Like Superman, everyone of us has our own kryptonite, and in my world, mine is bread! I grew up eating sandwiches for lunch and as my palate matured over the years, I began experimenting in the kitchen coming up with clever new concoctions. I would start of with something basic like a grilled cheese sandwich and then making a few simple tweaks (from upgrading the bread, spreading butter or mayo on the outside of the bread before cooking in the pan, to utilizing a caramelized onion jam) I was able to elevate that classic sammy into a gourmet masterpiece. Yes, sandwiches are my jam! So when I received an invite to come check out Press Gourmet Sandwiches in Boca, it was a no brainer. The motto at Press Gourmet is every sandwich, every salad, every side is handmade to order with only the freshest, natural, best ingredients. Each sandwich is handcrafted to order. All of their meats are slow roasted to perfection. Chicken is marinated and cooked to order and all sauces and toppings are prepared daily. They consider themselves to be a five-star gourmet experience in a fast casual setting – eat in or take out.
The back story: It all started at Johnson & Wales University when Rand and Chris met. They noticed from their name tags and they were both commuting from Delray Beach to Miami. So they started to carpool; those rides together to Miami were where their friendship really started. After only a few weeks of carpooling Chris and Rand decided to move into Chris’s apartment near Johnson & Wales University.
In only a few short months they had become best friends living together in Miami. During culinary school Rand and Chris excelled to the top of their class, becoming the go-to guys to get things done.
Every Tuesday, the food trucks would set up on the campus at JWU and serve to all of the students. Chris and Rand became immediately attached to the food trucks, asking all of the owners questions every time they came out. In their heart they knew someday they would open up a food truck of their own.
Soon after, Rand was asked to work as a sous chef for a husband of one of his professors. He was a private chef to the rich and famous in Miami. It only took one year before the clients asked Rand to be the head chef, at the age of 22. One of the first things that he did was to make Chris his sous chef. This was a time in their lives that they would never forget. Chris and Rand were living half the year in Miami and the other half in New York City while cooking for the rich and famous.
While in New York, Rand and Chris were living on their client’s yacht. Rand really enjoyed living on the yachs, he said, “because it was like a huge house right on the water, that swayed back and forth with the current, just rocking you to sleep”. One year Chris actually rode the boat up for 4 days to New York City, through the rough seas, while still cooking all of the food for the crew. Let’s just say he probably won’t be taking a boat across the country anytime soon!
After three years of being private chefs Rand and Chris caught the entrepreneurial bug. They received so much praise for the food, from some of the most important people in the country. They knew they wanted to bring their food to the masses, but they didn’t quite know how to start a business. So Chris and Rand left their jobs as private chefs to head to Chris’ family’s company, Uncle Giuseppe’s, a chain of Italian supermarkets. While at Uncle Giuseppe’s, Rand and Chris were taught the importance of food costs, business smarts, and the ability to scale larger while remaining consistent with the food throughout different locations.
So they headed back to Florida to start their own business. The location of the first restaurant caused arguments, as they just weren’t sure where to put it. That was when they thought back to when they were in culinary school and the food trucks would come every Tuesday. Rand and Chris thought very hard about what their next move would be. They decided to start a food truck as a proof of concept and to find the best locations for the eventual restaurants to come. They called it Miami Press Gourmet Sandwiches Food Truck. The concept quickly took off, as the Miami Press Food Truck became one of the top trucks in South Florida. It was a dream for Chris and Rand to be able to serve their great food to the masses. They knew that if they used good fresh and local ingredients and prepared the food to order that they would always have people wanting to eat their food.
While the truck was taking off, Rand got the opportunity to go on Food Network and compete in a reality competition cooking show. The show is called Food Truck Face Off, the show is a mix between The Great American Food Truck Race and Chopped. Rand brought one of he and Chris’s signature dishes, the Mac’n Cheese Ball. He won the competition, bringing the spotlight to the Mac n’ Cheese Balls and the already well-known Miami Press Food Truck. The lines became even longer as their food truck became more and more popular by the day.
