Naguara arepa

Are you an arepas fan? If so, you're going to want to get over to the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Chickasaw Trail and try Naguará K'arepas.

If you're not an arepas fan, you should also go here; you'll soon be a fan.

If you're not sure whether you're a fan or not, it might be that you just aren't familiar with them. Arepas are essentially little round corn cakes made with masarepa, a ground cornmeal. Think of a fatter type of tortilla or a South American version of a pita.

TAstecfl logo

Taste! Central Florida, the brand new benefit event now in its third decade, took place on Aug. 19 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. More than 3000 people attended to taste and sip the wares of dozens of restaurants and beverage purveyors. The proceeds are still being tallied, but it's expected to have raised at least $300,000.

Technically, this was the first Taste! Central Florida, but in reality it was a continuation of Taste of the Nation. The only things that changed were the name and where the funds go. Just as in years past, all proceeds go to fight childhood hunger, with Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

But previously, the even was held under the auspices of Share Our Strength and two local charities had to share some of the funds with the national office. Now, all of the funds stay local.

There was one other, perhaps unintentional change from previous years: there was a noticeable dearth of wines being poured. That's not to say there wasn't plenty to drink, especially of the alcoholic variety.

But instead of wines, cocktails and beers were the more prevalent pourings. But few complained.

Gaviota Brasas exterior

I'm sure the owners of Gaviota, the Peruvian restaurant that opened late last year in the former Nick's Italian Cafe in Thornton Park, have a good reason for opening a second location so soon -- and so close by.

The new -- or newer -- Gaviota is on Colonial Drive, just over three miles away. But perhaps even curiouser than the proximity are the differences between the two restaurants.

The Thornton Park Gaviota is in the sleek Sanctuary condominiums building. It offers white tablecloth dining inside and a patio overlooking Eola Drive.

The Colonial Drive Gaviota occupies a free-standing building that was once a fast food outlet -- the drive-up window lane is still there but not functioning. (This was the brief home of Casa Barcelona and before that California Burrito Express.) The dining room is more casual and tablecloth free. (It would be casual even without the step ladder that was standing next to the bar during most of my meal.) There is a patio here, too, but it comes with the whooshing of cars speeding along U.S. Highway 50. But the parking is easier!

Teak Maitland patio

Teak Neighborhood Grill, whose neighborhood has been MetroWest since it opened in 2010, has opened a second location. Teak Neighborhood Grill -- Maitland occupies the space in the Village at Lake Lily apartments that was formerly the home of RanGetsu Japanese restaurant. RanGetsu closed in March of 2016.

Teak Maitland will feature the same menu as MetroWest, with executive chef Matthew Reed overseeing both kitchens. Teak is known for its burgers -- more than 30, including, according to a press release, "Teak’s password-only underground burger menu." (Insert eye roll here.)

Renovations to the space include a new, not-quite-finished-yet covered patio, seen under construction above in a photo from the new restaurant's Facebook page. A grand opening event will be announced once the ladders come down.

The new Teak is at 901 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland.