Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Restaurant Review: La Barraca Tapas Bar & Café - Hollywood, FL

Went to Spain, had a great time and have been missing it ever since. Once I heard about La Barraca Tapas Bar & Café, I suspected a visit would be great opportunity to hopefully experience what I have been missing.

From the outside of the restaurant to the inside decor, you know their goal is to make you feel as if you're in Spain. You are even greeted in Spanish. As soon as you're seated you are offered wine or sangria. I choose sangria and although it was good, I have had better. Be careful when ordering water, because they will bring you a bottle of mineral water and charge you $5.  Their complimentary bread was delicious, but only because their garlic butter amazing.

The tapas we ate were great, my favorite being the Fillet Mignon Kabob with Potatoes. The meat was tender, sauce mouthwatering and potatoes an added bonus. We also ordered Jamón Serrano (Spanish cured ham imported from Spain) because that was a favorite when we were in Spain and the Churrasco De Carne Con Mojo Picon (skirt steak with "mojo" from the canary islands). Both were also really good. My only disappointed was that I didn't try more, but I have the next visit for that.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 & 10pm they put on a Flamenco Show. The flamenco show was entertaining, but having experience an authentic show in Spain, it just was not the same, but it was still a great show. Note that if you dine at the restaurant during those times, they will tack on $5 per person to your bill for the show. Other than the unexpected charged for the show and the water, everything was reasonable prices.

La Barraca Tapas Bar & Café is a fun place that makes you feel like you're in Spain. They offer a wide variety of Spanish tapas, great wines, and an excellent live Flamenco show. And since I am unable to visit Spain all the time, La Barraca will be my alternative when I am missing it.

La Barraca Tapas Bar & Café
115 S 20th Avenue, Hollywood, FL 33020

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wine Review - Rucahue Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (2011)

I went grocery shopping with the usual intent, to buy groceries, but I could not help myself and decide to pick up a bottle of wine. Since I wasn't expecting to buy anything, I decide to go cheap and find a $5 bottle. How does one narrow down the options, you buy the bottle with the label that looks the most appealing in that price range. Since the last bottle I had was from Chile and I liked it, I decided to revisit and picked up a bottle of Rucahue Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. The wine was drinkable but was definitely not a favorite. It was not very complex and had an almost non existent finish.

The Rucahue Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot was no where close to being the worse wine I have ever had but it was no where close to being good either. There are a lot better choices in this price range.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge - Fort Lauderdale, FL

As you pull up to Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge you are greeted by free valet service which to me is a relief. It sucks when you go out to eat and have to spend time looking for parking or having to pay an arm and a leg on top of your meal. Dapur is located in a basic brick building in a small strip mall, but once you step inside, the lounge is surprisingly big and full of color. Although it may turn some off, you are also greeted by club music but to me that just mean a fun time, fun people and a great vibe. The lounge has a large bar space separate from the dining room.

Read more here:
Despite the nightclub feel, Dapur is still all about the food, offering a combination of tapas and entrees. I would suggest that if its your first visit, try ordering a few small plates, to get a sampler of what the restaurant offers. You should also really consider trying one of their many unique cocktails. Although I don't know the name of the cocktail I had (not because I had one too many but because I went with the suggestion of the waitress), I was very happy with the choice. The cocktail I got was AH-MAZE-ING! As for food, we ordered the Vietnamese Roll (good), Crab Cake (great) and the Lobster Crunch Roll (delicious). The portions were a bit smaller than I thought considering the price but were good nonetheless.

I really loved the decor, selections and service at Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge. The food was good, the cocktails were great, the staff was friendly and the atmosphere fun. I will definitely go back for dinner but I already plan to bring back a group of friends for a night out at the bar. Simply put, Dapur is a cool, trendy spot with great food and drinks that will keep you coming back for more.

Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge
1620 North Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305

Dapur Asian Tapas and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 19, 2012

Free eBook - Easy Appetizer Recipes [Kindle Edition]

Easy Appetizer Recipes gives you full step-by-step instructions for 15 easy and impressive appetizers you can make for your next party. Impress them with fresh bruschetta, easy crab cakes, or even jalapeno poppers! All projects come from Instructables.com, are written by party-food experts, and contain pictures for each step so you can easily make sure your next party is a success. Party on!

