Monthly Archives: March 2016

A New Century of Brunching

By Shana Overhulser, BocaLocals.com

 

Novecento has hit the mark when it comes to offering a simple elegance in combing breakfast and lunch, as noted by the Girls Gone Brunching society. This Argentinean bistro bubbles with excitement and culinary delights as you leisurely recap a weekend gone by.

A gal pal of mine and I took up residence on the delightful outside terrace sipping on our first mimosa. Novecento offers the first one complimentary to all brunchers from 11am to 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Our gaze, from the garden plants to the broken sunlight playing upon our table, was distracted by the abundant selection of traditional American and Argentinean cuisine on the menu. The choice was clear! We started with Ceviche De Pulpo – octopus tiradito style, lime juice, chilli powder, tortilla salt, radish slices and avocado. The bursting of flavors set off like firecrackers on my tongue with each bite. The octopus was seriously the freshest I have ever tasted. To accentuate the experience, the Blue Cheese and truffle oil fries made an appearance and never left my side. It was a perfect companion to the assortment of dishes presented throughout.

 

West Palm Beach, aventura, miami beach, brunch, mimosas

A traditional Argentinean Provoleta Novecento was in due order containing provolone cheese au gratin, roasted onions, cherry tomatoes, red peppers and oregano. Great as a snack, and appetizer, for the cheesy, grilled-veggie type with no greasy feel. Being from New York, and a total sucker for fresh lox, I had the desire to order the Smoked Salmon Bagel Platter containing thick strips of smoked salmon served with a bagel, sliced tomato, onions, capers and cream cheese. It did not disappoint! The fish is wild caught and is, of course, a staple amongst this Miami crowd. Adding a meaty twist to a classic – emerges Novecento Benedict with crunchy toasted English muffin, two perfectly poached eggs on top, grilled skirt steak and Hollandaise sauce all towered on Canadian bacon. On par with taste and textures – a savory fiesta any time of day! I finished the meal with a very frothy Lavazza latte.

 

West Palm Beach, aventura, miami beach, brunch, mimosas

 

The 20th Century proves to be worthy of impressionable brunching – and Novecento is one restaurant that defines an era with their chic atmosphere, high standard of service and quality of foods. Brunch comes a la carte or Parrillada To Share, for only $62+. To review the menus go to: http://www.novecento.com/index.phpoption=com_ovacomposer&view=page&Itemid=138 Be sure to check under the Events page for; wine and beer of the month, ladies night, birthday incentive, Martini Card, Thirsty Thursdays and Wine Tuesdays. Address: 18831 Biscayne Blvd #220, Aventura, FL 33180. Phone: (305) 466-0900.

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You’ll Be Screaming Greek

By Shana Overhulser, www.BocaLocals.com

Thanks to the food gods – Boca now has a delicious new casual Greek restaurant in their midst! Gyromania, the new kid on the block, has recently made a second home for itself on the conner of Palmetto and Powerline. The first restaurant that had opened in Coral Springs 3 years ago was so talked about, I was anticipating this long-awaited Mediterranean meal – and it did not disappoint.

The process for which to make fresh food from the best quality ingredients is the main focal point for owner, Peter Alexopoulos, and General Manager and Chef, Zach Bernier. Myself and a couple of fellow food enthusiasts happily dove right in to the Homemade PIKILA  – a sampler platter of Dolmathakia (stuffed grape leaves), hummus and tzatziki served with sliced toasted pita bread. The tzatziki is completely made in-house – including the strained yogurt that the sauce is made from. Chef Zach explains that contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, grains and bread which is evident in most, if not all, of it’s dishes. The homemade SPANAKOPITA (spinach pie) was delightful with a delicate baked philo with spinach, feta cheese and herbs and side Greek salad containing olives, tomato and crumbled feta on top. Not a bite was left!

gyro

I couldn’t hardly take my eyes away from the Feta Cheese and Olives that had been placed on the table. The reason being is that I am such a lover of feta cheese. These large triangular beauties just took my breathe away and the taste was spot on – a nice drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of oregano. The real show stopper was the Lamb Chops Platter containing 3 Fire-Grilled lamb chops marinated in fresh herbs served with choice of 2 sides. We had rice and side Greek salad.

Next was the Beef Souvlaki Platter, offering marinated beef on skewers served with pita bread slices, tzaziki, salad and lemon potatoes. Whoa, Nelly, did these lemon potatoes live up to their name! Loud praises from the crowd on the cunning performance of tender Kansas beef.

Like most, you could never pass a Greek establishment without ordering a Gyro. Here at Gyromania, one of the first things you see as you enter are the shiny rotisseries with juicy meats from where mildly seasoned beef and lamb meat are sliced from. The tricky bit about the meats, Chef Zach tells us, are that they are tenderized with the juice of an orange. A secret my mother told me when marinating her meat! Of course, a gyro is not a gyro with out a splash of their famous tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.

