Savor Our City’s Marketing Director Jennifer Ouvrard and Founder/Chief Foodie Officer Denise Righetti
Well it’s been a while since I have attended an organized media dine, understandably so since we have been in a pandemic. We are very fortunate here though in South Florida as our restaurants and businesses have been open and operating at full capacity much sooner than most other cities of comparable size. I for one am very excited to get back out and attend new restaurant openings and food & wine festivals and share my discoveries with you. This post is about my preview of the Waterstone Resort’s brand new SeaSpray restaurant (Boca’s ONLY waterfront dining) which is serving up local cuisine with casual coastal elegance. We were treated to a lovely selection of cocktails, appetizers, an entree of our choice and every dessert on their menu. Spoiler alert: this place impressed every one who attended this media dine. And it’s about time we finally had a waterfront dining option that actually served decent food and didn’t just rely on their location to draw people in. Read: great views + great food + service = new fave go-to spot!!!
SeaSpray is bringing Boca Raton everything it never had but always secretly needed, an intracoastal escape made of equal parts glamour and laid-back charm. Developed by Evolution Hospitality as part of an extensive half a million dollar renovation to Waterstone Resort & Marina, SeaSpray is led by VP of F&B/acclaimed Executive Chef Kelley Randall, who developed an innovative, sustainably-minded menu rooted in traditional staples highlighted by local seafood. “You can come by boat or by car, have a bunch of burgers, order fresh salads and quality seafood options or reserve an 8pm seating and dine more formally, for steak, grilled Mahi or other quality entrees. There’s both glitz and familiarity — but it’s a breezy vibe,” says Randall.
SIMPLY GRILLED SALMON. sweet potato mash, broccoli, Vermont maple glaze
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream
KEY LIME PIE crumble, sorbet, raspberries, mango puree
APPLE COBBLER salted caramel gelato, dulce de leche
CAMPFIRE S’MORES marshmallows, chocolate bar, graham crackers Photo Credit: Gyorgy Papp
Executive Chef Kelley Randall Photo Credit: Gyorgy Papp
Menu highlights include shareable plates such as Sticky Cauliflower with sesame soy glaze, toasted sesame seeds and scallions; Grilled Octopus with chorizo, fingerling potato, olives, cilantro-scallion vinaigrette; and Pear Tortellini with truffle cream sauce (to die for; probably my fave dish of the night), rosemary, parmesan; “Handhelds” like the Mahi Reuben with tangy cabbage slaw, 1000 island dressing, served on marbled rye bread and the Seaspray Burger with prime beef, aged cheddar, iceberg, red onion, tomato, signature sauce, served on a brioche bun; and Mains including Chicken Paillard with romaine, orange segments, fennel, red grapes, toasted almonds, mustard vinaigrette; Skirt Steak Frites with chipotle marinade, chimichurri, rosemary parmesan fries; and Frutti di Mare with lobster, gulf shrimp, clams, mussels, linguine, spicy San Marzano sauce, parmesan crostini. Executive Chef Kelley thoughtfully created a menu that took into consideration people with special diets such as Gluten-Free, Vegetarian and Vegan, which are all easily identifiable on the menu.
Guests can indulge in a mixologist-curated list of craft cocktails every bit as exciting as the menu. Think Signature Cocktails like Dark & Stormy with Goslings dark rum, ginger beer, lime and Pomegranate Martini with Tito’s, Palma liqueur, Grand Marnier; Frozen libations like Bailey’s Colada with Oak & Cane rum, pineapple, coconut, Baileys float (reminds me of my days of working on board cruise ships; the crew were privy to a secret concoction called the “BBC” which stood for Bailey’s Banana Colada) and Mudslide with New Amsterdam Vodka, Kahlúa, Baileys, ice cream, chocolate; Margaritas such as Pineapple Jalapeño with Dulce Vida Tequila, muddled jalapeno, pineapple juice, lime and Blue Lagoon with Casamigos tequila, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice.
As for design, the 2,000-square-foot-eatery’s unmistakable nod to both modern tropical and vintage chic makes for a uniquely casual-meets-luxurious experience with fully outdoor covered and patio dining an expansive outdoor bar and gorgeous private dining room accommodating up to 20. Think Beverly Hills intermingled with Tulum style. With both traditional elegance and fun, edgy and cool vibes present, the ambience embraces older and newer generations alike. Each piece of furniture at SeaSpray is unique, custom-designed by the team to dress the experience, while spot lights, neon signs and soft champagne lighting create a myriad of differing atmospheres all within one space, fashioning a sweetly intimate mood in a social setting.
