Thursday, November 15, 2012

RED TAPAS BAR & GRILLE - Palm Beach Gardens, FL



The newest restaurant to open in Palm Beach Gardens is Red Tapas Bar & Grille.  Located in a perfect spot at Downtown at the Gardens. Hopefully this time a restaurant will stick at this location as it is the third restaurant to open at this  particular location.  Red Tapas may be your new happy hour hangout or when you are in a "little of this and a little of that" kinda mood.  That seems to be a mood I am always in, since Brandt always calls me a "Picker."  I always try everyone else's food or if I am home I am always snacking before dinner.  So for me, the small plates menu at Red Tapas is perfect.



When you walk into the open aired restaurant you are mesmerized by the "Red" ambiance and loud, upbeat music.  If you are looking for a quiet night out, Red Tapas is not the place to go.  This place is ideal for happy hour and when you just want to have a little fun.  I highly recommend going to the bar to have a drink since the bar counter is quite the experience   You have to try it for you to know what I mean.

We went out to dinner with 2 other couples and I felt that the restaurant was a little too loud and "clubish" for me to really enjoy dinner or for me to talk to the person across the table.  However, since we were a large table we were able to try a ton more plates rather than just a few.  Great place for sharing!

I started with a fun cocktail, which they have plenty to choose from!!  I started with the sexy peach martini.  Absolut Peach and white peach cranberry juice.  Yum! When we got to the table we ordered a pitcher of Red Sangria.  The sangria was very tasty however I felt that it was lacking alcohol.  If you are looking for a strong drink, I would not recommend the sangria.




Our first tapa was the Bacon Wrapped Dates.  Our friend Diana, said we had to order the dates. When we placed the order, I was thinking to myself, "Ew, gross, I dont like dates."  Well, apparently I do!  The dates were sweet, juicy and the bacon gave it that salty flavor that made it melt in your mouth.  I would recommend this!



Next we ordered the Duck Flatbread.  It had smoked duck, dates (again..how weird), walnuts, manchego cheese, arugula, and balsamic glaze.  I am a huge flatbread fan so I did enjoy this.  The duck was tender and the balsamic glaze really was a perfect touch.


Next we ordered a meat and cheese board.  They have a variety of choices and you get to pick what you would like.  We selected Aged Manchego, hard provolone, parmigano, hard salami, and proscuitto.  This was great and even better with a glass of wine and some honey. You really can't mess this up,always a great way to start any night.


Next up, Pumpkin Ravioli.  Tasty, but the best part was the sauce that came with it.  I was actually taking the bread from the cheese board and dipping it into the sauce.  The ravioli was not something I would run back for only because I felt that the ravioli itself was rather dry.

 
The Red Scallop was the best thing I had all night.  I would get this again and again.  The scallop was perfectly cooked and was encrusted with coconut.  It was light and tasty and was accompanied by a citrus sauce.  Definitely something I would order next time.


Yes, we are still ordering more.  Next was the Paella and the Italian meatball.  The Red Paella was a mixture of chicken and other seafood items.  I found it bland and not enough flavor.  The meatball was fair and for ten dollars, I would not recommend.  I would get more scallops for sure!



The last two things we tried (and by this time my stomach was about to explode) were the Bourban Spare Ribs and the Yin Yang Empanada.  The ribs could have been more tender, but the Empanadas were tasty and very large in size.




And yes, we are finally full!  Overall I thought Red Tapas was good, however there are a few things that I definitely would not order again, but would be excited to go back to try new things as well.  The concept is a great considering there is no other Tapas place in the gardens.  Again, I think Red Tapas is a Happy Hour Spot to grab a fun martini a scallop!  Happy Hour is from 4 -7!  I hope it does well as I love to see the Downtown at the Gardens thrive!  So gather some of your girlfriends together and head to Red Tapas to DISCOVER..TASTE..SHARE!

Cheers!

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Downtown at the Gardens
11701 Lake Victoria Gardens
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
561.333.7331






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Thursday, October 25, 2012

BUCCAN - Palm Beach, FL



Brandt and I just celebrated our 2 year Anniversary.  We (more like I) wanted to go celebrate somewhere we would consider a "treat."  If you know me by now if it is south of Northlake or north of Indiantown, I consider that a little bit of an effort to go to.  I know, I know...I am spoiled.  We are surrounded by so many fun, great restaurants here, I get so comfortable in my palm beach gardens "bubble."  For this special occasion, I decided to go out of our little bubble and try the much anticipated, Buccan.  Buccan is located on Palm Beach Island where Chef Clay Conley has made a name for himself.  

When I think of Palm Beach Island, words such as proper, expensive, "up-ity", and quiet come to mind.  I was little nervous and unsure what to expect when I walked in the doors.  Boy, was I wrong.  Buccan was ON FIRE!!  It was "the happening place"  and I was super excited to be a part of it.  The bar was slammed with fun drinks being passed around and the DJ was setting up to see what dance moves the night would bring.  I was amazed.  I would have never of guessed Palm Beach to be so, "Young-like?"  

Once seated we were greeted by Mateo, our waiter (LOVED HIM).  I had to get this watermelon drink everyone was drinking.  It is vodka, fresh watermelon, and lime!  SO YUMMY that I had to order two. 


Brandt tried the Buccan T with vodka, black tea,  cranberry, citrus, basil, and agave nectar.


Buccan is a small plates concept restaurant, which I love because it gives you the opportunity to try lots of things and share with everyone.  We started with the steak tartare.  The steak tartare is served with grilled bread, black truffle, and crispy egg yolk.  The egg yolk was a little runny which made this dish even better.  This was my favorite dish of the night.  


Next we tried the Hamachi Sashimi, served with peruvian chilies, yuzu vinaigrette, and crispy lotus root salad.  The sashimi was light and delicious.


 Next up was the Shortrib empanadas. This little empanada was powerful making your taste buds asking for more.  The short rib was tender and full of flavor.

Lastly, we tried the Hand Cut Tagliatelle, served with braised meat sauce, pecorino, and house-made ricotta.       The noodles were delicate and delicious.  You could really taste that they were home-made.  YUM!


We were full at this point, but I wish we weren't because I wanted to keep trying and tasting.  I kept eyeing the tables next to me to see what they were ordering.  Each dish was unique and full of flavor.


We ended the night with a cappuccino and a fudge brownie topped with a caramelized banana. 


What an experience.  I cant wait to go back to Buccan and bring all of my friends.  It is a great place to celebrate a special occasion or just have a girls night out.   The crowd is fun, carefree, and ready to mingle.  From the atmosphere, to the open kitchen concept, to the friendly staff, to the unique drinks, to the exquisite plates, Buccan does everything top notch while having fun.   Buccan is near Worth Avenue and this place is definitely WORTH IT!!!    



Cheers! 

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350 S. County Road
Palm Beach, FL. 33480
561.833.3450





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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

COOLINARY CAFE - Palm Beach Gardens, FL



For the past month all I have heard about when talking to my fellow foodies is "Have you tried Coolinary Cafe?" This small restaurant, with a max capacity of 47, has been the talk of the town and now I finally can talk with them!  The executive chef from one of my favorites, Leftovers and Foodshack, opened Coolinary Cafe.  The restaurant is nothing but fresh, and what I like to call, "modern soul food."    
The restaurant is cute, small and quaint with an open kitchen and a simple "homey" decor.  LOVED the mason jar chandeliers!


We were a party of 6, which was great because they do take reservations for parties of 6 or more.  If you are a smaller party, I highly recommend coming on the earlier side to ensure a table at the time you prefer to get seated.  They do get busy!
Once seated, I was in awe of their menu.  You will find on one side of their menu their permanent selections, while on the other side you will find a menu that changes twice daily.  Yes that is right, not once, but twice.  You can come for Lunch and Dinner and see different specials!  Something you don't find often.

We brought our own wine, which you know we love!  A 20 dollar corkage fee, not bad at all!  The girls enjoyed the wine and the boys enjoyed some of the local brews.  A great beer menu for all you beer connoisseurs.



We started with a few appetizers for the table.  First, the Crisp Fried Florida Rock Shrimp.  This was my favorite appetizer out of the three.  The shrimp were big in size and the batter was flavorful.  It was served with a delicious goat cheese Aioli.


Next we tried one of their appetizer specials.  Beer Battered Grouper Bites. This was served with Jalapeno slaw and sriracha mustard aioli.  I never knew how many different ways you could prepare slaw before I came to Coolinary Cafe.  You will get to experience the flavors of Slaw!!!


We continued with another appetizer special.  We tried the flatbread of the day.  Served with homemade tasso ham, spanish olives, brussel sprouts and whipped blue cheese.  What a combination...I had to try.  It was a very unique flavor where the spanish olives gave it an interesting flavor. I love olives and cheese, so this was right up my alley.  Tasted great with my Cabernet Sauvignon.


Time for the entrees!!!   I ordered the main dish I have been hearing about for weeks.  Boneless Southern Fried Chicken with coleslaw and a jalapeno and cheddar waffle!!  WOW!!  This is what I call soulfood with a twist.  I honestly am not a huge waffle fan and I rarely order waffles for breakfast, but the flavors of the cheddar and the kick of spice from the jalapeno, made this dish delicious.  The Chicken was cooked perfectly and with the maple sauce..yumm!  A must try!

 
Brandt and Carl enjoyed the Grilled Wagyu Sirloin and added a fried egg on top!  This steak was amazing!  Cooked perfectly and so tasty! The egg on top was a great addition.  (you know I love egg with meat)




Our friend Dave had the Cinnamon Chipotle Rubbed Duck Breast.   This dish was not described as a salad, but it came out looking like one.  The duck was flavorful, however it was described as a more heartier/heavier meal.  If you are really hungry, this might not be the dish for you.



Keir and Jenny enjoyed one of the specials of the night, Key West Pink Shrimp and Black Barley Risotto.  A nice meal with huge shrimp. It was tossed with a lemon Almond Pesto that was light and full of citrus flavor.


After all that food, we had to keep going.  We had to try dessert!  So we tried the chocolate brownie with peanut butter cream cheese frosting!  I am a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate anything!!! The frosting was the best part! We also tried their carrot cake waffle with ice cream!! My favorite was the waffle!!  It was a great way to end the night.



..And we finally stopped eating!  What a meal!  Coolinary Cafe is not your ordinary restaurant.  It is a place where you get to experience new things.  Next time I would like to try their rabbit tacos.  Now, where can you find that anywhere else in town?  Come for a Culinary treat, or should I say a Coolinary treat?

Cheers!



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Coolinary Cafe
4650 Donald Ross Rd. Suite 110
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
561.249.6760



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Thursday, September 13, 2012

BRASS RING PUB - North Palm Beach, FL

Welcome to Football Season!!!  Along with Football Season comes lots of Beer, Wings, Pizza, Burgers, and Nachos!  All of my favorite foods!  Unfortunately, all of these items are not low in fat.  In the next few months, I plan on taking you to some of Brandt and I's favorite local hang outs to watch games as well as trying some new ones along the way.  Last weekend was the first Sunday for NFL games, so our first stop was a local favorite, Brass Ring Pub.


The Brass Ring Pub is a small, old bar with absolutely no windows! Brandt and I refer to it as a "Bombshelter."  Leave your Jimmy Choo's and Louis Vuitton's at home.  No one will be impressed here. Just wear your favorite team's jersey and some flip flops and you will fit in just fine.
The TV's are of fair quality.  Some appear to be HD and others are fuzzy and blurry. Finding the right table is essential. (Maybe that is why they were so busy before kick off.)  You would think a restaurant with below average TV's would struggle to find business, but not Brass Ring.  We arrived around 1pm and the place was slammed!!  We waited for a table for about 45 minutes and then we were seated.  So what is all the fuss about?  The GREAT Bar food and its CHEAP.   You can't find pitchers of beer for 5 dollars anyway other then a college town and you especially can't find a pitcher of beer for 5 dollars in Palm Beach County.  This place serves great food, friendly service, a great crowd, but unfortunately below average TV viewing.

Once we were seated we ordered a pitcher of Coors Light for 5 bucks!!!  Definitely not a corporately owned dive because in order to keep the pitcher cold they added a ziploc full of ice!  I have never seen this before.  Had to laugh about it, but it did the trick.



Next up, their award winning chicken wings.  We tried them mild with garlic for only 45 cents!  Can you believe 45 cents?  They were very good and not breaded, just how I like it.  My only complaint was that the wings were not very meaty.  The sauce was very tasty and I thought and for 45 cents it was worth it.


I always hear they have the best burgers in town, so I had to try.  We ordered their 1/2 pound mushroom cheeseburger, cooked medium.  It was actually cooked Medium.  I have told you before about my pet peeve, ordering a burger Medium and then it comes well done.  Not here, you get what you ask.  Very tasty and Big!  And look at all those Mushrooms!



So after Pitchers and Pitchers of Beer, we had a great time.  Brass Ring is a "hole in the wall" where you can enjoy bar food and watch a game (depending on your seat).  Seriously though, I would return. If football ain't your thing, try your hand at their very own "Brass Ring" game -- very kid friendly. The Brass Ring is a local dive and the locals just keep coming back!!!

Cheers!

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200 U.S. Highway 1
North Palm Beach, FL. 33408
561.848.4748