Today’s post features one of my favorite fast casual foods: tacos! I received an invitation to dine at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago and I’m happy to share my experience with you today.
Since opening its doors to their original location in South Beach, just steps away from the famed Lincoln Road Mall on 16th Street in 2015, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, founded by Menin Hospitality’s Keith Menin and Jared Galbut and led by Culinary Director Bernie Matz, has been offering traditional Mexican favorites as well as unconventional and innovative interpretations, Bodega specializes in tacos and tortas, homemade sodas and authentic beverages in a dynamic, eclectic “puebla” inspired setting.
“We’ve always loved Fort Lauderdale andhave been waiting for the right moment and location to open a Bodega Taqueria y Tequila there since we opened our first flagship location in South Beach in 2015,” said Keith Menin, Co-Founder & Principal of Menin Hospitality. “When we saw that they were developing and re-envisioning the riverfront, the new towers, and the Wharf, we found an iconic historic corner that just felt like Bodega. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome guests to Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Fort Lauderdale.”
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila has been revered as one of the hottest Mexican restaurants in America. GQ Magazine has named Bodega “the most popular restaurant in the entire state of Florida for late-night eats”; InStyle Magazine said it’s one of “4 hot spots worth visiting on your next trip to Miami”; HuffPost called it the “hottest Mexican restaurants in America”; and Elite Daily boasted it as one of “Miami’s hottest nightspots.” A favorite among celebrities, fans include Michael B. Jordan, Niall Horan, Brody Jenner, Diplo, Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Travis Scott, Nina Agdal, and Joe Jonas, to name a few.
Inside the taqueria, a door leads guests to Bodega’s late-night speakeasy – the perfect spot for happy hour, daytime fun, and late-night debauchery – that features an extensive cocktail menu and live music by local bands and DJs. Signature cocktails include the Pico Picante (Herradura Silver, Ilegal Mezcal, Cucumber, Cilantro, Jalapeno, Lime, Orange Bitters); La Diablita (Don Julio Blanco, Apricot, Blackberries, Ginger, Fresh Lime); and Mezcal Old Fashioned (Casamigos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Old Fashioned Syrup). Additionally, every Monday, Bodega is activating ‘Margarita Monday’ specials, where guests can enjoy a curated $5 margarita menu from 6 PM-close. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday from 6 PM – 8 PM, and offers $2 Classic Tacos, $3 Chips & Salsa, $4 Chips & Guac, $4 Bottled Beers, $5 Frozen Margaritas, and $7 Bottled Cocktails.
Open daily from 11:30 AM – 12 AM, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Fort Lauderdale mirrors the flagship South Beach location, doubling as a fast-casual taco joint and a late-night speakeasy-style lounge. The front half of the venue is a taqueria featuring an authentic Mexican street food menu created by culinary director and Chef Bernie Matz. Signature menu items consist of Loaded Carne Asada Nachos (Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Chili Queso, Cotija, Red Onion, Tomato, Cilantro, Chili Crema, Sliced Jalapeno); Late-Night Burrito (Guajillo Braised Short Rib, Roasted Pork, Roasted Chicken, Mexican Rice, Black Bean Refrito, Oaxaca Cheese, Potato Sticks, Salsa Rosada); and Steak Chimichurri Tacos (Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Purple Cabbage, Tomato, Potato Sticks, Radish, Cilantro, Chimichurri Aioli). Guests order from a full-sized, retrofitted vintage airstream trailer turned into a taco truck and then dine in the garage chic seating of picnic tables, neon bar stools, and graffiti walls. In addition to the regular menu, a weekend brunch menu is available.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Fort Lauderdale is located at 21 W. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL and can also be experienced in South Beach and in American Airlines Arena. For more information, please visit BodegaTaqueria.com and follow on Instagram @BodegaTaqueria.
*Hours of operation are in accordance with mandated COVID-19 regulations and are subject to change.
I’m super excited to introduce you to Avalon, a beachy, coastal inspired steakhouse influenced by Montauk flair and Nantucket panache presenting approachable elegance and attentive hospitality that officially opened on Tuesday, February 23rd on Delray Beach’s famed Atlantic Avenue.
Conceptualized by New York’s veteran hospitality operators Host Restaurants, the 30-year visionaries behind award-winning dining institutions including Scarpetta, Campagnola, American Cut, Bill’s Townhouse, and many others, Avalon showcases the best in land and sea from all coasts with modern dishes taking star at the dinner plate inside an atmosphere designed to radiate approachable, unstuffy elegance.
Affectionately named Avalon, after the legendary island in the Arthurian legend, a place of haven and purity fabled for its restorative healing powers, Avalon is intent on providing guests a new comfort-minded steakhouse experience designed to evoke an air of modern tranquility and escapism through the art of delivering upon a great quality night out.
“At Avalon, we want you to linger longer, enjoy your time here and not feel pressured to rush your meal. Dinner was made to savor; life is too short to not enjoy a great quality steak,” explains Host Restaurants President and Founder Curt Huegel.
Avalon brings a robust, sustainably-sourced premium selection of prime, organic, grass fed, hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free offerings, including steaks, beef, poultry, and seafood to South Florida’s dining scene, anchored by an esteemed 250 bottle wine list for wine lovers of all regions, showcasing sought after labels from unique wineries around the world. Guests who prefer spirit-centric pairings to their meal will also delight in Avalon’s creatively conceived cocktails presenting inventive twists on classic libations.
