Savor Our City Blog

O is for Outstanding and it also stands for Ouzo Bay

Hello Foodie Friends,
I was recently invited to dine at the new Ouzo Bay, which opened up their second location just under four months ago in Mizner Park (Downtown Boca) in the former Jazziz spot.  The 325-seat restaurant reflects the core concept of Ouzo Bay’s flagship location in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened in 2013 to rave reviews, and has been named the #1 restaurant in the city by Baltimore Magazine, which offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Greek influence.

 

Ouzo Bay’s interior was designed to reflect the Greek influences in a modern way. The signature blue accent lighting throughout the restaurant helps to create an upscale, yet relaxed atmosphere. Comfortably seating roughly 225 inside and 100 on the outside patio, there are also separate lounge sections inside and outside, as well as a 30-seat private cigar lounge attached to the restaurant. “With Ouzo Bay Boca Raton, we will continue to bring our customers the finest quality ingredients from the Mediterranean, matched by our chic bar atmosphere,” says Alexander Smith of the Atlas Group Restaurant, owners of Ouzo Bay. “We feel that Mizner Park and Boca Raton will be a perfect fit for our fish flown in fresh daily from around the world complemented with handmade cocktails and an enormous wine and spirits list.”

Highlighted by a variety of Whole Fish flown in daily from around the world, the menu includes only the freshest and finest-quality ingredients.  Complimenting the seafood menu, Ouzo Bay also has an extensive selection of fine-quality cuts of grass fed lamb, prime beef and organic chicken.  In addition to the impressive culinary lineup, Ouzo Bay’s posh full-service bar is overseen by Bradford White, the restaurant’s resident Sommelier/Beverage Manager and features handcrafted cocktails, small-batch whiskeys and a […]

Baciami Italiano (‘Kiss Me’ in Italian)

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today I share with you a new restaurant opening in the heart of Boynton Beach… Baciami Italiano, (Italian for ‘kiss me’) is an authentic Italian dining destination owned by father and son restaurateur duo Steven Pellegrino, Sr., and Steven Pellegrino, Jr., of Delray Beach’s famed Prime Steak & Seafood and Il Bacio Restaurant & Night Club. Introducing a revolving menu of weekly specials, including daily happy hour (Offering an expansive selection of wines, beers and cocktails), Ladies’ Pie & Wine Night, Family Dinner and Maine Lobster specials. Baciami Italiano is the “new place to be” in Boynton Beach!

 

In addition to these offerings, Baciami features an imported authentic Neapolitan pizza oven to cook pizza in under 3 minutes and a diverse Italian menu orchestrated by classically-trained Chef, Anthony Ianniello – all served up with unparalleled hospitality.

There are many ways in which you can enjoy your experience at Baciami Italiano; dine al fresco on their patio or take a seat at their cozy bar or choose to sit in the main dining area which can accommodate party sizes ranging from couples to large family gatherings. The restaurant also offers additional private dining space for groups of 25 – 60 people, including a private dining room with built in audio visual capabilities and a private lounge area for social dining experiences.

I recently attended a media dinner to check this new dining destination out. Here’s what we had:

Other menu highlights include Grilled Octopus with baby arugula, white beans, potato, Anthony’s Sunday Gravy with meatballs, sausage, braciole, Guiseppe Coco jumbo rigatoni, Chicken Milanese with arugula, baby tomatoes, truffle oil. Guests of Baciami will find a diverse list of imported and domestic wines by the glass and by the bottle to […]

Boon’s Asian Bistro

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today’s feature is on Boon’s Asian Bistro in West Delray Beach, FL.  (W. Atlantic Avenue and just east of the Turnpike) There is another Boon’s (related) in West Boca on 441, however, this one has a completely different menu. Boon’s Asian Bistro features cuisines from all over Asia, including Japan, China, Thailand and the Philippines.

