Florida: Yellow & Green... and More Green!

On my recent visit home to Florida, in addition to enjoying plenty of familiar comforts, I also spent some time out-and-about exploring the area with my parents.  One Sunday, we visited two places that were new to all of us.

First, we started of at the Yellow & Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, FL.  I was surprised that this market has been open for years, but I’d only heard of it for the first time via an article I found through a Google Search for farm-to-table / veg-friendly spots in South Florida.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but whatever I had in mind was exceeded the moment we arrived.  This place was HUGE!  Live music from one end of the market wafted through the aisles, and the market was not crowded at all.  In fact, I wish there was more of a crowd – I got the feeling this place is a very well-kept secret and I hope that changes.

From my perspective, South Florida is overflowing with Big Box Retailers and Strip Malls.  It was so exciting to see a place like this creating opportunities for small, start-up businesses, and offering shoppers a huge variety of fresh produce, hot meals, crafts, plants and more all under one roof.

I especially loved the Caribbean & South American presence at the market including tropical fruits, fresh arepas & tamales, and juices.  Speaking with a vendor, I even learned how to make authentic Jamaican Jerk, which he says has to be cooked over Pimento (a.k.a. Allspice) Leaves.  He gave me a leaf to crumble in my palm and it was seriously one amazingly scented leaf!  I actually carried it with me down several aisles, enjoying it’s savory and spicy scent. 

My parents and I visited one of the many tropical fruit stands where the vendor gave them their first-ever taste of Tamarind.  The tartness took them by surprise and my Mom made a pretty ridiculous face, but it turned out that she actually liked it! We also bought and shared some Lychees (above) which we enjoyed for a light snack and I got a refreshing glass of Passion Fruit juice (below).

My only regret?  That we had lunch plans!  I hadn’t realized there would be so many food-stalls, including a vegetarian cafe and an all-vegan stand too!  We also sampled a lot of artisinally made products, like some scrumptious Indian Chutneys, but weren’t able to buy them since we weren’t going home right away and wouldn’t have been able to keep them chilled.

We did pick up some items that didn’t need refrigeration though, including some unsweetened dried pineapple for my parents and a dozen of the most delicious freshly-made rice cakes.  I asked the shopkeeper what the ingredients were and she showed me how it worked – like air-popped pop-corn, she poured just rice into the machine and out popped these beautiful cakes.  No oil. No water. No anything but rice.  And they were so flavorful!

Mom and Dad were also very excited about one particular purchase of theirs – natural pest control in the form of a carnivorous Pitcher Plant!  Since it was too hot out to leave the plant in the car, it joined us for lunch at our next stop – Greenbar & Kitchen, a short drive away in neighboring Fort Lauderdale. 

Luckily, Greenbar is the kind of place where nobody cares if you bring a plant to lunch with you.  In fact, I don’t think anybody even noticed the plant my Dad hung on the back of his chair.

I loved Greenbar’s crisp and vibrant decor which energized me (even on this very hot day outside!) before I even had a single bite of their delicious plant-based fare.  

See that painting above behind my mom?  It’s a painting of a Red Cabbage!  How cool is that?

It’s also the perfect all-occasion restaurant – it feels fancy enough for a brunch date, yet with the counter-style ordering, anyone popping in after yoga class would feel equally comfortable at this Juice Bar / Restaurant.

Juicebar / Restaurant

After chatting with the woman who took our order, she surprised us by offering my Mom a sample of their Raw Cheesecake which was everything a cheesecake should be and, yes, Vegan!

For my Mom’s order, I was encouraging her to order the Avocado Toast but she was leaning towards the Tofu Scramble.  Instead, she sort-of had both.  She got the Tofu Scramble with a side of Avocado, which she used for her own make-shift Avocado Toast – her first time trying this delicious combo!

My Dad ordered the BBQ “Chicken” Sandwich from the list of Daily Specials.  This one, unfortunately, was underwhelming.  The flavors were good, but it simply wasn’t saucy enough and the bread was pretty dry.

My order is the one that stole the show.  I ordered the “GBK Salad” with the Electric Red Curry dressing and added on Avocado.  I normally try to order something more “interesting” than a salad, but it turned out that this salad was a masterpiece that should not be missed! It was refreshing, perfectly dressed, and the spiciness of the dressing mixed with the creaminess of the avocado was heaven on a fork.

I’m telling myself that next time I go there, I should order the Coconut Grain Bowl with Brown Basmati Rice, Quinoa, Kale, Ginger, Kaffir Lime Leaves, and Red Pepper… but it would be incredibly difficult to resist the allure of ordering that magical salad again.

I’d love to hear from you!

What are your favorite Kale Salad dressing/topping combos?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever taken inside a restaurant with you?