For those of you who have been following me for some time, then you know I get around… to food and wine events, of course! I’m all about unique experiences, whether I am creating them, working them or attending them as a guest. For the past couple seasons I had been a part of an awesome crew of foodies who work their butts off to pull off a fantastic dining experience on a farm with local celebrity chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, craft beer companies and other local artisans all under one roof with rockin’ live entertainment. But this time, I had the great pleasure to attend the event as a guest and experience it first hand from the other side. The Swanks (Darrin & Jodi) are the gracious hosts who welcome guests onto their farm each season to share in their “bucolic farm life” while breaking bread together under a spacious pole barn, enjoying dishes prepared by seasoned local chefs featuring local ingredients which of course include vibrant, seasonal Swank produce. Swank Table events run each Sunday from the beginning of December through April with each event benefiting a specific charity. The night I attended was dedicated to The Caridad Center. These events would not be possible without a whole slew of sponsors, so please take the time to check them out and appreciate all that they have done to help keep these incredible events going.
A great time was had by all. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience one of these events, I highly recommend you do so. For more info and a schedule of the remaining events this season, visit Swank Specialty Produce. Swank Farm is available for private events and weddings as well.
Although National Ravioli Day is officially on Sunday, March 20th, BRIO Tuscan Grille South Florida locations have decided to keep the celebration going for four days with 50% off select ravioli dishes from Sunday, March 20th through Wednesday, March 23rd.
The featured ravioli dishes are:
Ravioli Di Bello, a mouthwatering Portobello ravioli with crimini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, Parmesan and thyme in a champagne brown butter sauce. BRIO is offering the lunch portion specially priced at $6.75 (normally priced at $13.50), and the dinner portion for $7.98 (normally priced at $15.95). This dish pairs nicely with a glass of Conundrum 25th Anniversary Red Blend, priced at $11.95 per glass.
Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli, normally offered only at dinner, is being featured at lunch during the celebration at the reduced price of $9.75. For dinner, the special price is $9.98 (regularly $19.95). This delicious dish is served with spicy black pepper cream, spinach and grape tomatoes. The 25th Anniversary Conundrum White Blend (Napa Valley, California), priced at $11.95 per glass, nicely balances the spicy finish of the black pepper cream sauce.
Ravioli Alla Vodka, a special feature for the day, is five-cheese ravioli with pancetta, garlic, basil and a rich tomato cream sauce for $8.95.
I was invited to come in and preview some of the ravioli being featured in this promotion in order to share this with you good people in time. Now this is not my first time doing a review of BRIO, click here if you’d like to read my previous blog on BRIO’s “Art of Grilling, summer menu.
My dining companions and I tried the Ravioli Di Bello and the Lobster and Shrimp Ravioli. They knocked it out of the park with the Ravioli Di Bello. It was delicious. I will definitely be going back for this one. While the shrimp that surrounded the Lobster & Shrimp ravioli was tasty and plentiful, I didn’t care much for the texture of the lobster/shrimp filling inside this ravioli, a little too mushy for my personal taste.
Also going on now through March 27th is A “Tale of Two Risottos” – A classic tale of old-world meets new. BRIO’s love affair with risotto and the finest seafood available has inspired these two new decadent creations: Cold Water Lobster Tail with Shrimp Risotto is prepared with perfectly cooked risotto, shrimp, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, asparagus, basil and Parmesan, topped with a broiled Maine lobster tail for just $19.95. (We had a chance to try this dish as well and we all enjoyed it.) Sea Scallops & Ratatouille Risotto consists of seared sea scallops served over risotto with roasted eggplant, red peppers, zucchini, tomato compote, basil and Reggiano, also for just $19.95.
Reservations are highly suggested and can be made online by visiting www.BrioItalian.com. The National Ravioli Day celebration is for dine-in only and excludes large pans, appetizers and the Children’s Menu.
