Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen

Posted on 11 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Sometimes, you don’t need all the flair… you just want things simple. Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen lives by that philosophy. Much like a Ying & Yang symbol, the aesthetics of their newest restaurant located in Deerfield Beach is based on black and white, with large scale muted geisha paintings adding a sense of harmony and authenticity.

Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen works to be as genuine as possible in its Japanese selections as it offers up a large variety of not only sushi and sashimi, but plenty of choices straight from the kitchen as well. For a perfect beginning, try their delicious Banging Shrimp which is jumbo shrimp battered in tempura and served covered in a mildly spicy mayo topped with scallions.

One of their more popular dishes is their Mushroom Tobanyaki, which is a pretty big size for an appetizer. It consists of three different type of mushrooms sauteed in a rich soy sake sauce with a touch of butter, although the buttery flavor is obvious throughout.

Always popular is their ramens. They have several types. This reporter tried the Tonkotsu Ramen and it was huge. (They definitely allow for sharing and will separate dishes into bowls ahead of time). The large bowl was filled with a salty and creamy pork broth. Inside was a six minute egg, shitake mushrooms, caramelized and tender slices of marinated pork belly, scallions, bean sprouts, seaweed and onions. Digging into the bottom unveiled the egg noodles just waiting to be discovered.

They have yakitori, seafood selections, salads, rice, stir fry and more. If you don’t like raw fish, you can order a California Roll, for example, which has cooked crab. For $3.50 more, you can upcharge to real (not imitation) King Crab, which is delicious and sweet. On the menu are the desserts — with traditional selections like mochi ice cream and more unconventional ones too. Their most popular is fried oreo.

“We cater to those who eat sushi and kitchen food. We serve our food tapas style, geared toward sharing,” said manager Breyden Haessig.

They also have a bar with beer, wine and sake. There is a “reverse happy hour” from 10:30 p.m. until close. They offer draft beer for $2.50 and bottomless hot sake for $10.

The restaurant is open seven days a week 11:30 a.m. to midnight.

Owner John Maser said he has wanted to create food since he was young.

“I enjoy people’s smiles because they like my food,” said Maser. “I have always wanted to do this since I was a kid. Sushi can be much more artistic. I can make it more beautiful.”

“This is our third location,” said Haessig. “The first one was in Oakland Park for three years. We also have a location in downtown Ft. Lauderdale which has been open for a year. We opened here before the first of the year.”

He said the restaurant caters to people’s needs.

“A lot of places say no substitutes [We will customize for you]. Tell us what you want. We want people to come and leave happy,” he said.

Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen is located at 949 S. Federal Hwy. For more information, call 754-227-5489 or visit www.phatboysushi.com.

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Prezzo is back

Posted on 14 March 2019 by LeslieM

With a new chef and healthier options

By Rachel Galvin

If you travel into Boca Raton just north of Yamato on Military Trail, you will find a very interesting shopping locale called Park Place, which opened two years ago but may still be unknown to many. The open air feel and fresh modern architecture are quite inviting. Within this shopping oasis, you will find several eateries, including Prezzo, which opened a little over a year ago. If that name sounds familiar, it should. You may remember Prezzo from years ago. It became a popular hotspot after originally opening in west Boca in 1989 bringing with it one of the first wood burning pizza ovens to South Florida.

Executive Chef Patrick Delay just started with Prezzo back in August. This up-and-coming chef was nominated for the Eater 2019 Young Guns award (the winner will be announced this summer) and is the youngest in the restaurant group, which includes Max’s Grill in Mizner Park, as well as Deck 84 and Burt & Max’s in Delray.

He has recently added some new items to his menu to accommodate those seeking healthier options. His veggie forward focus includes vegetable lasagna made with butternut squash noodles and other hearty, but healthy, ingredients. They also have zucchini noodles. Many items are easily made gluten free upon request.

