Israel's Birthday in South County Park – April 26th

A Boca Raton-based Jewish group, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, is hosting a 64th birthday party for Israel on Thursday, April 26th. It will take place at the Sunset Cove Amphitheater. The main event starts at six o’clock, but the facility will be open starting at 4:30 with some activities starting around 5ish.
The biggest name on the ticket is local boy made good and American Idol participant Brett Loewenstern, along with at least two other musicians and performances by local school and temple groups. They’re even bringing in a group of kids from Israel to perform.
For full details, see: Boca Jewish Federation: Israel Under the Stars. Flyer is below:
Israel Under the Stars Flyer

Steve's Wood Fired Pizza

We had a pizza tonight at Steve’s Wood Fired Pizza. It’s a small place in Boca Lyons Plaza on the southwest corner of Glades and Lyons.
The pizza was very good, with a thin but well textured crust, great sauce and cheese. Two kids who don’t always eat much ate their fill. We got half pepperoni for the old folks and the meat was just right.
We also had a sausage and peppers appetizer. The sausage was sweet as advertised and the blend was delicious.
We closed with zeppole, an Italian fried dough. They were fantastic, and particularly popular with the children.
One minor negative – the kitchen was slow but that was apparently due to a new employee learning the ropes.

Red Lantern in Piccadilly Square

Update: Red Lantern closed in 2014. It is being replaced by Armadillo Cafe.
We had a quick lunch today at Red Lantern, in Piccadilly Square on the north side of Glades just west of 81st Avenue and the Turnpike.
The lunch specials were very inexpensive, roughly $6 including soup, rice, and an egg roll or spring roll. Brown rice is an option at no extra charge.
The Wonton soup was just right. Hot and Sour soup was mediocre but not terrible. The Szechuan shrimp was good but less spicy than expected. Chicken with mixed vegetables had a subtle flavor, though some might find it bland.
Portion sizes were not overwhelming but that may explain the low prices.
On the whole Red Lantern was good enough that we will be back. But it wasn’t great either.

Pink Ball on April 21

South County Regional Park will be hosting the Third Annual Pink Ball on April 21 from Ten in the morning until Sixish.
The Pink Ball raises money to provide mammograms for women without health insurance. There is no admission fee but there will be many opportunities to donate or buy things that support the effort. Plus softball, vendors, music and more.

Power Outage in Boca Falls

Update – the power was restored after about one hour, though FPL trucks continued working long after.

There’s a power outage at the moment in Boca Falls. We don’t yet know the extent of the outage – how much more of West Boca is affected. There are FPL trucks in Boca Falls. Traffic lights appear to be down on Glades west of Diego Drive, but working there and to the east.

Shinju Buffet – Sushi and More

We went to the Shinju Buffet restaurant a few days ago, and we’ve been there at least once before. Shinju is located on the north side of Glades Road just east of the Turnpike entrance:

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Most of the buffet area is devoted to sushi and some Asian cooked dishes. There is a large round table in the middle with a wide variety of sushi, sashimi and a few related dishes. While they put out a variety of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, it is composed of only a few types of fish. Mainly you’ll see maguro (red tuna), salmon, white tuna, and a few others. I did see something labeled “red snapper”, but suspect that it may not really be that – see Daily Finance for a story.
Overall the sushi was good. The fish seemed fresh (you have to try the sashimi to get a better feel for freshness), and there were some good options.
What stood out to me was the quality of the cooked dishes. These items just tasted better than other Asian buffets we’ve experienced. Also, Shinju has a “wok bar” which is somewhat like Mongolian barbecue (except, of course, that it’s cooked in a wok). You put an array of vegetables on a plate, along with some seasonings, put some sauce in a cup, and hand it to the cook and tell him what meat you want (beef, chicken, or shrimp). He puts the vegetables in boiling water and starts cooking the meat, then puts the vegetables in with the meat and then the sauce.

I had shrimp with a lot of garlic and ginger, and Mongolian BBQ sauce plus some spicy sauce. It was really outstanding, probably the best Chinese dish I’ve had in several months.
There is also a dessert table, of course, with good selections including decent ice cream.
Cost was about $18 for an adult, and $10 for kids. Drinks were $2.50 each. Please also note that the website – sushishinju -dot- com appears to be invalid.

Hotwire Communications Problems in Boca Falls

Update 7: All has been relatively quiet now into mid-September. We just got notice that Hotwire representatives will be at our clubhouse “to assist with any chronic technical issues.” That’s heartwarming. And we’ve had our own problem with the Hotwire Insura Security system. The adventure continues.
Update 6: As of May 7th Hotwire continues to fail and we are giving up. Read more at: Hotwire Fails. Also, we’ve been advised that people are having difficulty using their TIVO devices with Hotwire.
Update 5: Hotwire claims to have fixed the problem. Read more at Hotwire Update.
Update 4: The Hotwire problem now appears to be fixed. See More Hotwire Problems in Boca Falls for more details.
Update 3: It’s now 4/28. Despite lengthy efforts to get the problem fixed, we continue to have problems. Hotwire sent contrators here a couple of days ago and they rewired our house. Instead of the digital signal running through coaxial cable in our house, they ran Category 5 Ethernet cable to each TV. It continued to show glitches. I rebooted the box on our main TV and the problems continue. Below is a 30 second video showing how it looks:

–Update 2: It’s now 4/18, and we are having another problem. The video below shows how we have no picture or sound on any channel, even though the box is apparently reporting the channel to our TV:

–Update: As of 4/17, our own problems with Hotwire appear to be resolved. They sent over a couple of higher level people who figured out that the fiber connection to the house was “dirty” and replaced one of the boxes. For now it appears to be better. It is our impression that they are making progress and some of these problems may be inevitable in such a large project.–
Boca Falls is undergoing  a transformation. The Homeowners Association made a deal with Hotwire Communications. Hotwire is installing fiber optic cable throughout the community (roughly 720 homes), and homeowners will now get cable television, internet and telephone service through Hotwire.
The installation is not as smooth as some might hope. We have heard that other families have complained. In our own case, we have experienced significant problems with the television service.
For our main television, the picture is occasionally jerky or shows other flaws. Shortly after the initial installation the set top box stopped working with the TV.
In the master bedroom, we have had frequent problems where the TV doesn’t work. We might get video with no audio, or audio with no video, or we can get some channels but not others. A few times the TV simply stopped working completely, giving us a message on the TV that might say “Unsupported Signal”.
On the bright side, the telephone service works fine and the internet service is actually faster than expected:
Hotwire Communications Internet Speed - 24 Mbps
And to be fair, we heard many complaints about Comcast and had bad experiences ourselves. Comcast was so bad we switched to DirecTV after only one month. But DirecTV was significantly better than what we’re getting from Hotwire.
We are hopeful that the TV service will improve, but so far customer service has been disappointing. While technicians come to the home and fix the problem, the fixes are temporary and the problems come back. Our requests to have the quality of the line signal tested are met with blank stares or vague excuses.