I am sorry for the big lapse between blog posts. So much has been happening with the expansion of Savor Our City. We are getting very close to rolling out our new website and are super excited to make the big reveal. Stay tuned to that…
I had the chance to go into the new Paris Morning Bakery in Boca, located on Powerline in the plaza between Camino Real and Palmetto Park Rd. We’ve been following each other for a little while on Instagram and I was excited to receive an invitation from them to come in for a tasting.
I hadn’t had a chance to thoroughly look over the menu in advance and didn’t know much about the restaurant prior to my arrival. I did know they served Bubble Tea and I also knew they had pastries. I assumed with a name like Paris in the title that they’d be French pastries. To my surprise, I learned that the food inspiration comes from Korea, where the company’s corporate team are from.
I had the opportunity to meet James the Manager of the Boca location. We had a nice long chat as I got to sample some of the menu offerings. Had to start with the Bubble Tea. They had soooooo many wonderful flavors that it was hard to make a decision. Well, that’s not entirely true. It wasn’t such a hard decision to make once I saw “Passion fruit” listed. For those of you who have been reading my posts for some time, you know that I have an obsession for all things truffle: truffle Parm fries, truffle honey, truffle aioli and the list goes on and on. Well here’s another something that I’m totally “passionate” about – it’s Passion fruit. I just adore this fruit juice. So, once I saw it on the Bubble Tea menu, it was a no brainer. It was every bit as good as I hoped! I sampled several of their pastries which they have packaged so nicely with little samples and descriptions found beside each one. Smart and Yummy!
James took me up to the counter and introduced me to Zipbop, (pronounced Jeep Bop) authentic Korean Dishes served with rice in a 24oz cup with different fresh ingredients. There were several zipbop dishes to choose from. I tried the eel and the Korean beef.
While both dishes were served warm and had nice flavor and texture, the eel was my favorite. I felt like I was eating a deconstructed eel sushi roll. It was amazing. I couldn’t stop eating it.
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort in Manalapan, Fla., has named David Viviano as Executive Chef. With more than 20 years’ experience that spans independent fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, Viviano will oversee all culinary operations of the oceanfront property including fine dining room Angle, alfresco eatery Breeze Ocean Kitchen, Temple Orange Mediterranean Bistro, Stir Bar & Lounge, in-room dining and social events.
“The breadth of David’s expertise made him a natural fit as we continue to further evolve our dining experiences to anticipate the changing desires of our guests,” said Cindy Racco, general manager of Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. “His knowledge, passion for people and the art of culinary are a perfect combination for the deeply personal standards of excellence that drives all of us at Eau Palm Beach.”
Most recently, Chef Viviano served as executive chef at Montage Kapalua Bay in Maui. There, he led a team of more than 40 associates, managing all culinary operations across the luxury resort including menu creation and kitchen operations for signature restaurant Cane & Canoe. During his tenure, the oceanfront property was awarded the Forbes Five-Star designation and Cane & Canoe, the Forbes Four-Star designation for two years running.
Previous to that, Chef Viviano held the unique title of “CheF&B’ at the St. Regis Aspen Resort & Spa, where he oversaw all culinary operations and a team of more than 70 professionals. Viviano designed and implemented a successful sustainability program, composting 6,000 pounds per week, the largest in the area. Additionally, Viviano drove the re-conception of the resort’s three-meal-a-day restaurant to traditional Italian, acted as host chef of the renowned Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and took home the gold in 2014 as the winner of the Aspen Mac & Cheese Festival.
Steve Pike (www,myspiketravel.com) is an award-winning food and travel writer. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.
By Steve PikePerhaps the best way to describe Vic & Angelo’s Italian restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is to begin at the end. That is, with the eatery’s seemingly lighter than air tiramisu. After all, what serious foodie doesn’t want to start a meal with dessert?But more important, Vic & Angelo’s tiramisu is a great example of the attention to detail Executive Chef Kelley Randall and his staff give every dish.
“There is a lot of love that goes into everything,’’ Randall said.
The tiramisu, for example, is made with 50 percent mascarpone cheese, instead of the 10 to 15 percent most other Italian restaurants use.
“It makes all the difference,’’ Randall said. “And the Bellino Lady Fingers are flown in from Italy. We don’t use the cheap stuff.’’
The same holds true for the entire menu at Vic & Angelo’s, located in PGA Commons. The pastas and sauces each are made fresh in-house, and each pizza is handcrafted with dough from water delivered from Brooklyn and baked in a 900-degree pizza oven.
“I don’t want to discount anything, but the pizza here is unreal,’’ Randall said. “Our pizza chef has been making it the same way since we opened 10 years ago. He’ll never compromise quality.’’
