It was this time last year that I wrote about Harvest Seasonal Grill and their opening in Delray the previous Fall. Since then, I’ve been back numerous times to enjoy the creative seasonally-inspired dishes of Executive Chef Bill Ring.
I was invited to dine as a guest of The Gab Group, the PR firm representing Harvest. I brought along my long time foodie friend and newcomer to the blogging scene Patrice from @ForkAndACork. We started off with our choice of cocktails. When I saw the rosé sangria was back on the menu, I immediately chose that for my selection. I’m not ordinarily a fan of rosé, but when Reba, Harvest’s Marketing & Events Manager, first introduced this Rosé Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria last year, it was love at first sip. The key is to make sure that the glass has lots of ice and is served super chill too! Patrice enjoyed her Red Mango Apricot Sangria very much as well.
Next, we decided on a couple apps: the Thai sesame beef lettuce wraps and the sweet pea & avocado toast. The Thai beef wraps were the star of the two for me.
For the entrées, we tried the cedar roasted salmon which was seasoned and cooked to perfection! We both really loved this dish and I also really enjoyed how Chef Bill prepared the side of veggies (squash, zucchini & carrots). The second entrée was not necessarily a new dish, but the Super Grain Bowl is now being presented in a new fashion and can be found under the “bowls” section. We chose chicken as our protein but you can select the protein of your choice. The dish, in our opinion, was a little dry and needed some more of the sauce that it came with. Once our server brought us over some more and we were able to incorporate it into each bite, it was quite yummy.
The signature tray of mini desserts was brought our way to tempt us. There were so many wonderful varieties to choose from and we chose the chocolate salted caramel mousse and the walnut fudge brownie. Both were soooooo good!!!!
Be sure to check out my previous write up on Harvest Seasonal Grill to get a little more info on the restaurant.
Harvest Seasonal Grill is located in the Delray Place shopping plaza at1841 S. Federal Highway, #402, Delray Beach, FL 33483. For more information or to make a reservation, call (561) 266-3239 or visit www.harvestseasonalgrill.com.
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 pork belly and the Peanut Butter Pie below are two of his own creations).
Coconut Shrimp..Tiger Shrimp coated in light beer batter with shredded coconut, accompanied by a Mango Chutney and Island Slaw composing of cabbage, red onion, cilantro, jicama and dressed with a lime vinaigrette. I am in love with this “world famous” appetizer dish and could eat it all day long. But today, I had to resist and just have the one-biter presented to me so I could move on…
Ahi Tuna Taco..Crispy Wonton Taco Shell, Yellowfin Tuna dressed in a mix of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Cilantro, Capers, Ginger, Garlic and a hint of Chipotle Pepper. Topped with Red Bell Pepper, Scallions and a Wasabi Lime Avocado Cream Sauce. Every component of this dish came together to create the perfect bite. It was well thought out and executed. Oh yeah and so cute too! You can find these under their Appetizer section. Chef Matt shared with me that Tommy Bahama is big on sourcing their fish from those who practice sustainability. Today’s tuna that I was served was line caught from Costa Rica. All of their fish is fresh and they never serve anything more than 3 days old. Gotta like that!
Macadamia Nut Crusted Goat Cheese…Laura Chenel Chevre coated in toasted Wailea Valley Plantation Macadamia Nuts warmed in Clarified Butter and served with a Papaya Mango Chutney and Soy Glaze paired with Lavash Flatbread. The combination of Macadamia nuts, clarified butter and goat cheese was amazing and the sweetness from the mango salsa truly made my tastebuds get up and do the Happy Dance. This is an awesome appetizer dish!
Pork Belly..Duroc Pork Belly braised in Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar. Seared then served on a Brioche Toast, topped with Pickled Vegetables, accompanied by a Sriracha Aioli. I LOVED LOVED this dish. The pork belly was lean, which is a welcome change to the usual fatty pieces served these days. The combination of flavors from the sweet sauce used in the braising of the pork belly to the pickled vegetables placed on top, to the slight heat from the sriracha aioli on the finish, all had their part in creating a really tasty, balanced dish. You’ll be able to find the pork belly in sliders only during their IT (Island Time) Happy Hour, each day from 4-6pm.
Yellowfin Tuna Salad.. Brown Chile Crusted Tuna, Kale, Roasted Corn, Quinoa, Toasted Almonds, Avocado, Island Slaw, Field Greens and dressed with a Soy Sesame Vinaigrette. The tuna had a lovely sear on it and was a wonderful accompaniament to this creative version of a field greens salad.