The space embraces South Florida’s tropical nature. There are different spaces for different people and moods. Seating is arranged in such a way that everyone will have a gorgeous view, and each nook and cranny feels different. The idea is to feel like you’re in your own backyard, overlooking the intracoastal.
Onsite, an oversized mural by local artist Gabriela Benatar spanning seven walls total, celebrates South Florida in its entire splendor, highlighting the local flora and fauna and speaking to the constant evolution of both our surroundings and ourselves, celebrating nature while bringing a little bit of the outside in. The mural took two months to complete.
Happy Hour is M-F from 4-6pm (except holidays) with select wines, well cocktails and draft beers available for $7 as well as a number of yummy appetizers, including my favorite the pear tortellini, for just $7 as well. You will definitely want to visit (or revisit) this wonderful location next time you are in the area. Be sure to look out for me there and if you spot me, come say hi!
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 was recently invited to attend the opening of Kasai & Koori in Boynton Beach and boy was I in for a fantastic and tasty surprise!!!
Kasai & Koori, an Asian-inspired dessert restaurant concept created by restaurateur co-founders Lee Goldberg and Taylor Levy, is taking traditional Asian desserts such as Japanese Kakigōri, Taiwanese shaved ice, Taiyaki waffles, and Korean Bingsu, and re-imagining them by giving them a distinct and delicious North American twist. The name Kasai & Koori is a derivative of the Japanese terms fire and ice, representative of polarizing forces coming together to deliver a truly unique experience in an upscale environment. According to Goldberg & Levy, “it’s all about dessert because dessert makes people smile.” Most of what they have here has not been available or tried in the US until now.
The people of Southeast Asia have been harboring a sweet secret for years: delicious traditional desserts inspired by the ice caves of the famed active volcano, Mount Fuji. And now, for the very first time, Americans are able to experience these delectable delicacies including Japanese Kakigōri, Taiwanese shaved ribbon ice, and Korean Bingsu, re-imagined with the grand opening of Kasai & Koori.
Kasai & Koori made its official debut in South Florida this month in Boynton Beach with three more locations spread throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties opening soon. The idea for the unique business venture came to life thanks to longtime friends and business partners, Lee Goldberg and Taylor Levy. Goldberg, an attorney and original co-founder of popular eatery chain BurgerFi, and Levy, running his family’s Golden Corral franchise stake with four locations, stumbled upon the discovery of Kakigori, a Japanese frozen dessert delicacy, on a recent trip to Asia where they initially intended to scout Asian street food prospects for a food hall they were looking to develop back home.
Having had their light bulb moment and knowing they had to be first to market what they discovered abroad, Kasai & Koori was born. The duo continued exploratory trips back and forth to Asia to seek out the best in frozen cultural desserts that neighboring countries had to offer. After a trek up Mount Fuji which produces ice year-round when the air meets water, Goldberg and Levy ever fascinated by their experience and immediately began collaborating on Kasai & Koori.
“Kasai & Koori encompasses a melting pot of traditional Asian flavors through a virtually-untouched concept here in the United States,” says Goldberg. “We wanted the brand to pay homage to their culture while bringing an American twist to the menu, offering concepts that are not only one-of-a-kind here in South Florida, but to the United States as a whole.”
“In Japan, we have watched locals form lines each and every day around the block just to taste these desserts, often ordering two or more at a time,” echoes Levy. “We know we are able to offer something so distinct with the opening of Kasai & Koori and look forward to bringing our menu all across the nation.”
On Kasai & Koori’s menu, standout items include six varieties of Kakigōri, a dessert historically presented to Japanese royalty and made from shaved blocks of ice, garnished with flavors and toppings. Choices include the Sleeping Dragon (Matcha) with Matcha, Azuki Bean, Koori whipped cream, dragon milk, golden powder and the Miyako Moon (Mango) with mango, dragon milk, Koori whipped cream, Belgian Butter cookie. Meanwhile, ribbon ice, a thin-shaved snow ice delicacy is considered a bold ice and cream dessert full of taste and customized to the guest’s desire. Menu selections include the Island on Ice (Coconut) with coconut, dulce de leche, Koori whipped cream and The Timid Tanuki which translates to “Japanese Raccoon” but will signify a Cookies & Cream creation with caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, Oreo.
Those on the go can opt for a Taiyaki; a popular handheld treat often served at festivals and street markets in Japan and Korea. Resembling a fish-shaped waffle cone, (snapper is a good luck symbol in Asia) the baked pastry is stuffed with sweet or savory specialty fillings including Kasai & Koori’s Cheraoke with chocolate and cherry, The Castaway with dark chocolate banana and coconut and the Bean There with sweet Azuki bean and golden powder. Savory hot Taiyaki sandwiches, ideal for any time of day, will also be available with options such as The Break Fish with egg, sausage, cheese and The Laughing Fish with cheddar, mozzarella, tomato.
