The Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour, one of the most important and prominent Italian wine education, guided tastings, and luncheons organized by I.E.M.(International Exhibition Management) and its Florida agency I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management), chose to forge ahead with their popular annual event, taking every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of its attendees and representative, and kicked off its signature event in North America this year on March 1 in Miami at the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Hotel, followed by its debut in Atlanta at the exclusive Four Seasons HotelMarch 3 before concluding in Riviera Maya in the enchanting El Dorado Royale Resort, March 17.
Simply Italian Great Wines took appropriate safety measures by limiting the number of participants this year, as well as providing socially-distancing tables and stations and mandating mask-wearing when not tasting among other safety measures in cooperation with each local venue and city per CDC Guidelines.
Marina Nedic, I.E.M./I.E.E.M.’s Managing Director explains: “Safety remains our main priority as we try to pave the way forward to present the great diversity of Italian wine to a live audience. Technology has been and will continue to be important in keeping us connected, but it cannot replace human contact. Wine has always embodied connection between people throughout history.”
The always popular guided tastings and seminars aim to educate on the vast variety of Italian wines featuring some of the most renowned and respected Italian Consortiums conducted by esteemed wine experts and professionals. For this occasion, the US program will consist of the following MasterClasses:
Consorzio di Tutela della D.O.C. Prosecco.: “Prosecco DOC Dreamland: Rediscover the authentic Prosecco DOC and meet the long-awaited Prosecco DOC Rosé” presented by Miami’s own Master Sommelier, Laura DePasquale.
Federdoc & Riccardo Ricci Curbastro: “Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta: Let’s Go Bubbly”presented by the charismatic James Beard Award-Winning Journalist and WSET Certified Educator, Lyn Farmer, in Miami and Atlanta while connecting virtually with Riccardo Ricci Curbastro from his Italian winery.
Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana: “From the Mountains to the Sea…A Pristine Land: The Tuscan Maremma” presented for the first time in Miami by Laura DePasquale MS with a virtual greeting from the Consortium’s President, Francesco Mazzei, directly from Tuscany.
Following the seminars guests enjoy a luncheon expertly paired with wines from Consorzio Eden & Consorzio Italia di Vini & Sapori from the Veneto region.
Simultaneously, walk around tastings were held in a separate ballroom at timed intervals where importers and local representatives poured wines from the following:
Consorzio Prosecco: Antonio Facchin & Figli, La Gioiosa, La Marca, Le Rive, Masottina, Toser Vini, Valdo, Viticoltori Ponte. Consorzio Maremma: Alberto Motta, Argentaia, Belguardo, Cantina “I Vini di Maremma”, Cantina LaSelva, Castelprile – Prelius, Fattoria di Magliano, Fattoria Il Casalone, Fattoria Mantellassi, Fattoria San Felo, I Cavallini, La Biagiola, Le Sode di Sant’Angelo, Podere San Cristoforo, Poggio Cagnano, Querciabella, Sassotondo, Sequerciani, Tenuta Casteani, Tenuta Montauto, Villa Pinciana. Consorzio Eden: Cantina Breganze, De Stefani, Vinicola Tombacco. Consorzio Italia di Vini & Sapori: Azienda Agricola Anna Spinato, Biancavigna, Cantina Colli Euganei.
Abbazia (with Wine Lovers Distributor), Agricole Selvi (with Wine Lovers Distributor), Azienda Agricola Gualberto Ricci Curbastro/Rontana, Bennati (with Wine Lovers Distributor), Cantine Nicosia, Emilia Wine (with Grapes and More), Federdoc, Feudi di San Gregorio (with Orfe Mèxico), Fontana delle Selve (with Top Wines), Il Poggiarello (with Top Wines), Jako Wine and Ronco Margherita (with Grapes and More).
While I had the opportunity to sample many varietals of wine throughout the day, the star of show was definitely Prosecco Rosé, so light and refreshing and just the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. “This is going to be THE wine of the summer”, touted Master Sommelier Laura DePasquale, and I definitely will be doing my part to contribute to that statistic! lol
If you missed this great event, don’t fret, the organizers just announced a second date to be held again in Miami at the Mandarin Oriental on March 24th with educational wine tastings from 10am – 1:15pm, and lunch walk around guided tastings from 1-3pm. So if you are in the wine business or are a wine writer and missed this earlier event, be sure to reach out to I.E.E.M. to request an invite by writing to email@example.com or by calling 305-937-2488.
