It’s that time of the year again…you know, the one when kids are off from school, the days get longer and hotter, tourists go home cutting our commute times in half (SoFla) and local businesses start extending the best offers. Ah…Summer in South Florida!!!
Yours truly kicked off summer with my two new team members, Marti my personal assistant and Jennifer my marketing & branding specialist. Time for some company bonding and what better place to host a little staycation retreat than at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, who happens to be a new partner of Savor Our City’s. (More on that later…)
After checking into the room, I met the girls at The Patio Bar & Grill for some happy hour drinks and lite bites. Lucky for us, when we checked in, we were given some complimentary drink coupons and once we used those up, drinks were still half-off making the already great wine at $6 a glass even tastier at $3 (SCORE!!!)
Started off with a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc and peel & eat shrimp and the tuna tartar (ahi tuna, spicy mayo, BBQ teriyaki glaze, cucumbers, avocado, wonton, wakame slaw) ooooh so yummy! Here’s a closer look at it…
We continued to enjoy ourselves for 3 solid hours at which point we decided to take a stroll up the street to a place called Barracuda which Jennifer used to visit frequently and wanted us to check out. We had just enough room in our bellies to try another cocktail and a sample platter of assorted tapas. Our server was friendly and was happy to engage in conversation with us. I would definitely go back.
Get Your Eat On… Patio Bar and Grill, a popular casual restaurant facing the beach and the ocean, features traditional American cuisine and has an extensive & impressive list of tropical drinks. Burger Craze restaurant features a nice bar, burgers, wings, and hot dogs. If you’re in the mood for more upscale Italian cuisine, then Café Med restaurant, under the helm of Chef Lilo Teodosi, has got you covered. To round out the night, or on a nice hot summer afternoon, have an authentic Italian gelato at the very popular Vaniglia E Cioccolato Gelateria where there’s something for everyone. Wanna sample them all? Well guess what?!? You can do that on “A Taste of Wyndham Deerfield Beach” – a new food tour that started up about a month ago. It is open to the public and tickets must be purchased in advance. It is offered every Thursday evening from 5:30pm – 8:30pm (unless otherwise stated) for $65pp. The price includes a full meal with food & alcohol tastings at all four activations within the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort with a local Savor Our City guide, a goodie bag with special offers from area businesses and from the restaurants sampled, a stroll along the International Fishing Pier, and gratuities.
Besides boasting three distinctive restaurants on its premises with entirely different menus and different cuisines and a gelateria, other amenities include a hot tub, a spa and an outdoor pool and bar, as well as a 24/7 fitness center and a business center.
Let me tell you about the room. I was given a room with floor to ceiling windows and man did I have a spectacular view. The room was very pleasant, modern and had an ocean like vibe. The Resort underwent a complete renovation in 2011. Not sure if you know this or not but the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort is independently (privately) owned. It was built by the Chase Family who have owned and operated it since its opening day.
Every room at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort has floor-to-ceiling windows (either ocean view or city view), Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, as well as minifridges and coffeemakers. Suites have additional bedrooms and separate living areas as well. Some feature ocean views. Room service is available.
The Resort is a full-service hotel with 172 rooms, a ballroom, and meeting space, totaling about 4,500 square feet which can accommodate weddings up to 180 people and meetings up to 250 people.
The next morning was quite magical, awakening to this…
This beach front property is centrally located, halfway between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and are approximately 20 or 30 miles away from both airports.
Its location is just one aspect that sets the resort apart. The Resort is located directly across from a very quaint, pristine, safe, clean beach – one of the nicest ones in south Florida. There’s a village-like atmosphere here; the height of the buildings is limited to 55 feet, so there are no tall buildings, skyscrapers, etc. It looks like old Florida and reminds folks just how things used to be, yet with modern and clean buildings. There are shops, restaurants, entertainment, sporting activities, all within walking distance.
The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort is especially proud of its reviews, as they should be. They have received excellent reviews and are very proud to have been the number one hotel on Trip Advisor in Deerfield Beach for five consecutive years.
In 2016, they were voted Wyndham Property of the Year – the number one Wyndham hotel in the system. They also received the Best of Wyndham Award for their reviews, not just on Trip Advisor but compiled from data originating from a combination of all the reviews from all different sites.
To book a stay at The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, click on this link to be taken to their website.
My Assistant Marti & I were invited to The Balcony, a vibrant New Orleans-Inspired restaurant on Las Olas Blvd which opened approximately 8 months ago to check out their new menu which recently launched and now features even more dynamic dishes including some American favorites and tapas for sharing. To celebrate the launch of their new menu, The Balcony is offering a buy one entrée, get one 50% off special on Monday, March 25–Thursday, March 28 from 4–7 p.m.
Our server Myana (pronounced like Bryanna), was super nice and very knowledgeable about the menu items. The cocktail list was quite extensive and loaded with lots of interesting concoctions. Marti had the Sazerac which was made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Pernod Absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters & Lemon ($15) I opted for the Pink Pearl which was made with Stoli Elit Vodka, Disaronno, Fresh Strawberries & Lime ($15). They were both excellent. Off to a great start. Then GM John and Chef Simon came over to welcome us and let us know that they would be sending out a variety of items for us to try and informed us if there was anything else we saw on the menu that we wanted to try, we were welcome. We were in for a treat for sure!
First out was the gumbo soup. This soup hit all the right notes and flavor profiles for me. It was a great surprise since I had never been one to fancy gumbo before. The warm crusty bread was a nice compliment as well. Great job, Chef! Next up was the Natchitoches Beef Pies (beef empanadas). Natchitoches is a city in Louisiana that is famous for making these little pillows of heaven. They were packed with flavor and I enjoyed the garlic dipping sauce it came with. The other sauce, we were given advance warning, was hot so I stuck to the garlic one. The crab cakes were not only adorable but very tasty. The perfect shareable dish. Chef sent out their signature salad, the Mardi Gras Peach & Berry. What a gorgeous salad; it just popped with color. Chef Simon explained to us that he pickles and poaches the peaches in the peak of season so that he is able to use them year round. We both really liked the freshness of each component of the salad. Our next tasting was the Baton Rouge Beef Sliders and the Shrimp Po Boy. The beef sliders were topped with housemade bacon jam, abita beer cheese, caramelized onion and pickled serrano (I actually didn’t know there was a serrano pepper in there, so if you’re a wimp like me in the spice/heat department, don’t worry). This burger was THE BOMB!!! I am love with it for sure. The Shrimp Po Boy, on the other hand, lacked a little flavor for me and out of all the dishes we tried, was my least favorite. But not to worry, we got right back on track again with the Lobster Bisque made with cognac cream. It was heavenly and I would highly recommend this dish. It ranks up there as one of my favorite lobster bisques of all times. Marti had never tried fried green tomatoes before and I’m a fan when done right and boy did these deliver in the flavor department. They too, raised the bar on which all fried green tomatoes will forever be judged. OK, I’m sure by now you’re wondering how in the world we could still fit anything into our bellies, right?!? Well, we couldn’t resist at least trying a beignet. When you think of beignets, most undoubtedly the famous place in New Orleans, you know the one comes to mind. After popping one of these lovelies in my mouth, I just closed my eyes and within seconds, I began to feel as if I had been transported to New Orleans. These beignets were served with 3 unique dipping sauces; berry jam, spiced chocolate and orange marmalade.
Besides the Lobster Bisque, other new menu items include Vegetable Dumplings, Braised Meatballs, Chicken Cobb Salad, Oyster Po’Boy and more.
“This new and diverse menu offers something for everyone!” said Kim Bokamper, former Miami Dolphins player and partner in PDKN Restaurant Group, which owns The Balcony. “Boasting the savory tastes of New Orleans along with American favorites, the menu merges a variety of appetizing flavors within many unique dishes.”
Both the lunch and dinner menus offer the following new dishes:
Tapas:Vegetable Dumplings with sweet serrano chili sauce ($12), Coconut Crusted Shrimp with sweet mango serrano sauce ($15), and Braised Meatballs with house made tomato sauce ($13).
