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
I was recently invited to dine at Tanzy’s, located inside the iPic Theaters in Mizner Park, to check out their new weekend brunch offerings. I’ve enjoyed a meal or two at Tanzy’s before but this was my first time experiencing their brunch. It was a Saturday (and who doesn’t like the idea of a leisurely Saturday brunch catching up with good friends?!?) and I was totally stoked to be able to bring my girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in a super long time to join me for this brunch tasting. With so many wonderful dining choices available in Mizner Park, you might forget that Tanzy is there unless of course, you are going inside the iPic Theaters to catch a movie. While Tanzy is a great dining option for your pre or post-movie experience, I am here to set the record straight that Tanzy should be on the top of your list for a wonderful meal to be enjoyed whether your plans include a movie or not. Case in point: the epic weekend brunch, happy hour bar bites, lunch and of course, dinner.
Tanzy’s artisanal Italian cuisine focuses on garden-fresh modern Italian flavors in an elegant, yet relaxed social environment where friends, family and colleagues can gather to enjoy good conversation, good food & creative cocktails. Tanzy’s new menu features fresh new classics alongside time-tested favorites by award-winning Chef and Chief Operating Officer of iPic Entertainment. Diners will delight in inspiring flavors where seasonal ingredients are the star in every dish, artfully prepared by melding contemporary techniques with classic Italian influences; the resulting flavor profiles are modern and unique. Master Bartender and Advanced Sommelier Adam Seger crafts an unparalleled beverage program with local beers, an expertly curated wine list and stunning farm-to-glass handcrafted cocktails.
We started off with a Bloody Mary and a Peach Bellini. Then our server Julia surprised us with this beauty. An Italian Ice Mimosa made with liquid nitrogen. Check out the baby spoon that came with it, so cute! Can you say “Wow” factor?!?
So we were off to a good start. Julia explained the menu to us and it was difficult I must say to choose because so many items caught my eye. The bread basket contained an assortment of baked items which offered a good variety, so we chose that. OMG, without exaggeration, my friend and I ate one bite of the banana nut muffin and our eyes truly bugged out. It was without a doubt the best banana nut muffin we both had ever eaten. Man, I am salivating just a little right now as I recall how scrumptious it was, lol!
Another really really fantastic item was the candied bacon. It had a slight amount of heat and the perfect amount of sweetness. Loved it! I have to give Tanzy kudos for this because try as I have, I cannot seem to perfect the art of making candied bacon.
The infamously decadent French Toast, pictured below on the left, lived up to its title. It was made from thick sliced brioche bread stuffed with whipped mascarpone and assorted fresh berries. It reminded me a little of the one they make at Tucker Dukes which I just adore, but better, in my humble opinion. We ordered the eggs benedict, which came with our choice of crispy prosciutto, spinach or smoked salmon. We chose the salmon. The rich velvety Hollandaise sauce covered the English muffin halves like a warm comforting blankie. Yum!
Next up was the burrata & San Daniele prosciutto which came with a compressed melon, arugula and adorned with beautiful fennel flowers. It was almost too pretty to eat (almost, haha)! The spinach-ricotta gnudi was calling out to us from an early glance at the menu, so we heeded the call and gave in. Oh my, this was so worth having to do extra laps and burpees the next day!
Well, we didn’t quite make it to the dessert tower, but there’s always the next time.
I encourage you to check out their new lunch and dinner menus on their website and make your plans to visit there at your earliest chance. You won’t be disappointed, I can pretty much say this with 100% confidence.
Below is a sample of some of the new menu items which include fresh pastas, mains and antipasti to share:
Beet Agnolottimascarpone-potato filling, poppy seed, black winter truffle, parmesan ($28)
My birthday happened to fall on a Friday this year, the weekend of Passover and Easter and to get things kicked off, I decided to accept an invitation to dine at The Winemakers Table in Delray Beach. I had been hearing wonderful things about this place but just hadn’t been able to get there. That is until I met Tom and Michelle Ferraro, the brother and sister team who co-own this little treasure. I met Tom and Michelle purely by coincidence one evening while they happened to be on one of my weekly culinary tours in Royal Palm Place invited by their Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor.
