I am excited to share with you part one of a two-part series on my experience at the Marriott on Singer Island. I had been invited by the property’s PR firm for quite some time now to come experience a meal at their signature restaurant, 3800 Ocean and I finally was able to make that happen. Let me tell you, it is well worth the 45-minute drive it took us from South East Boca. Speaking for myself and I’m guessing that many of you might fall into this category as well, when it comes to deciding on where to dine, hotel restaurants may not be on the forefront of your mind with the multitude of choices that abound. Well, I’m here to set the record straight and possibly get you to rethink this notion forever more. 3800 Ocean at the Marriott Singer Island is as good as it gets and shouldn’t just be enjoyed by visiting guests, but by us local foodies as well.
The Marriott Singer Island has several dining experiences available:
3800 Ocean: Ocean views share the spotlight with South Florida’s abundant harvest at the resort’s signature restaurant. The 3800 Ocean menu reflects a “collective kitchen” inspired by the cultural backgrounds of each of its chefs – from New England and Long Island to Mexico and Jamaica – who bring their own personal influences to a rich bounty of local seafood and produce. Complementing the menu is an extensive wine list. Elegant interiors and an expansive covered patio give guests a choice of dining environments. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kitchen Table: This one-of-a-kind experience, for groups of no more than five, takes diners with adventurous palates into the 3800 Ocean kitchen for a five-course menu created on the spot by the executive chef. The dinner typically spans three hours and is priced at $69 per person, with cocktail and wine pairings on request. Available Thursday through Saturday evenings; reservations required a minimum 24 hours in advance.
3800 Ocean Lounge: An inviting gathering spot for guests and locals, the lounge serves a casual lunch menu daily, exotic cocktails and bar fare every evening, and happy hour Monday through Friday.
Reef Tiki Bar: A casual menu of Pacific Rim cuisine is offered on the beach, complemented by cocktails handmade with fresh juices. The resort’s signature Coconut Island Breeze is served here in a fresh cracked coconut and is a popular choice at the bar’s Bubbles on the Beach happy hour. Open for lunch and happy hour daily.
Lagoon Cantina: Fresh-made margaritas, Mexican specialties and grilled fare are the draw at this poolside, Caribbean-style cantina. Open for lunch to resort guests and spa members/guests only.
Ocean Breeze Café: Starbucks drinks, pastries, salads and wraps are served to guests seeking a quick bite on the go.
In case you’re not familiar with Singer Island, it’s a peninsula (barrier island) on the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach County, Florida, in the South Florida metropolitan area. Most of it is in the city of Riviera Beach, but the town of Palm Beach Shores occupies its southern tip. The Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is Palm Beach County’s only all-suite beachfront hotel, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, it offers a wealth of opportunities for adventures on land and sea.
3800 Ocean has a VERY extensive & impressive wine list along with a whole lot of hand crafted cocktails and bourbons to choose from. For starters, we tried the seafood ceviche and the tostones rellenos. Both were superb dishes. I could have stopped right there (along with the glass of New Zealand Sauv Blanc) and had been a happy camper, but wait…there’s more…
Even though I was already quite stuffed, I just had to make room for what has to be one of the most creative desserts I have ever had. The S’mores pot de creme. Take a look at this beauty! House Made Marshmallow, Graham Shortbread, Chocolate Pot De Crème, Biscoff Malto (OMG, Yum!!!)
After lunch, we were given a tour of the property which we really appreciated. The grounds are gorgeous and although non hotel guests are invited to dine at 3800 Ocean, you must be staying at the property in order to access these other areas:
Later this summer I will be coming back to stay overnight in order to fully immerse myself into all the amenities that this lovely beachfront property has to offer. Stay tuned for part two of this feature highlighting this hot staycation destination.
