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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

SOCO Restaurant Thorton Park

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On Melissa’s last day before heading back to Oakland, CA., we went out for dinner. This time it was my turn to choose the place. I decided on SOCO RestaurantThorton Park. 

SOCO (Southern Contemporary Cuisine) takes classic southern fare and kicks it up a few notches. The atmosphere is trendy, cozy, with a lot of natural light. Let me take you on a quick tour of our experience.

 

 

Our server Jordan and the hostess Tiffany were both very professional and courteous. They both helped to make our dining experience one we’ll remember. Thank you both so much!

As I passed by I noticed a small bio on the wall, one about the Chef Greg Richie and another about how old favorites have been reimagined.

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For our appetizers, we had House Smoked Fish Dip Gratin.

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Melissa had their Lake Meadow Naturals Deviled Eggs.

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Soco-style Chicken and Dumplings.

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Slow Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly On Grilled Biscuits Topped With Chow-chow.

 

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Grilled Meatloaf On Lobster Mash Potatoes.

 

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Diver Scallops With Roasted Baby Carrots And Brussel Sprouts.

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A Trio Of Banana Puddings, Chocolate, Bourbon, and Peanutbutter With A Vanilla Wafer Waffle.

For more information on SOCO Thorton Park in Orlando visit their website at www.socothortonpark.com

 

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Disney Springs, Orlando

 

Growing up in Orlando, Disney World was a big part of my life. Visiting the parks during my childhood gave me memories that will stay with me forever. Having a daughter and being able to make more magical memories, at the happiest place on earth,  I will cherish forever.

Watching Disney World grow over the years has been amazing. I can remember when Disney Spring was called Downtown Disney.  The recently remodeled huge 24 theater Disney Cineplex is still on the property.

Then there was Pleasure Island.  Pleasure Island was a place where the “nightlife” came alive. Adults could visit an eclectic string of nightclubs and restaurants. They were known for their New Years Eve parties.

There was also a theme restaurant that was designed in the shape of a huge earth like sphere called Planet Hollywood. The restaurant was inside the sphere and decorated with everything Hollywood. There also was a gift shop below where you could buy Hollywood memorabilia.

Just like all the parks, Disney is always looking for ways to improve and update all their other properties. Disney Springs is just another example of how they just keep surprising us. The scenery as you walk through Disney Spring will take your breath away.  The pictures that I posted above is where the original parking lot was for Downtown Disney. For convenience, there are two large parking garages known as Orange and Lime.

Now, let me take you deep inside the springs for a peek at some new restaurants, bars, and shops that make up Disney Springs.

 

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Crispy Pork Belly

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Pork Belly seems to be one of the most sought-after cuts of meat. The Iron Chef show is who really brought this cut to the forefront. In restaurants today, it’s become one of the hottest items to order. I mean, once you’ve ordered the Pork Belly, you’ll most likely always order it no matter the style it’s being served. It’s that delicious!  I sometimes think we may be a little slow when it comes to trying new things. Many Asian cuisines, have for many years, implemented Pork Belly into a variety of their dishes.

I have a great and easy way to prepare Crispy Pork Belly at home so it will come out tender, golden, with a crispy top. This recipe doesn’t require scoring the skin in any way. This will allow you to slice it later and it will retain its integrity. I think it’s worth mentioning, that Shaoxing rice wine is available in most Asian markets today. If you adore Asain cuisine and want to make delicious Asian dishes at home, Shaoxing rice wine should be a pantry staple.

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Yields: 10 large pieces
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours to overnight
Cook Time:  roughly 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: Roasting pan with rack

Ingredients:
2-pound pork belly
1 cup of Kosher salt

Marinade:
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of orange juice
2 cloves of minced garlic

Directions:
Using a paper towel, pat the skin of the Pork Belly completely dry. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour them into a rectangle style baking dish that’s just big enough to hold the pork belly.

Carefully place the Pork Belly into the baking dish making sure only the meat touches the marinate. The skin on the top must remain completely dry. If the marinade level is too high, then discard any extra by pouring some of it off. Place the baking dish with the pork belly and marinade into the frig for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.. Completely line a roasting pan with foil. Pour an inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Place a wire rack on top to hold the Pork Belly.

Remove the baking dish with the marinated pork belly from the frig. While the pork belly is still in the baking dish, spread 1 cup of Kosher salt evenly over the fat cap of the pork belly as seen in the pictures above.  Next, transfer the Pork Belly onto the wire rack. The Pork Belly will cook above the water and the drippings will fall into the water.

Note: If one part of the Pork Belly is slightly lower or shorter on one side, use an oven-safe item to prop up that side so the pork will cook evenly. Bake for around 40 minutes.

Remove the pan with the Pork Belly and increase the temperature to 470 degrees F. The salt should have formed a crust which you can easily remove. You’ll be able to see the Pork Belly,  in the side by side pictures, with the removed salted fat cap above.

Once the temperature of the oven has reached 470 degrees F., place the Pork Belly back into the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. The skin should be bubbly and crisp. The internal temperature should be 165-degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Crispy Pork Belly is a great appetizer and one I know you’ll make over and over.

 

 

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