Kona Crusted Ribeye..Ribeye Deckle seasoned with a Kona Coffee Rub, the seared in cast iron. Served on a Cauliflower Chive Mash Croquette with White Miso Butter and accompanied by a Horseradish Aioli. Just when I think I’ve had the best bite of the day, Chef Matt goes and screws things up for me by presenting this little beauty. This here is just heaven on a plate. The rib eye was cooked absolutely to perfection and melted like butter in my mouth. I loved his cauliflower mash croquette creation and the horseradish aioli. You can find this Kona Crusted Ribeye entrée on their lunch and dinner menus.
And finally…the Peanut Butter Pie..Whipped Peanut Butter, Salted Pretzel Crust, Callebaut Chocolate Ganache, Red Hawaiian Sea Salt and White Chocolate Mousse Whipped Cream. Oh my!!! Chef Matt really hit all the right notes on this one that is for sure. Loved the sweet and salty and creamy and crunchy contrasts that came together in harmony in a single bite.
I wish that Tommy Bahama would open a restaurant closer to where I live in Boca Raton, as the closest one to us here in South Florida is in Jupiter. But in the meantime, with future travel plans in the works to Orlando, you can count on my making plenty of stops back here to this one in Pointe Orlando to visit my pal Chef Matt.
CURRENT PROMOTION: All Tommy Bahama retail locations with restaurants have implemented a 20% off retail purchases with proof of a sales receipt at the restaurant, valid on the same day. So eat, shop & save all you Tommy Bahama fans. You’re welcome!
IT = Island Time, Tommy Bahama’s version of Happy Hour. Available EVERY DAY between 4-6pm where you can belly up to the bar and partake in great bites and cocktails such as:
House Wines $5
Signature wines $7
Selected beer $4
Well Drinks $4
Classic Cocktails $6
Ahi Tuna $7
Blackened Fish Tacos $6
Angus Burger Sliders $6
Macadamia Goat Cheese $5
Jerk Chicken Lollipops $5
Pulled Pork Quesadillas $5
I want to thank my friends at Tommy Bahama in Orlando for hosting me during my recent trip to Orlando. It was my very first time eating at a Tommy Bahama and I can’t wait to come back again. To visit this location:
Pointe Orlando 9101 International Dr Orlando, FL 32819
RESTAURANT HOURS & PHONE
321.281.5888 Open: 11:30 AM daily Happy Hour: 4-6 PM daily
STORE HOURS & PHONE
321.281.5886 11 AM – 10 PM Mon-Sat 12 PM – 8 PM Sun
-phile: a suffix, denoting fondness for a specified thing; one that loves, admires, or is attracted to a specified thing.
Hello Foodie Friends,
Today I am here to share with you my latest Boca Food Find and that is GourmetPhile. As the definition above connotes, I am a GourmetPhile, a lover and admirer with a deep fondness & passion for food, particularly of the gourmet variety and GourmetPhile, the newest gourmet specialty market to open in Royal Palm Place in Downtown Boca, which satisfies my foodie cravings in every way.
I have been waiting for this store to open for a very long time and was thrilled to be asked to work with them to assemble some of the area’s social media influencers and Concierge for some special tasting events.
Their Story GourmetPhile is the love child of Blair and Zhanna Leavell. Zhanna was formerly a university professor of mathematics in St Petersburg, Russia, and Blair owned a software consulting firm. It must have been love at first sight for the two, who were introduced by one of Blair’s employees, as they were married just a few months after meeting. Zhanna, having difficulty finding work in her own field teaching mathematics here in the US, worked as a distributor of gourmet food items across Florida. Zhanna and Blair ended up becoming quite involved with gourmet food, attending fancy food shows around the country, etc. and decided they wanted to do something fun and entrepreneurial together that reflected their expanding interest in fine food. A little over a year ago they formed GourmetPhile and broke ground on this beautifully appointed new store.
Their Vision to be a one stop shop for everything amazingly delicious from all over the world that you can’t find at Publix, Whole Foods, Cheese Course etc. To also be a gathering place of informal elegance for foodies, chefs and connoisseurs. It is their mission to offer the best of the best, at a surprisingly affordable price point, without compromising on quality.
Their Store The Chocolate Room – It hits you right in the face when you walk in. You may find yourself salivating from the powerful luxuriant richness of the smells alone. Their chocolate room has a separate temperature and humidity regime, and their suppliers ship in refrigerated containers by air. The result is a fresher product that preserves the delicate terroir of the finest chocolates in the world.
Their filled chocolates wear their colors like tropical birds, with exotic flavors like guava/tamarind, pineapple/fennel/caramel and cardamom/rose. Their single origin bars have won the golden bean award many times. GourmetPhile is the only store in Boca that takes such care with chocolate.
