I am sorry for the big gap in between posts. I have been busy growing my company. Lots of exciting things will soon be revealed. A brand new website is just one of the things you can expect to see before the end of the year, woo hoo!
For any of you who have ever been on one of our culinary tours, you probably received a goodie bag provided by one of our sponsors, Whole Foods Market, which we fill with info and offers from each of the places we took you to during the tour, plus a sample from another sponsor, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle.
Today’s blog post will be short and sweet. I wanted to let those of you in or near the Boca Raton Whole Foods Market location know that you should make a point to stop into their new Tavern on the Glades. This full service sit-down eatery located inside the store celebrates flavor and features all-day breakfast, pub burgers, amazing salads, sandwiches and more. At the Tavern, guests can choose from 16 craft beers on tap, Sommelier selected wines and non-alcoholic beverages.
TAVERN HOURS ARE 8AM TO 9PM, DAILY
Whole Foods Market is located at 1400 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 561.447.0000
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 you many not know is that they are open for dinner and they have a full liquor license. Yep, you heard (well, technically read, correct). Myself and my fellow food bloggers were treated to several dishes prepared by Saquella’s Executive Chef Dave Fogel.
To get the night started off, we were each served a Cran Martini. It felt like we were celebrating Thanksgiving for a moment. What a lovely hue of red and what a novel idea of serving fresh cranberries in a cocktail in the Spring. I loved the tartness that the fresh cranberries provided. This martini drank like a Cosmo. I would highly recommend it.
The above dishes were not only gorgeous to look at and photograph, but each and every one of them was incredibly flavorful. I enjoyed them all. They all make for great sharing plates. The Shakshuka had melted mozzarella, which is something owner Avi had decided to add and boy are we glad he did. This addition took an already pretty awesome dish and elevated it to the next level Yum!
Again, aren’t these plates just gorgeous? The Sunflower seed crusted chicken was cooked to perfection and topped with an Ammoglio, an Italian version of salsa which was drizzled with a garlic confit. The Quinoa Crusted was delicious as was the beet purée found underneath. The short ribs had been cooked for 6 hours which imparted an amazing flavor and were fork tender. The asparagus asiago risotto was cooked to perfection and wonderful!
Peach Cobbler French Toast made with Challah bread with peaches baked into the bread
Saquella is open 7 days a week, Mon – Sat 7am – 10pm & Sun 10am – 4pm.
They are located in Royal Palm Place, 410 Via De Palmas, Boca Raton. You can visit their website or call (561) 338-8840.
Well as the healthy eating trend continues and the number of restaurants & cafe’s that serve this market continue to pop up, I’m happy to share with you one that I believe is a true trend setter in this arena. Today’s feature is on Fit Foodz Cafe, located in West Boca (Clint Moore Rd & 441). I had met Susan Klein, the owner of Fit Foodz Cafe years ago when I still worked for Investments Limited and organized a health food fair in Royal Palm Place right around the time she was starting Fit Foodz Cafe, back in 2011. Susan’s passion for reinventing comfort foods in a healthier way stemmed from her own personal desire to change her lifestyle after being in the restaurant industry for over 20 years, to lose weight and eat healthier, in addition to incorporating an exercise regime into her schedule.
Fit Foodz Cafe offers a wide variety of healthy meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, homemade snacks, refreshing juices and replenishing smoothies. Also offered are the popular individually portioned meals that change weekly to keep things interesting. Susan’s mission is to ensure her customers are able to enjoy healthy food that is both delicious and satisfying. And boy does she accomplish this! The dishes are sooooooo creative and super tasty!!! Check out some of the many delicious dishes we got to try during a recent blogger tasting:
This tuna poke has skyrocketed to becoming one of my all time favorites! My tablemates and I couldn’t stop eating this but reluctantly stopped knowing we had so much more before us yet to taste, lol! Don’t let the “hot sweet chili sauce” in the title scare you if you are sensitive to heat. It’s really not hot at all, take it from this heat whimp.
Just look at those strawberries…do you think they could be more perfect?!? The answer is NO! They were served at the peak of their ripeness and so sweet and delicious and paired extremely well with the goat cheese and nuts. It was unanimous, we all loved this salad. The combination of ingredients played very nicely together creating a very balanced dish.
