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:
Today’s post is a two-for, featuring both a wonderful new hostel/boutique hotel and restaurant we were introduced to right in the heart of South Beach. Founded in 2011, Generator, a London-based brand known for their trendy design-forward European Hostels that feel more like boutique hotels, has just opened its first US location in Miami Beach this past August on famed Collins Ave, just one block from the beach. Generator, remodelled from a 1940’s condo building, offers 300 beds in 105 rooms. One of the unique things about this hostel is that in addition to the traditional shared rooms (which start at $20 per bed per night), is the addition of private rooms that start at just $95/night. Generator is not the hostel you might have stayed at while travelling around Europe (probably in your early twenties). They have pulled out all the stops to create a sense of community, incorporating such amenities as an inviting pool, 2 on-site restaurants, beautifully designed shared and private rooms and several really unique common spaces for guests to interact with one another or just take in the serene environment that’s been created for the solo traveler to enjoy on their own – not to mention the awesome location, right in the heart of South Beach. Several activities are being offered at Generator including yoga, mixology demonstrations, movies, a pool table, DJs and more planned.
I was invited by Desirey, the Event Sales Manager and my lovely host for the afternoon who arranged a tour of the hostel/hotel and a lovely lunch for us at Driftway, one of the two restaurants found on the property. As we made our way past the pool heading towards Driftway, I couldn’t help but notice this amazing mural painted on the side of the building. It had been painted by South African artist Chris Aurett. The food & beverage operations are being overseen by Gui Jaroschy, whose impressive resume includes opening the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach as well as several other locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York; managing the Anderson in Miami’s Upper Eastside; and consulting on cocktail menus for Ricochet Lounge, Drunken Dragon and British Airways.
Alex, our Driftway guy let me sample all four of their frozen drinks; the Suze and Coke, OMFG Margarita, Bird of Paradise and the Friesling. I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was the Bird of Paradise which was made with Beefeater Dry Gin, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, Martini Bitter and J Wray Rum, allspice and cubeb pepper.
The food and frozen drinks were amazing, as was the ambience and the company. I am looking forward to planning my next Staycation right there at my new favorite place on South Beach.
If you are planning a trip to Miami Beach and are looking for things to do in the area, you might want to consider booking a Savor Our City tour. Private tours are offered for a minimum of 2 guests and groups of up to 50 people. Choose from South Beach, Wynwood, Little Havana, Miami Springs, Doral and Brickell. For more info on tours, contact Savor Our City.
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
Head Chef and co-owner Monique Buchbinder (the name MoBu is derived from the first two letters of her first and last name), earned her degree from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan prior to working as a chef at Per Se (the sixth highlest Michelin rated restaurant) and at the famed Nobu in Miami (yes, you might say there might have been a tad bit of influence behind her restaurant’s chosen name) before deciding to become a private chef taking on catering jobs and hosting dinner parties in Manhattan, Naples and Miami. She began cooking for a gentleman named Bruce who moved to South Florida from New York. When Chef Monique expressed her interest in opening her own restaurant one day to Bruce, he realized her talent in the kitchen was too good to keep all to himself and decided to help back her. Bruce’s daughter, Brooke, MoBu’s General Manager and Marketing Director, handles the front of house and community events, while Chef Monique makes magic in the kitchen. In addition to making dishes that are filled with flavor, Chef Monique makes dishes that are sensitive to healthy diets and food allergies, including nut-free and gluten-conscious (gc) items in addition to vegan, organic, vegetarian diets. Seasonally inspired, beautifully plated, and sourced from some of the world’s most vibrant cultures, Mobu’s dishes leave guests filled with a revitalized love for cuisine and community.
Sourcing foodie favorites from Asian, French, and Caribbean cultures, MoBu Fusion Cafe in Boca Raton is where folks come to enjoy international cuisine in an elegant local atmosphere. Using fresh ingredients as her brushes and plates as her palettes, Chef Monique only works with the best food suppliers so you can expect to always enjoy the most delicious and freshest ingredients. From beautifully presented appetizers and main dishes, to tantalizing desserts, you will be in food heaven.