ABOUT I.E.E.M.: (International Event & Exhibition Management), the Miami-based branch of I.E.M. (International Exhibition Management), is a comprehensive agency specializing in marketing, event production and public relations for the wine industry. Driven by a passion for trade shows and a flair for flawless organization, I.E.M. was founded in 1999 by industry veterans Giancarlo Voglino and Marina Nedic. A reputation for reliably delivering high-quality events, coupled with its extensive network of wine trade professionals and international media, places IEEM/IEM among the most highly regarded Italian wine event organizers in the world. Learn more by visiting www.ieemusa.com.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL: 500 Brickell Key Drive, FL 33131 FOUR SEASONS HOTEL: 75 14th Street, GA 30309 EL DORADO ROYALE: Carratera Cancun – Tulum 45, Riviera Maya, QR 77710
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 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.
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!
Savor Our City recently attended the popular and well-established Boca Bacchanal presented by the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum held at the well-known Boca Raton Resort & Club. This is the 17th year in which this annual event has brought together world class chefs and vintners, offering their finest specialties, while providing residents and visitors with a delightful opportunity to support an outstanding cause. Proceeds raised, benefit an array of innovative, diverse and rapidly growing Historic Preservation and Heritage Education programs that are offered for children and adults. Savor Our City enjoyed some very tasteful bites from over 20 local restaurants including; M.E.A.T, Bonefish Grill, Gourmet Phile, Burtons Grill, Med Café, to name a few and a sampling of some delicious and creative wines and brews from Potions In Motion Catering, Tattinger Champagne, Ron Rubin Winery, and Unibroue, again to name a few. Savor Our City is proud to support this event and cause.
CELEBRITY GUEST AT HANGAR PARTY, HEADLINE GALA ENTERTAINER
& CONCOURS JUDGE
The Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, world’s largest and fastest growing for charity
Celebrating the Marque of the Year, Bentley Motorcars and its 100th Year Anniversary
Tremendous weekend of events to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County
This spectacular event will be held at the world-renowned Boca Raton Resort & Club. The weekend’s events start on Friday night with The “duPont Registry Live!” Hangar Party at the Boca Raton Airport. On Saturday night, enjoy a black tie gala dinner and live auction. That same evening, the prestigious Automotive Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to an icon in the automobile industry.
On Sunday, the main event takes place. Here, car enthusiasts from around the world will stroll amongst the finest pre-war and post-war automobiles and motorcycles ever created.
With its great venue, world-class spa, championship golf, outstanding tennis facilities, and exquisite beaches, this event offers everything you need for the perfect winter holiday. From the classic automobiles and fine cuisine, to the great entertainment and warm Florida sunshine, the Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance is the envy of vintage car shows nationwide.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd
“The duPont Registry Live!” Hangar Party
The weekend kicks-off with the duPont REGISTRY™ Live Hangar Party at Atlantic Aviation at the Boca Raton Airport with celebrity guest, Jay Leno. Guests can peruse an impressive selection of exotic cars, motorcycles, private jets, premier vendors and more and will also experience gourmet tastings from more than 20 of South Florida’s finest restaurants and indulge in an array of fine wines and spirits as plus live entertainment. Participating restaurants include: Boca Raton Resort & Club; A Alexander; Abe & Louie’s; BGCBC Culinary; Enerbee; Oceans 234; Ouzo Bay / Loch Bar; Sette Bello Ristorante; Sette Mezzo Ristorante; Taverna Opa; Potions in Motion; Café Med; Seasons 52 and more.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd
(5:30pm – 11:00pm): Grand Gala Dinner, Auction & Show. Prior to dinner, guests will enjoy a cocktail hour and will have the opportunity to bid on a unique array of items at the silent auction. Immediately following the cocktail, guests will be served a gourmet dinner during which they will have the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind trips and experience packages like tours of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, luxury jewelry and a Commissioned painting of by BCDE artist from England, Barry Rowe and the original Bentley portrait and commemorative poster during live auction. Additionally, guests will enjoy the presentation of the National Automotive Manufacturer Lifetime Achievement Award to Mercedes-Benz USA President & CEO,Dietmar Exler, National Automotive Dealer Lifetime Achievement Award to Rick Hendrick, Chairman and Owner of the Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports and National Automotive Racing Lifetime Achievement Award to Ryan Hunter-Reay as well as a stellar performance by one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country, Jay Leno.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24th
The Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance
13th Annual Concours d’Elegance Located at the Boca Raton Resort & Club / 501 East Camino Real
Sponsored by Rick Case Automotive Group, Sunday’s all day-event features the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance automobile and motorcycle exhibition
10:00am / VIP Brunch with Jay Leno and Wayne Carini, Host of TV Show Chasing Classic Cars
The day starts with an exclusive private brunch where guests can join Jay Leno and Wayne Carini, Host of TV Show Chasing Classic Cars for an intimate brunch with a Q&A session. ($1,000 per person).