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 back to BRIO for a tasting of some new menu items and to share with you a new promotion that they have going on in all their Palm Beach County locations now through April 15th. I’ll get to the promotion in a minute. On this particular dine, my companion and I who have eaten at BRIO on several occasions decided to start out with a “Flirty Cosmo” which is made with absolute Mandarin, pama, pomegranate liquor, fresh lime and fizz 56. It was a delicious cocktail and one we both would recommend.
We decided to try the Burrata & Ciabatta appetizer which was beautifully plated and was a wonderful combination of creamy burrata, roasted tomatoes, EVOO and grilled ciabatta for $10.95. I enjoyed building my own bruschetta by layering the tomatoes onto the ciabatta and topping with the creamy burrata. I was in heaven!
Our server Jake was a huge fan of their Brussels sprouts, claiming these are the very ones that got him to eat brussels sprouts. With a recommendation like that, how could we not try them as well? We asked him to bring us a side of these which he graciously offered to do, although now that I’m writing this, I only see it listed as a side option to their entrees. The Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts were very tasty and I would highly recommend you try them.
For entrees, my companion had the Center-Cut Filet Mignon (Comes in 6 oz. $24.75 & 8 oz. $29.50) and comes with one side. He chose the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes. My companion ordered his steak medium rare but it came out pretty rare, so we did ask for a bump up. I would recommend ordering this steak medium. We ordered the mushroom marsala sauce to top the steak and it was a nice compliment.
For my entree, I selected the Pasta Alla Vodka. The pasta that was used for this dish, explained to me by Elvin, the GM at the Boca BRIO location, was a sacchetti, (a little purse in Italian) filled with ricotta, spicy tomato Parmesan cream sauce (not too spicy, trust me), crispy pancetta and basil for $18.95. You can opt to add a protein to this entree and the chicken I ordered really was a wonderful compliment to this very tasty dish. I would highly recommend it!
And now on to the current promotion they are running here at the Palm Beach County locations:
Present Special “A Variety of Flavors” Lunch and Dinner Menu, Available Feb. 28–April 15
BRIO Tuscan Grille is offering an array of new dishes for the “A Variety of Flavors” promotion, taking place Tuesday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, April 15. The lunch and dinner menus present two exciting new appetizers, three entrées (including two mouthwatering seafood dishes), and a divine dessert.
“With our ‘A Variety of Flavors’ lunch and dinner menus, our guests can enjoy unique flavors with a Tuscan twist, including mouthwatering seafood dishes, for a limited time,” said BRIO Tuscan Grille Chef & Culinary Director Alison Peters.
The menus include:
Calamari Fritto Misto: Peperoncini, aioli, Pomodoro; $10.75 at lunch, $11.75 at dinner
Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant: Pan seared shrimp, Romano crusted eggplant, black pepper cream; $11.50 at lunch, $12.50 at dinner
Peroni Beer-Battered Fish & Chips: North Atlantic cod, fries, Brussels sprout slaw; $17.95 (pictured below)
Lobster & Black Pepper Shrimp Ravioli: Spicy black pepper cream, spinach, grape tomatoes; $19.95 (pictured above)
Butterscotch Budino: Italian for “pudding,” Marcona almonds, caramel, vanilla whipped cream; $3.95
Serving as perfect complements to these special dishes are BRIO’s exquisite wine selections. Suggested wines are the light, fruity and elegant Sketchbook Pinot Noir (Mendocino, California); and the lush and silky Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay (Sonoma, California).
I am here to dispel the myth that hotel restaurants are sub par to stand alone restaurants or really just somewhere tourists go to out of sheer convenience. Many of these restaurants fly under the local foodie radar, and I will be the first to admit, that that was the case with me. But thanks to a recent invite to sample the new menu at Bistro Ten Zero One, under the direction of Executive Chef Christian Quiñones, I have a new respect for hotel restaurants…especially this one. Before our tasting journey began, we had the opportunity to walk the grounds with the Director of Food & Beverage, Jimmy Alexiou. The outdoor space was very zen-like and they were in the process of expanding their garden. The herbs grown there are used to accent their cocktails and dishes.
