My Assistant Marti & I were invited to The Balcony, a vibrant New Orleans-Inspired restaurant on Las Olas Blvd which opened approximately 8 months ago to check out their new menu which recently launched and now features even more dynamic dishes including some American favorites and tapas for sharing. To celebrate the launch of their new menu, The Balcony is offering a buy one entrée, get one 50% off special on Monday, March 25–Thursday, March 28 from 4–7 p.m.
Our server Myana (pronounced like Bryanna), was super nice and very knowledgeable about the menu items. The cocktail list was quite extensive and loaded with lots of interesting concoctions. Marti had the Sazerac which was made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Pernod Absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters & Lemon ($15) I opted for the Pink Pearl which was made with Stoli Elit Vodka, Disaronno, Fresh Strawberries & Lime ($15). They were both excellent. Off to a great start. Then GM John and Chef Simon came over to welcome us and let us know that they would be sending out a variety of items for us to try and informed us if there was anything else we saw on the menu that we wanted to try, we were welcome. We were in for a treat for sure!
First out was the gumbo soup. This soup hit all the right notes and flavor profiles for me. It was a great surprise since I had never been one to fancy gumbo before. The warm crusty bread was a nice compliment as well. Great job, Chef! Next up was the Natchitoches Beef Pies (beef empanadas). Natchitoches is a city in Louisiana that is famous for making these little pillows of heaven. They were packed with flavor and I enjoyed the garlic dipping sauce it came with. The other sauce, we were given advance warning, was hot so I stuck to the garlic one. The crab cakes were not only adorable but very tasty. The perfect shareable dish. Chef sent out their signature salad, the Mardi Gras Peach & Berry. What a gorgeous salad; it just popped with color. Chef Simon explained to us that he pickles and poaches the peaches in the peak of season so that he is able to use them year round. We both really liked the freshness of each component of the salad. Our next tasting was the Baton Rouge Beef Sliders and the Shrimp Po Boy. The beef sliders were topped with housemade bacon jam, abita beer cheese, caramelized onion and pickled serrano (I actually didn’t know there was a serrano pepper in there, so if you’re a wimp like me in the spice/heat department, don’t worry). This burger was THE BOMB!!! I am love with it for sure. The Shrimp Po Boy, on the other hand, lacked a little flavor for me and out of all the dishes we tried, was my least favorite. But not to worry, we got right back on track again with the Lobster Bisque made with cognac cream. It was heavenly and I would highly recommend this dish. It ranks up there as one of my favorite lobster bisques of all times. Marti had never tried fried green tomatoes before and I’m a fan when done right and boy did these deliver in the flavor department. They too, raised the bar on which all fried green tomatoes will forever be judged. OK, I’m sure by now you’re wondering how in the world we could still fit anything into our bellies, right?!? Well, we couldn’t resist at least trying a beignet. When you think of beignets, most undoubtedly the famous place in New Orleans, you know the one comes to mind. After popping one of these lovelies in my mouth, I just closed my eyes and within seconds, I began to feel as if I had been transported to New Orleans. These beignets were served with 3 unique dipping sauces; berry jam, spiced chocolate and orange marmalade.
Besides the Lobster Bisque, other new menu items include Vegetable Dumplings, Braised Meatballs, Chicken Cobb Salad, Oyster Po’Boy and more.
“This new and diverse menu offers something for everyone!” said Kim Bokamper, former Miami Dolphins player and partner in PDKN Restaurant Group, which owns The Balcony. “Boasting the savory tastes of New Orleans along with American favorites, the menu merges a variety of appetizing flavors within many unique dishes.”
Both the lunch and dinner menus offer the following new dishes:
Tapas:Vegetable Dumplings with sweet serrano chili sauce ($12), Coconut Crusted Shrimp with sweet mango serrano sauce ($15), and Braised Meatballs with house made tomato sauce ($13).
Soup:Lobster Bisque with cognac cream ($7 on lunch menu; $8 on dinner menu)
Salad:Chicken Cobb with avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, Point Reyes blue cheese, egg, heirloom tomato, romaine lettuce, and creamy Cajun dressing ($14 on lunch menu; $16 on dinner menu); Seared Ahi Tuna with heirloom tomato, cucumber, arugula, and lime dressing ($16 on lunch menu; $18 on dinner menu).