As the success out grew the food truck, Chris and Rand finally knew it was time to open up a Press Gourmet Sandwiches Restaurant. Press Gourmet Sandwiches, or PGS for short, is a fast casual sandwich restaurant serving pressed sandwiches. All of the sandwiches are made to order from scratch and pressed on ciabatta bread until crispy on top and soft in the middle. It’s made with all fresh and local ingredients.
Press Gourmet Sandwiches has two locations, one in Ft. Lauderdale and one in Boca Raton. They are open Mon – Sat 7am – 8pm, closed Sundays. For more info, check out their website.
Today’s post features one of my favorite fast casual foods: tacos! I received an invitation to dine at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago and I’m happy to share my experience with you today.
Since opening its doors to their original location in South Beach, just steps away from the famed Lincoln Road Mall on 16th Street in 2015, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, founded by Menin Hospitality’s Keith Menin and Jared Galbut and led by Culinary Director Bernie Matz, has been offering traditional Mexican favorites as well as unconventional and innovative interpretations, Bodega specializes in tacos and tortas, homemade sodas and authentic beverages in a dynamic, eclectic “puebla” inspired setting.
“We’ve always loved Fort Lauderdale andhave been waiting for the right moment and location to open a Bodega Taqueria y Tequila there since we opened our first flagship location in South Beach in 2015,” said Keith Menin, Co-Founder & Principal of Menin Hospitality. “When we saw that they were developing and re-envisioning the riverfront, the new towers, and the Wharf, we found an iconic historic corner that just felt like Bodega. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome guests to Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Fort Lauderdale.”
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila has been revered as one of the hottest Mexican restaurants in America. GQ Magazine has named Bodega “the most popular restaurant in the entire state of Florida for late-night eats”; InStyle Magazine said it’s one of “4 hot spots worth visiting on your next trip to Miami”; HuffPost called it the “hottest Mexican restaurants in America”; and Elite Daily boasted it as one of “Miami’s hottest nightspots.” A favorite among celebrities, fans include Michael B. Jordan, Niall Horan, Brody Jenner, Diplo, Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Travis Scott, Nina Agdal, and Joe Jonas, to name a few.
Inside the taqueria, a door leads guests to Bodega’s late-night speakeasy – the perfect spot for happy hour, daytime fun, and late-night debauchery – that features an extensive cocktail menu and live music by local bands and DJs. Signature cocktails include the Pico Picante (Herradura Silver, Ilegal Mezcal, Cucumber, Cilantro, Jalapeno, Lime, Orange Bitters); La Diablita (Don Julio Blanco, Apricot, Blackberries, Ginger, Fresh Lime); and Mezcal Old Fashioned (Casamigos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Old Fashioned Syrup). Additionally, every Monday, Bodega is activating ‘Margarita Monday’ specials, where guests can enjoy a curated $5 margarita menu from 6 PM-close. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday from 6 PM – 8 PM, and offers $2 Classic Tacos, $3 Chips & Salsa, $4 Chips & Guac, $4 Bottled Beers, $5 Frozen Margaritas, and $7 Bottled Cocktails.
Open daily from 11:30 AM – 12 AM, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Fort Lauderdale mirrors the flagship South Beach location, doubling as a fast-casual taco joint and a late-night speakeasy-style lounge. The front half of the venue is a taqueria featuring an authentic Mexican street food menu created by culinary director and Chef Bernie Matz. Signature menu items consist of Loaded Carne Asada Nachos (Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Chili Queso, Cotija, Red Onion, Tomato, Cilantro, Chili Crema, Sliced Jalapeno); Late-Night Burrito (Guajillo Braised Short Rib, Roasted Pork, Roasted Chicken, Mexican Rice, Black Bean Refrito, Oaxaca Cheese, Potato Sticks, Salsa Rosada); and Steak Chimichurri Tacos (Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Purple Cabbage, Tomato, Potato Sticks, Radish, Cilantro, Chimichurri Aioli). Guests order from a full-sized, retrofitted vintage airstream trailer turned into a taco truck and then dine in the garage chic seating of picnic tables, neon bar stools, and graffiti walls. In addition to the regular menu, a weekend brunch menu is available.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Fort Lauderdale is located at 21 W. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL and can also be experienced in South Beach and in American Airlines Arena. For more information, please visit BodegaTaqueria.com and follow on Instagram @BodegaTaqueria.
