I feel like another confessional coming on: Forgive me for its been way too long since my last post. Life just has a habit of sometimes getting in the way of keeping my writings as current as I’d like them to be. But I promise, as always, to deliver you our latest Food Finds (new restaurant openings, menu updates, food & wine festivals, charity galas, product reviews and recipes, and destination travel).
Today’s post is on The Venu (www.TheLocalVenu.com), an upscale and intimate restaurant, bar & entertainment destination that recently opened in Boynton Beach, FL. Open daily from 11am – 3am, offering lunch, brunch (Sundays 11am – 3pm) Happy Hour starting at 4pm and dinner featuring live music throughout the week and every weekend. You can find a complete schedule of all their shows and ticket info on their website and facebook pages. The Venu is outfitted with a 200″ projector screen and a 22′ X 20′ stage and showroom, along with a state-of-the-art sound and light system. Expect to see talent from all over the world playing on this stage, representing every genre from funk and soul to rock, reggae, DJs, comedy, Broadway acts and more.
The Venu has brought on Executive Chef Kelley Randall (previously head chef at Vic & Angelo’s and The Office in Delray Beach) to run the kitchen. He is a highly regarded and well-known master of inspired farm-fresh cuisine who incorporates locally sourced ingredients to create imaginative menus for lunch, brunch dinner and showtime. All pastas and desserts are crafted in-house daily and all dishes are prepared from the scratch kitchen. Chef Kelley’s take on Italian and modern European fare is highlighted by such signature dishes as the Wild Boar Pappardelle, Frutti Di Mare, Coq Au Vin, 1855 Ranch Ribeye, Stuffed Portabella Mushroom, Waygu Beef Carpaccio, Grilled Octopus, PEI Mussels Provencal and much more including daily specials.
I had the great pleasure of trying several of these and other signature dishes at a recent Media event.
The preset menu was divided into sections: Under “Let’s Begin”, we sampled the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and the Meatballs Al Forno.
Every well thought out component came together to create a harmonious dish. The Wagyu beef just melts in your mouth and the fried caper aioli provides an added layer of umami. By the way, in case you didn’t know what grissini was when you were reading my description up above, do not fret; I didn’t either, so I looked it up and here’s what it is: breadsticks, lol! Thin crispy Italian breadsticks.
It wasn’t but a few months ago that I tried bison for the first time on one of our tours in Sanford where I had the most delicious bison burger at The Smiling Bison. So I was super excited to see this meatball at The Venu contained bison in their mixture. The meatballs were delicious there’s no doubt about that, although I don’t know that I could really detect the bison.
Moving on to the next section, under “Greens” we got to try their Pear & Cream and House Crafted Pasta.
This whimsical salad was filled with my all time favorite cheeses, the burrata. I swear, if you’re anything like me, once you try burrata, it’s hard to go back to regular ol’ mozzarella. It is the king of all mozzarellas in my humble opinion. Anyway, I must say this dish was creatively assembled; never before had I seen poached pear served with burrata. Each of the items on the dish was treated with finesse while the balsamic drizzle brought them all together harmoniously.
My favorite dish of the evening was this wild boar pappardelle. From the moment it was placed in front of me, the waft of orange zest made it’s way up the olfactory, tingling and tantalizing my tastebuds beckoning me to consume my first bite. O-M-G! The boar was so tender and flavorful and the pappardelle was cooked to perfection. The saltiness from the feta was a unique and welcome addition as well. You must try this dish.
Innovative and tasty cocktails were served thoughout the night…
Under the “Paramount” section, we were given the Seared Sea Scallops and Chicken Francaise to try.
Did you know that summer carrots are sweeter than fall carrots? Neither did I. I learned this fun little fact from Chef Kelley when he introduced the dish. The sweet carrot puree was a terrific choice to accompany the perfectly cooked scallops.
This dish was rich and contained all of the key components of a classic Chicken Francaise plus some original nuances such as the fried artichoke hearts, adding yet another flavorful dimension.
“To Finish” we had the tiramisu and a House Crafted Cookie Plate
The tiramisu served at The Venu was one of the most delicious tiramisu’s that I have ever had. Great job guys!
What a night, I tell ya. I hope I have given you some ideas on what you would like to try when you visit. When you do go, be sure to tell Chef Kelley that your friend Denise from Savor Our City sent ya.
The Venu is located at 8794 West Boynton Beach Blvd. Boynton Beach, FL 33472 561.200.0222
I am super excited to share with you my recap of the 3rd Anual Taste of the Sea – 100 Years of Fishing History event that took place on Saturday, October 1st at the unique Gallery of Amazing Things located in Dania Beach from 6:30pm – 11pm. What an explosion of flavors being cast out by a room of very talented South Florida local celebrity Chefs. This was my first year attending this spectacularly well-organized, well laid out event and it certainly will not be my last. If you are reading this and you didn’t make it to this year’s event, I am certain you will want to buy a ticket to next year’s one just from the pics and descriptions you are about to see: warning, what you are about to see may cause your mouth to salivate and cause excess dribbles onto your laptop or mobile device, lol!)
