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Tag Archives: Delray Beach

Man’s Stomach’s Best Friend

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Today’s entry on Mastication Monologues is a short one and the penultimate in my Florida food chronicle.  My final lunch on vacation took place in an eatery called Dune Dog Cafe located at 775 N. Alt A1A  Jupiter, Florida.  I didn’t know what really to expect in terms of food, but my parents were raving about it.

So when we arrived, it was a small, tropical shack of sorts that was all open air dining which once again made me wonder what they did when the winds and rain picked up as they always seemed to do in the afternoon in Florida?IMG_2972IMG_2968IMG_2737  Pondering aside, it looked like the natives were quite restless as a line streamed out the front of the hut as we attempted to find a spot in their meager parking lot.  After about 45 minutes of leaning up against our rental car, baking in the noon sun, and watching crowds of urchins wrestle with each other as their mothers attempted to corral them, our reservation name was called.  We made our way around to the back part of the restaurant.  It was more relaxing since we didn’t have hordes of hungry diners giving us the evil eye for not eating quickly enough.  After looking over the menu that had mainly American food like burgers, salads, hot dogs, and chicken wings, I went for the last option.  Ten wings with half barbecue sauce and half sesame sauce.  The prices were very reasonable (5-12 dollars for a meal.  Apparently, one of the waiter’s mom’s worked with my mom’s friend who we were eating with, so we got a free appetizer called “Yankee nachos”.IMG_2969  Being Yankees ourselves, we found it interesting that they see us as people who only eat potatoes instead of tortilla chips.  Regional differences aside, this was one tasty platter.  It consisted of waffle fries piled high with all the classic nacho toppings like two types of cheddar, olives, guacamole, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos.  Once we all polished that off, my wings came out, and they looked like a smaller version of Hooter’s wings that I am ever so fond of. IMG_2970 As for the taste, I was greatly satisfied.  Not only was there plenty of meat, but the crisp batter, smoky barbecue sauce, and slightly aromatic sesame sauce really made me think that something this great for the cheap price was fowl.  Actually, the only thing that ruffled my feathers was the bleu cheese dressing that seemed oddly acidic.  Nevertheless, as I wiped the sticky saucy aftermath from my fingers and mouth, I could see that Dune Dog truly did live up to the hype.

So if you want to check out a great family restaurant that has a beach vibe far from any sandy shore, hit up Dune Dog Cafe.

Dune Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Cradle of Deliciocracy

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Tikanis, people?  That’s “what’s up?” in Greek which is the language spoken at today’s reviewed eatery in, you guessed it if you’ve been reading my latest entries, Delray Beach, Florida.  If you haven’t been reading through, some highlights include me taking down a giant chicken sandwich, eating a breakfast jammed in a burger, and a sexually titled sushi platter.  So, after having Italian the previous day, I wanted to continue the Mediterranean theme with a proper Greek dinner or maybe I just had a hankering for some good Feta cheese.