A must-try is the Quinoa & Squash Salad — a light but filling option. Roasted chicken lays atop quinoa and arugula, mixed with pieces of roasted butternut squash and zucchini, sprinkled with dried cranberries with added pumpkin seeds for texture, made with balsamic vinaigrette.

A nice traditional entrée with a healthier spin is their chicken marsala. Rich with flavor, the chicken falls apart easily with a fork and pairs nicely with cauliflower cous cous, which serves as a great alternate base for the dish, and savory mushrooms.

Seeking comfort food? An option like baked rigatoni, which has a pop of flavor with its added crumbled Italian sausage, is a nice choice. It also has broccoli, red pepper flakes and parmesan cream.

They also have chicken, pork, seafood, pasta, pizza and more, so there is plenty to eat. Many items have carried over from the original Prezzo, like their fusilli pasta, roasted garlic breadsticks and their wood oven-baked apple tart, which makes for a nice light dessert (The best part is the cinnamon gelato on top).

There are plenty of specials here, including a 12 for $12 menu (including a beverage) Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a half priced happy hour daily from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.— buy one entrée, get the second one half off.

There is a full bar with a happy hour from 12 to 6 p.m. (from any seat in the restaurant) with wine by the glass specials and ½ priced beer and spirits. Enjoy live music on Thursdays from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on the outdoor patio. This is a great spot for a date night or family outing.

Prezzo is located at 5560 N Military Tr., #300, in Boca Raton. For more information, visit www.prezzoboca.com.

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HAPPENINGS

Posted on 28 February 2019 by LeslieM

Florida Renaissance Festival

Through March 24, weekends

Quiet Waters Park

401 S. Powerline Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Featuring Renaissance-theme performances, artisans and activities, the festival includes theme weekends, including:

Swashbucklers & Sirens: March 9 & March 10

Kilts & Colleens: March 16 & March 17

Magic, Witches and Wizards: March 23 & March 24

Call 954-776-1642 for more information.

Festival of the Arts — Boca

Thursday Feb. 28 to March 10

Mizner Park Amphitheater

590 Plaza Real

Boca Raton, FL 33432

Presenting a diverse range of quality musical performances and literary events, kicking off with events like a screening of Star Wars accompanied by a full symphony orchestra (March 1), a talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (Feb. 28) and so much more! For full schedule, visit https://festivalboca.org/events.

St. Ambrose Carnival & Music Festival

Thursday to Sunday, Feb. 28 to March 3

St. Ambrose Catholic Church

380 S. Federal Hwy.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

The St. Ambrose Carnival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with rides, food and other fundraising opportunities for the church, as well as live entertainment all weekend long. (See pg. 6 for more details).

Jeffery Battie: Short Films

Thurs, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

The Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Dept.

50 W. Atlantic Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Pompano Beach Cultural Center Filmmaker Jeffrey Battie will screen four short films, including his award-winning Eyes Have Seen the Glory. Discussion and Q&A topics will include the short filmmaking process, how art film captures stories that would otherwise be lost and the best practices for expressing those emotions through film. This is part of a new film series hosted by The Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Department. Not only will there be film screenings, but also industry networking events, workshops, artist talks and panel discussions. Events will take place on the last Thursday of each month and will rotate among the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, Bailey Contemporary Arts and the Historic Ali Cultural Arts. This is the kickoff event. Tickets for all events are $10 and can be purchased at the door, online or at the Cultural Center Box Office.

Movies on the Lawn – Stuart Little

Friday, March 1, 7 p.m.

Great Lawn

Intersection of Atlantic and Pompano Beach Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

The City of Pompano Beach Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department invites you to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnics and come enjoy a featured presentation under the stars on the first Friday of every month at the Great Lawn. This is a free, family – friendly event. For more information, call 954-786-4111 or visit www.pompanobeachfl.gov.

Retro Night

Saturday, March 2, 5 p.m.

Herb Skolnick Community Center

800 SW 36 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Retro night – Revisiting the 1970s. Free outdoor event, live music, food truck and classic car show.