At this year’s Taste of the Sea, I had a chance to savor the finest responsibly sourced seafood dishes created by South Florida’s all-star celebrity chefs and experience these chefs compete in a “Fish-Off” Challenge, with guests voting on their favorite chef’s seafood creation. In addition to the “Fish-Off” Challenge for the fan favorite dish which each chef competed in, this year the event organizers turned up the heat and announced a LIVE “CHOPPED” Style Competition featuring six celebrity chefs battling it out in “kitchen stadium” courtesy of Allied Kitchen and Bath, for the top prize and bragging rights! There was plenty of delicious wine, craft beer and spirits available throughout the night along with scrumptious desserts, music, raffles and an interactive conservation village.
“We are very excited to host our 3rd Annual Taste of the Sea “100 Years of Fishing History” and bring to South Florida an incredible array of celebrity chefs preparing delicious seafood dishes using responsibly sourced seafood. We are working with many of the most talented chefs who support our organization’s goal of creating awareness about seafood sustainability”, boasts Adriana Sanchez, Sustainability Director of Sea Delight and President of the Sea Delight Ocean Fund. “The Sea Delight Ocean Fund is proud to count on the support of Preferred Freezer Services and Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC, who have been our sponsors these past 3 years, and also welcome Foa & Son Insurance Brokers and Robert Shapiro and Associates this year, as our main sponsors. It is truly inspiring to work with organizations focused on the health of our oceans alongside these gifted culinary masters,” noted Adriana Sanchez,
“Preferred Freezer Services is committed to ecological sensitivity and constant innovation in the warehousing and logistics industry. Our continuous development and sustained operation of the most cutting-edge refrigerated warehouses depends upon learning from the past while always looking towards the future. On the occasion of celebrating 100 Years of Fishing History, we are reminded through our sponsorship of the Sea Delight Ocean Fund’s Taste of the Sea the importance of preserving and improving sustainable global fisheries for future generations,” said Brian Beattie, President of Preferred Freezer Services.
All-Stars chefs include All-Stars Celebrity Chefs include:
Chef Robyn Almodovar, “Winner” of both of the Food Network’s shows Chopped and Cut Throat Kitchen, contestant of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen and owner of the Palate Party food truck. Chef Robyn is serving as Host of the Taste of the Sea’s Live “Chopped” competition.
“Winner” of Food Network’s Chopped, Chef Adrienne Grenier is Executive Chef of 3030 Ocean at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort.
Red Robin “Burger Winner” Chef Michell Sanchez, of Latin House Grill, winner of the 2nd Annual Taste of the Sea Fish Off Challenge and a contestant on both of Food Network’s Chopped and featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,
NY Chef Barret Beyer, contestant on Fox’s, Hell’s Kitchen, Season 11, Food Network’s Kitchen Casino, Cutthroat Kitchen and known as the “palate pirate” throughout Long Island, New York.
Chef Alain Lemaire, contestant on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and owner of Sensory Delights Catering, a full service off premises caterer.
Chef Alex Rodil, contestant on both Food Network’s Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen and owner of On the Fly private catering for the yachting industry.
Chef Nuno Grullon, of Miami’s new Café Roval and known internationally for its innovative menu highlighting seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients and featured on BRAVO’s Best New Restaurant.
Chef Ryan Martin, owner of 180° at the DRB in downtown Miami is known worldwide for his global flavors and his Gastronomy Redefined.
Chef Aaron Dreilinger, is partner and co-owner of Chef David Catering and Event Design, one of Miami’s premier gastronomic event planning enterprises.
Sous Chef Rod Knight of Thursday’s, the newest French-American restaurant on Las Olas that is known for its landmark status in Montreal, Canada.
Executive Chef Eric Baker of Max’s Harvest is known for his innovative dishes made with locally sourced products with a global influence. Max’s Harvest, was the first farm to fork concept to open in Palm Beach County.
Chef Kareem Anguin, formerly of Oceanaire Seafood Room and now creating his culinary masterpieces for Open Blue raising the finest quality Cobia in the deep open ocean off the coast of Panama.
Chef Rolin Gordon, owner of the acclaimed Tropic Gourmet Spice & Catering and his own Tropic Gourmet Hot Sauce.
Chef and Gastronomy Professor Raimundo Rincon of Federacion Lationamericana Gastronomia and 3R Catering Miami.
In addition to these famous celebrity chefs, the 3rd Annual Taste of the Sea proudly collaborated and paired with companies such as P&G Fine Wines, Iceberg Vodka, Cockspur Rum, Baron Tequila, Hartfield & Company Bourbon, Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, CoffeLuxe, Pastry Chef Anthony Billisi of Mimi’s Ravioli and Dipsa Snacks, who provided incredible desserts. (There were several, but my favorite happened to be their cannoli’s).
