Sunday, May 15, 2011

delray delights

brule bistro in delray beach

my beautiful friend stefania giommoni - a real deal italian foodie - and i got to check out the dining scene in a smaller section of downtown delray beach called pineapple grove. it's relatively new with art shops, residential buildings, clothing stores, salons and a few restaurants. we searched some menus online and brule bistro was an instant win. the restaurant looks like an open market and i would recommend eating in their outdoor patio to truly enjoy the weather. we went on a friday night, ordered a bottle of malbec and conquered the diverse menu of heavy french and italian influences. 

for appetizers we ordered the beef carpaccio flatbread with caramelized onions, arugula and a gorgonzola horseradish cream and duck confit egg rolls - which was a fun play on the classic french dish duck confit (leg of duck) turned into egg rolls. the egg rolls came with a sweet chili sauce and a pureed mango mustard sauce. while nomming on those we were presented with a complimentary bite from the kitchen. they were small fried balls (croquettes) stuffed with heavenly prosciutto and gruyere cheese. stef and i wished that they would have thrown more of the freebies to us but our main courses kept us from asking for extra. 

stefania ordered the port braised short rib with maine lobster and a garganelli (egg-based pasta) style mac & gouda cheese. i tried another french classic called bouillabaisse served with a mixture of fresh seafood (lobster, mussels, clams) immersed in a rich, flavorful soup. between the appetizers and entrees, we couldn't believe all this great food had existed in delray beach. it was all truly very, very good. the service was great and of course the red wine played it's role in helping enjoy the sophisticated yet simply prepared dishes.

everything was spot on here and i've already babbled on about how great all the dishes were to some friends so they can check out delray's top new restaurant. can't wait to dine again with stefania and talk like we're food connoisseurs (thank goodness for spellcheck because i struggled just trying to spell the word let alone actually be one.)

city oyster in delray beach

atlantic avenue is packed with tons of restaurants allowing hungry diners to choose from every style of food to eat. for seafood and sushi you really cannot go anywhere else but city oyster. a restaurant that is pretty much packed every night and rightfully so. i joined my high school sweetheart a.k.a best friend lauren asher, the recently married emily nicolas and nyc's very own laura ambrosio for a good old fashioned girls night out on atlantic avenue. the three were in the same sorority in college and were getting together since they all happened to be in town at the same time. okay - emily's new hubby brent was there too but ended up being a fun oyster aficionado to have at the table.

i'm soaking up all the time possible before my asher basher leaves south florida and starts a new journey with her beau sloan stuart in st. louis. she's the epitome of the kind of friend you can look up to and undoubtedly respect. since the day i met her in ninth grade, i was in awe of how determined she was to succeed in every aspect of life and i must attribute a lot of my accomplishments in high school and on just from having her around. if lauren asher believes in you, you're as good as gold and i'm fortunate to still be able to count on her friendship, support and laughs to this very day. plus - i may or may not have made her promise that the guest bedroom in their new home is named after me, since i will be visiting often.

dinner that night was awesome. asher went for the swordfish over a creamy mascarpone polenta, myself and the rest of the group went for sushi and oysters. a little spicy tuna here and a little oyster delicacy there. you must get the tuna love roll (spicy tuna, tempura flakes, avocado) - it's simple yet done so well. emily and brent were going to town with the oysters. they just had them coming one after the other. brent showed us his technique of mixing the oysters served on the half shell along with the accompanying sauces. i'll be honest though, just picking up one of the oysters and squeezing a little lemon over it was my favorite way to enjoy it. they didn't need anything else... just slipped into your mouth and worth all the pretty pennies they end up costing.

it's all fresh at city oyster and top quality. one of delray's finest restaurants and a classic spot now that seems to outlast pretty much all the other establishments on atlantic avenue. the three blondes and i ended the night ended at paddy mcgee's - a local irish pub with a stellar live band. we danced and sang our hearts out... adding to the best of times i'll always cherish with asher.

delray affair

this isn't a write up on a restaurant but i couldn't let my blissful day spent a few weeks back - with my rockin/catch-her-if-you-can sister shafia and the equally as lovely andrea alvarez - at the delray affair go without mention. the three of us are always like little girls when we're together. we get excited over the simplest things and are fortunate enough to make the best of every moment shared. andrea has become like a sister to both shafia and i - she has such a genuine soul and it makes me so happy that shaf has such a well-rounded and kind best friend like her.

the delray affair is street fair that takes places once a year for a weekend, packed with hundreds of arts & crafts, food and anybody who has anything to sell vendors all up & down the closed streets of atlantic avenue. you name it, they're selling it and it's a hell of a good time. shaf, andrea and i frolicked the fair for a few hours enjoying the sunny day in delray beach. we had some good brews at the office then food hopped trying gyros, sausage and onions, shredded beef sandwiches, cupcakes (from the already blogged about cupcake couture) and some fudge too. there was a crazy live band performing in a tucher beer tent, where we happily posted for some time. the sausage and onions served in a bun is best thing you can get there. i have been craving it since i had some that day.

overall, it's a nice break from the traditional events that take place in south florida. whether you want to buy jewelry, art or food... take it as an opportunity for a nice stroll in the high-energy environment that's decked out with people and pets galore. i am a big fan of the delray affair.