Brooklyn Boys at Shadowood Shopping Center

imageGrab a slice of NY style pizza at Brooklyn Boys. If you just want a quick slice or two, this is the place to go in West Boca. Their pizza is delicious. You can order a pie also. They offer a large variety of toppings at a reasonable price. They deliver as well.
We do not agree with the old criticism of them on the WorstPizza website. Either they’ve improved or the critic was wrong.

Doraku in Miami – Brickell

Eating lunch today at Doraku in Miami in Mary Brickell Village.
I had a couple items off the limited lunch specials – a roll/sashimi combo and the beef tataki. Both were small but good for the price and quality.
The atmosphere is pleasant with both indoor and outdoor seating. Mary Brickell Village is a nice spot with shops and other restaurants.
I also ordered the Doraku Ceviche from the main menu. It’s more expensive than the lunch menu but has more food and is more interesting. It includes a variety of fish and was definitely the best part of a good meal.
Doraku Ceviche
Two other things to mention: the waiter described it as “tapas style” which is accurate. And I was pleased to encounter a staff member who is actually from Japan in a Japanese restaurant. Doraku was started by the son of Rocky Aoki of Benihana fame. The acorn did not fall too far from the tree.
It’s a long drive from West Boca but if you’re going to be in Miami, it’s worth a visit.

State Legislative Update and More

As mentioned in our last post, The West Boca Community Council had a meeting tonight with a legislative update. In this post I’ll go through what the state legislators had to say, and in the next post I’ll discuss the other items that came up.
All three state legislators who spoke were excellent speakers.
We first heard from State Senator Maria Sachs, who represents what is currently Senate district 30. She has great presence and a real sense of humor. Her funniest moment was when she compared the state House of Representatives to kindergarten (lots of activity and people borrowing each other’s crayons) and the Senate to an assisted living facility.
For substance Senator Sachs limited herself to redistricting. This is something a lot of politicians (of both parties) talk about, but they don’t seem to understand that it doesn’t matter much to voters. She also mentioned the Stand Your Ground law but didn’t say anything about it. On redistricting she described the balance between “coastal communities”, which is apparently where the rich people live, and western communities where I guess we’re not as rich.
There was also an “End of Session Report” for 2012 distributed which listed and described a number of things she has been “Fighting For”. I would post a link to it but can’t find it on the internet.
Representative Steve Perman spoke next. He went into far more depth on issues. First he explained that both houses of the legislature are roughly 2-1 Republican and that it’s difficult for Democrats to have an impact, which is a common problem for minority parties.
He then talked about his opposition to auto insurance reforms that are supposed to prevent fraud by reducing PIP (personal injury protection) benefits unless you go to specific kinds of health care providers within 14 days of the accident. He seemed particularly annoyed that chiropractors are not included, which may have something to do with his work as a chiropractor. He did make a solid point that it’s not clear whether the reforms really do much about fraud, or whether they will have any effect on insurance premiums.
Perman also discussed homeowners insurance and the state “Citizens” program. A member of the audience challenged him on the fact that taxpayers in areas like West Boca are subsidizing insurance for wealthier homeowners in coastal communities. Perman did not disagree, but said it’s difficult politically to get changes through and that he feels there will be a bipartisan effort to address it.
Perman talked briefly about a new law that protects farmers who store water to help the state water system from having their land designated as federal wetlands. It was not clear why the state legislature would have any power over federal designations, but no one asked. He also mentioned a bill related to accelerating foreclosures that did not go through because of problems agreeing on the definition of when a home has been abandoned.
Perman also distributed a legislative update, but again this is something I could not find on the web. His update was more substantive than the one from Sachs.
Representative Joseph Abruzzo was the last speaker. Unlike the other two he does not seem to have a campaign website though he is running for State Senate, and he has registered a bunch of domain names related to his name. While a good speaker, he was not as dynamic as Perman nor as entertaining as Sachs.
Abruzzo mentioned that he attended President Obama’s visit today to FAU. He talked about a bill he’d pushed to get help for veterans convicted of crimes, including treatment over incarceration. It sounded like a good idea but he was unable to get this through. He mentioned the success of the Silver Alert program and that it was working well in Palm Beach County in particular. However, it wasn’t clear why he mentioned this since it became law back in 2008.
He discussed the state budget in depth, criticizing it for raising tuition at state universities and colleges, and complaining that it “gutted” the Bright Futures program and education in general. Perman had also expressed concerns about cuts to education.
Your correspondent challenged Abruzzo about where he would get money for education. He offered two areas. First, he felt that the deal with the Seminole Indians did not get enough money for the state. However, this answer did not address funding for the current year, nor was it clear why it’s appropriate for the state to be handing out monopolies to gambling enterprises.
His second answer was more relevant but a concern. He suggested the state should collect sales tax revenue on internet transactions. He denied that this would be a tax increase on Florida consumers who shop online, but the audience did not seem to find this persuasive. Online shoppers are increasingly spending borrowed money — often times turning to a forbrukslån (consumer loan) or credit cards — and are understandably not fond of paying more, especially on borrowed money that must be paid back at a high interest rate.
Abruzzo also had a habit of making “bringing home the bacon” references. Aside from this being a disturbing view of the role of a legislator, practically speaking it’s a big weakness for a member of the minority party. A Republican state senator would be better positioned to bring benefits home to the district.
There were several state Republican candidates in attendance, including Melanie Peterson, Geoff Sommers, and James Ryan O’Hara. O’Hara had the most thorough and thoughtful answer on how to address state government spending problems, and we hope to provide a complete profile of him in a future blog post.
Also in attendance was Paul Tocker, a candidate for Palm Beach County Commission, as well as other candidates for various offices (some of whom will be discussed in the next post).
Overall this was an excellent event. It was disappointing that the audience was not larger and most of the attendees were public officials, candidates or involved with political parties. We hope that the WBCC and the media will do a better job of informing the public about such events in the future, and we’d be happy to help spread the word.

