Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category

A question asked–my answer   Leave a comment


Someone asked me a question about my restaurant reviews and this is what I answered–hopefully it will help and not add to the inquirer’s confusion.

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County where there are over 2,000 restaurants and it is too hard to keep a record of how many open and close within ONE year.

I have/had been in the restaurant business 38 years, all positions, now retired and the biggest problem I have found is that too many restaurants open before they are ready to open and/or don’t have enough money to see them through a year.

With all that said I am pretty easy with restaurants as I really don’t expect much except a clean place, good food—doesn’t have to be great!–good servers–not necessarily super stars but at least show that they have been trained well. With prices as high as they are today, with a choice of 4 types of restaurants starting with full service, followed by buffets, then the new fast casual and finally fast food, a restaurant really don’t get a second chance Added to that is the fact there are too many choices of each types of food. In 1970 we had 2 Mexican restaurants now I can count 23. Italian restaurants? There are 9 within 2 miles from where I live. Just recently, within 1 mile we have 3 Cuban restaurants and Peruvian restaurants are growing faster than I can count.

I eat out twice a week, one usually fast casual or lower priced full service and another a new one. I have 5-6 favorite restaurants that I try to get to 2-3 times a year at least. Add to that I am a Leap Year baby which means I have (and only celebrate) a birthday every 4 years with a dinner party at a restaurant, usually a new one, that I have tried in the intervening years and comes Saturday, February 29, 2020 I will be celebrating my turning 21 at the Nabu restaurant if #1 They are still open and #2 I haven’t come across a newer, better one. My last birthday was in 2016 and I held a dinner for 22 people at Cafe Vico and I couldn’t have asked for better food, service, atmosphere or evening.

I usually will try to speak to a manager if I find something wrong–some listen, some don’t. I see over 100 movies a year in theatres–maybe, if I am lucky, I will see 5 or 6 that I would want to see again. Why do I bring this up? Too many people today don’t have the money to go to movies anymore and certainly not to eat out. I don’t like to see any business close or employees lose employment but I know I read reviews for restaurants, movies, plays, etc., so I won’t waste my time and money.

I soon learn who to trust when when reading their reviews and who not to. For instance there is a critic in South Florida that I know if they dislike some place chances are I will love it!

Didn’t mean to go on so long–I appreciate your note and just wanted to explain a little–which turned into a lot!–of where my head is at regarding my posting reviews! I reviewed 2 restaurants recently–VALE FOOD CO and CAO Bakery & Cafe–each had something good but I won’t be returning to either because there were too many negative things that should have been taken care of before they opened if not after customers brought it to their attention. Hope you find some great places to eat!

Martin

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VALE FOOD CO–restaurant review   1 comment

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The second time in a week that I was to a restaurant in a location that has failed before, the dish I had was excellent but everything else was either blah or downright not good.

We had other plans but with the water situation the few places we wanted to go to were closed and I had a coupon for this place  that had been another restaurant for a short time. Vale has kept the same set up which is fats casual, line up for your food, get it, pay and go look for a table, hopefully to find one that isn’t dirty, sticky and still have used plates on it.

I had the small Aci bowl which is normally $7.99 but with the coupon I got it free as long as I bought a drink, which I did and cost $3.52 with tax.

The Aci bowl was really good with bananas, strawberries, granola, something like a blueberry cream sauce but the drink, organic lemonade made with sugar cane and blue agave that tasted like gasoline

If nothing else that ‘drink’ would keep me from ever going to that place again but the dirty tables was/is even more of a reason not to go back.

Peppers are popping   1 comment

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I think Mother Nature does it just to drive ME crazy!!
 
About a year or so ago while cleaning a pepper to put in a salad I took the seeds and helter-skelter threw them in a plant pot I had on the window ledge. (Shhhh—it is against the rules here to have anything on the window sills!) The plant itself grew pretty quickly and then eventually had a few blossoms and last, but not least, I had one full pepper to put in a salad again.
 
Over the last few months there were plenty of blossoms that all died off and then last week I counted about 20 blooms. This past week, up to yesterday, there were 4-5 blossoms turning into peppers–they look like they will all survive and maybe I’ll get a few more.
 
How can anyone be bored??? There is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered and I plan on finding new things, including seeds becoming peppers indoors!

Posted June 27, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, HOME, LIFE, Uncategorized

Some call it lazy–I call it efficient!   Leave a comment

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Every Saturday I spend an hour preparing complete dinners for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights (or if I am going to the theatre then the Tuesday meal is for Wednesday!) Usually the main course is either made in the crockpot, microwave or is a frozen dinner. I usually put the meal on a bed of 10 ounces frozen ‘riced veggies’ made out of cauliflower and the evening I am going to eat it I will put salsa & chopped onions on top of everything–I do like QUANTITY!! :O)
 
In picture #1 A is turkey B (far left) is sausage and eggs C macaroni and D is a quarter of chicken. I usually mix up a bowl of mixed veggies, a can of corn, jar of mushrooms and each dish gets some of that plus for variety each dish gets a separate veggie whether it be spinach, California veggie mix, etc.  Hard to believe but each dish is about 600 calories!!
 
In picture 2 the main courses are on the bottom shelf (c)–the top shelf has 4 bowls of mixed frozen fruit–usually pineapple, berries and peaches–and 4 ounce containers of yogurt–1 strawberry and 1 vanilla which I will either eat separately or top the fruit with–while the middle shelf are 4 bowls of salad consisting of Romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes and I will put dressing on 2 of them and on the other 2 when I am ready to eat them.
 