The wholesome quality of Gyromania surpasses your expectations. If celebrated Greek cuisine is in your future – look no further. 7036 W Palmetto Park Rd, #54, across from Publix in the Garden Shops, Boca Raton, Florida. Perfect for family dining, business lunches, take-out on a busy evening and catering any affair. #Gyromania

Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gyromaniabocaraton

Tweet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GyromaniaGrill

A Footprint For Foodies

By Shana Overhulser, www.CoastalLocals.com

Approaching the beautiful sun-kissed waters of Clearwater Beach, I spotted the large white tents making their home in the sand, and felt the euphoria of the long awaited Fifth Anniversary of Clearwater Beach Uncorked. A coastal Florida city rolling out the red carpet and welcoming food fanatics, staunch wine lovers and devoted craft beer enthusiasts – like myself – to its Gulf home.

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I was biting! Traveling with a fellow epicure to this two-day affair, we first entered the VIP tent showcasing desserts, pastries, munchies, reserve wines, bubbly and a comfy place to lounge. We made a bee line to the Chandon sparkling wine station offering an option of tasting the Chandon Classic Brut, Rosé and Delice. A choice of accompaniments came with the Delice; mint, cucumber and slices of grapefruit, that elevated the palate with its natural nectarine, pear, golden apple and ruby grapefruit flavors. We immediately paired them with the tasty array of pastries and Rum Chata white chocolate desserts. There was a darling display of cuisine and art made from empty wine bottles at The Harringtons’ table. Unique cutting boards, knives, and displays among the Swedish meatballs, mozzarella sticks and nachos. Our next pairing was at the Windjammers Restaurant booth, serving up delicious Lobster Mac and Cheese, next to the Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits booth offering Barone Fini Italian Pinot Grigio and Josh Cellars wine containing 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 2% Petite Verdot. The Josh Cab had a clove-like finish which uniquely fused with the seafood and cream sauce in the dish.

 

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After some much needed selfies, we stepped into the Grand Tasting tent that held the Bay area’s most delectable restaurants, boutique hot spots, hotels and popular Publix Super Markets’ food brands. We fell head first into a real brew fest starting with Dog Fishhead Beers tasting the Midas Touch, 90 Minute Imperial IPA and Namaste – a Belgian-Style White Beer. Nibbled on Pulled Pork Sliders at Watercolour Grill House and found our new love, Kentucky Honey Barrel Brown Ale®, aged for up to six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. The supernal flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted – delivering a smooth and robust drinking pleasure. The stout was yielding hints of carmel and roasted coffee and IPA was golden hoppy and crisp as they come.

 

Open the gate – I’ve arrived in fizzy heaven. The Keybilly, made with real Key Lime, and Green Man Brewery, had us at fermentation. It’s a good thing that Tom and Chee were dispensing cheese sandwiches. It was worth the battle of a wait with an uniquely sandwiched Grilled Cheese Donut! Back on the ‘Brew Bus’ we got – announcing its four stops (and flavors to taste) with cute names such as; Double Decker English-Style Stout and Rollin’ Dirty Irish-Style Red Ale. Chobani Yogurt pulled out all the stops with it’s innovative appetizers and dessert options. I absolutely LOVED the original Chobani layered with corn salsa, spices and blue chip nachos! A cup of original Chobani, fresh pineapple, shaved almonds and a drizzle of Florida honey was refreshing and jump-started my taste buds for some intense local wines that followed; Whiplash, Lake Ridge, and St. Augustine Lighthouse. Some with a fruity finish and others rich in tannins.

 

clearwater, foodie, uncorked, beer festival, clearwater beach, wine

 

I bumped into some old friends from the Florida Beef Council serving up some spectacular beef tips which went rather well with The Other Bean Hummus at the next booth over. Grilled shrimp, crisps and crackers (oh, my!). A feast of the senses going on and I didn’t even get to the best part yet! The live culinary demos on Apron’s Publix Cooking Stage with sought-after area chefs. I got to watch a friend of mine, Emily Ellyn, who is best known as the Retro Rad Chef from Food Network; appearing on “Food Network Star,” “Cupcake Wars” and most recently as the winner of “Cutthroat Kitchen.” She’s also a culinary educator and food writer, who writes for “edible” and “BAR” magazines and lectures at the University of Central Florida. Mixing it up was Chef DiPaolo, Principal Chef. He and his team have full research and development responsibility for some of America’s most loved grocery brands including Duncan Hines cake mixes and frostings, Comstock-Wilderness fruit and pie fillings, Vlasic pickles and Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin syrups. I applaud these experienced chefs that prepare and cook favorite dishes for an audience on a sandy beach – it is no short order. The Publix Cooking Stage was interactive, tasty and educational and had run throughout the two-day affair.

