As a second generation native South Floridian, born and raised in Miami, I have seen a huge transformation in Miami, and in particular, Miami Beach. When we were young, I fondly remember riding on the long stretch of road that connected the main land to the beach; this was an indication that we were getting close to Great Grandmother’s.My Great Grandparents (Bessie & Frank) were direct descendants from Russia, a cute couple, each standing about 5′ tall. I don’t remember Frank too much as he died before Bessie, but my Great Grandma lived until the ripe ol’ age of 106. (She received two letters from the President of the time congratulating her on making it to a 100 years!) Back in that time, Collins Ave/Ocean Drive was lined with condos occupied by the senior community. You would find many of them just hanging out in rocking chairs on the front porches. That was until the developers stepped in and the gentrification process officially took off. Today, the landscape is one of youth and vibrancy. The hip, chic place with plenty of nightlife to keep you busy until the wee hours.
I received an email inviting me come taste A Fish Called Avalon, Located in the iconic Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive, the setting offers an authentic, sophisticated South Beach experience. Many locals tend to have an impression that dining out in South Beach is for tourists, but I’m here to dispel that belief right here and now, at least when it comes to A Fish Called Avalon. Now in it’s 30th year, this marks quite a milestone in the restaurant world. Fun fact: this time-tested landmark had been the back drop for the 1983 film, Scarface.
TIME-HONORED SEAFOOD TRADITION IN MIAMI BEACH
A Fish Called Avalon is a legend in South Beach. For nearly 30 years, they have been serving up the freshest seafood and delivering an exceptional dining experience to all who partake. The superb cuisine, relaxed Ocean Drive setting, and impeccable service have been delighting diners for nearly three decades.
Garnering attention for its superb seafood cuisine, impeccable hospitality and intimate setting, the restaurant is a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Chef Kal& A Fish CalledAvalon offer a seafood-dominated menu with tropical influences using the very best local and seasonal ingredients delivered daily. Each item shines with a variety of unique presentation and flavors.
Chef prepared a wonderful selection of tastings for my Product Development Manager, Annette and I to taste. We sat on the lovely terrace and it was a beautiful night. Annette and I enjoyed every morsel. Our taste buds were literally (well ok, figuratively) jumping up and down in joy! While I really liked everything that was placed in front of us, I thought the Bang Bang Shrimp were very unique here and were a definite stand out for me. The Macadamia Nut crusted snapper was another nice surprise for me. I am a huge fan of octopus when cooked right and Chef did an outstanding job with this as well. The presentation on the paella was top notch and packed full of fruits from the sea.
Tempting appetizers like the Bang Bang Shrimp and Orzo Seafood Paella for a main course are perfect for a romantic date night to evoke Mediterranean memories. The menu also offers prime and dry-aged steaks, organic chicken, and vegetarian-friendly options each with a perfect complement from the extensive award-winning wine list. Delectable desserts end the evening on a sweet note.
A Fish Called Avalon Accolades
Top 10 Best Restaurants and Best Outdoor Dining Winner in South Florida by OpenTable reviewers.
Ranked 30 of 787 Restaurants in Miami Beach TripAdvisor
A Fish Called Avalon is perfect for romantic dinners, a family affair, or a night out on the town. I can’t wait to go back and hope that I have inspired you to want to check it out as well. Pro tip: Diners can park in the parking garage conveniently located at the corner of 7th and Collins.
For more info on the restaurant, please click here to visit their website:
They say to find unknown treasures, you have to leave the beaten path. In Boca Raton, areas like Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place are downtrodden with first-time visitors to our sea-kissed town. Yet, it’s a little spot just south of city central where you can find a foodie experience truly delectable and adventurous in Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi.
Saiko-i (pronounced sigh-koi-ee) Sushi Lounge & Hibachi is the creation of husband and wife team, Jason Zheng & Tina Wang. A 7,000 sq.ft. – formerly home to the local favorite nightclub, Gatsby’s – offers guests a selection of dining experiences. For casual affairs and networking events, sit in the outdoor courtyard or spacious bar. To be entertained, 11 hibachi tables wait to amuse, as well as an open exhibition sushi bar. But if an intimate dinner for two is on the menu, a romantic row of private booths amongst hand-selected artworks can accommodate.
I had the honor of experiencing Saiko-i with a number of other bloggers, writers, and foodies for the restaurant’s media night. While familiar with the Zheng & Wang’s first Boca restaurant, Yakitori Sake House, I wasn’t aware of Saiko-i. I pulled into an unassuming shopping center on Military and SW 18th St. – shared with an Outback Steakhouse nonetheless – questioning whether or not I was in the right place. Yet, as soon as I walked in the doors, I was swept into another locale altogether.