*Hours of operation are in accordance with mandated COVID-19 regulations and are subject to change.
I’m super excited to introduce you to Avalon, a beachy, coastal inspired steakhouse influenced by Montauk flair and Nantucket panache presenting approachable elegance and attentive hospitality that officially opened on Tuesday, February 23rd on Delray Beach’s famed Atlantic Avenue.
Conceptualized by New York’s veteran hospitality operators Host Restaurants, the 30-year visionaries behind award-winning dining institutions including Scarpetta, Campagnola, American Cut, Bill’s Townhouse, and many others, Avalon showcases the best in land and sea from all coasts with modern dishes taking star at the dinner plate inside an atmosphere designed to radiate approachable, unstuffy elegance.
Affectionately named Avalon, after the legendary island in the Arthurian legend, a place of haven and purity fabled for its restorative healing powers, Avalon is intent on providing guests a new comfort-minded steakhouse experience designed to evoke an air of modern tranquility and escapism through the art of delivering upon a great quality night out.
“At Avalon, we want you to linger longer, enjoy your time here and not feel pressured to rush your meal. Dinner was made to savor; life is too short to not enjoy a great quality steak,” explains Host Restaurants President and Founder Curt Huegel.
Avalon brings a robust, sustainably-sourced premium selection of prime, organic, grass fed, hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free offerings, including steaks, beef, poultry, and seafood to South Florida’s dining scene, anchored by an esteemed 250 bottle wine list for wine lovers of all regions, showcasing sought after labels from unique wineries around the world. Guests who prefer spirit-centric pairings to their meal will also delight in Avalon’s creatively conceived cocktails presenting inventive twists on classic libations.
Avalon’s beachy yet stylish interiors were also designed with intention. Bright, naturally lit and intimate, pristine and nautically-inspired, the atmosphere and palette is soft, soothing and designed to evoke the feeling of relishing in a tranquil and relaxing, stylish day at sea. Elegant neutrals and oceanic blues are topped off by the addition of picturesque coastal greens. The expansive indoor/outdoor bar was designed for laid-back and non-formal easy eating, keeping parties of one and two in mind. There are two traditional dining levels – al fresco street dining for guests who prefer sight-seeing passerbys and second floor dining for a more intimate, social dining experience. All dining areas at Avalon will be implementing the strictest of COVID-19 protocols and are mindful of personal space and superior comfort.
Avalon has created accessible price points that won’t compromise quality and will honor that premise by always staying innovative and fresh with weekly rotating specials and a unique haven where friends, coworkers and associates can gather routinely to relax and enjoy this exciting new happy hour destination.
Signature dishes at Avalon encompass modern steakhouse classics cooked to preferred temperatures such as Filet Mignon,28-Day Dry-Aged Prime Ribeye,36 oz. Tomahawk for 2 , to sustainably-sourced seafood specialties including Whole Roasted Fish of the Day, 32 oz Aged Bone In “Tuna Ribeye”, Scallop Carpaccio with Huckleberry Agro Dolce, Spiced Cashew, Citrus Segments Basil Oil, Marigold, Angry Lobster with Fermented House Sriracha, Ginger, Pullman Toast, to light entrees for those health minded or vegetarian such as Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Herb Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese, Basil as well as inventive comfort dishes including Kimchi Fried Rice.
I was invited to Avalon to preview a few select items. Every one of the staff I encountered from the Maitre D to the GM, the Partners and my server was extremely welcoming and gracious. To start off, I had the most tender, succulent octopus I can remember having,..ever. Antonello, one of the Partners brought over a lovely bottle of Sauv Blanc from New Zealand for me to enjoy with the octopus. The pairing made my tastebuds dance and put me in my happy place!