BRIO locations in South Florida are at The Falls in Miami, Dolphin Mall in Miami, The Village at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, The Shops at Pembroke Gardens in Pembroke Pines, Westfield Broward Mall in Plantation, The Shops at Boca Center in Boca Raton, City Place in West Palm Beach, and The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens.
I received an invite to check out Juniper on the Water, located in Hallandale Beach, on the Intracoastal Waterway. This hidden gem is a great waterfront venue ideal for group events such as wedding rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, day after wedding brunch and corporate team building/client appreciation events.
About a year ago, owners Scott, Sho and Chris put their heads together and transformed an industry passion into reality. Juniper, meaning strength and “to bloom or flourish”, symbolizes the vision, heart and culinary passion combined by the owners.
Scott and Sho had been in the hospitality field for many years and learned every aspect of the restaurant business by working their way up the ranks. It seemed a likely progression for them to take this next step in opening a restaurant of their very own. “It really helps you learn when you start at the very bottom and learn from both the good and bad experiences,” says Scott.
The duo quickly crafted the idea and space for Juniper on the Water, and after 18 months of renovation, the restaurant opened its doors, emitting a warm and welcoming atmosphere to all. Juniper has a one-of-a-kind understated elegance, quite different from any other restaurant in the South Florida area. Besides the magnificent view, its upscale, Mediterranean, American and Seafood influences add the right touch of refinement, while its beach-like feel instantly helps diners feel at ease.
My dinner companion and I decided on a bottle of Rodney Strong Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley to take us through our appetizers and entrees. I would say that it was just about perfect, although had it been served slightly chilled, it would have been perfect, in my opinion.
Our first appetizer was the burrata cheese served with farm fresh tomatoes, micro basil, with a balsamic reduction over mixed greens & arugula. The tomatoes and micro basil and mixed greens were dressed nicely and were tasty. The buratta was a little small for two people to share and wasn’t as flavorful and robust as the ones I am accustomed to having.
Large head-on prawns; served with a spiced romesco, micro cilantro, and grilled lemon. My companion and I both really enjoyed this dish. The charred lemon was a nice touch and I enjoyed the added layer of freshly squeezed citrus over the prawns.
The braised lamb au jus with dried cranberries served over a creamy polenta was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The lamb was so flavorful and tender it fell right off the bone and I just loved each bite of the polenta and au jus.
The house specialty, the Seafood Paella, (toasted Israeli couscous, clams, mussels, shrimp, fresh fish fillet, chorizo, green peas, & roasted bell peppers) was a flavorful mix representing Juniper’s Mediterranean culture and is an absolute MUST.
Juniper on the Water is open Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 10pm; Friday – Saturday: 4pm – 11pm
Sunday Brunch: 11am – 3pm and Sun Dinner: 4pm – 10pm; Dinner Menu starts at 5pm daily; Happy Hour from 4pm – 7pm daily.
They are located beside The Hemispheres condos at 1975 S. Ocean Drive, Hallandale Beach. For more info or to make a reservation, call: 954.544.3370 or visit their website juniperonthewater.com.
Apeiro Kitchen & Bar is one of the fabulous restaurants in the Rapoport Restaurant Group led by veteran restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who has been positively influencing the palates of South Floridians and visitors alike for over 30 years. Rapoport’s collection of restaurants currently include Bogart’s Bar & Grille on the second level of the Cinemark Palace 20 in Boca Raton, Delray’s Deck 84 along the intracoastal in Delray Beach, Henry’s in the Shoppes at Addison Place on Jog Road in Delray, Burt & Max’s and Apeiro Kitchen in the Delray Marketplace (Apeiro also recently opened in Miami) and opening this fall, Rappys Deli in Boca Raton. Rapoport also co-owns Max’s Grille in Mizner Park in Downtown Boca.
