Broward Dining: How Do You Roll?

July 14, 2013

How Do You Roll @ Sawgrass Landing
13775 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Sunrise, Florida 33323

Web Site:

Twitter: @how_do_you_roll

Quick Serve Restaurants, or QSR’s, are all the rage right now in casual dining. The trend of serving “faster, but higher quality” food items than what is served fast food establishments can largely be attributed to Chipotle, which is now a huge success story in the food and restaurant industry.

Since Chipotle made it big, others are trying to figure out what the next big QSR concept is. A lot of stuff since has been various re-spins on the burger concept. Asian cuisine, particularly sushi, is not something QSR as a whole has attempted to tackle yet, due to much higher sanitary standards as well as issues of keeping fish fresh.

How Do You Roll, a QSR chain that originated in Texas (and was profiled on the TV showShark Tank)  is attempting to recreate Chipotle’s “Roll your own” model and success but with sushi and other Asian items. There are currently two locations in Florida, one in Sunrise and the other in Gainesville.

Rachel and I had the opportunity to visit the Sunrise HDYR location on a torrentially rainy saturday night with a group of sushi fans from when business was slow, so we got a chance to observe the franchise under optimal conditions for photography but not necessarily to see how service would perform under busy conditions.

As I mentioned, HDYR is a “Roll your own”, QSR restaurant where you pick from a list of ingredients and the sushi chefs put together your custom sushi roll, rice bowl or ramen soup.

HDYR is most definitely a “beginners” sushi place because there are only 3 raw fish types you can choose from, Tuna (Maguro), Salmon, Escolar (a bland white fish, sometimes referred to as “White Tuna”), and “Spicy” variants of the same. Additional proteins that can be rolled are cooked Beef, Chicken, Crawfish Tails, Surimi (“Krab Sticks”), Shrimp, Eel and Tofu.

There is also a nice variety of fruits, vegetables and a number of different sauces and toppings/condiments which allows for a good combination of things for the diner to create. Pre-designed roll combinations range from $3 to $7, so you’re looking at about half of what a mid-range sushi restaurant charges for similar items.

Like at a Chipotle, or a sub shop chain, you order at the counter and they give you a number and you sit down. When your number is called you either go up to get your order, or depending how busy the place is, they bring it to you. The place was so completely dead that evening due to the weather that we got first class table service.

Is How Do You Roll a fresh or a dead fish? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Broward Dining: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour

July 12, 2013

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour
128 S Federal Hwy, Dania Beach, FL 33305

Web Site:

I just want to note that despite recent appearances on this blog, I do not eat hamburgers and massive ice cream sundaes every day of the week, OK? Okay.

So, a few weeks ago I found out that legendary Los Angeles foodie Chris Cognac was going to be visiting South Florida for a day prior to heading on a vacation cruise and then heading off to Orlando to engage in mouse-related stuff.

Chris and I have known each other for over 10 years, as he was one of the very first folks to register on But in that time, we never had a chance to meet each other in person.

Given the hastiness of the information, we didn’t have a lot of time to plan an ideal get-together. It was further complicated by the fact there were wife and kids also in tow and we wanted a place pretty close to where they were staying. As it happened, their hotel near Fort Lauderdale International Airport was only minutes away from Jaxson’s in Dania Beach.

Now, Jaxson’s is not necessarily a foodie outlet. In fact, I’d call it anything but that. Specifically, the place is known for ice cream. Massive, massive amounts of ice cream served in gigantic portions designed to give seven year olds nightmares and tummy aches.

It’s the kind of place you go to when you are visiting your grandparents in Florida and they want to take you out — for ice cream. In fact, virtually all of the visits to Jaxson’s in my entire life span were with Jack and Sylvia Perlow, when I came to visit them during the 1970s and early 1980s when they were snowbirding in Hallandale.

Dinners were usually early birds at Pumpernick’s, Morrison’s or some other South Florida institution catering to seniors that has long been history. And yet Jaxson’s remains — because it appeals to everyone.

Despite the ice cream focus, Jaxson’s still serves a full menu, mostly dominated by sandwiches, burgers and comfort food types of things that you would see in a classic luncheonette. Except that everything is Jurassic Park sized.

The place is also frequently a mob scene unless you get there right before the big lunch and dinner rushes. Literally there is a line a hundred or so people long right in front, and there’s no way you’re gonna wait any less than an hour to get in to get your ice cream unless you specifically use the take-out window outside. The photo below was taken right before noon on a saturday. By the time we had left, it was extremely busy and there was a wait to get in.

Jaxson’s is the place to be in South Florida for massive ice cream creations. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Palm Beach Dining: Shula Burger

July 10, 2013

Shula Burger @ Delray Marketplace
14917 Lyons Road, Suite 114
Delray Beach, FL 33446

Web Site:

Twitter: @shulaburger

In the last three years, I’ve been to a lot of soft openings and press events for various quick serve restaurants that are burger-themed. But since I’ve moved to South Florida I hadn’t yet attended one of these.

Shula Burger is new QSR concept restaurant chain owned by Shula’s, the restaurant group founded by legendary Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts football coach Don Shula.

The Delray Marketplace store, which is located in a brand-new upscale and entertainment-oriented shopping plaza, marks the fifth location of Shula Burger, all of which are located in Florida. There will soon be a sixth opening near Orlando.

Frankly, there isn’t that much new ground you can cover in burgers. And there are so many burger places in South Florida that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.  So the bottom line is, are the burgers good, and are they good value?

Is Shula Burger a champion, or a chump? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Miami Dining: El Mago De Las Fritas

July 8, 2013

El Mago De Las Fritas
5828 SW 8th Street, Miami FL
Phone:(305) 266-8486

Web Site:

Twitter: @magodelasfritas

Since moving to Florida I’ve started to acclimate myself with the other local food bloggers. By far, the most serious blogger (and food truck fair organizer) in Miami has to be Sef Gonzalez, also known as “The Burger Beast.”

As his name suggests, he’s big on burgers and all kinds of casual dining kinds of stuff. I first learned about him when watching George Motz’s Burger Land show on The Travel Channel, where he was featured in an episode about hamburgers and food trucks in Miami.

Miami of course is known for a specific type of hamburger, the Cuban “Frita”. I’ve written about Fritas before, specifically El Rey De Las Fritas, which is probably the most well-known establishment serving this particular style of burger.

Lesser known is El Mago De Las Fritas (Burger Beast post), which is owned by another member of the same family. It only has one location, and a much more limited menu than El Rey. But it has its adherents and now that I have been there, I understand the allure of the place.

For the last couple of weeks Sef and I had been planning to hook up and to talk about stuff we could do together. He suggested we have breakfast on a Saturday at El Mago. Fritas for breakfast? Okay then.

The magic awaits at El Mago De Las Fritas on Miami’s Calle Ocho. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Miami Dining: Late Night on Calle Ocho

January 31, 2010

South Florida may be the land of senior citizens and early bird dinners, but late at night, Calle Ocho is hopping with activity.

Last week I went on a last minute business trip to Florida, with my base of operations being very close to Miami International Airport.

While I dreaded the idea of having to work what would certainly be very long days confined to conference rooms and then emerging late at night ravenously hungry, there was some consolation in the fact that unlike other parts of South Florida, where your food options late at night are restricted at best, downtown Miami and the neighborhood surrounding 8th street (“Calle Ocho”) which calls itself Little Havana (home to Free Cuba in Exile) has some of the best late-night eating anywhere in the state, and probably in the entire country.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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