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Sublime Happy Hour – Fort Lauderdale, Fl

Published October 8, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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So to start off my mini-theme this week of restaurant reviews I forgot to tell you about, I’ll start with this entry from my birthday week back at the end of August. I ended up taking the week off. I had PTO, I was going through some stuff, so it kinda just worked out. One of these nights, I decided to go hit Sublime for happy hour and get some dinner after having a sort of disastrous birthday dinner out the night before. (The company was good, the restaurant, however, was not!) I’ve never been the biggest fan of Sublime, but I have had some really nice times at happy hour, so I decided to give it a go. The same bartender that had been there the last times I had gone (it had been at least a year or two) was there, and he’s just great. I didn’t even end up reading my kindle that I brought along for company. I was also really impressed with their further expanded beer list. I started with a Terrapin Hopsecutioner, which I ended up taking the last of. So delicious!

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I ordered one of their sushi rolls to start, and they also brought out their always yummy complimentary polenta. As far as the sushi goes, I always notice how BLAND their wasabi is. I mean, truly, no kick whatsoever. Also, I had to scrape some of the veganaise off. It was just a lot. Besides that, very, very tasty. Mmm, capers!

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After this I switched to a Rogue Dead Guy beer and sat and drank it for awhile trying to decide if I wanted to eat anything else.

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I ended up deciding on a half order of what I want to say was fire-cracker noodles? I tried to check the website, but the menu listed on there seems incomplete. (I couldn’t find the sushi rolls on it, either.) He brought me an extra side of Sriracha sauce after I complained that the wasabi wasn’t strong enough, hah! And it’s true, this “spicy” dish did benefit from the extra hot sauce. It was really very good, even though sadly, I got full right away, and ended up boxing up the majority.

So I ended having a really nice birthday dinner after all, just a day late.  Thanks, Sublime! 🙂

Sublime, Ft Lauderdale, Fl – Restaurant Review

Published July 12, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Sublime.

The famous south florida vegan joint that’s had it’s ups and downs. I’ve been putting off a review of this place for a long time, mostly because of my many criticisms, and I hate to criticize one of the very few dedicated vegan restaurants in the area. I eat here once or twice a year, and generally avoid it because I find the food over priced, and a bit bland. From what I hear, this wasn’t always the case, and after realizing who the chef was that left them, I definitely believe it!

I have to say though, this last trip was a pretty pleasant experience. They’ve revamped the menu somewhat, and have finally reduced the ridiculous $40 price tag of their “caviar” pizza down to $17. (Though they also took the hummus pizza off, and that was pretty yummy.) I know all the profits get donated to the animals, but even so, I’ve always found their pricing not only off-putting, but prohibitive. (It’s no wonder people think only the rich can afford to follow a vegan diet!) We did manage to keep the bill pretty reasonable this time by ordering a bunch of smaller plates in lieu of entrees. Since our meal, I found out about the summer special they’re running currently, details at end. Now on to the food!

Two pieces (minus one bite!) of the complimentary polenta they give you at the beginning of your meal. It’s always good, and something nice to nibble on as you peruse the menu.

Edamame $6. roasted sea vegetable, sesame seeds, cracked black pepper

Okay, this was SO covered in salt we had to send it back, and get the salt on the side. I mean, insane amount of salt, other than that, nice flavors together.

Dynamite Roll $12, vegenaise, “cream cheese,” zucchini, capers, red onion, cucumber

Delicious! I also highly recommend the Florasian roll $11, which I’ve had before. The wasabi is really weak, though, just FYI.

Caesar Salad $8, romaine hearts, house-made croutons, Sublime’s lemon-dijon dressing

This is fantastic, but you’ll probably want to share it. The dressing is very heavy and it makes for a filling course. The flavors are right on, though, and the croutons make it special.

“Steak” Sandwich $16, gardein, “cheddar,” onion, romaine, pickle, special sauce, sweet potato fries

Ok, so we got mashed sweet potatoes instead of the fries, but I’ve had them before, and they’re terrific. This sandwich is pretty good, but not good enough to justify the price tag. The sauce isn’t very flavorful, and in my opinion if you’re charging $16 for Gardein on a bun, it better be really good bread and really good sauce. But $16, really?

Here’s another picture of the sandwich with the fries from when I went last year, for my birthday. (Darbster was closed!)

And here’s a picture of the amazing chocolate cake that we had then. One of the cooks in the back knew me, and personalized it, which was cool. : )

Pros:

Swanky restaurant in happening Fort Lauderdale. Great service. Some of the dishes are really good. I recommend the Frito Misto appetizer $12, which is a lot like the vegetable tempura at Darbster, and the Coconut Cake $11, which is divine. The “Wash your hands” song in the bathroom is really catchy.