Hand Helds:Oyster Po’Boy with heirloom tomato, lettuce, Meyer lemon remoulade, and fries ($15 on lunch menu; $16 on dinner menu); The Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and fries ($1 add cheese, $2 add Applewood smoked bacon) ($12 on lunch menu; $14 on dinner menu).
Sides: Mash ‘n’ Collards with Applewood smoked bacon, mashed potato, and collard greens ($7); Fries with moonshine ketchup ($5); Mashed Potatoes with cream and butter ($6); and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with pecan maple glaze ($7).
The following new dishes are available only on the dinner menu:
Main Plates: Half Roast Chicken with red beans and rice ($19); Shrimp ‘n’ Grits with Carolina BBQ shrimp and cheese grits ($26); 8 oz.Filet Mignon with Mash ‘n’ Collards, crispy onions and Madeira sauce ($32); 14 oz. Prime New York Strip with sautéed mushrooms and fries ($38); Grilled Salmon with corto poached potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts, and Meyer lemon herb butter ($28); Grilled Ahi Tuna with glass noodles, stir fry vegetables, and sesame seeds ($36); and Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with corto poached potatoes and Sicilian ragout ($39).
Side: Glazed Sweet Potatoes with toasted pecans and marshmallow ($7).
Wed HUMP DAY ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR 50% OFF DRINKS & BAR BITES, $5 HUMPSTER HURRICANES, 50% OFF BOTTLES OF WINE (bottles $100 & under), $9.99 SHRIMP PO’BOY & DRAFT BEER
Thu (7pm – close) Ladies Night: FREE Tito’s Vodka Cocktails, FREE Bubbles – Live Music – DJ
Fri (2 – 5pm) Ditch Friday: $3 Abita Draft Beer, $4 House Wines, $5 Tito’s Vodka Cocktails & Martinis, Happy Hour: ($4 – 7pm Half off Drinks & Bar Bites
There’s actually more, so to get a complete list or for more information about The Balcony and its new menu, visit www.thebalconylasolas.com or call (754) 200-6344.
ABOUT THE BALCONY
The Balcony, a PDKN Restaurant Group concept, offers a New Orleans-inspired restaurant with a twist. Located on trendy Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, this two-story restaurant features the dynamic tastes of New Orleans, which blends French, Spanish, West African, Amerindian, German, Italian, Irish and Vietnamese ingredients. Guests enjoy New Orleans-style small plates, craft cocktails and live music. The Balcony is owned by former Miami Dolphins player Kim Bokamper and his three partners, who also own Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, with locations in Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, Plantation, Naples, and Estero. The Balcony is located at 1309 E. Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301. The restaurant is open Monday-Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Thursday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. For more information, visitwww.thebalconylasolas.com or call (754) 200-6344.
ABOUT PDKN RESTAURANT GROUP
PDKN Restaurant Group was founded by former Miami Dolphins player Kim Bokamper and his three partners, P.J. Kavanagh, Damon DeSantis and Noel Cullen, in 2008. Following Bokamper’s successful sports and broadcasting career, he was approached by current partner Kavanagh about furthering his brand through a restaurant. The first Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill was founded in 2008 in Plantation, Florida. Today, the group owns five Bokamper’s restaurants locations in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Miramar, Naples, and Estero ― all dedicated to providing exceptional service, great food, and an unparalleled atmosphere for friends, families and sports fans of all ages. PDKN Restaurant Group also owns and operates The Balcony, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard and Bo’s Beach, featuring fresh seafood and stunning ocean views on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
I was recently invited to dine at Tanzy’s, located inside the iPic Theaters in Mizner Park, to check out their new weekend brunch offerings. I’ve enjoyed a meal or two at Tanzy’s before but this was my first time experiencing their brunch. It was a Saturday (and who doesn’t like the idea of a leisurely Saturday brunch catching up with good friends?!?) and I was totally stoked to be able to bring my girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in a super long time to join me for this brunch tasting. With so many wonderful dining choices available in Mizner Park, you might forget that Tanzy is there unless of course, you are going inside the iPic Theaters to catch a movie. While Tanzy is a great dining option for your pre or post-movie experience, I am here to set the record straight that Tanzy should be on the top of your list for a wonderful meal to be enjoyed whether your plans include a movie or not. Case in point: the epic weekend brunch, happy hour bar bites, lunch and of course, dinner.
