A WINE-DRIVEN DINING EXPERIENCE, INSPIRED BY NAPA VALLEY’S WINE COUNTRY

Posted By : denise/ 152

Hello Foodie Friends,

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.

HANDCRAFTED WINE

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.
Our server Daniel (sorry for chopping your head off Daniel). He was awesome!
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)
Trio of Cheeses: Stracciatella, Buttermilk Bleu, Sartori Parmesan, Honeycomb, Black Fig Jam, Grilled Polenta Crostinis
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS bin 78 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Shaved Parmesan, Lemon, Marcona Almonds, Balsamic Glaze (My favorite dish of the evening)
HOUSE-MADE MEATBALLS bin 90 Rich Tomato Sauce, Burrata Dolce, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grilled Polenta Crostini
TRIO OF MEDALLIONS* bin 80 Horseradish, Bleu Cheese, and Parmesan-Crusted Filet Medallions, Mary’s Potatoes, Asparagus
Dana’s Parmesan crusted chicken Tomato Basil Relish, Lemon Butter, Betty’s Potatoes, Garlic Green Beans
CARAMEL BANANA BREAD SUNDAE bin 63 Caramelized Banana, Vanilla Ice Cream, Rum Caramel, Candied Walnuts

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.
Emily Wines, Cooper’s Hawk’s Master Sommelier
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.
Until we eat again…
   I send you delicious wishes, xo
Denise

The Balcony Las Olas Rolls Out All New Menu Items

Posted By : denise/ 205

Hello Foodie Friends,

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).

SidesMash ‘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 PlatesHalf 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).

SideGlazed Sweet Potatoes with toasted pecans and marshmallow ($7).

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Some noteworthy mentions: Sunday Jazz Brunch, “Sip, Tipple, Savor” Happy Hour (1/2 off drinks and bar bites, M-F 4-7pm), Tableside Crepes Suzette and Bananas Foster every day after 4pm.

Daily Specials:

Mon (all day) 50% off signature cocktails, Kids Eat Free

Tue (all day) $6 Burgers, $3 Beers: Corona/Light, Heineken/Light, $5 Dixie Vodka Cocktails

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.

Until we eat (and drink) again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 

 

FemAle Brewfest 2018 Celebrates Women in the Industry and Great Beer

Posted By : denise/ 321

By Chloe Sommers

On Saturday, Downtown Ft. Lauderdale was flooded with beer enthusiasts and local breweries for the second annual FemAle Brewfest. It was a sunny day – perfect weather to throw back a cold one!

The outdoor event moved to Huizenga Plaza in downtown Ft. Lauderdale this year. The new venue allowed for more breweries and more than doubled the capacity. This not-so-secret gem of a festival was brimmed with tasty local breweries. And the best part is that this Brewfest was specifically aimed at highlighting women in the beer industry as all the businesses were women-owned or founded. One brewery featured a female master brewer, Kayla Brogna, of Bousa Brewery in Miami. We tried their coffee stout and found it was the perfect sip to start the day off!

 

Next, we tried the Pomegranate Passion Fruit Evil Kiss. A Berliner Weisse by Tallahassee’s Proof Brewing Company.Tart yet full-bodied, the German-style beer awakened our taste buds!

There were people from all over the state in attendance, including Dana who recently moved to Florida from Colorado. She was involved in the Colorado beer scene and said this event was the first of its kind that she’s ever experienced. Dana told us she was really happy to see this event celebrating women in an industry normally dominated by men.

 

By far, our favorite beers of the day came from MIA Brewery in Miami. We kept coming back for their crisp and refreshing ‘Hard Water’ series so often that they gave us a can! A low calorie, gluten-free, low carb beer with only 5% alcohol, it’s great for a long day at the beach. We suggest the Cucumber and Lemon Lime flavor.

