Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse - Pembroke Pines, FL

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse is the classic beer and pizza joint hidden in a casual dining restaurant chain. All in all, it is a pretty good place for an outing with friends or family.

On tap, they have a selection of handcrafted micro brews. I am not the beer lover, so I passed, but my boyfriend tried their Tatonka Stout. It wasn't bad but  ti didn't really stand out either. He wasn't impressed but it could have just been a matter of preference.

If you only came here for a few drinks with friends and aren't looking to eat a big meal, BJ's has a bunch of snacks and small bites! We decided to try the Thai Style Chicken Wontons. The were right out of the fryer and steaming hot. They were very light and crispy. The filling was well seasoned and delicioso! I loved it.

They are basically known for their deep dish pizzas so if its your first time here, I recommend you try one. We had the Spicy Meatball which consisted of housemade meatballs, spicy tomato sauce, Italian sausage, jalapenos, Parmesan cheese and red onions.  It was scrumptious! Fresh, cheesy, crunchy crust and yummy! The only thing is I wouldn't label it a deep dish but rather a pan pizza.

Even if you don't drink beer or for some odd reason don't enjoy pizza, you might want to still consider BJ's for their famous Pizookie. Imagine this, a freshly baked, hot out of the oven, rich and delicious cookie topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in its own deep dish. Mmmm!!! I had to go with the Chocolate Chunk for the melty chocolate goodness, but they have other options and a trio sampler if you can't decide.

It seems that they pride themselves on providing a quality experience. Our waiter was really nice and funny. He cracked a few jokes with us and made us laugh. However, although the entertainment factor was high, in actual performance he lacked. There were a few times we were left waiting and we had to ask for water refills. It go to a point where we had to ask another waiter. So, I see where they are going with the experience they seek to provide, but it needs improvement.

I was pleasantly surprised with my experience and recommend you come. However, the restaurant does get packed at times and they don't take reservations, so I suggest that you call ahead for the wait time and put your name on the waiting list if necessary. 

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
12100 Pines Blvd Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
(954) 430-3545

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Art Deco Weekend: January 18.19.20. 2013 - Ocean Drive / Miami Beach

music festival. classic car show. vendors. fashion show. film festival. 
street parade. cuisine & cocktails.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Donna's Caribbean Restaurant - Plantation, FL

I give respect when respect is due. I like Donna's Restaurant for the fact that they started as a local establishment and have been able to expand and spawn a total of 5 locations in the South Florida. However, with time and growth, the quality and taste of the food has diminished. The robust flavors you expect from Jamaican food has now been replaced by "bland", mediocre tasting food. With their lunch special prices, you can often looks past that for a good deal, but their lunch special isn't so special  anymore with a recent price increase.

Curry Goat with White Rice, Fried Plantain & Salad
Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas, Fried Plantain & Salad

More often than not, if you come here, you will probably be ordering take-out since it is not the most pleasant of dining atmosphere. So, I'm a bit perplexed by the spotty service; sometimes you get someone nice, sometimes you don't.  It shouldn't be so hard to be nice with very minimal customer interaction. Its as simple as this: smile, take order, pack food, hand receipt and say thanks for coming.

This is South Florida! Jamaican food is on every corner so at least look someplace else before deciding to eat here. It isn't all that spectacular.

Donna's Caribbean Restaurant
1923 North Pine Island Road  Plantation, FL 33322
(954) 693-9120

Donna's Caribbean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Uvas Restaurant - Miami, FL (MiMo District)

Uvas Restaurant is located on Biscayne Boulevard in a colorful Mediterranean-style building in the MIMO district. The benefits of dining in this area is the quaint charm of the restaurants and the free parking. Uvas Restaurant is no exception to that. 

After parking our car in back, we got out and walked to the front of the restaurant where were greeted warmly and given the option to be seated in the dining room or on the outdoor patio lounge. At the time we arrived, the restaurant wasn't too packed and it was a bit windy so we decided to dine inside. Besides, no one else opted for indoor so we were the only ones and it provided us with our own personal dining experience. The intimacy of having our own dining room made the restaurant much more enjoyable. Even as the restaurant filled up, we were still the only ones inside up until we were about to finish our meal.  

