Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Erawan, sad spin on "authentic Thai cuisine" - Houston Galleria

Erawan 
Authentic Thai Cuisine
Sage Plaza Shopping Center
5161 San Felipe, Houston 77056
Erawanhouston.com


Visualize a Sunday evening at prime dinner hour (about 7:15 p.m.) in a small, upscale shopping plaza with one restaurant abuzz with patrons and the eatery next door empty. I picked the empty one—Erawan.   

If I could see have seen from the outside that it was empty, I would not have entered but once inside the attractive establishment, I was hailed to sit down. OK, perhaps they do a bang-up takeout biz. But then a menu adorned with greasy finger prints was delivered, which is often a bad sign. It went downhill from there. 

Thawed-out-and-fried, dreary-tasting oversized spring rolls stuffed with shredded cabbage (and little else), accompanied by a thick, syrup-sweet, flourescent-pink bottled sauce proved to be a second warning salvo. 

The coup de grâce: what seemed to be a German interpretation of vegetable pad thai. By German, I refer to the heavy-handed use of vinegar with the noodles. That, and unappetizing chunks of tofu and a few, very few, sliced vegetables made for a nearly inedible mess. And where were the finely chopped peanuts? Not authentic Thai cuisine … not that evening anyway.

And nary a phone call or customer for takeout …and people waiting to get into the restaurant next door.



Tags: Thai restaurants in Houston Galleria, Houston restaurants, 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

True Foods Kitchen: Where healthy meets tasty in Houston

True Food Kitchen
1700 Post Oak Blvd., Ste 180 Houston, TX 77056
TrueFoodKitchen.com
281-605-2505
Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; 
Saturday: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Brunch Saturday and Sunday 
By Jane Feehan

At True Food Kitchen it’s not about tasteless bean sprouts—nor fatty fries and cheeseburgers—but healthy options for vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters and all those in between who like good food. That’s just about everyone.

Medical doctor, teacher and author Andrew Weil teamed up with Phoenix restaurateur Sam Fox a few years ago to develop restaurants (Houston was number nine) offering an anti-inflammatory dining concept. Inflammation, the result of a modern diet overloaded with sugar, saturated fats and processed foods, is blamed for a number of ailments including heart disease, several forms of cancer and even Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory approach to eating blends elements of Mediterranean and Asian diets with a Californian overlay of fresh ingredients and presentation. The True Foods menu embraces this philosophy offering whole grains (yes, even pizza) lean meat (try a turkey or bison burger), wild caught fish and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Kitchen wizards elevate health foods from dull to sparkling with healthful ginger, curry, and other worthy seasonings.

One of their most popular dishes, Red Chili Shrimp, sums up the True Kitchen approach.  An artful combination of shrimp, tossed with Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli), Shitake mushrooms and spinach over a bed of sesame noodles (a gluten free version also available) mildly accented with red chili spice could compete with dishes of a fine Thai eatery. 

Fellow diner ordered a light meal of a caramelized onion tart and salad of spinach, blueberry, beet, snap pea, cucumber, radish, goat cheese, and pistachio drizzled in lemon vinaigrette. More a flatbread presentation, the onion tart is complemented with thinly sliced fig.  Bursting with flavor, both plates deserve a curtain call.  Another diner sampled Turkey lasagna, not particularly savory or a good fit for the restaurant; it was recently (and wisely) removed from the menu. 

Only one of us wanted to venture into dessert nirvana with a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. Replete with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, this confection was made to order and topped with oatmeal granola. Guiltless pleasure …

The menu offers a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks—all with a healthy yet flavorful spin. Patronized by a youngish crowd, and designed with high ceilings and open spaces, True Food Kitchen can get noisy at night, especially when the music is upped a few notches. A totally different fan club comes for takeout meals signaling hats off to their food if not the ambiance. If noise scares you away, dine outside or visit for lunch. Free parking is available and accessible from the front or the back of Boulevard Place, adjacent to Whole Foods.  (Post Oak and San Felipe)


Tags: Houston restaurants, Houston health food menu, Galleria area restaurants

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fort Lauderdale's Royal Pig Pub: Majestic fare

Royal Pig Pub
350 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
954-617-7447
www.RoyalPigPub.com
Open: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-Midnight
          Friday/Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
          Sunday Noon -11 p.m.

