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.”
Freshness, flavor and an aphrodisiac touch that brings you back to life! This is how Peruvians describe a return to life! Saxsay Cafe’s Ceviche Mixto is a traditional dish of sea foods finely cut and doused a touch of lemon and bathed in the delicious sauce of Peru.
Saxsay Cafe knows there are always good reasons to celebrate with family and friends so why not take advantage of their two private spaces for a group, or just come in to enjoy the cozy familial atmosphere. Do not forget to try their weekend specials.
8425 W Commercial Blvd, Tamarac, FL 33351 Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11:30AM – 9:00PM | Friday and Saturday 11:30AM – 10:00PM
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…
I was invited back to Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, in Delray Beach for the recent launch of their new seasonal menu and to try out some brand new additions to the menu spearheaded by their new Executive Chef Amit Jain.
Their new fall menu features an assortment of seasonal dishes including new additions such as Vegan/Vegetarian, Gluten Free Farm-To-Table Dishes, refreshing cocktails and over 40 wines available by the glass available throughout the fall season. As the seasons change, you can always look forward to a bountiful new menu at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The fall menu features dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients resulting in the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious meals possible in a celebration of autumnal produce. Enjoy flavorful new flatbreads, salads, entrees and more –with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options now available. Fall menu highlights include: Plant-Based Spicy “Chorizo” Flatbreadbell pepper, kalamata olive, micro basil, vegan mozzarellaKennet Square Mushroom “Cheesesteak” sharp provolone, roasted bell pepper, caramelized onion, pickled banana pepper, hoagie roll Pasta-less Vegetable Lasagnabutternut squash, horseradish-pumpkin seed pesto, macadamia nut “ricotta”, spinach, tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, crispy plantain Seared Everything-Spiced Ahi Tuna orange soy-glazed carrot, wild rice, snow pea, winter radish Butternut Squash Soup toasted pumpkin seed, local honey Grass-Fed Bison Burgerbaby Swiss, shiitake mushroom, truffle aioli, fresh poppy seed onion roll Pumpkin Raviolibutternut squash purée, sage brown butter, dried cranberry, baby spinach, toasted pumpkin seed, gingerbread dust Impossible Meatloaf celery root purée, sweet & spicy ketchup glaze, roasted sweet potato, haricot vert.
My companion and I were seated in Jake’s section again, who was our wonderful server from our visit last Fall. You can read about that post here. My companion enjoyed the wine that Jake had recommended so much on our last visit that she ordered it again. Involuntary Commitment Cab Franc. Me? I went with one of their Fall specialty cocktails, the Apple Martini. The apple slice garnish was not only pretty but soaked up all the deliciousness that lay underneath.
For Chef Amit Jain, a perfect meal at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar begins with a flatbread. The Palm Beach County native, who has been working in restaurants since he was a young boy, knows good food when he sees it. Born in Freeport, Bahamas, Jain moved to Wellington, Floridawith his family early into his childhood, a place where he would eventually begin his career and find his calling. Some might call the westside city “rural” but for Jain it formed his love of animals while working and living on a farm, and is a reason why Harvest’s menu, with ingredients always sourced from responsible farmers, fisheries and butcheries, speaks to him. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University withprevious stints in notable establishments including Palm Beach’s Table 26 and Todd’s by Todd English,Jain has cooked for the likes of former President Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Alan Jackson and more. Yet, the now Boynton Beach resident feels most at home as Executive Chef at Harvestwhere he says he wants to help continue to create a space where everyone is welcomed.“Organic, hormone-free, all-natural, and grass-fed all add to the uniqueness of our menu,” says Chef Jain. “We support all local businesses that provide sustainable clean products that we can share with our guests under the motto “Farm to Table for everyone”.Today, Jain and his wife, Brooke, along with their two children, Willow and Rowan, live amongst 10 horses, three barn cats, two dogs and a potbelly pig named Pirate on their ranch. When he’s not in the kitchen, Jain can be found working on the farm. Next up is a move to add hens to their clan for fresh eggs as well as plant vegetables to sustain their family meals and guests
Harvest Seasonal Grill is a Pennsylvania-born harvest-centric eatery and wine bar. The farm-to-table concept offers a mostly under 500 calorie, seasonally-changing, local menu; 50+ wines by the glass; seasonal cocktails and local beer; along with eco-friendly décor, a patio, bar dining and private dining
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar: Delray Place, 1841 S. Federal Hwy. #402, Delray Beach, FL 33483. (561) 266-3239
So in closing, if you are hankering for some good healthy farm to table fare that changes seasonally, be sure to get yourself over to Harvest Seasonal Grill. You are sure to find many items to please your palate just as we did.