Boon’s embodies Buddha’s philosophy to seek happiness through peaceful harmony with themselves and the environment. In this respect, they strive to provide sustainable, antibiotic & hormone-free food where guests’ complete satisfaction is their mission. They strive to be a place where even the unexpressed wishes or needs of their guests are fulfilled. Their pledge is to provide a dining atmosphere where guests will not only enjoy the highest quality of fresh, locally sourced foods from farms and artisans from around the world but provide a fun, relaxed environment where traditional dining norms are ignored and/or broken.

I was recently invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant during their soft opening. My companion and I had the opportunity to sample a nice cross section of the menu.

Tuna tartare with Casava Chips. This appetizer was very light and fresh and each component of the dish complemented each other. I especially loved using the Casava chips to scoop up each bite.

The Tom Kha Gai soup was outstanding. Full of flavor and mushrooms that have been cooked, as compared to most places that serve this dish with uncooked mushrooms. I believe the cooked mushrooms added another layer of depth and flavor.

Lobster roll. Most lobster rolls I have had contain battered & fried lobster inside the roll; this one utilized Maine lobster that had been poached in its shell and was very light. It was […]

Tommy Bahama is Serving Up The Aloha Spirit

Hello Foodie Friends,

While on my trip to Orlando last week, I got invited to participate in an impromptu tasting by my Instagram friend Chef Matt Oakley from Tommy Bahama. It was an honor and I was so excited to meet Chef Matt and taste his food since I began following him on Instagram.

I was immediately shown the “Aloha” spirit when I walked through the doors and was greeted warmly by the hostess who proceeded to ask if I was Denise.  With a big smile, I answered yes and then was asked to follow her to a table that had been set up for me.

The Pineapple Paradisio, made with Bacardi Pineapple and St. Germain Elderflower was waiting for me on my table when I arrived. As I progressed through the tasting, two other cocktails were presented. The Coconut Cloud, made with Ron Matusalem Platino, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut and Cream of Coconut and the Mai Tai, made with Flor de Caña 4 Year, Orgeat, Orange Curaçao, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple and a Dark Rum Float. Although I am not familiar with several of the above mentioned ingredients, that didn’t stop me one bit from enjoying them immensely! (Don’t worry, not all three cocktails were consumed to their entirety during my tasting)

After meeting Chef Matt and chatting with him for a bit, he told me that Tommy Bahama and their restaurants serving Island fare have been around since 1993; the first one opened in Naples, FL. Today they can be found spreading the Island cheer all around the globe. This Tommy Bahama happened to be the company’s Research & Development for their restaurants and Chef Matt works closely with their corporate chef to create some of the menu items. (The […]

Cuba Libre, Pointe Orlando

Dear Foodie Friends,

On a recent trip to Orlando to further my education in my Wines for Humanity business and to scout out restaurants for our new culinary tours soon to be offered up there, I was invited as a member of the press to dine at Cuba Libre who just so happened to be launching a new menu the night of my arrival into town.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive, announces its new menu, which debuted yesterday May 3rd, featuring 12 brand new classic and contemporary Cuban dinner items by Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot, inspired by his bi-annual culinary travels to Cuba. The menu overhaul includes creative appetizers, entrees, and hand-crafted cocktails. In celebration of the popular restaurant’s extensive menu release, Cuba Libre is offering a complimentary glass of its signature red or white sangria to any guest dining at the restaurant for dinner between May 3rd and May 10th, with the purchase of an entrée. Guests must mention the free sangria promotion to their server in order to receive the complimentary item.

“I’m thrilled to introduce so many new flavorful, unique, and authentically Cuban items to Cuba Libre’s menus,” said Chef Pernot. “While many menu favorites remain, our 12 new dishes range from impressive platters for two, to trendy items with a Cuban twist, and tapas recipes passed down for generations, and I believe that our guests, both new and recurring, will absolutely love the new additions.”

The Cuban restaurant’s new menu features 50-60% new items including several massive meat entrees for two, such as the Crispy Pork Pata, a 48-hour slow-cooked Berkshire pork shank, served with grilled seasonal vegetables and Moros y Cristianos, in a citrus pan reduction; and […]

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    Saquella Cafe…more than just great coffee, breakfast & lunch!

Saquella Cafe…more than just great coffee, breakfast & lunch!

Hello Foodie Friends,

I had the opportunity to attend a blogger event at Saquella recently to be introduced to some new items that are being added to their menu so I can share them with you.

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time in the Downtown Boca area, particularly in Royal Palm Place and Mizner Park where I conduct my culinary tours. Saquella, located in Royal Palm Place, is the go-to-place for friends to gather for coffee and breakfast and a leader in the culinary scene here in Boca since they opened their doors back in 2005.  They are recognized as a leader because of their philosophy which has been from the start and continues to be that they are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve.

When Saquella first opened, the concentration was on their superior blends of coffee, innovative drinks and highly skilled baristas. They prided themselves on this and created the tagline, “Your First Cup of Coffee & Much More…” 12 years later, they have evolved into a full service breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner restaurant. While still providing the same quality drinks that they became known for, they are getting the word out that they are so much more. While Saquella has always been farm to table long before that name became in vogue, they developed a new tagline to better reflect the Cafe’s evolution and current offerings, “Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop…”

Saquella has always drawn an International clientele and has become a landmark at the plaza, along with its neighbor across from them, Biergarten Boca.  There’s a good chance if you live in Boca or travel to this area that you’ve been to Saquella, but what […]

Via Emilia 9, South Beach’s Hidden Gem

Hello Foodie Friends,

I recently was invited to check out Via Emilia 9 in South Beach. I had not heard of it before and was super excited to go after taking a peek at their website.

Named after the merchant road in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure), ViaEmilia 9 is Miami Beach’s first authentic regional Italian restaurant and market. Emilia Romagna sits on the border with the third-smallest country in Europe, the Republic of San Marino, which happens to be the birth place of my mother-in-law, and a place I had the good fortune of visiting several years ago.

Perfect for lunch or dinner, Via Emilia 9 has something for all palettes and represents the Italian regions of both Bologna and Modena. Never compromising authenticity, Chef Giancarlo “Wendy” Cacciatori imports everything served at Via Emilia 9 from Italy (with the exception of fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs), including bread, which is brought in from the Vasalli Bakery in Ferrara, Italy. Via Emilia 9 has an expert “Sfoglina” or pasta maker on site hand rolling a variety of pastas and raviolis daily and upon request, she can personalize the stuffing of your ravioli or any pasta you’d like to try.

To get us started on our culinary journey through the Emilia region, Chef Wendy prepared for us a perfect antipasti plate that included 24 mo aged Parmigiano, 18 mo aged proscuitto di Parma, balsamic pearls (Chef Wendy & Tina import the balsamic from their own barrels in Emilia, where the balsamic sits and ages), fresh figs, artichoke, lemon jam & arugula with a side of gnocco frito (fried dough). Let me just say O – M – G!!!! This platter is one of the best I have ever had […]

DISARONNO Day

Hello Foodie Friends,

DISARONNO turned the literal translation of amaretto ‘a little bitter’ into something sweet for amaretto enthusiasts in Delray in honor of National Amaretto Day, this past Wednesday, April 19th. DISARONNO, the original amaretto since 1525, hosted a self-guided bar tour in Delray for DISARONNO Day, which also happens to be National Amaretto Day. During the bar tour, revelers were able to enjoy cocktails such as the Italian Margarita, Bourbon Sour and DISARONNO Breeze.

Starting off at City Oyster at 5pm, DISARONNO Day participants were also able to visit Tramonti, 32 East, Luigi’s Coal Oven Pizza, and Buddha Sky Bar as part of the official tour. Guests were provided a DISARONNO Sour Jar in which they could enjoy the cocktails and take it home as a keepsake souvenir. In addition, guests were given a DISARONNO t-shirt.

I started off at one of my favorite places on “The Ave”, City Oyster & Sushi Bar where bartender extraordinaire Wayne Pasik poured me the Bourbon Sour to get this party started. Nice pucker to it. Off to a good start!

 

Next, I headed over to Tramonti where Timothy crafted the DISARRONO Breeze for me. This was made with DISARRONO of course and sour mix, Zonin Prosecco & Bitters. It was delicious!

Next up was 32 East. As I pulled up a seat at the bar, I could no sooner get out the words “DISARRONO” when the lively group of guys hanging out at the bar next to me blurted out “we would like to buy you that drink”. While I was flattered, I explained that I was participating in this tour and before I finished, they repeated their kind offer. Then it dawned on me, they were from DISARRONO. Dave, Ed, Matt and the rest of the gang […]

Gemma di Luna

Gemma di Luna, the newest gem from the Enovation Brands portfolio, is a premium Italian sparkling wine that elevates the Moscato experience. The wine is crafted from premium Moscato grapes grown in Italy’s Piemonte region, the legendary home of great Moscato, in the “spumante” or fully sparkling style. The luscious fruit flavors are balanced by vibrant acidity to ensure a crowd-pleasing flavor profile and the 7.5% ABV satisfies the growing consumer trend for lower alcohol choices. Not to be outdone by the wine inside, the beautiful teal blue bottle is adorned with a pearl white label enhanced by a laser foil effect reminiscent of pave diamonds.

I was sent a bottle of Gemma di Luna to share my experience with it with you. I have to say that the packaging was indeed beautiful, what do you think?

I tend to like my sparkling wines a little on the sweet side and this Moscato did not disappoint. It was the perfect accompaniment to my home cooked Sunday brunch.

 

I decided to get creative and make a fun cocktail combining the Gemma di Luna with another favorite spirit, FOS Greek Mastiha, Crystal Light and a splash of fresh grapefruit and lemon juice. I have to say I was quite impressed with the outcome.

If you’re looking for a slightly sweet sparkling wine, I would highly recommend you give Gemma di Luna a try. It’s affordably priced between $11.99 – $16.99 a bottle.  Check with your favorite wine shop to see if they carry it or shop online for it here.

Cheers!

Until we eat (and drink) again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

RUST Wynwood

Hello Foodie Friends,

 

Today’s feature takes us back down to Miami, to the uber artsy & trendy Wynwood district specifically for a tasting at RUST Wynwood. Founded by Uruguayan owners Juan Ignacio Fraschini and Julio Wolman, RUST Wynwood is located at 2621 NW 2nd Ave., inside the neighborhood gathering hotspot, Wynwood Block. Executive chef Diego Medina serves globally inspired, sharable dishes and pairs them with a unique wine menu that showcases an exceptional list of emerging brands. RUST’s menu features innovative interpretations on traditional cuisine, many of the items are meant for sharing.

My husband and I ventured there to try their Sunday brunch. To get things started we each ordered a cocktail; I ordered the passion fruit sangria and hubby ordered the peach sangria. Lately I seem to be on a passion fruit kick and this one did not disappoint. They (I couldn’t resist having a second one) went down waaaaaaay too smooth. Didn’t realize the potency until later when I got home and had to take a mid day nap, lol!

Julio, one of the aforementioned owners, was sitting at the table beside us and came over to say hello and share with us some info about himself, the restaurant and made some suggestions on what items to try. One of his suggestions was the Provoleta Benedicta which was an eggs benedict with a Uruguayan twist. Quite unique and very tasty!

Whenever I see octopus on the menu I am inclined to order it. That’s a given, just like truffle…you can be assured that if there’s a truffle dish on the menu, I will order that too. The char on this octopus looked perfect and the dish was presented beautifully.  Octopus is one of those dishes that you […]

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