Green Bar & Kitchen

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

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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!

Green Bar & KitchenGreen Bar & KitchenGreen Bar & KitchenGreen Bar & Kitchen

© 2013 alanEATS | A Food Blog

Advertisements

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

Tap 42

Tap 42- 1411 S Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale                                      http://www.tap42.com/

Burgers, Fish, Salads, Bar Snacks and more…wash down with 42 Tap Beers, 103 Bottle beers and 50 Bourbons.”

I wasn’t due to write this story until I had been back a few more times, however, I felt compelled to give you my impressions of Tap 42 after reading an unfavorable review that appeared in a periodical which I highly regard for their food reviews.  It’s so very easy to be negative about a place, which is why I don’t do that in this Blog.  You’ll find out about a bad meal from people you know faster than reading a review. I don’t know the Tap 42 owners, but their advertised concept is to operate a Gastropub that serves a wide selection of craft beers to accompany a limited menu of “natural, organic, sustainable and locally sourced” dishes. On the several occasions I’ve been there, I must tell you that they have succeeded. In the evenings the place is over-run with people who are happy to sit anywhere for an opportunity to chow down some pub grub and socialize with friends. Not every restaurant has to be fine dining, but you do expect that what’s served will be appealing and consistent.  I’d say they hit the mark here. So my advice is gather up some of your friends and park yourself at one of the indoor or patio tables.  You’ll want to begin by taking advantage of the impressive list of Tap & bottled Craft Beers. Not being a beer maven myself, I usually tell my server the beers I like and let them choose one for me. If beer is not your thing they also have a collection of 50 different Bourbons and other booze.  Now for some food.  In my group we pass around everything…even the soup. The not-to-be-missed, Cognac French Onion soup has the expected cheese, onion and sourdough crouton, but finishes with a surprising sweetness from Cognac and Vidalia Onions. Also good was the hearty Beef Barley soup. The Chicken Wings are a hit with four different sauces…I had the HOT sauce.  Next time in I need to try the Sopressata Breadsticks made with crème cheese, spinach, arugula, pretzel breadstick and cherry mustard. This just sounds so wrong, but I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. For lunch you’ll find salads, sandwiches a burger and a few hotdog creations. Nothing is plain and all are unique. I recently had the Chicago Dogg (sic), a Kobe Hot Dog with house made slaw, red and yellow peppers and a Hot Pepper. Went down great with my Golden Monkey Beer. By the way, the burgers here juicy and the combinations are sinister…like the Three little Piggy…that’s made with a patty blend of pork & beef topped with slices of roasted pork, ham, pickled jalapeno, and provolone served on a brioche bun. Fish people can enjoy farm raised Arctic Char, which is flaky, light and can be ordered as a platter or sandwich.  And yes dearheart, there is MahiMahi on the menu.

I’m prone to like new restaurants that have taken the time to figure out who they want to be and carve out their niche. I’m pleased to report that the Miami Herald recently gave the Tap 42 a rating of three stars, Very Good. Any new place is bound to have some bumps and falls along the way, but at the end of the day it’s the customer who will decide not reviewers. I for one will be back to try some of the interesting food combos with a glass of  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale…if I can find a seat!

See more pix from Tap 42 at:  http://on.fb.me/wf3twM

© 2012 alanEATS

Sea Wine & Dine

Sea Wine & Dine- 235 Commercial Blvd. #105,
Lauderdale By The Sea  http://www.seatherestaurant.com/

I make no excuses about immediately liking Chef owned restaurants. I guess it’s because the Chef preparing the meal has put it all on the line and must produce. Tony Sindaco could have continued to work at fine hotels and restaurants, but he chose the more difficult path.  Sea Wine and Dine is his creation and his work can be tasted there nightly. I often wonder where Chefs like Tony get their inspiration. This Chef is respectful of his past and firmly grounded in the present, unashamed to be his own original classic. When time allows from his duties in the kitchen, he can be seen working the tables, greeting guests and observing how his food is going down. And that food is good.

Having been to Sea several times I noticed that the fish offerings change to keep pace with market availability. Your meal can be ordered from an a la carte menu or one that is prix fixe, which I recommend and gives you a choice of both an appetizer and dessert for the price of your selected entrée. Menu items change often and are posted on two large chalkboard in the dining room, reminiscent of the old-time big city seafood restaurants I used to frequent. For those not into fish there is usually at least one non-fish selection. Now it must be said that ordering fish for me does not come easily, but I totally appreciate this place for the elegant yet not overly fussy preparations that never let you forget, it’s all about the FISH!  So let me walk you through my favorites. Appetizers to look for when available are; Calamari Pomodoro, a light rustic dish with chunks of tomato, shaved garlic and tender Calamari served in a shallow bowl, Cream-less Cream of Tomato Soup, light tomatoey flavor and yes…creamy; a robustly flavored Bahamian Fish Chowder was a real stand-out for me; and finally the Grilled Shrimp which I’ve had on two occasions, each time slightly different and both times delicious. There are about seven entrées on the menu and twice a week these will change. Here are some to look for; Black Grouper Braise with green beans, squash, red potatoes and sliced garlic… great dish for dunking and if you’re like me you’ll leave nothing behind; Broiled Scallops are done perfectly here; Florida Snapper & Herb Crusted Mahi both nicely done. And finally dessert. You really don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat dessert.  My favorite is the Black & White Creme Brulee with a layer of chocolate covered by classic custard. Sinful, I know, but you’ll eat every bit of it. Check out all the food pictures from Sea at http://on.fb.me/ys9M1b .

If something I’ve said about Sea Wine & Dine has stuck a cord with you I recommend that you call ahead, as seating is limited. And please do say hi to Tony.

© 2012 alanEATS

JoJo’s Tacos – Restaurant/Café

JoJo’s Tacos-Restaurant/Café- 216 E Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea  http://www.jojostacos.com/

I’m really not sure how I heard about this place, but I heard enough good buzz to check out their website. One glance at the on-line menu got my mojo going! This is a Taco Restaurant, but if you ask Chef Joseph Parson’s, he might tell you that his place is just a “Taco stand.” I get it, but believe me…this place is more. To me, JoJo’s has an East Village, New York vibe to it…very casual and unpretentious with a nice mix of people. The space has some tables, but the best seats in the house have got to be along the long counter facing the open kitchen. From here you can see your food being freshly prepared as you watch the finely choreographed movements of the kitchen staff as they do multiple things simultaneously. One person puts something in a skillet another steps in and adds some ingredients a third retrieves some tacos shells toasting on the flat top. These folks are real serious about their food. In one respect it is like a taco stand, in that you order at the front counter. If you need plates, napkins or silverware you get up off your keister and pick up what you need from the sideboard in the center of the restaurant. After that it’s just good eating.  For starters I order “the Guac” served with House-made Chips. I could eat this chunky style guacamole all by myself, but my dining guests insisted I share and I figured had to save room for what was coming next anyway. My favorite Taco is the Peachy Pollo; Peach Smoked Chicken with Blistered Corn, Habanero Peach Aioli, Romaine and
 Queso Blanco. It has good flavor and just enough heat to make you smile without looking for a beverage. I also enjoyed the Shrooms & Asp (Asparagus), Cathy’s Catch and Sarge’s Piglet. Try one of the Quesos. These are skillet dishes served with House made chips, perfect for sharing if you’re not dining with me! The Chicken Queso is wonderful and the Chorizo version has more of the spicy kick I look for. There are daily specials and you’ll find them posted up front. On one visit I could not resist the Short Ribs Special. This is tender, fall off the bone and served up JoJo’s style. There are so many things I want to try, but if I don’t improve my sharing skills no one will go with me!

Click the link to see more pictures from JoJo’s with descriptions.  http://on.fb.me/uIGBeh

© 2011 alanEATS