I eat lunch out Thursday & Friday and in the evening I have a ‘treat’ and then it is Saturday again! :O)

Posted May 26, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

I HAD to buy it!!!   Leave a comment

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Do you know the name of the 4 little rabbits in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter? Do you know how Peter Rabbit’s father died? Do you know the name of the gardener where Peter Rabbit got into trouble?
 
What does all this have to do with anything? All the ‘experts’ tell you the best time to buy electronics, linens, cars, even gas but they never tell you the best time to buy chocolates! Well, I am here to correct that mistake!
It is no secret to those who know the best time to buy chocolates and candies is the day/week after Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc., whenever they are ‘pushed’ to buy as a present and where you ask? All supermarkets, drugstores and, yes, even the Dollar Tree stores where they go from a dollar each to 2 for a dollar!
 
I went into Winn-Dixie Thursday to buy my winning lotto tickets (HA!) and my weekly groceries. The service desk for the former was right near the entrance to the aisles for the latter and I had to pass a table loaded with boxes of chocolate/candy. (The manager, for whatever reason ordered way too much for the holiday!) Now I really wasn’t going to buy anything when ‘it’ all of a sudden called my name and said, “Please, please, take me home!”
 
How could I say “No” to a rabbit holding a carrot?? Plus it was  ‘only’ $1.99–come on, a Hershey bar costs more than that these days! And it had the story of Peter Rabbit and that’s how I found out the answers to the questions in the first paragraph, besides I didn’t know rabbits love blueberries, did you?
 
As I write this it is only 9 days until the Monday after Mother’s Day and I can make all mothers proud of me for not letting gifts intended for them to go to waste–and you thought I wasn’t a thoughtful guy!!

Posted May 4, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, LIFE, Uncategorized

Croissant Time French Bakery   1 comment

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I have a ‘thing’–well a few things–when it comes to restaurants such as I like a scoop of vanilla ice cream after spicy foods or  if I find a restaurant I like I will continue going even if, for whatever reasons, something goes wrong ONCE, twice I won’t go back. I, also, will tell an owner or manager, in a place I am familiar with what went wrong and in many cases, they want to pick up the check or take the item off the menu but I won’t allow it if I ate the food or accidents–like a drink spilled on clothes–didn’t happen.
 
Just as an aside: if anyone went out of their way I will also tell the manager/owner that as they like to hear the good things along with the bad especially they usually get a lot more of the latter.
 
Okay, what’s this all about? After eating at Fat Boyz BBQ I wanted something sweet, preferably ice cream. By the way, the last 4 restaurants we ate in the area didn’t have ice cream(!) and between where we were and the Broward Performing Arts Center except for a DD and Baskin Robbins store there isn’t an ‘ice cream’ store unless you want to fight the hassle of going, parking and enjoying Kilwin’s before going to the theatre and even at the BPAC they serve all kinds of snacks in lobby but no ice cream! We decided to go to Croissant Time though it isn’t the easiest place to get to from the BBQ restaurant. 
 
Walking in the center part of the store you can be overwhelmed by the sights of French pastry in all sizes, colors and aromas but to the left is a small ice cream section. Allen headed to the pastries and I headed for the ice creams. It turned out there were 6 flavors of sorbet (makes sense in a French place) and 2 ice creams. The ice cream choice was easy for me as 1 was coffee and as much coffee every day I don’t like coffee ice cream. As it is I don’t even remember the flavor though looking at the picture I want to say that is butter pecan under the wild black currant sorbet. Allen had 2 pastries with his sorbet.
 
Two things made my order a disaster! The first was how hard the ice cream and sorbet was and I mean HARD!! I seriously thought the poor guy scooping it out would not only break the scoop but his wrist also. It was understandable that the scoops were very small but the butter pecan was like ice–not ice cream–and the sorbet was gritty.
 
I will definitely go back to Croissant Time but will stay in the center of the store!
 
Any easy to get to places in the downtown area for a good ice cream treat?


Posted April 30, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized

Fat Boyz BBQ–Fort Lauderdale–Restaurant Review   1 comment

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It has been a bad week for movies and restaurants! As creatures of habit, we usually go to Quarterdeck before attending a show at BPAC but they are closed while making a transfer to their newly built location so we decided to go to the newest of 4-5 restaurants that have been in this location before.

It doesn’t look much different than the last two BBQ places there and as they did at the end of their run Fat Boyz BBQ is also a fast-casual restaurant which when you are paying $15.50 plus tax seems to say that they should be full service but that’s not my main quarrel with this place.
I ordered the 5 dry rib bbq which came with 2 sides. The ribs are served on paper on a tray with the 2 sides in small plastic cups and you help yourself to plastic knives and forks and get your own soft drinks.

On the plus side is the order taker, Tatty according to the receipt, who was pleasant, told us to take our time and after paying handed us a number stand to take to the table. (That’s the first trip the customer has to take to the table, then you go for the drinks, then you go for plastic ware, etc.) Oh, by the way, there are menus around but most customers will get a crick in their neck looking up at the written menu on the board above the bar.

The ribs were good and there are 3 sauces on the table. The two sides I ordered were Cole Slaw and mac ‘n cheese. The slaw tasted as it came out of a gallon premixed bottle and, the nicest way I can put it is the mac ‘n cheese was the worst I ever tasted! It was like a ball of glue so I didn’t say anything as at least it was only a small scoop!

I wonder what will be the next food place in this location?

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