Other indulgences on Kasai and Koori’s menu include artisan-made Mochi and Spiked Dragon Beard, three flavors of flavored ice infused with alcoholic beverages.
Kakigori is a traditional Japanese treasure originally reserved for royalty, made from shaved blocks of ice and garnished with flavorings and toppings.
Tropical Fuji (Mango) shaved ice, mango sauce, condensed milk, koori whipped cream, fresh diced mango, Belgian butter cookie
Pale Mountain- (Lychee) shaved ice, lychee fruit sauce, purple taro crème, lychee fruit stars
The Red Fox (Strawberry) shaved ice, strawberry sauce, diced strawberries, condensed milk, koori whipped cream, rare cheese cream, chia seed sauce, cinnamon streusel
The Sleeping Dragon (Matcha) shaved ice, matcha tea sauce, azuki bean, koori whipped cream, condensed milk, golden dragon powder
True Romance (Peach) shaved ice, white chocolate mint sauce, peach jam, chopped fresh mint
Up all Night (Coffee) coffee shaved ice, coffee sauce, condensed milk, dolce de leche, koori whipped cream, toasted almonds
Ribbon ice, a traditional thin-shaved ice delicacy from Southeast Asia, is a bold ice and cream dessert infused with flavorings and complemented with an assortment of toppings.
Tokashiki Moon ((Mango) ribbon ice, mango sauce, condensed milk, diced mango, koori whipped cream, Belgian butter cookie
Island on Ice (Coconut) ribbon ice, coconut sauce, dolce de leche, koori whipped cream, toasted coconut
The Dark Warrior (Coffee) ribbon ice, coffee sauce, dolce de leche, toasted almonds, koori whipped cream
The Timid Tanuki (Cookies & Cream) ribbon ice, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, Oreo® cookies & crumbles, koori whipped cream
Taiyaki Waffle Cone shaped like a seabream is known in Japanese mythology as the “lucky fish” and confections made in its shape have been eaten as a snack since the Meiji period. Filling the “fish” with frozen cream was a luxury though, and typically saved for festivals—until now.
Creamy ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of Japanese mochi rice dough. The resulting hand-held dessert is as playfully delicious as it is refined.
Each Kasai & Koori location will also be 100 percent committed to sustainability with bamboo cutlery, filtered Vero Water, reusable water bottles, and more. Kasai & Koori locations are peanut-free to create a safe environment for kids (and adults) with peanut allergies to be able to come in and enjoy.
Under Goldberg and Levy, Kasai & Koori will open four locations this fall in Fort Lauderdale (Sistrunk Market & Brewery), Boynton Beach (Canyon Town Center), Delray Beach (Pineapple Grove), and Pembroke Pines. The pair plans to open additional restaurants in Miami and Orlando before expanding further north and opening the doors to qualified franchisees.
I was super excited to learn that they will be opening a K & K store in Downtown Delray and will be added to our “Taste Atlantic Avenue” culinary tour. Stay tuned for more info on this…
This Kasai & Koori is located at 8784 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33472 561-336-2211 KasaiAndKoori.com
The Baked Bear @thebakedbear, a San Diego, California-based ice cream shop known for its inventive, monstrous ice cream sandwiches and homemade original recipes opened its first-ever Florida location at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL.
The Baked Bear showcases hand-churned ice cream scoops and customizable ice cream sandwiches made with the choice of fresh-baked cookies and brownies. Offering a mix-and-match style for guests to discover their favorite dessert combination, the super-premium craft ice cream collection will showcase original flavors like Blackberry Crumble, Toasted S’mores and Lavender Cheesecake, to name a few. Guests have the option of having their ice cream sandwiches rolled through colorful toppings ranging from Fruity Pebbles to Oreo Crumble and sprinkles, resulting in the brand’s Instagram-worthy reputation. And customers can also order their ice cream sandwiches ‘hot pressed’.
The Baked Bear concept was started by childhood friends, Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger, who left their careers to follow their true passion: serving up inventive sweets in their hometown of San Diego, California. The Baked Bear quickly became a phenomenon, known for high-quality desserts and recognized by Forbes and Business Insider. The San Diego-favorite has now grown to 26 current locations in nine states. The company has plans to continue to expand throughout Florida.