10:00am / Gates open to the show field
Guests can enter the show field and admire over 200 collector cars and motorcycles.
Guests from around the world will experience an automotive showcase like no other, featuring vehicles and motorcycles from an array of time periods. Celebrity Judge Jay Leno will join an expert panel of judges including Chief Judge Dr. Paul Sable and Steve Moskowitz, Executive Director of AACA and Jay Quail, CCCA Executive Director. Additionally, Grand Marshal Wayne Carini, host of Chasing Classic Cars joins the group for another stellar year along with Master of Ceremonies Bill Rothermel and Tom duPont, who will select the finest vintage, antique, classic and exotic vehicles based on period, presentation and style.
11:00am / Jay Leno walks the show field
Celebrity Judge Jay Leno walks through show field meeting automobile, motorcycle owners and attendees as he searches for his favorite automobile & motorcycle to present the Jay Leno Big Dog Garage Award.
11:30am / Concours d’ Gourmet
Once the show kicks off, guests are invited to enjoy a selection of gourmet food, wine and cocktails from over 20 of South Florida’s finest restaurants at the Concours d’Gourmet Pavilion.
12:00pm / “Wheels from the Heart” Car Giveaway
Wheels From The Heart will donate their 100th car to a single mother (member) from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Steven Muschlitz founded Wheels From The Heart which gives single mom’s in need the a vehicle to get a job, drive to school and all of the things we do every day with an automobile.
The official 2019 artist for the overall event is Barry Rowe from England one of the world’s leading automotive artists which has developed a worldwide following due to his distinctive style and passion for his technique featuring atmosphere and interaction which allows you to see every automobile at its finest. Rowe has been commissioned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and acts as a resident artist for inaugural cruises and is also the author of the award-winning book, Atmosphere and Light: The Automotive Art of Barry Rowe, is a complete retrospective of Barry’s work and includes paintings and sketches from Barry’s long love affair with art and the automobile, placing each within its historical content. Additionally, since 1998, Rowe has created posters for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The 2019 Collector of the Year, Robert Jepson of Savanna, GA will feature his Vintage Auto Collection including the debut of several vehicles: 1920 Stutz Bearcat (debut); 1926 McFarlan, Model 145 TV – Six Passenger Touring (debut); 1927 Isotta Fraschini LeBaron, Model 8-AS Dual Cowl Phaeton (multiple award winner); 1928 Stutz BB Cabriolet by Phillips (CCCA First Place Winner); 1929 Bugatti Type 435 Cabriolet; 1930 Packard, Model 734S (debut).
For additional information on the 13th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance and a full schedule of events, please visit www.bocaCDE.com or please call (954) 537-1010.
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar Debuts Festive New Fall Menu New Additions Include Vegan/Vegetarian, Gluten Free Farm-To-Table Dishes
Hello Foodie Friends,
Today’s blog is about my recent dinner at Harvest Seasonal Grill. I was invited to check out their new Fall menu so I could share my experience with all of you. My last two posts on Harvest both featured previous Spring menus. The Fall menu was released the end of September and will run through the holidays at which time the new Winter menu will be launched.
My companion and I were shown to our table and soon greeted by our server Jake, who ran through the menu layout with us. My companion had some questions on the wines. Jake was very knowledgeable about the wines on the menu and exceptionally helpful in his explanations..I always enjoy Harvest’s seasonal sangria flights so that is what I decided to begin with. My companion opted for a Cab Franc blend called Involuntary Commitment from Napa Valley. Harvest has a large number of wine varietals that you don’t see on other restaurant menus.
My Sangria Flight consisted of: White Caramel Apple, Rosé Ginger Pear, and Red Blood Orange Pomegranate. The Rosé sangrias have been my favorite in the past, but this time, the Red Blood Orange Pomegranate got my vote for top pick. Now onto the food tastings. Chef Bill came out to say hello and after a brief discussion, he offered to send out a few dishes for us to try. We started off with the Pear & Bleu flatbread. (Spoiler alert: this was my favorite item of the entire evening). The flatbread was PACKED with flavor and they were very generous with their toppings which were well distributed.
Next out were the Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash Dip and Tuna Poke.