The Winemakers Table opened 8 months ago and let me tell you, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think your gps took you to the wrong place. It was dark when we arrived and we both questioned whether we were in the right place as we pulled in to what appeared to be an industrial area with nothing but warehouse bays in front of us. (Side note: it’s actually a Corporate Center, albeit pretty remote) The Ferraro’s, who previously owned Ferraro’s on Glades, which they sold, were looking for a small place that would be out of the hustle & bustle of Atlantic Avenue where patrons would not worry about parking. The converting of this “warehouse” space into a cozy living/dining room enabled them to see this vision through. They wanted to create an atmosphere where guests could enjoy their meal, relax & not feel rushed that their table must be turned over.
Tom welcomed us at our table shortly after we were seated and after asking us if we had any food allergies or dietary restrictions to which we replied no, he proceeded to tell us he had a lovely four course pairing that was being prepared for us and would be out shortly. I couldn’t wait! First up was a pear and endive salad with Gorgonzola and hints of vanilla in the vinaigrette that paired excellently with the Prosecco that was served with it. The dressing was sooooo good that I wanted to just pick up my bowl and lick every last drop. (of course, I resisted, hehe).
The next course was pear & pasta purses with a red creamy sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes and paired with a Chardonnay. Fresh hot & yummy garlic bread was also presented during this course. The pursers were packed with flavor and cooked just to our liking, although I’m not 100% convinced that the Chardonnay was the right pairing (at least for me, but also full disclosure, I’m not a huge Chardonnay fan).
Sesame seared yellow fin tuna with rock shrimp, (fruit de mare) cucs & house made lemon vinaigrette paired quite exceptionally with a Burgundy (not pictured, sorry,) was our third course.
Our final tasting of the evening was Banana Foster Pot de Creme, Chocolate lava cake and Coconut cake paired with a 1960 Chateau port wine ($1250/bottle). While all three desserts were outstanding, the chocolate lava cake with the port was the best, in my opinion.
They have a private room that can seat up to 30 ppl!!!
The Winemakers Table is open Tues – Sat 5 – 11pm, however they are available 7 days a week for private events.
They are located at 2875 S Congress Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33445
I recently was invited to check out Via Emilia 9 in South Beach. I had not heard of it before and was super excited to go after taking a peek at their website.
Named after the merchant road in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure), ViaEmilia 9 is Miami Beach’s first authentic regional Italian restaurant and market. Emilia Romagna sits on the border with the third-smallest country in Europe, the Republic of San Marino, which happens to be the birth place of my mother-in-law, and a place I had the good fortune of visiting several years ago.
Perfect for lunch or dinner, Via Emilia 9 has something for all palettes and represents the Italian regions of both Bologna and Modena. Never compromising authenticity, Chef Giancarlo “Wendy” Cacciatori imports everything served at Via Emilia 9 from Italy (with the exception of fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs), including bread, which is brought in from the Vasalli Bakery in Ferrara, Italy. Via Emilia 9 has an expert “Sfoglina” or pasta maker on site hand rolling a variety of pastas and raviolis daily and upon request, she can personalize the stuffing of your ravioli or any pasta you’d like to try.
To get us started on our culinary journey through the Emilia region, Chef Wendy prepared for us a perfect antipasti plate that included 24 mo aged Parmigiano, 18 mo aged proscuitto di Parma, balsamic pearls (Chef Wendy & Tina import the balsamic from their own barrels in Emilia, where the balsamic sits and ages), fresh figs, artichoke, lemon jam & arugula with a side of gnocco frito (fried dough). Let me just say O – M – G!!!! This platter is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of tasting and I have tasted a lot, trust me! The quality of the imported products is undeniable. I loved (and ate, no…devoured is a more accurate description) everything on that plate. And the fried dough…don’t get me started. It was served piping hot and oh so good! We were served a lovely Lambrusco from the Emilia region to pair and it was nice and light.
The next dish to arrive was the cappellaci di zucca which were made that day (see above picture). These cappellaci were stuffed with pumpkin and marscapone cheese and came with crispy sage butter and topped with fresh Parmegiano cheese. This course was served with a Pinot Nero, a white Pinot Noir made by separating skins from the pulp- a really unique (and tasty) wine. My dining companion and I both LOVED this dish, every aspect of it. Pure perfection.