Relax and unwind in their beautiful patio dining area, where you will be surrounded by nature & water. This is where our group of bloggers gathered for a brunch tasting. Every dish that was brought out had a flare to it and each was exceptional. We started out with an Amuse Bouche of Tuna Poke (gc) artfully plated on a black slate. Next was the Banana Bread French Toast, which was my personal favorite. On top of this most wonderful gluten-conscious French toast (which I still can’t get over had little to no gluten) was bananas foster, Marsala wine, whipped cream and berries. I believe I am drooling as I am writing this now. lol! Our next course was a Crab Egg Benedict which featured lovely lump crab cakes topped with poached cage-free eggs and a delicious hollandaise sauce. The final tasting of the day was the Tuna Poke Bowl which was made with sushi grade tuna loin, on top of quinoa, brown rice, avocado, sesame seeds and cucumbers.
In addition to their wonderfully yummy brunch menu, they have a simple yet well thought out dinner menu as well with wonderful selections from land to sea. MoBu’s first 5 course Chef’s Table dinner is scheduled for this Friday evening, April 20th. For details, click here.
MoBu Fusion Cafe is located at 1159 South Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Delivery is available through Delivery Dudes. Catering is also available.
It was this time last year that I wrote about Harvest Seasonal Grill and their opening in Delray the previous Fall. Since then, I’ve been back numerous times to enjoy the creative seasonally-inspired dishes of Executive Chef Bill Ring.
I was invited to dine as a guest of The Gab Group, the PR firm representing Harvest. I brought along my long time foodie friend and newcomer to the blogging scene Patrice from @ForkAndACork. We started off with our choice of cocktails. When I saw the rosé sangria was back on the menu, I immediately chose that for my selection. I’m not ordinarily a fan of rosé, but when Reba, Harvest’s Marketing & Events Manager, first introduced this Rosé Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria last year, it was love at first sip. The key is to make sure that the glass has lots of ice and is served super chill too! Patrice enjoyed her Red Mango Apricot Sangria very much as well.
Next, we decided on a couple apps: the Thai sesame beef lettuce wraps and the sweet pea & avocado toast. The Thai beef wraps were the star of the two for me.
For the entrées, we tried the cedar roasted salmon which was seasoned and cooked to perfection! We both really loved this dish and I also really enjoyed how Chef Bill prepared the side of veggies (squash, zucchini & carrots). The second entrée was not necessarily a new dish, but the Super Grain Bowl is now being presented in a new fashion and can be found under the “bowls” section. We chose chicken as our protein but you can select the protein of your choice. The dish, in our opinion, was a little dry and needed some more of the sauce that it came with. Once our server brought us over some more and we were able to incorporate it into each bite, it was quite yummy.
The signature tray of mini desserts was brought our way to tempt us. There were so many wonderful varieties to choose from and we chose the chocolate salted caramel mousse and the walnut fudge brownie. Both were soooooo good!!!!
Be sure to check out my previous write up on Harvest Seasonal Grill to get a little more info on the restaurant.
Harvest Seasonal Grill is located in the Delray Place shopping plaza at1841 S. Federal Highway, #402, Delray Beach, FL 33483. For more information or to make a reservation, call (561) 266-3239 or visit www.harvestseasonalgrill.com.
It’s been some time since my last post. It’s that time of the year again when we get so crazy busy with all the wonderful food and wine events to cover on top of all the extra visitors who come into town and book us for our culinary tours and experiences. We have been working hard on creating a brand new website which will soon be launched and we have been growing our company both geographically as well as team members, but more on that in the next newsletter.
Today, it’s all about our visit to Coastal Restaurant located inside the Atlantic Hotel on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. I was invited to experience the brunch there by the PR firm representing the restaurant, which is located in the previous Beauty and the Feast spot, for those of you who remember that one.
I love brunches, particularly buffets (as opposed to a la carte) and especially ones that have as great a variety as Coastal. What I REALLY liked about Coastal’s brunch was that in addition to the marvelous options on the buffet, they have a menu of select a la carte plates every Sunday with a couple staple items that appear each Sunday such as bananas foster french toast and chicken & waffles and other specialty items such as eggs benedict, tacos and pancakes that change each Sunday. On this day, they were serving a crab cake benedict, pulled pork taco and chocolate chip pancakes. Lucky for me, they make these a la carte items in really cute small portions so you can try one of each (like I did) without feeling (too) guilty. LOL!