Tanzy’s artisanal Italian cuisine focuses on garden-fresh modern Italian flavors in an elegant, yet relaxed social environment where friends, family and colleagues can gather to enjoy good conversation, good food & creative cocktails. Tanzy’s new menu features fresh new classics alongside time-tested favorites by award-winning Chef and Chief Operating Officer of iPic Entertainment. Diners will delight in inspiring flavors where seasonal ingredients are the star in every dish, artfully prepared by melding contemporary techniques with classic Italian influences; the resulting flavor profiles are modern and unique. Master Bartender and Advanced Sommelier Adam Seger crafts an unparalleled beverage program with local beers, an expertly curated wine list and stunning farm-to-glass handcrafted cocktails.
We started off with a Bloody Mary and a Peach Bellini. Then our server Julia surprised us with this beauty. An Italian Ice Mimosa made with liquid nitrogen. Check out the baby spoon that came with it, so cute! Can you say “Wow” factor?!?
So we were off to a good start. Julia explained the menu to us and it was difficult I must say to choose because so many items caught my eye. The bread basket contained an assortment of baked items which offered a good variety, so we chose that. OMG, without exaggeration, my friend and I ate one bite of the banana nut muffin and our eyes truly bugged out. It was without a doubt the best banana nut muffin we both had ever eaten. Man, I am salivating just a little right now as I recall how scrumptious it was, lol!
Another really really fantastic item was the candied bacon. It had a slight amount of heat and the perfect amount of sweetness. Loved it! I have to give Tanzy kudos for this because try as I have, I cannot seem to perfect the art of making candied bacon.
The infamously decadent French Toast, pictured below on the left, lived up to its title. It was made from thick sliced brioche bread stuffed with whipped mascarpone and assorted fresh berries. It reminded me a little of the one they make at Tucker Dukes which I just adore, but better, in my humble opinion. We ordered the eggs benedict, which came with our choice of crispy prosciutto, spinach or smoked salmon. We chose the salmon. The rich velvety Hollandaise sauce covered the English muffin halves like a warm comforting blankie. Yum!
Next up was the burrata & San Daniele prosciutto which came with a compressed melon, arugula and adorned with beautiful fennel flowers. It was almost too pretty to eat (almost, haha)! The spinach-ricotta gnudi was calling out to us from an early glance at the menu, so we heeded the call and gave in. Oh my, this was so worth having to do extra laps and burpees the next day!
Well, we didn’t quite make it to the dessert tower, but there’s always the next time.
I encourage you to check out their new lunch and dinner menus on their website and make your plans to visit there at your earliest chance. You won’t be disappointed, I can pretty much say this with 100% confidence.
Below is a sample of some of the new menu items which include fresh pastas, mains and antipasti to share:
Beet Agnolottimascarpone-potato filling, poppy seed, black winter truffle, parmesan ($28)
Head Chef and co-owner Monique Buchbinder (the name MoBu is derived from the first two letters of her first and last name), earned her degree from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan prior to working as a chef at Per Se (the sixth highlest Michelin rated restaurant) and at the famed Nobu in Miami (yes, you might say there might have been a tad bit of influence behind her restaurant’s chosen name) before deciding to become a private chef taking on catering jobs and hosting dinner parties in Manhattan, Naples and Miami. She began cooking for a gentleman named Bruce who moved to South Florida from New York. When Chef Monique expressed her interest in opening her own restaurant one day to Bruce, he realized her talent in the kitchen was too good to keep all to himself and decided to help back her. Bruce’s daughter, Brooke, MoBu’s General Manager and Marketing Director, handles the front of house and community events, while Chef Monique makes magic in the kitchen. In addition to making dishes that are filled with flavor, Chef Monique makes dishes that are sensitive to healthy diets and food allergies, including nut-free and gluten-conscious (gc) items in addition to vegan, organic, vegetarian diets. Seasonally inspired, beautifully plated, and sourced from some of the world’s most vibrant cultures, Mobu’s dishes leave guests filled with a revitalized love for cuisine and community.
Sourcing foodie favorites from Asian, French, and Caribbean cultures, MoBu Fusion Cafe in Boca Raton is where folks come to enjoy international cuisine in an elegant local atmosphere. Using fresh ingredients as her brushes and plates as her palettes, Chef Monique only works with the best food suppliers so you can expect to always enjoy the most delicious and freshest ingredients. From beautifully presented appetizers and main dishes, to tantalizing desserts, you will be in food heaven.