Next round were the Diver Scallops, Grilled Filet Mignon, Pumpkin Tortellini and side of roasted seasonal vegetables
There definitely was a butternut squash theme going on with our selections on this evening. So if you’re a butternut squash lover, be sure to head over to Harvest Seasonal Grill right now to get your fill of butternut squash!
For dessert, we were presented with their minis:one was a Spiced Apple, one was Pecan something and one was a Key lime cheesecake. In all honesty, I did not have room to taste any of the desserts, but my companion did and said the Spiced Apple had an abundance of cayenne in it and the Pecan one was a bit hard and the Key Lime tasted mostly like vanilla frosting. I guess the desserts must have been off on this day, because this is quite unusual to have a miss on 3 out of 3. I have always enjoyed their desserts in the past and won’t let this one “off day” ruin my coming in again and giving them a try.
WHO: Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, Delray Beach’s season-forward, farm-to-table eatery and wine bar owned by the Dave Magrogan Group, announces their new fall menu featuring an assortment of seasonal dishes, refreshing cocktails and over 50 wines available by the glass now available through the fall season.
WHAT: As the season’s change, you can always look forward to a bountiful new menu at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The fall menu features dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients resulting in the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious meals possible in a celebration of autumnal produce.
Enjoy flavorful new flatbreads, salads, entrees and more – with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available. Fall menu highlights include:
It was earlier this year that I first visited The Winemakers Table in Delray Beach to celebrate my birthday. I had a most wonderful evening which you can read about here if you’d like. Fast forward to present day, I received an invite to attend an exclusive media dinner to introduce Jessica Scialletti, the new owner of the Winemakers Table. The evening began with a lovely welcome reception with some delicious sparkling wine and appetizers in the Champagne Lounge. Once all the guests arrived, we made our way to the intimate dining room where we continued with our elegant 5 course International Tasting experience. A tantalizing menu was well thought out, prepared and executed by Jessica and her team. Amongst the newcomers to The Winemakers Table is Executive Chef, Joshua Bradley, who previously worked at Market 17 and Café Maxx in Fort Lauderdale. In addition, The Winemakers Table brought on a new Sous-Chef, Patrick Sauveur from France, who previously worked in Marseille at a Michelin-rated restaurant.
In addition to the new staff, other changes that have been implemented under the new ownership is a new kind of food style they classify as Creative European, allowing their chefs to add their own flare to the European cuisine that is served there nightly. The restaurant keeps a collection of California wines and is bringing more wines from Europe and around the world
I have to say that each course was absolutely wonderful. Special honourable mention goes to the watermelon salad with dark cherry balsamic, herb pesto, tomato confit and carrot & orange foam. I fell head over heels in love with their cherry balsamic and became so inspired that I attempted to recreate this in my home. I found a recipe online and improvised using gourmet Amareno cherries from my favorite gourmet market and aged balsamic from The Ancient Olive which I reduced and drizzled over watermelon and also used on top of a pan seared duck breast that I made.
We were in for a really special treat when it came time for dessert; Jessica, the owner introduced a few special desserts from her own Swiss Brand: JesS Art Gâteaux made with European products. The new The Winemakers Table is doing a wonderful job at making guests feel welcome, pampered and fully satisfied. The restaurant serves only Prime meats and the freshest of ingredients. Positive responses are pouring in describing the restaurant as a gem with an ambience that is elegant yet relaxed, with delicious food, wine and attentive service. Monthly themed wine dinners are planned. For more information, check out their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
I know you are going to fall in love with the warm and friendly staff and the exquisitely prepared food as much as I have. When you do go, be sure to tell Jessica, Fernando and Chef Joshua hello from Denise from Savor Our City!
The Winemakers Table is open Tues – Sat 5pm – 11pm. They are located at 2875 S.Congress Ave “A” Delray Beach, Florida. Reservations: 561-501-4107
For those of you who have been around Boca Raton for the past 10 years, you might say that there has been quite the revolving door when it comes to the dining scene. Take the south west corner of Federal Highway & SE Mizner Blvd. in Downtown Boca for instance. How many of you remember Oceans 11, Saba Sushi, Ovenella and the short-lived The Little Chalet? Who remembers anything before? Let me know by commenting at the bottom of the post. I took you back as far as I could recall, since first coming to the area and immersing myself into the food scene here in Boca.
The Little Chalet was a beautiful special-occasion venue that is wildly popular in Brazil, but for whatever reason, just didn’t catch on here in the company’s first US location. It’s a shame; they spent a small fortune I’m sure creating a lovely romantic ambiance. But, beautiful decor alone doesn’t pay the bills so the owners decided early on to cut their loss and close and re-open with an entirely new hip & trendy concept.
