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Archive for the ‘Fort Lauderdale’ Category

Jamie says: A few days before I left town to start my new job, my Godparents (aka my aunt and uncle) took me to The Riverside Market Cafe (608 SW 12th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312; tel. 954-358-8333) for lunch. My uncle had been speaking highly of the place for quite a few weeks and had been inviting me to check it out, so we decided to make the plan a reality.

So one beautiful and sunny afternoon last month, I drove to his house and hopped in his car with my aunt and we headed off down a bunch of side streets to get to the restaurant/cafe.

I soon discovered it’s in a residential neighborhood- cool!

The Riverside Market Cafe

I liked their storefront sign…

That's their name- proudly displayed so you can find it in this local, residential neighborhood

If you’re a local, you can ride your bike there…

Even from the outside, this restaurant/cafe has a cool, local vibe

Check out those vibrant chairs they have on the front porch…

Have a seat (and a bite to eat or a drink) outside in one of these brightly colored chairs

Even the inside of the restaurant is fun!

The view of the dining area when walking in

There were customers dining and enjoying drinks on the high top tables and on couches!

You eat on high-top tables

They had a lot of beer options, too.

In addition to food, they offer a wide range of beers

I almost ran into a “floating” bottle opener… I laughed to myself and thought it was fun and unique.

The bottle openers hang from fishing wire- fun!

They also had a case of non-alcoholic beverages.

The back of the restaurant/cafe

It was Christmas-time when we were there. They decorated a tree…

Look how they decorated their Christmas tree!

I asked someone at neighboring table to snap a picture of me and my Godparents.

My Godparents took me to lunch before I left town for my new job

They’re were some good options on the menu, but I went with the special…

Today's special... is what I ordered!

And here it is…

The special- Curry Chicken Salad Wrap with a side of potato salad with bacon (they were out of orzo)

It was good and filled me up. I liked the idea of a curry chicken salad and homemade potato salad with bacon. It made me want to try to make both at home.

A peak at the inside of the wrap

Overall, it was a cool experience. I liked the atmosphere and local vibe the most since it was so unique. Check it out, and let me know what you thought.

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Jamie says: I was first introduced to the restaurant Coconuts, also known as Coconuts Waterside Grill,(429 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316; tel. 954-525-2421) by my Aunt Angi. We have a wonderful tradition of a Godmother-Goddaughter afternoon together to celebrate my birthdays; this year she suggested Coconuts for lunch. I was excited to give it a try.

The location is awesome- right on the intracoastal. We got a table outside on the water. It was enjoyable to watch the boats pass by and soak up the beautiful weather.

A birthday lunch with my Aunt Angi on the intracoastal at Coconuts

I also liked looking at the clouds. I love clouds. (That might be because I had cloud wallpaper when I was little. Just a thought.)

There were boats, and beautiful weather, and the beach nearby

I ordered the special- a vegetable sandwich- with the side of the day- sauteed spinach.

The special- a mouthwatering veggie sandwich with a side of sauteed spinach

It was so delicious. I wish I could have another one right now.

They didn't skimp on vegetables or flavor

The atmosphere, food, and service was so great that I wanted to return again soon and recommended the restaurant to my sister as a place to try when her boyfriend, Andy, was visiting. So we ventured back to Coconuts. This time at night.

Coconuts at night for dinner

I liked the night vibe just as much.

The Coconuts overhang

In addition to seating right on the intracoastal, there’s also outdoor seating in a raised area with an overhang and indoor seating (I’d recommend the intracoastal seating, but if the weather prohibits, the raised deck with the overhang and the indoor seating are good second options).

There's also bar and table seating between the intracoastal seating and the indoor seating

The weather was great, too!

The view at nice is night with the lights, too

Isn’t it romantic?

The best seats are right on the intracoastal

Kathryn and I both ordered the same meal- the Sesame Seared Tuna Salad. It was light, fresh, and flavorful.

We both ordered the Sesame Seared Tuna Salad

The restaurant choice was a success! We all had a great time.

The two sisters and Andy had a nice dinner and night out

I can’t wait to see what great meal I’ll have next time.

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Jamie says: To celebrate my 25th birthday, we scooped Grandma up from Hollywood and headed to Seasons 52 (2428 East Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304; tel. 954-537-1052) with the family for a celebratory dinner.

The restaurant was elegant, inside and out.

