New menu items & a revisit: SAIA, B Ocean Hotel – Ft. Lauderdale

Back in March Foodies on the Fly first visited SAIA at the sleek B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Since then, Chef Subin Chankesorn has added several new items to their menu and we were invited back to taste test.

Chef Subin’s unique culinary creations are a natural result of his exposure to Thai street market food in his earlier years and his travels throughout Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Prior to SAIA, Chef Subin served as Assistant Sushi Chef at Delano on South Beach, Lead Sushi Chef at the Lowes Hotel South Beach, Chef aboard Royal Caribbean International’s fleet and Market Cook in Thailand. Chef Subin strives to achieve balance between authenticity and heritage in his dishes and the modern (American) conception of what Asian dining.

“When developing this concept I was committed to creating a unique dining experience, with fresh interpretations and crafting flavors that would redefine South Florida’s Asian dining scene. We’ve succeeded!” – Chef Subin

Upon meeting the magnetic Chef Subin, FOTF left the menu selection in his more than capable hands. Thus begins our journey…

Green Bean Salad

The Green Bean Salad arrived first, served chilled with a black soy vinaigrette, sesame seeds, and dried garlic on top. The crisp, fresh green beans are a new addition, and we would gladly order them again as an alternative to our typical starter of edamame, which is also available.

Tamari Scallop

The Tamari Scallop was beautifully plated; one large scallop wrapped in paper thin bigeye tuna, topped with minced crabmeat, and masago atop a pool of wasabi spiked aioli. The thin, silky smooth tuna barely encased the meaty scallop and crabmeat, and presented me with a small challenge: How to most delicately devour this large bite? Chopsticks gripped, I chose to bite and conquer (and hope that the whole masterpiece would not end up on my plate, or worse…). My strategy worked, somewhat, only a few bits of green tobiko caviar and crabmeat were sacrificed. I can see why the waitstaff heavily recommends this dish. We do as well.

Hamachi Jalapeno

The thinly sliced Hamachi Jalapeno arrived next, spiced with Thai chili, ponzu uzu, shredded daikon and cilantro arrived next. This light fish was full of flavor from the citrus-y marinade to the kick of the Thai Jalapeno chilies. The Hamachi was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.

Miso Scallops

The Miso Scallops, a customer favorite, are lime and salt encrusted, covered in a sweet honey miso sauce, and presented atop a Japanese yam. Topped with a dash of sesame seeds, and curl of scallion.

This dish also had me fumbling with my chopsticks (Disclaimer: I am no expert, as you may have deduced) as the slick glaze had them slipping through my grasp. Laughing as yet again the scallop eluded me, I admitted defeat and requested silverware. Quartered by my newly acquired knife and securely speared by fork, the perfect bite of sweet, sticky miso scallop made it into my mouth. The lime and salt perfectly balance out the sweetness of the miso glaze, which is so delicious, I could cover everything in it. As I was savoring my first bites of scallop #1, scallops #2 and #3 have disappereaed. Definitely a favorite of my dining companion of the evening, and newest addition to the FOTF team, my BF “M”.

Shirome Spice

I did not have long to lament the loss of a possible shared scallop, as we were quickly presented with my favorite plate of the evening. The Shirome Spice, a crispy, lightly battered whitefish with a sweet and spicy garlic glaze and stir-fried mixture of onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms. The stir-fried vegetables were slightly al dente and added texture to the flaky fish and meaty shitakes.

Tropical Roll & Fire Dragon Roll

Next we were presented with not one, but two massive sushi rolls, the Tropical Roll and the Fire Dragon Roll. These two inside out creations push sushi lovers to the edge and have gained quite a following due to their unique flavor pairings. The Tropical Roll includes seared scallop, mushroom, shiso, cucumber, and spicy miso topped with salmon and mango. Our favorite, the Fire Dragon Roll starts with lightly fried shrimp tempura, wrapped in avocado, snow crab, and topped with spicy tuna and masago.

Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops

Another new addition to the SAIA menu are the Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops. M wanted to test out his review skills and adds: An unusual presence in an Asian restaurant’s menu, this item has been added in response to customers request to increase meat dish variety. But don’t let the oriental atmosphere fool you; this dish’s level of taste, tenderness and presentation is at least similar to what you would expect from any fancy steakhouse. With another signature twist from the Chef, the sweet and tangy sauce on the side is a surprisingly delicious variation over the traditional red wine, rosemary or mint.

Note: These lollipops were sourced from farm raised lamb in New Zealand.