Cons:

Your paying for the ambiance, so the food is really over priced. Some of the dishes are tiny or just bland. Stay away from the mac n cheese and skip the enchiladas. I think they could really up the food quality immensely by switching to Daiya or finding another better tasting vegan cheese. The crispy eggplant rollatini appetizer $11, is pretty good, but it is two itty bitty little pieces. The “Wash your hands” song in the bathroom is really catchy, and will be in your head for at least a week. Also, if you’re anti-social, heads up, the owner will always come over and engage you in conversation, at least once, but maybe even twice during your meal.

One more thing…

Maybe this review is really a plea. I would love to have a world class restaurant to go to. I’ve been to some of the best vegan restaurants in NYC, and let me tell you, if Candle 79 or Angelica Kitchen opened up locations down here, I’d probably be completely and utterly broke. (and fat!) For me, at a certain price point you really need to bring the food. Make some seitan, marinate some tofu, do amazing things with tempeh and millet and make me dream of your food. I love going to eat and thinking, how could I try to duplicate this at home? Instead of thinking, I could’ve made this [better] at home. I love food and I’m very happy being vegan. It would be great to have Sublime be a place that I could proudly take non-vegans to.  I really appreciate what they try to do. I just wish they’d take it to the next level.

Summer Special:

Tuesday through Thursday, $40 gets you soup & salad, 2 entrees and a shared dessert.

Also, another good way to check them out and save some cash…

Happy Hour at the Bar: Tuesday – Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Half-price drinks and appetizers, buy one, get one half-off.

Sublime is located at 1431 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Reservations can be made either at 954-615-1431, or through their website, but are not necessary.

Juice & Java, Boca Raton, Fl

Published May 20, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So ever since I found out about Juice & Java from Toni’s suggestion last week to read this review, I’ve been pretty excited to check it out. Most of their locations are in Miami, but they happen to have one about 5 minutes from my house! I immediately emailed them to find out if the soy cheese they use is vegan, and they got back to me promptly to let me know they use Follow Your Heart brand, which is. My mom and I had almost dined here a while back, but it was too packed the day we went, and we were on a time constraint. Luckily today I got out with time to beat the lunch crowd, and I’m so glad I did! I left my phone at work, accidentally, but was able to snap some pix with my mom’s.

First of all, they had SO many things that I could eat and that sounded delicious, that I wasn’t even sure where to begin. Which is a rare occurrence at a non-vegan restaurant. Their menu is huge and the wait staff is really friendly. You can pick-up/take out or sit down for service. We did the latter.

I settled on the Falafel Quinoa Specialty, $8.95, which has baked falafel, a side of tahini sauce, and organic quinoa tossed with hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes. There were also some sunflower seeds in the mix. It was delicious, and I was happy to have my falafel without it having been deep fried.

My mom ordered the Black Bean platter with a sweet baked potato (your choice of side), which is served with avocado, (?, not present, I realize now, but it says so on the menu!) tomatoes, red cabbage, cucumbers and carrots, and a side of dressing $7.95. I was glad she went for the sweet potato, because I thought it sounded good, and she gave me half! Her black beans were pretty good too! ; )

We both really enjoyed our meals, and were full with our servings. I had been trying to see if they had the vegan cupcakes (Bunniecakes) when we first arrived, and sure enough they brought  out  a glass case filled with mini ones while we waited for our food. They had about 4 or 5 flavors, some gluten-free, all nicely decorated. I asked the waitress for her recommendation, and she said I should try the red velvet.

Red Velvet mini cupcake (gluten-free) $1.50 . I had only had red velvet cake one other time, and hadn’t been that enthused  about it, but respected her guidance. It was really good, very moist, and the [vegan] cream cheese frosting was superb. At only $1.50 I really should have taken a few home, but I enjoyed my morsel, and went happily back to work.

Juice & Java will definitely be getting my repeat business. They are so well priced ( & close!) and have such an extensive menu that this makes for an easy place to go to with any crowd. They’re located by the Town Center Mall at 21316 Saint Andrew’s Blvd, Boca Raton, Fl 33433 (contrary to the address on the website, which says State Rd. 7, do they have two Boca locations?) and open 7 days, 8am to 8pm, 561-852-2230.

Mellow Mushroom – Delray Beach

Published February 13, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Guess what?! The Delray Beach Mellow Mushroom now has Daiya cheese! In fact, the website says they now have it at all of their locations.

Now I’m not sure how long they’ve had it, but I finally remembered that I should call and find out. The last time I went there they had just started with the non-vegan gluten free crust, but they hadn’t gotten Daiya yet. I made sure to befriend them on facebook and let them know that I was interested though! : )

Regardless, I headed up last night on my way to go see Timb and ZOMBIES! ORGANIZE!! over at Propaganda.