Avalon’s beachy yet stylish interiors were also designed with intention. Bright, naturally lit and intimate, pristine and nautically-inspired, the atmosphere and palette is soft, soothing and designed to evoke the feeling of relishing in a tranquil and relaxing, stylish day at sea. Elegant neutrals and oceanic blues are topped off by the addition of picturesque coastal greens. The expansive indoor/outdoor bar was designed for laid-back and non-formal easy eating, keeping parties of one and two in mind. There are two traditional dining levels – al fresco street dining for guests who prefer sight-seeing passerbys and second floor dining for a more intimate, social dining experience. All dining areas at Avalon will be implementing the strictest of COVID-19 protocols and are mindful of personal space and superior comfort.
Avalon has created accessible price points that won’t compromise quality and will honor that premise by always staying innovative and fresh with weekly rotating specials and a unique haven where friends, coworkers and associates can gather routinely to relax and enjoy this exciting new happy hour destination.
Signature dishes at Avalon encompass modern steakhouse classics cooked to preferred temperatures such as Filet Mignon,28-Day Dry-Aged Prime Ribeye,36 oz. Tomahawk for 2 , to sustainably-sourced seafood specialties including Whole Roasted Fish of the Day, 32 oz Aged Bone In “Tuna Ribeye”, Scallop Carpaccio with Huckleberry Agro Dolce, Spiced Cashew, Citrus Segments Basil Oil, Marigold, Angry Lobster with Fermented House Sriracha, Ginger, Pullman Toast, to light entrees for those health minded or vegetarian such as Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Herb Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese, Basil as well as inventive comfort dishes including Kimchi Fried Rice.
I was invited to Avalon to preview a few select items. Every one of the staff I encountered from the Maitre D to the GM, the Partners and my server was extremely welcoming and gracious. To start off, I had the most tender, succulent octopus I can remember having,..ever. Antonello, one of the Partners brought over a lovely bottle of Sauv Blanc from New Zealand for me to enjoy with the octopus. The pairing made my tastebuds dance and put me in my happy place!
Next out was their Caesar Salad with soft boiled egg on top. This unique presentation was not only gorgeous, but thoughtfully orchestrated. My server Jerry gave me the back story filling me in that their Caesar dressing is the very same one that was created by Caesar Milano from Tijuana, Mexico, who came up with this recipe during Prohibition times. Seriously guys, this dressing is the bomb!
The BLT appetizer caught me eye and I’m sure you can see why! The “B” or bacon is represented by pork belly which was seasoned beautifully and cooked to perfection. Arugula comprised the “L” and the “T” was represented by tomato jam. It was a fun interpretation and a tasty whimsical dish indeed.
I was offered a lovely Cab to enjoy with my BLT and Steak entree. Avalon takes great pride in the quality of the food they serve and I for one was excited to see both wet aged and dry aged steaks on the menu. Do you know what the difference is? Here’s a little fun fact for you: Dry–aged beef is hung in the air to dehydrate at a temperature just above freezing for weeks, or up to months. … Wet aging is a newer technique where beef is vacuum-sealed and refrigerated so that natural enzymes can tenderize the meat. Wet aging takes just a few days, so it’s cheaper than dry aging. So which is better? Well that is a personal preference and I’ll let you make that decision yourself, but this little extra info might be useful: The more common aging method used today is wet–aging, a process in which meat is vacuum-sealed in plastic and allowed to age for 4-10 days, or sometimes longer. Similar to dry-aging, the process allows enzymes in the trapped juices to break down collagen between muscle fibers, increasing tenderness. Dry aging a steak makes it more tender and flavorful. … Eat a steak that’s been properly dry–aged and there’s really no competition: It has a richer, beefier flavor, a more tender, more buttery texture, and a minerally, slightly funky scent. Dry–aged beef puts all other steaks to shame. I chose this incredible 20 ounce dry aged ribeye with a side of truffle Parmesan fries and let me tell you, this steak just melted in my mouth. There really is a noticeable difference when you have a steak of this quality. Bravo Avalon, bravo!
Finally, for dessert, I was presented with an attractive plate consisting of a duo of decadence: cheesecake and chocolate mouse cake. I truly loved both of them and cannot play favorites here, so don’t ask me to! LOL.
Meet the Partners:
Curt Huegel, Creator/Founder
Host Restaurants (Avalon Steak & Seafood and other concepts)
Curt Huegel is a 30-year veteran American restaurateur recognized for award-winning destination restaurant brands such as Scarpetta, Campagnola and American Cut. Huegel, a New Jersey native hailing from Manhattan, has done business with the country’s most respected standalone landlords, casino and hotel developers in premier establishments around the country which include Fontainebleau in Miami to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Huegel’s first venue, The Mill opened in 1992, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over the next several years, Huegel expanded his hospitality portfolio, developing key concepts such as Rebar in New York City and Miami, Dakota Bar and Grill and Local, also in Manhattan. In 2008, Huegel founded LDV Hospitality, establishing renowned restaurant brands Scarpetta and American Cut, Luga Caffe, Dolce Italian. Under his leadership, LDV expanded globally and partnered with celebrity chefs like Alain Allegretti, Scott Conant and Marc Forgione.
