La Huaca Offers Modern Peruvian Cuisine in Hollywood

Categories: Review

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Photo: Candace West
Sisters Ynes Soua and Aida Montoya, co-owners of La Huaca; the Pulpo Anticuchado appetizer.
It wouldn't be fair to say Hollywood's 2-month-old La Huaca Peruvian Cuisine is hidden; it's just a bit off the beaten path. Sitting at Harrison Street and South 20th Avenue, one block south of Hollywood Boulevard, the new Peruvian eatery is really just steps from the clustered chaos of the city's restaurant row.

The name, according to owner Ynes Sona, can be interpreted as "hidden treasure" -- a nod to the shrines found throughout the Inca territory from Ecuador to Chile believed to house spiritual beings. For her, the place is a diamond in the rough, an escape from the often-traditional approach to Peruvian cuisine.

See also: La Huaca in Hollywood (Photos)

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Chow Offers Asian-Inspired Fare With a Hit-and-Miss American-Tailored Menu

Categories: Review

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All photos by Candace West
Let's talk about sushi. Not the nigirizushi you'll get in Japan -- slices of raw fish on vinegar-infused fermented rice -- but the Western variety: rolls made with cream cheese, imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado, to suit American palates.

If you're a purist, the sushi at Fort Lauderdale's new Asian-American fusion concept, Chow, could make you cringe. But if you'd prefer to avoid the raw stuff, you just might love it. A good portion of the menu is labeled "not so sushi" -- a list of soy-paper-wrapped "redneck rolls" that offer fully cooked fare like steak, fried chicken, and pulled pork wrapped in rice.

And if you're up for it, the Challenge Roll plays Russian roulette with your taste buds: five pieces of kani crab, cucumber, and asparagus drizzled in a sweet miso sauce, with a single mystery piece that hides an extra-spicy habanero.

See also: Chow in Fort Lauderdale (Photos)

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Papa's Raw Bar: Lighthouse Point Gastropub With a Floridian Twist

Categories: Review

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All photos by CandaceWest.com
Papa's Raw Bar owner Troy Ganter.
Let New Orleans have its gumbo, Kansas City its barbecue, and Los Angeles and New York City their trend-setting concepts. Here in South Florida, we have our own enviable pedigree: Floribbean, best described as a fusion of island-inspired fare mixed with locally grown tropical fruits and fresh-caught fish. And at Papa's Raw Bar in Lighthouse Point, it's what's on the clipboard menu.

See also: Papa's Raw Bar in Lighthouse Point (Photos)

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Gabose Pocha Serves Casual Fare in South Florida's Own Koreatown

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Susan and Fred Kim, Co-Owners of Gabose Pocha.
The best-known section of University Drive in Lauderhill might be Koreatown. But drive too fast down the mile-long stretch between Commercial Boulevard and NW 44th Street and you could miss it. The area is home to just a handful of Korean barbecue restaurants and specialty markets, but it's the type of neighborhood where you can sample some of South Florida's best banchan, dine with a tabletop grill, and score a giant jar of kimchi -- all in one trip.

At the center of it all is Gabose, a 14-year-old restaurant that stands as the original landmark for this niche neighborhood and also the final foray in a series of establishments opened (and sold) by James Soonkuk Hong and Eunsuk Hong. Today, it's run by their daughter and her husband, Susan and Fred Kim.

See also: Closer Look: Gabose Pocha in Lauderhill (Photos)

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A Perfect Partnership: The Cook & the Cork Delivers Creative Comfort Fare in Coral Springs

Categories: Review

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Photo by Candace West
The Cook & the Cork co-owners Dena Lowell and Keith Blauschild.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after.

At the Cook & the Cork in Coral Springs, the tale goes a little differently. Chef meets event planner. They build a successful catering empire. They open a restaurant.

Parkland Catering owners Keith Blauschild and Dena Lowell are now partners in life as well as business. While managing staff, shuffling dishes, and filing invoices seven days a week might ruin the magic for some couples, for these two, the food business only seems to fuel their passion. They stare madly into each others' eyes as they inventory crates of tomatoes and stack boxes of noodles. Both agree that their businesses -- and the food they create -- wouldn't exist without their union.

See also: Closer Look: Cook & the Cork in Coral Springs

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Perfect Balancing Act: Thai and Sushi at Tamarind in Deerfield Beach

Categories: Review

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All photos by Candace West
Tamarind executive chef Jaruwat "Tom" Nanogkhai.
From Chiang Mai special noodle soup to spice-packed curries, Thai food is anything but simple. It's a complicated choreography of ingredients like fish sauce, dried shrimp paste, and lemongrass combined with seemingly incongruous spices such as coriander, basil, garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. But the heart of this cuisine is about balance, a chef mastering the full spectrum of flavors and creating a single, harmonious finish.

