Today’s post is a two-for, featuring both a wonderful new hostel/boutique hotel and restaurant we were introduced to right in the heart of South Beach. Founded in 2011, Generator, a London-based brand known for their trendy design-forward European Hostels that feel more like boutique hotels, has just opened its first US location in Miami Beach this past August on famed Collins Ave, just one block from the beach. Generator, remodelled from a 1940’s condo building, offers 300 beds in 105 rooms. One of the unique things about this hostel is that in addition to the traditional shared rooms (which start at $20 per bed per night), is the addition of private rooms that start at just $95/night. Generator is not the hostel you might have stayed at while travelling around Europe (probably in your early twenties). They have pulled out all the stops to create a sense of community, incorporating such amenities as an inviting pool, 2 on-site restaurants, beautifully designed shared and private rooms and several really unique common spaces for guests to interact with one another or just take in the serene environment that’s been created for the solo traveler to enjoy on their own – not to mention the awesome location, right in the heart of South Beach. Several activities are being offered at Generator including yoga, mixology demonstrations, movies, a pool table, DJs and more planned.
I was invited by Desirey, the Event Sales Manager and my lovely host for the afternoon who arranged a tour of the hostel/hotel and a lovely lunch for us at Driftway, one of the two restaurants found on the property. As we made our way past the pool heading towards Driftway, I couldn’t help but notice this amazing mural painted on the side of the building. It had been painted by South African artist Chris Aurett. The food & beverage operations are being overseen by Gui Jaroschy, whose impressive resume includes opening the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach as well as several other locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York; managing the Anderson in Miami’s Upper Eastside; and consulting on cocktail menus for Ricochet Lounge, Drunken Dragon and British Airways.
Alex, our Driftway guy let me sample all four of their frozen drinks; the Suze and Coke, OMFG Margarita, Bird of Paradise and the Friesling. I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was the Bird of Paradise which was made with Beefeater Dry Gin, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, Martini Bitter and J Wray Rum, allspice and cubeb pepper.
The food and frozen drinks were amazing, as was the ambience and the company. I am looking forward to planning my next Staycation right there at my new favorite place on South Beach.
If you are planning a trip to Miami Beach and are looking for things to do in the area, you might want to consider booking a Savor Our City tour. Private tours are offered for a minimum of 2 guests and groups of up to 50 people. Choose from South Beach, Wynwood, Little Havana, Miami Springs, Doral and Brickell. For more info on tours, contact Savor Our City.
They say to find unknown treasures, you have to leave the beaten path. In Boca Raton, areas like Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place are downtrodden with first-time visitors to our sea-kissed town. Yet, it’s a little spot just south of city central where you can find a foodie experience truly delectable and adventurous in Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi.
Saiko-i (pronounced sigh-koi-ee) Sushi Lounge & Hibachi is the creation of husband and wife team, Jason Zheng & Tina Wang. A 7,000 sq.ft. – formerly home to the local favorite nightclub, Gatsby’s – offers guests a selection of dining experiences. For casual affairs and networking events, sit in the outdoor courtyard or spacious bar. To be entertained, 11 hibachi tables wait to amuse, as well as an open exhibition sushi bar. But if an intimate dinner for two is on the menu, a romantic row of private booths amongst hand-selected artworks can accommodate.
I had the honor of experiencing Saiko-i with a number of other bloggers, writers, and foodies for the restaurant’s media night. While familiar with the Zheng & Wang’s first Boca restaurant, Yakitori Sake House, I wasn’t aware of Saiko-i. I pulled into an unassuming shopping center on Military and SW 18th St. – shared with an Outback Steakhouse nonetheless – questioning whether or not I was in the right place. Yet, as soon as I walked in the doors, I was swept into another locale altogether.
Upon entering, I paid quick homage to a 10-foot tall Buddha before being whisked to my table. A rich color template and delicate tapestries with fine detail adorn the interior of the entire restaurant. No detail was left to chance.
The night began with Saiko-i’s signature cocktail, the lychee martini. Made with fresh lychee juice, it was a martini perfect for those looking for a crisp drink with just a hint of sweetness. Also offered were Japanese beers and whiskeys alongside the usual American counterparts.
First order of the night delivered the salmon carpaccio. I smelled this dish before I even saw it, something I can’t ever recall saying about a raw carpaccio. The truffle oil and fried garlic scents made my stomach rumble with anticipation. Saiko-i attains fresh sushi-grade fish daily, hailing from both Florida local fisheries and Japan alike. I make no exaggeration when I say the carpaccio melted on my tongue.
