lunch

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 […]

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 […]

FitFoodz That Make You Feel Fantastic!

Hello Foodie Friends,

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 […]

Fresh Kitchen Boca

Fresh Kitchen Boca Blogger Night

I was invited to the pre-opening of Fresh Kitchen Boca, another great addition in the growing trend of healthy fast casual restaurants popping up in South Florida.  Fresh Kitchen, a 100% gluten-free, build-your-own bowl concept has now opened in Boca Raton! All of their meats are hormone and antibiotic free, all of their sauces are homemade, and their menu, which is packed with flavor, changes with the seasons.  They opened their first store in South Tampa in September 2014, followed by St. Petersburg and Sarasota, and now…are thrilled to call Boca their new home 🙂 Their goal was to create and serve fresh, high quality ingredients that nourish and energize our bodies in a fast-casual restaurant. The meal you want, when you want it, with countless combinations. Their food is made from scratch and fresh-to-order.  From their grill to your bowl, as fast as you can point!

What they serve:

100% gluten free ingredients

Dairy free and sugar free, unless indicated

Cold pressed juices, teas and frescas made in-house daily

House made dressings and sauces

Flavorful veggies that change seasonally

Hormone and antibiotic free meats

Fresh salad and slaw, rice, quinoa & sweet potato noodles used as the base for bowls

So the idea is to build your own bowl selecting from a number of bases: brown rice, coconut ginger rice, romaine salad sweet potato mash, kale slaw, vegetable quinoa, sweet potato noodles and perfect spice rice; then select your veggies: Parmesan broccoli, roasted mushrooms, sesame green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts & seasonal vegetable; next you select your protein(s): grilled citrus chicken, herb grilled steak (+$1.50), baked almond chicken, chia seed tuna poke (+$1.50), BBQ chicken, chia seed teriyaki tofu, Chef’s protein; and then you can sauce it up with the […]

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 […]

The World’s First Banini Was Created…

Dear Foodie Friends,

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.”

Precious Cargo

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 Beginning

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 […]

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