In late 2013, Huegel sold LDV and started Host restaurants, bringing together concepts including Bill’s Townhouse, Campagnola, Printers Alley, Lucy’s and Galli. Host’s portfolio ranges from eateries with a storied New York City history and classic Italian cuisine, to mid-market galleys, wine bars, Italian Cafes and steakhouses to new concepts, such as Printers alley, which brings a Nashville- themed country music bar to Times Square. With each venture, Huegel keeps his customers top of mind, always striving to exceed his guests’ and the industry’s expectations. Host Restaurants average venue square footage ranges from 1600 square feet to 1200 square feet, with their newest brand, Avalon, an elegant yet approachable steakhouse concept with a Hamptonite flair expected to launch in Delray Beach’s famed Atlantic Avenue, January 2021.
Director of Operations, Avalon Steak & Seafood
Antonello Paganuzzi is formerly the Director of Operations for LDV Hospitality for over 10 years. Paganuzzi holds over 25 years of experience under his belt, working for Le Cirque and the Maccioni family for over 14 years, bringing a keen insight into the hospitality industry and a high standard of service, acquired over the years from leadership positions as some of the most impressive fine dining establishments in New York, Las Vegas, Miami & London.
Avalon is now open for dinner and happy hour 7 days a week from 5pm with brunch to come at a future date. For more information, visit www.avalondelray.com.
They are located at 110 East Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444 (561) 593-2500
I get asked all the time for restaurant recommendations and often I am asked for the name of a good seafood restaurant. Of course this should come easy, being that we are located on the coast. But up until now, I really hadn’t found one that just rolled off my tongue. But today, I am super excited to share with you my new favorite seafood restaurant which recently opened in Delray Beach, FL. It’s called Lionfish.
Lionfish, the beloved San Diego hotspot boasting a fresh-catch menu meshed with seasonal ingredients, has opened the doors to its second location in the heart of downtown Delray Beach, Florida.
Situated along the famed Atlantic Avenue, Lionfish has been twice-recognized as a James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader, offering a sea-to-table approach with a mouthwatering menu served in the form of simplistic yet expertly-flavored coastal cuisine. The Delray Beach location is led by esteemed restaurant and entertainment specialists, Clique Hospitality.
Originally slated to open before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the new timeline has allowed Lionfish to deliver the best possible product to an eagerly-awaiting audience. In addition to a socially-conscious, locally-sourced menu, Lionfish is continuing to contribute to ocean conversation by serving its namesake dish in a variety of delicious appetizers and entrees. The rare, delectable white flaky fish is a species that is ravaging the ocean by devouring fellow sea life and damaging coral reefs.
“We are so thankful to call Delray Beach our new home, having recently established our second corporate headquarters here, and can’t wait to show locals and tourists alike the coastal dining experience that is Lionfish,” says Andy Masi, founder of Clique Hospitality. “Opening this fall has allowed us to launch with our full brand concept versus having to restrict menus and offerings during the pandemic.”
Guests of Lionfish can expect a menu of wild-caught catches from the surrounding Atlantic Ocean coupled with grass-fed meats and fresh ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and regional purveyors inside a high-energy, sophisticated atmosphere. A full beverage menu of cutting-edge cocktails along with time-honored classics is served by a team of master mixologists. In addition, guests can sip from an all-encompassing wine list and a vast array of craft beers.
Executive Chef Jose “JoJo” Ruiz of Lionfish’s San Diego location serves as Corporate Chef with locally-renowned Chef Johnny Demartini overseeing the kitchen as Executive Chef.
About Clique Hospitality Clique Hospitality, founded by Andy Masi, is a collaboration of talented food and beverage professionals who have helped shape the dining and nightlife landscape along the West Coast for the past two decades. Masi has dedicated his life to making guests feel that a simple night out was more than just a memory, but also an experience. Clique is a boutique hospitality and marketing company with operations in Las Vegas, NV, San Diego, CA and Delray Beach, FL. Clique specializes in approachable dining that sets trends, rather than following them. In its partnerships with many of the country’s most prestigious hospitality corporations, including MGM Resorts International, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas,Hotels, Montage Resorts, and Red Rock Resorts, Clique is transcending hospitality through service, quality, and trendsetting design.
Had to try a dish with the namesake in it. We really enjoyed this ceviche. The secret to the deliciousness of this ceviche we were told is the use of key lime in the curing process which gives it a little more tartness but balances out the sweetness of the coconut agave.
What a lovely combination of flavors. Clever spin on a traditional caprese salad. This Asian inspired version was very tasty.
I like to think of myself as somewhat of a Sushi Pizza Connoisseur. I try this dish wherever I go when I see it on a menu. This one served at Lionfish is definitely one of the best. It’s a close runner up to the one at Pubbelly. I really enjoyed the truffle mustard aioli and the micro shiso added a nice textural component.
Oh my! These mini lobster rolls are heavenly! The petite buns are made especially for Lionfish and are the perfect vessel for this scrumptious lobster salad. Delish! Great for sharing or enjoying as a meal on your own.
This was a fun interactive experience cooking your food over the hot rock. There are two Hot Rock options; the Wagyu Beef and the Giant King Oyster Mushrooms with Smoked Miso.
The aioli coated the hot rock shrimp, rather than being served as a dipping sauce. You could detect its essence but I believe a side of this sauce for dipping would go a long way. I’m sure they would bring one out if asked.