Next was the roasted duck wrap, a mix of tender duck and savory spices wrapped in a lightly-fried, crisp Singapore flatbread – perfectly offset by a mango sauce and balsamic glaze.
By the end of the duck, I had sipped through my lychee martini and mixed it up with a selection of Japanese whiskeys, settling on the Suntory 10 year and Hibiki 12 year. Rounds of appetizers kept appearing. Dumpling-ilke Spicy Tuna Gyoza, a crunchy UFO Roll and the refreshing fresh fish medley that is the Sexy Lady Roll.
Being a fan of curries, I had to try Saiko-i’s red curry with scallops for my main dish. I asked for a bit more kick and the chefs behind the scenes got it just right. The portion was easily enough for two and I was glad to have lunch for the next day.
Despite being stuffed with the night’s appetizing creations, the team at Saiko-i wasn’t done with us yet. They had one more surprise. We had a birthday in the group and before we knew it a panda bear came to our table with a plate full of mochi – the perfect ending to an enchanting evening.
Recently, Savor Our City was invited to attend the opening of the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Bar in Pembroke Pines, FL, a fantastic place to visit for any occasion. What a unique concept. Not only are their signature wine pairings reason enough to visit, but their culinary selections, all made in their scratch kitchen, are delivered to perfection to compliment one’s wine pairing. Each recommendation is made by their highly trained Chef and house staff along with a professionally trained management team.
Truly a unique culinary and wine tasting experience.
The Cooper’s Hawk concept includes four different components: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room with a great adjoining retail store. All under one roof.
Upon arrival, we were directed to the large Napa-tasting room which was quite impressive. For a set fee or with the wine membership they offer, you can sample their latest reserved and private label wine selections. The tasting room is a great way to learn about the wines and you actually feel like you are in a true winery tasting room.
Then came the real fun part…sampling all of Cooper Hawk’s favorites on the menu which included 9 courses, each selected with wine pairings all recommended by their head Sommelier, Emily Wines…She is amazing!
Whether you’re an avid wine enthusiast or a novice, Cooper Hawk’s has make it easy for their quests to select the perfect pairings; each food item is offered with a wine pairing suggestion labeled on the menu by bin number, as suggested by the winemaker.
My personal culinary favorites were the Candied Bacon & Artisan Cheeses, delicious award-winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas, Fresh Pan Roasted Barramundi with Thai Lemongrass Sauce and my favorite of all….Short Rib Risotto with White Truffle Oil…OMG!!! Just to die for… And then of course to top it all off, the Cooper Hawk’s Chocolate Cake.
Their menu is extensive, so more reasons to go back time after time to experience it all. They also offer a Life Balance menu as well as a Gluten Free menu.
At the end of this memorable dining experience, along with making new friends over sensational food and wine pairings, I had left feeling VERY content and probably a few pounds heavier as well… It was so worth it.
I highly recommend Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant & Bar Pembroke Pines any time and for any occasion.
Savor Our City covered some great Delray mainstays on its Taste of Atlantic Avenue tour on Nov. 26.
You would think that a restaurant with “Oyster” in its name would only have a decent seafood selection, but the breakfast panini we sampled proved that brunch is also one of this eatery’s prime games. The pesto and mozzarella beautifully complemented the egg and pieces of bacon.
The Bloody Mary was scary good – the kind of good that happens when you can barely taste the alcohol in the drink. City Oyster knows how to blend great drinks with delectable entrées.
At The Office, we tried the Prime CEO Burger with parmesan truffle fries. The bacon and arugula on the burger brought out the tenderness of the patty, and the fries had all the greasy, truffle-y goodness you could want.
The best way to make vegetables delicious is, of course, by adding meat, and the Brussel’s sprouts with bacon turned out to be a great side.
Delray Beach GreenMarket
Gratitude Garden Farm, located in Loxahatchee, showed our group the benefits of eating microgreens such as sunflower seed sprouts and pea sprouts. These delicious plants would go well in a salad or just as a snack.
The siblings behind Frik & Frak Artisanal Sauces offered delicious batches of their homemade tomato sauces, including Holla Vodka and Cognac. The GreenMarket truly showcases the best of what Palm Beach County local cuisine has to offer. Check it out every Saturday through May 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old School Square Park.
