Monday, June 8, 2015

A Marvelous Meal at Merlino's

Hello my Foodie Friends, 
Photo courtesy of Merlino's
With so many restaurants to choose from in Boca, especially Italian ones, what sets Merlino's apart? Merlino’s, under the direction of Executive Chef Angelo Morinelli, combines centuries-old recipes with contemporary South Philadelphia flare. They feature an impressive bar and lounge area where friends gather to partake in generous glasses of wine from their extensive wine list as well as top shelf and premium brands.

Shaina and I were invited to dine there by GM Donnie who was just getting settled there in his new role. Now I have been to Merlino's a few times before, you can check out my previous post by clicking here, but this was Shaina's first visit.

It's always nice to get a visit from a restaurant's chef and Chef Angelo, who I have come to know from the South Florida dining scene, put a big smile on our faces when he came out to greet us warmly. We discussed some of the menu selections before he suggested a wine that he thought we'd both enjoy. Boy was he spot on with his recommendation of Stellina Pinot Grigio. This wine paired perfectly with our starter of escarole and beans. This dish had the perfect balance of tartness and acidity and has become one of Shaina's and my favorites and something you can pretty much bet we will order if we see it on a menu. That and octopus!
Escarole and Beans. Photo credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out of Boca
 We decided to share a gnocchi dish for our next course and instead of going with the traditional red sauce, we opted to go with a vodka sauce. "No problem", said Chef Angelo. "As you wish". That's the can-do attitude that makes Merlino's stand out. That attitude starts at the top and seems to be instilled in all who work there. Our server Brian was very attentive to our needs and even remembered me from my previous two visits, even though I hadn't been there in a while. Everyone likes to feel remembered and welcomed back, so kudos to Brian for his exceptional hospitality and service as well.

Gnocchi in Vodka Sauce. Photo credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out Of Boca

For our next course, we decided to go with the Branzino deboned tableside, served with a side of broccoli rabe. The fish was exquisite. It was cooked to perfection. Light and flaky and melted in our mouths like butter.

Although we normally end our dinner reviews with dessert, this was one of those rare occasions that we decided not to. We actually were headed to another event that evening where we were sure to imbibe in more cocktails so we didn't want to be too weighed down with anything like a heavy dessert. But, I have a pretty good feeling that Merlino's will be seeing much more of us in the future.

Merlino's has some cool things going on during the week that I thought you might like to know about:
Happy Hour Daily 4-7pm - Enjoy 50% off ALL appetizers and cocktails at the bar.
Wine Down Wednesdays - Enjoy  1/2 off ALL bottles of wine & champagne.
Thursdays Ladies Night - Ladies enjoy FREE* drinks from 9-11pm. *Select drinks include wine, champagne and house liquor.

Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or rehearsal dinner? Let Merlino's help you plan your next celebration. Their tastefully decorated private dining room can seat up to 30 people. Merlino's is open every day from 4pm - 2am. They are located at 39 SE 1st Ave. in Boca Raton.(561) 756-8437. For more info and to check out their menu, please visit their website.

Until we eat again...
   I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

Denise Righetti, C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Savor Our City™
www.SavorOurCity.com
(954) 410-3177



Sunday, May 17, 2015

There's a New Fish In Town...

Hello Foodie Friends,

Off The Hook Seafood Restaurant has joined the East Boca Raton Restaurant scene and is already making a splash!

Located in the Fifth Avenue Shops lies an eclectic little seafood place serving reasonably priced meals in a laid-back and family-friendly environment. The atmosphere is fun and whimsical with bright, nautical colors and décor, a boat-shaped bar and exotic saltwater fish and coastal photographs lining the walls.


Off The Hook opened a couple months ago and was the location of my most recent Denise's Foodie Event. We had 22 guests ready to try the tasting menu we had planned for them. We had a lovely medley for starters, including Popcorn Shrimp Parmesan, Conch Fritters, Baked Clams Oreganata and Mini Crab Cakes.