The Wine Cellar – Also a separate temperature regime. GourmetPhile’s thoughtfully constructed cellar allows easy label viewing of 250 expertly curated wines you can’t find anywhere else in town. Highly skilled sommeliers with deep connections in the old world and the new have found some great mid range values in wineries located very close to grand cru vineyards, for example.
The Cheese Case – state of the art new display case with over 70 award winning cheeses from around the world. These are fabulous cheeses selected by a master cheese monger, with exotic wraps like spruce cambrium and grape leaves soaked in pear brandy. Come and try them – they are generous with their tastings!
The Caviar Case – Caviar has a special place in the couple’s hearts. Zhanna’s father was a fisherman (he passed away 5 years ago), so she grew up with the best black caviar by the bowlful as a child. Part of the impetus for their store is a celebration of these memories. Disappointed with the quality of most of the caviar that can be obtained in the American market, Zhanna was impressed with Petrossian, particularly due to the fact that it is never frozen, and for the superb flavor and mouth feel evocative of her childhood. Petrossian, the preeminent caviar by which others are measured – literally. They developed the grading methodology for taste, mouth feel, egg size, color, fat content and brine that is used throughout the industry today.
The caviar tasting that was arranged for a select group of Concierge, was conducted by JoAnn Economou, who covers the entire state of FL for Petrossian. The Petrossian family began importing caviar from Russia to Paris during the roaring 1920’s, when caviar became a popular extravaganza. Since the inception of the company, (over 95 years) Petrossian has developed a reputation for quality within the industry and are the largest importer of caviar in the U.S., selling 50 tons of it per year. Each container is labeled with the date, best used by info and detailed codes on the sourced sturgeon.
So what actually is caviar? Caviar is the salted roe (eggs) of sturgeon. Sturgeon are part of an ancient group of large fish with 27 varieties, many of which can be found in the Caspian Sea. Over fishing and pollution of the Caspian Sea has driven sturgeon to near extinction. The most notable sturgeons are Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga. Wild caviar is no longer available and illegal to be sold in the U.S. since 205. Today, all caviar sold in the US. is farm raised, with many new varieties available in the market today. Caviar is sourced from Israel, Bulgaria China, Italy, Florida, California, North Carolina and the list continues to grow.
Caviar Knowledge: 30g is more than one ounce (28g). All caviar is offered in grams. The lid is crimped to ensure no air has entered from the time of packing it in New York until it reaches the guest.
Malossol means “little salt” in Russian. Other companies add salt to their caviar to give them a plumper look, but JoAnn explained it doesn’t improve the quality, it just makes them saltier. Petrossian does not over salt their caviar.
Proper serving utensils for caviar: Mother of Pearl, Horn or Gold. No silver pieces should be used, as it imparts a metal taste on the caviar and changes the flavor.
Accoutrements such as eggs, onions, creme fraiche which are traditionally served with caviar. Purists tend to enjoy the caviar without all these extras.
Blini is the small thin pancake used to hold the caviar atop. Toast points are also used.
Very cold vodka, as well as French Champagne is the most appropriate beverages to serve with caviar. White wine, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are also acceptable. To clear the palate, many people drink tea without the sugar.
The Charcuterie Case – the finest European sausages and hams, rich pates and Scottish and Norwegian salmon
The Frozen Section – delightful Jeni’s ice cream and various frozen ready to eat gourmet desserts.
Tea and Coffee – in keeping with our pursuit of the best of the best, GourmetPhile offers two products with a very rich history. Kusmi tea was originally the tea of the Russian Tsars. After the revolution, it moved to Paris to escape the Bolshevics. It was an instant success and has enjoyed a storied history at the top of the gourmet tea market ever since. Lavazza, established in Turin, Italy in 1895, has been owned by the family of the same name for four generations. They are the quintessential Italian espresso.
The Rest – aged balsamics, olive oils, mustards, marmalades, honeys, spreads, chutneys, wine and cheese accoutrements
small plate menu – choose from cheese, charcuterie or caviar small plates, order a glass of wine from the daily pours, or just buy a bottle from their wine cellar and enjoy it right there with no corkage fee
food pairing tastings with highly regarded sommeliers and fine wines, champagnes, beers, cheese, charcuterie and other specialty gourmet foods
gorgeous gift baskets – have one created from anything in the store, with floral accents!
