Hilel Sports & Grill

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Hilel Sports & Grill is a gem within the gem that is Panama.  It is a true sports bar experience, complete with the atmosphere, screens, food, and bar menu.  It is a fun night out to watch a game or match, or simply for a good, casual dinner with friends or family.

The restaurant is bright and modern, with large glass windows and a pretty large outdoor patio with a number of tables.  Panama can be very hot, but on the right evening, dining outside can be very pleasant at Hillel.

The food is really tasty, reasonably-priced, and served in large portions.  With a menu that boasts the classic sports bar fare (i.e. wings, sliders, popcorn chicken, burgers), it is the ideal spot when you need that type of fix.  However, taking advantage of its location in the crossroads of Latin America, they have a number of menu items from across the region, including Argentinian meats, Mexican tacos, fajitas, and chili con carne, and Corvina fish from the South American Pacific Coast.  They even have a massive selection of sushi and other Japanese-inspired appetizers.  Everything is delicious.

As a spot that serves tourists and the local community alike, it is important to note that in some years, Hilel opens for Pesach. 

Menu (as of March, 2017):

 

   

Restaurant Photos:

 

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Complimentary On-table Sauces:

 

Trio de Tacos Mexicanos:

 

Milanesa de Carne Crispy:

 

Lula by Darna

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Lula by Darna is Panama's top restaurant, in a market with a disproportionately large (relative to the population) of high quality kosher restaurants.  You would have to know in advance that this place is kosher, given the fact that it appears to be just like any other hot / popular restaurant in this city which is known for food and nightlife.  The clientele includes a large segment on people who do not normally eat kosher, but dine at Lula because it is such a great spot.  

The food is delicious.  It is a classic meat-oriented menu, with steaks, etc., but has a lot of menu items that contain a Latin flair to give you a taste for the local culture - Panama is truly a melting pot of people from all around South and Central America.  The highlight of our meal was the Tuetano - two piping hot, rich marrow bones which were roasted and then served with a cold and sweet beet salad and little triangles of toast.  We also enjoyed the fried corn empanadas, stuffed with chicken and spices.  The desserts, which change regularly, were another highlight - huge portions for sharing.

The ambiance was top-notch.  You enter alongside a huge bar adjacent to the windows facing the street.  It is dimly lit, and this creates a feeling like the restaurant and the bar expand right out onto the sidewalk - this is appealing given the fact that it is located in a neighborhood with a cool and hip vibe.  The tables are located in the interior, and face walls with exposed brick.

This restaurant is a truly excellent culinary experience.  It is not only a worthwhile meal when in Panama, but it is truly a top reason to visit Panama.

 

Menu (as of March, 2017):

 

   

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Bread with Dips:

 

Empanadas de Maiz:

 

Croquetas de Papa:

 

Tuetano:

 

Salmon with Papas Salteadas:

 

Hamburguesa Lula:

 

Chocolate Souffle:

 

Apple Crumble with Ice Cream:

Awafi

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Awafi is the premier restaurant of the Singapore Jewish Community, and provides locals and tourists alike with a high standard of kosher food in the middle of Southeast Asia.  What is very special about Awafi is that it exists to serve its patrons, and is bolstered by the local community, which demands the best quality.  The restaurant is open all week, and serves a diverse menu of items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It also provides full sit-down meals for shabbat in the larger catering hall (a typical shabbat lunch serves about 150 people each week).  Special meals and events are regularly served as well - from its extensive order-in-advance menu of Indian specialties to the international menu created for meals in the sukkah to fancy nights with prix fixe menus (see 'Karoo's Kosher Kitchen' menus below).  Awafi also has a top-notch pastry chef, and has its own catering arm which takes care of private and community events, including the annual Chanukah party. 

The standard menu, which is offered for lunches and dinners is special in that it contains a good variety of cuisines, including Chinese and Singaporean.  You can sample famous Singaporean dishes, such as Mee Goreng and Char Kuay Teow.  They also have burgers and chicken, as well as a good list of appetizers, salads, and deserts.  The prices are very low, especially considering that the kosher meat is particularly hard to obtain in Singapore - all beef and lamb is imported by the community from Australia, and the chicken is schected and soaked and salted by the community.

Weekday breakfast is typically a buffet of hot dishes and salads, and is served right after the daily shacharit minyan.  This meal is typically diary.

On shabbat, meals are special.  Friday night dinner is a buffet, which typically induces local Singaporean dishes and a lot of l'chaims.  The crowd is usually predominantly tourists - as most locals eat this meal at home.  Shabbat lunch is the community highlight, and a lot of locals spend this meal with the community.  The food is served by a wait staff in the large catering hall, and the food is top quality.  The menu differs every week, but generally includes Iraqi specialties such as Hammim with a whole chicken, crispy rice, and hard boiled eggs, or a local dish such as Beef Randang, Butter Chicken, or Fish Curry.  The salads served with the meal are always fresh and delicious, including homemade hummus and the community's famous "chakla bakla" spicy mixture.

