food

Costa brings bold, bold flavors to Palm Beach

David Valencia has been in restaurant kitchens for the past 14 years – a relatively short time by executive chef standards – but the 33-year native of Colombia has experience far beyond those years. Valencia, executive chef at Costa Palm Beach, has cut his teeth at such fabled restaurants as The Modern in New York City and trained under Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.

He later joined renowned hospitality group EMM Group to open Catch with Top Chef Winner Hung Huynh in New York and Miami and was Chef de Cuisine at Meat Market Palm Beach before opening Costa (with owner and veteran Palm Beach restaurateur Sascha Bennemann) earlier this year.

All of Valencia’s high-powered training and learning is paying off at Costa, located on the second floor of The Esplanade on Palm Beach’s trendy Worth Avenue.

“Modern Mediterranean’’ is how Valencia describes Costa’s menus, which feature several of what might be considered Valencia’s “signature’’ dishes. Among them is the amazing Salt Baked Branzino, a three-pound Crispy Pork Shank (for two) and for lunch, an off-the-chain Lamb Burger.

“I wanted to bring something different with a lot of different flavor profiles – big bold flavors,’’ Valencia said.

Those bold flavors certainly come out in dishes such as the Salt Baked Branzino served with arugula emulsion, grilled lemon, olive caper tomato relish. It’s a terrific explosion of flavors that has many guests telling friends, “Get the Branzino,’’ when they go to Costa.

“I’ve been doing something similar (in terms of preparing the Branzino) for the past seven or eight years,’’ Valencia said. “For whatever reason, this is the dish people come back for. I didn’t expect it to be like that.’’

And don’t fret. The full fish is for presentation purposes only.

The Crispy […]

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    Dorrian’s Red Hand is filled with comfort food and good times

Dorrian’s Red Hand is filled with comfort food and good times

By Steve Pike

Every neighborhood should have its favorite bar. Preferably an Irish bar. On Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, I nominate Dorrian’s Red Hand. It filled with comfort food, comfort music (Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Creedence) and big screen TVs.

http://www.dorrians-wpb.com/

It’s also filled with locals who come to watch favorite teams, listen to live music and just chill with a brew and burger. It’s an Irish-American bar without the leprechauns and shamrocks. A place you’re likely to see in the Irish countryside, except that there is music at Dorrian’s. Most pubs in the Irish countryside chase musicians out the door. The story goes that even the Rolling Stones were once banned from playing in an Irish countryside bar.

That aside, “We started building up a nice, local clientele,’’ said co-owner Danny Dorrian, a veteran New York City restaurateur who opened the eatery and pub in April 2016. “Probably one of the more difficult places I’ve done business. People here are from all over the country. Everyone wants certain things.’’

Dorrian’s menu obliges. For example, the New York City House Burger features Bush Brothers beef and is served on an English muffin, so you’re getting more beef than bread.  It’s one of the better burgers in South Florida.

The thick Shepherd’s Pie is a “must have, and even if you don’t like calamari, the Amata Calamari (flash fried or sautéed) with spinach, cherry peppers and mushrooms is outstanding. If you just want to pig out, go for the loaded nachos with turkey chili.

Dorrian’s menu also has some steak and seafood items, perhaps the best French fries in South Florida, as well as year-round Thanksgiving dinner complete with slow roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, cranberry and gravy.

“Good food […]

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    Mojito Bar combines classic Cuban cocktails with Nuevo Latin Cuisine

Mojito Bar combines classic Cuban cocktails with Nuevo Latin Cuisine

By Steve Pike

Come for the mojitos, stay for the food. That’s my advice for guests at the new Mojito Bar restaurant at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Fla. Renowned Chef Douglas Rodriguez has fused his signature Nuevo Latin Cuisine with the classic Cuban cocktail for a terrific indoor and outdoor dining experience.

http://themojitobar.com

Located on the edge of some of Sawgrass Mills’ more popular store, the vibrant and colorful Mojito Bar is an ideal spot for people watching, as well as lunch and dinner.

The experience begins, of course, with the mojitos. Mojito Bar has a deep selection of mojitos, led by the Classic served with DonQ Cristal rum; the robust Coconut mojito features DonQ. Try them each in Mojito Bar’s 24-ounce glass and you might never want to leave. If you’re looking to take the experience up another notch, Mojito Bar serves its namesake cocktails in a souvenir 32-ounce light-up tower glass.