While I enjoyed each and every one of the starters, I have to say that the Popcorn Shrimp Parmesan was the most unique. The crab cakes were also a stand out amongst the group. Next, we were served their signature Shrimp Cappucino, a kicked up version of a shrimp bisque. This soup is really rich and feels like you are being hugged from the inside as the sip makes its way down your mouth, past your throat and into your tummy! 

Next, we were served their Kale salad. Feta cheese, sliced almonds, dried cranberries complimented the kale and was tossed with a strawberry vinaigrette. The salad was fresh and crisp and had all the key components in it, but the kale could have used a little time in the marinade to fully absorb the vinaigrette and soften up, in my opinion.


Each guest was then presented a trio of dinner entrees: Grilled Mahi, Lobster Ravioli and Lemon Sole.

The grilled Mahi, although slightly overcooked, was served with a nice mango relish that that really tied the dish together.  The Lobster Ravioli, served in a vodka sauce, was quite tasty. But my favorite entree of the night was the lemon sole- stuffed with crab meat and shrimp. It was like butta! lol. So delish, it totally caught me by surprise.

For dessert, we were treated to their fabulous house made Bread Pudding drizzled with caramel sauce with our choice of a scoop of either Chocolate or Vanilla Gelato.  I, of course, chose the chocolate gelato and enjoyed the combo very much.


Other not-to-miss signature dishes at Off The Hook include the “obscenely-stuffed” steamed lobster, seafood bouillabaisse, pan-seared scallops with tomato-basil risotto, crab cake sliders, Long Island steamers and clams, and oysters on the half shell. The menu also includes many gluten-free options.

Off The Hook launched its “You Hook It, We Cook It” program in which they accommodate guests who bring in their fresh catch by cleaning, prepping, cooking and serving it to them for a nominal fee of just $10 for any 6-8 ounce fish. For more details on events and entertainment, check out out their website.

Off The Hook Seafood Restaurant is located at 1956 NE 5th Avenue in the Fifth Avenue Shops off Federal Highway in Boca Raton, and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  



Until we eat again...
I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise


 Denise Righetti
C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Denise's Foodie Events & Savor Our City™

Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news on upcoming Foodie Events and special discount offers exclusively available to our subscribers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

McCoy's Oceanfront Restaurant is 'the real McCoy'!

Hello Foodie Friends,
This past Monday, I had the pleasure of dining at McCoy's Oceanfront Restaurant, located inside the Marriott Pompano Beach. I first heard about McCoy's while working at one of the Swank Table events at Swank Farm up in Loxahatchee. That's where I met Brianne who was there serving up a signature cocktail to the guests upon their arrival. A few weeks later, purely by coincidence, I received information about McCoy's upcoming Easter Brunch menu followed by an invite from McCoy's PR firm to come experience McCoy's first hand. Perfect, I thought!

I wasn't actually sure where the Marriott in Pompano Beach was, but my GPS had me coming across the 14th St. Causeway and as soon as I did, I was on familiar ground as I saw straight ahead the former Ocean Sands Resort & Spa (now a Marriott Residence Inn) where I had once worked for a brief stint. This Marriott where I was headed, was just a couple buildings south.

McCoy's draws its inspiration from the grit and character of Bill McCoy who gloried in his reputation as an honest law-breaker. McCoy never watered down his smuggled spirits nor used imposter labels. McCoy's products were the real deal, or as they were referred to in the many speakeasies from New York to Florida, the "real McCoy".  At McCoy's Oceanfront, Chef Daniel Gerety is serving up a mindfully-crafted menu to emulate the reputation of Bill McCoy's legacy.

The Repeal of 1933 (l) and the Glad Rags (r)
The cocktail list kept true to the whole bootlegging prohibition era theme with names like Bootlegger, Repeal of 1933, Bathtub Gin and 18th Ammendment to name a few.
My companion chose The Repeal of 1933, which was a pretty little number made with Azunia Tequila, Montelobos Mescal, Fresh Strawberries, Jalepenos and Lime. Of course I had to have a sip, right?! Muy delicioso! I chose the Glad Rags which was made with St. Augustine Vodka, St. Germaine Elderflower  Liqueur (one of my new faves), Fresh Grapefruit and Rosemary. It was awesome! 

Shortly after our cocktails arrived at our table, so did Executive Chef Daniel. It was both a surprise and a delight that he took the time to speak with us about the menu and while he gave us  the opportunity to select from anything on the menu, we took him up on his offer to bring us out some items that thought we might enjoy based on our conversation. How cool was that? Chef Daniel gathered we were seafood lovers so the first course out was a seafood medley (not normally served this way, but after we went crazy over it, something tells me it just might make its way on the menu that way. It was a definite hit with us).
A specially prepared trio of seafood specialties

Spicy Tuna Tartar

Diver Sea Scallops

Snapper Ceviche

The plate consisted of their spicy tuna tartar (not so spicy, really; take it from this spice-challenged foodie)- made with avocado, wakame and some type of Asian aioli and garnished with crispy wonton strips. I loved the texture and the balance of all the different flavors.
The Pan-Seared Diver Sea Scallops were cooked to perfection in McCoy's rum butter and topped with a tropical salsa garnish that really tied the dish together. Although the first two were both scrumptious, my companion and I both went gaga over the the final item on the plate: the ceviche. Made from local snapper, mango, fresno pepper, cilantro and truffled maize and placed upon a wonton chip and garnished with micro cilantro and toasted corn kernels, we could have eaten this dish all night long! 

So now we're off to an amazing start. What is Chef Daniel going to bring out for us next we wonder. Well, we didn't have to wait long before he arrived with a beautiful plate of Farro Risotto. 
Farro Risotto

This dish of diver scallops, gulf shrimp, pancetta, sweet peas, oyster mushrooms, Parmesan Reggiano and garnished with a crispy sage leaf was every bit as good as it looked! It certainly had a lot going on and the flavors were outstanding. To me, the oyster mushrooms were the hit at this party taking place in my mouth. If you've never had farro before, you don't know what you're missing and if you've had it before but not at McCoy's, you don't know what you're missing!

Next Chef Daniel brought us their short rib pappardelle made with a Cabernet reduction, wild mushrooms, shallots, pancetta, crème fraiche, Parmesan Reggiano and topped with escabeche (marinated salad of assorted pickled vegetables). At first, one might ask how on earth do pickled vegetables belong on this dish? Trust me, it does. The escabeche totally balanced out the flavors of the robust beef and the creaminess of the crème fraiche. It's quite brilliant actually.
Beef Short Rib Pappardelle

 By this time, we are already getting full but Chef Daniel had one more entree he wanted to impress us with, so we nodded politely to go ahead and bring it on. The portion you see here is a half portion of their Grilled Beef Tenderloin. Pretty, isn't it? It was served with a truffle (ah hello, did someone say truffle? My favorite!) jus and red pepper confit and set atop a sliced yukon gold potato and asparagus spears. I took a few bites and not to my surprise, it was fabulous, only I really didn't have room to eat any more (thank goodness for take out containers) if I was going to even attempt to taste any of their desserts. 

Beef Tenderloin

 And speaking of desserts...Chef Daniel decided to do a trio of some of their top sellers: the Best of Both Worlds, the NY Cheesecake, and the Black & White Shooter. All were tasty, but my favorite was the Black & White Shooter that had a little extra surprise of chocolate pearls (dark chocolate and cocoa flakes) waiting at the bottom of the glass. Yummy!
Trio of Dessert

                    
Chef Daniel

McCoy’s is located at 1200 North Ocean Blvd. in Pompano Beach
They are open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers a daily happy hour with specials from 4-7 p.m., served poolside.  Friday happy hour entertainment often continues throughout the weekend, with music ranging from an island tropical vibe to mainstream hits. 

For more info on McCoy's or the Marriott Pompano Beach, visit their website at www.marriott.com/fllpm or call 954-782-0100; toll-free:  855-954-4683

Until we eat again...
I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 Denise Righetti
C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Denise's Foodie Events & Savor Our City™

Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news on upcoming Foodie Events and special discount offers exclusively available to our subscribers.

Monday, March 2, 2015

You Won't Be Feeling Blue Once You Arrive at The Blue at the Boca Resort!!!



Hello Foodie Friends,

Boca Food Finds and Take A Bite Out Of Boca were out and about again, doing what we love to do- dining our way through South Florida covering the best restaurant finds to share with you, our readers. The Blue (formerly Cielo)  is a fine-dining restaurant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, serving innovative New American cuisine – sophisticated and contemporary with some unexpected flavors and modern takes on classic dishes. Exclusive Dining - In order to dine here, you must be accompanied by a resort guest or member.  

Shaina and I met at the bar where we were introduced to Jeffrey, the Beverage and Lounge Supervisor. We were both open to suggestions as we glanced at the cocktail menu. Jeffrey explained to us that he and Roberto (the GM) had created the cocktails on this menu- and creative they were. You'll find about a dozen or so unique concoctions here. The Sweet Carolina caught me eye. This consisted of Domaine Canton, Chambord, cranberry juice and topped with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sweet Carolina
Shaina chose the French 27 which comprised of Bols Genever gin, mint, fresh lemon and Prosecco. Soon it was time to sit down for dinner where we had the most fantastic view of the city. A better view of the city, you'd be hard pressed to find, I assure you.

Oysters from the State of Washington
FL Winter Salad
Tatsoi blend, beets & pear, with dried cherries, pecans, goat cheese, & white balsamic-lime vinaigrette.


The kitchen was kind enough to split the salad in the back for us.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized red onion & bacon.
The Brussels were so cute and tender and the caramelized red onion & bacon sauce it came with elevated this dish to the next level. It really was unique and very tasty!
One of tonight's specials: Ribeye with asparagus served with Blue's signature steak sauce.

Another special of the evening: Snapper with cauliflower puree served with broccoli & kale
Grilled Portobellos Sherry vinaigrette & Parmesan cheese.

The portobellos were meaty, cooked perfectly and had lots of great flavor!
I particularly liked how the shaved Parmesan and Sherry vinaigrette played so well together!
Apple Fritters with a creme fraiche semifreddo & candied cranberries
Photo Credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out of Boca

While I was completely satisfied at this point, and could have gone home a happy camper, my skinny cohort with the insatiable appetite, particularly when it comes to sweets, will not let us leave a restaurant without sampling their dessert creations. I may hem and haw, but inevitably, I always cave in. lol! These apple fritters were fantastic though, so I am glad I conceded.  Each one was so unique. My favorite was the apple fritters, with the carrot cake, coming in as a close second.
Lala's Carrot Cake with caramelized pineapple, coconut marshmallows & crispy carrot chip
Photo Credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out of Boca

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake with cream cheese mousse, blood orange & toasted croissant
Photo Credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out of Boca
The menu changes frequently, depending on local, seasonal offerings. THE BLUE uses the freshest and most succulent ingredients while placing emphasis on sustainable and organic foods from local farmers and local waters, complimenting offerings like the Maine lobster, which arrives daily, fresh from its source. Don’t miss the unforgettable Claw Bar, serving the freshest treats the ocean has to offer including Lobster Claws, U-12 Shrimp, Stone Crab, Pacific and Atlantic Oysters, and King Crab Legs.
Only the freshest and most succulent ingredients are used while placing emphasis on sustainable and organic foods from local farmers and waters, complementing offerings like the Maine lobster, which arrives daily, fresh from its source.
  • Sophisticated dining restaurant serving New American cuisine
  • Innovative dishes by Executive Chef Christie Tenaud
  • Fresh, locally sourced ingredients with an emphasis on organic and sustainability

Blue Bar Specials

  • Elevate your nightlife – Special guest DJ Saturdays 8pm – midnight
VIEW MENU

Until we eat again...
I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 Denise Righetti
C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Denise's Foodie Events & Savor Our City™

Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news on upcoming Foodie Events and special discount offers exclusively available to our subscribers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WHOLE FOODS MARKET® WELCOMES WEST PALM BEACH LOCATION


Hello Foodie Friends,
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a pre-opening tour of the latest Whole Foods store scheduled to open tomorrow morning in West Palm Beach in the beautiful Palm Beach Outlets. The Grand Opening celebration will begin at 8:45 am, with the traditional bread breaking ceremony commencing at 9:00 am. The first 500 guests to walk through the doors will receive a surprise gift card worth anywhere from $5 - $500. Customers can also take advantage of some great deals within the first two weeks of the store opening.

A glimpse at the new Rotisserie Bar
I have to tell you, I was completely wowed! This 42,000 sq foot Whole Foods has some exciting exclusive additions that are unique to this location. One such addition is La Crêperie, A Parisian-inspired venue serving sweet and savory made-to-order crêpes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For just $5, customers can enjoy both savory and sweet classics such as the Croque Monsieur Crêpe featuring Creminelli ham, Swiss cheese and Béchamel and Crêpe Au Chocolat et Banane.


Another new and exciting addition is the Palm Rotisserie: A full service venue featuring rotisserie meats du jour, charcuterie boards sliced to order, and signature sandwiches and sides.

Enjoy all kinds of sandwiches and plates with daily specials


Made to order charcuterie boards,from only the finest products available on the market
Made-to-order bites include the Rotisserie Porchetta Sandwich – pork loin seasoned with fennel, garlic and orange wrapped in pork belly; Prime Rib rubbed with cracked pepper and garlic; Rotisserie du Jour – Herbes de Provence turkey breast; Crispy Pork Leg rubbed with salt & pepper; and Merguez Frites – Moroccan lamb sausage with French fries. All sandwiches are served with garlic aioli potato salad. Charcuterie accoutrements will include slowly dry-aged beef crudo, slow-roasted and smoked salami cotto, and fermented and aged salami.



Top of the line espresso machine.
Get your reusable machine washable Sippy Cup for $1.50 and  come back for refills for just $1.00
I'll let you in on a little secret: they are so environmentally friendly, that you can bring any ol' cup in, right from home in fact and they'll fill ya up for the same $1.00)
Allegro Coffee Bar


Get your Neapolitan Pizza here, made with the finest of ingredients, including Double Zero Caputo Flour

A gourmet selection of cookies by the pound. Yum!

Artisan Breads created from scratch on premise.

Meet Fishmonger Hans Charles

Dave explains that their smoked salmon comes from Norway, Scotland and Iceland. They've got some great deals going on during their Grand Opening including a six pack of salmon fillets on sale for $19,99.

Juicera – Watermelon Fresco and Sunny State

U RAWk Raw Energy Bars 

Amazing Produce. All Fair Trade.

Whole Planet Foundation helps empower entrepreneurs through micro loans in the global communities that supply WF stores with product.

Nice display. The pineapple was so sweet and so are the prices, check it out!

Another new addition to Whole Foods being introduced in the West Palm Beach store is 
Palm Beach Brews, is a 10-seat bar in the Specialty Department where customers can enjoy gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, artisan cheese boards, bar specials and local seasonal craft beers on tap, including Kombucha beer varieties.
Relax at the Palm Beach Brews Bar with hundreds of wines and craft beer with great charcuterie, aged cheeses, olives and specialty nuts



 






When/Where:           Whole Foods Market – West Palm Beach
                                    1845 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard
                                    West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Bread Breaking Ceremony to begin at 8:45 a.m.
Store opens at 9 a.m.

 Follow the store on facebook.com/WholeFoodsMarketWestPalmBeach and Instagram @WFMWestPalmBeach.

Until we eat again...
I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 Denise Righetti
C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Denise's Foodie Events & Savor Our City™

Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news on upcoming Foodie Events and special discount offers exclusively available to our subscribers.