By Jane Feehan

Awesome: Royal Pig Pub. Atmospheric and handsome, if not typically pub-cozy, this eatery delivers creative, high quality, sophisticated food that sets the bar (no pun intended) for other SOFLA establishments that embrace the gastropub concept.

Executive Chef Stanton Bundy brings Texas and New Orleans influences to a menu that includes bounteous sandwiches, inspired salads and main course marvels. Consider the Free range Creole Chicken Club with cheddar cheese, a delicately fried and oh-so-tasty slice of avocado topped with chipotle aioli. Enthusiasm for this creation precluded relegating any to  a common Styrofoam
Free Range Creole Chicken Club
container for takeaway. Blasphemy. Down the hatch it went with most of a side of parmesan truffle fries. The same for dining companions blissfully munching on palate-teasing Prime Beef Sliders, and a BBQ Rotisserie Pulled Pork sandwich crowned with coleslaw spicy mustard, American cheese and a fried pickle. The Rotisserie Free Range Turkey Club, encased in cranberry walnut bread, topped with cranberry compote, Vermont cheddar, bacon and avocado, tasted like Thanksgiving on a bun … and ranks among the best sandwiches I’ve eaten.

The roster of main plates (served after 5 p.m.) include New Orleans inspired BBQ Shrimp, and Seafood Gumbo. Texas-influenced Rotisserie Ribs and prime steaks join Free Range Rotisserie Chicken, “Fish of the Moment” and tons more to accommodate any craving, any appetite. The Royal Pig Pub serves fabulous fare on many holidays. Wallet-friendly, this pub offers fine cocktails, excellent wines and craft beers. And yes, the service lives up to the food.
Sophisticated, airy and New Yorkish

Parking available on the street or in a nearby parking garage.











Tags: Fort Lauderdale pubs, gastropub, Las Olas restaurants

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Crash landing on oil slick, Runway 84 in Fort Lauderdale





Runway 84
330 Florida State rd. 84
Fort Lauderdale, 33315
954-467-8484
Runway-84.com

Lunch, Tuesday-Friday
Dinner, Tuesday-Sunday

This airline-themed Italian eatery and lively bar with a three-decade history has an enthusiastic following. After a recent visit, I cannot say I am a member of that following.

Oil was in abundance in places it should not have been and was missing in another. This sad experience began with tasteless, slightly burned bread accompanied by a small dish of oil for dipping. We could not find the oil; the dish was mostly grated Parmesan with barely enough liquid to grace one slice of bread. Bread is usually the first sign of what’s to follow; this time was no exception.

Enter an appetizer of clams oreganata drowning in oil that should have come with the bread. Oil was not the only problem; the woebegone clams tasted as if they had been resurrected from the freezer. Onward. Mussels were delivered in a “sauce” that tasted more like water with a few dollops of tomato paste. It was miserably tasteless as was the house salad served with a gimmicky piece of salami holding a single sorrowful olive. Iceberg lettuce, a pepperconi here, a slice of tomato there, all drizzled in a bland dressing fit for a bottle off a grocery store shelf.

Denouement of this meal misery: two plates of pasta overloaded with oil. The rigatoni was perfectly prepared but swimming in cheap olive oil. So much broccoli rabe covered one dish that the pasta was hard to find. My plate was topped with a mushy mess of cauliflower and sliced mushrooms.

Runway 84 may be popular for their free meatballs on Thursday nights and grossly huge portions every night. It’s not cheap however; our pasta dishes were about $25 each.

To borrow from Edgar Allen Poe … Once upon a January Florida night cheery … deep into that dish peering, long I stood there wondering, really? Said this writer, NEVERMORE.



Tags: Fort Lauderdale restaurants, Italian restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, restaurants near Fort Lauderdale airport

Monday, November 24, 2014

U-Tiki Beach - Tropical Rhapsody in Jupiter

U-Tiki Beach
Jupiter Inlet Marina
1095 FL A1A
Jupiter
561-406-2210
No website, find them and menu on Facebook

U-Tiki Hours: Mon-Thurs – 4-10 p.m.;Fri: 4-11 p.m.;  
Sat: 12-11 p.m.; Sun:12-10 p.m.

By Jane Feehan

Worth the long wait and a great addition to Jupiter Inlet restaurants, U-Tiki offers a stellar view of Jupiter Lighthouse and surrounding turquoise waters. It’s operated by the people who own Jetty’s next store. They know seafood. 