Relax and unwind in their beautiful patio dining area, where you will be surrounded by nature & water. This is where our group of bloggers gathered for a brunch tasting. Every dish that was brought out had a flare to it and each was exceptional. We started out with an Amuse Bouche of Tuna Poke (gc) artfully plated on a black slate. Next was the Banana Bread French Toast, which was my personal favorite. On top of this most wonderful gluten-conscious French toast (which I still can’t get over had little to no gluten) was bananas foster, Marsala wine, whipped cream and berries. I believe I am drooling as I am writing this now. lol! Our next course was a Crab Egg Benedict which featured lovely lump crab cakes topped with poached cage-free eggs and a delicious hollandaise sauce. The final tasting of the day was the Tuna Poke Bowl which was made with sushi grade tuna loin, on top of quinoa, brown rice, avocado, sesame seeds and cucumbers.
In addition to their wonderfully yummy brunch menu, they have a simple yet well thought out dinner menu as well with wonderful selections from land to sea. MoBu’s first 5 course Chef’s Table dinner is scheduled for this Friday evening, April 20th. For details, click here.
MoBu Fusion Cafe is located at 1159 South Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Delivery is available through Delivery Dudes. Catering is also available.
The city of Lake Worth has a winning card up its sleeve when it comes to competing for your dinner spending dollars- a tapas bar for comfort food and board games named .
Located at 510 Lucerne Avenue, their style has a modern farmhouse flair of which TV house-flipper Joanna Gaines would be proud. 3 of Hearts offers tapas-style shareable plates and an entire wall of board games to enjoy. Specializing in elevated comfort food, they also have specialty cocktails. It’s the perfect choice for an evening out with friends as the menu is full of items which are served in 3’s.
The number three is special to the family-run operation. Simply called the ‘boss’, Robyn explained that three represents her, her sister, and the memory of her little sister. She passed away before the restaurant became a reality, but encouraged Robyn to go after her dream in the first place. “This opened the idea of the three theme, to keep my sister involved.”
At our visit to the restaurant, we started with the Wine Fashioned and White Herb Sangria. The Wine Fashioned was a fruity take on the classic Old Fashioned. The blend of red and port wines was delicious and didn’t compromise the smoky notes characteristic of the classic drink. Popular in the summer, their signature honey sage sangria was refreshing with plenty of supple fruit on the bottom.
As for the food, they have a jam-packed selection. Homemade by Chef John, they even offer the recipe to make our personal favorite, the strawberry basil jam. The Chef is also Robyn’s nephew. When it comes to working with so many of her family members supporting her Robyn said, “it’s great to have so many people you trust to put their heads together to think through an idea or problem.” It works like a family unit because they compliment each other, yet aren’t afraid to disagree. “We talk through things,” she added, “there’s no threat to challenge each other since there’s unconditional love there.”
Another signature trend on the menu is their fun flips from savory to sweet. On the savory side, we loved the oven dried tomato and the drunken mushroom duxelle jams. Served with perfectly crisped crostini, it was a beautifully plated gourmet spread. Don’t feel like sharing? Meat ragu, chicken 3 ways, or a good-old burger and a pickle are also on the menu.
Catch their weekly trivia night on Tuesday’s from 7:30-9:30. We suggest coming in early to grab a prime table outside and ordering their grilled cheese fingers (you’ll thank us later).
Hours: T-F 3pm-10pm, Sat 2pm-11pm, Sun 11am-4pm (brunch)
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.
It’s been some time since my last post. It’s that time of the year again when we get so crazy busy with all the wonderful food and wine events to cover on top of all the extra visitors who come into town and book us for our culinary tours and experiences. We have been working hard on creating a brand new website which will soon be launched and we have been growing our company both geographically as well as team members, but more on that in the next newsletter.
Today, it’s all about our visit to Coastal Restaurant located inside the Atlantic Hotel on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. I was invited to experience the brunch there by the PR firm representing the restaurant, which is located in the previous Beauty and the Feast spot, for those of you who remember that one.