Next out was their Caesar Salad with soft boiled egg on top. This unique presentation was not only gorgeous, but thoughtfully orchestrated. My server Jerry gave me the back story filling me in that their Caesar dressing is the very same one that was created by Caesar Milano from Tijuana, Mexico, who came up with this recipe during Prohibition times. Seriously guys, this dressing is the bomb!
The BLT appetizer caught me eye and I’m sure you can see why! The “B” or bacon is represented by pork belly which was seasoned beautifully and cooked to perfection. Arugula comprised the “L” and the “T” was represented by tomato jam. It was a fun interpretation and a tasty whimsical dish indeed.
I was offered a lovely Cab to enjoy with my BLT and Steak entree. Avalon takes great pride in the quality of the food they serve and I for one was excited to see both wet aged and dry aged steaks on the menu. Do you know what the difference is? Here’s a little fun fact for you: Dry–aged beef is hung in the air to dehydrate at a temperature just above freezing for weeks, or up to months. … Wet aging is a newer technique where beef is vacuum-sealed and refrigerated so that natural enzymes can tenderize the meat. Wet aging takes just a few days, so it’s cheaper than dry aging. So which is better? Well that is a personal preference and I’ll let you make that decision yourself, but this little extra info might be useful: The more common aging method used today is wet–aging, a process in which meat is vacuum-sealed in plastic and allowed to age for 4-10 days, or sometimes longer. Similar to dry-aging, the process allows enzymes in the trapped juices to break down collagen between muscle fibers, increasing tenderness. Dry aging a steak makes it more tender and flavorful. … Eat a steak that’s been properly dry–aged and there’s really no competition: It has a richer, beefier flavor, a more tender, more buttery texture, and a minerally, slightly funky scent. Dry–aged beef puts all other steaks to shame. I chose this incredible 20 ounce dry aged ribeye with a side of truffle Parmesan fries and let me tell you, this steak just melted in my mouth. There really is a noticeable difference when you have a steak of this quality. Bravo Avalon, bravo!
Finally, for dessert, I was presented with an attractive plate consisting of a duo of decadence: cheesecake and chocolate mouse cake. I truly loved both of them and cannot play favorites here, so don’t ask me to! LOL.
Meet the Partners:
Curt Huegel, Creator/Founder
Host Restaurants (Avalon Steak & Seafood and other concepts)
Curt Huegel is a 30-year veteran American restaurateur recognized for award-winning destination restaurant brands such as Scarpetta, Campagnola and American Cut. Huegel, a New Jersey native hailing from Manhattan, has done business with the country’s most respected standalone landlords, casino and hotel developers in premier establishments around the country which include Fontainebleau in Miami to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Huegel’s first venue, The Mill opened in 1992, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over the next several years, Huegel expanded his hospitality portfolio, developing key concepts such as Rebar in New York City and Miami, Dakota Bar and Grill and Local, also in Manhattan. In 2008, Huegel founded LDV Hospitality, establishing renowned restaurant brands Scarpetta and American Cut, Luga Caffe, Dolce Italian. Under his leadership, LDV expanded globally and partnered with celebrity chefs like Alain Allegretti, Scott Conant and Marc Forgione.
In late 2013, Huegel sold LDV and started Host restaurants, bringing together concepts including Bill’s Townhouse, Campagnola, Printers Alley, Lucy’s and Galli. Host’s portfolio ranges from eateries with a storied New York City history and classic Italian cuisine, to mid-market galleys, wine bars, Italian Cafes and steakhouses to new concepts, such as Printers alley, which brings a Nashville- themed country music bar to Times Square. With each venture, Huegel keeps his customers top of mind, always striving to exceed his guests’ and the industry’s expectations. Host Restaurants average venue square footage ranges from 1600 square feet to 1200 square feet, with their newest brand, Avalon, an elegant yet approachable steakhouse concept with a Hamptonite flair expected to launch in Delray Beach’s famed Atlantic Avenue, January 2021.
