Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mozart Cafe



“Next year we shall be in Jerusalem.” If you’re Jewish, or have an affinity with or towards the Jewish people you will know the meaning of those words spoken every Passover. Leaving behind the many other aspects of Jerusalem and its sister city Tel Aviv, one of the things they are quickly being known for is for being a ‘foodie’ paradise. A trip to Jerusalem however is a bit long for me right now. But fortunately Mozart Café of Hollywood is just a bit closer.

Mozart’s is a 100% kosher restaurant. If you can’t fit this food inside your kosher diet, you might as well just give it up. That’s just one reason why it is so popular with the residents of the Emerald Hills area of Hollywood, which has a very devout Jewish community.

Located right on Sterling Road, the restaurant might be easy to miss, but once you know where it is, you’ll never forget it. They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner until 2am every day except for “Shabbat” which is from sundown on Friday night to Sundown on Saturday night. 

The food here is simply amazing. In my younger days I associated the term ‘Kosher’ with uninteresting and boring food. Here however it is quite the opposite. 

I’ve been here with my co-partner in life Laura, and we’ve had breakfast and dinner. Their breakfast portions are quite large and could fill up a person so much that they might not miss lunch. It would be the perfect thing for those who get lost in a dessert for say 40 years. One of my favorite (breakfast) dishes is the Mediterranean Shakshuka, which has its own unique sauce, with roasted eggplant and feta and olives. This Israeli origin dish is sure to please.

They also have a large selection of Sandwiches and Panini’s. I was able to sample the spicy tuna Panini’s, which was made with regular tuna (not sushi tuna), peppers, coriander and a spicy tomato paste, black olives were added of course. On the side we shared a smoothie.

If you are not in the mood for sandwiches or eggs, you can always go for the kosher sushi. They have a large selection as you can see in the photos. Laura and my favorite selections include the spicy tuna, which could be just a tad spicier, the JB roll, and a salmon lover’s roll. You can check out their extensive menu on line at www.mozartcafehollywood.com or just stop on in. 

Be warned the service here is not quick, and inside with children it can get a bit louder than you might desire. But it’s worth it anyway. If you’re in a rush go to MacDonald’s, if you want to actually enjoy your food, and relax with loved ones then you need to come here. If you live a kosher lifestyle and haven’t been here yet, then this will certainly be your new second home. They are located at 4433 Stirling Road in Dania, FL, 33314.

Side note: I’ve been experimenting in Photoshop with “vintage film” borders for my photos. Let me know what you think about that on these photos.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Siam Rice Thai & Tapas



Two Dos Equis begin our evening

So, what do the good people of the world do in celebration of Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Independence Day)? Well, mostly we gringos go and drink ourselves to oblivion, while the Mexicans who should be celebrating are busy serving us. I’m hoping that inside Mexico itself there are more festive times. 


Now that the commentary is out of the way. Laura and I decide that it’s our civic duty as ‘mericans’ to celebrate the independence of the neighbors just south west of us. Cuba is actually just south of us to be exact. 

Pad Thai with Chicken
A few months ago we had a very romantic evening at PatronAzteca Mexican Restaurant (click for the link). And as the only Mexican restaurant in the immediate area it would seem the most logical location for our holiday celebration. It would seem that way… until we actually arrive there to the standing room only crowd. So our celebration would have start someplace else. And that leads us to Siam Rice Thai & Tapas. It’s just across the parking lot from Patron Azteca.

Siam Rice Noodles

In keeping with the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, and lacking Tequila, we start the night off with two Dos Equis. Despite the successful advertising campaign, it’s still not a mainstream beer. Its medium body works well with the Thai food that we thoroughly enjoyed.


The food here is fresh, colorful, and true to taste. It’s not ‘fusion’ or some nonsense like that, it’s real Thai food. I had the Siam Rice noodles, which for the initiated are like very thin spaghetti noodles, but they are made from rice, as opposed to pasta. This was a delicious dish, and surprisingly rather mild. I usually associate Thai food with spiciness, but not here. Laura had the more traditional Pad thai, which is noodles with tofu (or chicken, beef or whatever) and mixed vegetables, covered with peanuts.

 
The service was quick and easy and quite delightful. Perhaps because of the holiday it was a slower night, but not for us. When you want a change in flavors you should come down here. They are located at 5071 Sheridan St., Hollywood FL 33021




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mr. M's Sandwich Sub Shop



With all due respect to Subway, they will NEVER, and I repeat never get the art of making a sandwich just right. While their sandwiches may be adequate for the nutrition needs of supermodels, who eat nothing, for real humans Subway sandwiches are undernourishment meals at best.

Subways are many. Real sub shops in this part of the nation are rare. You could go to New York, or Chicago or Philadelphia or any other large old city and walk into your neighborhood sub shop and 2 minutes later come out with a magnificent sub. Magnificent subs are what Mr. M’s serve. Perhaps Mr. M should be called Mr. Magnificent.