Sip & Stroll

Saturday, March 2, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Constitution Park Arboretum

2841 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Sample some food and wine, and enjoy live entertainment. Walk around the Arboretum and mingle with guests. 21+ only. More info. on pg. 4. Shuttle available from Target Plaza, at 3313 W. Hillsboro Blvd., from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please call the Constitution Park at 954-480-4494.

Save the Date:

Tour Hillsboro Lighthouse

Saturday, March 9

Sail times every hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sands Harbor Resort & Marina

125 N. Riverside Dr.

Pompano Beach, FL, 33064

Enjoy a fun day at the lighthouse. Registration/check-in starts 30 minutes prior to the first sail time and remains open until the last boat returns. The boat leaves the Sands dock to the lighthouse at each sail time. The boat departs from the Lighthouse dock to the Sands approximately 30 minutes later (for an approximate 1 hour round trip). Suggested arrival at the dock 10-20 minutes before departure time. Members will register/check you in, provide you with a wrist band, and assist you with boarding for the boat ride to/from the lighthouse. A current HLPS membership or a $35 transportation fee is required.

The Soroptimists Nash Bash

Saturday, March 9, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Pavilion Grille

301 Yamato Rd.

Boca Raton, Fl 33431

The Soroptimists of Pompano Beach are going “country” with their annual fund-raising event. This year’s event, will include great country music for dancing, a buffet dinner and desserts and an open bar all evening. It will also include a Silent Auction, a balloon “Pop,” a 50/50 cash drawing and more. Proceeds support girls and women in the community. They provide scholarships and awards to young women, as well as single mothers. They also support the Flite Center whose one-of-a-kind program assists and guides young adults aging out of the foster care program, as well as the Woodhouse Center and many others. Come dressed in your best casual or country attire. Tickets are $100 and can be obtained from any member of the Pompano Beach Soroptimist or contact Becky Walzak at 561-459-7070 for details.

The Pap Corps presents

Footloose & Cancer Free

Sunday, March 10, 6 p.m.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

5550 NW 40 St.

Coconut Creek, FL 33073

Amateur dance couples from all over different Pap Corps chapters will compete live at the event and will also be featured in online videos to raise funds from friends, family and Cancer-fighters globally. The evening will feature a delicious assortment of hors d’oeuvres, carving station, signature drinks and an exciting dance-off to crown both the best dance couple and the biggest fundraisers. Register for the event ($75) at www.thepapcorps.org.

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Have you visited J. Mark’s lately?

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

If you haven’t been to J. Mark’s in a long time, now is the time to revisit the restaurant. They have a brand new menu brimming with fresh and tasty options, as well as many of their traditionally popular items.

Start with an appetizer. Their guacamole and chips is an easy choice, but they also have something more refined—their spinach artichoke dip. You can add Maryland Blue crab — rich and decadent — for $3.99. For seafood lovers, they also have mussels now on the menu. They have healthy options like salads, including their new Blue Pistachio Kale for kale lovers, in addition to Oriental Chicken, Pear Beet and many others.

When it comes to burgers, they have some great choices. If you want to indulge, get a Havarti Cajun burger. This melt-in-your-mouth bite includes the richness of cheese and a little kick. It is garnished with crispy onion rings and topped with pickles. They also have other options like their Blue Peppercorn or Hickory Burger, and more. Looking for a more affordable option, try their Trade Burger. At only $8.99 (as opposed to other burgers that range $14.99 to $18.99), this burger is a quarter pounder topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. It is their alternative to fast food option — not only less expensive but also higher quality.

They have plenty of other sandwiches available, including chicken, quinoa, deep sea tuna, fresh fish and more as well on their standard menu. You can get half a sandwich and soup too.