The Old Arcade
Known as The Arcade Tap Room in 1908, The Old Arcade started out as a secret watering hole for patrons during the Prohibition era. Hidden in and only accessible through Caffe Martier, The Old Arcade offers an exceptional selection of craft cocktails as well as small eats, including goat cheese flatbread. This refurbished speakeasy is a great addition to Delray Beach.
Original Popcorn House
At this sweet spot just off Atlantic Avenue, all popcorn is cooked in coconut oil and covered in such ingredients as real cheddar cheese and gourmet Belgian chocolate. The Chocolate Peanut Butter popcorn had the perfect blend of sweet and salty, while the Buffalo Blue Cheese tasted as if I had actually eaten a hot wing.
Full of Crepe
We ended our tour at this crepe eatery based in Pittsburgh. Roast beef and caramelized onions made for a savory and delicious starter crepe, while the CBPB crepe did not disappoint with peanut butter, banana, and milk chocolate chips.
If you’re looking to eat some great food in a wonderful small city, the Taste of Atlantic Avenue tour is perfect for both couples and groups.
Story contributed by guest blogger: Olivia Feldman
Olivia Feldman is a contributor for Savor Our City. Her favorite foods are anything that involves pasta and her mom’s cooking. When she’s not eating and drinking her way through South Florida, you can find her going to concerts, planning her next travel destination, and hosting her biweekly music show, “Back in Our Minds,” on Jolt Radio. You also can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @oliviafelds All images appearing in this post photographed by Olivia.
I was recently invited to attend the Aqua Pool Party, hosted by Utopian Events at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel.
The Pool Party I attended was on Saturday, Aug. 27th and was open to the public from 12 – 5pm. (More dates will soon be announced).
The Aqua Pool Party at the hotel, hosted by Utopian Events, offers guests poolside brunch with selections like Filet Mignon Sliders, Crab stuffed Eggs Benedict and Cali-style Mahi Soft Tacos from 12:00-2:00 pm followed by Barbeque Madness from 2:00-5:00 pm with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $25 and pitchers of Sangria for $18, there are frozen specialty drinks and top shelf beverage specials available all day.
Local DJs Alex Gregory and Ben Nigrelli entertained while my friend and I indulged in the wonderful brunch al fresco and later joined in on the poolside games; we even signed up to play in the beer pong tournament (which we unfortunately did not win, but had a lot of fun trying) We did purchase tickets for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including free drinks, food and hotel stays at destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Chicago as well as a cash prize. A grand prize giveaway includes a two-night stay in Key West in a Presidential Suite with VIP Amenities. Guests gain a complimentary raffle ticket for every $10 spent at the Aqua Pool Party.
Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
2000 NW 19th St. Boca Raton, FL 33431
All ages are welcome to join; must be 21 to consume alcohol
For more information on the Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel, please visit the website, twitter and Facebook.
Some of you who are following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram know that I have just returned from a trip to Boston; an exploratory trip, that is. I went there to accomplish two things: 1. Get to know Boston, a city that we will soon be operating a series of private group culinary tours and then 2. To share my wonderful FoodFinds with you.
My trip began with a great deal flying Spirit Air thanks to a friend of mine who works for the line who was able to extend a friends/family rate to me. I am thankful that the stand-by status paid off as I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t since I had my hotel room booked and meetings & interviews and even a food tour lined up. But thankfully, it was seamless. So I arrived at Boston Logan Airport and exited through the bag claim area and proceeded outside to the center area marked ‘Shared Van Service’. I was staying at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, thanks to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau who helped to make the connection. The hotel did not have a pick up service at the airport, so after reviewing my options of getting from the airport to the hotel (I was only staying in town a couple nights and everything I needed to do was close enough to walk or Uber, so I did not rent a car), I opted to reserve a seat on Go Boston, a shuttle I ended up sharing with just one other gal. When I got to the hotel, I realized I didn’t have any singles on me. When the driver said he didn’t have any change, I asked him to wait for a moment so I could run in and get some. Little did I know that we arrived in the back entrance and after running inside what might have been about 3o feet, I frantically turned my head to the left and to the right and assessed there was no lobby or front desk in sight. Before I had a moment to despair though, I ran into three knights in dapper business suits (Tony, Jonathan & Rob were their names; turns out they were 3 top Execs of the Hotel, lucky me). They asked me what seemed to be the problem and I explained and without an ounce of hesitation, two of them were reaching in their pockets to offer me the tip money. Of course I was super appreciative of these gentlemen being there to not only help out by fronting me the money to tip my driver and watching my bags which I just dropped at their feet, but when I asked the gentleman who laid the money out how I could find him again to repay him, he absolutely refused. Nice, right?!? I really appreciated the gesture and hospitality, which didn’t end there. I made my way to the front desk to check in, and as I was waiting for my room assignment, Rob, one of my new friends (who turned out to be the Hotel Manager), suddenly appeared at the desk and made a point to ensure I was given a nice room, which I had.