 

 

Finally, what beer fest would be complete without some beer-infused sweets? We found this eye candy by Lola The Baker at the festival. Her beer cupcakes are divine and come in fun flavors including; Fruity Pebbles, Chocolate Raspberry, French Toast Maple Bacon, and Chocolate Cookie Dough. Her custom bakery in Miami even has gluten-free and vegan desserts!

 

 

The second annual FemAle Brewfest boasted live music, outdoor games, a Jameson Whiskey-sponsored tent (with free shots), and great vibes. We recommend getting your tickets early next year because it’s only a matter of time until more people find out about this intoxicatingly fun and lively Brewfest.

Coast On Over to Coastal for Brunch at The Atlantic Hotel & Spa

Posted By : denise/ 462

Hello Foodie Friends,

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.

For more info, contact eatcoastal.com.

Coastal is located inside The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, 601 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304  (954) 567-8070.

Until we eat again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 

 

24th Annual Celebrity Chefs Food Tasting & Auction

Posted By : denise/ 435

Hello Foodie Friends,

On Friday, October 6, 2017, more than 500 guests filled Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. to attend the Ann Storch Center’s 24th Annual Celebrity Chefs Food Tasting & Auction to dine on the delicious culinary delights of 26 of South Florida’s most innovative and celebrated chefs; The participating restaurants included: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Aruba Beach Café, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Bob Roth’s New River Groves & Terry’s World Famous Pies, Bravo Peruvian Cuisine, Brimstone Woodfire Grill, Casa D’Angelo Ristorante, Coastal, Crave Rum, Hard Rock Cafe, Hickory Sticks BBQ, Honeybaked Ham, I Heart Mac N Cheese, Jason’s Deli, JOJI Yogurt, Mimi’s Ravioli, Native Brewing Company, Riverside Market South, Roho Kitchen, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Catering, Sweet & Savory Catering, Tarpon River Café & Absolute Catering, Tijuana Taxi Co., Tin Fish, Truluck’s Seafood Steak & Crab House, and Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille.

This year’s event was a resounding success, earning more than $230,000. The event would not have been possible if it were not for the generosity of the many wonderful sponsors who supported the event. Guests also enjoyed a silent auction reception and photo booth throughout the night. For more info about this event and a complete list of sponsors, click here.

Until we eat & drink again (while giving back to our communities)…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

McCoy’s is Still the Real Deal and Then Some!

Posted By : denise/ 358

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today I am sharing my recent dining experience at McCoy’s Oceanfront Restaurant. Located inside the Marriott Pompano Beach, the resort’s signature beachfront restaurant and lounge pays homage to its Prohibition-era namesake. Some of you may recall a post I did on McCoy’s back in April of last year when I was still blogging under BocaFoodFinds. New year, new blog and new Executive Chef at McCoy’s. His name is Eric Kaszubinski and he has been with the Marriott chain for like a gazillion years. Chef Eric was appointed Executive Chef of McCoy’s this past April and has been turning up the heat and blazing a new trail in the food and beverage scene ever since.

Chef Eric oversees the culinary execution of the resort’s food and beverage program, which includes McCoy’s Oceanfront, in-room dining and catering for meetings and events. My dining companion and I were greeted at our table by Chef Eric who took the time to share with us his journey here and how excited he is to be able to explore his creativity and applying his love of the ocean to the dishes they’re serving in McCoy’s. He goes on to tell us how Pompano Beach has so much to offer by way of fresh, local ingredients and that it gives him such pleasure to live here and to be able to give guests a taste of this great city.

