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    When we first started business 10 years ago at Church Street," says Oscar Lagos, owner of Choo Choo Churros, "we had a small cart that we sold fried pastries from – churros. And since there was the train there, my wife named it Choo Choo Churros."

    From that small cart the Lagos moved to a little coffeeshop on Bumby Avenue, and then four years ago to Lake Underhill, always keeping the name. "Argentinean people and American people, they both ask, what does this name mean?" Lagos says. Well, to anyone who asks, in the universal language of food it translates into "good."

    From that small cart the Lagos moved to a little coffeeshop on Bumby Avenue, and then four years ago to Lake Underhill, always keeping the name. "Argentinean people and American people, they both ask, what does this name mean?" Lagos says. Well, to anyone who asks, in the universal language of food it translates into "good."

    Choo Choo has an affinity for small spaces, and there are barely nine tables in the room, with three more outside on a patio. Renovation is going on, but nothing will change the fact that Lake Underhill Road and the East-West Expressway are right outside. That seems to be the only negative Ã? unless you're a vegetarian.

    Choo Choo has an affinity for small spaces, and there are barely nine tables in the room, with three more outside on a patio. Renovation is going on, but nothing will change the fact that Lake Underhill Road and the East-West Expressway are right outside. That seems to be the only negative Ã? unless you're a vegetarian.

    Much of the food of Argentina and Brazil can be summed up in four letters – meat. Lots of meat, delicious big slabs of it, served in styles and from parts of beasts that some people, even carnivores, would rather not think about. So unless you know Spanish or aren't afraid to ask, you could order "morcilla" and end up with blood sausage, or be served a big order of lemon- grilled sweet breads because "molleja" is such a lovely word.

    Much of the food of Argentina and Brazil can be summed up in four letters – meat. Lots of meat, delicious big slabs of it, served in styles and from parts of beasts that some people, even carnivores, would rather not think about. So unless you know Spanish or aren't afraid to ask, you could order "morcilla" and end up with blood sausage, or be served a big order of lemon- grilled sweet breads because "molleja" is such a lovely word.

    What you might want to start with is "churrasco" ($12.95), a word that usually refers to an open-flame style of cooking rather than a cut of meat, but which in this case is a two-inch-thick skirt steak that is tender, juicy and unadorned. Here is a chef who doesn't have to season, flavor, dress up or disguise a piece of meat, but knows how to cook for the best effect. The mixed grill, or "parrillada" ($15.95 to $32.95, depending on the number of people) is a popular dish that features a little sample of everything on a sizzling platter.

    What you might want to start with is "churrasco" ($12.95), a word that usually refers to an open-flame style of cooking rather than a cut of meat, but which in this case is a two-inch-thick skirt steak that is tender, juicy and unadorned. Here is a chef who doesn't have to season, flavor, dress up or disguise a piece of meat, but knows how to cook for the best effect. The mixed grill, or "parrillada" ($15.95 to $32.95, depending on the number of people) is a popular dish that features a little sample of everything on a sizzling platter.

    If you need a break from beef, the sweet corn or ham-and-cheese empanadas – small and dense deep-fried turnovers ($1.50) – are great. There are a couple of chicken dishes "milanesa" (breaded) and a wonderful "Sierra fish" cross-cut steak (usually white fish, but on this occasion, salmon) that was firm but still juicy in a slightly spicy lemon and wine sauce.

    If you need a break from beef, the sweet corn or ham-and-cheese empanadas – small and dense deep-fried turnovers ($1.50) – are great. There are a couple of chicken dishes "milanesa" (breaded) and a wonderful "Sierra fish" cross-cut steak (usually white fish, but on this occasion, salmon) that was firm but still juicy in a slightly spicy lemon and wine sauce.

    Entrees come with a simple salad, good bread and the sounds of vintage tangos in the background, including some recordings that customers bring in to share from their own collections. (Mention Astor Piazzolla, and you're golden.) The owners are charmingly friendly. Mix in their well-prepared meals and cozy atmosphere and you have a winning combination, regardless of language.

    Novelist Ernest Hemingway never owned a restaurant. While he did originate the line, "Paris is a moveable feast," I don't think he was talking about food. Still, he was known to frequent some of the finest restaurants in Italy, France and, of course, Cuba.

    I think he'd be just as likely to be found in the Hurricanes Bar at the sprawling Grand Cypress Resort as he would in the hotel's restaurant that carries his name. (He did say, after all, "I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure.")

    I think he'd be just as likely to be found in the Hurricanes Bar at the sprawling Grand Cypress Resort as he would in the hotel's restaurant that carries his name. (He did say, after all, "I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure.")

    Yes, Papa might have liked this Hemingways, a Key West-styled eatery overlooking a half-acre pool and surrounded by lush gardens and the enormous, 750-room hotel. (There's a golf course and an equestrian center, too.) One of six restaurants on the grounds, the multilevel and multiroom setup means that almost all of the 140 seats have a glass-walled view of the scenery. It's a comfortable space, with whitewashed walls and high ceilings, although I could have done without the nonstop Jimmy Buffet music. The hotel itself is full of impressive Buddhist and modern art, and it is worth a tour.

    Yes, Papa might have liked this Hemingways, a Key West-styled eatery overlooking a half-acre pool and surrounded by lush gardens and the enormous, 750-room hotel. (There's a golf course and an equestrian center, too.) One of six restaurants on the grounds, the multilevel and multiroom setup means that almost all of the 140 seats have a glass-walled view of the scenery. It's a comfortable space, with whitewashed walls and high ceilings, although I could have done without the nonstop Jimmy Buffet music. The hotel itself is full of impressive Buddhist and modern art, and it is worth a tour.

    Executive chef Kenneth Juran has worked in California, New York and France, and the widely influenced dishes are impressive, if expensive.

    Executive chef Kenneth Juran has worked in California, New York and France, and the widely influenced dishes are impressive, if expensive.

    But this is tourist territory, where prices don't seem to be an issue. A featured appetizer of lobster tail and angel-hair pasta had a subtle combination of flavors; but at $18.50, I was expecting the lobster to be more tender and the pasta less so.

    But this is tourist territory, where prices don't seem to be an issue. A featured appetizer of lobster tail and angel-hair pasta had a subtle combination of flavors; but at $18.50, I was expecting the lobster to be more tender and the pasta less so.

    My first reaction to the lobster and pumpkin bisque ($8) was to shut my eyes and enjoy. Meaty pieces of crustacean were immersed in pureed pumpkin and topped with roasted seeds, the deep tastes switching from sweet to smoky.

    My first reaction to the lobster and pumpkin bisque ($8) was to shut my eyes and enjoy. Meaty pieces of crustacean were immersed in pureed pumpkin and topped with roasted seeds, the deep tastes switching from sweet to smoky.

    Fish (served without any old men) is a specialty, available grilled, broiled or sauced. The red snapper ($26) was the big-gest piece I'd ever seen, yet still tender and flaky. I didn't quite know what to expect of shrimp and sweet-corn ravioli ($29), which turned out to be a wheel of shellfish chunks, corn and red peppers interspersed with less impressive pasta stuffed with a bland shrimp paste.

    Fish (served without any old men) is a specialty, available grilled, broiled or sauced. The red snapper ($26) was the big-gest piece I'd ever seen, yet still tender and flaky. I didn't quite know what to expect of shrimp and sweet-corn ravioli ($29), which turned out to be a wheel of shellfish chunks, corn and red peppers interspersed with less impressive pasta stuffed with a bland shrimp paste.

    A commendation must go to the sous chef who prepared the vegetables. The "smashed" potatoes (tender buds of buttery splendor), crisp broiled asparagus and shredded carrots (with a sweetness that filled the mouth) show an admirable attention to quality of preparation.

    A commendation must go to the sous chef who prepared the vegetables. The "smashed" potatoes (tender buds of buttery splendor), crisp broiled asparagus and shredded carrots (with a sweetness that filled the mouth) show an admirable attention to quality of preparation.