“We have had our eye on Florida for some time now, but finding the right local person to bring The Baked Bear here was crucial,” said Stanger, Baked Bear Co-Founder. “We are confident that Angela will provide a fantastic experience inside a popular shopping destination where the community can fall in love with our ice cream and desserts.”
“We are thrilled to introduce The Baked Bear and its award-winning concept to the South Florida community,” says Angela German, owner of the Sunrise location. “Because it’s always summer here and always a perfect time for ice cream, this location will make the ideal hotspot to cool down with delicious homemade treats.”
The Baked Bear Sunrise will also stay true to the brand’s mission to “spread joy and create memories, bringing a smile to every customer’s face, one ice cream sandwich at a time” by offering rotating, seasonal flavors and a freshly baked Cookie of the Month.
The 806 square ft. Sunrise store is located in The Oasis at Sawgrass Mills Mall – 2604 Sawgrass Mills Circle, #1125, Sunrise FL, 33323.
For more information on The Baked Bear, please visit www.thebakedbear.com and follow along on Instagram at @TheBakedBear.
Well I finally made it to Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant at the newly opened location inside the Galleria Mall in Ft. Lauderdale. Have you been to one yet?
Founded in 2005 by CEO Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is built upon the passionate belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections.
At Cooper’s Hawk, they understand that great wines begin in the vineyard. Their winemaker and his team travel the globe looking for the very best grapes and when they are particularly impressed – whether it be in Chile, France, California or Washington – they work with the wine grower to begin crafting their one-of-a-kind wine. Their winemaker nurtures each wine according to its individual needs to craft the best wine possible. It’s this philosophy that has led to hundreds of national and international awards for their collection.
MODERN CASUAL DINING
Cooper’s Hawk has created a modern, casual dining experience with warm hospitality in an inviting upscale setting. Their culinary team has designed a contemporary American menu infused with flavors from around the world. Each dish is made fresh in their scratch kitchen, incorporating peak-of-season ingredients, and listed with a bin number to guide you to your selection’s perfect wine match.
NAPA-STYLE TASTING ROOM & ARTISANAL MARKET
Cooper’s Hawk’s Tasting Rooms embrace the rich experience of Napa, providing guests the opportunity to explore and expand their palates and enrich their wine journey. High end decanters, wine accessories, and gifts, along with their very own gourmet food line, allow guests to live the Cooper’s Hawk lifestyle at home.
Last May, one of our staff attended Cooper’s Hawk’s Grand Opening in Pembroke Pines. You can read about her visit here.
On this recent visit, my Marketing Director, Jennifer and myself had the pleasure of being treated to a lovely dining experience. We first stepped foot into their market/tasting room which offered a variety of items for every wine lover. I am told that guests are usually treated to a tasting of the wine of the month here in the retail store, but on this particular day and time of our arrival, we didn’t notice any being offered.
As we were shown to our table we passed a tasting barrel that contained Cooper’s Hawk’s signature Bordeaux-style Blend. Guests are treated to a tasting of this special blend straight from the barrel, which is also bottled for wine club members.
We started off with the Artisan Cheese Plate with the Master’s flight, a monthly flight curated by CH’s Master Sommelier, Emily Wines. Cooper’s Hawk Lux Ice Wine · Viognier · Cabernet Sauvignon · Super Tuscan · (This was my second favorite item of the evening)
Meet Emily Wines, CH’s Master Sommelier. (With a name like Wines, it seems as though a career in the wine business was inevitable). Emily’s responsibilities include expanding and strengthening the Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club community, and advancing team members’ knowledge of wine. She serves as the liaison between the company and its individual restaurants, engaging with guests and the brand’s 350,000+ Wine Club members to create unique experiences centered around wine and spirits. She spearheads initiatives designed to enrich the guest journey through education, immersive events, collaborative partnerships and curated lifestyle adventures.
Cooper’s Hawk has a Wine Club which is designed exclusively for their Members who love to explore, share and pair new wines with wonderful food and memorable moments. Wine Club Members enjoy access to extraordinary events and partake in one-of-a-kind experiences in their own cities and around the world. Their Club is a community of friends & neighbors who have a thirst for a life well lived. Some of the benefits of joining their wine club:
Members receive monthly wines, insider tasting notes and delicious recipes not available to the general public.
Members get rewards with every dollar they spend and points towards dining rewards.
Members get access to awesome domestic and international trips to the greatest wine regions
Members get invited to spectacular evenings of food and wine featuring celebrity chefs, sommeliers and outstanding cooking demonstrations.
Members get gifts on their birthday, Cooper’s Hawk’s anniversary or just to say thanks.