After a bit of sleuthing through the online food directories, I found Zorba’s Taverna that had a lot of great reviews where people raved about the tasty eats at reasonable prices.  Perfect.  It didn’t look like much from the outside as it was located in a strip mall, and coming from Chicago, I’m normally used to them looking like the white-washed buildings in Santorini.IMG_2957  The sign on the door, on the other hand, already provided me with a taste of the Greek hospitality to come (thankfully sans broken plates). IMG_2956 The place was moderately busy, but the seats quickly were occupied as we managed to beat the crowd rushing the doors trying to get out of the rain.  Our waiter slowly sauntered over, and he seemed slightly off for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on.  Nevertheless, he was amiable.  Inside, Zorba’s Taverna was the Greek diner I was expecting complete with a classic Hellenic blue and white motif everywhere along with a fitting tribute to the Anthony Quinn film that serves as inspiration for the restaurant’s name.IMG_2951 IMG_2950 IMG_2949  After looking over the menu that had all of the classic Greek dishes that they’ve served since antiquity like spanokopita, souvlaki, and baklava along with a couple newer Greek innovations like saganaki that was reinvented right in Greektown in my hometown of Chicago.  My mom got an order of the saganaki ($8.95) for us to share to start off.  For those who have never had the pleasure of trying saganaki, the name describes how the cheese, in this case vlahotyri, is melted in a frying pan since saganaki is the diminutive of sagani or a “frying pan with two handles”.  The cheese is then eaten with a spritz of lemon and maybe a sprinkling of pepper.  Once Greek immigrants came to America, they served this gooey cheese dish to diners, but as I mentioned before, the Greeks in Chicago added a bit more showmanship to this humble dish.  What can add panache to any sort of performance art like preparing and serving food?  Fire!  If you visit most Greek restaurants in the Chicagoland area, you can experience something like this.  Strangely, in Florida they didn’t set the cheese ablaze but rather placed it on our table with a whimper along with a free plate of pita triangles and hummus.  The saganaki sans flames was still delicious with a salty and citrusy flair to each forkful.  As for the hummus and pita,  I don’t know if they do this for every patron or if we were the 100th customers, but it was a great perk to our visit. IMG_2947 The pita was warm and fresh, and the hummus was creamy and evenly spiced with a liberal splash of olive oil.IMG_2948  We then ordered our food where my dad got the tzatziki platter ($4.95), my mom got chicken souvlaki platter ($12.95), and I got a side of dolmathakia ($7.95) and the roasted Greek chicken ($14.95).  Eventually, our food came out, and it all looked great.  My dad’s tzatziki or cucumber sauce was thicker than I was used to compared to back home in Chicago but didn’t affect the overall quality.  My mom informed me the chicken souvlaki or shish kabob was very dry.  On my plates, on the other hand, I found nothing but mouth-watering choices. IMG_2953 The dolmathakia consisted of cooked grape leaves that encased fluffy grains of rice with spices and just the right amount of dill that was further enhanced by the translucent dill broth that these mini-grape loves were stewing in.IMG_2954  I got a free Greek salad on the side which was verdant and scrumptious along with the creamy pieces of Feta that scratched my itch for cheese like the big rat I am.IMG_2952  As for my chicken, although it couldn’t hold an oil lamp to some of my Greek friends’ mommas’ cooking, it was alright for Delray Beach.  The chicken was so well prepared that it literally fell apart as soon as I touched it with my fork. IMG_2955 From the oregano coated skin to the juicy white meat interior, I was in a state of apotheosis as a foodie during this meal.  Unfortunately, then it went downhill from the average green beans to the less than noteworthy potatoes on the side that were quite bland and hard.  The tumble from the top of the Mount Olympus of food ended with a definite thud.

So if you’re looking for mostly lip-smackingly good Greek food that’ll make you shout Opa! down in Delray Beach, boogie on down to Zorba’s Taverna.

Zorba's Taverna on Urbanspoon

Getting All Sazzed Up

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Today, I’m going to write you a blog post you can’t refuse to read.  If you have a hunger that cannot be satisfied with a typical burger or fried chicken joint, I found Sazio in Delray Beach.  It’s an Italian eatery that truly believes in the idea of abbondanza or abundance as I “quickly” found out.

After working my way through Delray’s various food genres, I was in the mood to mangia some good Italian food.  While I did see that there were various pizzerias up and down the happening Atlantic Avenue, I wanted to see if there was any restaurants that could take on more substantial representatives of the Italian food famiglia.  This is where Sazio came into the picture.  It was a bit further away from the beach, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t doing booming business the night I visited.IMG_2944  They have both indoor and outdoor seating, and I opted for the latter due to Delray’s impeccable weather even at night.  The robotic but seemingly warm hostess told me it would be another 15 minutes for a table, but I saw there was a two-top (two person table in non-restaurantese) open on the patio.  Having worked as a host in a restaurant before, I wasn’t going to hassle her about the table being open since I knew there were other seating arrangements they might use that table for.  So I settled on looking at the menu while I waited.  I could see they had a litany of sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas, and entrees.  However, I was sad they didn’t really have any standards from Chicago like chicken saltimbocca or chicken vesuvio.  Eventually, I was seated, but I had to once again wait at least 5 minutes for someone to come to my table similar to Lemongrass Bistro in my previous post.  It seems that service is overall bit slower in the South compared to the North.  Thankfully, I knew I wanted the chicken bruschetta sandwich ($10), so I just had to choose a drink.  I went for a glass of the Ruffino Chianti 2009 that had fruity notes but a definite acidic bite for an aftertaste.  As for my meal, it eventually came out, and it was quite intimidating.  I think they might have sandwiched two full chickens between the fluffy, crustacular ciabatta bun halves.IMG_2941  I slowly unhinged my jaw to take a bite, and after the first chomp I was impressed.  Not only did they have monstrously large pieces of chicken breast in the sandwich but also a tomato relish, slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella, delicate arugula, and a balsamic glaze atop the mountain of greens to add a slight tang to the more mild mannered meal. IMG_2939 The side salad was good but was a mere footnote when compared to the behemoth it shared a plate with.  Sazio managed to reinvent a classic Italian antipasto with real gusto that left me one felice (happy) diner.

So if you’re ever in Delray Beach and are looking for a lot of good food for a reasonable price, check out Sazio on Atlantic Avenue!

Sazio on Urbanspoon

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