The next dish delivered to our table was their tagliatelle with prosciutto. I especially liked the bonus piece of grilled prosciutto placed on the top; the crispiness was a unique and welcome addition. A wonderful cabernet had been selected to pair with this course. Again, the freshness of the pasta along with each of the ingredients in the dish stood out to us and is an exception to what is served at most “Italian” restaurants here in the U.S.
For dessert, we delighted in the trio di ciaccolato. Tenerina al cioccolato (homemade chocolate cake), salame al cioccolato to (chocolate salami, an Italian dessert made from cocoa, broken biscuits, butter, eggs and a bit of port wine or rum. … like salami, chocolate salami is formed as a long cylinder and is sliced across into discs for serving) and mascarpone & strawberries. We loved each of the three components of the dish. The most unique I found was the chocolate salami.
Via Emilia 9 recently received a facelift. After two years in business, the traditional Italian eatery underwent renovations to incorporate a new open kitchen plan, an expanded market featuring homemade and imported Italian goods for sale, an eat-in bar, and pasta making station, along with other additions. Via Emilia 9 owners, Chef Wendy and his partner Valentina (aka Tina), decided to open up the space to give diners a look into the daily workings of an authentic Italian kitchen.
“We want to involve our guests in the cooking process and not just the end result. Being able to show people the process behind making food and being able to interact with their food is part of Italian tradition,” said Chef Wendy.
We tried just two of the wonderfu pasta dishes served at Via Emilia 9. Other dishes you may be interested in trying when you come is their signature dish, the Tortellini in Brodo (tortellini in broth) which is homemade and hand rolled- the tortellini is stuffed with Prosciutto di Parma, parmesan cheese, mortadella, beef and pork. Other highlights include The Basket from the Emilia Romagna- a charcuterie board that features prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, parmigiano, as well as fried dough, prosciutto, mortadella, stracchino cheese, and marmalades. Other highly recommended dishes include the Ravioli dello chef, the Tagliatelle Panna Salsiccia e Funghi (tagliatelle with mushrooms, sausage and cream sauce), the Cotoletta alla Bolognese, the Chef’s Filet and the homemade flatbreads.
Via Emilia 9 is also available for catering and private chef services at your own house or event. Happy Hour is offered daily from 4 – 6:30pm featuring bottles of wines & appetizers for 50% off. They also have what looks like an amazing 5 course truffle tasting which I am undoubtedly going to try! You can learn peruse their menu and learn more by clicking here.
Via Emilia 9 is located on 1120 15th Street in Miami Beach and is open daily from 11 a.m. until 11p.m. for both lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends. Reservations are available by phone at (786) 216-7150.
I recently organized and attended a media/blogger tasting at the newly opened Temper Grille restaurant in West Boca and was thrilled to take a seat and experience all the wonderful tapas and delicious wines that would start magically appearing on our tables.
Small Plates…Big taste. Food with Attitude! That’s their motto. Temper Grille features fine wines, a unique tapas menu, and an assortment of dishes that resonate with the Chef’s fiery tastes and attitude.
Temper Grille opened April 2010 in Granger, IN with Chef Sean Kelley and Co-founder Erick Guerra at the helm and has been wildly successful ever since. The name, Temper Grille, is a nod to Chef Kelley whose reputation in the past was that of a loose cannon with a spicy temper. “Yes, it is true,” Kelley laughs a little now. “I was a hothead”. Today the name now serves as a constant reminder of who he was and personifies the bold flavors he serves in each and every dish.
Midwest Living Magazine had this to say about Temper Grille… This intimate tapas-style restaurant has a unique food menu, as well as an extensive beer and wine list, all of which is sure to please any palate. From the house-cured bacon to duck bites and seared ahi tuna, Chef Sean Kelley doesn’t shy away from big flavors – and you shouldn’t either!