Upon entering, I paid quick homage to a 10-foot tall Buddha before being whisked to my table. A rich color template and delicate tapestries with fine detail adorn the interior of the entire restaurant. No detail was left to chance.
The night began with Saiko-i’s signature cocktail, the lychee martini. Made with fresh lychee juice, it was a martini perfect for those looking for a crisp drink with just a hint of sweetness. Also offered were Japanese beers and whiskeys alongside the usual American counterparts.
First order of the night delivered the salmon carpaccio. I smelled this dish before I even saw it, something I can’t ever recall saying about a raw carpaccio. The truffle oil and fried garlic scents made my stomach rumble with anticipation. Saiko-i attains fresh sushi-grade fish daily, hailing from both Florida local fisheries and Japan alike. I make no exaggeration when I say the carpaccio melted on my tongue.
Next was the roasted duck wrap, a mix of tender duck and savory spices wrapped in a lightly-fried, crisp Singapore flatbread – perfectly offset by a mango sauce and balsamic glaze.
By the end of the duck, I had sipped through my lychee martini and mixed it up with a selection of Japanese whiskeys, settling on the Suntory 10 year and Hibiki 12 year. Rounds of appetizers kept appearing. Dumpling-ilke Spicy Tuna Gyoza, a crunchy UFO Roll and the refreshing fresh fish medley that is the Sexy Lady Roll.
Being a fan of curries, I had to try Saiko-i’s red curry with scallops for my main dish. I asked for a bit more kick and the chefs behind the scenes got it just right. The portion was easily enough for two and I was glad to have lunch for the next day.
Despite being stuffed with the night’s appetizing creations, the team at Saiko-i wasn’t done with us yet. They had one more surprise. We had a birthday in the group and before we knew it a panda bear came to our table with a plate full of mochi – the perfect ending to an enchanting evening.
Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new; goes with the territory I suppose of running a growing business. While attending The Junior League of Boca Raton’s annual Flavor’s event in February, I met Emilio Jr of Casa Maya in Deerfield Beach (whose slider was probably one of the best bites I experienced that night) and we got to talking about this Tequila Club dinner that he had coming up which I had not known was a monthly thing they had going on. (Did you?) Anyways, he invited me to be his guest at this one and boy did this exceed any expectations that I may have come in with. They had the event set up in this back area of the restaurant (which is great to know if you’re looking for a venue to do private events).
The tequila came from the Trequero Family parent company of Tres Agaves. A very knowledgeable representative from the company delivered a very informative presentation while guests enjoyed the pairings prepared by the kitchen.
Below are some highlights from the slideshow:
* Tequila, Mexico’s national spirit, is distilled from the blue agave plant
* There are approximately 200 different varieties of agave that dot the Mexican landscape
* Tequila can only be called “tequila” if it comes from Jalisco (& the 3 cities found within) -the spirit of origin, similar
* At Tres Agaves all Agaves are estate grown
* Tres Agaves uses a proprietary yeast that has been cultivated from the same fields in which the agaves are grown
* A combination of stainless steel and concrete fermentation tanks are used
* Done only in shallow tanks that allow for much more robust yeast activity during fermentation
* Agave plants take 7 yrs on average to be ready for harvest. They harvest 8.5 yrs (late harvest) for sweeter yield
* Tequila categories: Joven “Young”, Blanco/Silver/Plata (unaged and clear in color), Reposado “rested” aged from 2 – 12 months, Añejo “aged”, aged 12 months to 3 years, Extra Añejo – aged a minimum of 3 years in barrels
* One plant can weigh 80-100lbs produce 10-15 bottles
* The distillery process – First phase of turning wheat & corn into sweet liquid is essentially a “distillers beer”
Our tastings tonite were served in a progression of aging from Blanco, Reposado, Añejo
Mango Basil Margarita
Jicama tostada topped w/octopus ceviche paired with Blanco Tres Agaves tequila
Tres Agaves Blanco is a pure expression of the distiller’s craft at the highest level; capturing the favors of slowly-cooked, fully-mature agave. Compared with other Blancos, it has remarkable depth and smoothness.
Mexican deviled eggs Paired with Reposado
Tres Agave Reposado is a cuvée blend; the Master Distiller uses only American white oak bourbon barrels and ages between 6-9 months to get the desired flavor – rich agave with a subtle smoke.
Duck taco on handmade baked corn tortilla with molé & poblano sopé (sauce) – spicy, fruity paired with Añejo
Tres Agaves Anejo is aged in fine oak barrels for eighteen months, imparting a deep natural color and robust, full flavor. Retains its essential agave flavors while embracing the oak influences.