The U-Tiki menu offers a bounty of seafood choices, including sushi, cracked conch, fried oysters, shrimp, yellow tail, hogfish (or what’s running in nearby waters) and a tasty Jupiter fav—grouper cheeks.They also do steak, burgers, chicken, flatbreads, a variety of salads and a few interesting Caribbean  bowls  flavored with curry and coconut or almond and cream sauces. Lunch and dinner menus differ.

An appetizing dining experience (mahi mahi and chicken dishes we tried proves this point) is heightened by the open air Florida verandas and beach (Ok, ok … an engineered beach), and broad
walkway along the docks to Jetty's; this happy place is authentically tropical.     A large bar overlooking tables and the inlet provides the perfect place for meeting new people or bringing friends who want to party.
U-Tiki is open for lunch on weekends only, to the dismay of many, but it’s a tropical rhapsody otherwise. 




Tags: Jupiter waterside restaurants, U-Tiki, Jupiter inlet restaurant,Jupiter Inlet bar, Jane Feehan

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jet Runway Café, Fort Lauderdale: Calling all aviators – and foodies

Dining room with a view
Jet Runway Café
5540 NW 21 Terrace
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
954-958-9900
Open Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30-2 p.m.
Jetrunwaycafe.com
Beer and wine, catering

By Jane Feehan

Jet Runway Café, exactly as its name conveys, sits along a runway in a hangar at Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport. What this unique eatery lacks in exterior design (except for the airplane windows of its entrance), is more than made up for by the details of its interior and in its artful presentations from the kitchen. The café’s expanse of glass along its front and side affords all visitors a great view of the tarmac and planes taking off, landing or awaiting the next trip. Its appropriately high-ceiling, airy interior is decked out in a turbine and other aviation elements.  
Entrance

We had standard breakfasts of eggs, potatoes, and a piece of their housemade light fried bread pudding (also available as a complete serving). Presentation here is all about the details: tiny cups with butter or catsup (no ugly bottles or alumium butter wrappers here); potatoes served in a small dish atop the plated eggs. Simple fare but beautifully delivered. They also serve Brioche Almond French toast, breakfast burritos, pancakes and house made coffee cakes.
 
Thoughtful presentation 
Service is excellent. I’ll be back for lunch during this next week and hope I can find a parking space. It was impossible last Friday at 1 p.m. and I think I know why. With good food, a great wait staff and an exceptional setting, what’s not to return for? Stay tuned …


Open for private parties (great venue) only during the evening.



Tags: Fort Lauderdale breakfast, runway restautants, unique restaurant Fort Lauderdale, private party venues, unique party venue, catering



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 - Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Below are restaurants open for Thanksgiving 2014 in Greater Fort Lauderdale and in Palm Beach County. Reservations required for most. Also listed are places serving take out/catered meals. Additional restaurants will be added as they finalize holiday plans.
   
Broward County

3030 Ocean (Marriott Harbor Beach) - 954-765-3030
3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale
www.3030ocean.com

Ambry - 954-771-7342
3016 E. Commercial Blvd., Fot Lauderdale 33308
http://ambryrestaurant.net/

Aruba Beach Café   954-776-0001
1 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale by-the-Sea
Regular hours  11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Reviewed
http://arubabeachcafe.com/

Beauty and the Feast - 954-567-8070
601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
dev.solitarestaurant.com

Blue Moon Fish Company – on the Intracoastal - 954-267-9888
4405 West Tradewinds Ave. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea 
Brunch/buffet 
Chart House - 954-561-4800
3000 NE 32 Ave (on the Intracoastal)
Fort Lauderdale 33308
www.chart-house.com

Chatham House - 954-351-0310
4331 N. Ocean Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the- Sea

Checkers Old Munchen 954-785-7565
2209 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano

Chima 954-712-0580
2400 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
https://chima.cc/site/

Seasons 52 - 954-537-1052
2428 E. Sunrise Blvd. (Galleria)
Fort Lauderdale, 33304

Sea Watch - 954-781-2200
6002 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 33308

Casablanca Café    954-764-3500
3049 Alhambra St., Fort Lauderdale
Open regular hours 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Reviewed

Steak 954 at the W Hotel - 954-414-8333
401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale

Downtowner Saloon 954-463-9800
10 S. New River Drive East
South of New River, east of the Andrews Ave. Bridge, behind the Courthouse
Turkey dinner

