Diner By-The-Sea

Diner By-The-Sea- 215 Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, (954) 491-0642 http://on.fb.me/ZipKni

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Well… it is close to the sea, about 2 blocks, but it’s the old-time diner experience and honest food you’ll remember. A smallish storefront restaurant that really is like a diner once you walk through the door. The menu has the usual list of items for breakfast and lunch, but it’s the prices that make you think you’ve gone back in time. The portions of food are generous and the staff is homey and friendly enough to prod you along with your order if you can’t decide. Expect it to be busy on the weekends and many evenings.

Diner By-The-Sea Diner By-The-Sea Diner By-The-Sea Diner By-The-Sea

© 2013 alanEATS | A Food Blog

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Red Cow

Red Cow – 1025 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale,(954) 652-1524, http://redcowftl.com

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There’s a new Q in town where you’ll find all the expected BBQ meats and some new twists. I enjoyed the dry rubbed slow smoked Spare Ribs, which had a nice bark and tender meat. Unexpected was the Pan-seared Scallops with Pork Belly served over grits. Don’t forget the sides, like the fried Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower Puree and Slaw. I’m slowly going through all twelve of them. For my next visit I’ve got my eye on the Shepherd’s Pie with Burnt Ends. Truth be told, it would be nice to go in just for their starters with names like, Chile Dusted Port Rinds, Fried Quail & Waffle and “Jerk Cuterie” Plate. Even with a full stomach, I was almost tempted to order the Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert…maybe next time. Nice place, attentive service, casual and easy to like.

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© 2013 alanEATS | A Food Blog

Texas Hold’em BBQ

Texas Hold ’em BBQ, 2528 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, (954) 527-4115 – http://www.texasholdembbq.com

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This place recently moved to a new water view location on Federal Hwy. They say “third times the charm”, so if true, owner Jay Armstead is well on his way. This is Texas style BBQ…smoked with dry rub and a tangy vinegar based sauce offered on the side. BBQ favorites include Pork Ribs (Spare Rib & Baby Back), Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ Chicken and more. I usually order the 6-bone Spare Rib dinner with collards and slaw. Liked their Mac ’n Cheese too. Click here for more info.

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© 2013 alanEATS | A Food Blog

Green Bar & Kitchen

Green Bar & Kitchen- 1075 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, (954) 533-7507 – http://greenbarkitchen.com/menu/

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I have to say this first…I’m not a vegan and don’t think I will be one, however, the Green Bar is a non-threatening vegan eatery with enough interesting, healthy and flavorful dishes to satisfy most people. Having looked at the menu before arriving, I was ready to have the Firecracker Kale, recommended by a fellow food hound, but was sidelined by one of the day’s specials…the ”Chickun” Salad Sandwich. Amazingly my brain recognized it immediately as chicken salad. The sandwich was served on grain bread and I opted for a cup of their soup of the day…Sweet Potato & Garlic Soup with its creamy pungent goodness. I washed the sandwich down with my first taste of Kombucha– this mildly fermented green tea is said to promote good stomach and liver health. Along with daily specials you can find Craft Beers, Wines, Juices, Smoothies and a Bakery. I’m told they do a Sunday Brunch with eggs that are not eggs and bacon that is not bacon. The people here are friendly and the place is cheerful and clean. While I wasn’t converted, I must say that I will be back to taste more. Like my mother’s chicken soup, it couldn’t hurt!

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© 2013 alanEATS | A Food Blog

Pomperdale’s NY Style Deli

Pomperdale’s NY Style Deli- 3055 E Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

I’m originally from New York, where “deli” is a way of life.  Most folks who have lived in the City remember the Carnegie, the Stage, Sarge’s, the Second Avenue Deli and Katz’s to name a few of the oldest and best known. Those NY deli sandwiches are things of beauty…overstuffed wonderful layers of deli meats on fresh seeded rye bread with a schemer of spicy brown deli mustard and so huge you can barely bite into it. Each restaurant usually prepares its’ meats in their own special way. I can’t tell you why, but Florida deli’s have a difficult time duplicating this. Some say…lack of NY water! Each year there seems to be fewer places offering anything close.

It’s understandable, then, why lots of displaced New Yorkers appear driven to find good Corned Beef or Pastrami sandwiches.  I don’t know if it’s just nostalgia or a physical need to absorb the fatty steamed meats of another time and place, but many eventually find their way to Pumperdale’s on Commercial Blvd. It’s a surprisingly friendly place with lots of customers who jam in for one of closest NY Deli experiences you’re going to find in the area. Now don’t get me wrong…it’s not NY, but for a deli-starving expat from the Big Apple, this is just fine.  It should be noted there are a few rules . Step into the restaurant and you’re on a fast-moving line, so slackers beware… know what you want a.s.a.p. cause there are other hungry people behind you. Need a beverage???…Go to the beverage cooler in the back to select one of the Dr. Brown’s flavors (they have other stuff, but does it really matter?) and find a seat.  The small tables are close together so make friends and listen for your order…then pick it up and enjoy. The folks here are friendly and if you should want to show your appreciation, put a little money in the tip-jar and the sandwich mavens behind the counter will thank you and shout-out “SUBWAY.” It’s a throwback to the old days when the tip money was used to ride home on the NY subway. After eating & schmoozing, step up to the cashier and recite what you ate as it’s rung in to the register, then pay and you’re done. On one trip I was behind a lady who couldn’t recall what she had just eaten. “Well,” she said with a quizzical look, “I’m not quite sure, but it was very good!”  And for South Florida, Pomperdale’s really is.

Update March 13, 2013 –Since writing the original story in 2011 I’ve been back to Pomperdale’s many times. During one of those visits I learned that the owner had passed away. With each subsequent trip I began to notice changes in the food that never seemed to measure up to the experience I had first described. After a while I stopped going altogether and had almost forgotten about the place until a fellow deli hound mentioned that he had been there and had a really good sandwich. Really? So, off I went to Pomperdale’s to see for myself. While there are some physical changes the place still had that deli look, but a little more polished. There is a change in the rules…food orders are now taken and paid for at the front counter, before you eat. I wasted no time and quickly ordered my favorite deli…Pastrami on Rye. This time around the sandwich was so much better. The right amount of fat and lean and briny flavor I look for. Whole slices and no pile of crumbs, an honest sandwich and a fitting tribute to the original Pomperdale owner and to the new owners, who have succeeded in restoring the quality and flavor of the original. I be back.

Pomperdales

Taps & Tapas at The Manor

Taps & Tapas at the Manor- 2345 Wilton Drive,
Wilton Manors http://www.themanorcomplex.com/html/dine.php

Have you ever had writers block?  You know what I mean…you sit in front of a blank piece of paper or computer screen for days and pour out dribble, which as it turns out, makes no sense.  So it was with me after I accepted an offer to write about a place that sits on a site with an old history and a new one in the making. Ok, let’s go back in time a bit. Before the Manor was the Entertainment Complex it is today, it was the site of a wonderful small neighborhood restaurant/bar named Costello’s. The food was good American/Continental fare with reasonably priced food and a terrific bar menu that became half price during happy hour. In time the restaurant was sold and the new owners tried to upscale the place. They changed the name to “Food Amongst The Flowers”, renovated the interiors, added to the menu, increased the prices and provided the only “fine dining” experience on the drive. That lasted a relatively short time closing in 2009. The Manor Complex is on the same site, but housed in a greatly expanded building comprising a two-story dance club, several bars, with places to sit and observe & be seen and a restaurant. The original Manor Restaurant opened with much anticipation and an elegant and ambitious menu. Perhaps too ambitious. As time pasted they must have realized that a change was needed. Today the Manor restaurant has evolved into a more informal venue, Taps & Tapas. The trend toward Gastropub style food fits this location better than past efforts. It’s the right fit for before, during or after a fun evening. In addition to the regular full bar They built a separate bar where you can order 24 tap beers with an additional 100 available in bottles.

So what did I try and enjoy, you might ask. I joined a few friends for a visit recently and was immediately impressed with the smaller more focused menu.  We started with several “Small Plate” dishes. The standout was the Grilled Manor Wings 3-Ways. I have no idea why many places deep-fry the life out of these poor things and then smother them in a sauce. We ordered ours nude with all of the sauces on the side. Grilling the wings gave us the flavor without the extra grease. Flatbreads are perfect pub food. We tried the JD BBQ Chicken version with Red Onions, Tomato and Monterey Jack cheese. On another visit I had the Cajun Sausage; Mozzarella, Red Pepper & Onion with Chipotle Mayo Drizzle. There two meatless flatbreads that I must try on another visit. The Shrimp Orzo is sautéed shrimp and orzo in a Parmesan and Jack Cheese Cream Sauce topped with Marinara. While rich and decadent the marinara sauce levels it out.

Although the menu lists several Salads, Sandwiches and Burgers we chose from the “House Plates” offerings.  Dishes I tasted and enjoyed and would order again include; Grilled Skirt Steak, Grilled Argentinian Steak and the Bronze Roasted Salmon. The steaks like all the grilled items here are done to the temperature ordered. Be advised that they have a really good grill man here. The salmon was good, simply done and reasonably priced. I couldn’t help thinking, however, how that salmon would be, brushed with a little Teriyaki or Tamari Sauce and lightly grilled. Just think’n.

Clear your mind of the past. In the restaurant business its who are you now that counts? The folks at the Manor have done their soul-searching and are their way to make new history in this location. If you find yourself on the “Drive” or enjoying one of the Manors other venues, a visit here is definitely worth it.

See more photos with descriptions on my Facebook site. http://on.fb.me/LFTAlV

© 2012 alanEATS

the Foxy Brown

the Foxy Brown– 723 E Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale      http://www.thefoxybrown.com/

It’s the kind of place with foods you liked from your childhood, but with subtle twists here and there.  Foods you looked forward to when the grownups took you out to eat like Mac & Cheese, Milkshake or Hotdog.  You remember the polite dining instructions too—sit up straight, eat your food, no going under the table and being given the ‘look’ while hearing, ”be nice.”  Your youthful memories have just been merged with what you crave today and it’s all tucked into a new intimate eatery on E Broward Blvd.  The setting is comfortable and so is the food.  It’s the kind of place where you plan your next meal while you’re enjoying your current one! I’ve been here many times alone and with friends and I still do that. The owners here have a healthy respect for the food they serve and know how to please their customers. And this has filtered down to the staff as well. The main menu is served throughout the day except for Sunday when a brunch menu is available from opening till late afternoon. Wine and beer is available along with a really good Draft Root Beer.

Let’s begin at the beginning…here are some of my favorite starters: Roasted Artichokes with garlic butter, served with a dipping sauce; the French Onion Soup has that nicely melted cheese with crispy edges sealing in the hot fragrant soup; Clams, Brats and Beer served in a bowl with wedges of toasted bread so you can soak up the wonderful broth its cooked in; and the Little Shorties, which are lollipop chicken wings with red bean and ginger and a garlic dipping sauce…really tasty.  Several different salads are offered and although I have not sampled them yet, the portions look ample and seem to be popular.  Sandwiches I liked included: the Cocka-Doodle-Do, (which the wait staff can say without snickering)- a crispy and juicy chicken filet served with herb slaw; the Nemo a fish sandwich that’s not only tasty, but healthy; and my favorite, the Bratburger, which contains bratwurst meat formed into a paddy and grilled with house made sauerkraut and shallot jam. Mere hot dogs never tasted like this.  Must have some Sides with the above and the standouts for me are the Mac & Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes and the tasty Slaw. And for those who didn’t like their Spinach as a child, the adult sauté version will finally change your mind.  Under the heading Standards is a collection of larger plates. The stand out, Mabel’s Chicken, is moist roasted thigh meat nestled atop pan gravy with house made spaetzle. If you desire healthy, try the fresh fish En Papillote (in parchment), a cooking technique that steams the fish in its own juices combined with other ingredients. The Three Lil’ Cochons are medallions of breaded pork loin filled with shrimp stuffing and finished with a rich Tasso cream sauce. The sliced Iron Cast Hanger Steak will fulfill your desire for meat. It’s soft with good flavor from the dry rub. The steak is plated with Maître d’Hôtel Butter between the slices for added flavor, but it won’t harm the dish should you decide to leave it off. Finally, try the dessert of the day. They are decadent and delicious and need your attention.  Did I mention they make milkshakes too?

Sunday is a Brunch day tradition in this town and the Foxy Brown recently began serving their version. So you should expect things like Donut Holes served with cereal milk, a S’more Waffle and White Chocolate Chip French Toast.  Then there’s the pancake, four different Eggs Benedict and the Kipper too! My table opted for some egg dishes. I totally enjoyed the Bangers and Eggs. The Bangers, I’m told, are sourced from a purveyor in Miami and they were packed with flavor. I also sampled the Hanger Steak Hash with two eggs topped with chimichurri hollandaise. And had a taste of the Barn Yard Frittata, which was filled with Nueske Bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese. There are so many intriguing options on this menu you’ll need to make repeat visits.

The Foxy Brown is a wonderful place to connect with new & old versions of foods you loved and experience new ones. So go as a tribute to your younger days, and while you’re at it, why not take along the grownups? Let them have a good time. And remember, “be nice.”

Follow the link to see all the pictures from the Foxy Brown.  https://www.facebook.com/alanEATS/photos

© 2012 alanEATS