Members get special member-only pricing on wine, select retail, catering and carryout.
Memberships start at just $19.99/mo. For more information on membership, as well as a whole lot of useful wine tips and other valuable info, please visit their website.
We enjoyed our visit to Cooper’s Hawk at the Galleria location very much. The staff were very friendly and extremely knowledgeable and the service, food and ambiance were all delightful. I am looking forward to my next visit back.
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.
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)
Recently, Savor Our City was invited to attend the opening of the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Bar in Pembroke Pines, FL, a fantastic place to visit for any occasion. What a unique concept. Not only are their signature wine pairings reason enough to visit, but their culinary selections, all made in their scratch kitchen, are delivered to perfection to compliment one’s wine pairing. Each recommendation is made by their highly trained Chef and house staff along with a professionally trained management team.
Truly a unique culinary and wine tasting experience.
The Cooper’s Hawk concept includes four different components: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room with a great adjoining retail store. All under one roof.
Upon arrival, we were directed to the large Napa-tasting room which was quite impressive. For a set fee or with the wine membership they offer, you can sample their latest reserved and private label wine selections. The tasting room is a great way to learn about the wines and you actually feel like you are in a true winery tasting room.
Then came the real fun part…sampling all of Cooper Hawk’s favorites on the menu which included 9 courses, each selected with wine pairings all recommended by their head Sommelier, Emily Wines…She is amazing!
Whether you’re an avid wine enthusiast or a novice, Cooper Hawk’s has make it easy for their quests to select the perfect pairings; each food item is offered with a wine pairing suggestion labeled on the menu by bin number, as suggested by the winemaker.
My personal culinary favorites were the Candied Bacon & Artisan Cheeses, delicious award-winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas, Fresh Pan Roasted Barramundi with Thai Lemongrass Sauce and my favorite of all….Short Rib Risotto with White Truffle Oil…OMG!!! Just to die for… And then of course to top it all off, the Cooper Hawk’s Chocolate Cake.
Their menu is extensive, so more reasons to go back time after time to experience it all. They also offer a Life Balance menu as well as a Gluten Free menu.
At the end of this memorable dining experience, along with making new friends over sensational food and wine pairings, I had left feeling VERY content and probably a few pounds heavier as well… It was so worth it.
I highly recommend Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant & Bar Pembroke Pines any time and for any occasion.
Today’s post is courtesy of one of Savor Our City’s contributors, Patrice Huber @ForkAndCork
Dessert and Bubbles Party
Josie’s Ristorante, located in Boynton Beach, is family owned and operated, and known for their traditional Italian cuisine. Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a Dessert and Bubbles Party.
We were welcomed by Chef Mark Militello, a James Beard Award-Winning chef and Sebastiano Setticasi, co-owner and chef de cuisine. This event was all about Ashley Roehrig, Josie’s pastry chef, who is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Tonight she was showcasing several of her delicious dessert creations.
Chef Ashley first teased us with trays of individual bites created from her tasty desserts.
This included Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Coconut Pie, 16 Layer Chocolate Cake and Tiramisu. After we sampled these, she presented some of the full sized desserts, as they are served to customers. We started with the aroma of fresh from the oven Banana Fosters Bread Pudding. Truly a wonderful combination with the fluffy whipped cream oozing over the warm bread pudding with candied pecans and creamy bananas foster, which was perfectly adorned with chocolate. (Chocolate should be a required decorative addition to every dessert.)
Our next dessert delight was the Key Lime Pie. It was a sweet representation of the creamy key lime custard then topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries nestled in whipped cream. My mouth was happy to enjoy one of the most famous South Florida desserts.
Then we were presented the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. It was rich and creamy and the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The Tiramisu was light and melt in your mouth, and yes with a special chocolate spoon. The Italian Wedding Cake was amazing.
I saved the best for last, if you are a chocolate lover that is. It was the 16 Layer Chocolate Cake. Sixteen sweet layers of chocolate cake alternated with chocolate frosting goodness. It made my chocolate inner child smile.
Josie’s Ristorante is located in the Riverwalk Plaza at the southeast corner of Woolbright Road and Federal Highway. They have been serving homemade Italian fare in Boynton Beach for 26 years, making this a destination dining location.
2-6PM Monday-Friday & 4-6 Saturday & Sunday plus 9-close at the bar
Late Night Bar Happy Hour 9 pm to close
Half Price Drink Specials and $6 specialty drinks
New “Small Plate Menu” at bar & on the patio from 3-6 pm and after 9 pm
1602 South Federal Hwy
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
Follow them on Facebook @JosiesBoynton and Instagram @JosiesRistorante