You can find even more FREE e-books on Amazon and the best part is that you do not need a Kindle to read these books. You can download one of the Free Kindle Reading Apps to your computer or smartphone!

Prices change constantly on Amazon, so be sure to verify the price before purchasing.

$2 for Most $25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificates

Friday, March 16, 2012

Smashburger - Coral Springs, FL

Smashburger wasn't a smash but it wasn't a complete miss either. Smashburger is a semi-self service kind of place. You walk in, go to the counter to place your order, seat yourself, and they bring the food to the table for you. Smashburger offers a bunch of different burgers, sandwiches and fries. 

I ordered the Spicy Baja Burger and Sweet Potato Smash Fries. I am sad to say but the burger was just okay. It had potential based upon the toppings used but the burger was a little dry/overcooked (maybe due to the smashing) and had too much guacamole making the burger messy to eat. I did like the bun though. The fries were also really good, and I would go back just for the fries alone.

The restaurant was clean and had someone walking around to maintain the cleanliness, but it was extremely cold to the point that I was uncomfortable and rushing to eat my food to get out fast so I would recommend eating outside. One good thing I can say is that the staff was wonderful and service was exceptional.

1840 N University Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33071
Smashburger on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Zona Fresca: Fresh Mexican Grill - Plantation, FL

During a recent visited to the restaurant next door, I told myself I have to come back and try Zona Fresca because, well I love Mexican Food! I also had a friend recommended the place so it was given that I would definitely go back. I ordered the bajamar burrito and I was impressed. The burrito tasted fresh and had the right balance of ingredients (I hate when there is too much sauce and it gets soggy). I also enjoyed the nachos which are light and crispy. And it doesn't get any better than when there is a salsa bar.

Bottom line, Zona Fresca is a fast food style Mexican restaurant that offers fair prices at a great value for some really good fresh food.

Zona Fresca: Fresh Mexican Grill
1095 S University Drive, Canal Plaza, Plantation, Florida 33324

Chili’s Bar & Grill: Two Burgers, Two Drafts & Bottomless Fries for $20

Score big with this deal! From now until March 18th, Chili's is offering any two burgers, two large drafts beers and unlimited fries for $20.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Free Chicken Cannelloni at Buca di Beppo on St. Patrick’s Day

Buca di Beppo says... It's your Lucky Day! On St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th), dine in guest can get a a free individual chicken cannelloni with the purchase of any small or large pasta or entree. Click here for the coupon.

Buca di Beppo has locations nationwide. The South Florida location is located in Davie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Only $4 for most $25 Restaurant Gift Certificates

Half-Price Ravioli At Brio Tuscan Grille

In celebration of National Ravioli Day on March 20th, Brio Tuscan Grille is offering 50% off all Ravioli. Head to your nearest location to join in on the fun and get stuffed! There are four locations in South Florida: Boca Raton, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines & Palm Beach Gardens.

Free eBook - Love of Cooking: Soups, Stews, & Chili [Kindle Edition]

Needing a little help getting warm this winter? How about some soup? Here are some great choices whether you want an old standard like chicken noodle or something new and different like chilled avocado. You will have fun discovering new ways to make soups, stews & chili with Love of Cooking: Soups, Stews & Chilis.

You can find even more FREE e-books on Amazon and the best part is that you do not need a Kindle to read these books. You can download one of the Free Kindle Reading Apps to your computer or smartphone!

Prices change constantly on Amazon, so be sure to verify the price before purchasing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dragon Gourmet Buffet Restaurant - Plantation, FL

I'm not a buffet person, in fact, I cannot recall the last time I have been, but somehow I ended up at Dragon Gourmet Buffet Restaurant and I have to say I liked it.

The biggest concern I have when I go to a buffet is, is it clean? And it was. The buffet was not only kept clean, but offered a wide variety of food options (their website says that there are 200 different items). The options included Chinese delights (Dim sum & Cantonese dishes), Japanese (Sushi & Hibachi) and many dessert options (they had some great ice cream flavors). For under $9 per person for lunch and under $13 per person on nights and weekends, I think it is a great deal considering the wide range of food available.