Director of Operations, Avalon Steak & Seafood
Antonello Paganuzzi is formerly the Director of Operations for LDV Hospitality for over 10 years. Paganuzzi holds over 25 years of experience under his belt, working for Le Cirque and the Maccioni family for over 14 years, bringing a keen insight into the hospitality industry and a high standard of service, acquired over the years from leadership positions as some of the most impressive fine dining establishments in New York, Las Vegas, Miami & London.
Avalon is now open for dinner and happy hour 7 days a week from 5pm with brunch to come at a future date. For more information, visit www.avalondelray.com.
They are located at 110 East Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444 (561) 593-2500
I was lucky to visit The New England Seafood Shack in the NY Bagel Factory in Coral Springs recently. This the ideal spot for the many transplants in the South Florida area from the Northeast. This little hidden gem is sure to satisfy any craving for the beloved foods from back home. Choose between two authentic traditional favorites from up north all in one place – bagels (just like they would find on the streets of Brooklyn) and now popular seafood specialties from New England.
A HIDDEN GEM IN CORAL SPRINGS
NY Bagel Factory in Coral Springs has tucked the New England Seafood Shack right inside their traditional delicatessen. Favorites such as Monstah Lobstah, Clam Chowda, Crab Cakes, Fish & Chips, Fried Clams, and Stuffed Quahog are just a few of the items that can be found on their menu.
I was fortunate to have been invited to sample some of this New England fare over the Memorial Weekend with a couple friends. Chef Steven LaBiner of the former Hobo’s Fish Joint hosted a Pop-Up over the holiday weekend where he created a wonderful menu which featured his popular Clam & Lobster Bake. Chef Steven and NY Bagel Factory also gave an extra 20% off the “Clam Bake + Lobster Special” to all First Responders to express their appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
CHECK OUT THE LOBSTER ROLL FESTIVAL GOING ON THIS WEEKEND
Due to the tremendous response they received for the Seafood Bake this Memorial Day weekend, the NY Bagel Factory has now permanently added the Monstah Lobstah to their. This is a monstah meal filled with 9oz. of meaty lobster served inside out or on a toasted and buttered bun. But the most exciting news of all, is they are having a Lobster Roll Festival this weekend to celebrate.
Plans are in the works to turn the deli into a full seafood restaurant during the dinner hours. I hear they will also have a raw bar live music. Stay tuned for more updates on this…believe me, you don’t want to miss anything coming from The New England Seafood Shack in the NY Bagel Factory.
Be sure to go to the Lobster Roll Festival this weekend. To get more infomation on the NY Bagel Factory and The New England Seafood Shack visit them online at: www.newyorkbagelfactory.com
I was invited back to Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, in Delray Beach for the recent launch of their new seasonal menu and to try out some brand new additions to the menu spearheaded by their new Executive Chef Amit Jain.
Their new fall menu features an assortment of seasonal dishes including new additions such as Vegan/Vegetarian, Gluten Free Farm-To-Table Dishes, refreshing cocktails and over 40 wines available by the glass available throughout the fall season. As the seasons change, you can always look forward to a bountiful new menu at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The fall menu features dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients resulting in the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious meals possible in a celebration of autumnal produce. Enjoy flavorful new flatbreads, salads, entrees and more –with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options now available. Fall menu highlights include: Plant-Based Spicy “Chorizo” Flatbreadbell pepper, kalamata olive, micro basil, vegan mozzarellaKennet Square Mushroom “Cheesesteak” sharp provolone, roasted bell pepper, caramelized onion, pickled banana pepper, hoagie roll Pasta-less Vegetable Lasagnabutternut squash, horseradish-pumpkin seed pesto, macadamia nut “ricotta”, spinach, tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, crispy plantain Seared Everything-Spiced Ahi Tuna orange soy-glazed carrot, wild rice, snow pea, winter radish Butternut Squash Soup toasted pumpkin seed, local honey Grass-Fed Bison Burgerbaby Swiss, shiitake mushroom, truffle aioli, fresh poppy seed onion roll Pumpkin Raviolibutternut squash purée, sage brown butter, dried cranberry, baby spinach, toasted pumpkin seed, gingerbread dust Impossible Meatloaf celery root purée, sweet & spicy ketchup glaze, roasted sweet potato, haricot vert.