Earlier this year, plans to expand to the South Florida market came to fruition, when Chef Kelley and Erick Guerra found the perfect location in West Boca Raton to open their second location. “We are excited to share our culinary vision of an upscale American Fusion Tapas restaurant. Fresh ingredients, bold flavors and always cooked to order, each dish is plated and delivered to your table once it is ready for you to enjoy and share. No heat lamps or microwaves here. Welcome to food with attitude. Welcome to Temper Grille”, says Erick Guerra.
The new Temper is double the size of the one in IN and has full a bar. Although the core menu is much the same, Chef Ryan Emmons, the Executive Chef of the Boca Raton location, is adding his own style and attitude through the feature menu that change Wednesday of each week.
Temper Grille uses fresh ingredients that arrive daily and is always in search of local purveyors and sources that offer the quality, flavor and freshness that makes up each and every dish. The Granger location uses local sources such as duck from Maple Leaf Farms, potatoes from Arthur Snyder’s farm and sauces from Sunny’s Korean. In Boca, Chef Emmons has begun working with local farms and purveyors to bring the freshness of the local market to an already delectable menu.
Wing lovers are in for a treat with what Chef Kelley aims to create some of the best chicken wings in the area. The wings are brined for seven days, wood smoked using a blend of specialty woods, deep fried for a crisp texture and then tossed in one of a few different Temper Grille signature homemade sauces. The sauces range from garlic butter to hotter than even the heat-loving regulars can withstand. “I didn’t want to just make a wing. I wanted to make a statement,” Kelley said, and even with the hottest of the TG sauces, the statement comes through loud and clear and full of flavor.
Temper offers a selection of “bites” such as lobster, shrimp, steak and duck which are a Temper fan favorite and a staple to the restaurant. Others go crazy over the Temper Noodles which are served with a fried egg on top and tossed in one of the signature sauces to spice it up to your liking.
The number one item on the menu, Kelley says, is the signature macaroni and cheese. It is made with scientific precision and, at the same time, lots of love. “That’s what food is,” he explains. He doesn’t just make macaroni and cheese, he takes his brush to it and creates it. He is so secretive about the four cheeses that go into this delightfully decadent mix that not even his closest of family truly know the exact blend. Guests can select from a variety of versions: lobster, roasted pepper, blackened shrimp and smoked pork belly and can also order a gluten-free version, with 24 hours’ advance notice.
Creamed Corn with Red Pepper Sauce Lobser Bites: Sauteed Lobster finished in a Garlic Cream Sauce and served on a bed of Smashed Potatoes and served with Naan points.
Chef Kelley and Erick Guerra are collectors and aficionados and you can spend about as much as you want on a bottle of wine from their collection. “Through the years we have developed very close relationships with some of the top winemakers in the world and are working on crafting a one of a kind menu sure to please wine enthusiasts of all levels and complement our one of a kind cuisine”, said Erick. An entrepreneur and investor, Erick Guerra owns a number of different companies and recently released a ultra-premium tequila and rum brands which are featured at the restaurant. “We proudly serve both of our award-winning brands, Don Cheyo Tequila and Jav’s Rum, and have a number of cocktails and dishes infused with them”, Erick says.
Temper Grille’s staff provide attentive, informed service, the kind that helps a newcomer work through the menu and understand it better. It’s not easy to find such service and a treat when it works. “It’s that service that really defines a restaurant,” Kelley said. I would concur. Our server Brenna, was the best in the biz if you ask me. Not only was she exceptionally attentive to our needs, but she kept us laughing and entertained throughout the evening. I will certainly request Brenna on my next visit back, you can count on that!
Temper boasts a happy hour every day from to and half priced wine bottles, $100 or less, every Tuesday. They currently have live DJ’s every Friday and Saturday and are currently searching for musicians to play live on their music stage. They remain fairly active in their social media pages and constantly update followers with upcoming events, feature menus, drink specials and more. “Be sure to log into our free guest wifi and join our loyalty program to begin earning free food and drinks and receive invites to our special events and wine dinners”, says Erick.
Temper boasts a happy hour every day from 4pm to 6pm and half priced wine bottles, $100 or less, every Tuesday. They currently have live DJ’s every Friday and Saturday and are currently searching for musicians to play live on their music stage. They remain fairly active in their social media pages and constantly update followers with upcoming events, feature menus, drink specials and more. “Be sure to log into our free guest wifi and join our loyalty program to begin earning free food and drinks and receive invites to our special events and wine dinners”, says Erick.