Savor Our City was recently invited to attend a media dinner at 26 Sushi & Tapas in Surfside for the launch their new menu.
Since 2014, 26 Sushi & Tapas has been and remains one of the Miami dining scene’s best kept secrets. This unique Latin-Asian fusion eatery is 100% certified Kosher,serving the vibrant, flavorful Japanese-Peruvian cuisine known as Nikkei. But those in the know – kosher or otherwise – have embraced the restaurant for its casually chic ambiance, wallet-friendly pricing and delicious cuisine. Now, with newly-appointed ChefMiguel Gomez at the helm, the restaurant is unveiling a refreshed menu featuring creative additions to abundant offerings.
“The goal with 26 was to go beyond what many think of as ‘kosher food,’” says owner Morris Kaplan. “We wanted to provide something exciting and different to that community but also deliver a compelling and delicious menu for everyone. We’re excited about the new menu and hope it keeps our loyal fans engaged and gives folks who never gave us a try a great reason to come in.”
The menu remains vast, offering plenty to explore and countless ways to mix & match to create a unique, immersive experience for each diner. Signature favorites – like the Nitro “Scallops” made from tempura battered scallops, rocoto aioli, sweet sauce,mixed greens and sesame seeds. Corvina Lettuce Wraps, made with Flounder tempura, Asian slaw, cashew pistachio crumble and aji amarillo aioli. Both of these items were extremely tasty, crowd pleasers for sure!
Tuna Tower and Truffle Tiradito – remain. They’ve been huge sellers for years and are going nowhere. Joining them on the playing field are their new hot and cold tapas including: Causa Krab Tower – cold, savory potato layer cake typical in traditional Peruvian cuisine, served with Krab salad and fresh avocado;
Nikkei Tuna Salad with fresh greens, enoki mushroom, carrot, and tri-colored peppers tossed in ponzu sauce and topped with sesame seeds; and Nao Ceviche Ball – traditional Corvina ceviche cured in a house-made leche de tigre, red onion, lime juice and aji limon then tempura battered with panko and deep fried. This was a really unique dish and fun to eat too!
Also debuting, several new sushi additions including the Nigiri 5-star – Chef’s choice of five nigiri selections served atop sushi rice;
Tropical Roll – tuna, salmon, kiwi, guava and dynamite sauce topped with tuna and rocoto aioli;
Crispy Kani Roll – soy paper, plantains, avocado, scallions and cream cheese topped with Krab tempura, masago and curry aioli; Sandra Roll – a rice-less roll with Krab salad, avocado, cream cheese, and tempura topped with fresh tuna; and the Acevichado Roll – Whitefish tempura, sweet potato and avocado topped with Corvina ceviche. A word to the wise – the new rolls may be amazing but you would be missing out BIG TIME if you didn’t have their popular Maduros con CocoRoll – flounder tempura, avocado and cream cheese topped with sweet fried plantains and coconut flakes – Just order it, you’ll thank me later!
Two unusual offerings worth a try: Sushi Burritos, which come in two styles – the Saltarito with sautéed salmon, fried egg, plantains, French fries and guacamole and the Three Amigos – fresh raw tuna, salmon and Hamachi with guacamole, scallions and a chimichurri ponzu – and the new Sushi Sandwich. Meant to be eaten with the hands, it consists of salmon, mango, avocado, scallion and dynamite sauce, layered between “slices” of pressed rice, served with guava dipping sauce.
New larger plates include Branzino Livornese – fresh Branzino filet served on a pool of fragrant Livornese sauce of capers, Kalamata olives, garlic and cherry tomatoes, dressed with house-made shakshuka and served with potato wedges; Tuna Kovi, sesame-crusted, seared tuna served on a bed of quinoa risotto huancaina, topped with pico de gallo and a balsamic reduction; and a sweet & sour Red Snapper, grilled and served with grilled vegetables and rustic mashed potatoes.