Emilio Sr’s mole is made with 78 ingredients. He travels to Mexico every 6 weeks to get the ingredients
Casa Maya’s Single barrel tequila paired with 75% Ecuadorian chocolate
The tequila was awesome and so were the pairings. If you’ve never been to a tequila dinner, well here’s your chance. Visit Casa Maya in person or on the web and sign up to be on their mailing list and you will be notified when the next one is. It’s a great value and a ton o’ fun!
Today’s Boca Food Find is Square One or SQ1 for short. Previously home to Brewzzi’s Restaurant, Square One’s central location on Glades Road, just west of 95 in the Glades Plaza underwent a $1 million renovation buildout of the over-6,000-square-foot space to create a stunning upscale-casual dining experience suitable for a variety of dining occasions.
SQ1’s co-founders and best friends Eric Clark and Chef Jon Greening bring more than 30 years of combined industry expertise to the restaurant, utilizing their combined knowledge to provide a uniquely guest-driven dining experience. The restaurant came to fruition during a fateful meeting between the two, realizing they would literally be starting at “square one” to turn their dream of opening a unique yet approachable restaurant into a reality. “After working in and opening restaurants from Washington, D.C., to the Pacific Northwest, Jon and I are excited to refresh the Boca executive dining scene while offering incredible value to all of our guests,” says owner Eric Clark. “We want Square One to be a restaurant that people visit multiple times per week for lunch, dinner, happy hour or brunch – we pride ourselves on delivering an exceptional experience across the board.”
With Chef Jon at the helm of Square One’s kitchen, the restaurant rotates their culinary offerings seasonally featuring locally-sourced ingredients that highlight diverse flavor combinations at a friendly price point. The diverse menu is also complemented by an expert-curated wine list and mixology program. Offerings range from shared plates to brick oven pizza fired to order, to fresh fish and dry aged steaks, and a rotating menu of weekly lunch specials. Chef Jon’s menu items are chosen for flavor prominence, locally-available ingredients and approachability, while the reimagined restaurant space – brought to life by Eric’s vision – presents an open and inviting setting complemented by similarly cheerful staff.
I was recently invited to dine at SQ1 by the restaurant’s PR firm. We had a lovely dining experience which started off with some cool cocktails followed by the Brick Oven Brussels Sprouts that Eric himself recommended. They did not disappoint. I have to say that ever since Brussels became an “in” thing, I am amazed at how much I am digging them. What I thought was unique about SQ1’s version is their sweet n sour glaze and the use of cashews and cilantro. It also comes with pancetta which I love, but if you do not eat meat, I’m sure they will leave them out if you request it.
For our entrees, we tried the Red Wine Braised Short Rib served with mashed Yukon Gold Potato, Baby Carrots, English Peas and Veau Jus. It was so tender and juicy. To me, it was elevated comfort food that hugged me from the inside with each new bite! The other entree was the Slow Braised Beef Ragu served on house-made pappardelle with caramelized fennel, cherry tomato confit, ricotta and basil. The flavors were terrific, although the pasta was a little too al dente for my personal preference. For dessert, we had a tough decision since there were several great choices. We were extremely pleased with our selection of the classic creme brule.
An indoor-outdoor bar provides ample space for drinking, dining and working – outfitted with electrical outlets, USB ports and a WiFi booster to facilitate connectivity. Two brick ovens flank the main kitchen, which are responsible for the flavorful char on every pizza ordered, and have been burning 24 hours a day since the building’s opening in 1997. Executives, families and networking groups will find a number of options to facilitate private dining, meetings or celebrations from a central open elevated dining room to a completely-enclosed glass room outfitted with technical capabilities, custom wood conference table and chic velvet seating.
Complementing the culinary menus is an expertly-curated wine list features wines by the bottle and by the glass at various price points, as well as a roster of craft beers and inspired mixology program.
Square One has additionally partnered with Vero Bottled Water Purification Systems
throughout the restaurant, which uses reverse osmosis filtration for a superior sip while contributing directly to the Whole World Water Charity in support of international clean waters.
Now open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and Sunday brunch, Square One is located in Glades Plaza at 2222 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431. Hours are Mon. – Thurs. 11:30a.m. – 10p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 11:30a.m. – 11p.m.; Sun. 11a.m. – 10p.m.
I had the great pleasure of being invited to the pre-opening of the latest True Food Kitchen, this one, the first to open in Boca Raton, is located at the Boca Town Center; its philosophy is simple: Food should make you feel better — not worse — and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste to live a healthier lifestyle. I am happy to report that I wholeheartedly concur. I enjoyed every single bite and left feeling terrific and yearning for my next visit back.
Co-founded by integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil and nine-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year Sam Fox, True Food Kitchen’s progressive and flavor-forward menu is rooted in the principles of Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and caters to foodie palates and preferences with a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan offerings for brunch, lunch, dinner and cocktails.
Based on the principles of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, True Food Kitchen’s regularly rotating menu underscores the brand’s commitment to merging wholesome seasonal ingredients and simple preparations to let guests experience produce at the peak of its freshness and flavor.
The cocktail list is well thought out and the ingredients are super fresh and you can tell the difference for sure! On this initial visit, my companion and I tried the Pomegranate Mule and the Ginger Margarita. Thumbs up for both. (Side note: on my next visit back, I was torn between one of their non alcoholic Refreshers – the Pomegranate Chia Limeade and a cocktail. My server told me not to fret, I could have both. You can have your alcohol of choice added to any of their Refreshers & Teas to make it your special blend. I love that!).
The stand out dish for me, which I got on both my visits and will continue to come back for is the charred cauliflower. Just get it and you will thank me, I promise! We also really liked the Winter Squash Toast. The Inside Out Quinoa Burger was outstanding, and so was the service. My friend and I were sharing multiple plates and after the server described the dish as stacked, we asked if she thought we could split it. She not only said yes but offered to have them split it for us in the back. It was incredible. I had the Moroccan Chicken, which I felt could have benefitted from simmering a little longer in order to have the full Moroccan flavors incorporated. We also tried the grilled steak tacos and these were very tasting and filled us up sufficiently without feeling bloated.
I have been telling all my friends about this place, whether they have issues with inflammation or other dietary restrictions or not. It’s 100% legit. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Hours of Operation
Mon – Thurs: 11am – 10pm
Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 10am – 9pm
Brunch: Sat & Sun | 10am – 4pm
Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts
Dr. Andrew Weil
True Food Kitchen is a health-driven, seasonal kitchen & scratch bar merging nutrient-rich ingredients with a seasonal menu that rotates regularly to let guests experience great-tasting ingredients at the peak of their freshness and flavor. Rooted in the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid, the full-service restaurant caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings. True Food Kitchen’s scratch bar is brimming with a wide selection of fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, wine and local beers. The open kitchen brings guests closer to its culinary craft while the outdoor patio pairs fresh food with fresh air.
True Food Kitchen is known for its healthy, seasonal fare and signature dishes like the include the Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Sustainable Seabass, Tuscan Kale Salad, Grilled Fish & Grass-fed Steak Tacos and the Inside Out Quinoa Burger, among many others. The menu also features a handful of seasonal items like the Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Winter Squash Toast, Butternut Squash Pizza and Seasonal Ingredient Salad as well as a variety of bowl options featuring a diverse range of flavor profiles including the Ancient Grains, Cashew Pad Thai, Spicy Panang Curry and the Teriyaki Quinoa.
True Food also features antioxidant-packed desserts like the famed Flourless Chocolate Cake and the seasonal Squash Pie. Weekend brunch highlights include the Smashed Avocado Toast, Sunrise Bowl, and the Quinoa Johnny Cakes. Behind the scratch bar are natural juices, teas, and refreshers all of which can be paired with organic and gluten-free spirits for a delicious cocktail ripe with flavor including the Citrus Skinny Margarita, Pomegranate Mule, Orchard Bourbon Sour and the Farmers Market Sangria.
The Kids Menu features creative, kid-friendly dishes like the Almond Butter, Banana & Apple Sandwich, Mozzarella & Organic Tomato Pizza and the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl to name a few.
True Food Kitchen at Town Center at Boca Raton features a lively dining room with 175 seats and an open kitchen designed to bring guests closer to the restaurant’s culinary craft. An outdoor covered patio will seat approximately 66 guests in season. Indoors, natural woods and vibrant, localy-inspired artwork add a contemporary touch to the earthy color scheme, natural elements and greenery, including indoor/outdoor garden basins filled with fresh herbs and spices. Eco-friendly materials are utilized throughout the restaurant, such as the hardwood floors, which are made of reclaimed wood, and dining chairs made of recycled soda bottles.
DR. ANDREW WEIL
A world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil is a best-selling author and editorial director of DrWeil.com, the leading online resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine. One of Dr. Weil’s national bestsellers,
“True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure”, is an inspiration to all dishes served at True Food Kitchen. The restaurant closely adheres to Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and pyramid, which aims to counteract chronic inflammation and help people achieve and maintain optimum health.
True Food Kitchen is the realization of creative visionary and Fox Restaurant Concepts founder, Sam Fox, known for his passion for great food, design, lifestyle and hospitality. An eight-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year, and New York Times best-selling cookbook author, Sam was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry by Nation’s Restaurant News for the second consecutive year, is the 2014 recipient of the Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award by Restaurant Hospitality magazine, and the 2015 recipient University of Arizona Executive of the Year by Eller College of Management.