Temper’s dishes range in price from $8 to $20 and the check average is $65 to $70.
Temper Grille is located at 9858 Clint Moore Rd. in Boca Raton. (561) 717-8081
They are open Tues – Thurs 4pm – 10pm, Fri – Sat 4pm – 12am and closed Sun & Mon
I am here to dispel the myth that hotel restaurants are sub par to stand alone restaurants or really just somewhere tourists go to out of sheer convenience. Many of these restaurants fly under the local foodie radar, and I will be the first to admit, that that was the case with me. But thanks to a recent invite to sample the new menu at Bistro Ten Zero One, under the direction of Executive Chef Christian Quiñones, I have a new respect for hotel restaurants…especially this one. Before our tasting journey began, we had the opportunity to walk the grounds with the Director of Food & Beverage, Jimmy Alexiou. The outdoor space was very zen-like and they were in the process of expanding their garden. The herbs grown there are used to accent their cocktails and dishes.
Our first course was a tasting of the Bistro’s most popular appetizers served with a glass of La Marca Prosecco:
PULLED PORK TACOS / pineapple-papaya compote, spicy mayo
In addition, here’s some more information on what’s happening at Bistro:
Oktoberfest at Bistro Ten Zero One Bistro will host an Oktoberfest party in its back outside area on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a Bavarian-themed menu, along with Oktoberfest-themed beers from six local breweries. Cost is $35 per person, if purchased in advance, or $40 per person, if purchased at the door. Tax and gratuity are additional. Visit bistro1001.com to see the full menu and to RSVP.
Live Music Fridays Bistro Ten Zero One will now offer live music in the bar and lounge area every Friday evening from 5-7 p.m.Raid the CellarDine at Bistro Ten Zero One on Friday evenings from 5-10 p.m. and enjoy 50% off select bottles of wine.
Daily Happy Hour Get happy every day of the week at Bistro Ten Zero One with the restaurant’s new happy hour. Available seven days a week from 4-7 p.m., guests will enjoy $7 appetizer specials and drink specials ranging from $3 to $6.
Bistro 10.0.1 Xpress Lunch Refuel midday with Bistro 10.0.1’s Xpress Lunch and get in and out in less than an hour. Guests will select an item from Bistro’s special lunch menu – all of which are priced at $12 and include a choice of soup, salad or house fries. This Xpress Lunch menu is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Highlights include the Bistro Burger made with Manchego cheese, caramelized onion and truffle aioli; a Garden Fresh Panini with grilled vegetables, goat cheese and sun-dried pesto; a Fish BLT (fresh off the hook) with avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato on sourdough bread; and more. See the menu.
Fresh, local ingredients creatively prepared and presented. I will definitely be back and I hope you have become inspired to check them out as well.
Until we eat again… I send you delicious wishes, xo
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.
I was recently invited to a media dinner at Renzo’s of Boca, a fine Italian restaurant that has been serving the community for the past 25 years under the leadership of Chef/Owner Renzo. Now under the ownership of long time South Floridian restaurateur & Executive Chef Angelo Romano of Paradiso Ristorante fame in Lake Worth along with partner Marco Turano, who hails from Milan, Italy with a background in the food and wine industry, and 15 years in New York working along side some of the most sophisticated chefs in the city. Together, this dynamic duo and their staff are eager to welcome back long time patrons of Renzo’s and continue a Boca Raton legacy with new passion and a new perspective on fresh, bold Italian flavors, opting to infuse some of Renzo’s traditional classics along with introducing brand new dishes to the menu.
Renzo’s is tucked away in a mini strip center off of N. Federal Highway, a little north of Jeffrey Street. This little hidden treasure is sure big on charm! There are two distinct dining rooms with an outdoor terrace for al fresco dining. We were invited to enter the dining room to the left which housed the bar and piano. A lovely trio of holiday cocktail concoctions welcomed us as the piano man tickled the ivories.