Not only did I enjoy the food, but others seemed to enjoy it as well. The place stayed busy and people were definitely going back for more. And, even though it's buffet, the wait staff was very attentive, nice and friendly.

Dragon Gourmet Buffet Restaurant
1091 South University Drive Plantation, Florida 33324

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza - Sunrise, FL

Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza is located in the The Gateway at Sawgrass next to Ikea. I decided to stop in Giovanni's for lunch, because it is fairly close to home and frankly I am always down to try new pizza. As soon as you walk in, you realize you are not at your mama's neighborhood pizza joint. The place was pretty upscale. It has a modern feel while still holding true to the old school.

We went for a late lunch so the place was fairly packed but was winding down. Despite being busy, we were seated right away. I looked over the menu saw that they offered a bunch of affordable lunch special and when I looked over to some of the other tables, you could see many people were enjoying it. I on the other hand, decided to try the Asian Thai Chicken Pizza. Giovanni's does offer the traditional pizza options but me being me, I decided to try something a little more exotic. The Asian Thai Chicken Pizza was made with a peanut Thai ginger sauce instead of the traditional red sauce. The pizza was topped with marinated chicken, roasted red peppers, dusted peanuts & mozzarella cheese. It had a thin crisp crust, with a good balance of cheese and sauce. I enjoy the pizza, it was definitely something different than I ever had and I liked the slight sweet taste to it.

My boyfriend went the other route and decided to go traditional and got the Chicken Parmigiana. He said is tasted bland and didn't really enjoy it but for such a large portion, he couldn't really complain. I decided to try some of his pasta and I had to agree, nothing special, but it really wasn't bad either. It was just okay.

I liked Giovanni's. Although it may not have been the best pizza I ever ate, they did offer me something new and different and I liked it. I would definitely go back to watch a Heat game, have a glass of wine or just simply to have a quick lunch. My recommendation is to just stick to the pizza and and pass on the pasta.

They have another location in Parkland.

Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza 
165 NW 136th Ave, Plantation, FL 33325

Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wine Review - Santa Rita 120 Merlot (2010)

The normal thing probably would have been to take a picture of the wine before I opened the bottle and drank almost all of it, but from that alone, you know I thought it was good.

This wine is from Chile, specifically the Rapel Valle region. I am not sure what exactly that means but for $6.99 this is some really good stuff. The Santa Rita 120 Merlot is ruby red with a nice berry flavor, hints of spice and a good balance of alcohol.

In other words, it is a great tasting merlot for a great price!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Classes at America’s Biggest Cupcake Decorating Event, the Fort Lauderdale Edition, from Charm City Cupcakes (Half Off). Four Options Available.

Traces of buttercream and vanilla scent the air as Charm City Cupcakes sweetens and sprinkles American cities during its countrywide tour, spreading techniques honed in its Baltimore home bakery to gaggles of pastry aficionados. During a slate of specialty classes, cupcake artisans slather baby cakes with mouthwatering buttercream, creating cupcake borders and iced flowers without having to fertilize regular flowers with milk and butter. Courses for fledgling decorators instill the basics of decorating bags and couplers while teaching how to use adornment tools such as the star and round icing tips. Meanwhile, classes geared toward families harness simple tools and dazzling candies, combining the efforts of parents and children for age-appropriate cupcake study. Each participant totes their beautified bounties home with them at the end of each session.

Choose from Four Options:

  • $50 for a Decorating 101 class at 9:30 a.m. on March 17, 2012 (a $100 value)
  • $50 for a Decorating 101 class at 1 p.m. on March 17 (a $100 value)
  • $50 for a Ladies’ Night Out decorating class at 6 p.m. on March 17 (a $100 value)
  • $60 for a Family Fun decorating event at 3:30 p.m. on March 17 (a $120 value)

Before cupcake pans, personalized dessert portions were made by baking full-size cakes and shrinking them in the dryer. Skip extra steps with this Groupon.