The Shor Restaurant, http://www.shorgrill.com/hpr/shor/en.html found inside the Hyatt Regency, had topped off our day with a hearty creole-type dish containing mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops immersed in a spicy tomato broth with a side of toast to soak it all up.

The weekend of events featured the area’s top culinary craftsmen serving up dishes that include oysters, fine cheeses and savory hors d’oeuvres as well as wineries from around the world pouring glasses of over a hundred different wines and craft breweries sharing the sudsy fruits of their labors. I can not wait to go back for the Sixth Anniversary of Clearwater Beach Uncorked in February 2017. Be sure to reserve a ticket on the web site and view all the special cooking demos, vendors, chefs and restaurants that will be ready and waiting for you: https://www.everfest.com/e/clearwater-beach-uncorked-clearwater-beach-fl

Cheers to Clearwater Beach, celebrating its 100th birthday this year and offering tourists and locals a seemingly endless supply of entertainment, natural beauty, and outdoor activities both on land and at sea throughout the year in West Florida.  #Uncorked #Clearwaterbeach #BocaLocals #CoastalLocals

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A Rockin’ Culinary Concept

By Shana Overhulser, BocaLocals.com

If there was ever a Burger Hall of Fame – this is it! West Palm’s Burger & Beer Joint recently opened in CityPlace serving up signature burger options, brews by the bushel and the most refreshing craft cocktails to make you scream and shout. The burger and cocktail menus have endearing tie-ins with rock n’ roll songs with names like; Free Bird (1/2 lb. turkey burger, swiss cheese, grilled onions, sautéed portobello mushrooms, onion bun) and Day Tripper American Mule (Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lime joule and ginger beer).

Signing in with a few fellow food enthusiasts – and literally – we signed our names on bricks near the open bar – I was floored by the chrome detail and old cityscape ceilings. Walls were branded with the B&B insignia that professed a little country in this here part of town.

A family-style foodie fest unraveled – sharing event the beer flights and cocktails. First off, we sampled 4 beers ranging from hoppy to an infused chocolatey flavored microbrew. I was doing the jitterbug over the Green Bean Fries with black truffle aioli. A delightfully crunchy appetizer I wouldn’t have normally tried on my own. The stings took lead as the Mac Daddy Cheese Gratin, made with a three cheese mornay sauce, panko bread crumbs & parmesan cheese emerged. A fork full of gooey goodness and perfectly seasoned. Not a crumb was left.

 

West Palm Beach, CityPlace, Burger, burger join, brews, rock, rock n' roll

Addicted To Love was my palette cleanser and a fire starter – made with Pinnacle Gin, watermelon, cucumber, simple syrup and lime juice. I loved the Centerfold Mojito containing Cruzan White Rum, mint and fresh strawberries. The crowd went wild with Mustang Sally, a masterful burger containing 1/2 lb. wagyu beef, red onion marmalade, brie cheese, sliced prosciutto on a brioche bun served with skinny fries. A legend in its own time with a melting of savory flavors all in one amazing bite.

Make way for the chief, Wild Thing is in the house! A mouthwatering 1/2 lb. bison burger, tomato jam, bleu cheese on a brioche bun served with duck fat fries, parsley and roasted garlic aioli. Really? Tomato jam? I’m a new roadie and will follow you anywhere. Cord #3, Dr. Feelgood, a handsome house made veggie burger (toasted rainbow quinoa, smoked cumin beans, roasted red peppers, oats), topped with roasted red pepper & corn salsa, manchego cheese and basil-mint pesta on a brioche bun with (wait for it) zucchini fries. A healthy lightly-fried veggie snack!

 

West Palm Beach, CityPlace, Burger, BnB, fries, brews, rock, rock n' roll, veggie burger

The closing act was Maroon 5, deep fried crispy Oreos, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup with back-up performer; One Minute Man, an adult milkshake, with cookies n’ cream ice cream, white chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, whipped cream and Oreo cookie crumbles. Chef Dy’Ante Reddick is a real crowd pleaser with his creative dishes always shining a light on using the finest ingredients.

Blues, burgers and brews on your mind? Stop in at Burger & Beer Joint for decadent burgers, snacks, brews and specialty cocktails. Located in the heart of CityPlace, 550 S. Rosemary Ave. #158, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. (561) 366-7188.  Check out ‘Pimp Your Burger Tuesdays’ with discounts on custom burgers! Happy hour and live music listings could be found on their web site; http://bnbjoint.com/westpalmbeach/

Burger & Beer Joint emerged onto the South Beach (Miami) scene in 2009 and became an instant hit. There are now six locations open throughout Florida and Puerto Rico with plans to expand in Miami, Doral, Florida and Washington DC. #BNBJoint

 

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Grey Adds Vibrant Tapestry To Hard Rock Tampa

– By Shana Overhulser

GREY SALT, TAMPA, FL

Following my interview with celebrity chef and Chopped judge Marc Murphy in December 2015 at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, I was privileged to be invited to the first ‘Taste of the Mediterranean Wine Dinner’ at his new restaurant, Grey Salt, inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa. I was particularly looking forward to this opportunity to discover Marc’s mastery of Mediterranean cuisine.

The first time I met Chef Marc, I was covering Grillin N’ Chillin’ in 2014, my favorite event at PBFWF where participating Food Network chefs show off their style of cooking using the Big Green Egg Grill. (www.pbfoodwinefest.com/).  I had tasted Marc Murphy’s magnificent Chicken Patty adorned with pastrami, sweet onion relish, and melted pepper jack cheese. The result: pure HEAVEN for my taste buds! This set my standard for the food crusade on which I was about to embark….

grey salt, foodie, celebrity chef, marc murphy, seminole hard rock, tampa, swfl

Upon arrival at Grey Salt, I was escorted to the private wine room and instantly elated by the intertwining of a wine cellar, winsome decor with preserved lemons and spice jars, and harmonized atmosphere that brought forth a sophistication on its own. The hues of grey and white with pops of yellow against the blended wood was intriguing. In the open kitchen, I spotted a wood-burning oven and rotisserie.

Offered first were hors d’oeuvres; Patatas Bravas, a dish native to Spain, consisting of white potatoes, jamon serrano, and manchego cheese croquette. This was amazingly paired with Casteller Cava Brut NV from Catalonia, Spain. Nothing could prepare me for the exquisite combination in the first course: Roasted Leek Risotto, crispy shallot, and parmesan with Arneis Bruno Giacosa 2014 from Piedmont, Italy. A jewel of a wine! The risotto was cooked so perfectly it soaked in the juices from each sip of wine. What a taste explosion – è delizioso. David Lombardo, Wine and Beverage Director and Marc’s longtime friend, spoke to the origins of wine while Chef Marc eagerly described his dishes that were derived from his influences in worldly travels.

A sea of discovery!

The second course was Red Mullet, a white fish with a fine and delicate flavor commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea, East North Atlantic Ocean, and the Black Sea. A fish that was new to me. the Red Mullet was presented beautifully on the plate with potatoes, zucchini, and truffle veal jus. The dish was magnifique with subtle hints of grey salt. The wine was an earthy, old vines Pinot Noir Domaine Chauvenet-Chopin Grand Cru 2013, Clos Vougeot, Burgundy, France, a prized find for any wine enthusiast and now marrying exquisitely with the red mullet.

grey salt, foodie, celebrity chef, marc murphy, seminole hard rock, tampa, swfl

Pure and unprocessed: French grey salt is the one indispensable ingredient to enhance any food. A secret top chefs around the world, like Marc Murphy, know well. The grey salt is hand-harvested from the pristine Celtic seas of Guérande in Brittany, France, using skills and methods over a thousand years old. The salt obtains a natural grey coloring from crystallizing on clay.

A huge buzz surrounded the third course, which was the Roasted Duck with celery salad and dried fruit mostardo. Encouraged by a superb Merlot-Sangiovese-Cabernet blend by Tenuta Dell’ Ornellaia, “Le Volte” 2012 from Tuscany, Italy, I was transported to a Tuscan paradise. There was a pyramid of food sensations, from the succulent duck with herbed crispy skin and grey salt finish, and crunchy celery bits to the sweet dried cherries and figs. Bravo, Chef Marc!

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There was no simple ending to this Mediterranean wine dinner, however cutely packaged. An espresso cup that was filled with Salted Caramel Budino was our palette cleanser. A delightful send off to an extraordinary evening ended on a dreamy note.

The standards of preparation, food and wine pairings and the unique Mediterranean cooking style brought forth from Marc Murphy are nothing short of divine. My expectations were greatly surpassed. Rock on, or as the French say; À la prochaine.

Going away gifts included a bottle of wine from the wine dinner and a jar of grey salt. I got Marc Murphy to sign his cookbook, Season With Authority, and will begin experimenting with these fastinating recipes on my own.

Grey Salt promises a mosaic of exotic dining adventures. Email: info@greysalt-restaurant.com – and get on the list for more mouth-watering monthly wine dinners and events. Located inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, 5223 N. Orient Road, Tampa, FL 33610. Call for reservation or catering: 813.627.8100. http://www.greysalt-restaurant.com