Meat lovers may want to choose a steak instead. They use aged Certified Angus Beef. You can get a New York Strip or a Skirt Steak, but if you really want to dive into it, ask for their filet mignon. Their steaks can come with an Exotic Mushroom or Red Peppercorn sauce, as well as Oscar style, or topped with Blue Cheese or Balsalmic Caramalized Onions. For sides, try their delicious asparagus or Loaded Backed Potato.

Prefer pasta? Their veggie Lovers Pasta has always been on the menu, but it has had a reboot with more parmigiana and the addition of zucchini noodles, which you can also substitute for other pastas on the menu. It includes crunchy broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted eggplant, peppers, kalamata olives and red chili flakes.

Seafood lovers can try their new crab cakes made with lump blue crab, as well as many other items that have been traditionally on the menu, like their salmon, Mahi Mahi, scampi and more. But, you may want to try this reporter’s favorite bite from the new menu — their Shrimp New Orleans. I had it with Basmati Rice but it comes with Angel Hair Pasta. Yes, it is spicy, but you’ll want to dive right into it. This gem comes with blackened shrimp, Andoulle sausage, sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onions all served in a cajun cream sauce. Yum!

Looking for a smaller bite? Look at their Sliders section. They have surprising selections like the Green Tomato BLT Slider and Ahi Tuna slider (which you can also get without a bun.) They also have more traditional items like burger, prime rib and buffalo chicken sliders.

Make sure to pair your order with one of their specialty drinks like their mojito, margarita or martini, which all come in different varieties. They also have a wine list and a full bar. Ask about their happy hour specials.

Did you know that they also offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.? They have many selections, including a wide variety of Egg Benedicts!

With all these choices, there certainly is plenty to find for everyone.

Besides the food, J. Mark’s has great ambience perfect for a date or just a nice family dinner. Owner Steven Koch ensures that the place always looks new.They are constantly renovating something. Not only is there a brand new menu, but he is going to put in new flooring soon. He is always replacing the awning out front.

If it doesn’t look like new, there is something we need to do,” he said.

This is one of two J. Mark’s. The other one is located at 1245 N. Federal Hwy. in Ft. Lauderdale.

I grew up in restaurants,” said Steven Koch, who owns the restaurants with his brother who is a silent partner.

Koch came to Florida from Ohio and grew up in the country, so, to him, “being around all this activity and people is stimulating.”

This is exactly what I was meant to do. I can’t believe anyone else’s work is as exciting as what we get to do. It’s not just one component. It’s the design, the people, the menu – nothing feels better than being in the restaurant. The time flies when I’m here. I wish everyone loved the restaurant business as much as I do,” he said.

Visit Koch and his staff at J. Mark’s. Tell them The Observer sent you. The restaurant is located at 1490 NE 23 St in Pompano Beach (by the Pompano Citi Centre). For more information, visit www.JMarksRestaurant.com.

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Luigi Di Roma Venetian wine dinner

Posted on 21 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Being a part of Luigi Di Roma’s Venetian Wine Dinner on Monday, Dec. 10 was like traveling to Italy. Not only was the food and wine delicious, but the fellowship, the ambiance and the appearance of two guests from Italy made it so authentic. Banfi Family Ambassador Luciano Castiello returned to host yet another wine dinner. His wit and wisdom about wines was really a special touch, as always. His motto: “If you like the wine, drink it; if you don’t, drink it real fast and go on to one you like…” In between courses and wine pours, he regaled guests with details on the intricacies of the wines and more. Another visitor was Enrico Cerulli,a winemaker from Cerulli Spinozzi Wine, who had just gotten off a plane coming from Abruzzo to join the group. He also talked about the region and the wines, including a “surprise wine” to add to the list.

The menu included an antipasto paired with a light and refreshing Cerulli Spinozzi Peccorino, followed by a seafood salad paired with Sartori Regolo, braised short rib paired with Sartori Valpolicella and Osso Buco paired with Sartori Amarone, ending with tiramisu for dessert paired with Florio Targa Riserva Marsala. (This reporter made a few substitutions based on food preferences, including a mouth-watering trout, which was delicious!)

