Fun Spot Kissimmee's SkyCoaster which stands 300-feet tall. We're sure there's another joke here about the girth of your swing, not the length.
John Arie, Jr. thinks it's huuuuuuge.
Predictably, general manager and general face of Fun Spot, John Arie, Jr, said of the newly erected addition, "This will be a [HUUUUUUUUUUUGE] thing for I-Drive."
[He actually said "huge" but we're pretty sure he meant "huuuuuuuuuuge". You're welcome, John. -- Ed.]
That's all the groan-inducing commentary we've got. We'll leave the rest to the best -- check out Fun Spot's new Gangnam Style-inspired commercial [be warned -- Ed.] and a graphic video of the new SkyCoaster rising proudly into Orlando's sky. Hopefully it asked first and plans to cuddle afterwards.
[Here at Orlando Insider, we do NOT endorse Sky Rape. No matter what, it should always be consensual. -- Ed.]
And just to be clear about Fox Mulder's quote: MGM's SkyCoaster is the nut that rolled down to Florida, as are all the people who end up riding it at Fun Spot. IF WE WERE MEANT TO COAST ON THE SKY, WE'D HAVE FLYING DINOSAUR UNICORNS TO DO IT ON.
We needed a palate cleanser after our last restaurant review (a hacking, hurking, wheezing affair at the Winter Park Fish Co.) and after a few days indulging in Taco Bell’s 8-for-3 Blow-Out Extravaganza Special, we hooked a U-turn and dropped in at Bento Café. We’ve actually been there several times already, but EVERYTHING changes when viewed through the lens of a critical review.
(“Don’t look under the table. Don’t look under the table. Dontlookunderthetable.”)
We'd probably shove our awards in your face, too. If we had any.
If you have as hard a time as we do getting your nearby dining-mates to engage in a conversation about Space Dinosaurs versus Sentient Trash Cans from Venus, you’re always welcome to turn your attention to one of the three hi-def televisions peppered across the walls. (There’s even smaller TV’s mounted in the bathroom so you don’t miss any of the action in The Bachelor finale when you have to poop.)
[The Bachelor and poop in the same sentence …. can you tell we had a late night with a large bottle? We promise that this won’t get any better. -- Ed.]
Let’s talk about anomalous conundrums for a second. The Tuna Star Crunch dish (“special marinated tuna chunks on a bed of crunchy wonton chips, topped with masago, scallions, and creamy sweet chili sauce”) has a bold, red “NEW” label next to it on the menu, and yet it resides on Bento’s Specialties section. Can something ‘new’ really be a Specialty? In order to be a specialty, a dish would have to be around for awhile, preparation is well-practiced, and the dish is refined to perfection. (Think: “My specialty is Taco Bell drive-thru because I do it four times a day; twelve times on the weekend.”) On the other hand, if a specialty dish has to be a well-established culinary delight at the restaurant, how can there ever be something new added to the specialty menu?
Bento's Tuna Star Crunch Specialty. We're still trying to figure out where the name came from.
It’s easier to eat the food than to over-think its origins [trust us, we’ve over-thought the origins of the Taco Bell meat so much that eating a random burrito is like a game of psychological Russian Roulette -- Ed.] and the Tuna Star Crunch is no exception. We’d describe the presentation as “fun” and the tuna itself as "very fresh" and "mildly spicy" in a way that doesn't overpower the dish. We don’t usually care to order appetizers at a sushi restaurant, but this tuna dish had us rethinking a bunch of things about life in general.
While we waited for our dinner (and our dining-mates ignored a fresh hypothetical involving a busty lizard-woman pirate named Leptillian) we took in Bento’s ambiance and noted that the Saturday evening crowd averaged twenty to thirty years old with a variety of ethnicities on display. Clearly sushi does not discriminate.
Sparkly tables fit for Twi-hards.
The tables were, for lack of a better word, sparkly. We’ll spare you the Twilight-bashing and leave it at that.
Our dinner was a Bulgogi Noodle Bowl (ordered with chicken but served with beef), a Hot Lava sushi roll order (“escolar, tempura shrimp, avocado, masago, scallions, topped with a baked spicy scallop delite and black tobiko”), and a Flying Dragon sushi roll order (“tempura shrimp, krab, avocado, mayo, topped with broiled eel and masago, then drizzled with eel sauce”).
We can tell you that the Hot Lava is a Bento Café staple, although the scallops placed on top were a little rubbery on this particular visit. The Flying Dragon was a new culinary adventure -- one that we would ordinarily not attempt because, nine times out of ten, eel ends up tasting a little too furry for us. Fortunately, the Flying Dragon at Bento was devoid of fur and the eel sauce was just the right amount of sweet.
It’s fair to say that we have pretty low standards here at Orlando Insider, but the Flying Dragon was by far our favorite part of the meal.
The Bulgogi Noodle Bowl is served with either chicken or beef and we elected to sample the former, although we we received the latter. And then another waiter delivered the meal which led to a momentary lapse of insanity where we DIDN’T tear into the guy for bringing us the wrong food. Long story short, it wasn’t that big of a deal -- the backup waiter assured us the order was entered incorrectly -- and at the end of the day we like the cow meat just as much as the poultry products.
The noodles were good but seemed a little yeasty, which could have just been due to our on-again-off-again relationship with gluten. The beef had just the right amount of spice to make it zing while not making us feel like we were French-kissing a fire-breathing dragon.
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PROOF! We ordered chicken and it WAS entered correctly!
That's beef. Definitely beef. Not to be confused with chicken. Which is what we ordered. Chicken. And that is NOT chicken.
Bento Café is a hip, trendy place to dine when seeing a movie at the Plaza Cinema Café and you can't beat the location for getting a good drinking "base" before you hit the Downtown Orlando bars. Bento’s sushi is always fresh and the rolls are always creative -- one thing we appreciate most is how they don't drown the sushi in sauces like other trendy restaurants in the area.
If you visit Bento Café and they serve you beef instead of chicken in your Bulgogi Noodle Bowl, leave us a note -- we’ll start a club!
The Final Word