DAILY BITES
Around the World in 80 Bites at The Grateful Palate

For a truly cosmopolitan foodie, choosing the right venue for a dinner out can be a daunting task. Okay. Daunting might come across as drastic, but when someone’s palate follows a culinary trajectory that mirrors that of Magellan, it can be a little tough to find a restaurant that caters to every gastronomic desire. There is that great Korean joint, but you feel like having German, too. Gnocchi would be perfect, but could the kitchen top it off with some ropa vieja and maybe rustle up a mango lassi? Granted, most diners are content with just one cuisine at a time, but for those who like it all at once, Fort Lauderdale seems to offer just the place. A local favorite that has been almost secretly talked about and shared among Broward foodies since 2009, The Grateful Palate takes influences from across culinary traditions to bring diners a truly global dining experience. With a new cocktail list and new dishes that branch out further into the far reaches of the world’s kitchens, The Grateful Palate offers a delicious solution to the culinary cosmopolitan.

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Easter Brunch in South Florida

One of the interesting things about the holidays is that the traditions surrounding them can be so enjoyable, and oftentimes so delicious, that even the most staunch atheist can feel hesitant to completely abandon them. Even those who still identify with a particular religion can often forgo the rituals, services, and prayers associated with certain holidays but will definitely embrace the gift exchanges, parties, and most definitely the food. I’m certain that not everyone has been making sacrifices for Lent. Many Catholics have probably forgotten that Palm Sunday was this past weekend, many more will be observing Holy Week as just another week, and there are probably quite a few who don’t plan on going to church this coming Sunday. Nevertheless, many self-identifying Christians will probably be making plans to enjoy an Easter meal this weekend. Along with the warmer weather our northern compatriots hope to experience, our recent “spring forward” to which many of us are still adjusting also marks an unofficial start to “the brunch season.” Sure, we enjoy leisurely al fresco brunches all the time in South Florida, but brunch never seems as mandatory as it does during one of the Spring’s most brunch-friendly holidays, Easter. In case you have yet to make plans for this weekend, here are a few of Joonbug’s suggestions for restaurants serving up Easter brunch in South Florida:

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Food, Wine, and Great Music at Concerts Under the Stars

For the true epicurean, there are few finer things in life than pairing good food, good music, and and good wine. In South Florida, we can add beautiful weather to that trinity. Starting tomorrow, February 21st, the B Ocean hotel’s B’stro on the Beach is partnering with the historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens for their monthly Concerts Under the Stars on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Begin the evening with a selection of cheese, charcuterie and wine at B’stro while gazing upon the Atlantic Ocean only steps. Then stroll over to the historic Bonnet House for an outdoor concert on the veranda while enjoying complimentary wine, dessert, and coffee.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
The Traveling Plate's Underground Dinner with Chef Steve Zobel

Dining in Fort Lauderdale is getting a lot more exciting! We’ve all heard about those secret, underground dinners in foodie hotspots like Los Angeles and NYC where nobody knows what will be on the menu or who will be attending. Well, South Florida foodies are in store for something just like that but a little better in that proceeds from the dinner go to a good cause. Today, February 20th, at 7:00 PM tickets go on sale for The Traveling Plate’s second underground dinner of the year benefitting ARC Broward Culinary Institute. While the menu won’t be revealed until the February 28th dinner, we do know that Chef Steve Zobel of d.b.a./café will be in charge, so pretty much anything is possible.

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Valentine's Day dining in Broward & Palm Beach

For those of you who don’t reside in the 305 or just don’t want to deal with Miami’s infamous traffic and parking, there are many restaurants north of County Line Road where one can have a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day. Whether you decide to dine on bustling Las Olas Boulevard or in quirky Delray Beach, Joonbug’s Broward/Palm Beach dining guide for V-day will help point you in the right direction. Here are a few of our picks:

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

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Big City Tavern Offers More Than You'd Expect

I love this DIY craze that’s been hitting the American food scene! With all the attention that consumers are placing on where things come from and how they’re made, it seems as if many individuals have resorted to the notion that the best way to know the exact what, where, and how of a product is to make it yourself. In addition to controlling such things as the quality and sustainability of the food, making it yourself gives you full reign over the flavor and appearance of a finished product, as well as enabling you to add your own unique flourishes. The DIY revolution doesn’t seem to be merely confined to the home, however, as many chefs are finding more and more items that they can make from scratch, attempting everything from jams, pickles, condiments, and even cured meats...and they don’t seem to be turning back. I am so glad to see that, along with sourcing local products, the trend of making things in house is on the rise in South Florida and can be found a lot closer than I had previously thought. Big City Tavern, on the bustling Las Olas Boulevard, has always been a popular spot for good, informal meals and a convivial vibe, but I have often overlooked this restaurant as a mere purveyor of standard pub fare until a recent meal led me to discover otherwise. Local meat and produce coupled with excellently cured house-made charcuterie, along with a delicious array of homey desserts make Big City Tavern perhaps one of Fort Lauderdale’s best “right-under-our-noses” culinary secrets.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
SAIA Gets Hot & Spicy

If you would have told an average American fifty years ago that this country would be obsessed with hot and spicy flavors in the twenty first century, they’d probably think you were crazy. It really is quite curious how, for a culture whose cuisine doesn’t traditionally embrace spiciness, we have really adapted our palates to the addictive burn that only chili peppers can provide. Sriracha is now almost as ubiquitous in the American pantry as ketchup, and it seems as if no casual dining menu is complete without a chipotle-spiked something or other. Besides embracing heat, Americans have also begun to embrace a lot of other flavors and textures, not least among them being sushi. I don’t think anyone would have ever imagined that a dish of rice, seaweed, and raw seafood would ever become as popular in this country as sushi has. Needless to say, the flavor profiles of American cuisine are changing at a rapidly exciting rate, and there are fewer places to celebrate our new culinary preferences this evening than at SAIA, which is putting on a special “Social Hour” to celebrate all things hot and spicy.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Watch the Boat Parade at Blue Moon Fish Co.

STARTERS:

  • Hawaiian Spiked Tuna Pok
  • Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
  • Local Fish Ceviche
  • “The Big Easy” Seafood Gumbo
  • Prosciutto Wrapped Brie
  • Super Lump Crab & Crawfish Cake

SALADS:

  • Hearts of Romaine Ceasar
  • Fresh “Burrata” Mozzarella
  • Iceberg Wedge

ENTREES:

  • Lump Crab & Corn Roasted Grouper
  • Pan Roasted Mahi-Mahi
  • Herb Roasted Salmon
  • Grilled Filet Mignon
  • Lancaster, PA Hormone Free Chicken Breastfig & Olive Rubbed Grilled Local Swordfish Sautéed Jumbo Shrimp & Garganelli Pasta
  • Lump crab & Corn Roasted Grouperpan Roasted Mahi-Mahi