State Legislative Update in West Boca – April 10th

There will be a legislative update presented to the West Boca Community Council at the Boca Lago Country Club on April 10th at 7:30 pm. Please note that the speakers are apparently all Democrats, including Maria Sachs, Joe Abruzzo and Steve Perman.
–Update: report on the event is here: West Boca State Legislative Update
Since both houses of the state legislature are majority Republican, and the Governor is also Republican, it seems odd not to have a Republican voice at such an event. But nevertheless it is worth attending.
As always, we encourage voters to ask their representatives (of both parties) where they would cut spending in order to save money in these difficult times.
We can’t find any public notice of this event on the web, but we have been told it’s happening by a source we consider reliable. Neither of the websites is up to date.

Comedy coming to West Boca

A comedy event is coming to West Boca Raton – this time at the JCC off Glades just east of 441. From the Sun Sentinel description, this might be funnier if you’re Jewish.
Personally, I like the Sarah Silverman connection. I don’t necessarily agree with her politics, but she is funny and apparently so is her dad.

West Boca High Baseball

The West Boca High School baseball team have been battling in recent games. We unfortunately lost one to Atlantic High School on Monday April 2nd. Details of that are in the Palm Beach High School Baseball website.
But coming off the state championship last year, beating Lakeland 2-0 back in May of 2011. Read more about that at TC Palm. Two players from that team were selected in the Major League baseball draft, including pitcher Michael Kelly who was picked by the Padres and signed to a substantial contract. Ream more in the Palm Beach Post.

Taso's Greek Restaurant in West Boca: New Location

Taso’s Greek Taverna of Delray just opened a brand spanking new location in the Westwinds of Boca plaza on the southeast corner of Glades and 441. This is a welcome addition to the area.
The lunch and dinner menus offer a variety of items including soups, salads, wraps and platters. The dinner menu has a kids section as well.  A sampling of their gyro platter and greek salad was delicious. I also recommend the baklava. The ambiance is very nice and the prices are reasonable. Check it out!
For another good choice of Greek food in Boca Raton (especially West Boca), consider Jimmy the Greek Restaurant on Glades just west of the Turnpike, which is larger but could use a refresh of its interior decor.

Groupon Fraud in Boca Raton

I received an e-mail with a Groupon deal to see a golf tournament, the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound. The deal is misleading, and arguably fraudulent. Why? Here’s the language from the Groupon page:
For $51, you get a golf package for one (an $85 value), which includes:

  • General admission to tournament starting at 9 a.m.
  • Admission to the Grapes on the Green party, starting at 3 p.m. across from the 18th green
  • Commemorative wine glass
  • Lanyard

The interesting part is that the deal includes “General admission”.
I do enjoy golf, this is quite close to my house, and I’ve never seen a tournament. So I went to the tournament website to learn more. I wondered what other kinds of deals there were so I went to the Allianz Championship tickets page.
General admission to the tournament is FREE:
Good Any Day Grounds Ticket – Free Admission
No Ticket Required
What you’re really getting for the Groupon, the $85 value they reference, is admission to the:

3rd Annual Golf & Wine Experience $85
Saturday, February 11 3pm-6pm

Is this an example of Groupon fraud? You be the judge.

Sagi's Grill

Sagi’s Grill closed sometime in 2013. In its place is Pita-N-Go Boca, which we reviewed in February 2014.
I went to Sagi’s Grill for lunch today and enjoyed it. It’s a small and simple place in the southwestern corner of West Boca. It’s on the west side of 441, just south of Judge Winikoff and just north of Sandalfoot.

View Larger Map
The plaza includes a number of ethnic restaurants and retail, especially South American places. Parking can be difficult.
Sagi’s is recognized by the Orthodox Rabbinic Board of Palm Beach and Broward counties (under its former name Falafel Armon). In other words, it’s Kosher.
I had the shawarma platter, which they make with turkey. It comes with rice or french fries. Both the meat and the rice were very good. The meat was flavorful and nicely textured.
Lunch also includes their “salad bar”, which is not what you might expect. I didn’t see any lettuce. It has several bowls with various kinds of salads like cole slaw, potato salad, and some more ethic dishes that were all delicious.
At $11.95, my shawarma platter seemed a little expensive. But it was a lot of food and I took more than half of it home. Also, it seems reasonable to pay a little more for genuine kosher food (even though I personally do not keep kosher).
Table service was a bit limited on my visit. I was never offered more cold water or hot water for my tea, and since half the food came from the salad bar, there’s not much service needed. There was a big table of older Jewish women who were getting a lot of attention from the lone waitress. On the other hand, the place was not crowded.
One other important note for families – the restaurant website does show a kids menu.