Our first course was a tasting of the Bistro’s most popular appetizers served with a glass of La Marca Prosecco:
PULLED PORK TACOS / pineapple-papaya compote, spicy mayo
In addition, here’s some more information on what’s happening at Bistro:
Oktoberfest at Bistro Ten Zero One Bistro will host an Oktoberfest party in its back outside area on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a Bavarian-themed menu, along with Oktoberfest-themed beers from six local breweries. Cost is $35 per person, if purchased in advance, or $40 per person, if purchased at the door. Tax and gratuity are additional. Visit bistro1001.com to see the full menu and to RSVP.
Live Music Fridays Bistro Ten Zero One will now offer live music in the bar and lounge area every Friday evening from 5-7 p.m.Raid the CellarDine at Bistro Ten Zero One on Friday evenings from 5-10 p.m. and enjoy 50% off select bottles of wine.
Daily Happy Hour Get happy every day of the week at Bistro Ten Zero One with the restaurant’s new happy hour. Available seven days a week from 4-7 p.m., guests will enjoy $7 appetizer specials and drink specials ranging from $3 to $6.
Bistro 10.0.1 Xpress Lunch Refuel midday with Bistro 10.0.1’s Xpress Lunch and get in and out in less than an hour. Guests will select an item from Bistro’s special lunch menu – all of which are priced at $12 and include a choice of soup, salad or house fries. This Xpress Lunch menu is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Highlights include the Bistro Burger made with Manchego cheese, caramelized onion and truffle aioli; a Garden Fresh Panini with grilled vegetables, goat cheese and sun-dried pesto; a Fish BLT (fresh off the hook) with avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato on sourdough bread; and more. See the menu.
Fresh, local ingredients creatively prepared and presented. I will definitely be back and I hope you have become inspired to check them out as well.
Until we eat again… I send you delicious wishes, xo
Banko Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, proudly opened its doors this month at 114 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach, FL. Originally home to the American National Bank, this 1921 landmark building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1997. An era remembered for its unprecedented prosperity, glamour and fanfare, the Roaring 20s were also marked by prohibition, underground speakeasies, notorious gangsters and glorified outlaws – during which time tequila trade became a lucrative business. Banko Cantina and the second floor club, La Terraza, will restore the fervor that once resided inside the very same walls through its delicious food, creative specialty cocktails, hand painted walls and reclaimed wood used throughout the establishment – writing a story for the next generation to tell!
Chicago restaurateur Sam Sanchez co-owns Banko Cantina and is closely involved in its management. Sam moved to Chicago in the mid-1980s and oversees all facets of his restaurant business, including both operations and business development for John Barleycorn, Moe’s Cantina, and Old Crow Smokehouse. Sanchez was recently awarded Restaurateur of the Year 2015 from the Illinois Restaurant Association.
Eddie Estevez is serving as Banko Cantina’s General Manager. Estevez, a Miami native and son of Cuban exiles, joins Banko Cantina after serving for the last eight years as Executive Chef and General Manager of Cantina Laredo in Palm Beach Gardens and Hallandale. As a child Eddie lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Caracas, Venezuela and has also lived in New York and the Bahamas. He has his Associate of Fine Arts degree from Miami-Dade College and an Associate of Science from the Art Institute in Ft. Lauderdale.
I was invited to attend one of the pre-opening events in which we received a grand tour of the place and an awesome tasting of some of their signature dishes and cocktails.
The three level 13,000 square foot restaurant features a 3,000 square foot partially-covered rooftop bar on the third floor, with a 90-foot bar in the center, 14 foot ceiling, seating for 150, along with a kitchen serving lunch and dinner from a select menu. The restaurant’s second floor was designed especially for special events, including corporate events and private parties. A lounge, private dining space and 130 seats can be found in the main dining room. The restaurant also features 14 60-inch televisions throughout for sporting events. Banko Cantina’s interior includes elements of the historical building, including the original wood, used for the tabletops, as well as the chandeliers and tiles. Chicago artist David Bozic, who blends fine art with street-style, has begun hand painting his work onto the walls with further commissions to come where guests will be privy to watching the artist at work.
