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Taste Notes: Ring in Chinese New Year with Dishes and Dragons

The lion dance brings good luck and fortune as Chinese New Year kicks off January 25.
The lion dance brings good luck and fortune as Chinese New Year kicks off January 25.
Photo courtesy Uris/Wikimedia Commons

We rang in a New Year three weeks ago and already it's time to do it again.

Saturday, January 25 marks the Chinese New Year. And here, within South Florida's diverse culinary confines, we have ample options for celebrating.

At the top of the list for ringing in the Year of the Rat, Asian fusion hotspot Temple Street Eatery will host a Chinese New Year Dinner on Friday, January 24 with seatings at 5:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.

For $70 per person, folks can enjoy a six-course spread, which includes Mama Mei's Hong Kong Style beef egg roll, crispy lemongrass salt-and-pepper quail, a pork-belly mac and cheese, prawns in black bean sauce, and Thai basil paneer. For dessert, it's an ice cream sandwich made thanks to a collaboration between Batch Cookie, Wilton Creamery, and Temple Street Eatery.

And, what's a Chinese New Year without some sort of animal-themed spectacle?

At 8 p.m. a lion dance performance by John Wai Kung Fu will spill out of the Fort Lauderdale space and into its parking lot.

For those looking to celebrate on Chinese New Year's Day (January 25), The Wharf Fort Lauderdale will be open from noon to 3 a.m. with live dragon performances and (from noon to 4 p.m.) $25 bottles of Cotes de Provence Rosé.

As a final option and for those in West Palm Beach — actually, this may be worth a drive, wherever you may be — Hai House is hosting Spring Festival Kick-Off from 5 to 7 p.m. on January 25 with live music, three tasting stations (with egg rolls, dim sum, and spring rolls), and a signature Red Dragon cocktail. This two-hour party (and the food and beverages that come with it) is totally free to attend.

So, if your 2020 didn't start so hot on January 1, let's turn it around here with the Chinese New Year.

And now on to other news and notes from South Florida's restaurant scene.

Famous for culinary trips to Cuba, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Bar is coming to Fort Lauderdale.
Famous for culinary trips to Cuba, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Bar is coming to Fort Lauderdale.
Photo courtesy of Cuba Libre

Libre at last. More details are emerging on Cuba Libre Restaurant & Bar's forthcoming Fort Lauderdale location. The upscale-meets-casual Cuban concept, which has additional locations in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., will occupy the 9,200-square-foot space at 800 E. Las Olas Blvd., boasting seating for 250, a wood-burning Latin grill, and an Old Havana vibe. Cuba Libre is slated to open in Fall 2020.

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CBDelights. You can rub cream on your aching body. You can vape it. And, yes, you can eat it. There's a CBD Dinner and Canna-Talk on Tuesday, January 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Fort Lauderdale's Green Bar & Kitchen. For $50, guests will have a four-course, CBD-infused dinner and then learn all about how to incorporate the magical medicine into their daily routines.

League of Legends. With existing locations in Sunrise, Lighthouse Point, and Deerfield Beach, Legends Tavern & Grille will open its fourth location on Monday, January 27 in Pompano Beach. Located at 10 SW Sixth St. (across the street from Jack's Old Fashioned Hamburger House), this Legends spot will offer some totally new menu items, including New Orleans-inspired barbecued shrimp, crispy wonton pizza rolls, a Tuscan chicken sandwich, and plant-based boneless wings.

Feeling swanky. Loxahatchee Grove-based Swank Farms' latest Swank Table Dinners series is underway, which attracts world-renowned culinary talent to its farm for specially curated meals. The next dinner will go down on Sunday, January 26 at 4 p.m. The meal theme is Chefs for Sustainable Seafood, with guest chefs Jorge Ramos (Conrad Hotel Fort Lauderdale), Sean Igleheart (Saltwater Brewery), Guillermo P. Eleicegui (Hilton West Palm Beach), and others serving up unique dishes.

News and notes. The Flamingo Flea returns to Tarpon River Brewing on Sunday, January 26 from noon to 4 p.m. In addition to Tarpon River brews and offerings from a variety of artisans, this market will offer small-batch food items for sale from a number of local vendors. ... Lionfish, a San Diego-based seafood restaurant that landed on the James Beard sustainably-minded "Smart Catch" list, will open a location in Delray Beach this spring. The establishment will be located at 307 E. Atlantic Ave. next to the Johnnie Brown's American fare outpost. ... The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) announced details about its 25th-Annual Wine, Spirits and Culinary Celebration. The event, loaded with tastes from South Florida restaurants, wine, and craft beer, is slated for Friday, March 13 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at MODS in downtown Fort Lauderdale.   

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