And now on to dessert….soooo many interesting selections…
Oh my gosh. Words just fail to do this dessert justice. A deconstructed key lime pie. We savored every single bite!
Just when you think you had the perfect dessert,, one that can’t be topped, you take a bite out of this one. Wow! We loved the creativity of the presentation of this dessert and the sundae itself with all the little crumble bites was awesome! Our message in the bottle read, “Save A Reef, Eat A Lionfish! #GetHooked”
Well there you have it folks. This new seafood restaurant on the Ave gets two thumbs up and our stamp of approval. If you haven’t been there yet…what are ya waiting for? Enjoy and tell Sean the Manager that your friend Denise from Savor Our City sent ya!
Lionfish is open daily starting at 4pm and serving Brunch on Saturdays & Sundays from 10am – 3pm, with dinner served until 11pm on Sats and 10pm on Suns. They are located at 307 E Atlantic Ave Delray Beach. 561.639.8700
I hope you are all staying healthy and doing your best to safely enjoy your favorite foods & bevvies. I was recently invited to attend the preview of Sistrunk Marketplace, a 40,000-square-foot indoor foodie village that is more of a lifestyle complex than a typical food hall which opened to the public this past weekend. Besides housing 12 food purveyors, it contains an island bar and a speakeasy-style lounge; a retail shopping co-op called Sistrunk Collective; a DJ academy and soundproofed recording studio for aspiring musicians; and enough plush chairs and picnic tables to fill a banquet hall.
For now, while we are still in pandemic mode, the food hall, brewery and distillery will use a reservation-only system for guests. Walk-ins are not allowedWary of attracting too many guests, the food hall is experimenting with crowd control, says Maxence Doytier, the market’s marketing director and self-described “events guru.”
For now, all Sistrunk Marketplace guests must book their visit times in advance through Tock, a smartphone restaurant reservation app. No walk-ins are allowed, masks are required and waitstaff will verify your reservation at the entrance. Under Florida’s current Phase 1 guidelines, the food hall can fit half of its 565-person capacity, Doytier says, and a booking system helps them keep track of diners.
Khoffner Brewery, a German-style brewhouse, is by far Sistrunk’s largest vendor, and expects to open within 60 days, Doytier says. Shady Distillery, a maker of small-batch whiskeys, rums and vodkas, will debut sometime in 2021, as will a Wynwood Yard-style outdoor beer garden with shipping-container bars.
Here are the vendors you will find inside Sistrunk Marketplace:
Chop Shoppe Meat and Provisions, a butcher shop offering meats by the pound as well as beer-brat sausages, brisket-blend hamburgers and other custom sandwiches.
Senbazuru, an Asian fusion tapas eatery featuring ramen and rice bowls and international bites inside bento boxes.
Bronte, an Australian coffeehouse serving matcha lavender lattes (with homemade syrup), golden milk lattes and various tea blends and coffee from Tequesta-based roaster Oceana.
Heavenly Raw Living Food, a vegan café featuring veggie norimaki rolls, raw pastas, vegetarian burgers and desserts, and cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
Poke OG, a poke bowl and sushi shack outpost of the Wynwood restaurant.
Kasai & Koori, an Asian dessert shop featuring treats such as Japanese kakigori, Taiwanese shaved ice, Taiyaki waffle cones and Korean bingsoo. Future locations are coming to Canyon Town Center in Boynton Beach, City Center in Pembroke Pines and Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach.
Snack Bar, the centerpiece of Sistrunk’s food hall, this island bar offers grab-and-go items, liquor and draft beer.
Needa’ Pita offers South Florida’s most authentic Mediterranean dishes. Guests can enjoy family recipes passed down by generations. Bringing the community together with an expression of culture and unity through food and phenomenal flavor.
Khoffner Brewery, the namesake of brewer Rauf Vagifoglu-Khoffner, includes a 20-barrel brewhouse and taproom. There also will be a canning line and new brews such as Sistrunk APA, an American pale ale; Flagler IPA; an habanero-infused IPA; Khoffner Cream Ale and Khoffner Brown Ale. It will open in October.
Hot Lime, a taco and ceviche stand that operates out of a Volkswagon Airstream bus driven by two skeletons wearing sombreros. It comes from chef-owners Daniel Gonzalez and Carlos Padilla, who’ve worked previously at Vagabond, Dragonfly Izakaya and Fish Market, BLT Prime and the Island Bistro. Specialties include short-rib tacos, quinoa salads and Mexican-style street corn.
Osom Crepes, a French creperie serving sweet and savory stuffed crepes such as the Mediterranean (prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and arugula, rosemary olive oil and balsamic glaze); and the B&B (dulce de leche, marshmallow, bananas, salted caramel syrup).
Empanada Bodega, an empanada kiosk offering 12 fillings from common (beef, chicken, barbecue pork, shrimp) to not-so-common (Hawaiian-style, guava and cheese).
Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, a chicken shack featuring Nashville-style hot chicken, deep-fried chicken pot pies, fried bologna sandwiches, collard green melts and other down-home dishes.
Fuoco, features Roman- and Grandma-style pizzas cooked in chef-owner Tory Martindale’s wood-fired pizza oven, along with rotating pastas and meatball dishes.