My companion and I were seated in Jake’s section again, who was our wonderful server from our visit last Fall. You can read about that post here. My companion enjoyed the wine that Jake had recommended so much on our last visit that she ordered it again. Involuntary Commitment Cab Franc. Me? I went with one of their Fall specialty cocktails, the Apple Martini. The apple slice garnish was not only pretty but soaked up all the deliciousness that lay underneath.
For Chef Amit Jain, a perfect meal at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar begins with a flatbread. The Palm Beach County native, who has been working in restaurants since he was a young boy, knows good food when he sees it. Born in Freeport, Bahamas, Jain moved to Wellington, Floridawith his family early into his childhood, a place where he would eventually begin his career and find his calling. Some might call the westside city “rural” but for Jain it formed his love of animals while working and living on a farm, and is a reason why Harvest’s menu, with ingredients always sourced from responsible farmers, fisheries and butcheries, speaks to him. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University withprevious stints in notable establishments including Palm Beach’s Table 26 and Todd’s by Todd English,Jain has cooked for the likes of former President Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Alan Jackson and more. Yet, the now Boynton Beach resident feels most at home as Executive Chef at Harvestwhere he says he wants to help continue to create a space where everyone is welcomed.“Organic, hormone-free, all-natural, and grass-fed all add to the uniqueness of our menu,” says Chef Jain. “We support all local businesses that provide sustainable clean products that we can share with our guests under the motto “Farm to Table for everyone”.Today, Jain and his wife, Brooke, along with their two children, Willow and Rowan, live amongst 10 horses, three barn cats, two dogs and a potbelly pig named Pirate on their ranch. When he’s not in the kitchen, Jain can be found working on the farm. Next up is a move to add hens to their clan for fresh eggs as well as plant vegetables to sustain their family meals and guests
Harvest Seasonal Grill is a Pennsylvania-born harvest-centric eatery and wine bar. The farm-to-table concept offers a mostly under 500 calorie, seasonally-changing, local menu; 50+ wines by the glass; seasonal cocktails and local beer; along with eco-friendly décor, a patio, bar dining and private dining
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar: Delray Place, 1841 S. Federal Hwy. #402, Delray Beach, FL 33483. (561) 266-3239
So in closing, if you are hankering for some good healthy farm to table fare that changes seasonally, be sure to get yourself over to Harvest Seasonal Grill. You are sure to find many items to please your palate just as we did.
Savor Our City was recently invited to attend a media dinner at 26 Sushi & Tapas in Surfside for the launch their new menu.
Since 2014, 26 Sushi & Tapas has been and remains one of the Miami dining scene’s best kept secrets. This unique Latin-Asian fusion eatery is 100% certified Kosher,serving the vibrant, flavorful Japanese-Peruvian cuisine known as Nikkei. But those in the know – kosher or otherwise – have embraced the restaurant for its casually chic ambiance, wallet-friendly pricing and delicious cuisine. Now, with newly-appointed ChefMiguel Gomez at the helm, the restaurant is unveiling a refreshed menu featuring creative additions to abundant offerings.
“The goal with 26 was to go beyond what many think of as ‘kosher food,’” says owner Morris Kaplan. “We wanted to provide something exciting and different to that community but also deliver a compelling and delicious menu for everyone. We’re excited about the new menu and hope it keeps our loyal fans engaged and gives folks who never gave us a try a great reason to come in.”
The menu remains vast, offering plenty to explore and countless ways to mix & match to create a unique, immersive experience for each diner. Signature favorites – like the Nitro “Scallops” made from tempura battered scallops, rocoto aioli, sweet sauce,mixed greens and sesame seeds. Corvina Lettuce Wraps, made with Flounder tempura, Asian slaw, cashew pistachio crumble and aji amarillo aioli. Both of these items were extremely tasty, crowd pleasers for sure!