Chef prepared a variety of items from their lunch menu for us to taste. While we waited, we were presented with a cocktail & wine list. After scanning the menu up and down, my eyes kept returning to the Harlemese Sangria, a beautiful drink comprised of Chateau St. Michelle Riesling, fresh fruits, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and garnished with HUMONGOUS blackberries, fresh strawberries and mint. It was practically a meal in itself.

img_3014

The first item the Chef brought out was the local fresh ceviche. The fish changes daily and on this day, we delighted in the Corvino which sat in a bath of coconut, rum and slivered red onions (a little too many onions for my liking) served with some lovely plantain chips; but overall, the dish was very flavorful and we both liked it very much.

img_3016
Local Fish Ceviche
img_3018
Cedar Key Clams

Next item to hit our table was the Ale Braised clams.  These clams happen to come from Cedar Key and were accompanied by pork belly and a broth made with Cigar City Maduro craft beer, garlic and fennel. First of all, full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of steamed clams (or oysters or mussels for that matter). These clams were a little bit on the small side and my companion and I decided that their choice to stay local probably had a lot to do with that. Aside from the size, the combination of flavors and the other components on the plate certainly made up a well balanced dish. We both agreed that the broth resembled something of a French Onion soup-type flavor, which we both thought was delicious.

img_3019
Strawberry & Citrus Salad

As part of its commitment to sourcing fresh, local products, McCoy’s is now home to an Urban Garden, located at the front of the restaurant, where fresh plants and herbs grow and ultimately make their way into the dining menu. McCoy’s has partnered with Tampa-based Uriah’s Urban Farm to source local products. Plants are changed weekly and Chef Eric is more than happy to guide guests through the uses for each. We  had the opportunity to sample the fresh from the garden Strawberry & Citrus Salad made with arugula, fennel, orange, pistachio, feta cheese and tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. It was very light and well composed and just screamed FRESH!!!

img_3022
Crispy Rock Shrimp Tacos

Undeniably one of our favorite items we tasted throughout the day was this scrumptious crispy Rock Shrimp tacos. Served in a corn tortilla with an avocado “butter” (I’d say a more accurate description for this “butter” might be avocado crema), jicama slaw, and tossed in a sweet Thai sauce. The shrimp are from Florida. The shrimp were cooked to perfection. They were crispy but not laden in a heavy batter. I can’t believe I’m saying this, because I’m usually the biggest wimp in the world when it comes to heat, but…they could stand to add a little heat to the sweet Thai sauce. The lovely jicama slaw would be right there to help soothe some of that heat. But believe me, this is a super delicious dish as is.

img_3026
Fresh Catch Seafood Chowder

Now, having just returned from New England, I had “chowda” on the brain. I saw this offering on the menu and asked Chef Eric if it would be ok to try his version. I’m sure glad we did. It exceeded both our expections ten-fold. It was chalk full of seafood – ground conch, rock shrimp and local catch (in this case the Corvino was used) along with sofrito (A colorful blend of red, green, orange, and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, tomatillos, and garlic), veggies, potatoes, saffron and rum.

One other item that caught my eye, which wasn’t on the lunch menu, but was featured as a starter on the dinner menu was the local burrata, tomato jam (with caramelized red onion), fig balsamic & lemon oil. Had to have it. So happy Chef Eric was able to accommodate. Yay! It was terrific. A must-try for sure.

img_3029
Burrata starter on dinner menu 

And speaking of dinner menu: highlights from the new dinner menu include the Ale Braised Clams with pork belly, garlic and fennel (pictured above); Florida Pompano with sautéed fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, wilted greens and lemongrass herb butter; Farro Risotto with day boat scallops, gulf shrimp, English peas, summer squash, baby spinach and pancetta; and Lake Meadows Chicken with haricot verts, goat cheese polenta and her jus.

We concluded our tasting with the Black Forest Cheesecake, which you can have for either lunch or dinner (who knows, maybe you can even have for breakfast if you ask Chef Eric nicely enough) lol. This little masterpiece is made in house and has a delicious oreo crust and bourbon cherries. It was rather addicting.

capture
Black Forest Cheesecake

I want to thank Chef Eric for really extending himself and providing my guest and I with a wonderfully personalized tasting experience. One that we will remember for a long time and new memories we look forward to creating there in the future.

img_3023
Chef Eric Kaszubinski and me

Chef Eric recently rolled out brand new breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour menus. If you haven’t been to McCoy’s or if it’s been a while, I highly suggest you head on over and give them a try. I know there are so many choices to go, but trust me on this one, it’s a great find.

