On a recent drive down John Young Parkway, south of Sand Lake Road, I noticed a marquee for Primo Hoagies – a Philly institution – on the facade of a newish, mostly vacant, strip mall. The specialty sandwich shop has gone expansion gangbusters, the same condition as will plague your gut should you attempt to down one of their "whole" size hoagies. (It's got two pounds of meat.) The store is slated to open this month.
Orlando Square Plaza on Sand Lake Road and OBT has undergone a few changes: Saffran, the Icelandic-owned Indian/Mediterranean restaurant, has closed. But Patel Brothers, an Indian-owned grocery store with 46 locations from California to Connecticut, has opened its second Florida location. The cavernous mart sits next to Michael's and sells everything from frozen samosas and parathas to puffed rice and cardamom chai. On the western side of the plaza, next to Firehouse Subs, Pastel Gourmet, a small Venezuelan joint, has opened. It specializes in pasteles – small sweet and savory pastries – as well as pastichos (a lasagna variant). Finally, next to La Hacienda, Orlando's third Which Wich is set to open this month.
In the live food department, the Florida School of Holistic Living is offering a Do-It-Yourself Kombucha Workshop Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. Kombucha tea, that fermented beverage of probiotic vinegary-ness that, at times, can taste like Lindeman's Framboise, tends to polarize palates, but if you're thinking of joining Kombucha Nation, consider coughing up, er, paying the $35 fee for the two-hour class. Take-home bacterial culture, starter tea and a recipe booklet are all included. Go to holisticlivingschool.org to sign up.
Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria, a sleek, swank, über-urbane restaurant on South Orange Avenue, is open for business. The old-style wood-fired oven will churn out pizzas inspired by traditional recipes from the owner's native Slovenia, and a respectable list of Italian wines, including Barbarescos, Barolo and Brunellos, is offered. Visit tartinipizzeria.com
to peruse the menu.
Bison burger, here I come: B&B Junction has opened in the original 4 Rivers Smokehouse space on Fairbanks Ave … Speaking of 4 Rivers, the smokehouse will set up shop near UCF late next year … Casselberry's Tree Lighting Ceremony in Lake Concord Park will have a decidedly gastronomic bent this year; the event also includes a Food Truck Bazaar from 6-9 p.m. Praise Jesus!
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