Seasons 52 (Galleria Mall, Ft Lauderdale, FL)

A peak inside Seasons 52

When we arrived to our table, I was surprised to find a hand-written birthday card from the restaurant.

A birthday card from Seasons 52 and the Seasons 52 coaster

As I looked at the coaster and birthday card, I noticed the 52 in Seasons 52 is 25 backwards. Nice! I hadn’t even thought of that before. It must have been meant to be.

The cool thing about Seasons 52 is that their menu changes seasonally to incorporate fresh ingredients, (the name is reflective of this and that there’s 52 weeks in a year) and that all of there dishes are under 475 calories.

It must have been my special day, because Kathryn let me order her meal and we split the two. She didn’t regret her choice. We shared the Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon with Whole-Roasted Sweet Carrots, Fresh Asparagus, and Red Bliss Potatoes, which had some of the best carrots of my life! They were rosemary infused, tender, and sweet. The salmon was fresh and I thought it was special that it was served on a cedar plank. The potatoes were nicely salted and tasty. And the asparagus was good.

Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon with Whole-Roasted Sweet Carrots, Fresh Asparagus, and Red Bliss Potatoes

We also enjoyed the Wood-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Herb Polenta, Broccoli, Cremini Mushrooms, and Shallot-Dijon Glaze. The pork cubes were tender and flavorful; the polenta smooth and creamy with a nice hint of fresh herb flavor; the broccoli typical; the mushrooms fresh; and the lightly sweetened glaze brought the meal together for a satisfying meal.

Wood-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Herb Polenta, Broccoli, Cremini Mushrooms, and Shallot-Dijon Glaze

We were actually full after dinner. But when the tray of Mini Indulgences was presented and described in detail (with flashlight showcasing), we couldn’t resist. Plus the birthday girl gets a free one. Each dessert was less than 200 calories, too. They don’t compromise of flavor, just portion size. But really, that little shot glass of sweetness was plenty.

Mini Indulgences

For my Mini Indulgence, I chose Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust. It tasted like a pumpkin pie mousse with sweet, crunchy crust and a nice spice cookie on top.

Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust

Kathryn followed Pete’s (our waiter’s) recommendation and opted for the Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse. She loved it.

Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse

Somehow there was also a Classic Red Velvet Cake on the table. K has always talked about wanting a red velvet wedding cake one day, so she tried a spoonful. It wasn’t her fave, and she decided she liked “Pete’s” Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse better.

Classic Red Velvet Cake

We enjoyed getting to know our waiter and exchanging stories. We said a good or bad waiter can make or break a night. We were lucky to have a great one. And I have to thank my wonderful parents for making this day possible…

Dad and Mom

It was a wonderful night and I left full, happy, and rockin’ 25.

Grandma, B-day Girl Jamie, and Kathryn

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Jamie says:  Five dollars for dinner and a movie? Can’t beat that! Especially when it’s from tasty Chipotle and the movie’s about food. On Friday at sunset, the Stolarz family and Grandma and Uncle Rick ventured to Downtown Fort Lauderdale for a 7:00 taco and chip dinner from Chipotle and an 8:00 showing of the documentary Fresh at Cinema Paradiso (503 Southeast 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) for the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF).

I stretched my arms out of the car at a red light to capture this beautiful sunset

Cinema Paradiso with adjourning outdoor patio for dinner

We got our movie ticked and a flyer about a Chipotle Halloween costume deal/contest

Beverage area in the outdoor dining tent

Happy Chipotle employees serving tacos

Kathryn and I have had Chipotle many times before, so we knew we were in for a great meal. Our whole family enjoyed the tacos with pork carnitas (there was also a beef option) topped with roasted chili corn salsa, mild fresh tomato salsa, romaine lettuce, and freshly grated cheese and a bag of chips with salsa. The pork was well seasoned and the ingredients were all fresh. The tortilla chips were ample and the salsa had a kick to it.

Tacos with pork carnitas topped with roasted chili corn salsa, mild fresh tomato salsa, romaine lettuce, and freshly grated cheese

Bag o' Chipotle tortilla chips because brown paper bags aren't only used for school lunch

We brought plastic chairs together in a little circle and enjoyed our food outside.