Once all the guests had arrived, we were seated at a nice large round table and treated to our first dish, Quarteto di Antipasti. Let me begin by commenting on their choice of plating. It certainly had the “WOW” factor. The Antipasti consisted of Burrata with Pickle Eggplant, Calamari Salad, Beet & Apple Salad and Tuna Carpaccio. Each and everyone of these dishes was wonderful. So fresh and packed with so much flavor. My favorite however, was the Burrata. I am a huge fan of Burrata and I have to say that this one was the best tasting one I have had to date, bar none! Very, very impressive for sure.
Next course was another beautifully plated feast; this time a trio of Pasta e Risotto. Fiocchetti Pasta with Pear, Gorgonzola & Walnuts; Risotto Frutti di Mare; Gnocchi Vodka Sauce. This was a tough one to decide which I liked best because I really liked them all. If I had to pick just one though, I would say the Fiocchetti with Pear, Gorgonzola & Walnuts rose slightly to the top for me; it reminded me of a dish I have had called a “beggar’s purse” which I was very fond of. Anyway, you won’t be disappointed with any of these dishes, trust me.
For our next course, Pesce (Fish) we were treated to a Pistachio Encrusted Branzino and a Shrimp Zingara. The Branzino was served with a delicious Champagne Mustard Sauce and was cooked to perfection. It was light and flaky and the pistachio crust provided another dimension of flavor and texture. Yum! The shrimp were cooked just right and were accompanied by a lovely medley of sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms.
For our Carne (Meat) course, we were treated to Chef Angelo’s award-winning Polpetta di Vitello (Veal Meatball) over Sheep Ricotta Cheese which was debuted in the BocaLocals March Meatball Madness Competition in 2014. The meatball was very good but the bed of ricotta cheese it sat upon was amazing!
Throughout the evening Marco poured two wines for us: a Tiefenbrunner Chardonnay and an Il Grigio Chianti Classico. They were perfect selections that went well with the courses that were served. Italian wines as well as wines from around the world can be found on the wine list. Domestic and Italian beers are served as well as an array of craft cocktails.
For our final course (Dolce), we were served a Ricotta Cheesecake. Given the choice of a NY Cheesecake and a traditional Italian Ricotta Cheesecake, 9 times out of 10 I would opt for the NY Cheesecake, but I definitely have to give kudos to the Chef for his wonderful rendition. It was very good and the fresh fruit on the side was a nice compliment.
Renzo’s is located at 5999 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton, just north of Yamato Road. They are open daily for lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm and dinner 5:30pm to 10pm. Live entertainment Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm. Renzo’s can accommodate private groups for dinner parties, anniversaries and other special events. For more info, call: 561-994-3495. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on their specials.
Back in December, my friend Shaina and I reviewed DaVinci’s shortly after they opened. (Click here to read that review.) Well, today I am pleased to share with you my latest review after being invited back to try some brand new items to commemorate their newly revamped menu executed by new Executive Chef, Ardany Rivas. Chef Rivas may be DaVinci’s new Executive Chef, but he is no stranger to the Carvelli Family. He has been working in the family owned restaurants since he joined them in 2005 working in Naples, FL and Wisconsin Dells, WI before coming to Boca to head up the kitchen.
“Ardany has worked with our family for more than ten years now, providing insight and inspiration for this location, as well as our other venues, so it made sense to move him into this role,” said Luigi Carvelli, who launched the restaurant with his family in September 2014. “Ardany shares the Carvelli family’s passion for delivering authentic Italian dishes that are prepared with the best, freshest, ingredients possible. We are thrilled to have him managing the DaVinci’s of Boca kitchen full-time.”
Shortly after we sat down, GM Francesco came to our table and asked us about our wine preferences. Luckily we were able to agree on a bottle of Rosso di Montalcino, a wonderful baby Barolo.
First thing to arrive on our table was their yummy warm bread basket and trio of dipping sauces that I fell in love with the first time around. (The Mascarpone with lemon zest & thyme is my personal favorite). Thank goodness this is one thing that they did not change when they created a new menu, I am pleased to announce.