McCoy’s is located 1200 N. Ocean Blvd. in Pompano Beach, just south of the 14th Street Causeway inside the Marriott, right on the beach. For more info, you can visit their website or call (954) 782-0100.

Until we eat again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 

Savor the Flavors of Greece at Thasos Taverna in Fort Lauderdale

Posted By : denise/ 390

Hello Foodie Friends,

On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Thasos Taverna opened its lovely doors to host local news reporters & bloggers for a tasting of the Island Gems of Greece luncheon and presentation, which I had the distinct pleasure of attending. Special guest Chef Athinagoras Kostakos was flown in for the occasion all the way from the island of Mykonos, Greece where he has worked for the past eight years as the executive chef of Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge.

Before we were formally invited to take a seat for our lunch and presentation on the Island Gems of Greece, guests were treated to some signature cocktails made with Greek FOS Mastiha Liqueur.  The Mastiha tree is a small evergreen shrub, also known as “lentisk”, with a lifespan of more than 100 years. Apparently this tree can only be found on the Island of Chios Greece, which controls 100% of the world’s production of Mastiha. FOS Mastiha liqueur is a clear spirit with a sweet taste – a full range of herbal tones and tree essences, which are really enhanced when served in a chilled glass over ice. I had the pleasure of trying “The Detox” cocktail made with cucumber puree, thyme, lime and ginger ale. This tasty cocktail was created by Lef Kraounakis, head bartender at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.

1
“The Detox” cocktail made with Mastiha Liqueur For cocktail recipes, click here: 
5

During the four course lunch, guests were able to get a real taste for Chef Kostakos’s passion and flare for authentic Greek food with a twist. Our first course was a delightful cup of Chilean sea bass soup with mussels and rice. I love Chilean sea bass and never had it served in such a way before. My tastebuds were jumping up and down in joy!

7
Agean Sea Breeze, Chilean Sea Bass Soup

Next, Kostakos served what appeared to be a Greek twist on a traditional Italian Caprese salad made with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, capers, thyme and olive oil. This dish was packed with flavor; one of my favorite courses of the afternoon for sure!

9
Salad made in Mykonos

The main course consisted of an herb crusted lamb chop with lamb baklava cooked slowly and presented inside a flaky pastry with yogurt cumin sauce.

10
Athinagora’s Lamb – herb crusted lamb chop with lamb baklava yoghurt cumin sauce

For dessert, the chef presented the guests with a strawberry and mastiha soup topped with almond meringue. Having soup for dessert was a definite first for me and I have to give kudos to the Chef for enlightening me to this concept through this perfectly executed dish.

12

The unique combination of flavors in each course as well as the attention to detail conveyed through each item was impressive. Kostakos’s dishes represent a new breed of Greek cooking that is influenced by old world styles, which has evolved into a hybrid that merges tradition and ingenuity. His culinary creations make food look like an art form. Kostakos prides himself on using only the best ingredients, “The most important thing are the ingredients. They come together to create pleasure in your mouth.”

Although Chef Kostakos has since left Thasos and returned to his home in Greece, co-owner and Executive Chef Sophia Mylona ensures guests will have a special dining experience at Thasos that embodies Greece’s customs of using top quality fresh ingredients, with a menu that emphasizes herbs and spices complemented by simple preparation that lets the flavors stand out.

6
Thasos co-owner and Executive Chef Sophia Mylona

In addition to their made to order craft cocktails, Thasos offers more than 250 labels of wine from Greece and the rest of the world. The restaurant is a two-time recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.

Thasos is located at 3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant and bar are open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 5 to midnight. There’s live music nightly. Complimentary valet parking and self parking are available. For reservations or more info, call (954) 200-6006 or visit: http://www.ThasosTaverna.com.

Until we eat again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise