This summer we have been fortunate to do some traveling and have taken a couple staycations locally (Wyndham Deerfield Beach and Grandview Gardens B&B in West Palm Beach) as well as a couple out of state. We tasted our way through New Yorkand now this blog post will cover our most recent trip to Las Vegas, It’s been 12 years since my last visit to Sin City and I was super excited to check out the food scene, the gorgeous hotels and some shows.
The Venetian/Palazzo was our base for the next 5 nights. I had been to The Venetian before but this was the first time I stayed there. This hotel is gorgeous. Even if your plans don’t call for you to stay here, I would certainly recommend a visit; trust me you will want to see the Venetian canals, take a ride on a gondola and eat dinner at St. Mark’s Square.
One of the restaurant groups we work with in Miami, V & E Restaurant Group has a couple restaurants in Las Vegas that we decided to check out. We went for brunch at Cafe Americano located inside Caesar’s Palace. They are doing a fantastic job serving up classic American fare with a Latin twist and bonus, they’re open 24/7. Woo hoo!!! We were warmly greeted and brought to a lovely table near the back which was nice and bright with a lot of natural light coming from the floor to ceiling windows. The GM Gerardo surprised us with a Blueberry Lemondrop Martini which was sooooo delicious. I would highly recommend it. After scanning the menu, we decided to share the grilled artichoke hearts which came with 8 pieces to an order with a balsamic glaze and basil pesto for dipping. I could have stopped right there and gone home happy. But wait, there’s more…We ordered the breakfast sandwich on a buttered and toasted brioche bread. Our server Raul had recommended we sub the bacon which comes with the sandwich for their house bacon instead. I’m glad he made that suggestion, because we enjoyed the sandwich and the bacon very much. We also had the steak tacos. Shaved rib eye, avocado salsa and Cotija cheese. It was excellent. I was so enamored with the balsamic glaze they used with the artichokes that I asked for an extra side of it which I also used on my tacos. Yumm!!!
After brunch, we walked through Caesar’s Palace including a stroll through the Forum Shops.
Then we ventured over to The Wynn. If you haven’t been to the grand hotels at least for a walk through, you are really missing out. The lobby was adorned with beautiful fresh flowers everywhere. It was like the Rose Bowl Parade.
We saw two shows while we were there. One was a comedy show at The Comedy Cellar at The Rio Hotel. It was an intimate space and the acts were decent. Nothing spectacular.
The true highlight for me was the Criss Angel Magic Show though. He was beyond incredible. If you haven’t seen him perform, I can’t recommend you do so enough!
After the show we headed back to The Venetian’s St. Mark Square where we had dinner reservations at Mercato Della Pescheria. (This is another of V & E Restaurant Group’s restaurants, also found in the heart of Espanola Way in Miami Beach).
Now this was a most wonderful experience dining at Mercato Della Pescheria in St. Mark’s Square inside The Venetian Hotel. We were welcomed by the Manager Mahe and the Assistant Manager Ben in addition to our lovely Italian server Giada. We started off with an Italian High Ball and a Tuscan Red Blend. For starters, we had the Caesar salad and the grilled octopus. The salad was perfectly dressed and packed with flavor. The octopus was so beautiful and thoughtfully plated and cooked to perfection as well. For our entrees, we had the Swiss Chard Ravioli with a pesto sauce and Caccio e Pepe. They do this tableside. Check out the video below. What a treat.
Have you ever heard of Hash House A Go Go? Apparently they have a few of these around the country including Orlando, Chicago and Las Vegas. The one we went to is located in the LINQ Hotel. We did have a bit of a wait, but it was worth it. Portions were big and the food was very good.
On our final night, we headed Downtown to Fremont Street. Have you been there? It’s like Times Square on steroids. It’s a pedestrian only street several blocks long with street performers every few feet. They claim to have the largest video screen over head that projects a light show set to music thoughout the night..You’ll also see people whizzing by on cables up above. Something worth venturing off the Strip for, for sure.
Another restaurant we had to try while in Vegas was Chica by Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia. We are working with Chef Lorena and her team in Miami to soon bring groups to her Culinary Loft. A second Chica will also be opening this Fall in Miami. The Latin flare is evidenced throughout the dining experience from the bright and cheery decor to the food & drinks.
Well, we came, we ate, we were entertained and like all good things that must come to an end, so did our stint in Las Vegas. So whether you have gambling on your agenda or not, there’s so much to do in this adult playground and definitely no shortage of good eats!
Today’s post is about an amazing tropical oasis located in the Grandview Heights Historic Neighborhood of West Palm Beach. It’s called the Grandview Gardens Bed & Breakfast and is owned and operated by Peter Emmerich and Rick Rose. (They also own and operate Palm Beach Vacation Rentals). Rick is a third generation Floridian born and raised in the Palm Beach area and is the official historian and tour guide for the Worth Avenue Association. I had the pleasure of meeting Rick a few years back while taking his tour.
Nestled in a tropical garden on Howard Park across from the West Palm Beach Armory Art Center, this historic 1925 property has been carefully restored to reflect the original Spanish Mediterranean architecture inspired by many famous architects in South Florida over the last century.
It’s conveniently located within walking distance of Grandview Public Market as well as other great dining and entertainment destinations such as Rosemary Square (formerly known as City Place).
There are 5 luxurious and spacious suites (each approximately 400 sq. ft.) at the B & B and all are accessible with a private entrance and French doors opening to private terraces overlooking the swimming pool. Each guest suite is individually decorated to reflect the style of the Spanish Mediterranean house and features a king size bed or two queen beds, a desk, a walk-in closet and a sitting area with sofa and arm chair. All rooms feature: En suite bathroom with bath/shower combination, Air conditioning and ceiling fans, Cable TV and Radio, Direct dial telephone, High speed internet access, including wireless, Tea and fresh coffee making facilities, complimentary bottle of water, Refrigerator and Hairdryer. In addition to the B & B Suites, guests can also choose from 5 superbly renovated historic vacation rentals which are located adjacent to the Bed and Breakfast. These 2 and 3 bedroom vacation homes are ideal for families looking for spacious, fully furnished rentals with self catering kitchens.
I got to stay in the Royal Poinciana Suite. From the moment I arrived, I knew I was in for the royal treatment as I stepped through the doors and was warmly greeted by name and told they were expecting me. I was shown around the lovely home and told about breakfast in the morning before being escorted to my suite. The room was very well appointed with the finest of amenities listed above as well as nice bathrobes which came in handy. The service was definitely top notch. On my second day, I decided to take a dip in the very inviting pool and before I knew it, a float “mysteriously” appeared beckoning me to hop on followed by a glass of ice water that one of the staff brought for me to enjoy when I got out of the pool. Talking about attentiveness- I left the room to attend a brief meeting at The Breakers in the morning and returned back to the room within one hour to find that the room had already been tended to. Wow, now that’s service!
Breakfast is of course included at the Grandview Gardens B & B and I took advantage of it on both days. A nice assortment of fruits, yogurts and granola as well as eggs, bacon and toast along with choice of coffee, tea and juice were offered. Everything was delicious.
Bikes are available for guests to use during their stay, although I didn’t take advantage of it this time. I just might have to do that on my next visit back. I did venture off to Darbster’s for dinner on one of the nights I stayed. I’ve been to this place once before and remembered how unique it was and was looking forward to going back. It also has a tropical oasis vibe found in a most unusual location directly under a billboard under I-95. It’s a Vegan restaurant, and although I do not lead a Vegan lifestyle, I am always down for good food and good creative food is what they specialize in at Darbster’s. I absolutely adore their Palm Cakes. Other dishes I got to try were the “Tuna” Club served on flax bread, butter lettuce, tuna (pulled almond), dill mayo, eggplant bacon, avocado, tomato—served with a side house salad. I swear I couldn’t tell I wasn’t eating real tuna. It tasted so yummy! The flax bread was definitely a new taste/texture for me. Bread is a weakness of mine and since I began doing the Keto Diet a couple weeks ago, I am mindful of staying away from bread, so this flax bread was a cool alternative. I also got to sample the Barley Risotto which was made with barley, oyster mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, butter, garlic, cashew goat cheese, Arugula, cherry tomatoes, cashew Parmesan cheese. This dish was very tasty as well.
Contest: How would you like to win an autographed copy of Rick Rose’s Palm Beach The Essential Guide To America’s Legendary Resort Town? One lucky winner will be selected on Friday, August 30th. All you have to do for your chance to win is TAG @RickRoseWPB #GrandviewGardensBandB and @SavorOurCity #Staycation (Instagram) and tell us who you would bring with you on your Staycation at the Grandview Gardens B & B in West Palm Beach, FL and WHERE you are coming from. Good Luck!!!
To wrap this all up, I loved my little Staycation in West Palm Beach and would highly recommend you visit each of the places I mentioned here in my post. Just click on the links below for more info.
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.
As a second generation native South Floridian, born and raised in Miami, I have seen a huge transformation in Miami, and in particular, Miami Beach. When we were young, I fondly remember riding on the long stretch of road that connected the main land to the beach; this was an indication that we were getting close to Great Grandmother’s.My Great Grandparents (Bessie & Frank) were direct descendants from Russia, a cute couple, each standing about 5′ tall. I don’t remember Frank too much as he died before Bessie, but my Great Grandma lived until the ripe ol’ age of 106. (She received two letters from the President of the time congratulating her on making it to a 100 years!) Back in that time, Collins Ave/Ocean Drive was lined with condos occupied by the senior community. You would find many of them just hanging out in rocking chairs on the front porches. That was until the developers stepped in and the gentrification process officially took off. Today, the landscape is one of youth and vibrancy. The hip, chic place with plenty of nightlife to keep you busy until the wee hours.
I received an email inviting me come taste A Fish Called Avalon, Located in the iconic Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive, the setting offers an authentic, sophisticated South Beach experience. Many locals tend to have an impression that dining out in South Beach is for tourists, but I’m here to dispel that belief right here and now, at least when it comes to A Fish Called Avalon. Now in it’s 30th year, this marks quite a milestone in the restaurant world. Fun fact: this time-tested landmark had been the back drop for the 1983 film, Scarface.
TIME-HONORED SEAFOOD TRADITION IN MIAMI BEACH
A Fish Called Avalon is a legend in South Beach. For nearly 30 years, they have been serving up the freshest seafood and delivering an exceptional dining experience to all who partake. The superb cuisine, relaxed Ocean Drive setting, and impeccable service have been delighting diners for nearly three decades.
Garnering attention for its superb seafood cuisine, impeccable hospitality and intimate setting, the restaurant is a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Chef Kal& A Fish CalledAvalon offer a seafood-dominated menu with tropical influences using the very best local and seasonal ingredients delivered daily. Each item shines with a variety of unique presentation and flavors.
Chef prepared a wonderful selection of tastings for my Product Development Manager, Annette and I to taste. We sat on the lovely terrace and it was a beautiful night. Annette and I enjoyed every morsel. Our taste buds were literally (well ok, figuratively) jumping up and down in joy! While I really liked everything that was placed in front of us, I thought the Bang Bang Shrimp were very unique here and were a definite stand out for me. The Macadamia Nut crusted snapper was another nice surprise for me. I am a huge fan of octopus when cooked right and Chef did an outstanding job with this as well. The presentation on the paella was top notch and packed full of fruits from the sea.
Tempting appetizers like the Bang Bang Shrimp and Orzo Seafood Paella for a main course are perfect for a romantic date night to evoke Mediterranean memories. The menu also offers prime and dry-aged steaks, organic chicken, and vegetarian-friendly options each with a perfect complement from the extensive award-winning wine list. Delectable desserts end the evening on a sweet note.
A Fish Called Avalon Accolades
Top 10 Best Restaurants and Best Outdoor Dining Winner in South Florida by OpenTable reviewers.
Ranked 30 of 787 Restaurants in Miami Beach TripAdvisor
A Fish Called Avalon is perfect for romantic dinners, a family affair, or a night out on the town. I can’t wait to go back and hope that I have inspired you to want to check it out as well. Pro tip: Diners can park in the parking garage conveniently located at the corner of 7th and Collins.
For more info on the restaurant, please click here to visit their website:
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.
I am excited to share with you part one of a two-part series on my experience at the Marriott on Singer Island. I had been invited by the property’s PR firm for quite some time now to come experience a meal at their signature restaurant, 3800 Ocean and I finally was able to make that happen. Let me tell you, it is well worth the 45-minute drive it took us from South East Boca. Speaking for myself and I’m guessing that many of you might fall into this category as well, when it comes to deciding on where to dine, hotel restaurants may not be on the forefront of your mind with the multitude of choices that abound. Well, I’m here to set the record straight and possibly get you to rethink this notion forever more. 3800 Ocean at the Marriott Singer Island is as good as it gets and shouldn’t just be enjoyed by visiting guests, but by us local foodies as well.
The Marriott Singer Island has several dining experiences available:
3800 Ocean: Ocean views share the spotlight with South Florida’s abundant harvest at the resort’s signature restaurant. The 3800 Ocean menu reflects a “collective kitchen” inspired by the cultural backgrounds of each of its chefs – from New England and Long Island to Mexico and Jamaica – who bring their own personal influences to a rich bounty of local seafood and produce. Complementing the menu is an extensive wine list. Elegant interiors and an expansive covered patio give guests a choice of dining environments. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kitchen Table: This one-of-a-kind experience, for groups of no more than five, takes diners with adventurous palates into the 3800 Ocean kitchen for a five-course menu created on the spot by the executive chef. The dinner typically spans three hours and is priced at $69 per person, with cocktail and wine pairings on request. Available Thursday through Saturday evenings; reservations required a minimum 24 hours in advance.
3800 Ocean Lounge: An inviting gathering spot for guests and locals, the lounge serves a casual lunch menu daily, exotic cocktails and bar fare every evening, and happy hour Monday through Friday.
Reef Tiki Bar: A casual menu of Pacific Rim cuisine is offered on the beach, complemented by cocktails handmade with fresh juices. The resort’s signature Coconut Island Breeze is served here in a fresh cracked coconut and is a popular choice at the bar’s Bubbles on the Beach happy hour. Open for lunch and happy hour daily.
Lagoon Cantina: Fresh-made margaritas, Mexican specialties and grilled fare are the draw at this poolside, Caribbean-style cantina. Open for lunch to resort guests and spa members/guests only.
Ocean Breeze Café: Starbucks drinks, pastries, salads and wraps are served to guests seeking a quick bite on the go.
In case you’re not familiar with Singer Island, it’s a peninsula (barrier island) on the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach County, Florida, in the South Florida metropolitan area. Most of it is in the city of Riviera Beach, but the town of Palm Beach Shores occupies its southern tip. The Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is Palm Beach County’s only all-suite beachfront hotel, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, it offers a wealth of opportunities for adventures on land and sea.
3800 Ocean has a VERY extensive & impressive wine list along with a whole lot of hand crafted cocktails and bourbons to choose from. For starters, we tried the seafood ceviche and the tostones rellenos. Both were superb dishes. I could have stopped right there (along with the glass of New Zealand Sauv Blanc) and had been a happy camper, but wait…there’s more…
Even though I was already quite stuffed, I just had to make room for what has to be one of the most creative desserts I have ever had. The S’mores pot de creme. Take a look at this beauty! House Made Marshmallow, Graham Shortbread, Chocolate Pot De Crème, Biscoff Malto (OMG, Yum!!!)
After lunch, we were given a tour of the property which we really appreciated. The grounds are gorgeous and although non hotel guests are invited to dine at 3800 Ocean, you must be staying at the property in order to access these other areas:
Later this summer I will be coming back to stay overnight in order to fully immerse myself into all the amenities that this lovely beachfront property has to offer. Stay tuned for part two of this feature highlighting this hot staycation destination.
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.
As Miami Spice begins Aug. 1, culinary talk in South Florida will center around “food as art.’’ Nowhere will that concept be more on display than at Canvas, the outstanding restaurant at The Sagamore Hotel on South Beach.
Already acclaimed for the art collection that adorns its walls, The Sagamore should earn equal notoriety during Miami Spice, which runs through Sept. 30, as famed international Chef Michael Smerda brings his progressive cooking style to Canvas.
Set within the hotel’s lobby and its art adorned walls, Smerda’s newly launched menu of multicultural dishes – full of bold and balanced flavors – will be on full display during Miami Spice, which is the ideal time for The Sagamore to show off the renovated Canvas restaurant.
“A large part of my vision was to bring the topic of ‘art’ to the plate, in the way we plate the dishes, the use of colorful ingredients, add fragrance with spices, all interacting with the dish,’’ Smerda told me.
That interaction begins immediately on his four-course Miami Spice menu with a first course of Heirloom Carrots with White Balsamic Ice Cream. That’s correct. Ice cream as a first course. The combination of roasted carrots, carrot gel, sour dough soil, fennel greens, frisee salad and white balsamic ice cream is a piece of art on the plate and a masterpiece of flavors in your mouth.
Undoubtedly it will be one of the more talked-about (and unique) dishes – appetizer or entrée – during Miami Spice. Smerda got the inspiration for the dish from Chef Christian Hümbs, the renowned pastry chef at La Mer, in the Grand Spa Resort A-ROSA in Sylt, Germany.
“He is known for using vegetables as the dessert,’’ Smerda said. “He goes so far that he’ll create the whole meal with his desserts.
“I wanted to create something similar. Call it an ‘Appetizer / Salad / Dessert.’ In a dessert, we are always looking for the perfect combination using different textures, temperatures and a balance between sweet and acidity. Why not in the beginning of a meal? With this dish, I want the guest to experience a carrot salad like they never have before.’’
Smerda’s second course is a tender Atlantic Cod with red and gold beets and caraway oil; the third course is a terrific Wine and Honey Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek, with the fourth course being a chocolate tart surrounded by a banana rum mousse,
“In a perfect scenario, I would hope the guest leaves remembering the entire meal and experience, but I am sure each guest will have their own favorite dish,’’ Smerda said. “It’s just important they leave entertained with a satisfied palette and the urge to return.
“I have the feeling that (Miami Spice) it is a great opportunity for the restaurant to get even more recognition. I don’t want to create a fine dining restaurant or casual dining. Let’s just call it ‘Wellness Dining.’’’
I just call it “delicious.’’
Steve Pike (www.myspiketravel.com) is an award-winning travel and food writer. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.
Savor Our City Culinary Tours began offering our first tours on May 3, 2014 in Delray Beach, FL. Since then, we have run a series of tours in other South Florida cities such as Palm Beach Gardens, Wilton Manors and Boca Raton. Our tours have always been open to the public as well as to private groups. We entered into an agreement this past year to create brand new food tours up in New England for several major cruise lines sailing into Boston, Portland & Bar Harbor this Fall. I am proud to say that these tours have been created and are starting this month. At this time, the only way you can take any of these tours is if you happen to be sailing on one of those ships calling into those ports OR you book a private group tour through us. (Think: corporate team building, client appreciation, birthday parties)
Here is a sample of what you would experience on our Boston Markets & Cultural Walking Tour:
This 3-hour historical guided walking food tour will take guests through the famed Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, a historic meeting place and market lined with cobblestone streets packed with ethnic foods, unique gifts and street performers, just to name a few of the elements that make this marketplace located near the waterfront so unique. It was here in 1764 that the colonists protested the Sugar Act, which led to the “no taxation without representation” doctrine. George Washington toasted America’s first birthday here, and so many impassioned orators have followed that Faneuil Hall is nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty.”
Following your visit to Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall, you will walk to nearby Boston Public Market, another indoor haven for foodies that opened its doors in the summer of 2015. The market houses 39 year-round vendor stalls which must sell food and other products that are produced or originate in New England, specializing in items sourced from local farms and fishermen. Your guide will share historical facts, interesting anecdotes, and some local insider’s tips as you sample dishes and delicacies that reflect the area. Some of the iconic New England delicacies sampled along the way include an award-winning clam chowder, lobster roll, cheese, chocolate, nuts, honey, fresh fruit vinegars, wine, mead (honey wine, the oldest alcoholic drink known to man). Then, it’s on to the Parker House, your final stop and birthplace of the city’s iconic Boston Cream Pie, which you will have the opportunity to sample.
This tour is currently available for private tours only. If you would like to inquire about booking a private tour for your group of 10+ people, please contact us at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.
I was recently invited to attend the Aqua Pool Party, hosted by Utopian Events at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel.
The Pool Party I attended was on Saturday, Aug. 27th and was open to the public from 12 – 5pm. (More dates will soon be announced).
The Aqua Pool Party at the hotel, hosted by Utopian Events, offers guests poolside brunch with selections like Filet Mignon Sliders, Crab stuffed Eggs Benedict and Cali-style Mahi Soft Tacos from 12:00-2:00 pm followed by Barbeque Madness from 2:00-5:00 pm with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $25 and pitchers of Sangria for $18, there are frozen specialty drinks and top shelf beverage specials available all day.
Local DJs Alex Gregory and Ben Nigrelli entertained while my friend and I indulged in the wonderful brunch al fresco and later joined in on the poolside games; we even signed up to play in the beer pong tournament (which we unfortunately did not win, but had a lot of fun trying) We did purchase tickets for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including free drinks, food and hotel stays at destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Chicago as well as a cash prize. A grand prize giveaway includes a two-night stay in Key West in a Presidential Suite with VIP Amenities. Guests gain a complimentary raffle ticket for every $10 spent at the Aqua Pool Party.
Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
2000 NW 19th St. Boca Raton, FL 33431
All ages are welcome to join; must be 21 to consume alcohol
For more information on the Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel, please visit the website, twitter and Facebook.