Club Soda Lounge, a speakeasy-style lounge serving custom cocktails and spirits from Shady Distillery, which will eventually craft rum, vodka, whiskey and bourbon in a building next door.
Sistrunk Marketplace is open 4-11 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. It’s closed for deep cleanings on Mondays and Tuesdays and private events on Wednesdays. Call 954-329-2551 or go to SistrunkMarketplace.com.
GROUPS ARE INTEGRATING CULINARY EXPERIENCES INTO THEIR TRAVEL PLANS
Sure, the Roman Colosseum is astounding, but is it a better religious experience than assaulting your taste buds with fiery Nashville hot chicken? And certainly, the Eiffel Tower is breathtaking, but is a journey to Paris more enriching than biting into slow-cooked Texas barbecue?
The answer to those questions depends on what kind of traveler you are.
For as long as wanderlust has existed, travelers have largely chosen their destinations for traditional reasons (IE: visiting the Roman Colosseum and Eiffel Tower). In recent years though, culinary travel, which was once a niche market, has significantly increased in popularity.
Erik Wolf, executive director of the World Food Travel Association, says in the 2019 WFTA State of the Food Travel Industry Report, consumers are more obsessed than ever with quality food and drink products and experiences. And because of this, food and beverage now make a profound impact on the experience that most travelers have today. Citing its 2016 Food Travel Monitor survey, the WFTA says 93 percent of respondents participated in a unique food or beverage activity while traveling in the previous two years, a considerable increase over past studies. That same survey found 80 percent of leisure travelers had been motivated to visit a particular destination because of a culinary activity or attraction.
“People are more aware of food than ever before,” said Matthew Stone, hospitality and tourism professor at California State University, Chico. “From the Food Network and the Travel Channel, people are so familiar with the food part of travel.
“Food is a way to connect with the culture,” Stone added. “In this time where we want to live like a local and travel like a local, food gets us connected to locals. I don’t need to visit the Willis Tower every time I go to Chicago, but I can go back to my favorite pizza place or find a new café. When I go back to Paris, I’ve seen the Mona Lisa and I don’t have to see it again. But I will go back to restaurants that I’ve been to before. Some attractions are static, but food isn’t.”
Another reason culinary travel seems to have spiked in recent years is its appeal to modern travelers from a social and social media standpoint.
“Everyone can enjoy food and go to a restaurant together,” said Stone, who is also the lead research advisor for the WFTA. “It’s one thing you can do while traveling that is social. Museums aren’t necessarily social, neither is the opera or symphony. You are together in the same place but you don’t get to interact the same way we do over food.
“Culinary is a really cool way to not only connect with the locals, but to connect the people of your group together,” Stone added. “Culinary gives you shared experiences. Cooking classes, festivals, specialized tours. Younger generations are going to more food fests and wine fests. When they attend these fests, even for a short period of time, they feel like they are in on the local culture.”
“All travelers eat and drink,” said Jane Connelly, project manager for the WFTA. “They can return home with memories of chain hamburgers and chain coffee or they can leave with memories, photos and video of unique and memorable food and drink experiences.”
When asked the primary reasons behind the burgeoning culinary movement, Connelly lists social media as one of the most prominent examples. With Facebook reporting 2.4 billion monthly active users (88 percent of which are mobile users) and Instagram having 1 billion monthly active users, there is a hefty number of people snapping and perusing photos. This inspires food-savvy travelers to up their eating game when they are on vacation.
With so many social media lovers arranging restaurant and café reservations while traveling, destinations and tour operators are embracing the trend. Ninety percent of experts polled by the WFTA agreed that because of the importance of food and drink to a region’s sociocultural and environmental framework, food tourism should play a greater role, namely to educate visitors while they are being fed or entertained.
“Some of things we are seeing is more specific food tours,” Stone said. “It might be taking a food and wine tour of France or you can go to California or Belgium and have experiences no one else is having but you. Groups are adding biking food tours or connecting art and food onto a tour. We are also seeing more focus on production, like olive oil and cheese (tours), going beyond simple wine tours. Even regular attractions are doing more specific things. Sierra Nevada now offers a sustainability tour and a beer lovers tour.
Tour operators’ emphasis on culinary tourism has proven beneficial to themselves, destinations and the travelers alike. Which suggests the culinary tour market will only continue to grow.
“Overall, culinary travelers are spending more,” Stone said. “With culinary travel, you’re more likely to go to a sporting event or see performing arts. If (operators) can identify culinary travelers, they can identify travelers who will spend more money.”
“Culinary tourism is a win-win-win type of industry,” Connelly added. “If done correctly, all players involved will enjoy the benefits of culinary tourism. For food-loving travelers, they get to carry with them unforgettable memories and experiences for the rest of their lives. For tour
operators, they get to support local business and help preserve a destination’s culinary culture. And for the small business involved, they get an increase of clients and visitors who value the storytelling and people behind the small businesses.”
Earlier this year, just in time for SuperBowl LIV longtime LA-headquartered taco bar PinkTaco (on INSTA #pinktaco) debuted their newest location and officially brought the VIP party to Miami. The party began with an exceptional South Beach-style opening at 1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Celebrities were everywhere and cheered as Snoop Dog arrived, and he was, of course, greeted by a raucous Miami Beach welcome.