In order to take full advantage of the range of tastes that Awafi has to offer, it is smart to speak with the chef in advance and ask to have a special meal arranged with new local flavors.  This will complete your Singapore experience.

While at Awafi, try to take a tour of the Shul (Magain Aboth) and the Jacob Ballas Community Centre, and ask about the community's history, which has helped form the beacon it has become today.

 

Menu (as of June, 2016):

 

   

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Vegetable Spring Rolls:

 

Chicken Sichuan with White Rice:

 

Kuay Teow with Meat:

 

Sizzling Beef:

 

Fried Rice:

 

Chicken Schnitzel with Fries and Coleslaw:

 

Mee Goreng with Meat:

 

Samosas (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Roti Prata (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Butter Chicken (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Beef Randang (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Spinach Curry with Chicken (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Green Chutney (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Croutons, Fresh Vegetables, and Edamame Dip (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

French Bean, Hearts of Palm, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Lamb Satay (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Sago Gula Malacca (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Deep Fried Pickles and Olives (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Laksa with Chicken (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Beef Tacos (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Chicken Fajitas (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Corn (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Guacamole, Refried Beans, and Corn Salsa (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Cholent (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Corn Dogs (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Battered Chicken Fingers (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Schnitzel in a Bun with Fries and Coleslaw (for take away):

 

Chanukah Appetizer Platter (prepared by Awafi catering for Community Chanukah Party):

 

Chanukah Donuts:

 

Chanukah Donuts:

 

Bakery Cookies (prepared by Awafi Pastry Chef):

 

Custom Birthday Cake topped with French Macaroons (prepared by Awafi Pastry Chef):

 

 

Karne

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Karne is one of the newest restaurants on the Miami scene as of June, 2019.  They have moved into the large space in the Waterways shopping center in Aventura that used to be occupied (through early 2019) by Fuego.  And, their business model is not all that different from Fuego's.  Like Fuego (in its prior iteration in this space), Karne has a menu that includes sports bar appetizers, grilled meats, burgers, and sushi, only serves wine and beer (no liquor), takes advantage of the large outdoor seating area, and tries to cater to both families on vacation in addition to adults out for a nice dinner.  However, unlike Fuego, Karne does a better job on a number of fronts: better service, more reasonable menu prices, and (at least since they've opened, which has been during the quiet summer months) has not lost itself in the sea of annoying tourist families.

Our first experience was very enjoyable: attentive and friendly wait staff, constant refills of water, explanations of menu items, tasty and fresh food, appropriate menu prices.  The Pinchos de Pollo were a great menu item when ordered with Black Beans and Plantains to experience the restaurant's Latin influence.  The burgers were juicy and beefy, too.  The chicken wings came out crunchy and were doused in Buffalo sauce that had the correct flavor (real buffalo - vinegar, pepper, and fat - and not some honey bbq that they erroneously call Buffalo).  However, they do need to do a better job with feather removal (as is a problem in a lot of South Florida establishments).

South Florida did not need another place like this (there are already a lot of casual restaurants that serve sports bar appetizers, grilled meats, burgers, and sushi).  However, this place is better than the average, and with its desirable location, it is certainly worth selecting for your night out. 

 

Menu (as of July, 2019):

 

   

Restaurant Photos:

 

 

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Chicken Wings with Spicy Buffalo Sauce:

 

Children's Menu Hamburger:

 

Pinchos de Pollo with a side of Black Beans and Plantains:

 

Karne Burger with a side of French Fries:

 

Tierra Sur at the Herzog Winery

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Tierra Sur is the elegant restaurant located onsite at the Herzog Winery in Oxnard, California.  A visit to the off-the-beaten-path restaurant is a fun and unique experience, and one where you can enjoy some delicious dishes complimented with high-end service and ambiance. 

Although the winery doesn't provide the vineyard experience that many have in mind (there is no vineyard anywhere near the winery - in fact, most of their grapes are grown up in Napa, etc.), it still provides for a fun day (or night) trip from Los Angeles to a different setting.

The menu has a lot of interesting dishes, and some of the items change seasonally.

One highlight is the tasting bar adjacent to the restaurant - a great place to spend an hour or two before your meal.

 

Menu (as of September, 2017):

 

 

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2016 Baron Herzog Chardonnay:

 

Bread with Fresh Garlic Olive Oil:

 

Lamb Chorizo con Huevo:

 

Wood Fire Grill Salmon:

 

Duo of Duck:

 

Coffee & Donuts:

 

About Soaked 'N' Salted

Soaked 'N' Salted is a kosher foodie's top destination for restaurants and culinary travel. 

Run by a kosher foodie who travels the world eating, this site is the place to come to gather all of the information you need to plan your next kosher food adventure!

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