The restaurant features Northern style Mexican cooking and is inspired by Mr. Sanchez’ childhood in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Mexican cuisine consists of many different regional styles, depending on the climate of the area. Northern Mexico’s desert climate supports a large livestock population that led to the region’s meat-based dishes. The ranching culture’s historical use of wood fire and outdoor cooking is what developed the distinct smoky flavors that are the foundation of Banko Cantina’s extensive list of locally inspired tacos, steak and mesquite-grilled skewers. And speaking of mesquite flavors, the cantina offers an impressive array of handcrafted specialty cocktails created by the restaurant’s corporate mixologist Enrique Cobos, who creatively infuses mesquite and serrano chili peppers into a number of their craft cocktails including two of the signature cocktails that I got to try: the Passion Fruit Sangria and the Adelita.
The beverage menu also features more than 30 varieties of tequila and over a dozen Mexican-themed drinks. Sanchez himself plans to host tequila chef tasting dinners as well as “tequila tasting 101” classes to share his knowledge of his favorite spirit.
Visiting mixologist Enrique Cobos came down from Chicago to implement the craft cocktail program at Banko Cantina
I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I was with the thought that went into the making of Banko Cantina’s interactive cocktail list. (Kudos to Enrique Cobos) Take for instance the Passion Fruit Sangria. Our server delivered the following instructions on how to partake in this cocktail, ” shoot it, lick it & sip it.” In other words, there was a tequila shooter resting on top in the jalapeño boat which we were to first shoot back, followed by the licking of the salt and chili-spiced rim, and then take a quick sip of the habanero-infused tequila and Pinot grigio sangria made with fresh passion fruit puree. It was genius. I could have shot, licked and sipped on these all night long!
The mesquite-grilled skewers were quite impressive and were delivered to the table hanging from specialty metal stands suspended over a plate with a single slice of charred pineapple. Options include carne asada ($14); bacon-wrapped shrimp and chicken ($12); and vegetales ($10).
Another interactive cocktail, the Adelita is made with Herradura Resposado, fresh lime juice, sour mix, Cointreau, Vida Mezcal float, salt and chili pepper rim. By this time, we were all pros on how to “shoot, lick and sip”.
The lobster tacos include a whole Maine lobster tail and were topped with Chef Manual Briseno’s own “secret” sauce. The lobster meat was wrapped in the most delicious char-grilled flour tortillas I have ever tasted in my life, I’m not kidding. I just couldn’t stop eating them! Sam has these tortillas specially imported from his hometown in Salinas Victoria, a municipality located in the state of Nuevo León.
Under the Traditional Plates section of the menu, you will find this seafood paella ($24) made with shrimp, clams, mussels, Andouille sausage, chicken breast, rice,and saffron broth. The flavors came together perfectly and was a lovely and tasty dish.
For dessert I was told we were going to have a corn bread cake. I thought to myself, corn bread for dessert? Oh boy were my taste buds in for a real treat! The Pan de Elote ($10) is made fresh daily in house and is a moist corn cake baked in a scalding hot cast iron pan for charred edges that deliver a smokey-sweet note. It was served with a house made caramel and topped with a little vanilla ice cream. It was really a unique and delicious dessert and one I would definitely recommend you try.
The El Sueno is actually accredited to Sam – something he concocted in his dream one night and hence the inspiration behind this cocktail’s name. Made with pineapple-infused 4 Rebels Premium Vodka, coconut cream, coconut water, lime juice and toasted coconut rim.
Banko Cantina is located at 114 South Olive St., West Palm Beach. Hours are 4 p.m. to close daily. Call 773-348-8899, or visit bankocantina.com.