Bull Market and Chow: Dueling Gastropubs in Downtown Lauderdale

Categories: Review

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Sara Ventiera
Captain Crunch Chicken Fingers at Bull Market

Every seven minutes, the ticker moves up or down.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin, up 5 percent to $5.80, with a daily high of six bucks. Orange Blossom Draft, down 50 cents to $7.18. Silver Tequila, down 9 percent to $6.40, its lowest price of the evening.

Illuminated all around Bull Market, a gastropub in downtown Fort Lauderdale, are flat screens with an imitation news-channel logo, the place's emblem, and tickers highlighting rising and dropping prices on beer and spirits. It is based on supply and demand: The more a product is being sold, the more you pay. When demand decreases, so does the cost.

The goal is to offer guests a chance to sample craft beer, says John Todora, director of operations for the Creative Kitchen Group, owners of Bull Market and Whiskey Tango in Hollywood. "A lot of people are intimidated," says Todora. "Not everyone is going to shell out seven or eight bucks for a beer they're uncertain about."

See also: South Florida Brew Bus Delivers South Florida's Craft Beer Craze

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In the Slow Lane: A New Brew Bus Tour Explores South Florida's Craft Beer Craze

Categories: Review

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Photo by Karli Evans
From left to right: Edgar Revuelta (Driver), Aaron Caplan (Brew Bus USA Events Coordinator), Kimberly Johnson (Brew Bus South Florida Attendant), Matt Davis (Brew Bus South Florida Attendant)
"Drive slow!" shouted several of the more than 20 passengers on a minicoach as it rolled south on I-95 past the sprawling suburbia of southern Palm Beach County. The driver looked back, smiled, and set the cruise control to 55, allowing traffic to pass unabated.

Why the leisurely pace when most people just want to get to wherever the hell they're going? Simple: free beer. As another round of cold ones from Brew Bus Brewing was tossed down the aisle, the adults smiled like kids on Christmas. At the wheel, the driver looked almost preternaturally mellow.

Welcome to the South Florida Brew Bus.

See Also: Florida Beer: Magic City Pale Ale From Wynwood Brewing

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Bistro 1902 Brings a Taste of Paris to Downtown Hollywood

Categories: First Look, Review

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All photos by CandaceWest.com
Bistro 1902's sweet lemon meringue tart
You might not know you like French food yet, but you do. Cuisine as we know it would not be where it is without the influence of classic, haute French cooking. From sauces and sous vide, to bistros and brasseries -- as well as plenty of groundbreaking chefs and ambitious restaurateurs -- the panorama of plating food is, at its core, française.

Although South Florida is certainly no bastion of French fare, a few places have found their way into the fray and made a name. In Hollywood, Bistro 1902 fills the franco void thanks to its owner, Paris-born Karim Laitaoui. He is often at the front of the house, greeting guests and helping to seat them -- a necessary evil for any true, family-run establishment. But his real job is in the back of the house; Laitaoui is executive chef, on the line each night executing each dish with nascent precision, despite no formal training.

See Also: Ten Best French Restaurants in Palm Beach and Broward Counties


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Taps Offers Craft Beers and "Smart" Homestyle Cooking

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
TAPS General Manager Lee Evans with baked meatballs.
At the west end of Himmarshee Street, just across from Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House, the interior of Taps is worlds apart from the rest of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

To the left, a tufted charcoal bench runs the length of the room beneath a solid wood wall of crisscrossing panels. A modern steel-orb light fixture hangs across from it, and a larger-than-life Picasso print hangs on the exterior wall. While stark, the masculine space has more modern steak-house vibe than downtown pub.

The other half of the space has more of a contemporary-sports-bar feel. Both walls are lined with long benches that sit behind pub high wooden tables. High-def TVs hang above. Although it offers guests more of a bar scene, the décor is still minimalist, more Las Olas chic than Himmarshee casual.

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Rhino Doughnuts Is Revitalizing an American Breakfast Staple

Categories: Review

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All Photos by CandaceWest.com
Warning: This is not your daddy's doughnut shop.

Chunks of crisp caramelized applewood bacon crown a glazed round of dense yet fluffy dough. Hidden from the eye is a filling of handmade maple custard boiled down nightly from fresh vanilla beans and real maple syrup.

Rainbow-colored M&M's and smooth chocolate are layered atop the ring-shaped candy-bar doughnut. It's offered in a variety of kid-approved flavors: Snickers, Milky Way, Nestle Crunch.

