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Marketplace exterior

TrevinoRoberto Treviño plans to open a Puertorriqueño concept at Marketplace at Avalon Park Dec. 1.

The new concept, Chicharron Grill, will feature such items as empanadas rellenas; pinchos; mofongos; garlic shrimp; pork chicharron; and chicharron de pollo. Chicharron Grill will take the place of BBQ50, one of the original vendors at the Marketplace.

Treviño, a California native known for his Iron Chef appearances, made his culinary mark in San Juan and moved to the Orlando area several years ago, opening El Buda Latin Asian restaurant in downtown Orlando in 2018. It also closed that year. Since then, Treviño has worked with Don Julio’s Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar to create a ceviche menu and with Tapa Toro/Taverna Opa at Pointe Orlando. Most recently, he’s been helping to develop a lounge for a Chinese company in the new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport.

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Ramirez dirty dozen

David Ramirez is a perfectionist. Anyone who has seen his elaborate chocolate sculptures (there’s one below) or the jewel-like candies he crafts at David Ramirez Chocolates will know that. Each one is a delicious work of art from a meticulous master chef.

So it won’t be a surprise that occasionally something will happen in the production of the chocolates that raises his creatively demanding hackles. Call them chocolates, chipped; or faulty friandises; or bruised bonbons. Whatever, if they don’t meet Ramirez’s standards, they can’t be sold alongside the flawless confections.

But the flavor is the same, each one made with the same imported European fair-trade chocolate, Madagascar vanilla beans and top-shelf liqueurs. Close your eyes and you wouldn’t even know you were eating one of the nicked nuggets.

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Soconew ext

For the first time since it opened just over eight years ago, Soco, the Thornton Park anchor restaurant “where Southern meets Contemporary,” has a revamped menu. It’s a major redo – chef/partner Greg Richie tells me there are about 20 new items.

I was happy to see one of my favorites, the Soco Style “Chicken and Dumplings,” still on the menu (one of the few original items to remain). But after I was invited to sample many of the added items, I think I’m going to have some new favorites. And many, like the chicken and dumplings before them, capture the very essence of what Soco was meant to be.

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Signature Series

You all can sit around and wait for the day after Thanksgiving if you want, but Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse is starting its Black Friday Sale...[checks watch]...now, so you can get your shopping done early and avoid the madness.

Through Nov. 30 the popular downtown appliance center is featuring sale prices and rebates of $800 or more on many popular brands. And supply chain issues have improved, which means Southeast Steel has ranges, refrigerators and dishwashers in stock and ready to deliver. On my wish list: The Signature Kitchen Suite 48-inch Dual Fuel Pro Range, pictured at top, with gas or induction cooktop and built-in sous vide.

The thing I like about shopping at SES, which has been around since 1940, is that I can actually talk to someone who knows the appliances and can make recommendations. If you go to one of the big box stores and need advice, they might call over some kid who usually works in carpeting or the lumber department. And not for nothing, the boxes at Southeast Steel are pretty big, too.

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SRG extLocation of new Spanish River Grille, via Google Maps.Spanish River Grille, the once-popular New Smyrna Beach restaurant that closed in 2017, is set to return, with a projected opening day of Dec. 19.

That date is significant because it was Dec. 19, 1999, that Michele and Henry Salgado opened the original iteration. The restaurant was a critical hit and Henry Salgado, as its executive chef, became a James Beard Award nominee in the Best Chef South region for his cuisine.

In 2014, the Salgados also opened Txokos Basque Kitchen at the then-new East End Market but sold it a year and a half later, in September of 2015, partly due to the logistics of operating two restaurants so far apart. (That space is now occupied by Domu.) They continued to focus on the New Smyrna Beach restaurant but sold it in early 2017. The buyer, Henry Rodriguez, found that without the Salgados the restaurant’s regular customers stopped coming, and a few months later, he closed the business.

The new Spanish River Grille will once again be owned and operated by the Salgados.