Thai Curry Lobster

On a roll, M reviews the Thai Curry Lobster as well: I’ve been eating Thai red curries for years from many places of the world and thought I had tried it all. Yet Subin Chankesorn managed to create a masterpiece lobster red curry with a garlic rich mixture of pineapple, hearts of palm, green peppers, baby tomatoes and a delicious white sauce. Definitely a must try for curry lovers.

Here I will add that Chef Chankeson joined us for the last of our courses. We spoke about his childhood growing up in the Thailand, the different dialects and how one word could mean something very different in varying regions (floor mat -vs- tiger!) and finally we spoke about curry. Chef explained to us how he starting making curries under the guidance of his mother. He doesn’t follow a set recipe, yet adds and detracts based on taste of his ingredients of the day, striving to incorporate authentic Thai ingredients and spices. He adds, If you use a recipe it will be different every time based on the sweetness or tartness of the ingredients, so follow your sense of taste not direction.

Chef Subin's Dessert Plate

Our final plate was a taste of Chef Subin’s home, literally. He picked the starfruit from his backyard that morning and now it adorns our plate alongside a chocolate mini macaroon, strawberry, and mochi ice cream in a fruity yogurt sauce. Chef explained to us that he is not a fan of overly sweet desserts and this plate demonstrated a light hand as well. A perfectly sweet ending to a remarkable meal.

Foodies on the Fly highly recommends stopping by and, if you’re feeling adventurous, allowing Chef Subin to order for you as well. The staff is very accomodating and will take note of any allergies or preferences as well.

We thank-you for your time if you’ve completed reading to this point. It was an extensive meal (over 3hrs!) and review as well.

B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale- SAIA
999 Fort Lauderdale Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-302-5252

SAIA on Urbanspoon

We’ve arrived: Ritz-Carlton, Naples FL

Welcome to the Ritz-Carlton

We’ve arrived at the iconic Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort. First opening their doors 25 years ago and accumulating awards ever since, including; AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star, (both for 22 consecutive years), named #9 among the top 50 Resorts in US and Canada on Travel + Leisure‘s 2011 “World’s Best List” and #70 in the World, Gold List of the World’s Best Hotels, Resorts, and Cruise Lines, 2011 in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, amongst others. We excitedly stepped out of the valet circle and into one of the consistently highest ranked resorts in the world.

Warmly greeted by Jorian Weiner, Public Relations Manager, we checked into the resort, offloaded our bags and began a guided tour of the expansive property. The Ritz-Carlton experience offers many options, we wanted to be sure we didn’t miss a thing! In addition to enjoying the beautiful southwest Florida coastline, 2 heated outdoor pool areas (one family friendly, one with VIP section), and magnificent Spa, what else does the Ritz-Carlton, Naples have to offer?

Options at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

FOR THE GOLFER: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples offers free shuttle service to its sister resort, the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Golf Resort. This award winning Greg Norman-designed Tiburón Golf Course offers complimentary TaylorMade golf club rentals and sleeves of golf balls. Golfers under the age of 18 can tee off for free, one with each paying adult.

FOR THE GOURMET: There are seven dining options available ranging from the health-concious =H20+ located in the Spa, Caribbean-inspired cuisine at Gumbo Limbo on the Boardwalk, tapas at Bites in the Lobby lounge, casual dining at the Poolside Cafè, Italian cuisine at The Terrace, traditional Japanese at The Sushi Bar, and fine dining steakhouse at The Grill. There is also the Gourmet Shop, stocked with fine chocolates, coffees, and gelato for those times when you need just a little sugar or caffeine jolt. If you wish to explore contemporary Mediterranean or global bar foods, hop on the shuttle to the Golf Resort and explore their five dining options as well.

Nature's Wonders Laboratory

FOR CHILDREN (OF ALL AGES): The resort offers Nature’s Wonders, an eco-friendly environmentally focused program that connects guest with nature. The program, led by Master Naturalists at the resort,  includes: nature walks, dolphin, sea-turtle and manatee watches, aquarium feedings, a mini laboratory where small guests can use child-sized microscopes, slides & Petri dishes, a hands-on workshop and Nature Vision Theater that streams National Geographic specials. During our tour we learned that an adult female sea turtle will migrate back to her beach of birth to lay her eggs. The Naples beach currently is home to a handful of sea turtle nests which should hatch in upcoming weeks.

vue lounge

vue, the ultimate entertainment lounge, with a chic interior is a mecca for children, teens, and adults. Equipped with Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii systems hooked up to 40″ LCD TVs, 2 private lounge areas with 19′ flat screen TVs, DVD players and iPod docking station, and a massive 63″ LCT TV with Blu-ray play connected to a Bang and Olufsen surround system. There is also a Mac station with iMacs for use. We are told that although originally created to cater to the teen crowd, when major sporting events are televised the demographic skews older. Looking for an unconventional space for your next meeting or event? You may have found it.

FOR THE SHOPPER: There are eight on property shops including everything from Zegna suits for the gentleman at John Craig, swimsuits and sunscreen at The Pool Shoppe, beautiful fine jewelry and artwork at The Gallery, Prada sunglasses at The Signature Shop, face creams, masks, and other products used in the Spa at The Spa Boutique, tennis apparel, footwear, and racquets at The Tennis Shop, Ritz-Carlton signature apparel at The Boutique, and anything small you may have forgotten to pack at The Sundry Gift Shop.

After touring the resort, and spying a sliver of sunshine remaining, we hurried upstairs to our guest room to change into swimwear for a quick visit to the pool area before dinner at Bites. We opened the door and entered our luxurious room, greeted with an amazing coastline view and this incredible, completely edible chocolate sculpture. OMGoodness we have arrived.

Incredible Chocolate Sculpture from The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Check back here tomorrow for the continuation of our Spa-Cation weekend and our review of Bites in the Lobby Lounge (now live).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for our day at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. 

Click here for our 5th Avenue, Naples Distractions along the way. 

Distractions on the Road

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

Foodies on the Fly headed across the alley last weekend (Alligator Alley for non-locals, aka 175 – the 2 lane stretch of road connecting the east coast to west coast of Florida) in eager anticipation of our weekend of relaxation: A Spa-Cation at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Brambles English Tea Room - Naples, FL

We arrived in Naples early to stock up on essentials on 5th Ave prior to check-in. First, we brunched at the quaint Brambles English Tea Room, a hidden gem just off of 5th Ave., run by British couple, Chris & Heather. The decor is shabby chic: floral wallpaper, pink tablecloths, and beautifully eclectic china.

We ordered two pots of tea to share: The Royal Wedding (We had to, it was created just for Kate & Wills!), a blend of China black tea flavored with raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, and a hint of mango and the Caribbean Voodoo, China black tea flavored with cornflowers, mango, coconut, passion fruit, and more (Mysterious and apparently addicting, I order this one every time I visit!).

Brambles Brunch Spread

We started our meal, as any proper tea should with freshly baked scones, strawberries and clotted cream. If you visit Brambles, these crumbly semisweet breads are a must. Then our entrees arrived, Roger’s Salad Nicoise (which wasn’t because we modified and subbed shrimp) and a freshly baked Quiche Lorraine, a signature item adorned with homemade Mango Chutney. The salad nicoise was light, crisp, and perfect for the foodie on a diet (not this one). My quiche was fluffy with a thin crust and full of large pieces of ham and cheddar. The quiche is paired with a side salad and honey mustard vinaigrette, so I received a serving of veggies as well.

The food is wonderful here, but what will lure you back is the ambiance. The owners are exceedingly polite, and the room warm and welcoming. Not surprisingly, it is best to make your reservations in advance as this tea room tends to fill up quickly. (Note: Plan to arrive at 11:00AM, as we did, and enjoy their scones fresh from the oven!) After brunching we perused their gift shop and purchased loose tea (Voodoo, told you I was addicted!) to accompany us home. They also carry a variety of fine English china, Royal Wedding souvenirs, handmade chocolates, and tea accessories.

Brambles English Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Florida Olive Oil Company

Next we visited Florida Olive Oil Company, a local shop that sells their own line of infused balsamic vinegars, and you guessed it, olive oils. Throughout the store are tasting stations where you can try each of over 50 varieties, including some with a dash of sea salts or spices. Alongside each bottle is a short description of the flavor and pairing ideas to spark your inner culinary god or goddess. Examples include: savory – Cilantro Garlic balsamic vinegar, or Porcini Mushroom olive oil, sweet – Chocolate balsamic vinegar, French Vanilla olive oil, fruity – Wild Blueberry balsamic vinegar, Persian Lime olive oil, or spicy – Habanero Lime balsamic vinegar, and Roasted Chili olive oil. We took full advantage of their in-store offer, purchase 6 bottles and receive one free and ended up with… 3 olive oils (Rosemary, White Lemon, and Chipolte), 6 balsamic vinegars (2 Black Walnut, 2 Fig, 2 Espresso), one Chipolte barbecue glaze, and 4 spice packets.

The manager was very welcoming and we ended up staying much later than we thought tasting, tweeting, and talking, so our 5th Ave. trip ended with just two visits, but we weren’t dismayed as we packed up our loot and  headed to the Ritz-Carlton for the start of our Spa-Cation.

Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL

To be continued…

Venezuelan Comfort Food: Eats Good 33 – Ft.Lauderdale, FL

Today as I struggled to adequately express myself in my review of the uber-luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Naples Resort (coming soon, I promise!) I turned where I often do in times of stress: comfort food. I stepped away from my desk and into a cozy little restaurant hidden in a row of warehouses off McNab Rd. in Ft.Lauderdale, highly recommended by a fellow foodie. The place, Eats Good 33. Their motto: Tasty, fresh, healthy, and affordable food for you to enjoy. I can work with that.

With an extensive menu spanning breakfast, arepas, soups, burgers, panini, pasta, wraps, salads, side orders, desserts, and daily specials, it can take some time to decide, so I started with a refreshing freshly blended Watermelon Juice while pondering the selections. It was light, refreshing, and naturally sweet.

Eats Good 33: Fresh Watermelon Juice

What I ate: Once I heard the lunch special, Asado Negro, a Venezuelan masterpiece marinated and cooked for 6 hours and topped with brown sugar, I was sold. The incredibly tender rump roast drowning in the sweet sugar sauce accompanied with quinoa and minced veggies arrived quickly despite their conspicuous wall hangings that urge patrons to be patient. (Note: I arrived at 1:30, so I quite possibly missed the rush, or experienced exceptionally good lunchtime karma.) Even if I had to wait 30 minutes for this dish, I gladly would have. It achieved the comfort food status I was looking for this afternoon, and that could not be rushed. If the Asado is on special when you visit, I highly recommend.

Eats Good 33: Asado Negro

Anyone who follows the FOTF Girls on a regular basis knows we can’t pass up dessert. Today was no exception. In theme with comfort food, I ordered the Chocolate Marquesa, a Venezuelan dessert with maria cookies soaked in milk and rum between layers of heavenly dark chocolate. I’ve found a new obsession.The waiter joked that if I couldn’t finish the dessert, he would be happy to pack it up for me to take home. This wasn’t needed, the plate was practically licked clean and I had to restrain myself at that.

Eats Good 33: Chocolate Marquesa

What I thought: The food was ah-maz-ing. The staff is very polite and helpful. There is a warm vibe inside that makes you feel like you are coming home, and regular patrons are welcomed back. Which I most definitely will be. Comfort food with a Venezuelan kick, and only 7 minutes from my desk, this could be trouble…

Eats Good 33
6882 NW 20th Ave
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
ph. 954.956.4480
orders@eatsgood33.com

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

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill on Urbanspoon

New Restaurants Around Town

Steakhouses to Sustainable : South Florida Restaurant Openings

Texas De Brazil is opening their fourth location in Fort Lauderdale on June 29th. The 9,200 square foot restaurant will offer an extensive menu of grilled meats, including seasoned cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and Brazilian sausage, all prepared in the traditional Brazilian method over an open flame and carved table-side.  The restaurant also features a  40-60 item fresh salad bar area, which includes appetizers, homemade soups and dressings and an assortment of gourmet cheeses.  For more information or to make a reservation click here.

Texas De Brazil, 2457 East Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale


Max’s Harvest
, a farm-to-fork concept recently opened in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove district serving American fare in a comfortable and contemporary setting. The menu includes, Free Range Deviled Eggs with Chives and Truffle Sea Salt ($14), Pan Roasted Poulet Rouge Chicken ($23) and Cedar Key Clams and Florida Shrimp plus more naturally delicious dishes. The restaurant offers a small outdoor patio, perfect for intimate get-togethers. Max’s Harvest will be open from 5pm to 10pm Monday through Thursday,  5pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 4pm–9pm on Sunday. For more information call 561-381-9970

Max’s Harvest, 169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach

DIG (Doing It Green) is an Eco-conscious restaurant  in Delray Beach serving big flavors with a small footprint. The entirely organic menu includes grass-fed chicken and beef, wild seafood,  a huge salad bar plus an organic juice bar and organic wine and beer. One of the coolest parts of this restaurant is the table side humus!  DIG will be open from 11am to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am to 2am on Friday and Saturday. For more information or to make reservations, call 561-638-0500.

Dig, 5199 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach                                                                                                                             

CG Burgers recently opened in Coral Springs with an additional location set to open soon in Fort Lauderdale. The casual fast food restaurant serves burgers, french fries (potato and zucchini), roasted wings, milk shakes, and sandwiches. If you are looking for a lighter option, they also have a salad bar. CG Burgers is open 7-days a week, 11am to 10pm.

CG Burger, 4320 N. State Road 7, Coral Springs

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

Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Yogurt Parlour on Urbanspoon