Off the Common Restaurant in the main lobby. Guests can keep their phones, iPads and laptops charged with several convenient charging stations tastefully placed down the center of the dining room and throughout the hotel.
Pictured above: Fritz the Bartender
The plan was for me to contact Vanessa, Boston Park Plaza’s Marketing Manager upon my arrival to have her give me a tour of the hotel. Vanessa and I had been corresponding closely prior to my arrival and I already felt like I was meeting a new friend. While I was waiting for Vanessa to take me on my tour, I had a seat at the bar and started chatting with Fritz the bartender. Fritz has been working at the Park Plaza Hotel for 17 years, ever since he was in college. I think that says a lot about the hotel, which incidentally just celebrated its 89th birthday. They must be treating their guests (and employees) right!
We began our tour of the hotel at the library. It was a nice cozy library with plenty of good light for reading. One cool feature they have thought to add here is a “call pod”, a call for service button available from 5pm – midnight, where guests can have food and/or beverages delivered right to them from the comfort of their chair. How convenient is that?!
Pictured above: The Cozy Corner
This gorgeous ballroom is 13,000 square feet and can hold up to 2,200 guests. There are several other options available for various other meeting spaces as well.
Pictured above: The David Barton gym, an ultra sheek, ultra modern 19k sq ft space found one level below the lobby. Here one can get a great work out in the gym, take one of their group classes and even spin. The gym is open to the public and memberships are also available.
Pictured below: My bedroom on the 15th Floor. Nicely appointed with mini fridge, flat screen tv, sitting area, King bed (with the most dreamy pillows I can remember laying my head on in a very long time) and (not pictured: bathroom). The dual head shower was a nice touch as was the hand soaps. The brand they use is Pure and I loved the fragrance of lemongrass.
Pictured below: A special surprise was awaiting me when I returned to my room later that evening. The chocolate ganache cake was to-die-for!
They have a great breakfast buffet at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Here’s a little sample of what I got.
After completing my wonderful tour with Vanessa, I headed out to explore this unique city. Check back soon for Boston – The Park May Be Common, But The City’s Unique! (Part 2) where I cover my walk from the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to the North End via Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, my food tour and other fabulous food finds..
It’s time to get messy! Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca enjoyed a night full of food, wine and art with Savor Our City on the first ever tour with Vino Van Gogh.
I think I’ve been on every single tour that Savor Our City offers — more than once. Though sometimes this means visiting the same restaurants twice, most of the time I’m being introduced to new spots. Last week, Savor Our City did a mini version of it’s Delray Beach Pineapple Grove Tour, ending the night at a place I have been wanting to go for a while — Vino Van Gogh. It’s a “Paint, Wine and Art Bar” where you and a group of friends (or go alone if you’re so inclined) can participate in a group painting class and unleash your inner artist. Everyone paints the same image, and there is an instructor up at the front of the room helping you along the way. Wine and beer is also available for purchase. It’s a super fun way to spend an evening, and everyone on this special Pineapple Grove tour got to experience it!
Instead of the usual 5 or 6 restaurant stops, this tour was limited to 3 since we would be participating in a class at Vino Van Gogh. We started at SoLita, a regular on the Savor Our City tours, who served us their signature Eggplant Stack paired with a smooth and food-friendly Chianti. Mozzarella and slices of beefsteak tomato are sandwiched between two pieces of crispy eggplant, topped with peppery arugula and drizzled with an aged balsamic and shaved parmigiana. This is one of my favorite appetizers in all of Pineapple Grove. Seriously. The eggplant is so unbelievably perfect — Bubby’s eggplant might give it a run for its money, but I’ve never had it this good from any other restaurant. SoLita proudly boasts this as one of it’s most popular items on the menu. No surprise there — everyone’s plates were empty within mere seconds of those stacks being set down.
It’s about time Savor Our City came to Boca! Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca was very excited to see the tour in her stomping grounds.