Prior to Snoop’s arrival guests were served Pink City’s epically delicious tacos all made from scratch with local farm-fresh ingredients. Inside the opening’s main visual feature, a Patron tequila ice sculpture, shaped as if it was an architectural detail taken directly from one of the beautiful Art Deco hotels nearby. World-famous Ocean Drive is the heart of Miami Beach’s historic art deco district and filled with restored Art Deco hotels. Some guests drank Patron’s famous tequila as the sculptural ice melted drip by drip or slowly filled their cups. The mixed drinks included Something Pink made from Patron Estate with fresh prickly
pear puree, a perfect cooling adult beverage and accompaniment to expertly seasoned and cooked tacos.
The bar has front row tables outside to see and be seen on Ocean Drive. You can’t miss their famous pink neon sign at the entrance on the corner of Ocean Drive and 12 th street. And parked on the corner is the PinkTaco food truck which is for hire to cater your party or event. The pink hued walls inside thrum with vibrant mural wall art and don’t forget to look up at the ceiling. The pink neon theme, oh so South Beach, is carried through the bar’s interior walls and actual pink neon signage. When you’re seated at the bar look up to admire the Chicano-style artwork, reminiscent of Day of the Dead celebrated each year in Mexico on November 1 st including art in tribute to Mexico’s famous 1920s painter, Frida Kahlo.
1.21.20 Blogpost Pink City Taco VIP opening
Some of the more interesting and deeply rich and tasty bites included Queso Bean Dip, the Pink Taco with achiote chicken, black beans, avocado, arbol salsa, cotija cheese and habanero picked onions on fresh corn tortillas. The “pink” in the name Pink Taco is from the pickled red onions, which add a zesty bite to the taco.
We also sampled Carne Asada and Al Pastor tacos. This is the real deal just like SoCal Mexican food. Pink Taco Miami serves lunch, dinner, drinks, dessert and brunch daily. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday and every day you can enjoy happy hour margaritas,
beer, sangria and an array from tasty morsels their menu from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
I had the opportunity to sail on Royal Caribbean’s newly refurbished Oasis of the Seas over the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays. Wow!!! What a ship! It was a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise sailing from Miami calling on Labadee (their private island off Haiti), San Juan and St. Thomas. There were three days at sea so it was a very leisurely itinerary which meant lots of time to just chill on deck and enjoy the plethora of amenities and activities on board. Some of my highlights: our cabin. We had a lovely balcony cabin and the room was quite spacious. “Central Park” on deck 8 was quite spectacular. I was impressed with the amount of trees and foliage found on this deck that opened up to the sky. This deck is where several of the Specialty Dining restaurants could be found as well as the top floor of the “floating” bar that traveled up and down between decks 5 and 8. The Boardwalk was a lot of fun as well with a Carousel and game booths and a few other specialty restaurants including Johnny Rockets and a candy store. The Aqua Theater is also located on this deck at the end of the Board Walk in the back of the ship. The show they do is terrific!!! The soundtrack, amazing! It’s a free show and one of the best I have seen, on land or at sea. I would suggest making a reservation early on and sometime towards the beginning or middle of the cruise as opposed to the end as sometimes the weather sailing back into Miami may get a little rough and they might have to move some reservations around if rough weather is expected.
We also enjoyed the ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas . He was both hysterical and amazing. The way he threw his voice was mind-boggling. We also enjoyed one of the comedians who is from Miami. His name is Nery Saenz. Not only was he funny as all heck, but clever tool. He knows he has a name that’s not easy to remember, but what is easy to remember is “What Was That Guy’s Name?” So he bought that domain and that’s literally how I just looked him up for this post.
The Bionic Bar was really quite the spectacle. Drinks were made literally by robots. Check it out.IMG_5301÷
Other highlights include the Spotlight Lounge. We found ourselves here on a few nights enjoying some sing-a-long games akin to name that tune. Was a lot of fun. I also went on the slides (both wet and dry). Didn’t get around to trying the surf rider, maybe next time…
We mostly ate at the Windjammer Cafe since there was such a variety and no waiting. We did eat in the dining room a couple times and we ate at the Hibachi restaurant which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for us. Not because the food wasn’t good, but because the large party they had scheduled to seat with us,,, with never showed up, so it was just the two of us and not much of a “show”.
For excursions, we just kinda did our own thing. Total beach day at Labadee. In San Juan, we walked around Old San Juan, visited some local shops, headed over to El Morro Fort and decided to get henna tattoos on our way back to the ship. In St. Thomas, the weather was kind of iffy, so we were fortunate to have gone on our own to Coki Beach to get a little snorkeling in before the rain. We heard the planned water shore excursions were cancelled.
Back on the ship, I got a little lucky in the casino at the craps table. I’m not much of a gambler but sure had fun making a bunch of people a bunch of money with a lucky 20-30 minute roll. Beginner’s luck?!?
All in all, my friend and I had a wonderful cruise. I’m looking forward to my next adventure coming up in February; Destination: New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Stay tuned…
It’s that time of the year again…you know, the one when kids are off from school, the days get longer and hotter, tourists go home cutting our commute times in half (SoFla) and local businesses start extending the best offers. Ah…Summer in South Florida!!!
