Monday, April 26, 2010

joie de vivre's for april

new food fantasticals. place's that will keep you wanting to come back.

epicure gourmet market in sunny isles beach

i have a tendency to spend my lunch breaks at either fresh market or whole foods because what's second to eating food, looking at food. so when i discovered epicure on collins avenue, i was afraid that completing  important work tasks was going to be impossible. between their deli, hot foods, produce, full bar, wine collection, exetensive cheese collections, seafood varieties, isles and isles of international groceries and my cryptonite - desserts, galore... i just didn't know what to do with myself. i wanted to unleash my grazing muscles when i saw the assortments of chocolates, baked goods and cakes. there was a point where my face was so close to the glass case, that my breath had created a fog. i didn't stay long once i realized that i was close to grocery shopping for items that would have hit an all time carb high. this was a serious charlie and the chocolate factory moment. amazing.

racks italian kitchen in north miami beach

my, oh my does this place make a good panini. they bake their bread in a huge coal oven and with choices like eggplant, grilled chicken and chicken parm - you are not going to be able to resist. i love eating at this place, especially in their back patio which looks over the water. if you own a boat, just dock waterside and dine like the baller you are.  their panini's are big enough for two (but let's be selfish and take the rest home for later) and it's accompanied with a great house or ceasar salad. finish your savory lunch with a perfect cappuccino and be on your way to whatever you deem more important. racks is owned by gary rack, who also owns my other favorite neighborhood eatery, table 42 in boca raton. so yes - that means $5 burgers every wednesday night. but if you're closer to north miami, i'd take the racks dive because they also offer $5 quartinos and $5 finger licking good chicken wings every wednesday night. i love the low key feel of the restaurant and eat here at least once a week.

hakkasan - fontainebleau in miami beach

this place is a chinese food palace. my sister and i got to try some exceptional items from the menu and just felt spoiled. we had the crispy duck salad (waffles, as i like to call her, did not even try it because duck isn't her lingo) but i devoured it. the duck was cooked perfect and paired with salad which made it light and delectable. what waffles and i ended up having a fork fight over was the roasted satay chicken. bite sizes pieces of deliciousness! another treat was the sha cha chilean seabass which had a great ginger-soy sauce. hakkasan is known for their great dim sum lunch menu, which i will certainly stop by for one day and try a few of their steamed, deep fried and seared options. the decor is extravagent, with rich hues and elaborate furnishings. the overall experience here is private, upscale, fun and tasty - go, go, go.

gran forno bakery in ft. lauderdale

such a cute little italian bakery located right in the middle of las olas in ft. lauderdale. they bake a variety of breads such as focaccia, ciabatta and filone. i only had time to grab a cup of cappuccino - which was the perfect mix of espresso, steam milk and hot milk. took a bag of small italian cookies & macaroons (chocolate covered, of course) to go and was on a sweet, italian high. the bakery was filled with oversized muffins, quiches, tarts and breads flowing out the windows. leaving the store, i saw a was a very handsome baker rolling dough from the window and i quickly decided that i must buy ciabatta or an oversized muffin - SOON.

julio's natural foods in north miami beach

i was originally duped into believing that mexican was for lunch when told that i was going to a restaurant called julio's. julio's and all - this restaurant was no mexican joint. it's a healthy emporium of juices, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, wraps, fruits and much, much more. there is so much to choose from, that the waiter gave up after a good twenty minutes of my indecisiveness and my holy friend had to finally call him back over to let him know i had (kind of) made up my mind. i got the avacado salad with grilled chicken (an assortment of mushrooms, cilantro, mixed greens, avacado, spinach, tomatos, carrots, cucumbers and bean sprouts) and he ordered the grilled chicken with organic quinoa and fresh veggies. he also insisted that i tried the 'green goddess' vegetable juice which had celery, parsley, cucumber, spinach, cilantro, apple, greens and lime. as ridiculously unappealing as everything sounds - it was all so refreshing and satisfying. even the green juice, which wasn't even pretty to look at, tasted so good. i loved how healthy everything was and managed to have a decent amount of flavor. we even tried the baked apple and pears dessert. they bake the fruits and top it with cinnamon and honey - very impressed. great lunch spot.