Our waiter, who I am sorry to have forgotten his name was so amazing. He was so helpful; giving us ideas and recommendations in our food and wine selections. But beyond the basics you expect of a waiter, he was just really nice, genuine and funny. He wanted to see us have a great dining experience and he succeeded, it was one of my more memorable meals I have had in quite some time. 

As amazing as everything thing else was, the food was just as spectacular, down to their house Merlot. We started with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. I was disappointed when I saw that is was not lump crab and even more so, when it tasted like mostly fillers, but I will say that the seasoning and the mango butter sauce saved it and it was really good. They should however not call it lump crab cake since it was not that. 

The Grilled Churrasco was so yummy for the tummy! It was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Demi-glazed essence is what they called the sauce and it was delish! It comes with Gorgonzola polenta which had to be good, since I'm not a fan of polenta and I thought it tasted pretty good. The watercress salad was fresh and a nice bonus.

The Grilled Mahi-Mahi was so tender, flaky, and tasty. The seasoning on the fish wasn't much but combined with the creamy and equally tasty roasted tomato shrimp risotto, it created a perfect balance of flavors. The Citrus Arugula salad was very fresh and good too. 

With food so good, I made sure to save room for dessert and cappuccino! 

The first dessert we ordered was the Warm Crumble Apple Tart. It was accompanied by vanilla bean gelato and caramel rum sauce. It's not type of dessert I usually go for but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mmmm! 

The second dessert (yes, the second) was the Coconut and Banana Tres Leches. Not sure where the banana was but I did like the hints of coconut flavor and the texture from the Florentine crisp. It's not what I know of a typical Tres Leches cake, but I loved it even more than what I have had before. Very moist cake that melted in my mouth. 

I am very ecstatic that I decided to try this place out. Maybe I wouldn't have loved it as much, had I come at a different time or had gotten a different waiter but I did choose a good time and got am amazing waiter so it was great. I had good food and fun times so I will be back soon!

Uvas Restaurant
6900 Biscayne Boulevard  Miami, FL 33138

(305) 754-9022

Uva 69 on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 14, 2013

Destination Grand Lux Cafe: DeLux Peach Bellini, DeLux Breakfast Sandwich & Fried Chicken and Waffles


DeLux Peach Bellini 
Champagne, Peach Liqueur and Peaches. Blended to an Icy Smoothness.

When I think of brunch, the only alcoholic beverage choices are usually a Bellini or Mimosa. So, when I saw that the drink special for the day was a Bellini, I ordered it without reading the description and was surprised when it arrived that it was a frozen drink. I probably should have know better since it was not apart of the morning cocktails, but in any case I enjoyed it. One thing I can say about Grand Lux is that they have a good selection of creative and delicious cocktails and I haven't had one yet that I didn't enjoy

DeLux Breakfast Sandwich
Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Ham, Grilled Tomato, Havarti Cheese and Mayo Piled High on Grilled Brioche Bread. Served with Hash Browns.

The food here is always big and breakfast was no exception. You might see the prices and feel that it's a bit much but portion wise, it makes it worth it. The DeLux sandwich was pretty deluxe! It was scrumptious and filling! It was a sandwich but very good. The Hash browns could have been better. I am not much of a fan of the crunchy, shredded kind.

Fried Chicken and Waffles
Topped with Crispy Fried Chicken Strips and Pecan Honey-Butter Sauce.