Hummus and Veggies $6.99

Mega Veggie pizza (sans mushrooms & banana peppers, it comes with a LOT of toppings) 16″  $25.49

veganized with Daiya cheese and without the butter cheese topping on the crust.

The hummus was fine. Nothing crazy here. Though it did seem like it was maybe lower in fat because it was on the drier side versus a really creamy dip, so if that’s true, I’m happy ; ) but that’s just a guess.

The pizza was SUPER delicious. I love their crust. It’s very multigrainy sweet tasting. I believe it’s also what they make their pretzels out of. (Which are vegan if you order them plain.) They have tempeh as a topping, and a tempeh sandwich that you can veganize. The also have several kinds of tofu like jerk and terriyaki.

Not only was the pizza awesome, but Mondays they have specials on some of their 100 beer selections! : )

Darbster – WPB/Lake Worth, Fl

Published January 27, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

I am very pleased to tell you that I finally got up to Darbster. Although the address says West Palm Beach, it must really be on the very edge, toeing the line of Lake Worth, because it’s south of Forest Hill Blvd. Regardless, a yummy, and completely vegan experience!

Darbster is a sort of outdoors place. Even the inside seating is really a walled and covered outdoor patio. The temperature outside had dropped to around 66 by the time we got there, so it was nice that there was a table left inside. (In fact, shortly after we were sat, the last table outside came in, and they closed the sliding glass doors.) They have both air conditioners and heaters scattered throughout that they must use for more extreme weather shifts. There are a couple of high tops and seating around the bar as well. Speaking of the bar, they have beer and wine, this Organic Peak Pomegranate Ale ($6) was pretty tasty.

I was immediately thrilled to see that they had onion rings, and started with this side as an appetizer. Months after going vegan, I was saddened when I it dawned on me that most onion rings are dipped in egg along with that batter. Ditto for eggplant parm. So I ordered them gleefully.

Onion rings…  with a sandwich $2.50 or $2.95 without

Darbster uses Daiya cheese and Gardein products for it’s meat substitutes. I’m glad they use Daiya, and I think most vegan places should, but we stayed away from the dishes that we thought were the ones I could easily make at home, like the philly cheese steak sandwich.

I was really anxious to try the rawvioli. I almost forgot to order it in all my vegan restaurant excitement, but grabbed the waitress shortly after placing our order. She wasn’t afraid to let us know that we were ordering a lot of food, and I assured her that I’d take whatever I couldn’t finish home!

This dish ended up being [essentially] a nice salad. The beet “pasta” had a nice crunch, and it was really tasty. The filling was yummy and the salad was nicely dressed. I’m not sure that this would fill me up as a meal on it’s own, so I’m glad I ordered the palm cake sandwich too.

Rawvioli Beet Pasta w/salad…  lunch $10/dinner $12

I had read a bunch of reviews online before the trip up, so I knew that everyone raves about the palm cakes. It’s funny, because for the last couple of years before I went vegan I had really wanted to try a crab cake, even though I never ate seafood. I’m pretty sure it’s because I kept seeing them on the food network : ) Well, anyway, I never did end up eating one, but apparently this pan fried heart of palm cake is it’s vegan stand in. It was super delicious (didn’t taste anything like seafood!), and served on a huge whole wheat bun. Then also had a palm cake ceasar salad as a special, and I know they sell them as appetizers at dinner time. (It actually came on a bigger plate with a little bit of lettuce, but I had to transfer it to a smaller plate because there were too many plates on the table!)

Palm Cake Sandwich with aioli and lettuce… $6.75
(it says and red potatoes on the on-line menu, but not so in person!)

One of the specials was gluten free eggplant lasagna. In fact, this was the last lunch special portion of the day, and according to the waitress, the envy of the other patrons. It was really good.

Gluten free Eggplant Lasagna… I don’t remember how much this was? $10 or $12?

At this point I was pretty full, and boxed up half of my palm cake sandwich for later; I wanted to save room for dessert! I ordered strawberry cheesecake. I had read reviews about their awesome carrot cake, but happened to be carrot caked out, and skipped it. Then I got nervous that I made the wrong choice. I didn’t want one of those vegan cheesecakes that tastes like tofu : P  Well, this cheesecake was SUPER delicious, didn’t have any tofu taste at all, and had a really good grahmmy, nutty crust. It was more of a multi berry cheesecake, and had a softer consistency than I expected. The piece was a generous size for sharing.

Gone in 2 minutes flat!

It was a really nice experience, and I’m glad that Darbster seems to have established itself permanently. It’s a much better option than overpriced Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, both in price and in flavor. This will definitely be a place that I’ll enjoy much in the future. Darbster is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday (but open Valentine’s Day Monday) and brunch and dinner on Sunday. They are dog friendly, and accept credit cards too!

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