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What's cooking/capsule reviews 

What's cooking Conway has a new Italian restaurant that’s getting good reviews from the locals. Due Amiche opened about a month ago at 1600 Dave Ward Drive (exit 129 headed west off Interstate 40). The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. The folks at Cozymel’s Mexican Grill told us about a few new “signature” entrees and other specialties on their menu. They make guacamole tableside now with fresh ingredients, which complements what they’ve done for some time now, the tableside queso flameado, which puts a real fire to a blend of cheeses, spices, peppers and onion. On the entree side, the Yucatan Especial is for the seafood lover: shrimp, scallops, spinach, mushrooms and pepper in a Cancun sauce. Their traditional chile relleno is a poblano stuffed with chicken, cheese and pecans and topped with a ranchero sauce. The restaurant is on West Markham Street just west of Shackleford. There’s still time to enjoy a few Mexican-style specialties at Trio’s in Pavilion in the Park, which has been celebrating Cinco de Mayo this month. The chef, Franco Reta, is Hispanic and was whipping up a variety of specialties the past few weeks. Though the big celebration has died down, some of Reta’s creations will still be on the menu through this week, we’re told. Also, it’s now fresh strawberry time at the restaurant, which means we’ll be saving room for dessert, specifically Trio’s strawberry shortcake. Ed Gomez at Andina Cafe informs us that he’s offering Gomez Estate coffee beans at the Sam’s stores in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Ten blends are featured, and there are handy grinders for customers. Capsule reviews JUST LIKE MOM’S Where else can you get a fried bologna sandwich on a Saturday at 8 p.m.? You could at Just Like Mom’s, but we didn’t. We did get some very tasty plate-lunch-style home-made dinners on this visit. A hamburger steak with grilled onions and brown gravy and two sides and a fried center-cut pork chop with three sides won the clean plate awards at our table. Sandwiches, hamburgers, catfish, steaks and homemade tamales are among other selections. There are about a dozen sides to choose from. A bowl of pinto beans with chunks of ham and onion counted as one side, but really was more like two servings. We didn’t complain. And the yeast rolls with the dinners were superb. A slice of Oreo ice cream pie was shared before the “closed” sign went up. There are more than three dozen cakes, pies and desserts made at the restaurant and rotated as the particular day’s dessert. You can also place a special order for a whole dessert. This place is laid back and casual with 15 tables topped with plastic covers and no smoking or drinking allowed. Just like mommy would want. 3140 E. Kiehl Ave., Sherwood, 833-0402, BLD Mon.-Sat. $-$$ CC CHINESE PAVILION HUNAN RESTAURANT If you asked the crowd on our recent Sunday lunch visit, half would say “oh, yes, this is the Chinese place we used to eat at when it was on North Hills.” And how many years ago was that? We’ve lost track. But “the Pavilion” may have been the first Chinese restaurant in the Sherwood/NLR area. They’re still going strong with several expansions at this location. The all-you-can-eat buffet has a wide selection and some unusual entrees. This visit we saw jalapeno chicken. Our favorites are the sesame chicken and the barbecued spare ribs, which we think more as “teriyakied” spare ribs. They’re still great just the same. Of course you can order a meal from a menu of more than 100 items, or go to the buffet and have a meal of almost 100 items. Weekday lunch specials are available for under $5. The decor of Chinese art pieces, etched glass and black lacquered tables and chairs is tasteful, but seating can still feel a little cramped. Maybe another expansion is in order. 8000 Hwy. 107, Apple Valley Shopping Center, Sherwood, 835-8723, LD Tue.-Sun. Full Bar. $-$$ CC.
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