Our family enjoying Chipotle tacos and chips (Meet Grandma, Mom, Dad, K, Uncle Rick, and J)

Immediately after dinner, we sauntered into the charming little theater adjoining the outside patio to watch the movie Fresh. The seats were plush and comfy. We watched the movie together and were surprised to see how some animals are treated before and after slaughter. The movie showed little chicks being thrown out of cages, chickens with their beaks cut off, pesticides being sprayed in sheets over fields, bacteria growth and proliferation, and animals in such tight living conditions that the scene screamed claustrophobia. However, instead of just showing the bad, I like how they juxtaposed these scenes with Pleasantville-like stories of happy organic farms with animals that were free to roam and treated with love and care.

Cinema Paradiso (aka the movie theatre)

Inside the theatre

The movie was very eye-opening to me. It was one of those call-to-action films. At Publix this week, I was definitely more conscious of my food choices. I purchased organic milk and spinach, eggs from free-roaming chickens, and frozen blueberries from the US (I realized the ones I normally buy were from another country).

I’m not saying I am going to buy organic, free-range, and local for every food item I eat, but any small changes are definitely a good start for the environment and sometimes your health. If you haven’t seen a movie like this, I’d highly recommend it. As they say, knowledge is power. Be enlightened.

One quote from the movie really resonated with me: “your dollar is your vote.” What will your vote be for?

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Casablanca

Casablanca

Casablanca Stairs

Casablanca Stairs

Casablanca Second Story Dining

Casablanca Second Story Dining

Grouper Isla Bella Sandwich

Grouper Isla Bella Sandwich

Hibachi Grilled Salmon

Hibachi Grilled Salmon

Smoked Norwegian Salmon Salad

Smoked Norwegian Salmon Salad

Gazpacho Frio Soup

Gazpacho Frio Soup

Jamie says:  Today was a fun girls day.  My mom, Kathryn, and I attended our second technique class at Williams Sonoma (Williams Sonoma offers a couple of classes each month for free).  After our culinary lesson, Mom took us to Fort Lauderdale Beach for lunch.  We dined outside on the second story of Casablanca Cafe (3049 Alhambra Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304; tel. 954-764-3500) and enjoyed the scenic view of the beach and the light summer breeze.  The restaurant, a former house, was very charming.  Mom’s Grouper Isla Bella Sandwich was the favorite.  The fish, which was nice and light and had a lot of flavor, was served on a large piece of bread with a side salad.  I enjoyed the Hibachi Grilled Salmon; the teriyaki glaze went well with the rice, but the cucumber salad was more of a decoration than a salad.  Kathryn had the Smoked Norwegian Salmon Salad, which was good.  The Gazpacho Frio Soup was okay, not like the one we had this summer in Fort Myers Beach with smoked shrimp, though.  Overall, the food was good and the atmosphere was spectacular.

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Kathryn says: Jamie, Mom and I went for a girls’ lunch out at Himmarshee Bar & Grille (210 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301).

It was absolutely delicious, by far one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.  The flavors of the food were so rich and intense.  The price was quite reasonable for the quality.

Pretty much everything on the menu looked good, so we got two appetizers and a salad for starters.

Mom requested an item that is normally on the dinner menu – the stuffed dates.  We ate those first, and it was by far our favorite part of the meal.
Stuffed dates

Stuffed dates

Next came the amazing salad.  I loved the crunchy bread crumbs baked onto the goat cheese.

Goat cheese and apple salad

Nut crusted goat cheese salad

Then came the interesting polenta fries – interesting because I’d never heard of them before.  They were plain, but I dipped them in ketchup.  Puntos for the cool presentation though.

Polenta fries

Polenta fries

And on to the main courses!
I got a delectable grilled vegetable pizzanini – a cross between a pizza and a panini.  Sliced green squash, red peppers, tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese with balsamic on Focaccia bread.  With thin, crispy, salty garlic chips.  I’m not usually a fan of chips but I couldn’t stop eating these!
Vegetable pizzanini with garlic chips
Vegetable pizzanini with garlic chips
Jamie got the tuna burger with cucumber seaweed salad.  Both were very flavorful and full of oriental spice.
Tuna sandwich with cucumber seaweed salad

Tuna sandwich with cucumber seaweed salad

Mom got macaroni and cheese with crab and truffle sauce.  Amazing, but a bit rich.

Macaroni and cheese with crab and truffle sauce

Macaroni and cheese with crab and truffle sauce

No room for dessert.  Besides, we had it first (those dates)!

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