delivery within Boca Raton area with company delivery van
Hours of Operation: Tues – Sun 11am – 9pm
Located in Royal Palm Place, 501 SE Mizner Blvd. in Downtown Boca (561) 757-6208
Savor Our City Culinary Tours began offering our first tours on May 3, 2014 in Delray Beach, FL. Since then, we have run a series of tours in other South Florida cities such as Palm Beach Gardens, Wilton Manors and Boca Raton. Our tours have always been open to the public as well as to private groups. We entered into an agreement this past year to create brand new food tours up in New England for several major cruise lines sailing into Boston, Portland & Bar Harbor this Fall. I am proud to say that these tours have been created and are starting this month. At this time, the only way you can take any of these tours is if you happen to be sailing on one of those ships calling into those ports OR you book a private group tour through us. (Think: corporate team building, client appreciation, birthday parties)
Here is a sample of what you would experience on our Boston Markets & Cultural Walking Tour:
This 3-hour historical guided walking food tour will take guests through the famed Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, a historic meeting place and market lined with cobblestone streets packed with ethnic foods, unique gifts and street performers, just to name a few of the elements that make this marketplace located near the waterfront so unique. It was here in 1764 that the colonists protested the Sugar Act, which led to the “no taxation without representation” doctrine. George Washington toasted America’s first birthday here, and so many impassioned orators have followed that Faneuil Hall is nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty.”
Following your visit to Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall, you will walk to nearby Boston Public Market, another indoor haven for foodies that opened its doors in the summer of 2015. The market houses 39 year-round vendor stalls which must sell food and other products that are produced or originate in New England, specializing in items sourced from local farms and fishermen. Your guide will share historical facts, interesting anecdotes, and some local insider’s tips as you sample dishes and delicacies that reflect the area. Some of the iconic New England delicacies sampled along the way include an award-winning clam chowder, lobster roll, cheese, chocolate, nuts, honey, fresh fruit vinegars, wine, mead (honey wine, the oldest alcoholic drink known to man). Then, it’s on to the Parker House, your final stop and birthplace of the city’s iconic Boston Cream Pie, which you will have the opportunity to sample.
This tour is currently available for private tours only. If you would like to inquire about booking a private tour for your group of 10+ people, please contact us at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.
As many of you know, I just got back from a 5-day road trip in New England where I traveled from Boston to Bar Harbor, stopping in Portland and other charming little towns along the way. I will provide a detailed description of my adventures in each, but first up is my visit to the Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville (just outside of Boston).
I didn’t know what to expect as I pulled up in my Mini Clubman (courtesy of Mini of Peabody) at the front entrance of the Taza Chocolate Factory. Images of Willy Wonka ran rampant in my mind. I was meeting with Amanda Mallen, Retail Manager for Taza Chocolate and the person who I had been conversing with via phone and emails for the past several months in preparation for our upcoming culinary tours taking place inside the Boston Public Market where Taza has an outlet shop. It was so nice to finally meet Amanda in person. Our tour began in the lobby/retail area where Amanda began to take me through the Bean to Bar process with several visuals. I learned about the flavor development of the cacao beans and how it is a one week process to ferment the beans and another week to dry on the farms in which they acquire their beans before being shipped to Taza’s factory in Somerville. Currently, Taza is receiving their beans from farms located in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize & Bolivia.
Taza Chocolate company was founded in 2005 & their very first chocolate bar was sold on Valentine’s Day 2007. Amanda shared with me that the first beans were actually brought over to the factory in a station wagon from the airport; fast forward 10 years later, they are now being delivered via ship containers!
The beans are roasted at 230 degrees (farenheit) for about an hour-hour & a half which starts to loosen the shell. One batch of chocolate will yield 800 – 1300 lbs, depends on how dark the chocolate is. The next process after roasting is winnowing – that’s when they break the shells off and smash them down, to create the final product – cocoa nibs. The shells that remain after the winnowing process are then packed up and distributed to various organizations such as tea blenders and also used in local community gardens – to be used as organic fertilizer, the soil loves it, I am told.
Stone mills from Mexico are used to grind the nibs. These stones are hand carved & have unique patterns on them depending on what the product they are being used for. Another common use of these ancient stones is for milling corn into flour for the making of tortillas. “Chocolate liquor” is the result of the finely ground nibs that have passed through the stone mills. The chocolate liquor is then pumped into the chocolate plumbing where they will then add sugar and the quantity depends on how dark the chocolate will be. The finished chocolate is popped out & packaged. Check out this video to see the bean to bar process for yourself.
They are open: Monday- Friday 11am – 6pm & Saturday – Sunday 10am – 6pm.
Take a tour and learn how they make stone ground, organic chocolate and sample the results! Tours are available 7 days a week (although the factory is not in production on Saturdays & Sundays).
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Taza Chocolate is one of the tasting stops on our new “Boston Markets & Cultural Tour” currently available to private groups of 10 – 14 guests. If you are interested in booking a private tour for your company or group of friends, contact us for a quote at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.