To find out more about upcoming wine dinner events or to make a reservation for dinner any day, call 954-531-6151 or visit www.luigidiroma.com. Luigi Di Roma is located at 718 S. Federal Hwy. in Deerfield Beach.

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Feeling like Italian? Olive Garden has new selections

Posted on 17 February 2018 by JLusk

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Loaded Pasta Chips

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Parmesean Zucchini Bites

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Salmon Piccata

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Chicken Giardino

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Meatball Pasta Bowl

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Spicy Calabrian Chicken Breadstick Sandwich

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Chicken Parmesean

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Fettucine Alfredo

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Cannolis

(c) 2018  Rachel Galvin

Their popular salad always paired with breadsticks…

Photos & story by Rachel Galvin

Have you been to Olive Garden lately? This inexpensive family restaurant has added some new selections to their popular traditional items. Maybe it is time to give them another try.

Perhaps their most well-known combination is their soup and salad with breadsticks. You can get unlimited for only $10.99. The Chicken Parmigiana is one of their classics, as is the Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Rigatoni with Five Cheese Marinara and Lasagna Classico. You can mix it up when you go are done eating and ready for more. These classics are only $11.99.

Some of their entrees, like Braised Beef Bolognese, are available for a limited time. They also have your lasagna, ziti, ravioli, you name it. You want eggplant parm? They make it. They have choices for meat and pork lovers, or those who prefer chicken or seafood selections – something for everyone. They even have specials for early birds – early dinner duos for $8.99.

If those sound a little too ultra for your taste, you may want to try one of their lighter selections. Their newest items are possibly the tastiest yet. Their Taste of the Medeterranean items are all under 600 calories! Try the Salmon Piccata. Flaky and perfectly pink salmon is paired with thinly sliced Parmesan-crusted zucchini, topped with sun dried tomatoes and capers and a lemon butter sauce. It is hard to believe it is only 590 calories. They also have a Chicken Piccata. Their Chicken Giardino has creamy Pappardelle pasta, flavored by a light, lemon chicken herb sauce, on top of slices of grilled chicken with fresh vegetables mixed in. Their Spiralized Veggie Pasta is perfect for pasta lovers who want something lighter. It only has 560 calories and the pasta is made from zucchini and yellow squash. That pasta is mixed with whole grain linguine and topped with tomatoes and garlic in a scampi herb sauce. The Shrimp Scampi and Chicken Margarita round out the selections.

Before you even begin your entree, you might want to try an appetizer. They have so many to choose from, including their new Loaded Pasta Chips. Pasta… chips? Yes, believe it or not, they have made chips from lasagna pasta and they load it up with meat sauce, cheeses, a few cherry peppers and a drizzle of Alfredo sauce to make a great Italian alternative to nachos. For those who love cheese, you might want to grab a few Parmesean Zucchini Bites, a fun pop of fried-up flavor while waiting for your entree. They also have items like stuffed mushrooms, calamari, spinach artichoke dip and more.

If you stop by at lunchtime, you may want to partake in their new Meatball Pizza Bowl — speaking of cheese… Loaded with cheese and meat sauce, these meatballs are nestled in pizza dough that has been crafted into a bowl. This is a choice that both parents and kiddies will enjoy. Kids may also want to try the new Spicy Calabrian Chicken Breadstick Sandwich. It is the classic breadstick with the spicy breaded chicken placed inside tossed in their Calabrian sauce with gorgonzola and over Italian cheeses spread upon it. It is served with parmesean-garlic fries. Note, when they say spicy, they mean it. There are other items crafted into breadstick sandwiches as well. Their lunch duos pair an item with soup or salad. Their lunchtime entrees start as low as $6.99.

Of course, no matter what your choice, you just can’t leave without having dessert. They have plenty to choose from, from tiramisu to cheesecake to zeppolis… and now cannolis. You could choose vanilla, chocolate or strawberry filled, whatever suits your fancy.