Apeiro Kitchen & Bar is a Contemporary Mediterranean cookery with an energetic and cheerful/friendly vibe, chic clientele and gorgeous design. Apeiro, which is Greek for “infinity”, opened its doors in January 2015 and has been receiving rave reviews ever since. The menu is inspired by the many regions that make up the Mediterranean- from Morocco to Italy and Greece to Spain and everywhere in between.
I had been to Apeiro shortly after they opened and enjoyed sampling a variety of their signature items. I recently returned to check out some of their new menu items. To get things started, I decided to try a Basil-tini cocktail. This was made with Hangar One Vodka, muddled strawberry, basil, lemon and simple syrup. They had so many cool looking cocktails on their list, I was glad that our server Jen recommended this one to me. It was WONDERFUL!!! Now onto the food: we started out with the Apeiro Spreads Starter, which included hummus, eggplant caponata, pistachio yogurt, tzatziki, extra virgin olive oil & balsamic and served with wood oven baked pita. Everything was super fresh and full of flavor. My favorite spread was the eggplant caponata- I could’ve devoured that the entire night, but I knew more food was coming so I had to refrain.
Next we were served three items from their Small Plates section: Empanada, Lamb Sliders and Classic Greek. The empanada was stuffed with Greek-style braised short rib, feta and tzatziki. It had a nice crispy crust but was still light and flaky. The lamb sliders came topped with arugula, pickled onion, feta and tzatziki. These were absolutely amazing; cooked and seasoned to perfection. Definitely a must try. The lamb sliders are a new addition to the popular 10 for $10 lunch menu. Other items on that menu include the Mediterranean BLT ( pancetta, tomato, romaine, hummus, tzatziki on grilled ciabatta bread), the Smash burger and a daily Quiche. The Classic Greek salad came with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, bell peppers, kalamata olives and barrel-aged feta. It not only looked visually appealing with all the vibrant colors, but it tasted very good as well.
For the entrees, we had the Catch of the Day Kabob (Mahi Mahi) which was served along side a seasonal salsa, kale, pancetta, house grilled veggie mix and koshari rice.
Fresh Catch of the Day Kabob (Mahi Mahi)
Our next entree was the Moussaka which was made with charred eggplant, braised short rib and garlic bechamel sauce.
The final entree was an Orecchiette pasta served with spinach, English peas, zucchini, roasted grape tomatoes, kalamata olives and topped with pecorino cheese. Each of these entrees was delicious.
We were also brought out a couple Sides: the Street Corn, which had a blend of seasonings was simply out of this world. It sat on top a feta aioli and was also sprinkled with feta. It is a great dish and one that I would definitely suggest you order!
We finished the night with their housemade peanut butter gelato which had peanut butter pie inside. It was very rich and very delicious!
I hear Apeiro’s has an outstanding brunch, which I will soon be trying. For any of you who are already familiar with it, they do have some new additions to this menu as well, including a Baked French Toast with maple glazed apples; Baked eggs served Portuguese style with sofrito, onions, bell peppers, ciabatta and Manchego. Additionally, you can now enjoy bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas and/or Bellinis for $16.
A brand new promotion you will definitely want to take advantage of is available everyday from 11:30am – 6:30pm: guests can enjoy one of their wood-oven baked flatbreads and two glasses of wine for just $18. The combinations are endless, with their choices of 17 wines by the glass and five flatbreads, including their signature Margherita, Grilled Shrimp, Forest Mushroom, Spiced Lamb and Grilled Veggie.
Apeiro is definitely a foodie’s dream dining destination. They have designed a menu with such a wide range of sections and abundant choices, providing for an “infinite” number of combinations ideal for sharing.
I am looking forward to returning and trying the octopus, which I hear is the best in town.
Apeiro is located in the Delray Marketplace on Lyons Rd and West Atlantic Avenue. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday starting at 11:30am. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11:30am. Happy Hour is offered daily from 11:30am – 6:30pm and dinner is served daily beginning at 5pm. For more info, please visit Delray.Apeirorestaurants.com or call 561-501-4443.