    As Hemingway would say, Let's get to the point. After the evening at Hemingways is over, you'll leave knowing you've had an enjoyable meal.

    While on the way to Toscana at Avalon Park, make sure you have a cell phone handy. Because, aside from enjoying a pleasant conversation with the nice folks in the restaurant, it is unbelievably easy to get lost in the wilds of east Orlando. And if you're like me, you'll probably pick the wrong entrance into the burgeoning development and end up driving through eerily half-constructed neighborhoods.

    The part of "town" that Toscana inhabits is a more welcoming place -- once you find it. In a residential/business center along the lines of downtown Celebration, the restaurant lives under the clock tower, and the relatively small but comfortable space has an upscale air of earth tones and gold d?cor. I fully expected the menu's prices to reflect the atmosphere and was pleasantly surprised.

    The part of "town" that Toscana inhabits is a more welcoming place -- once you find it. In a residential/business center along the lines of downtown Celebration, the restaurant lives under the clock tower, and the relatively small but comfortable space has an upscale air of earth tones and gold d?cor. I fully expected the menu's prices to reflect the atmosphere and was pleasantly surprised.

    Staff is attentive and involved, as in the case of several dishes prepared tableside, such as the Caesar salad ($6.50 per person) with real anchovies, crisp greens and a definite flair for wrist-tossing. Steak tartare ($9.95) is uncooked ground beef folded meticulously with egg, onions and lovely little capers. My choice among the appetizers, the Prince Edward Island mussels ($6.75), was a bit unusual, sautéed in red-pepper-seasoned butter, so the bowl is empty of the accustomed broth. At first offering, the mussels were unappetizingly undercooked. A second try revealed firm shellfish with a rich and somewhat salty taste.

    Staff is attentive and involved, as in the case of several dishes prepared tableside, such as the Caesar salad ($6.50 per person) with real anchovies, crisp greens and a definite flair for wrist-tossing. Steak tartare ($9.95) is uncooked ground beef folded meticulously with egg, onions and lovely little capers. My choice among the appetizers, the Prince Edward Island mussels ($6.75), was a bit unusual, sautéed in red-pepper-seasoned butter, so the bowl is empty of the accustomed broth. At first offering, the mussels were unappetizingly undercooked. A second try revealed firm shellfish with a rich and somewhat salty taste.

    My companion asked me to try her lobster bisque ($5.75), and a sample revealed, under the sweet lobster bits and crab base, a taste that we could only describe as "cream of mushroom soup." While I'm sure nary a can of Campbell's would be found in the kitchen, they've managed to duplicate the flavor.

    My companion asked me to try her lobster bisque ($5.75), and a sample revealed, under the sweet lobster bits and crab base, a taste that we could only describe as "cream of mushroom soup." While I'm sure nary a can of Campbell's would be found in the kitchen, they've managed to duplicate the flavor.

    Entrees fared better; splendidly, in fact. A red snapper almondine ($22.95) brought wonderfully Asian flavors to the flaky white fish, coated in pan-roasted nuts and served with a delightfully un-sweet, chunky mango chutney -- dark and light flavors complementing each other.

    Entrees fared better; splendidly, in fact. A red snapper almondine ($22.95) brought wonderfully Asian flavors to the flaky white fish, coated in pan-roasted nuts and served with a delightfully un-sweet, chunky mango chutney -- dark and light flavors complementing each other.

    Most enjoyable was a relatively simple pasta dish of farfalle, saut&eacurte;ed shrimp and two superlative lobster bits, the butterfly pasta wonderfully al dente and coated in creamy white wine sauce, a delight at every fork ($25.95).

    Most enjoyable was a relatively simple pasta dish of farfalle, saut&eacurte;ed shrimp and two superlative lobster bits, the butterfly pasta wonderfully al dente and coated in creamy white wine sauce, a delight at every fork ($25.95).

    The cordial manager kept us busy before and after dinner with an amuse-bouche of teeny clams in coconut curry, and a smooth and fruity blueberry mousselet. It was these off-menu items that impressed me as much as anything served; if they were experiments, I'd suggest Toscana starts serving them right away. They match the surroundings.

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