After circling the venue (which was more like zig zagging throughout the gallery) a couple times, I finally was able to cast my vote for the Fan Favorite dish (which apparently was overwhelmingly unanimous)…Congrats to Chef Michell Sanchez from Latin House for taking home the win, again this year! (Check out his impressive credentials listed above. It’s no wonder he continues to emerge a winner at these competitions!)
I have to give a shout out to a few other chefs whose dishes were truly outstanding as well. One is the truffle corn silk – black ash salt smoked scallops from Chef Ryan Martin of 180° at the DRBin downtown Miami. OMG, were these flavors so unique and the scallop’s texture was amazing. Add truffle to anything and you’ve already scored points in my book. This scallop was really so good, it literally was neck and neck with my first choice. Great job Chef Ryan.
My next stand-out dish to point out was the grilled mahi-mahi wrapped in a banana leaf and served with yellow rice created by Chef Rolin Gordon. Just take a look at the color on this fish. It was so juicy, tender and flavorful and not a bit dried out. Chef Rolin is the owner of the acclaimed Tropic Gourmet Spice & Catering and his own Tropic Gourmet Hot Sauce.
And one more honorable mention goes to Executive Chef Eric Baker from Max’s Harvest. I passed by his table and was less than excited when I saw the dish he was serving was mussels. I admitted to him in an apologetic way that I have never been a fan of mussels. At that time, someone else approached the table so I felt it was ok to safely step away. On my second time around the room, I found myself again at Chef Eric’s table and this time we got to chatting about his mussels a little more and he assured me they were prepared in a way that they didn’t taste like mussels (if that makes any sense). So, with that, I was convinced to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised at how Chef actually did transform that mollusk into an escabeche that was rather appealing. Way to go Chef Eric!
“Everyone has a role to play in ocean conservation and this event is a unique opportunity to bring the south Florida community closer to important fishery improvement projects,” said Wendy Goyert, Senior Program Officer, World Wildlife Fund. “Sustainable seafood doesn’t just end up on the plate at a local restaurant. It starts with hard work on the ground in coastal communities from Southeast Asia to Latin America and the Caribbean. We look forward to making that connection for people attending Taste of the Sea.”
“As one of Sea Delight’s sustainability partners, FishWise is extremely proud to be involved in what promises to be a fantastic event in Miami. We’re excited to share the story of how Sea Delight has continued to strengthen its commitment to sourcing responsible seafood, and of course, try some of the amazing seafood creations on offer!” shares “Bill” William Wall, Distributor Division Director of Fishwise.
And the winner of this year’s Taste of the Sea “Chopped” competition…
The Sea Delight Ocean Fund, is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2012 to create and support global fishery improvement projects and better fishing practices initiatives that protect marine resources and promote conservation efforts globally. All proceeds from this event will help further marine conservation programs led by the Sea Delight Ocean Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of our oceans.
For more info on the organizations involved in this amazing event, please visit the links below.
Savor Our City™ Culinary Tours debuted their inaugural tour, “Taste Atlantic Ave” on Saturday, May 3, 2014. ” We are delighted to introduce the launch of our unique walking historical food tours in Palm Beach County. Our tours cater to the Adventure Traveler who really wants to enjoy a city through its culinary senses. We journey behind the scenes and soak in the history of old Delray while satiating our guests’ curious appetites. Participants have the opportunity to meet food artisans who represent some of the best restaurants and gourmet shops in the city”, says Savor Our City founder Denise Righetti.
Participants will have the opportunity to get a real taste of Delray Beach. The “Taste Atlantic Ave” tour will introduce foodies to some of the best restaurants and specialty gourmet shops on “Atlantic Avenue”, a charming streetscape filled with upscale shops, fine restaurants and nightly entertainment.
What makes Savor Our City Culinary™ tours unique is that we have chosen neighborhoods/districts that are 100% walkable and we provide not only historical facts, but interject fun and interesting anecdotes and stories obtained through interviewing long time residents as well as the historian from the historical society. Led by founder Denise Righetti and her team of knowledgeable foodies & wine enthusiasts – many with hospitality, culinary and/or food blogging backgrounds – these gourmet adventures take both local foodies and visitors alike behind-the-scenes into each city’s hot culinary communities, where they will be introduced to delicious savory treasures and sweet gems one bite at a time. A typical tour will include sample cuisines from four restaurants and two gourmet specialty shops. An example of some of the foods sampled on this tour may include a gourmet burger and truffle fries from an American Gastropub,chicken souvlaki from a Greek Taverna,ultra premium extra virgin olive oils & balsamic vinegars from around the globe, an authentic Philly steak sandwich, Bahn Mi lettuce cups and finally, something to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Included with the tour, each guest will receive a complimentary map and an insert highlighting every stop on the tour, with the names of each place, the address, their hours, what foods were sampled, with special offers.
“Taste Atlantic Avenue” tours run every Saturday, 11am – 2pm and the third Friday of every month from 5pm for $65 per person. To book your tour, go to www.SavorOurCity.com or call our ticketing agent, Zerve at (800) 979-3370. We are running a special promotion for the remainder of the tours this month for $50 per person. (Must use promo code STCL1).