Nut lovers rejoice. This salad is made in your honor and has your name written all over it! It is packed with a whole lot of nuts, so much so that for me, I found it a bit hard to detect the mixed greens.
I loved, loved this dish. The zucchini zoodles were so yummy (and long!!!) I would have these any day over regular spaghetti noodles. The sauteed veggies were cooked perfectly and the sauce was out of this world. I loved all the flavors and can’t wait to come back and have this dish again…
I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I saw we were being served chicken pad Thai because let’s face it, last time I checked, we were not in a Thai restaurant and that is the only place I have ever had this dish before. I was pleasantly surprised that all components of this dish came together and the flavor profiles were spot on and riveled any pad Thai you might find at your local Thai restaurant, but I bet this tasty healthy version will leave you feeling a little lighter.
I was excited to see this on our tasting menu because I had only been to Fit Foodz once before and had this dish and loved it, so I couldn’t wait to have it again. I can’t recommend it enough. Come, try, fall in love! 🙂
-Gluten free choc cake/brownies- gluten free all purpose flour, raw cocoa, egg whites, vanilla, canola oil, water, baking powder, raw turbinado- for the brownies I added some natural peanut butter, for the cake I added a vegan frosting
-Almond butter cookies- almond butter, raw turbinado sugar, baking soda, egg whites and choc chips.
-Raw bars- homemade almond butter and date paste, chia, almonds, walnuts, vanilla, pumpkin seeds, raw protein, vegan choc chips, coconut flakes, almond milk
I couldn’t believe how delicious the gluten free desserts were! I didn’t miss the gluten one bit.
Susan Klein was on to something 7 years ago and thanks to her and her dedicated staff at Fit Foodz Cafe, through their hard work and deliverance of exceptional quality food, they have become a staple in the lives of many in the South Florida region.
In addition to her thriving business, Susan has touched the community of South Florida with her philanthropy. She has donated both food and money to many charities and organizations and also participates in local events to show her support. “Giving back to my community is of the utmost importance,” she says. “If we thrive as a community, we can also thrive as individuals.”
Well said Susan, and we wish you many more continued years of success and hope that our readers come in and tell you they heard about you from Denise Righetti from Savor Our City.
Fit Foodz Cafe is located at 9704 Clint Moore Rd, A-108, Boca Raton 561.451.1420
Hours of Operation: Mon – Fri 9am – 8pm; Sat – Sun 9:30am – 7pm
A Banini, you ask? Certainly. The magnificent union of a bagel and a hot fresh pressed panini. It’s not only brilliant, but it’s delicious! I was invited for a tasting of a variety of banini, amongst other delicious items at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, the brand behind this creation, at their Fifth Avenue Shops location on Federal Highway in Boca Raton.
The Aha Moment
The aha moment struck one fateful Thanksgiving dinner when Steve Fassberg realized the recipe for success had been there all along. The seeds for Brooklyn Water Bagel and replicating that New York bagel were actually planted early on in his childhood. For Fassberg, creating the ideal bagel began the moment it clicked: “It’s all about the water.”
At the age of 13, Brooklyn-born Steve Fassberg trekked from Massapequa, New York to Miami, Florida, hauling bags full of NY bagels in the plane’s overhead compartment. He was bringing the Big Apple staples to his grandparents, whom upon seeing Fassberg exclaimed not “hello,” but “did you bring the bagels?!” Fassberg’s grandparents hadn’t eaten a good one since leaving New York and it was because the quality of water in Florida, they reasoned, didn’t match that of the New York water they had been accustomed to. New York water and its properties created that perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside combination.
The bagel visionary, a larger than life personality, cut his teeth in the world of entrepreneurship earlier than most. During the day, he poured his hours into banking and working with mortgage financing. At night he moonlighted as a restaurateur. By the age of only 21, he had saved up $80,000, just enough to open his very first deli. The Fassberg Kosher Deli in Flushing, Queens, furnished with booths made in Fassberg’s own garage by him and his friends, was opened in April of 1983 to huge success. In 1985, at the age of 25, Fassberg sold the deli for over a million dollars, marking the first of his many highly successful ventures in the restaurant industry.