Yours truly kicked off summer with my two new team members, Marti my personal assistant and Jennifer my marketing & branding specialist. Time for some company bonding and what better place to host a little staycation retreat than at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, who happens to be a new partner of Savor Our City’s. (More on that later…)
After checking into the room, I met the girls at The Patio Bar & Grill for some happy hour drinks and lite bites. Lucky for us, when we checked in, we were given some complimentary drink coupons and once we used those up, drinks were still half-off making the already great wine at $6 a glass even tastier at $3 (SCORE!!!)
Started off with a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc and peel & eat shrimp and the tuna tartar (ahi tuna, spicy mayo, BBQ teriyaki glaze, cucumbers, avocado, wonton, wakame slaw) ooooh so yummy! Here’s a closer look at it…
We continued to enjoy ourselves for 3 solid hours at which point we decided to take a stroll up the street to a place called Barracuda which Jennifer used to visit frequently and wanted us to check out. We had just enough room in our bellies to try another cocktail and a sample platter of assorted tapas. Our server was friendly and was happy to engage in conversation with us. I would definitely go back.
Get Your Eat On… Patio Bar and Grill, a popular casual restaurant facing the beach and the ocean, features traditional American cuisine and has an extensive & impressive list of tropical drinks. Burger Craze restaurant features a nice bar, burgers, wings, and hot dogs. If you’re in the mood for more upscale Italian cuisine, then Café Med restaurant, under the helm of Chef Lilo Teodosi, has got you covered. To round out the night, or on a nice hot summer afternoon, have an authentic Italian gelato at the very popular Vaniglia E Cioccolato Gelateria where there’s something for everyone. Wanna sample them all? Well guess what?!? You can do that on “A Taste of Wyndham Deerfield Beach” – a new food tour that started up about a month ago. It is open to the public and tickets must be purchased in advance. It is offered every Thursday evening from 5:30pm – 8:30pm (unless otherwise stated) for $65pp. The price includes a full meal with food & alcohol tastings at all four activations within the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort with a local Savor Our City guide, a goodie bag with special offers from area businesses and from the restaurants sampled, a stroll along the International Fishing Pier, and gratuities.
Besides boasting three distinctive restaurants on its premises with entirely different menus and different cuisines and a gelateria, other amenities include a hot tub, a spa and an outdoor pool and bar, as well as a 24/7 fitness center and a business center.
Let me tell you about the room. I was given a room with floor to ceiling windows and man did I have a spectacular view. The room was very pleasant, modern and had an ocean like vibe. The Resort underwent a complete renovation in 2011. Not sure if you know this or not but the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort is independently (privately) owned. It was built by the Chase Family who have owned and operated it since its opening day.
Every room at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort has floor-to-ceiling windows (either ocean view or city view), Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, as well as minifridges and coffeemakers. Suites have additional bedrooms and separate living areas as well. Some feature ocean views. Room service is available.
The Resort is a full-service hotel with 172 rooms, a ballroom, and meeting space, totaling about 4,500 square feet which can accommodate weddings up to 180 people and meetings up to 250 people.
The next morning was quite magical, awakening to this…
This beach front property is centrally located, halfway between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and are approximately 20 or 30 miles away from both airports.
Its location is just one aspect that sets the resort apart. The Resort is located directly across from a very quaint, pristine, safe, clean beach – one of the nicest ones in south Florida. There’s a village-like atmosphere here; the height of the buildings is limited to 55 feet, so there are no tall buildings, skyscrapers, etc. It looks like old Florida and reminds folks just how things used to be, yet with modern and clean buildings. There are shops, restaurants, entertainment, sporting activities, all within walking distance.
The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort is especially proud of its reviews, as they should be. They have received excellent reviews and are very proud to have been the number one hotel on Trip Advisor in Deerfield Beach for five consecutive years.
In 2016, they were voted Wyndham Property of the Year – the number one Wyndham hotel in the system. They also received the Best of Wyndham Award for their reviews, not just on Trip Advisor but compiled from data originating from a combination of all the reviews from all different sites.
To book a stay at The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, click on this link to be taken to their website.
Savor Our City recently attended the popular and well-established Boca Bacchanal presented by the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum held at the well-known Boca Raton Resort & Club. This is the 17th year in which this annual event has brought together world class chefs and vintners, offering their finest specialties, while providing residents and visitors with a delightful opportunity to support an outstanding cause. Proceeds raised, benefit an array of innovative, diverse and rapidly growing Historic Preservation and Heritage Education programs that are offered for children and adults. Savor Our City enjoyed some very tasteful bites from over 20 local restaurants including; M.E.A.T, Bonefish Grill, Gourmet Phile, Burtons Grill, Med Café, to name a few and a sampling of some delicious and creative wines and brews from Potions In Motion Catering, Tattinger Champagne, Ron Rubin Winery, and Unibroue, again to name a few. Savor Our City is proud to support this event and cause.
CELEBRITY GUEST AT HANGAR PARTY, HEADLINE GALA ENTERTAINER
& CONCOURS JUDGE
The Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, world’s largest and fastest growing for charity
Celebrating the Marque of the Year, Bentley Motorcars and its 100th Year Anniversary
Tremendous weekend of events to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County
This spectacular event will be held at the world-renowned Boca Raton Resort & Club. The weekend’s events start on Friday night with The “duPont Registry Live!” Hangar Party at the Boca Raton Airport. On Saturday night, enjoy a black tie gala dinner and live auction. That same evening, the prestigious Automotive Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to an icon in the automobile industry.