I was introduced to Mr. M’s at my regular Job. (No, I am not a full time blogger – at least yet!). The people at work are ‘old school’ type people. They’re gonna’ chose a real sub shop at every opportunity. So would I. And so should you. What is served here is simply old school subs. The kind you might have had back in the time you lived in Philly or NY or those kinds of places. Thick and rich, with substantially more meats than you would ever find at a subway, or even Publix. Sorry Publix, you do so many things so well, except this. Orders come with standard and fresh lettuce, tomato, onions, oil and vinegar, mayo, mustard and of course meat and cheese. 

Make the trip to anyone of their two destinations, and I promise, you will be converted and you will never willingly go back to subway. You can find one on 1975 Sterling Road in Dania Beach and the other on 3325 South University Drive in Davie.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Aspaclaria Judaica



They are not shy about saying they are the largest!

The motto is true, “bigger IS better” and what can be better than the “biggest” Judaica store in all of Florida? Well lots of things perhaps, but certainly not a smaller Judaica store. Located in North Miami, just south of the Aventura Mall, on Biscayne Boulevard, Aspaclaria is a ‘mecca’ for local Judaica shoppers. 


A “Jewish” home needs to be a Jewish home, and much in the same way you might go to Ikea or an antique store to get your couches, tables and beds, you need to go (if you are Jewish) to a Judaica store to get your spiritual furniture not just for your home, but for your “spiritual home” as well.

And this is just ONE section of books!

We are called the “people of the book” and just about every prayer book can be found here, and in several languages. Artscroll is the predominate source of literature, but there are many other publishers here as well. There are many books in Hebrew (as there should be) and a fair amount in Spanish as well. Native Spanish speakers will do well here with the bilingual staff; actually they speak Hebrew as well, so perhaps they are tri-lingual. I really do like that they can match the online prices from the Artscroll website. With my love of cooking I am instantly drawn to the many kosher cooking books available.


The large Judaica Selection
Their selection of Jewelry and ritual items is just as large. As you can see in the photo, they stock everything from Kiddush Cups to Candle Holders and beyond. Many of them are in sterling silver, or at least silver plated. These are gifts that you get for generations. They also have many affordable items for those just starting out. 


So for those who live here, and for those who visit, it’s far easier to purchase Judaica items when you actually see them as opposed to going online. Don’t worry Amazon.com I still love ya’.  You can find them at 17900 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33160.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Indian Chicken Curry & Rice


Love the exotic taste of Indian food? Who doesn’t! Fortunately it’s not hard to make at all, it, like all my other meals just takes a little bit of time. 

You’ll need chicken (naturally), chick peas, stewed tomatoes, an onion, curry, cumin, chili powder, green chilies, garlic, and healthy brown rice.
 
To start, in a large pan, brown the (chopped) onion on slow heat… in the meantime cut up the chicken. What I find really helps is that the chicken is slightly frozen for easier cutting.

 
– Side note: Take a look at the new knife! It’s a premium Wusthof 7 Inch Santoku Chef’s Knife. This baby is sharp, and solid, you can tell the construction is superb. Now back to our story – 

Not solid frozen but still cold. Think of about a day or day and a half in the refrigerator after being in the freezer. Next step, chop the chicken into small ¼ inch or so size pieces and drop them into the pan as you chop them up. Remember to keep the temperature on medium or below.
Simmer the onion and chicken together for about 10 minutes, then take the can of stewed tomatoes, drain it, and chop up the tomatoes, then add that to the pan, along with the entire can of chick peas. 

Now it’s SPICE time, add in about a spoon full of the curry, cumin, chili powder, green chilies (if you have them) and garlic. On a side burner you can start the brown rice… simmer the ingredients and stir frequently. 
 
On the first photo you can see the fine results and it goes great paired with a pinot noir.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bring your own art night…



What could be more fun than a bring your own art night? A "Bring your own wine and learn how to do art night!" And that is exactly what I did this past Saturday Night.

Started by Columbian born artist Elsa Victorios, Victorios Art Studio located in Fort Lauderdale is a place for the serious and novice alike. On a Saturday date night myself, fiancée Laura and Laura’s BFF, whose name is also Laura found ourselves in one of their very popular bring your own “beverage” and learn to paint classes. 

Our teacher (should I say professor?) was perhaps one of the most patient artists I have ever met. Step by step he taught us how to produce a masterpiece perspective street scene. Literally one line at a time and one brush stroke at a time.  Armed with wine, a few snacks and our wits, we set out, each one of us in the class of 20 to become new Michelangelos. 

The night was very jovial and led to conversations of all kinds. You know an art class is going well, when verbal support for ninjas are given and received. At the end of the class we were able to take home our masterpieces. We were not attacked by any ninjas by the way. 

The studio hosts BYOB Art parties, birthday parties, and classes for more serious students as well as children and teenagers. On their website they have serious discounted prices. Within reason it’s not about the money for them, it’s about the results. And that is really proof of Ms. Victorios’ passion. 

The studio is located at 934 North Victoria Park Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304, or visit their very well done website www.victoriosart.com