Tuna Tower and Truffle Tiradito – remain. They’ve been huge sellers for years and are going nowhere. Joining them on the playing field are their new hot and cold tapas including: Causa Krab Tower – cold, savory potato layer cake typical in traditional Peruvian cuisine, served with Krab salad and fresh avocado;
Nikkei Tuna Salad with fresh greens, enoki mushroom, carrot, and tri-colored peppers tossed in ponzu sauce and topped with sesame seeds; and Nao Ceviche Ball – traditional Corvina ceviche cured in a house-made leche de tigre, red onion, lime juice and aji limon then tempura battered with panko and deep fried. This was a really unique dish and fun to eat too!
Also debuting, several new sushi additions including the Nigiri 5-star – Chef’s choice of five nigiri selections served atop sushi rice;
Tropical Roll – tuna, salmon, kiwi, guava and dynamite sauce topped with tuna and rocoto aioli;
Crispy Kani Roll – soy paper, plantains, avocado, scallions and cream cheese topped with Krab tempura, masago and curry aioli; Sandra Roll – a rice-less roll with Krab salad, avocado, cream cheese, and tempura topped with fresh tuna; and the Acevichado Roll – Whitefish tempura, sweet potato and avocado topped with Corvina ceviche. A word to the wise – the new rolls may be amazing but you would be missing out BIG TIME if you didn’t have their popular Maduros con CocoRoll – flounder tempura, avocado and cream cheese topped with sweet fried plantains and coconut flakes – Just order it, you’ll thank me later!
Two unusual offerings worth a try: Sushi Burritos, which come in two styles – the Saltarito with sautéed salmon, fried egg, plantains, French fries and guacamole and the Three Amigos – fresh raw tuna, salmon and Hamachi with guacamole, scallions and a chimichurri ponzu – and the new Sushi Sandwich. Meant to be eaten with the hands, it consists of salmon, mango, avocado, scallion and dynamite sauce, layered between “slices” of pressed rice, served with guava dipping sauce.
New larger plates include Branzino Livornese – fresh Branzino filet served on a pool of fragrant Livornese sauce of capers, Kalamata olives, garlic and cherry tomatoes, dressed with house-made shakshuka and served with potato wedges; Tuna Kovi, sesame-crusted, seared tuna served on a bed of quinoa risotto huancaina, topped with pico de gallo and a balsamic reduction; and a sweet & sour Red Snapper, grilled and served with grilled vegetables and rustic mashed potatoes.
The restaurant’s vibrant desserts have also received a seasonal upgrade; not to be missed offerings include a fresh Strawberry Pavlova served with whipped cream and the sinfully creamy Goat Cheese Ice Cream.
Apart from updated summer offerings, 26 Sushi & Tapas also boasts an impressive, four-hour long Happy Hour available Sunday through Thursday from 5PM-9PM. The Surfside mainstay has updated their Happy Hour food selection to include several Tapas-style items priced between $6 and $8 dollars. Guests 21 and over can enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials depending on the day:
Sunday: “Sunday Funday” – 2-for-1 Mimosas (available all day)
Looking to spice up your next soiree or corporate event? As a premiere service caterer, diners can bring the 26 Sushi & Tapas experience to any home, office, or event space. The restaurant’s versatile catering menu offers a wide variety of crowd-pleasing options and can accommodate special ordering requests allowing guests to customize menus that make the most of an event and reach budgeting goals. For more information, contact Natalia Suarez at (305) 570-2626 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 Sushi & Tapas is located at 9487Harding Avenue in Surfside, FL. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday: 9AM-10:15PM; Friday: 9AM-2:30PM (closed for Shabbat) and Saturday: 9:15PM-11:45PM. Happy Hour is available Sunday through Thursday from 5PM to 9PM. Follow 26 Sushi & Tapas on Instagram: @26Sushi_Tapas and Facebook: @26SushiTapas; Telephone: (305) 570-2626; http://www.26sushitapas.com/
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.