Note: They also have gluten free options for those who have sensitivities.

Olive Garden is a fun place to go because there are so many different choices. You can even create your own pasta combinations. They have inexpensive options like the lunch duos or the never ending classics for $11.99 if you are really hungry.

Olive Garden also has a full bar. Try their delicious Watermelon Moscato Sangria!

[Media was invited to a complimentary meal to try some of these options on Feb. 5. This reporter’s favorite entree was the Salmon Piccata. But I liked the lightness and great flavor of all of the Taste of the Mediterranean options best… and the amazingly good Watermelon Moscato Sangria for its light sweetness!]

Olive Garden is a national chain. The closest one to the local area of The Observer is at 5550 N Federal Hwy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308. This locale from the 1980s just did some remodeling. For more information on Olive Garden and to see their menu, visit www.olivegarden.com. #OGTastes

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Toasts, Tastes & Trolleys

Posted on 12 October 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

On Oct. 6, 150 revelers got to see Boca Raton in a unique way during the Boca Raton Historical Society’s 6th Annual Toasts, Tastes & Trolleys event. The party began at the Boca Raton Resort & Club with cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres. Beloved philanthropist Madelyn Savarick, who also sponsored the event, received a cake and a Happy Birthday song as she turned 94 on this day.

Next, it was off to the trolleys. Everyone was assigned to a certain Molly’s Trolley; this reporter boarded the Saks Fifth Avenue one. They were another one of the sponsors, along with Joni & Al Goldberg.

Everyone stopped at a different location first and rotated through each. Yvette Drucker, president of the Boca Raton Historical Society Board of Trustees, told historical tidbits about Boca Raton on our trolley along the way while offering up wine, beer and Prosecco. Each location also offered up spirits. Our trolley’s line-up began with Mizner Park’s Truluck’s (351 Plaza Real) and we were presented with a beautiful plate filled with several tastes, including crispy shrimp with a spicy sauce, vegetarian crabcake and braised shortrib. General Manager Richard Grigelis and Special Events Coordinator Stacy Babb talked a bit about the restaurants, including their happy hour and live entertainment.

Also in Mizner Park, we went to Ouzo Bay (201 Plaza Real), which has been open for only six months and has undergone plenty of renovations. They served up items like lamb meatballs and spanakopita.

We stopped by 101 Via Mizner, new luxury apartments located on Federal Highway. The staff from Penn-Florida served up hors d’oeuvres and drinks while explaining more about their development, as well as their other exciting project — the build-out of the Residences at Mandarin Oriental, at 105 E. Camino Real, which will be linked to the hotel portion and will include plenty of luxury amenities and retail space. When we got back into the trolley, cookies were waiting for us, along with information on the 101 Via Mizner property to take home. More on the company and its projects at www.pennflorida.com.

We also went to Domus Italian Restaurant, in the Royal Palm Plaza (187 SE Mizner Blvd.), where we were given a drink called Paloma, which had ingredients like tequila, grapefruit juice and club soda. They also served up samples of items like calamari, bruschetta and “rice balls.”

Finally, the trolleys went back to the Boca Raton Resort & Club for a wide variety of desserts, dancing and a cash bar.

The event was a fundraiser for the Boca Raton Historical Society, which always has events and exhibits. Currently, they have on display memorabilia from IBM, which opened a plant in Boca in 1967, artifacts from architect Addison Mizner and landscape paintings by the artists of Plein Air Palm Beach.

They will be holding an event on Nov. 8 to recognize several people and organizations for their Walk of Recognition, which is located in Royal Palm Plaza and looks like Hollywood, California’s Walk of Fame. They recognize people who are still living who have made an impact on the community. They have recently added institutions to the list of honorees. They last honored the Boca Raton Regional Hospital. This year, they are honoring Lynn University, in addition to golfer Morgan Pressel Bush and Dr. Joseph “Jody” Forstot. James A. Rutherford, known for his contributions to the Parks & Recreation Dept., will also be added to Wall of Honor, which is for honorees who have passed away.

To find out more about the Boca Raton Historical Society, visit www.bocahistory.org or call 561-395-6766.

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Local chef went back to hell

Posted on 06 October 2017 by JLusk

Robyn speaks.

By Rachel Galvin

Local Florida chef Robyn Almodovar went back to hell… “Hell’s Kitchen,” that is. Known for her appearance as one of the contestants from Season 10, Robyn also has made a name for herself locally for her food truck Palate Party and her newer venture of becoming co-owner of a brick and mortar restaurant called Rumor’s Bar & Grill. Now, she is back in “Hell’s Kitchen” on TV every Friday on Fox to battle it out in Season 17’s All Star season with some of her old competitors and some new ones, all from previous seasons, as well as Gordon Ramsay, of course.

On the first night of the show, on Sept. 29, she held a special premier party in Rumors. Hosted by Seph Mason and with performances by drag queen Sasha Lords, the event featured plenty of appearances by Robyn, who thanked many in attendance and gave out raffle tickets and prizes. She danced with Sasha, paced and nervously watched the show on the big TVs all around the bar. This was the first time she had seen it, and seemed pleased with the way the producers featured her.

Media in attendance were treated with amazing selections, including her crabcake, nachos, meatballs and dates stuffed with goat cheese, and wrapped in bacon … all rich and delicious. Other guests also were served passed hors d’oeuvres.

The event was plenty of fun; Robyn was warm and welcoming to all inside and out of the locale who had stopped by, and feisty as ever. Break a leg, Chef Robyn! We will be watching…

Decadent dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon was just one sumptuous selection presented at event.

Rumors Bar & Grill is located at 2426 Wilton Drive, in Wilton Manors. For more info., visit www.rumorsbarwiltonmanors.com.

Sasha Lords performs.


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Hell’s Kitchen Cocktail Party

Posted on 22 September 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Is it getting hot in here? It isn’t the SoFla sun. It’s the Hell’s Kitchen chefs, who were here in Boca Raton on the first weekend of September. On Sept. 1, five chefs who were on the FOX TV show Hell’s Kitchen came to The Loft in Boca Raton to be part of the first ever cocktail party of its kind hosted by Potions in Motion catering and promoted by LivingFLA.com.

The owner of the catering company Potions in Motion, Jason Savino, said the day after this event, the chefs would go on to create a five course, four hour dinner for over 500 guests at his restaurant, Prime 7 in Seven Bridges in Delray. The sold-out event would allow guests to vote on the courses and who made the best dish. Each chef, he said, would take on one course. [The winner, announced later, was Chef Sterling Wright].

But, before they could get cooking for that event, the chefs had to show their stuff at this cocktail soiree, handing out samples and spending quality time with the intimate crowd.

Season 14’s Chef Christine Hazel served up chicken and waffle sliders with chipotle aïoli and Maple slaw. She flew in from Philadelphia to attend. Since she was on the show, she has transformed from culinary student to private chef. She is influenced by the places she goes and enjoys contributing in any way she can.

I love giving back to the community,” she said, talking about how she just fed 120,000 people through United Way and will be helping the American Heart Association next.

Regarding the show, she laughed, saying, “We were an animated bunch. There were a lot of personalities and I have made a lot of friends.”

She added, “People look to you as an example [when you are on a show]. I realized ‘I want to do this career for the rest of my life [so I think before I act].’ Every day I want to get a little bit better.”

Barret Beyer, a Long Island, NY chef from Season 11, also enjoys helping others. He helped feed first responders during Hurricane Sandy.

Although he wasn’t sure what he was going to make this night until a few hours prior, he whipped together the perfect tasty bite involving brined salmon, cucumber and a lemon caper dill cream cheese.

About Hell’s Kitchen, he said, “The show gave me a platform to do what I do — make people happy and make sure they eat good food, and have a good time.”

When it comes to giving back, Nashville’s Sterling Wright (from Season 13) takes the cake. He beamed as he showed an online story on his phone about him donating his bone marrow to save someone’s life last year. He also enjoys being a role model for kids.

He said, “I wasn’t always this happy. I was a young man running around in a gang. I got shot. After being in the hospital and in jail, I said I am ready for you God … If I can do it, you can do it.”

Chef Bret Hauser, a Delray Beach chef from Season 14, described what it was like working with Chef Gordon Ramsey, saying, “Being able to stand next to him and watch him cook was an incredible opportunity of a lifetime … watching a true professional in his element. I was in awe.”

He added, “This event is a great time. I am looking forward to doing more. I think it is a great turnout.”

South Florida Chef Robyn Almodovar has been busy with her Palate Party food truck since her stint on the show back in Season 10. She also is co-owner of her own brick and mortar called Rumor’s Bar & Grill, located at 2426 Wilton Dr., she said as she handed out her crunchy melt-in-your-mouth mini ahi tuna tacos made with fresh smashed avocado, chile paste and sesame seeds with cilantro.

Robyn will be rejoining Hell’s Kitchen for Season 17 “All Stars.”

When asked what she will do differently this time around, she said, “Keep my mouth shut, head down and focus.”

She has an upcoming viewing party of her on Season 17 on Sept. 29 at Rumors Bar & Grill starting at 7 p.m.

Also at the event was Avi Zenatti and Ilana Brodt who brought their Karawan Tahini and Hummus. Ilana has been in the states for 30 years, but her husband Avi just moved here three years ago from Israel. He is a chef and wanted to cook with good tahini so had it shipped in.

The tahini here just didn’t taste right,” said Ilana, who now lives with her husband in Jupiter. “You look at it and see it separates. Ours doesn’t.”

They liked the product, which came from Israel’s West Bank, so much they started importing it into America and got global exclusivity to distribute it a little over a year ago.

Costco said ‘People like ready-made. Why not hummus?’ So we came up with four different types of hummus [a month ago]. Others have seven to 12 percent tahini. Ours has 25-30 percent. No cholesterol, no preservatives,” said Ilana of the tahini, which they call a “superfood.”

Potions in Motion/ Prime 7 Executive Chef “Sexz Chef,” as he is called, handed out samples and drinks as well, talking about the importance of presentation in addition to quality. See Potions in Motion upcoming events on their Facebook page.

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Grand Opening, Luigi Di Roma opens in Deerfield

Posted on 01 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

There is a new Italian restaurant in Deerfield Beach. Celebrating its grand opening, Luigi Di Roma is located in the old Frank and Dino’s (which has moved to East Boca Raton). Chamber members had a chance to sample some cuisine at the ribbon cutting on April 20. This new locale, owned by Al Bova and his fiance Kristine Plesniak (pictured, pg. 1), features regional Italian cuisine.

I have long felt a high end Italian restaurant with large portions and reasonable prices would do well here,” said Bova. “Most Italian restaurants are overpriced and the quality is not good.”

Here, you will find selections like meatballs or Italian sausage slow simmered in Sunday gravy and ricotta over rigatoni, snapper francese, chicken parmigiana, fettucine alfredo, seafood fra diavolo, panini sandwiches and so much more. On Sundays, they have brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They have a full bar and a happy hour every day from 4 to 7 p.m. with cocktails, wine and beer for half price and six light bites for $6 each. Ask about their family dinner, available on certain days, in which you can get a four course meal for $20.

They have entertainment Wednesdays through Saturdays starting at 6:45 p.m.

Luigi Di Roma is open starting at 4 p.m. every day but Sunday and closes at 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. on weekends. They are located at 718 S. Federal Hwy. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-281-8788 or visit www.LuigiDiRoma.com.

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