The pricing is extremely reasonable for just $39.95 per adult and $19.95 for children 12 & under. You can add bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, & Bellinis for just $18.98 or $5/glass. What’s more, they offer 3 hour complimentary valet parking! How great is that?!? They have live music too. The buffet is available from 11am – 3pm. Definitely worth checking out!
Well, there you have it. Not only does Coastal have a great view of the ocean, but the decor is clean and inviting, the staff is friendly and attentive and the food is excellent. What more can you ask for? If you’re looking for somewhere to go this Valentine’s Day, they have some pretty awesome couples packages available, including a Gourmet Picnic Dinner on the Beach, Oceanfront Dinner at Coastal, and Three Spa Atlantic Packages, starting at Only $120. Valid Feb 11th – 18th, no overnight stay required.
David Valencia has been in restaurant kitchens for the past 14 years – a relatively short time by executive chef standards – but the 33-year native of Colombia has experience far beyond those years. Valencia, executive chef at Costa Palm Beach, has cut his teeth at such fabled restaurants as The Modern in New York City and trained under Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.
He later joined renowned hospitality group EMM Group to open Catch with Top Chef Winner Hung Huynh in New York and Miami and was Chef de Cuisine at Meat Market Palm Beach before opening Costa (with owner and veteran Palm Beach restaurateur Sascha Bennemann) earlier this year.
All of Valencia’s high-powered training and learning is paying off at Costa, located on the second floor of The Esplanade on Palm Beach’s trendy Worth Avenue.
“Modern Mediterranean’’ is how Valencia describes Costa’s menus, which feature several of what might be considered Valencia’s “signature’’ dishes. Among them is the amazing Salt Baked Branzino, a three-pound Crispy Pork Shank (for two) and for lunch, an off-the-chain Lamb Burger.
“I wanted to bring something different with a lot of different flavor profiles – big bold flavors,’’ Valencia said.
Those bold flavors certainly come out in dishes such as the Salt Baked Branzino served with arugula emulsion, grilled lemon, olive caper tomato relish. It’s a terrific explosion of flavors that has many guests telling friends, “Get the Branzino,’’ when they go to Costa.
“I’ve been doing something similar (in terms of preparing the Branzino) for the past seven or eight years,’’ Valencia said. “For whatever reason, this is the dish people come back for. I didn’t expect it to be like that.’’
And don’t fret. The full fish is for presentation purposes only.
The Crispy Pork Shank goes back to Valencia’s childhood days in Colombia.
“Pig was my thing,’’ Valencia said with a smile. “We had a big farm and we had a pig for every big holiday.’’
Valencia’s Crispy Pork Shank is cured in salt, garlic and spices for 24 hours and cooked for three to four days to allow the meat to tenderize. When customers order it, Valencia flash fries the pork shank to get the skin extra crispy. It’s then presented to the guests table side and returned to the kitchen where in the inside meat is prepared for serving.
“You’ll never have a better piece of pork,’’ Valencia said.
I’m certainly not going to disagree. If you’re into pork, the Crispy Pork Shank is a “must have’’ on the Costa menu. Same with the Branzino if you’re into fish.
Some of my other favorites? The Hamachi (served with finger lime, avocado, sumac and cilantro) as an appetizer. The Moroccan Lamb Stew is outstanding. And you can’t leave without having the House Hummus served with house made Naan Bread.
A good way to get to know the Costa menu is to take advantage of its Summer Menu (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), which features items such as the Hamachi and House Hummus, as well as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Chicken Escalope (grilled chicken breast, zucchini, eggplant, herb puree, arugula, lemon), each for 50 percent off the regular menu prices.
“I don’t change the quality or the sizings,’’ Valencia said. “That menu is a real treat for somebody to try something that’s not as expensive and to try something maybe they haven’t had before.’’
One taste of Valencia’s big, bold flavors, however, and they’ll be back.
Steve Pike (www.myspiketravel.com) is an award-winning food and travel writer. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.