GG’s Waterfront  (on the Intracoastal) – 954-929-7030
606 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood

Grille 66 (waterside at Pier 66 Hotel) 954-728-3500
2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, 33313

Café de Paris       954-467-2900
715 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Open at 5 - Turkey dinner $30; also regular menu
www.CafedeParislasolas.com
Reviewed

Mai-Kai – 954-563-3272 Check hours and shows
3599 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale

Marriott Harbor Beach     Main number 954-525-4000
3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale
Ballroom buffet

Nick's - 954-563-6441
3496 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale (parallel to Galt Ocean Dr.)
Turkey dinner

Old Heidelberg  954-463-6747
900 SW State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale

Pelican Grand Beach Resort    954-568-9431
2000 North Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
North Ocean Grill, Check hours

Riverside Hotel
Indigo  - 954-467-0045
Buffet 
620 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Reviewed

Royal Pig Pub - 954-617-7447
350 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Open at 4 p.m. $25 menu
royalpigpub.com

Ruth's Chris Steak House 954-565-2338
2525 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale
  
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood
1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Florida 33314
Council Oak – 954-327-7501

Shooter's Waterfront Cafe - 954-566-2855 
3033 NE 32nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale
Open 12-8 p.m.
www.shooterswaterfront.com/

Truluck’s – 954-396-5656
2584-A E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

Tropical Acres – 954-989-2500
2500 Griffin Rd., Fort Lauderdale
www.tropicalacres.com

Zuckerello's  954-776-4282
3017 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

Bobby Rubino's 954-781-7550
2501 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach

Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx - 954-782-0606
2601 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach

Galuppi’s, 954-785-0226
1103 North Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach

McDivot's at Carolina Golf Club - 95-753-3500 ext. 205
Rock Island Rd., a half mile south of Sample Road, Pompano Beach
Thanksgiving buffet

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa - 954-782-0100
McCoy's
This is a new Marriott near the 14th Street Causeway on the beach in Pompano

Seaside Grill - 954- 783-3193
Buffet
1406 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach

Deer Creek Golf Club -  954-421-5553    
Grille Room
2801 Country Club Blvd., Deerfield Beach

Le Bistro Restaurant    954-946-9240
4626 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point
Four-course Thanksgiving feast

Les Amies - 954-480-6464
626 So. Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach

Palm Beach County

Butcher Block Grill - 561-409-3035
7000 W. Camino Real, Boca Raton (The Fountains Center)
Special and regular menus
www.butcherblockgrill.com

Cote France Cafe - 561-955-6021
100 Plaza Real South, Boca Raton

Dada  - 561-330-3232
52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
dadadelray.com

Burt and Max's - 561-638-6380
8089 W. Atlantic Blvd., Delray Beach
www.rapoportsrg.com/restaurant/burt-max/

50 Ocean - 561-278-3364
50 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach

St. Tropez - 561-368-4119
7860 Glades Rd., Boca Raton

Josef's Table - 561-353-2700
5030 Champion Blvd., Boca Raton

Rack's Downtown Eatery and Tavern - 561-395-1662
402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
racksboca.com

Renzo's - 561-994-3495
599 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton 
www.renzosof BocaItalianRestaurant.com

Red, The Steakhouse 561-353-9139
1901 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

Waterstone Bar and Grill - 561-368-9500
Waterstone Resort and Marina (formerly the Bridge)
999 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton
http://bit.ly/1sAgtGX

Prime Catch 561-737-8822


700 East Woolbright Rd., Boynton Beach

Casa Mia Trattoria -561-972-6888
337 E. Indiantown Road, Suite 10E, Jupiter 

Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa - 561-746-2511
Ballroom – Buffet, check hours
Sinclair’s Terrace and Sandbar – Pets welcome outdoors on the terrace
5 North A1A, Jupiter

Ironwood Steak and Seafood  - 561-627-4852
PGA National Resort & Spa
400 Avenue of Champions, Palm Beach Gardens
www.pgaresort.com/restaurants/ironwood-grille

Capital Grille - 561-630-4994
11365 Legacy Drive, Palm Beach Gardens
www.thecapitalgrille.com/pages/locations/?id=8035

III Forks Steakhouse and Seafood 561-630-3660
4645 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens


Waterway Café – 561-694-1700
2300 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
www.waterwaycafe.com

Seasons 52 - 561-625-5852
11611 Ellison Wilson Rd., Palm Beach Gardens
Serving 12 to 8 p.m.

