Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yellow Green Farmers Market

File this under “who knew?” … The last place that anyone would think of for a huge warehouse that was turned into a farmers market would be in a mid-level suburban area of Hollywood, but here it is. This HUGE, and yes I do mean huge, farmers market is practically hidden in the depths of suburbia but it’s actually quite easy to find and well worth it.

There is a collection of artisan cheese, olive, vegetable, seafood, and other food vendors, as well as stalls full of already cooked goods, and gifts. This actually comes close to many of the markets of larger cities and with just a few more people could equal them. It reminds me of the (much) larger market located in Washington DC. Just like that one, the Yellow Green Farmers Market. It was a delight to wonder thru on Sunday mornings, exploring all sorts of new food and ideas for cooking improvement. Snow or sun, I found myself there quite often.
Those days are long over but now, without snow, they have returned with this one magical place. It’s also open year around and it’s under shade. Not only that you can stop by and have an adult beverage and enjoy a nice brunch before you gather up your weekly groceries. I did not plan on getting anything here but my cooking needs came out and with a fresh spice booth, I was forced to get more rosemary and tomato flakes. Moving further up the isles I spot an olive vendor with fresh Kalamata olives that have my name on them. I’m looking forward to returning for a mimosa and breakfast and more spices.

They are open from early in the morning until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. You have to go and experience the smells and the excitement. Even if you don’t purchase anything, it’s a great way to spend a few hours. Parking is plentiful and free. 

The market is located at 1940 North 30th road in Hollywood Florida 33021.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Whiskey Tango

Outside of Whiskey Tango

Just to the left of I-95, there is a wonderful, if not underutilized street called Hollywood boulevard. It’s a fantastic place to live (I hope), or just walk around and people watch. 

There are so many bars and restaurants in the area it would be impossible for me to talk about them all in this single post. But don’t worry I’ll get around to them all, one day.

In the meantime, just this past week I was able to stop in to a little sports bar called Whiskey Tango. I’m not sure how the name evolved, as I think that is a pilot’s term, and I am sure there have never been any tango dancers here, but there you have it. By the way there is plenty of Whiskey here.

It was about a year ago that I met my soon to be wife at this very location, I can remember the exact seat and how we held hands within the first 10 minutes into our relationship. Our lives have never been the same since. So tonight we return as a couple, her with a ring on her finger, and me with a ring back in our house. 

The Salmon Burger (with no bun)
The bar itself is not the most romantic place to be sure, it’s a combination of a classic live band bar and sports bar. It also has a really nice outside area that is a bit quieter.
The beer selection is good and they can make almost any drink you desire. They also have good happy hour specials on drinks. I wanted to keep it simple and I opted for a gin and ginger ale, while Laura opted for a Stella Artois, a nice imported beer. We’ve both changed a little in this year, when she first met me, she asked me what my favorite football team was, to which I replied what is “football?”, while I asked her about her favorite beer and she asked me, why are you bringing up some girl named “Stella?” OK, that’s not exactly the way it happened but you get the picture.

The Veggie Burger
In the meantime we are back for our small celebration. Food here is reasonably priced, as are drinks, and everything from steak to veggie burgers are offered. Laura opted for the veggie burger and by her standards and mine it was very well made and better than average.  I went on the “build your own burger” menu – now that is fun – and went for the salmon burger. This was a great burger and with the fried onion topping it became perfect. The ample sides on both dishes were great including pickles and fires and more. By the way service here was spectacular.

While you may not find romance here, you should come for all the fun offered, including Ladies night, karaoke, bands, and lots of sports, including the heat-brewers game that we saw almost 365 days ago. They are located at 1903 Hollywood Blvd, (near Young Circle) in Hollywood, FL 33020 and parking here is real easy even late at night, though you may want to walk with a group when you are off the main street.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family Night at DiSalvo’s

Located at Emerald Woods Plaza, DiSalvo’s is a mix of the simple and ordinary that makes for a ‘just right’ experience. They are the classic neighborhood Italian style restaurant. And they indeed are ‘just right’ for this neighborhood. 

Going with my ‘family’, which includes my fiancĂ© and our neighbor, our night is to consist of pizza and Buffalo wings. Well actually that is pizza for the two girls and just a slice for me along with the bulk of the Buffalo wings.