Francesco informed us that Chef would be preparing a special tasting menu for us highlighting some of the new menu additions. Shaina and I especially love when Chefs do this for us. When Shaina and I dine together, we are kind of like a “Surf and Turf” duo; Shaina only eats seafood and I prefer meat, lol. Fortunately, we both really enjoy vegetarian type dishes. Speaking of which, our first course was a Vegetable Terrine appetizer which consisted of layers of eggplant, roasted red peppers, zucchini, portobello mushroom, goat cheese, arugula and topped with a balsamic glaze drizzle. I really liked this dish. It was a cold dish which didn’t surprise me as much as it seemed to have surprised Shaina. But I do agree with her assessment that it could have just as easily been served and enjoyed warm as well. To read Shaina’s review, click here.
The next dish to arrive was the charred octopus. For those of you who follow my posts, you know that Shaina and I are both huge fans of octopus. Last year when we were first introduced to DaVinci’s we tried their Polipo Grigliato al Salmoriglio, aka Octopus. It was a chilled version and although it was quite tasty, both Shaina and I agreed hands down that this new version was much more to our liking. It was served atop arugula with a lemon dressing, potato confit, drizzled with a pepperoncini aioli and served with a side of the most fantastic squid ink/white bean puree.
The Kale & Beet Salad was next. This colorful salad was visually very appealing and consisted of golden and red beets, pecans, pistachio-crusted goat cheese, kale tossed with a basil citrette dressing, topped with pickled onions and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The salad was well composed and we both enjoyed it very much.
The next dish that came out was the homemade spinach gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce garnished with strawberries. At first I was like, strawberries? But after trying it, I can definitely see that the sweetness from the fresh berries cuts some of the richness of the Gorgonzola and it works… very well, in fact. This was definitely one of my favorites of the night and I’d have to say that these gnocchi were my absolute favorite that I have ever been served (sorry mom).
When it came time to ordering our entrees, I selected the Veal Porcini, one of the new menu items, while Shaina ordered the seafood special of the night, Shrimp-stuffed Branzino. Both dishes were accompanied by scalloped potatoes in a lemon sauce, asparagus and baby carrots. The veal was cooked with a porcini Marsala wine and cream sauce. I enjoyed this dish, although it was just a tad over salted for my preference. Shaina loved her Branzino, which was presented in quite a unique manner in that it was filleted and stuffed rather than served whole. Pretty, isn’t it?!?
We skipped on dessert this time, since A) we were pretty stuffed and B) there weren’t any new desserts on the revamped menu. We had tried the Salted Caramel Tiramisu and the Lemon Meringue Mascarpone the last time and they were both delicious. Anything that has the words “Salted Caramel” is a must have in my book. So I encourage you all to make your way over to DaVinci’s and try some of these delicious items I’ve described for you here or anything else that catches your eye on the menu. I promise you one thing, you won’t be disappointed. Exceptional food, service and ambiance.
DaVinci’s offers Happy Hour 7 days a week from 11am – 6pm at the bar and patio only, as well as a late night Happy Hour from 9pm – close. They also have live entertainment and an indoor private dining room which can accommodate groups up to 40 guests and an outside patio/lounge area which can accommodate much larger groups. They are located at 6000 Glades Rd. (next to Nordstrom at the Town Center Mall). 561-362-8466. For more info, visit their website.
We had 17 people attend our inaugural “Savor Downtown Boca” tour, the first in a series of three taking place the third Wednesday of the month through January. Check out what Shaina Wizov from Take A Bite Out Of Boca had to say about the Nov 19th tour.
The next tour is coming up on Wed, Dec. 17th and takes place from 5:30 – 9pm and will make stops at La Stella’s, Spadini’s, Boca Skewers, Souvlaki Fast, Jazziz and Le Macaron. As a nod to the Jewish Holiday (it will be the second night of Hanukkah), a special latke tasting will be provided at Jazziz, one traditional and one eclectic one will be presented by Jazziz’ Chef.
The final tour in the series will take place on Wed, Jan 21st, also from 5:30 – 9:00pm, this time heading back to Royal Palm Place to pick up a few of the restaurants we weren’t able to get on the first tour, such as Estia Greek Taverna, Casimir Bistro, Piattini before strolling down SE 1st Ave for stops at 4th Generation Market, The Olive Tree and True.