Rounds of fresh banana slices are drizzled with chocolate atop whipped Nutella on the Nutella banana.

Decadent? Yes.

But in fairness, you were warned, and that warning came straight from Rhino Doughnuts & Coffee owners Athan "Tom" Prakas and Davin Tran.

See Also: Today is National Doughnut Day: Five Fun Flavors to Try

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The Summer of Shandy: Taste Testing The Beer/Lemonade Combo (Part 1)

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Doug Fairall

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade... then blend it with beer. That's the basic gist behind the shandy -- or radler if you're European -- a beer and lemonade style that is popular among certain warm weather enthusiasts.

Think of it as an Arnold Palmer, but instead of iced tea substitute a lager beer.

See also: South Florida Food and Drink Events: Founders KBS, Hukilau, and More


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Kuluck Persian Restaurant Is a Sensory Tour of the Arab World

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Hamid Shirdel, Owner and Executive Chef of Kuluck; Soltani (Beef & Filet Combo)
On any given weekday during lunch, the intimate space at Kuluck Persian Restaurant is packed with a wide mix of people speaking in a cacophony languages, both familiar and foreign. Middle Eastern women with loosely wrapped head scarves chat in Arabic or Farsi, men in yarmulkes converse with their wives in Hebrew, sunburnt Canadian tourists in shorts and T-shirts discuss travel plans, and tables filled with men and women in business suits can be overhead hashing out contracts.

Layered over the din of the lunch rush are the rhythmic beats and poppy vocals of modern Persian music.

And then there's the fragrance: Bold exotic spices, like cinnamon, turmeric, and citrus, waft through the air. It's a mix of South Asian and Mediterranean aromas.

The sensory experience borders on the overwhelming at Kuluck, brimming with the sights, sounds, and flavors of one of the oldest civilizations on the planet.

See also: Closer Look: Kuluck Persian Restaurant in Tamarac (Slideshow)

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The Keg on Sixth Is on Trend and Off the Beaten Path

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Set off the main road, among warehouses, auto repair shops, and cheap motels just south of State Road 84 and west of Federal Highway, the Keg on Sixth isn't a place most Fort Lauderdale residents would just happen to stumble across.

It is, however, part of a quickly growing trend among those in the craft beer set of restaurateurs opening their doors far away from the busy tourist strips like Las Olas Boulevard, Himmarshee Street, and the large commercial streets that run through town.

"We didn't want to be downtown," says Eddie McNerney, who opened the place in March with co-owner Richard Carmichael. "We like that you don't have to fight through the crowd to get a beer, and there's plenty of parking. We wanted a relaxed vibe with lots of different kinds of people."

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Passport to Peru: Upscale Peruvian Fusion Blends Global Flavors and Techniques With Indigenous Ingredients

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Ceviche Classico ($15)

Adorned with strips of deep-gray slate accents, a large Machu Picchu panorama, and recessed alcoves with brilliant gold replicas of Inca artifacts, the décor at Ceviche by the Sea is cool and contemporary while honoring its cuisine's heritage.

It's a theme that continues on throughout the entire concept.

The menu here is not your average Peruvian fare. Although some authentic home recipes appear, the focus is on the growing trend of Peruvian fusion, in which creative chefs blend tried-and-true flavors and ingredients in their own unique dishes. Spearheaded by Gaston Acurio, who has frequently been hailed as one of the best chefs in the world, the cuisine is now one of the fastest-growing on the planet.

See Also: Ten Best Sushi Restaurants in Palm Beach County


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The Mack House Brews Up Creativity and a Loyal Following

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Head Bartender Stevie Dice pours a brew.
It would be easy to pass over the small retail bay on your way to laser tag next door if it weren't for the large, lit-up, red letters burning "Brewery" into the night sky. Still, the strip-mall vibe belies the nanobrew-level scale of experimentation and uniqueness that emerges from inside.

The brewpub is the inner heart of the line of Holy Mackerel beers that grace store shelves across the state: Special Golden Ale, Panic Attack, and Mack in Black. But these aren't brewed on premise. The commercially distributed brews are fashioned up at the Thomas Creek brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. What you'll get at the Mack House are small-batch, one-of-a-kind beers available only at that location.

Since October 2012, owner Larry Hatfield and his son Kyle have been working to make this slice of beervana into a hangout for local beer lovers.

See also: Canale Brings Fresh Italian Fare to the Venice of Florida

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