Created by Ricky Marcellini, owner of The Little Chalet who explained that after noting a change in the area’s demographics, they saw an opportunity to introduce South Floridians to a breezy, Brazilian nightlife-inspired restaurant and lounge for everyday dining. To facilitate a more communal and casual quality guest experience, he opened the space to an airier interior, expanding seating and adding a second bar to the outdoor patio.
“We have watched East Boca grow and change over the years, and we wanted to evolve our restaurant to match the tastes and lifestyles in the area, which is why we closed our doors as The Little Chalet and have reopened as The Locale,” explains Ricky. “Our culinary team is as skilled as ever, and we are excited to offer a more robust and unique beverage program to complement the quality dishes that come out of our kitchen.”
The hip and trendy The Locale Cocina & Bar presents guests with a Latin-inspired menu (South American influences including Brazil & Equador) and I would say Italian as well and is fast becoming the gathering spot in Downtown Boca for local friends and business associates. I’m sure it also helps to offer Happy Hour every day from 4 – 7pm and again from 9pm til closing. What’s more, is that guests can enjoy happy hour anywhere in the restaurant, not just the bar Sun – Thur (and at the bar only on Fri & Sat nights). There’s a reduced price food menu and all drinks are 1/2 off.
I was invited by The Locale’s PR firm to attend a media dine. They hosted a lovely event which several of my blogger friends attended, however, I was unable to attend at the time due to a lingering cold. I was thrilled to be invited back to experience the restaurant once I was well. On this dine, we started out a couple of their popular cocktails; I chose the Lychee Martini and my husband chose the Caipirinha, Brazil’s National cocktail. Lychees are my newest exotic fruit obsession, by the way.
The Locale’s Chef Joshua Miranda and team take pride in creatively melding exotic flavors with familiar applications in order to deploy flavorful creations to be shared. Locale’s Manager Carlos took the liberty of sending out a variety of dishes for us to try: a trio of appetizers consisting of pork & beef meatballs, mushroom crostini (called tostada on the menu) and tuna tartare were presented first. They were all delicious, but the star for me was the tuna tartare. The su vide preparation of the egg yolk was something that a true die hard foodie like myself would appreciate.
Carlos next sent out the Locale pizza which had fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula and shaved Parmesan. Tip: took home leftovers and heated the pizza up and cracked a fresh egg on top to make a delicious breakfast pizza!
The Picarina steak had a beautiful sear on it and was seasoned and cooked perfectly and served with yuca fries.
There was a generous portion of shrimp in the Fettucini Alfredo dish. Also made a nice shrimp scampi crostini the next day with these leftovers!
The Locale boasts Boca’s only Mixology Bar. (I see a Savor Our City Mixology Class taking place there in the future)– The Locale provides libation seekers with two bars and ample seating. Inside, chocolate bitters, candied ginger and acai liqueur are at the ready behind the bar, shaken up into one-of-a-kind drinks that are as eye-catching as they are delicious. Moscow Mule drinkers can choose from four iterations of the copper-mugged classic, including a daily rotating option, in addition to cocktails like the Brazilian Rum Runner Fig Old Fashioned, Lychee Martini and Jalapeño Aquafaba. At the newly-expanded patio, The Locale’s outdoor bar is happy to shake up something on the more traditional side in addition to pouring South Florida’s coldest brew at an impressive 28°F from their special imported below-freezing brewery tap. With over 35 beers from 6 countries, the perfect sip is always within reach.
Other signature dishes on the menu that look really interesting which I will have to go back for are: Beef Empanada with shredded short ribs and tomato jam; Croqueta fried dough filled with ham and cheese; and Shrimp Ajillo garlic shrimp served with white rice and broccoli bring a taste of South America to the table. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will swoon over The Locale’s meat-free Portobello Burgerwith tamarind glaze, manchego, crispy kale, aioli on a brioche bun; and flavorful signature entrées abound, with highlights including Short Ribover manchego polenta; Faroe Island Salmonwith wild rice, asparagus, yogurt crema; and Bucatiniwith yellow chili sauce, onions and tomatoes and choice of sautéed filet or chicken.
The Locale’s Happy Hour is served every day from 4-7p.m. and 9p.m.-close, where guests can enjoy even more brews, beats and bespoke cocktails from anywhere in the restaurant.
The Locale is located at 499 S Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33432, They are open for dinner Sun. – Thurs. 4 – 11p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 4p.m. – 1 a.m. and brunch on Sundays fro 10:30am – 2pm. For more information or to make a reservation, call (561) 325-8000 or visit www.localeboca.com.