Denise has finally brought Savor Our City Culinary Tours to Boca! I have been waiting for this ever since she started her tour business in Delray. Boca has such a vibrant restaurant scene that I knew it wouldn’t be long before the owners and chefs would want to get on board.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this incredibly tasty tour, Savor Our City was founded by my good friend Denise Righetti. She leads groups through a series of stops at restaurants and specialty shops and introduces everyone to delicious flavors, beautiful scenery, and fun historical facts about the area. Currently, the tours are held every Saturday afternoon in Delray Beach along Atlantic Ave and the third Thursday of every Month in Pineapple Grove. There are occasional evening tours, as well.
Savor Downtown Boca is the newest of the bunch and the inaugural tour took us through Royal Palm Place — just a little farther south from Mizner Park on Federal Highway. Royal Palm Place has so many restaurants, with new ones popping up almost every month. Although I’ve been to quite a few in the plaza, there are still many more I’ve yet to explore. We all got “A Taste of Royal Palm Place” and I would put money on it that each and every guest will be back for more very soon!
Our first stop of the night was at one of my absolute favorite Italian restaurants — Ristorante Sapori. Chef Marco is the sweetest man ever and always aims to please. Remember my review of the restaurant and my crazy craving for linguine and clams? He came to my rescue that night and we still laugh about it whenever we see each other. Chef served us homemade fettuccine, which he prepared right in front of us with his pasta maker, and promptly served alongside his delicious flavored butters and freshly baked bread. I’ve never had fettuccine Alfredo quite like this before — it was light and airy, not weighed down with heavy cream like most Alfredo dishes. And that fresh pasta made all the difference! Many of us would have been content sitting there all night eating plate after plate of Chef Marco’s pasta, but alas…we had more tasting to do!
Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca had never been to PGA Commons until Savor Our City started doing tours there. There was lots to see and do during the Savor PGA Commons Tour!
Savor Our City Culinary Tours is bringing its historical food tours up to Palm Beach Gardens so even more South Florida foodies can join in on the fun. The inaugural tour was on Wednesday, July 30th and will continue to take place on the last Wednesday of every month.
Denise is on a roll with her culinary tours! I was pumped to be able to go on the first ever tour at PGA Commons, a quaint outdoor shopping and restaurant area very similar to Mizner Park, located in Palm Beach Gardens. This is the perfect spot to host a walking tour — there are so many different kinds of restaurants to try and we even got to check out a gorgeous art gallery too! Savor PGA should be described as more of both a food AND wine tour, because we were lucky enough to receive pairings at EACH restaurant!
This tour was the biggest group Denise has had thus far, which was super exciting. Despite the stormy weather, 26 people joined together under the outside awning at Vic & Angelo’s where we all met up to get acquainted with one another before spending the next three hours together eating, drinking, learning fun facts about the area, and forming new friendships.
Once our name tags were handed out and the skies started to open, we headed inside to be seated for our first taste of the tour. I had just experienced Vic & Angelo’s in Delray Beach for the first time and loved it so I was happy to be back here to try something new. They served us our choice of a Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon (I went with red — I like to drink red wine when I eat Italian food) and of course had a plate of their signature garlic bread on the table for us to start with. That bread…so garlicky and topped with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, fresh out of the oven and crisped to perfection — I’m not sure I’ve ever had garlic bread quite like theirs before.
Delray Beach is so rich with culture and cuisine, it’s about time someone starting showing it off! My good friend Denise has introduced a new concept to the area, Savor The City Culinary Tours. Denise is famed around town for putting together great pairing events with her company “Denise’s Foodie Events,” so she is a natural choice for leading these tours. Her first tour “Taste Atlantic Ave” takes you up and down the avenue, where you get to sample food and drinks from four restaurants and visit two gourmet specialty shops. Aside from the food, you also get to hear stories and fun facts about Delray Beach and its history from Denise. She interviewed local families and historians to find out some really cool info to share with her tour guests.
A group of ten of us joined Denise this past weekend. Among our group was Shanna from Boca Locals who puts together the ABZs Networking Crawls, and Stevie, a former chef and fellow local food blogger at Fork Notes. Gotta love when foodies unite for fun food-centered events!
The day started off at The Office, where we were served a bit of an indulgent sampling of their menu items: their Prime CEO Burger with sweet onion and tomato confit, bleu cheese crumble, gruyere, arugula and bacon, truffle fries and a beer. Yes, this was at 11:00 in the morning. Breakfast of Champions!