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Food at Chaval restaurant

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    Food at Chaval restaurant - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez at their restaurant, Chaval, on the West End in Portland. “There were a couple of things where we just kept going back to the drawing board,” Sansonetti says of recipe testing for the restaurant, which opened in mid-July. “And there were some things that were perfect at the start.”

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    A Spanish sundae with crispy serrano ham, chocolate cake, pork caramel and bone ice cream. While Chaval was under construction, its owners covered everything up at night with tarps and dropcloths so they could test recipes. Staff photo by Derek Davis

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    It took Ilma Lopez two weeks to develop her recipe for the Spanish sundae, a dessert with savory underpinnings. Staff photo by Derek Davis

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    Food at Chaval restaurant - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    The burger at Chaval in Portland comes nestled in a black pepper brioche bun that went through several incarnations before chefs Damien Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez were satisfied with it.

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    Food at Chaval restaurant - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Chaval's burger on brioche with house pickle and fries. Sansonetti and Lopez worked hard to nail down the perfect ratio of bun to meat.

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    Chaval’s Tortilla Espanola, with potatoes, onions and eggs, was tweaked a dozen times before being added to the menu. Staff photo by Derek Davis

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