Rosen Hotels’ philanthropic mission “aligns completely” with Magical Dining

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Rosen Hotels & Resorts has participated in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining since its inception in 2006, when the primary goal was inspiring locals to come out, try new restaurants and boost sales during a historically slow time of year.

In 2009, though, a new purpose made participating in the program much sweeter: charity at home.

“Magical Dining’s support of local nonprofits aligns completely with the philanthropic mission of this company,” says Jennifer Rice-Palmer, director of guest contact for Rosen Hotels. “It’s what Mr. Rosen [Harris Rosen, founder and president] has always aimed to do within the Central Florida community, which is to expose people to great hospitality, but also find a way to give back.”

This year, $1-2 of every meal sold will go toward The Lifeboat Project. Based in Apopka, The Lifeboat Project raises awareness about human trafficking and provides lifelong support to victims, empowering their lives through short- and long-term aftercare, residential programs and education. A record-breaking 132 eateries are onboard in inviting guests to “dine for a cause.” Six of them — Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill, A Land Remembered, Shogun Japanese Steakhouse, Everglades, Jack’s Place and Calla Bella — are Rosen venue restaurants.

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining returns Aug. 18 with new pricing feature

All will feature the $40 pricing tier for their three-course offerings, save A Land Remembered, which will offer a $60 prix fixe menu.

Each is a stellar value off the a la carte pricing, though Rice-Palmer highlights two in particular: Cala Bella and Jack’s Place.

At the Rosen Shingle Creek, she notes, executive chef Michael Dunton is still a relative newcomer (this compared to her 30-plus years with Rosen), so he’s switching things up a little, in particular, because of his new farm.

Emma’s Creekside Farm, a new addition on the property grounds, is growing a wide array of vegetables and herbs, all of which are being used in Rosen property restaurants. “Repeat guests will notice different flair and flavors because the ingredients really are farm fresh.”

Dunton, whose resume includes a stint as resort executive chef at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes, has an Armenian-Italian background, which likely comes into play in venues like the AAA Four Diamond Calla Bella. This year, the menu boasts beauts such as the charred octopus appetizer (romesco, tromboncino squash, heirloom cherry tomato, bunching onion, arugula, olive vinaigrette), a Groveland, FL-raised Hertaberkschwein Farm pork chop with polenta, mustard greens, pickled golden raisin and sage brown butter and a crunchy, creamy pistachio cheesecake.

At the Rosen Plaza, Jack’s Place (named for Harris Rosen’s father, some of whose vast portfolio of caricatures are displayed here) remains something of an under-the-radar gem of a steakhouse despite accolades from all over the Orlando foodie map and will be offering up perpetual hits like the 8-ounce filet mignon, along with a pan-seared Chilean sea bass, “which is just an incredible fan favorite,” Rice-Palmer notes.

Magical Dining, she adds, has proved itself as a stellar way to bring in regulars while re-introducing less familiar locals to the dining gems available in the resort zone.

“People should give the I-Drive corridor a chance, and Magical Dining is an epic time to visit as it’s a time of year that isn’t as busy and doesn’t have the hectic feel of high season. It’s a great opportunity to see what we have to showcase.”

Menus are now live at, as well as the opportunity to book reservations and sort participating restaurants by cuisine, location, dietary preference and menu tiers. Visitors can also explore hotel offers as part of Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights program.

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining returns on Aug. 18 and runs through Oct. 1.

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