That last sentence could serve as Vic & Angelo’s motto. There is a quality in every dish on the menu, from the incredible Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Burrata, and Linguini Fine con Vongole.
My favorites? The Gigante Meatball with Ricotta, Bell Pepper, Garden Basil, San Marzano Gravy; the Burrata made with local burrata cheese; and the Four Cheese Pear Tortelloni with White Truffle Zabaglione and shaved truffles.
Oh yes, the tiramisu.
Regardless of your dish selections, it all adds up to the restaurant’s commitment to quality.
“I think a lot of people have the idea that we are just a pizza joint or a restaurant higher on the spectrum,’’ said Assistant General Manager Kevin McSweeney. “I think we cater to a clientele that’s casual and elegant. This is a neighborhood gem.’’
Steve Pike (www.myspiketravel.com) is an award-winning travel and food writer. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.
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 Pork Shank goes back to Valencia’s childhood days in Colombia.
“Pig was my thing,’’ Valencia said with a smile. “We had a big farm and we had a pig for every big holiday.’’
Valencia’s Crispy Pork Shank is cured in salt, garlic and spices for 24 hours and cooked for three to four days to allow the meat to tenderize. When customers order it, Valencia flash fries the pork shank to get the skin extra crispy. It’s then presented to the guests table side and returned to the kitchen where in the inside meat is prepared for serving.
“You’ll never have a better piece of pork,’’ Valencia said.
I’m certainly not going to disagree. If you’re into pork, the Crispy Pork Shank is a “must have’’ on the Costa menu. Same with the Branzino if you’re into fish.
Some of my other favorites? The Hamachi (served with finger lime, avocado, sumac and cilantro) as an appetizer. The Moroccan Lamb Stew is outstanding. And you can’t leave without having the House Hummus served with house made Naan Bread.
A good way to get to know the Costa menu is to take advantage of its Summer Menu (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), which features items such as the Hamachi and House Hummus, as well as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Chicken Escalope (grilled chicken breast, zucchini, eggplant, herb puree, arugula, lemon), each for 50 percent off the regular menu prices.
“I don’t change the quality or the sizings,’’ Valencia said. “That menu is a real treat for somebody to try something that’s not as expensive and to try something maybe they haven’t had before.’’
One taste of Valencia’s big, bold flavors, however, and they’ll be back.
Steve Pike (www.myspiketravel.com) is an award-winning food and travel writer. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.
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.
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 and good environment,’’ Dorrian said.
That’s all you want in a neighborhood pub. And Dorrian’s delivers.
Steve Pike is an award-winning food and travel writer (www.myspiketravel.com). He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.
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 wine list that is emphasized by Greek wines. Ouzo Bay’s name is a nod to one of the East Coast’s largest selections of traditional Greek ouzo and the complimentary shot that is given to each diner at the end of their meal.
L to R: Baked Feta, Greek Salad, Grilled Octopus
The Feta Sto Fourno (Baked Feta) was a unique and tasty dish. The Feta was baked (obviously) which in and of itself was an entirely new presentation to me. It kind of resembled a Greek version of an Italian Caprese. The perfectly browned feta sat on top of a beefsteak tomato and a delicious eggplant purée & balsamic reduction.
The Horiatiki (Traditional Greek Salad) was light and crisp and did not disappoint; Beefsteak Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Onions, Feta, Olives, Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Red Wine Vinegar.
My eyes always light up when I see Xtapodi Sharas (Octopus) on the menu. I am cautiously optimistic. It’s easy to over cook this delicacy and unfortunately, I have had my share of over charred/over cooked octopus that tasted more like chewy rubber. I was so hoping that this would not be the case here. To my big fat happy chagrin, it was not. This charcoal-grilled octopus was cooked to sweet and tender perfection and tossed with Sweet Onions & Red Peppers in a Red Wine Caper Vinaigrette.
Our overall experience at Ouzo Bay was a 10, in food, service and decor. Ouzo Bay is a welcome addition to the culinary scene at Mizner Park and in South Florida in general. Very excited to have them here and can’t wait to come back and try some more items.
Ouzo Bay is open for:
LUNCH Monday-Saturday 11a–3p
HAPPY HOUR Sunday-Friday 3p–7p
DINNER Sunday-Wednesday 4p-10p (Bar until 12a)
Thursday-Saturday 4p-12a (Bar until 2a)
BRUNCH Sunday 10a-3p
They are located on the South end of Mizner Park at 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, Florida 33432 561.757.0082. Check out their online menu and other info here.
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.
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!