Soup:Lobster Bisque with cognac cream ($7 on lunch menu; $8 on dinner menu)
Salad:Chicken Cobb with avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, Point Reyes blue cheese, egg, heirloom tomato, romaine lettuce, and creamy Cajun dressing ($14 on lunch menu; $16 on dinner menu); Seared Ahi Tuna with heirloom tomato, cucumber, arugula, and lime dressing ($16 on lunch menu; $18 on dinner menu).
Hand Helds:Oyster Po’Boy with heirloom tomato, lettuce, Meyer lemon remoulade, and fries ($15 on lunch menu; $16 on dinner menu); The Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and fries ($1 add cheese, $2 add Applewood smoked bacon) ($12 on lunch menu; $14 on dinner menu).
Sides: Mash ‘n’ Collards with Applewood smoked bacon, mashed potato, and collard greens ($7); Fries with moonshine ketchup ($5); Mashed Potatoes with cream and butter ($6); and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with pecan maple glaze ($7).
The following new dishes are available only on the dinner menu:
Main Plates: Half Roast Chicken with red beans and rice ($19); Shrimp ‘n’ Grits with Carolina BBQ shrimp and cheese grits ($26); 8 oz.Filet Mignon with Mash ‘n’ Collards, crispy onions and Madeira sauce ($32); 14 oz. Prime New York Strip with sautéed mushrooms and fries ($38); Grilled Salmon with corto poached potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts, and Meyer lemon herb butter ($28); Grilled Ahi Tuna with glass noodles, stir fry vegetables, and sesame seeds ($36); and Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with corto poached potatoes and Sicilian ragout ($39).
Side: Glazed Sweet Potatoes with toasted pecans and marshmallow ($7).
Wed HUMP DAY ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR 50% OFF DRINKS & BAR BITES, $5 HUMPSTER HURRICANES, 50% OFF BOTTLES OF WINE (bottles $100 & under), $9.99 SHRIMP PO’BOY & DRAFT BEER
Thu (7pm – close) Ladies Night: FREE Tito’s Vodka Cocktails, FREE Bubbles – Live Music – DJ
Fri (2 – 5pm) Ditch Friday: $3 Abita Draft Beer, $4 House Wines, $5 Tito’s Vodka Cocktails & Martinis, Happy Hour: ($4 – 7pm Half off Drinks & Bar Bites
There’s actually more, so to get a complete list or for more information about The Balcony and its new menu, visit www.thebalconylasolas.com or call (754) 200-6344.
ABOUT THE BALCONY
The Balcony, a PDKN Restaurant Group concept, offers a New Orleans-inspired restaurant with a twist. Located on trendy Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, this two-story restaurant features the dynamic tastes of New Orleans, which blends French, Spanish, West African, Amerindian, German, Italian, Irish and Vietnamese ingredients. Guests enjoy New Orleans-style small plates, craft cocktails and live music. The Balcony is owned by former Miami Dolphins player Kim Bokamper and his three partners, who also own Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, with locations in Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, Plantation, Naples, and Estero. The Balcony is located at 1309 E. Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301. The restaurant is open Monday-Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Thursday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. For more information, visitwww.thebalconylasolas.com or call (754) 200-6344.
ABOUT PDKN RESTAURANT GROUP
PDKN Restaurant Group was founded by former Miami Dolphins player Kim Bokamper and his three partners, P.J. Kavanagh, Damon DeSantis and Noel Cullen, in 2008. Following Bokamper’s successful sports and broadcasting career, he was approached by current partner Kavanagh about furthering his brand through a restaurant. The first Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill was founded in 2008 in Plantation, Florida. Today, the group owns five Bokamper’s restaurants locations in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Miramar, Naples, and Estero ― all dedicated to providing exceptional service, great food, and an unparalleled atmosphere for friends, families and sports fans of all ages. PDKN Restaurant Group also owns and operates The Balcony, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard and Bo’s Beach, featuring fresh seafood and stunning ocean views on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
I feel like another confessional coming on: Forgive me for its been way too long since my last post. Life just has a habit of sometimes getting in the way of keeping my writings as current as I’d like them to be. But I promise, as always, to deliver you our latest Food Finds (new restaurant openings, menu updates, food & wine festivals, charity galas, product reviews and recipes, and destination travel).