I love brunches, particularly buffets (as opposed to a la carte) and especially ones that have as great a variety as Coastal. What I REALLY liked about Coastal’s brunch was that in addition to the marvelous options on the buffet, they have a menu of select a la carte plates every Sunday with a couple staple items that appear each Sunday such as bananas foster french toast and chicken & waffles and other specialty items such as eggs benedict, tacos and pancakes that change each Sunday. On this day, they were serving a crab cake benedict, pulled pork taco and chocolate chip pancakes. Lucky for me, they make these a la carte items in really cute small portions so you can try one of each (like I did) without feeling (too) guilty. LOL!
The pricing is extremely reasonable for just $39.95 per adult and $19.95 for children 12 & under. You can add bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, & Bellinis for just $18.98 or $5/glass. What’s more, they offer 3 hour complimentary valet parking! How great is that?!? They have live music too. The buffet is available from 11am – 3pm. Definitely worth checking out!
Well, there you have it. Not only does Coastal have a great view of the ocean, but the decor is clean and inviting, the staff is friendly and attentive and the food is excellent. What more can you ask for? If you’re looking for somewhere to go this Valentine’s Day, they have some pretty awesome couples packages available, including a Gourmet Picnic Dinner on the Beach, Oceanfront Dinner at Coastal, and Three Spa Atlantic Packages, starting at Only $120. Valid Feb 11th – 18th, no overnight stay required.
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.
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 have to be so precise with when it comes to cooking. It can be the most amazing bite ever when prepared right. But when over cooked, it becomes tough and “rubbery”. I had high hopes for this one but unfortunately it was a bit over cooked and fell into the rubbery zone for me.
Julio had also recommended the Chivito Uriguayo which he claimed was one of the most famous sandwiches known all around the world. It consisted of beef tenderloin, ham, mozzarella cheese, bacon, green olives, roasted bell pepper, boiled eggs, alioli, french fries. Well I have to say that this sandwich did live up to the high expectations that had been set after hearing Julio rave about it!
I’ll be honest here. I must have been feeling the sangrias pretty good by this time because when it came time to ordering the mushroom fries, I must not have read the description and had something a bit different in my mind when this plate arrived at our table. For some reason I thought they were going to be like portabella mushrooms that were treated as fries and not actual fries being served in this dish. The truffled gorgonzola sauce was delicious but something about those mushrooms were very unfamiliar to me and a taste that just didn’t resonate with me, I’m afraid.
This was one of my favorite dishes (this and the Provoleta Benedicta). Tartines are basically oversized bruschettas or open faced sandwiches and the toppings are endless. This one, the mahi mahi was nicely seasoned and pan seared to perfection. It came with capers, aioli, sweet tomatoes, arugula and tossed with a complimenting lemon dressing.
RUST: A hidden gem with 120 seats in an ever-expanding area full of street art and fashion; RUST pays its creative tribute with its rustic mix of worn metals, wood, cork and brick textures that adorn the restaurant.
RUST is located at 2621 NW 2nd Ave., inside Wynwood Block open: Mon – Wed 11AM-12AM; Thu – Fri 11AM-2AM; Sat 10AM-2AM & Sun 10AM-12AM
For more info on RUST, visit their website or call (305) 576 6811.
I was recently invited to attend the Aqua Pool Party, hosted by Utopian Events at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel.
The Pool Party I attended was on Saturday, Aug. 27th and was open to the public from 12 – 5pm. (More dates will soon be announced).
The Aqua Pool Party at the hotel, hosted by Utopian Events, offers guests poolside brunch with selections like Filet Mignon Sliders, Crab stuffed Eggs Benedict and Cali-style Mahi Soft Tacos from 12:00-2:00 pm followed by Barbeque Madness from 2:00-5:00 pm with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $25 and pitchers of Sangria for $18, there are frozen specialty drinks and top shelf beverage specials available all day.
Local DJs Alex Gregory and Ben Nigrelli entertained while my friend and I indulged in the wonderful brunch al fresco and later joined in on the poolside games; we even signed up to play in the beer pong tournament (which we unfortunately did not win, but had a lot of fun trying) We did purchase tickets for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including free drinks, food and hotel stays at destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Chicago as well as a cash prize. A grand prize giveaway includes a two-night stay in Key West in a Presidential Suite with VIP Amenities. Guests gain a complimentary raffle ticket for every $10 spent at the Aqua Pool Party.
Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
2000 NW 19th St. Boca Raton, FL 33431
All ages are welcome to join; must be 21 to consume alcohol
For more information on the Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel, please visit the website, twitter and Facebook.