Now on to the food. Start with the Smoked Pineapple Guacamole that has unbelievable flavor thanks mostly to the pineapple that’s smoked for up to eight hours before being served.

“Not your typical guacamole,’’ said Mojito Bar Manager Bar Jose Reigosa.

The Smoked Pineapple Guacamole is just one example of Rodriguez’s menu that also features dishes such as Cuban Sandwich on a Stick, Short Rib Soft Tacos (my favorite), Mojito Shrimp Ceviche and Brazilian Coconut Seafood Casserole.

“Douglas brought us a menu to match who we are,’’ Reigosa said.

It’s a perfect match.

Steve Pike is an award-winning food and travel writer at Spike’s Peek’s: The Art of Travel (www.myspiketravel.com). He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.

 

 

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 […]

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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 […]

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    Harvest Seasonal Grill Introduces Seasonal, Locally Sourced Dishes

Harvest Seasonal Grill Introduces Seasonal, Locally Sourced Dishes

Hello Foodie Friends,

It’s been a busy week for this Foodie Girl. Kicking the week off with Temper Grille followed by a wonderful tasting at Harvest Seasonal Grill set up for me by the company’s PR firm. I was super excited to finally make it in there after passing by it a gazillion times on my way from Boca to Delray to conduct my tours and then after meeting Reba, Harvest’s Marketing & Events Manager at the Flavors event last month.

Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, a seasonally changing, farm to table concept serving wood fired steak, poultry, seafood, vegetarian and gluten free dishes offering guests locally-grown options typically under 500 calories.

The upscale-casual restaurant, whose mantra “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” is apparent in every detail, has vowed to change its offerings with the seasons (every three months), with menu items reflective of the time of year and produce available. The day of my visit was the first day the Spring Menu was being rolled out. Since opening in the Fall, Harvest has had a slight menu change for winter, but nothing like the overhaul of this new Spring menu I was told, where a good majority of the items have changed. That’s good for most and harder to accept by some who are sorry to see their favorites no longer on the current menu. I have a feeling though that those who are busy mourning the loss of their faves, will soon find new ones to enjoy and before long, their old faves will be back in season. I personally love the idea of keeping menus rotating, keeping them fresh with whatever bounty the current season has to offer, so kudos to Harvest […]

Tantalizing Tapas at Temper Grille

 

Hello Foodie Friends,

I recently organized and attended a media/blogger tasting at the newly opened Temper Grille restaurant in West Boca and was thrilled to take a seat and experience all the wonderful tapas and delicious wines that would start magically appearing on our tables.

Small Plates…Big taste. Food with Attitude! That’s their motto. Temper Grille features fine wines, a unique tapas menu, and an assortment of dishes that resonate with the Chef’s fiery tastes and attitude.

Temper Grille opened April 2010 in Granger, IN with Chef Sean Kelley and Co-founder Erick Guerra at the helm and has been wildly successful ever since. The name, Temper Grille, is a nod to Chef Kelley whose reputation in the past was that of a loose cannon with a spicy temper. “Yes, it is true,” Kelley laughs a little now. “I was a hothead”. Today the name now serves as a constant reminder of who he was and personifies the bold flavors he serves in each and every dish.

Midwest Living Magazine had this to say about Temper Grille… This intimate tapas-style restaurant has a unique food menu, as well as an extensive beer and wine list, all of which is sure to please any palate. From the house-cured bacon to duck bites and seared ahi tuna, Chef Sean Kelley doesn’t shy away from big flavors – and you shouldn’t either!

Earlier this year, plans to expand to the South Florida market came to fruition, when Chef Kelley and Erick Guerra found the perfect location in West Boca Raton to open their second location. “We are excited to share our culinary vision of an upscale American Fusion Tapas restaurant. Fresh ingredients, bold flavors and always cooked to order, each dish is plated and […]

Hello Foodie Friends, it was just last month that I was invited to visit a little hidden gem South of Fifth in Miami Beach called Santorini by Georgios and I am already dreaming of my next visit back!  It was a gorgeous day that my friend Laura and I visited and the only thing better than the weather was the hospitality, food and ambience.  The spacious, indoor/outdoor restaurant tucked ay inside the Hilton Bentley was entirely redone with outdoor, poolside and beachside service available.