At Tamarind Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, a long-established Thai eatery in Deerfield Beach, that balance has been achieved by owner Khruawan Russmetes. From Thailand, she first came to the U.S. in the 1970s by way of New York, opening her first restaurant soon after. Missing her native country's warmer climes, Russmetes relocated to South Florida in 1982, selling her New England establishment and opening a second, Hialeah's Thai House. It was the first of a string of Thai eateries -- one closing here, another opening there -- as far south as Miami Beach. Several, including Thai House II in North Miami Beach and Thai House South Beach, are still in operation, albeit under new ownerships.

One thing they all had in common, however, is sushi.

See also: Pizzeria Oceano's Dak Kerprich Opening Swell Pizza in Delray Beach

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Madras Café Is Short on Service but Delivers Where It Counts: On Your Plate

Categories: Review

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Candace West
Owner Soye Thomas

A country of vast cultural dimension, tradition, and ethnic diversity -- and the fact that its people speak up to 17 languages and close to 1,000 dialects -- India is living proof variety is the spice of life.

In no facet of Indian life is this more true that in its gastronomy, which offers a wide range of diversity as you travel from north to south. And yet, here in the States, many Indian restaurants serve only the rich, buttery dishes of northern India, or Punjabi-style fare, never attempting the more exotic fare of the southern climes.

At Madras Café in Pompano Beach, the specialty is South Indian cuisine, a distinctly different set of dishes. If tikka masala and tandoori are all you've ever known, the menu at Madras is a welcome departure from the usual.

See also: Madras Cafe in Pompano Beach (Photos)

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Temple Street Eatery Offers Asian Fusion That Is Anything but Traditional

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
In the main dining room: Alex Kuk (general manager and co-owner) and Diego Ng (chef and co-owner).
Alex Kuk grew up in a restaurant family.

When other kids were out playing after school, Kuk was at work. While his friends celebrated holidays, he and his family were busy waiting on festive diners.

"It's not your typical lifestyle," says Kuk. "Family time is creative. Dinner may be at midnight at the restaurant. It all comes with the territory; it's not your standard 9 to 5."

Kuk, the grandson of a Miami restaurateur and nephew of Christina Wan (of the eponymous Mandarin House), and his family have owned dining establishments throughout South Florida since 1966.

And his Temple Street Eatery is the latest addition to the Wan family's roster.

See also: Temple Street Eatery in Fort Lauderdale (Photos)

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C-Viche Offers Peruvian Fusion in Pembroke Pines

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Chef Miguel Rios and the Camarones Jumbo C-Viche: Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp with hot aji Amarillo sauce cognac and spices served with Piura style rice.
Gastronomically speaking, Peru is a kaleidoscope of culture, the culmination of a nearly 500-year melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese, and Chinese soldered together by the country's own indigenous cuisine.

Quintessentially simple, many of the country's best dishes are peasants' fare: whole fish pulled from the Atlantic Ocean and cut and served raw, or rice and bean-based platters accented with pit-roasted meats.

While you can find pollo a la brasa on nearly any South Florida street corner, archetypical Peruvian fare like anticuchos (grilled skewers of meat and shellfish) or arroz chaufa (Peruvian-Chinese fried rice) can be harder to find.

In Pembroke Pines, however, you have some options thanks to a number of restaurants spread over a few miles west of I-95 along a Peruvian-inflected strip of Pines Boulevard.
This is where you will find C-Viche Restaurant, which joined the ranks of the area's small, family-run establishments about six months ago with little fanfare. Located in a strip mall best-known for the lure of craft doughnuts (Mojo Doughnuts is next door), the restaurant is easy to overlook despite a bold red sign.

See also: Old Heidelberg Serves an Authentic Bavarian Feast for Oktoberfest


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Old Heidelberg Serves an Authentic Bavarian Feast for Oktoberfest

Categories: Review

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CandaceWest.com
Few cultural festivals are more internationally celebrated than Oktoberfest, but odds are you have no idea how it came to be. It all started with a royal wedding.

On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in Munich. As was the case with any proper sovereign event, the area's commoners were invited to join in the affair. Festivities were set up on the fields next to the city's front gates. (The field picked up the moniker Theresienwiesse, or Therese's field, named for the princess.) The events culminated with a horserace, attended by the royals, several days later, on October 17. The following year, the horserace was repeated, resulting in the development of the tradition. Also, an agricultural show, intended to promote Bavarian agriculture, was added to the roster.

Over the past couple of centuries, much has changed. Carousel and games were incorporated. The dates were moved to late September to take advantage of better weather. And most important, a few beer stands with the backing of the local breweries, expanded to include massive tents and halls.

Once a local Bavarian festival, the two-plus week event now attracts more than 6 million visitors from around the globe. The pilgrimage, however, is no cheap thrill. So German bars, restaurants, beer halls, and cultural centers around the world honor the tradition in their own way.

Old Heidelberg Restaurant, New Times' 2014 pick for Best German Restaurant, is one of many.

See also: Rolling Into Pembroke Pines: Latin House Grill Proves Mobile Kitchens Have Staying Power

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