Category Archives: General Info

Twitter to the Rescue!

I had heard about this before, but just rediscovered this valuable information… For those who live in Orlando, you can follow any calls made to the Orlando Police Department (Orange County Sheriff’s Office is in development.)

Just put in OrlPol + the zip code you want to follow, and you will receive tweets anytime a call goes out.  Here’s an example: @OrlPol32803

We love the idea of people keeping watch in their neighborhoods, even in a virtual, online, social media type of way! Way to go! Let’s keep Orlando as safe as possible!

And to view a map of where the calls are lodged, you can click here.


Filed under General Info, Orlando, Resident done good

Take Out for Thanksgiving? Oh yeah!

So, I met up with several Orlando area tweeters and bloggers at Boston Market for a tasting of the restaurant’s newly enhanced menu. I spent time with @dafoodie, @thedailycity, @kiran_, and @tastychomps and we had a lovely time catching up over some very yummy food.

Top 5 editor Bess Auer with Mark Baratelli of the The Daily City and Kiran Srivastava of Chatterbox.

Now, the non-foodie in me (I love to eat but not to cook!) started to think a bit ahead… Thanksgiving is just around the corner, right? I’ve got my smoked turkey ordered from Bubbalou’s but am in desperate need of some really good side dishes. (I’m not kidding…I really do not cook.)  So, what better timing for me than to be able to sample some side dishes tonight?

In addition to Boston Market’s normal sides, here’s some of the new gourmet sides we got to try:

  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes
  • Garlicky Lemon Savoy Spinach
  • Squash Casserole (My favorite!)
  • Mediterranean Green Beans

Yep, I am one step ahead of you… I’m already placing my order for next week!

And, what else is new at Boston Market?  Well, for one things, there were ceramic plates and real silverware. And, table service… really!

I think this change is a positive step for the chain.  And, they have definitely made my Thanksgiving easier!

Some of the new yummy side dishes!


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Fun, General Info, New & Hot, Seasonal

Go Green in College Park – This Wednesday!

Infusion Tea and the Artistree Co-Op is one of my favorite little places in the Orlando area.

Imagine yourself in a charming, indie boutique with a bit of a vegan and gypsy feel thrown in… awesome loose leaf teas and an incredibly delish menu make this a sure thing for a great meal.  And, then throw in the attached Artristree Co-op, one of the best places in town to find deals on the cutest locally made arts and crafts, and you’ve got a winning combination!

Here’s the invitation for this Wednesday, where you can buy environmentally-responsible gifts as well as be in the running to win a $400 gift basket!



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Filed under Fashion, Fun, General Info, Orlando

Feel like Ice-Skating? In Central Florida?!

It’s finally here… one of the BIGGEST seasonal events in Central Florida, compliments of UCF.  55 nights of seasonal cheer!

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Filed under family, Fun, General Info, Seasonal, UCF

Orlando Food & Wine Festival: Yum!

The third annual Orlando Food & Wine Fest is this weekend!

The mouth-watering third annual Orlando Food & Wine Festival will take place in downtown Orlando on Robinson Street along Lake Eola on Saturday, November 13 (from 1:00pm to 9:00pm) and Sunday the 14th (from 12:00pm to 7:00pm). Was that a mouthful or what?


It will feature Top Chef Season 7 contestant Kenny Gilbert in a live cooking demonstration, collegiate and professional sports games in the outdoor sports bar, entertainment by national recording artists WAR, Fourplay and Marc Antoine. Not Marc Anthony…. Marc Antonie (he’s an acoustic guitarist!)

Kenny Gilbert

It will be presented and produced by 103.1 WLOQ, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and will benefit the Children’s Home Society of Florida.


To savor the event, expect to pay between $2 and $6 for the sample sized offerings from 36 of Orlando’s Top restaurants and over 50 wines from all over the world! Don’t be drinking them all though now, save some for me. Tickets are $10 for one day or $15 for both Saturday and Sunday and you can buy them here.


If you’re curious as to who will be serving, here’s the list. This list includes Ruth, Mitchell, Dexter, Tommy, Charley, monkeys, an owl, a frog, and a lion, among others. It’s a jungle out there!


Oh! and the DaFoodie car will be there (right at the entrance) Don’t be shy… take a picture with it and upload it to the DaFoodie Facebook page for a chance to get it featured on our blog.

This post was written by guest blogger extraordinaire Gustavo Hernando, AKA Dafoodie, whose incredibly delectable site can be viewed at You can also follow him on Twitter.

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Filed under Fun, General Info, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Orlando

Orville Schell: The Top 5 Concerns Central Florida Should Have about China

The Top 5 was very excited to be able to speak with Orville Schell, one of the country’s leading authorities on China. (You’ve seen him on 60 Minutes.)  Orville is coming to speak at Rollins College tomorrow night, Thursday, November 11.

Special note from the editor: Yes, I did a bit of reading to sound intelligent when speaking with Orville–I tried!– but he was kind enough to explain why relations with China matter to you and me as average Central Floridians.