Santorini by Georgios restaurant presents authentic, fresh Greek and Mediterranean cuisine that is locally sourced and fresh seafood is caught daily. Executive Chef, Owner and Creator Georgios Vogiatzis offers a menu of recognizable, yet creative dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch in a lively, upscale-casual pool and beachside atmosphere complimented by friendly and professional service.

Santorini by Georgios prides itself on defining what true quality food is with their fresh cuisine, in addition to exceeding every one of their customers’ expectations. Whether it’s a girls’ afternoon luncheon (which is what Laura & I came for), an after work happy hour get together, or a romantic dinner for two, Santorini by Georgios will make sure the challenge to delight their clients is met.

To complement each dish, Georgios has created a refreshing selection of cocktails with in-house made purees and infusions. The beverage program includes full beer and wine lists, as well as large exotic fruit cocktails sold in unique hollowed-out pieces of fruit, such as pineapples and watermelons. (We tried the Pineapple but we had our eye on the Watermelon which I’m sure we’ll try the next time we’re there). The “Giant Bowl” menu also consists of beautifully crafted cocktails in bowls large enough to share – perfect for taking that “I’m on vacation” Instagram photo.

Located in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth […]

Taste Atlantic Avenue

Savor Our City covered some great Delray mainstays on its Taste of Atlantic Avenue tour on Nov. 26.

City Oyster

You would think that a restaurant with “Oyster” in its name would only have a decent seafood selection, but the breakfast panini we sampled proved that brunch is also one of this eatery’s prime games. The pesto and mozzarella beautifully complemented the egg and pieces of bacon.

The Bloody Mary was scary good – the kind of good that happens when you can barely taste the alcohol in the drink. City Oyster knows how to blend great drinks with delectable entrées.

The Office

At The Office, we tried the Prime CEO Burger with parmesan truffle fries. The bacon and arugula on the burger brought out the tenderness of the patty, and the fries had all the greasy, truffle-y goodness you could want.

The best way to make vegetables delicious is, of course, by adding meat, and the Brussel’s sprouts with bacon turned out to be a great side.

Delray Beach GreenMarket

Gratitude Garden Farm, located in Loxahatchee, showed our group the benefits of eating microgreens such as sunflower seed sprouts and pea sprouts. These delicious plants would go well in a salad or just as a snack.

The siblings behind Frik & Frak Artisanal Sauces offered delicious batches of their homemade tomato sauces, including Holla Vodka and Cognac. The GreenMarket truly showcases the best of what Palm Beach County local cuisine has to offer. Check it out every Saturday through May 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old School Square Park.

The Old Arcade

Known as The Arcade Tap Room in 1908, The Old Arcade started out as a secret watering hole for patrons during the Prohibition era. Hidden in and only […]

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    Pig-sty BBQ in Boynton Beach brings melt-in-your-mouth BBQ to South Florida at an affordable price

Pig-sty BBQ in Boynton Beach brings melt-in-your-mouth BBQ to South Florida at an affordable price

Hello Foodie Friends,
Today I am here to tell you about an awesome new BBQ restaurant called Pig-sty BBQ, which recently opened after a complete overhaul of the current space on Boynton Beach Blvd, just west of 95, by my friends Elliot Harris and award-winning Pitmaster Chef Bryan Tyrell.
Elliot and Chef Bryan teamed up to open this their first/flagship Pig-sty BBQ in Boynton Beach, FL with plans to open two additional locations in South Florida by the end of the 2017.  They are passionate about South Florida development, and their vision is to grow alongside the community. “We built Pigsty to bring affordable quality food to the people of South Florida in a fun environment. Bring the kids, bring friends, have a beer and enjoy true classic BBQ prepared by our rock star BBQ chef,” stated Harris.

Pigsty BBQ is also a feast for the eyes. Aaron Moreno, of Palm Beach Driftwood, transformed the interior using 100 percent reclaimed wood to capture the true feel of a Southern BBQ joint. Harris, an accomplished artist, lined the wall with some of his favorite movie quotes and original pieces of art from his collection. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the food melts in your mouth. Live bands perform every Thursday through Saturday with a top-notch state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. Pigsty BBQ is open seven days per week for lunch and dinner. The menu will expand to breakfast in early 2017.

Parents are raving about the options for children. Harris, being a father of three, knows that eating out with small children can be a challenge. It is for this reason that he created the kid’s corner. It offers a virtual gaming system where kids can choose […]

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