On Sunday, the main event takes place. Here, car enthusiasts from around the world will stroll amongst the finest pre-war and post-war automobiles and motorcycles ever created.
With its great venue, world-class spa, championship golf, outstanding tennis facilities, and exquisite beaches, this event offers everything you need for the perfect winter holiday. From the classic automobiles and fine cuisine, to the great entertainment and warm Florida sunshine, the Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance is the envy of vintage car shows nationwide.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd
“The duPont Registry Live!” Hangar Party
The weekend kicks-off with the duPont REGISTRY™ Live Hangar Party at Atlantic Aviation at the Boca Raton Airport with celebrity guest, Jay Leno. Guests can peruse an impressive selection of exotic cars, motorcycles, private jets, premier vendors and more and will also experience gourmet tastings from more than 20 of South Florida’s finest restaurants and indulge in an array of fine wines and spirits as plus live entertainment. Participating restaurants include: Boca Raton Resort & Club; A Alexander; Abe & Louie’s; BGCBC Culinary; Enerbee; Oceans 234; Ouzo Bay / Loch Bar; Sette Bello Ristorante; Sette Mezzo Ristorante; Taverna Opa; Potions in Motion; Café Med; Seasons 52 and more.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd
(5:30pm – 11:00pm): Grand Gala Dinner, Auction & Show. Prior to dinner, guests will enjoy a cocktail hour and will have the opportunity to bid on a unique array of items at the silent auction. Immediately following the cocktail, guests will be served a gourmet dinner during which they will have the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind trips and experience packages like tours of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, luxury jewelry and a Commissioned painting of by BCDE artist from England, Barry Rowe and the original Bentley portrait and commemorative poster during live auction. Additionally, guests will enjoy the presentation of the National Automotive Manufacturer Lifetime Achievement Award to Mercedes-Benz USA President & CEO,Dietmar Exler, National Automotive Dealer Lifetime Achievement Award to Rick Hendrick, Chairman and Owner of the Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports and National Automotive Racing Lifetime Achievement Award to Ryan Hunter-Reay as well as a stellar performance by one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country, Jay Leno.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24th
The Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance
13th Annual Concours d’Elegance Located at the Boca Raton Resort & Club / 501 East Camino Real
Sponsored by Rick Case Automotive Group, Sunday’s all day-event features the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance automobile and motorcycle exhibition
10:00am / VIP Brunch with Jay Leno and Wayne Carini, Host of TV Show Chasing Classic Cars
The day starts with an exclusive private brunch where guests can join Jay Leno and Wayne Carini, Host of TV Show Chasing Classic Cars for an intimate brunch with a Q&A session. ($1,000 per person).
10:00am / Gates open to the show field
Guests can enter the show field and admire over 200 collector cars and motorcycles.
Guests from around the world will experience an automotive showcase like no other, featuring vehicles and motorcycles from an array of time periods. Celebrity Judge Jay Leno will join an expert panel of judges including Chief Judge Dr. Paul Sable and Steve Moskowitz, Executive Director of AACA and Jay Quail, CCCA Executive Director. Additionally, Grand Marshal Wayne Carini, host of Chasing Classic Cars joins the group for another stellar year along with Master of Ceremonies Bill Rothermel and Tom duPont, who will select the finest vintage, antique, classic and exotic vehicles based on period, presentation and style.
11:00am / Jay Leno walks the show field
Celebrity Judge Jay Leno walks through show field meeting automobile, motorcycle owners and attendees as he searches for his favorite automobile & motorcycle to present the Jay Leno Big Dog Garage Award.
11:30am / Concours d’ Gourmet
Once the show kicks off, guests are invited to enjoy a selection of gourmet food, wine and cocktails from over 20 of South Florida’s finest restaurants at the Concours d’Gourmet Pavilion.
12:00pm / “Wheels from the Heart” Car Giveaway
Wheels From The Heart will donate their 100th car to a single mother (member) from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Steven Muschlitz founded Wheels From The Heart which gives single mom’s in need the a vehicle to get a job, drive to school and all of the things we do every day with an automobile.
The official 2019 artist for the overall event is Barry Rowe from England one of the world’s leading automotive artists which has developed a worldwide following due to his distinctive style and passion for his technique featuring atmosphere and interaction which allows you to see every automobile at its finest. Rowe has been commissioned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and acts as a resident artist for inaugural cruises and is also the author of the award-winning book, Atmosphere and Light: The Automotive Art of Barry Rowe, is a complete retrospective of Barry’s work and includes paintings and sketches from Barry’s long love affair with art and the automobile, placing each within its historical content. Additionally, since 1998, Rowe has created posters for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The 2019 Collector of the Year, Robert Jepson of Savanna, GA will feature his Vintage Auto Collection including the debut of several vehicles: 1920 Stutz Bearcat (debut); 1926 McFarlan, Model 145 TV – Six Passenger Touring (debut); 1927 Isotta Fraschini LeBaron, Model 8-AS Dual Cowl Phaeton (multiple award winner); 1928 Stutz BB Cabriolet by Phillips (CCCA First Place Winner); 1929 Bugatti Type 435 Cabriolet; 1930 Packard, Model 734S (debut).
For additional information on the 13th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance and a full schedule of events, please visit www.bocaCDE.com or please call (954) 537-1010.