And, after this conversation, I do realize how important his message is to all of us: from the products we buy and the jobs we may or may not have, to the money we can or can’t borrow from the bank to even preventing future apocalyptic wars. Pretty important stuff, no? Here’s what he had to say…

The Top 5 Concerns Central Florida Should Have about China

1)  Trade

Have you been to a Walmart recently? Come on, even if you haven’t surely you have seen these three words over and over: Made In China.

Confession: I heard about a local school who had a Veteran’s Day Assembly, where several worthy veterans were honored. The students proudly waved tiny American flags to show their patriotism. (The flags were flown on sticks that read “Made in China.” Ugh!)

2) Almost $2 trillion in Debt

Yep, China holds 20% of the U.S. government’s debt, and we seem headed towards going even deeper into their pockets.

Now, my hubby doesn’t let me handle our own bills, because I’m not much with economics, but even I can see the MAJOR problems with this much foreign ownership. It seems to put us in a rather poor negotiating stance, doesn’t it?

3) Climate Change

Although my older brother used to tell me that I could only get to China by digging a hole through the middle of the Earth, the world is apparently much, much smaller than he thought.  If ash from an Indonesian volcano can drift across the Pacific to pollute the western coast of America, then certainly the coal China and America burn affects each other.  We pollute the same air, melt the same glaciers, and destroy the same environment. Think about this: even if all of America switched to electric cars, there would still be 27 million cars in China to deal with!

“China is the fastest-growing contributor of global warming emissions,” says Douglas Ogden, director of the China Sustainable Energy Program, “with its carbon dioxide output on track to surpass that of the U.S. by 2025.”

So the lesson in all this? America must be on good terms with China to be able to work together to reduce the carbon emissions and slow the effects of global warming. Yeah, our very survival as a race depends upon this!

4) Nuclear Weapons

Okay, just Orville saying those two words kind of freaks me out!

There are a lot of countries that have (or soon may have) nuclear weapons, and North Korea and Iran are two that are not so friendly to the United States and our policies.  China, however, seems to have a much better working relationship with these two countries, and so it is imperative we learn to cooperate with China to reduce any and all nuclear threats. (That or we need to dig more fall out shelters here in Florida!)

5) Global Financial System

Here in Central Florida we have all felt the effects of the slow economy. Thousands of jobs lost, hundreds of stores closed, and far too many people out of their homes.  And in a global market dominated by both the U.S. and China, we will need to work together not only to keep the system from breaking down altogether, but to also figure out how to rebuild it.

As Orville pointed out, “We are joined at the hip with China whether we like it or not. It is an illusion to think we can separate ourselves.”

Baby Steps

Of course, the teacher in me asked Orville whether he thought today’s schools were preparing tomorrow’s generation to deal with this massive gorilla on our back (metaphorically speaking, of course), and he said no.  He pointed out that schools are not teaching students the history, culture, language, or politics to be able to deal with China. So, I would like to give some kudos to Lake Highland Preparatory School for offering Mandarin Chinese as one of their foreign languages options. At least it’s a start!

I would also like to congratulate the Central Florida city of Tavares, whose mayor Robert Wolfe is currently on a trip to Taiwan to explore a sister-city relationship. By taking the initiative, perhaps we Central Floridians can have a greater influence on international relations than we realize, and this can only be for the good of all!

Go Hear Orville Schell in Person: 2 Chances

Tomorrow night at Rollins College, Bush Auditorium, 7 pm:
Climate Change and the Melting Glaciers of the Himalayas: Why it Matters

Friday morning at Rollins College, Bush Auditorium, 9 am:
What’s Happening in China and Why It Matters: Q & A with Orville Schell


Filed under Celebrity, Education, General Info, Literary, Politics, Rollins College, TV Fame

Mount Dora: Goblins and Goblets of Wine, Oh my!

So as part of her innkeeper duties, Ana Tuttle had several good suggestions and made all of my reservations for me!  And the place we went for dinner on Saturday night is a local favorite: The Goblin Market.

The entrance is tucked away on a back alley, and you feel as if you are headed to the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley (for you Harry Potter fans!).  And, if you don’t mind dining amid skulls and trolls overlooking your meal (yes, it was decked out for Halloween), or the many bookshelves and withering vines, then you will be right at home. Edgar Allan Poe should have dined thusly!

But, don’t be confused by the fantastic goblin theme, as The Goblin Market is nicer dining at $25 to $30 an entree… and what fine gourmet it is!

I had crab bisque soup and friend pumpkin ravioli, while @swimmerjoe at a gourmet chicken pizza with gouda cheese. Yum! And, if you arrive early (yes, you probably need reservations) then you can head upstairs to the lounge and bar area, another local hang out.

On our walk home, though, we stopped in at another local favorite, The Wine Den.  This intimate place was welcoming with a knowledgeable staff who had great wine suggestions.  The Wine Den was a great place for a night-cap… love it!

So, this concludes our fabulous time in Mount Dora. We returned home feeling refreshed, renewed, and restored to sanity. Thanks, Mount Dora!


Filed under Fun, General Info, Just for Me, Mount Dora