Cut 432  561-272-9898
432 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

Cafe Provence - 561-561-921-0065
4967 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

Fifth Avenue Grill 561-265-0122
821 S. Federal Hwy, Delray Beach


Marriott Delray Beach     561-274-3219
10 N. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach


Brunch in the Seacrest Ball Room with nine seatings 


Sundy House        561-272-5678
106 S. Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach
Buffet – several seatings

The Breakers Palm Beach     561-659-8488
One South County Road, Palm Beach
Several venues. Call or visit website for details 
Café Boulud at Brazilian Court Hotel – 561-655-7740
301 Australian Ave. Palm Beach
www.cafeboulud.com/palmbeach


Del Frisco's Grille 561-557-2552
340 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach
http://delfriscosgrille.com/palm-beach

Four Seasons of Palm Beach - 561-582-2800
2800 South Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach

Meat Market - 561-354-9800
191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach
https://www.facebook.com/MeatMarketPalmBeach

MB’s at Omphoy Ocean Resort - 561-540-6444
2842 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach
        
Pistache French Bistro    561-833-5090
101 Clematis, West Palm Beach
www.pistachewpb.com/

Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa-561-533-6000 
Preferred Hotel Group
100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan

Ta-boo – 561-835-3500
221 Worth Avenue, Palm Beach
Serving lunch 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., dinner 5-10 p.m.

Thanksgiving takeout dinners 
Broward and Palm Beach counties

Annie’s Vintage Gourmet 561-575-4700                                      
1132 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter
Reviewed  

Carmines Gourmet Market 561-775-0105
2401 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

Fresh Market – 954-763-1250
424 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, another in Boca Raton
See web site for additional locations

Joseph's Classic Market 561-799-0322
4409 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

Toojay’s
Jupiter – The Bluffs -561-627-5555
Palm Beach Gardens – Downtown at the Gardens – 561-622-8131
Check website for other locations
www.toojays.com

Whole Foods Market
Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens
Check site for addresses and phone numbers

Publix Markets
Check your neighborhood location and telephone
www.publix.com

Winn Dixie
Check your neighborhood location
www.winndixie.com


Tags: Thanksgiving dinner Fort Lauderdale, Thanksgiving dinner Pompano,Thanksgiving dinner Palm Beach, Thanksgiving Broward County, Thanksgiving 2014 Broward and Palm Beach counties
Restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner Fort Lauderdale 2014,Restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner in Palm Beach

Monday, September 1, 2014

Patsy's Italian Restaurant NYC - more about characters than food

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
236 W. 56th Street
New York City, NY
212-247-3491

By Jane Feehan

Located off Broadway at the center of the theater district, Patsy’s does a booming business with theater goers and tourists and a smattering of locals who venture in for the characters rather than the food. This was one of Frank Sinatra’s hangouts during the day where he held court upstairs. The same family has run Patsy’s for decades; their graciousness is one reason why so many return here—in spite of hum drum food.

On my first visit I supped on Shrimp Scampi looking for a garlic fix. I didn’t taste any garlic and the pasta was overcooked. A Caesar salad earned the same dismal assessment. The couple sitting next to me, frequent visitors to the place, said the food isn’t great but they come back to see who’s there.

Singer Michael Bublé and wife came in on one of my visits but did not stay to eat. He had to know that role model Sinatra frequented the restaurant. Characters still flock here but not so much the high-profile type. I couldn’t help but notice that some dining could have been “made guys” or wanted to be. Most of all they wanted to see or be seen, providing aware guests some entertainment with their bear hugs of old and new associates.

On another visit with a friend, we dined on seafood and pasta, and gnocchi and had to discretely  extricate shrimp shells from mouthfuls of pasta. Not a pleasant experience for those who tend to get embarrassed by such things.

Service is excellent and they expertly move customers in and out of the crowded spot. A small full-service bar offers a few seats but this is not the place for a leisurely drink before dinner. Move ‘em on, head ‘em out.  




Tags: New York City restaurants, restaurants near CBS David Letterman Theater, Italian restaurants in NYC, restaurants near Broadway, Pre-fix pre-theater menus in NYC