It was hard for me to really like this dish, having been to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, but I will say that the waffle itself was amazing! It was huge, light, fluffy and so good! As far as the chicken goes, I would have rather had real chicken than strips but the strips did made it easier to eat I suppose. The chicken was moist on the inside and had a nice crunchy texture on the outside but lacked flavor, which was very disappointing. The Honey-Butter added a nice touch, but even with that, it couldn't save the chicken. Overall it wasn't bad, but could have been so much better. I wouldn't get it again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not So off the Chain: Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar (Nationwide)

I don't want to say that I hate Applebee's, but why would anyone ever eat there? I first ate there a few years ago when I worked in an office across the street from one and everyone also seemed to want to eat there because of the convenience. I didn't really enjoying the food I got there, but it wasn't bad enough to stop going every once in a while with my co-workers. Then came the other day when it was decided after watching a movie and wanting to eat somewhere but not have to wait, to go to Applebee's. It should have been a hint that there was no wait when all the other restaurants were packed. 

The food was by far some of the worst tasting food I have ever eaten. My boyfriend ordered steak which wasn't a smart move since it is commonsense that it probably wouldn't taste good at a place like this. He did anyways and was severely disappointed. He said the potatoes weren't too bad and the veggies were fine.

I had the ribs and I don't know how to describe why I didn't like it other than it was just terrible. The fries too. Cole slaw was surprisingly okay.

We started with the mozzarella sticks which also weren't good either. I don't know exactly how you mess that up.

All the food was lukewarm and tasted like leftovers they attempted to warm up but didn't feel compelled to fully do so. The service was horrific too. Dirty plates were left on the table the entire meal and the waitress never bothered to check in on us. 

Please just do yourself a favor and avoid this chain or at least this location.

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar
12719 W Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise, FL 33323
Applebee's on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Bonefish Grill

I have dined at Bonefish Grill a few times and I have never been impressed. The only thing that seems to keep me coming back is the Bang Bang Shrimp and only on Wednesdays when it is $5 because otherwise, it wouldn't be worth it. Recently, Bonefish Grill has introduced Sunday brunch (they are a dinner only restaurant). I wanted to take my boyfriend for breakfast/brunch for his birthday (just us before the crazy evening to come) but didn't want anything fancy and didn't want to venture too far so that is really why we ended up at Bonefish. I also found it to be a good opportunity to give them another chance.

We got there around 11am (opening time) and were surprised to see tables already seated and that we were walking in with another group. By the time it was 11:30am the restaurant was already pretty active. After we were seated, I did a quick glance of the menu and thought that they had a pretty good balance of dishes. In addition to the brunch menu they also serve their regular menu. Our server was very helpful in explaining the menu since we never dined here for brunch before.

I decided to order the Endless Bubbles Brunch which is any breakfast entrée with an endless supply of Mimosas or Bellinis. I selected the Créme Brulee French Toast. It sounded so delicious; toast wtih Grand Marnier + orange zest batter, served with mascarpone whipped cream, fresh mint, strawberries and bacon. Yum! When it arrived our server explained that you have to eat a little bit of everything together and it tastes just like Creme Brulee. I don't know if I can agree with that, but it was good, fresh and a yummy combination. The bacon....need I say more! 

There are three drink choices, but I selected the Traditional Mimosa. I love that it was made with fresh orange juice and that you could taste the alcohol in it. Our server who started off so well but was slow in bring my refill drinks. He asked if I wanted another and of course I said yes but he never came back with a new one. After waiting for quite some time, I inquired about the drink because I thought he forgot and he tried to say he was waiting on the bartender but when we looked over to the bar, the drink was just sitting there waiting. Another time, someone else ended up bringing the drink but got the drink wrong and brought me a Passionfruit Mimosa instead, however I enjoyed it anyways. The drinks were really great but, the service was a bit slow. It wasn't endless but more like stop and go.

My boyfriend kept it more traditional and less sweet and ordered the Western Omelet with house-made turkey chorizo, cheddar, cilantro,
ranchero, lime sour cream and a side of potatoes au gratin. The omelet was tasty, made with fresh ingredients and most importantly the eggs were fluffy. Now, the potatoes, damn those were good (I ate about half of his). 

Brunch at Bonefish Grill was a new experience and the brunch food was more enjoyable than their regular menu, but still, something about Bonefish Grill just doesn't seem to impress me. They do make good, fresh food, its just, not great. I like a little pizzazz and their food is a little lackluster.

Bonefish Grill

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