Today’s post is on The Venu (www.TheLocalVenu.com), an upscale and intimate restaurant, bar & entertainment destination that recently opened in Boynton Beach, FL. Open daily from 11am – 3am, offering lunch, brunch (Sundays 11am – 3pm) Happy Hour starting at 4pm and dinner featuring live music throughout the week and every weekend. You can find a complete schedule of all their shows and ticket info on their website and facebook pages. The Venu is outfitted with a 200″ projector screen and a 22′ X 20′ stage and showroom, along with a state-of-the-art sound and light system. Expect to see talent from all over the world playing on this stage, representing every genre from funk and soul to rock, reggae, DJs, comedy, Broadway acts and more.
The Venu has brought on Executive Chef Kelley Randall (previously head chef at Vic & Angelo’s and The Office in Delray Beach) to run the kitchen. He is a highly regarded and well-known master of inspired farm-fresh cuisine who incorporates locally sourced ingredients to create imaginative menus for lunch, brunch dinner and showtime. All pastas and desserts are crafted in-house daily and all dishes are prepared from the scratch kitchen. Chef Kelley’s take on Italian and modern European fare is highlighted by such signature dishes as the Wild Boar Pappardelle, Frutti Di Mare, Coq Au Vin, 1855 Ranch Ribeye, Stuffed Portabella Mushroom, Waygu Beef Carpaccio, Grilled Octopus, PEI Mussels Provencal and much more including daily specials.
I had the great pleasure of trying several of these and other signature dishes at a recent Media event.
The preset menu was divided into sections: Under “Let’s Begin”, we sampled the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and the Meatballs Al Forno.
Every well thought out component came together to create a harmonious dish. The Wagyu beef just melts in your mouth and the fried caper aioli provides an added layer of umami. By the way, in case you didn’t know what grissini was when you were reading my description up above, do not fret; I didn’t either, so I looked it up and here’s what it is: breadsticks, lol! Thin crispy Italian breadsticks.
It wasn’t but a few months ago that I tried bison for the first time on one of our tours in Sanford where I had the most delicious bison burger at The Smiling Bison. So I was super excited to see this meatball at The Venu contained bison in their mixture. The meatballs were delicious there’s no doubt about that, although I don’t know that I could really detect the bison.
Moving on to the next section, under “Greens” we got to try their Pear & Cream and House Crafted Pasta.
This whimsical salad was filled with my all time favorite cheeses, the burrata. I swear, if you’re anything like me, once you try burrata, it’s hard to go back to regular ol’ mozzarella. It is the king of all mozzarellas in my humble opinion. Anyway, I must say this dish was creatively assembled; never before had I seen poached pear served with burrata. Each of the items on the dish was treated with finesse while the balsamic drizzle brought them all together harmoniously.
My favorite dish of the evening was this wild boar pappardelle. From the moment it was placed in front of me, the waft of orange zest made it’s way up the olfactory, tingling and tantalizing my tastebuds beckoning me to consume my first bite. O-M-G! The boar was so tender and flavorful and the pappardelle was cooked to perfection. The saltiness from the feta was a unique and welcome addition as well. You must try this dish.
Innovative and tasty cocktails were served thoughout the night…
Under the “Paramount” section, we were given the Seared Sea Scallops and Chicken Francaise to try.
Did you know that summer carrots are sweeter than fall carrots? Neither did I. I learned this fun little fact from Chef Kelley when he introduced the dish. The sweet carrot puree was a terrific choice to accompany the perfectly cooked scallops.
This dish was rich and contained all of the key components of a classic Chicken Francaise plus some original nuances such as the fried artichoke hearts, adding yet another flavorful dimension.
“To Finish” we had the tiramisu and a House Crafted Cookie Plate
The tiramisu served at The Venu was one of the most delicious tiramisu’s that I have ever had. Great job guys!
What a night, I tell ya. I hope I have given you some ideas on what you would like to try when you visit. When you do go, be sure to tell Chef Kelley that your friend Denise from Savor Our City sent ya.
The Venu is located at 8794 West Boynton Beach Blvd. Boynton Beach, FL 33472 561.200.0222