It’s All About the Water
The visionary continued his career in investment banking, all the while opening and selling a roster of fruitful delicatessen and restaurant concepts. One Thanksgiving dinner, a new idea struck. The phrase “It’s all about the water” hit home once again and Fassberg dove into the chance create the perfect bagel, right here in Florida.
Brooklyn Water Bagel didn’t spring to life right away. Fassberg dedicated months of research to discovering and creating the perfect bagel, which involved not only the right oven, temperature and baking stone, but also the right water. New York pizza and bagels are so good, he discovered, because of the water. It was the only thing in baking that seemingly couldn’t be kept consistent everywhere, until then.
With the help of various water treatment companies and experts, Fassberg discovered what went into the ideal water and what had to go out. He utilized a 14-step system that purified the Florida water by methods like reverse osmosis and reduction of ions, removing from it the chlorine and ammonia present and neutralizing its pH level, among other processes, that would render it “Brooklynized™”.
Monte Cristo fresh-roasted turkey, ham, melted Swiss cheese, thousand island dressing
Chicken/Turkey BLT fresh-roasted chicken or turkey, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato
Development of Concept
Once Fassberg’s water formula was in place, it was time to create the concept which would support a world class bagel product. The next few months were focused on testing menu opinions, Brooklyn design elements and of course the creation of Cubsta “iced coffee” cubes. This is a real treat. Be sure to stop in and try one of their iced coffees using these special coffee ice cubes. You’ll be hooked for sure!
Breaking Bread with Larry
After being open only a short time in Delray Beach, Florida, Fassberg had wild success by virtue of the first authentic New York bagel produced outside New York. Armed only with a really great recipe for a bagel and a shared passion for Brooklyn, he was able to land the attention of iconic television and radio host Larry King. Fassberg flew to Los Angeles to meet with King, who couldn’t believe the bagel he was eating was made outside New York. By 2010, moved by Fassberg’s passion for Brooklyn and creating a product so well thought out and unique, King signed on to be Brooklyn Water Bagel’s first franchisee and national spokesperson.
Now, the company has 25 location in 6 states around the country, including Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, California, Georgia and Massachusetts. In addition to featuring authentic Brooklyn-style bagels, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel menu includes egg sandwiches, deli sandwiches, omelets and muffins along with a variety of farm-sourced and artisan-roasted coffee blends.
For more info on the company, check out their website.
They are located at: 2250 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (561) 206-6821
They are open every day from 6am – 3pm.
I want to thank my friends at The Gab Group and Josh and Joe at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Company for having myself and my companion in to try out this lovely assortment. Thumbs up on food and hospitality. We will be back!
Jingle All the Way to BRIO Tuscan Grille this Holiday Season my Foodie Friends! BRIO Palm Beach County Locations Present Delicious Holiday Features, Gift Card Deals and Unlimited Cheer
The holidays are just around the corner and BRIO Tuscan Grille will be celebrating in a big way! From seasonal entrées and desserts to gift card incentives, there is something for everyone. BRIO is the perfect gathering spot for friends and family throughout the holiday season.
Oh what fun it will be to eat, drink and be merry at BRIO Tuscan Grille this holiday season! Following jubilant Tuscan tradition, BRIO locations in Palm Beach County will revel in the holiday spirit, welcoming guests to gather ‘round the table to indulge in special seasonal fare. In addition, BRIO is happy to “give the gift of BRIO” to its guests, with bonus gifts for guests who buy $100 in holiday gift cards.
The restaurant just rolled out a few new delicious and indulgent holiday favorites, including a mouthwatering Broiled Main Lobster Tail with Creole Shrimp Pasta, a Surf & Turf of Beef Medallions with jumbo shrimp & Romano crusted eggplant served with white cheddar polenta and for dessert, a Chocolate Layer Cake with Candy Cane Gelato.
BRIO will also offer a two-course prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve, starting at $29.95.
Seasonal Entrées & Desserts
“Indulgent cuisine is one of the most exciting parts of Tuscan holiday tradition, and we at BRIO are pleased to present these seasonal dishes infused with delicious flavors,” said BRIO Culinary Director & Chef Alison Peters.
Broiled Maine Lobster Tail & Creole Shrimp Pasta with angel hair, spicy cream sauce, capers, red peppers, green onions and basil ($25.95)
Surf & Turf — Grilled-to-order beef medallions, jumbo black pepper shrimp over Romano crusted eggplant and white cheddar polenta ($28.95)
Chocolate Layer Cake with Candy Cane Gelato — Decadent chocolate cake, milk and white chocolate mousse, fudge ganache frosting and candy cane gelato ($6.95)
The perfect accompaniments to a Tuscan-style holiday meal, BRIO’s select white and red wines include the delightful Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendocino, California) priced at $10.95 per glass/$40 per bottle or the truly exquisite Hess Shirtail Chardonnay priced at $9.95 per glass/$38 per bottle.
New Year’s Eve
Guests can celebrate New Year’s Eve in style at BRIO, which will offer a two-course prix fixe menu, including one of the above entrées, along with guests’ choice of soup/salad or petite dessert, starting at $29.95. The two-course prix fixe menu will be offered 12/30/16 to 1/2/17.
Gifts for Holiday Party Guests
What is a holiday party without a takeaway gift? Now through Jan. 15, 2017, hosts and guests in parties of 10 or more will receive a $10 off bonus gift for a future visit to BRIO in January or February 2017. The promotion applies to parties hosted Sunday–Thursday.
Gift Card Bonus Offer
With all of the excitement the holidays bring, everyone needs to give themselves a gift! Through Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, BRIO guests who purchase $100 in BRIO gift cards will receive a $20 bonus gift, valid Jan. 1–March 15, 2017. This promotion is available at all BRIO restaurant locations and online at www.BrioItalian.com. And yet another plus —personalized BRIO gift cards and e-gifts are available!
During the holidays, reservations are highly recommended at BRIO for both private parties and individual guests. Guests can now make reservations online for all BRIO restaurants by visiting www.BrioItalian.com. For a list of locations, please visit www.BrioItalian.com.
I tasted these new featured holiday dishes (compliments of BRIO, although all opinions are my own, as always) at the BRIO located at The Shops at Boca Center, 5050 Town Center Circle, Suite 239, Boca Raton, FL 33486.
BRIO offers lunch and dinner, as well as a special children’s menu; brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday until 3:30 p.m. The 8,800-square-foot restaurant has indoor seating for 260 guests and al fresco dining for 100 on its outdoor terrace, as well as a full-service bar that seats 40. BRIO also offers a private dining area that seats 16–48 guests. The restaurant is open Sunday 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Monday–Thursday 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. For more information, visit www.brioitalian.com. For reservations, call The Shops at Boca Center restaurant at (561) 392-3777.
Santa Claus is Sharing Holiday Joy During Breakfasts with Santa,
Including Fun-Filled Activities, at Palm Beach County BRIO Locations in December!
Ho, ho, ho! Santa is making special visits to BRIO Tuscan Grille locations at CityPlace and The Gardens Mall to listen to Christmas wishes and spread holiday cheer. Guests will enjoy a delicious plated breakfast and holiday activities including face painting, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, ornament making, and Christmas carolers. Santa Claus will be visiting tables collecting wish lists, and will also take photos with guests (be sure to bring cameras!)
BRIO’s breakfast will be plentiful with delicious items for both adults and children. Choices on the adult menu include:
Eggs, Home Fries & Bacon: Scrambled eggs, bacon, brunch potatoes and brioche toast. Turkey sausage on request.
Berries & Cream French Toast: Honey, cinnamon, sweet cream cheese stuffed French toast, fresh berry compote, and Applewood bacon
Sicilian Omelette: Cherrywood smoked ham, bacon, Fontanini sausage, caramelized onions, tomato compote, Mozzarella, Provolone and Parmesan cheeses. Served with brunch potatoes.
Ham & Biscuit Benedict: Two poached cage free eggs, Cherrywood smoked ham, housemade biscuit and hollandaise. Served with brunch potatoes.
Children’s selections include Kids’ French Toast served with maple syrup and fresh fruit; and Kids’ Scrambled Eggs served with bacon and fresh fruit.