The restaurant’s vibrant desserts have also received a seasonal upgrade; not to be missed offerings include a fresh Strawberry Pavlova served with whipped cream and the sinfully creamy Goat Cheese Ice Cream.
Apart from updated summer offerings, 26 Sushi & Tapas also boasts an impressive, four-hour long Happy Hour available Sunday through Thursday from 5PM-9PM. The Surfside mainstay has updated their Happy Hour food selection to include several Tapas-style items priced between $6 and $8 dollars. Guests 21 and over can enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials depending on the day:
Sunday: “Sunday Funday” – 2-for-1 Mimosas (available all day)
Looking to spice up your next soiree or corporate event? As a premiere service caterer, diners can bring the 26 Sushi & Tapas experience to any home, office, or event space. The restaurant’s versatile catering menu offers a wide variety of crowd-pleasing options and can accommodate special ordering requests allowing guests to customize menus that make the most of an event and reach budgeting goals. For more information, contact Natalia Suarez at (305) 570-2626 or email her at email@example.com.
26 Sushi & Tapas is located at 9487Harding Avenue in Surfside, FL. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday: 9AM-10:15PM; Friday: 9AM-2:30PM (closed for Shabbat) and Saturday: 9:15PM-11:45PM. Happy Hour is available Sunday through Thursday from 5PM to 9PM. Follow 26 Sushi & Tapas on Instagram: @26Sushi_Tapas and Facebook: @26SushiTapas; Telephone: (305) 570-2626; http://www.26sushitapas.com/
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.
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 Gala Dinner
(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.
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar Debuts Festive New Fall Menu New Additions Include Vegan/Vegetarian, Gluten Free Farm-To-Table Dishes
Hello Foodie Friends,
Today’s blog is about my recent dinner at Harvest Seasonal Grill. I was invited to check out their new Fall menu so I could share my experience with all of you. My last two posts on Harvest both featured previous Spring menus. The Fall menu was released the end of September and will run through the holidays at which time the new Winter menu will be launched.
My companion and I were shown to our table and soon greeted by our server Jake, who ran through the menu layout with us. My companion had some questions on the wines. Jake was very knowledgeable about the wines on the menu and exceptionally helpful in his explanations..I always enjoy Harvest’s seasonal sangria flights so that is what I decided to begin with. My companion opted for a Cab Franc blend called Involuntary Commitment from Napa Valley. Harvest has a large number of wine varietals that you don’t see on other restaurant menus.
My Sangria Flight consisted of: White Caramel Apple, Rosé Ginger Pear, and Red Blood Orange Pomegranate. The Rosé sangrias have been my favorite in the past, but this time, the Red Blood Orange Pomegranate got my vote for top pick. Now onto the food tastings. Chef Bill came out to say hello and after a brief discussion, he offered to send out a few dishes for us to try. We started off with the Pear & Bleu flatbread. (Spoiler alert: this was my favorite item of the entire evening). The flatbread was PACKED with flavor and they were very generous with their toppings which were well distributed.
Next out were the Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash Dip and Tuna Poke.
Next round were the Diver Scallops, Grilled Filet Mignon, Pumpkin Tortellini and side of roasted seasonal vegetables
There definitely was a butternut squash theme going on with our selections on this evening. So if you’re a butternut squash lover, be sure to head over to Harvest Seasonal Grill right now to get your fill of butternut squash!
For dessert, we were presented with their minis:one was a Spiced Apple, one was Pecan something and one was a Key lime cheesecake. In all honesty, I did not have room to taste any of the desserts, but my companion did and said the Spiced Apple had an abundance of cayenne in it and the Pecan one was a bit hard and the Key Lime tasted mostly like vanilla frosting. I guess the desserts must have been off on this day, because this is quite unusual to have a miss on 3 out of 3. I have always enjoyed their desserts in the past and won’t let this one “off day” ruin my coming in again and giving them a try.
WHO: Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, Delray Beach’s season-forward, farm-to-table eatery and wine bar owned by the Dave Magrogan Group, announces their new fall menu featuring an assortment of seasonal dishes, refreshing cocktails and over 50 wines available by the glass now available through the fall season.
WHAT: As the season’s change, you can always look forward to a bountiful new menu at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The fall menu features dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients resulting in the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious meals possible in a celebration of autumnal produce.
Enjoy flavorful new flatbreads, salads, entrees and more – with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available. Fall menu highlights include: