A Taste Of SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill – Miami, FL

With our reservations confirmed, we arrived at SUGARCANE raw bar grill slightly early and headed to the interior bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. Elbow to elbow with what seemed like half of Midtown we were promptly served the Lemongrass: Zonin Prosecco cocktail with housemade thyme honey, fresh lemon and lemongrass infused rum and a custom Elderflower cocktail (off the menu). The beverages were both bright and refreshing, (with Prosecco, you really can’t go wrong) and the introduction of lemongrass and honey was an unexpected delight.

Cocktails at SUGARCANE

Shortly afterward, the iPhone rang (you are called when your table is available) and we were ushered to a bistro table adjacent the bar (reminiscent of ours- sans the signature candelabra & pink chairs). Our waiter presented us with menus and explained that the tapas style menu would be prepared in 3 separate kitchens: a robata grill, sushi station/raw bar, and typical kitchen, and thus all items would arrive when complete to ensure freshness. (Note: SUGARCANE supports local farmers and sustainability efforts. Always a plus when you can dine where local food was sourced.)

After reviewing the extensive menu we decided on the following: Tapas: Heirloom Tomatoes, Bacon Wrapped Dates, Goat Cheese Croquettes, and Kobe Beef Sliders. Robata Grill: Beef Short Ribs. Sushi Rolls: Crunchy Tuna.

Heirloom Tomatoes

The Heirloom Tomatoes arrived first with fresh burrata cheese, strawberries, mixed greens and pinenuts and were topped with a sweet balsamic. The crunch of the nuts and greens perfectly accented the smooth burrata and fresh tomatoes.

Goat Cheese Croquettes

Next to the table: Goat Cheese Croquettes with membrillo marmalade. Not your typical cheese sticks, these lightly coated and fried orbs were much less dense and boasted a mild flavor, accented by the quince underneath.

Crunchy Tuna Sushi Roll

The Crunchy Tuna Sushi Roll followed. This roll pairs rare tuna with avocado and spicy tempura flakes, sesame seeds and sweet chili jelly atop. Served with the requisite ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce on the side. The FOTF were torn with the sweet chili, one for, and one against. Being the pro-sweet chili (combines my love of heat & sweet) I gladly helped myself to more than half. Overall it was my favorite, but there was a close contention with the next plate…

Kobe Beef Sliders

The Kobe Beef Sliders were a close second for my affection. Presented on mini toasted brioche buns and adorned with a fried quail egg. Biting into these tall sliders was tricky, but when the yolk punctured and coated the premium beef with a rich salty glaze, all thoughts of propriety immediately left me as I focused on savoring every bite. (Note: I think it’s pretty much impossible to eat these without making at least a little mess, so focus on your plate, not your partner or date.)

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Speaking of dates… A signature creation of Executive Chef, Timon Balloo, the Bacon Wrapped Dates were a must-try. SUGARCANE’s version were stuffed with manchego cheese and linguica (Portuguese sausage). Another hit for this restaurant with the sweet and savory combination, these dates did not disappoint. Around this time, overheard by a nearby diner “I love SUGARCANE. I bring all my dates here.”

Beef Short Ribs

The final plate of the evening, was the Beef Short Ribs done Korean style from the robata grill. All robata items are traditionally prepared over bincho-tan charcoal and these tend to take a little longer then the other tapas. The short ribs were absolutely worth the (brief) wait and carried a wonderfully smoky flavor.

For two average diners, 6 tapas may be just about the breaking point. We would have loved to have tried more, and will on a return visit, but do recommend all of the above. This FOTF girl’s top three were 1. Crunchy Tuna Sushi Roll 2. Kobe Beef Sliders 3. Heirloom Tomatoes. We also recommend calling ahead or going online for reservations.

SUGARCANE raw bar grill
3252 NE 1st Ave. #115
Miami, FL 33137 (Midtown)
Ph. 786-369-0353
twitter: @sugarcanerawbar

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Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream and Yogurt – Coral Springs, FL

Last week the New Times Broward/Palm Beach released their 2011 Best Of winners and in honor of National Vanilla Milkshake Day we scoured the list to find the best ice cream parlor in the county.

Larry's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Yogurt

Pleased to see a community favorite in the Food and Drink categoryFoodies on the Fly headed west to Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Yogurt in Coral Springs.

The retro shop is tucked in the corner of  University and Atlantic Boulevard in a busy shopping center flanked between Liberty Travel and Pier One Imports and specializes in homemade frozen treats at reasonable prices.

Homemade Ice Cream

When we arrived, we were quickly greeted and promptly helped by two friendly employees and after debating between a few different menu options we settled on a classic vanilla malt milkshake.

The rich and creamy shake perfectly flowed through the wide red straw and the homemade ice cream had an amazing vanilla flavor that lingered and made you crave more.  The malt added a frothy consistency and overall the shake was delicious, perfectly portioned for the price, and barely lasted for the ride back to the office.

Vanilla Shake To-Go

Aside from shakes, this nostalgic shop also serves lunchtime snacks and old fashion root beer floats.

Larry’s Ice Cream and Yogurt is definitely worth the trip out west and if you order a sundae they might let you spin the price wheel for a special deal.

Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Yogurt
749 University Drive
Coral Springs, FL
954-752-0497

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Dinner after Dessert: The Grateful Palate – Ft. Lauderdale

A few weeks ago FOTF attended a cupcake and wine pairing event at The Grateful Palate in Ft. Lauderdale (see our post here). Since the sweet event lasted only a few hours, when we completed our pairing rounds we decided to stay a little longer to try a few items from their contemporary American dinner menu. We were grateful that we did, dinner was a complete delight!

Greek Salad

On the Menu:

The Grateful Greek Salad, $8/$14, tomato, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, feta fritters, red wine, vinaigrette

The petite side salad was tossed in a light red wine vinaigrette that did not overpower the dish and had diced red onion, sliced kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. Also included were two feta cheese fritters that were incredibly delicious. The exterior was slightly crispy and the interior was filled with mild cheese. They practically melted in your mouth!

Chicken Supreme

Chicken Supreme, $28, arugula, shaved fennel, poached garlic and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, balsamic drizzle, and olive bread crouton.

Everything about this dish was wonderful. It was beautifully presented, perfectly portioned, and flawlessly prepared. The aroma was heavenly and the taste was top-notch! The chicken was juicy, the sun-dried tomatoes were succulent and the olive bread croutons were an added indulgence.

The restaurant not only serves up great food, they also have an extensive wine selection complete with a knowledgable and friendly staff. The interior is swanky enough for a date but still warm and laid-back enough for an evening out with friends!

Side Note: On the menu The Grateful Palate offers a Trio of Frites. (shoestring, sweet potato and yucca) Perfect for sharing. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough room to order those as well, after the cupcakes & wine, generous bread offerings, salad, and entree! They are on our list for a return visit. 

The Grateful Palate
817 SE 17th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-467-1998
@TheGratefulPalate

The Grateful Palate on Urbanspoon

Dining on the Las Olas Boulevard – Big City Tavern, Ft. Lauderdale

On Wednesday, Foodies on the Fly dined at Big City Tavern on Las Olas Boulevard to check out their new menu items and take a peak at the newly revamped interior.

The attractive restaurant was pleasantly quiet when we arrived which was nice after a busy day at the office, but quickly picked up around 6:30pm. The bar was filled with swanky businessmen and high-heeled ladies and the outdoor seating area was scattered with families, friends, and couples. Since the weather was enjoyable (not too muggy, rainy or otherwise uncomfortable) we decided to sit outside to take advantage of the cool breeze and people watch while we dined.

After being quickly seated our knowledgeable waitress presented us with the daily specials, suggested a few drinks, and frequently checked up on us after we were served to make sure everything was okay. And she wasn’t playing favorites; she made sure all of the guests in her area were enjoying their food and visit.

Pink Pearl and Orange Tickle

We started dinner with two of their newest cocktail creations, the Pink Pearl and the Orange Tickle, both were only $8 and worth the price.

What we Thought:
The Pink Pearl was a girly concoction of Pearl pomegranate vodka, St. Germaine elderflower liquor, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, house-made hibiscus syrup and topped off with Champagne. With all of the ingredients one would think this drink would be super sweet but it was perfectly crafted and delicious. The taste of floral was nicely complemented by the citrus and Champagne.

The Orange Tickle was a bubbly blend that also combined St. Germaine elderflower liquor, though this time accompanied with blood orange juice, and grapefruit bitters and topped with champagne. It definitely did tickle your tonsils while sipping, but don’t be fooled, this innocent sounding drink carries a powerful punch.

Cocktail Tip: The best seller at the restaurant is the Southern Peach on the Beach.

On the Menu:

Appetizer: Flatbread and Dinner: Grilled Skirt Steak

Crispy Flat Bread: This daily special sounded to good to pass up. So of course we had to try it out. A blend of ricotta, sweet tomato sauce, caramelized onions, and spicy sausage layered on top of a crispy flatbread. The ingredients all tasted fresh and we were pleasantly surprised that all of the toppings stayed put while we indulged.

Grilled Skirt Steak: Our dinner was presented on a large white platter adorned with a tiny martini logo and appropriately timed after we completed our appetizer. The steak, topped with a delicious peppery glaze was served with addicting french fries and a crisp lightly dressed field green salad. The portion was large enough to share or perfect for anyone with a big appetite. Our steak was grilled to perfection at a medium well temperature, but you can opt for as rare or done as you like.

Big City Tavern is open daily and serves lunch, dinner, and late nigh bites plus they have a tempting line up of desserts. If we saved any room for sweets we definitely would have tried the Pistachio Brown Butter Bundt Cake ($7) with honey roasted spiced peaches and pistachio gelato or the Mounds Bar Sundae ($7) chocolate ice cream, Belgian chocolate sauce, chocolate chip cookies, whipped cream and coconut.

Check them out for yourself, and tell us what you think!

Big City Tavern
609 E. Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954-727-0307

Big City Tavern on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Big City Tavern invited us to try out their restaurant free of charge. The opinions in the post are our own.

Nibble and Sip: A Wine and Cupcake Pairing

If you can eat it, you can pair it with wine, and Thursday night was no exception!

On May, 19th, The Grateful Palate in Ft. Lauderdale held a Cupcake and Wine pairing with the amazingly talented Spiked Bakeshop, a new alcohol infused cupcake shop owned by the creative husband and wife team, Matthew and Heidi Depante.

From 6pm on, wine enthusiasts and cupcake connoisseurs were invited to sip a carefully selected vino and nibble on delectable cupcakes while mingling at the bar, chatting with friends, and lounging on the plush chairs and love seats around the restaurant. As an additional benefit of the evening, a small discount was provided on all main entrées after guests completed the pairing event.

The night was a huge success and the laid back setting made everything very relaxed and enjoyable. We were pleased to attend and cannot wait to see what they pair next.  Cheers!

What we sampled:

Strawberry and Champagne with Casa Ibidini, Insolia Sicily
The wine pairing started with a glass of Casa Ibidini, Insolua Sicily and a mini Strawberry and Champagne cupcake. This pretty pink cupcake had a sweet smell of strawberries and a light airy texture. The champagne and vanilla flavors intermingled brilliantly and the frosting was neither overpowering or too sweet. Paired with a sweet white wine with lemon zest and apricot undertones this combination rated high on our on list of favorites.

Strawberry and Champagne + Cappuccino Shooter

Cappuccino Shooter with First Drop, Blend, Australia
The second pairing included a glass of First Drop, Blend Australia and a Cappuccino Shooter cupcake. The strong aroma of the cupcake was amazing.  You could smell the chocolate and coconut before the cupcake left the plate. Kahlua and Malibu were the main liquor in the cake and their flavors were incorporated perfectly to make this cupcake a dream to consume. We were told only real chocolate is used when making the cupcakes instead of the usual cocoa powder and you could definitely taste the difference. The flavor was strong but not over powering and perfectly subdued with the white wine.

Margarita with Salt paired with Oltrepo Moscato, Italy
The third pairing on our list was the Margarita cupcake and a glass of Oltrepo Mascato. The sweet vanilla lime cake was light and fluffy and the equally delicious frosting had a hint of citrus. Our cupcake sample was sprinkled with salt and it was an amazing addition.  You could taste the ting of salt but is was so subtle that it made you crave more. The sweet and slightly sparkling Moscato perfectly complemented each other and together they created a pleasing combination of sweet and savory. We first tried this cupcake at the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival and were excited to see it debut again. Unfortunately, we were only allowed one cupcake per pairing so we savored every morsel and went on to the next one. 

Margarita Cupcake + Chocolate Martini Cupcake

Chocolate Martini with Luigi Scarani, Sangre de Guida, Lombardia Italy
The last tasting of the evening was a chocolate martini cupcake paired with Luigi Scarani, Sangre de Guida. Chocolate and vodka were the two key ingredients in this cupcake. The strong taste of vodka that is usually found in a”real” martinis was very faint but not absent and the chocolate was creamy and smooth. The fruity red wine was a great companion to the chocolate cake and a perfect ending to a delicious night.  

Dandee Donut Factory – Pompano, Beach

After trying to lure the traveling Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck to our office all afternoon, we gave up (for the day) and we opted for the next best thing, Doughnuts!

We quickly searched for the nearest bakery in the area and came across Dandee Donut Factory in Pompano Beach.  The yellow and red free-standing building located on East Atlantic Boulevard had good reviews on Yelp and UrbanSpoon plus a menu filled with freshly made doughnuts, coffee, and diner style fare. So, we made our way down the street to try them out.

Once through the doors we were greeted with a comforting smell of homestyle cooking, freshly brewed coffee, and a wall filled with delectable doughnuts. With so many options we didn’t know where to start. We debated about the Cherry Crunch, thought about the Bavarian Cream, and went back and forth between the Old Fashion and the Oreo. Finally…we decided on two that never crossed our minds: Sour Cream and Chocolate Honey Glazed.

Dandee Donut Factory

What we thought:
The Chocolate Honey Glazed doughnut was a plush pillow of chocolatey goodness. It’s soft exterior melted in your mouth and the slight hint of honey was subtle yet perfect. You could tell this doughnut was fresh and it was worth every calorie.

The Sour Cream doughnut had less fluff and more crunch with its crispy edges and a poundcake-like consistency. Topped with powdered sugar instead of the usual glaze, (although they do offer a glazed version too!) you could taste the sweet vanilla flavoring and a tiny ping of tang from the sour cream. Perfect for dipping, this dense treat would be amazing paired with a sweet cappuccino or latte.

Dandee Donut Factory is open 24 hours a day for your donut craving pleasure. So whether you are looking for a mid-day pick me up or midnight snack, you can count on this homestyle diner anytime or day of the week.

Dandee Donut Factory
1900 E Atlantic Blvd in Pompano Beach
(954) 785-1461

Dandee Donut Factory on Urbanspoon

Everything is Bigger in Boca: Gourmet Food Truck Expo

The Gourmet Food Truck Expo took place in Boca Raton last night and it was a huge success. We heard there were over 800 2000(!) people in attendance and we believe it! The traffic on Airport Road was backed-up to Glades and cars were being redirected into neighboring parking lots. Although parking was relatively easy, the movie theater had plenty of room; the lines to order food were unbelievable! The food was worth the wait.

The event was filled with trucks and foodies from all over Palm Beach county waiting patiently (and sometimes impatiently) in lines that lasted over an hour. Since this wasn’t our first (Food Truck) rodeo we planned ahead. We knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to order. So, we schlepped our bistro table, pink chairs, tablecloth, platter, and candelabra through the crowded parking lot (in heels mind you), set up, and strategically split up, so we could order from two different trucks without wasting any time.

Our trucks of choice, Dim Ssäm à gogo and The Mexican Gourmet. When things quieted down we also tried Feverish Ice Cream.

Dim Ssäm à gogo by Sakaya Kitchen – The line of hungry patrons awaiting this Asian fusion truck was considerably longer than many of the other trucks, so we queued up with high expectations.

A perfect combination

On the menu: Kimchi Egg Rolls with Ginger Hot Sauce (2) $6 and Angus Beef “Kalbi” Short Rib Taco (2) $7

What we thought: The egg rolls were crispy on the outside and had a satisfying crunch when bitten into. The interior revealed an array of fresh veggies (all vegetarian) and it paired well with the ginger hot sauce, that was sweet and spicy.

The short rib tacos were just utterly amazing, and an excellent value, as they came two per order and were each full size. The soft flour tortillas housed Angus beef that tasted like it had been marinating for days, and was paired with a spicy sauce for a bit of a kick. Topped with cilantro, crunchy bean sprouts and sesame seeds these tacos were absolutely delicious and absolutely, positively worth the wait!

Website: Dim Ssäm à gogo by Sakaya Kitchen
Twitter: @SakayaKitchen
Like on Facebook

The MexZican Gourmet – The long line at this food truck didn’t detour us from waiting either. We’ve seen The MexZican Gourmet around at other truck roundups and always wanted to try them out, so we knew we had to suck it up and wait.

Puebla Chicken Tacos

On the menu: Puebla Chicken tacos  (2) $5

What we thought: The made-to-order tacos were piled high with tender chicken and layered on a soft corn tortilla. Topped with fresh cilantro, onions and served with a small sample of an amazing hot sauce, these tacos were simply delicious! And they perfectly completed our Mexican-Asian Food truck experience.

Website: The MexZican Gourmet – Simply Authentic
Twitter @TheMexZican
Like on Facebook

Watermelon Popsicle

Feverish Ice Cream – Small truck, big flavor. It’s not the size of the truck that matters… In this case Feverish’s owners opted for a smaller truck purposely and is one of the top 10 eco-friendly Food Trucks in the US.

On the menu: Watermelon Popsicle $3

What we thought: To cool down our taste buds after our Asian-Mexican fusion dinner. It was ultra-refreshing and full of big sweet watermelon pieces. A perfectly sweet ending to the day. As the days are getting hotter, we highly suggest a trip to Feverish to cool off.

Website: Feverish Gourmet Popsicles and Ice Cream
Twitter @FeverishMiami
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