All meals include choice of coffee, tea, soft drink, milk or juice, muffins and yogurt parfait.
Reservations are required for the Breakfast with Santa events.
Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016
BRIO at CityPlace
550 South Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016
BRIO at The Gardens Mall
3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
$11.95 per adult; $5.95 per child
Reservations are required. Call your local BRIO or visit www.brioitalian.com to reserve for this special Santa event!
When’s the last time you took a trip to Lithuania? Well if you’re like me, never. Fortunately, I have discovered a cute little Cafe that just opened up in East Boca, just steps away from the beach and now you can taste a little of Lithuania (and European fare) without having to take a transatlantic flight.
Beach Park Cafe is owned by Lithuanian husband and wife, Vaidas and Luiza who had previously been in the wholesale distribution business overseas for 20 years. With the help of their daughter Egle who handles the company’s social media marketing as well working there at the Cafe a couple days a week to relieve her parents, along with Chef Anthony who was brought in to help out in the small open kitchen, the team work together efficiently to bring the customers in and convert them into loyal repeat customers, one bite at a time, and it’s working!
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to bring a friend with me to try the place out for lunch. It was just before noon when we arrived and the place was quiet, a couple other tables inside and one or two more outside. We immediately met the owners, Vaidas and Luiza and they showed us to a table. We discussed some tasting options and off went Vaidas to the kitchen while Luiza stayed behind and talked with us openly about their journey that brought them to owning this cute little Cafe in Boca Raton, FL.
We started off with teas (iced for my companion) and hot for myself, although they are known for their great coffees…
While we were waiting for our first tasting course to come out, we were delivered samples of their Lazy Cake: this refrigerated cake-like sweet is very famous in Lithuania and other countries in that part of the world . It is not actually a real cake, as it contains no flour or eggs, and no baking is required, so it’s so easy that anyone can make, that’s why it’s called “Lazy Cake”. Apparently, in those countries, it is common to keep some in the freezer to take it out in any emergency in the case of unexpected visits. Even though I never heard of this scrumptious treat before, several recipes came up on my Google search. For those of you familiar with the Boca restaurant Flakowitz, it kind of reminds me of the little cake they put out at the tables when you sit down for a meal there.
The Beach Park Cafe has several panini on the menu and the one we decided to try was chicken saltimbocca. I liked the idea of having this classic Italian entree served between two pieces of bread and pressed. The panini are served on sour dough bread which is imported frozen from Europe and baked fresh there. The description sounded appealing and the sandwich worked! Two thumbs up on this one. The pickle by the way is not your typical pickle either, made with very little vinegar in the pickling process. (for what it’s worth).
The Park Cafe is very proud of their crepes and so it was decided that we should try one of their savory and one of their dessert crepes.
Forget the traditional bagel, cream cheese and lox…time for a European twist on this American classic. The bagel replaced by a light and airy crepe, the cream cheese replaced with a ricotta and sour cheese mixture with spring onions and topped with a mornay sauce (sort of like a béchamel sauce with cheese) and capers. It was very large and very filling. We both enjoyed this dish, two thumbs up!
Now in all fairness, we did not have the time to stay and eat our dessert crepe there and this pic was taken after it had been put in the refrigerator to be eaten at a later time. I don’t recommend doing that, as it didn’t look as pretty as when it was initially presented and there’s nothing like having a fresh warm crepe right off the crepe maker. They have some really interesting dessert crepes on the menu, so I will definitely go back and try either the Nutella Banana, Honey Lemonello or the Dolce de Leche next.
The Park Cafe serves breakfast & lunch all day, so you can basically have brunch here anytime you come in! Here’s a sample of one of their breakfast specials:
I’m definitely coming back to try this French Eggs Benedict. It sounds right up my alley! Ooh la la!
The Beach Cafe is located at 896 E. Palmetto Park Rd, just west of the beach pavilion. Call ahead for take out, eat there or they will deliver to the beach pavilion. Other deliveries may be made through Delivery Wow through their website. Catering is also available. 561-430-3899.
They are open Monday – Thursday 9AM – 4PM; Friday – Sunday 9AM – 6PM