The pizza gets close to real New York Pizza – yes I know, a snobbish remark, but when it’s done right almost all the time you have to ‘recognize’ – and the two girls are in love with it. The taste is good, slightly salty with an even texture. Warm and gooey cheese delights. The bread on the bottom is a little softer than I am used too, but good nonetheless. All and all this is a good pizza.

The Buffalo wings complete the meal with thicker than normal pieces and just the right amount of oils and sauce. I look forward to returning and trying out some of the more traditional dishes, like Stromboli’s or calzones. 

Since they deliver they are located at your house, or you can drive on over to their location at 4190 North 46th Avenue in Hollywood, Florida.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Root Vegetable Chicken Soup (from scratch)

Do you want to really impress your girlfriend or wife, or just as importantly yourself? My friends, making chicken soup from scratch is too easy not to give this a try. And here I am to help you out

So what do you need? Obviously raw chicken, and then your choice of onions (scallions in this case), rutabagas, carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables of your choice (or mine). You’ll also want to add in pasta.
This is an easy one dish meal and with the exception of the cutting board, you won’t need to use anything else. Because cleaning is never fun.

So step one is to pour about 3 cups of water and put it on medium heat. It will boil in time, and you will need that time to slice up the (raw) chicken. The bonus in that is you get to use a big knife to do it. And I do love knives. I generally like to use boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets. Be sure to scrape off the obvious fat, as you don’t need that around your waist. Don’t worry there will be more than enough for flavor. Cut the chicken one by one into small size bits, less than ½ inch. By the time you cut the chicken apart your water should be boiling. If you want, at this point add just tablespoon of olive oil and a small amount of salt. Wow that’s a long step one…
Next let the chicken cook slowly and cut up the rutabagas, and carrots and onions. You’ll want them to be cooked slowly so they come out tender and soft.

Now that the chicken is getting close to done (about 10 minutes, you can add in the dry pasta. I used angel hair pasta, and rather than break it up in two, I broke it in thirds. I want soup, not spaghetti here. There will be enough water to cook the pasta in. But you can always add in more water. At this point you can add the spices in… the chicken stock and fat will give it a superb flavor and the spices will top it off. I used cumin, curry, and real garlic for the kick, and rosemary, dill weed and basil for the chicken.

After the pasta is moving (not stiff) you can add in the vegetables and lower the temperature. Now all you have to do is wait. In fact just keep it on the lowest setting of warm for about 30-45 minutes so that all the flavors blend and the vegetables become saturated and soft. Trust me it will be perfect after that. This recipe should give you enough for 4 servings.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ruby’s Chen’s Restaurant

There is a hidden Jem in the dark side of town. Well, actually it’s in a shopping center that’s on State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale. The actual location is 913 State Road 84, and it’s in the same shopping center as Slacker’s.

They say that the more you can NOT understand the accent of the restaurant cooks and staff the better the food is. Ruby Chen’s is a simple hole in the wall easily overlooked Chinese takeout restaurant.  Well actually it has about 6 tables inside so you could eat inside. Scratch that, you SHOULD eat inside just for the surreal experience of watching the people come in out.

The food here is cheap and way good. It was an accidental discovery for me. I had a few meetings before work and I needed lunch, the shopping center is close to my job and so I thought I would stop there for some quick food. Fast food is generally never good food except in the case of Chinese fast food. The lunch special pricing here is very good as well.

Nice sized lunch portion!
Yummy and mysterious Hot and Sour Soup!
But what I found that was excellent was the hot and sour soup. Made without pork, its chock full of goodness, including lots of mushrooms, tofu, and the rest of the magical mysterious ingredients. It has to be one of the best hot and sour soups I have had to date. The main entre was fantastic too, pepper steak with peppers and onions.
So to all you lunch breakers and quick dinner getters, the best take out Chinese place in Fort Lauderdale is no longer a secret. 

The side trip – almost next door to Ruby Chen’s is a Beal’s Outlet store. Normally they have nothing of note, but on this day, my first trip to the restaurant, I stopped in and found three vintage style/Latin style shirts by Cubavera. At just $10 they are a steal and even on a bloggers limited budget I can afford that… Good food and good style is the surprise that can make anyone’s day.