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Dining Scene: From a wine carnival to the best pita bread

What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.

Chill Wine Lounge

1828 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-514-7399,

Whether you want gear up for a movie at The Classic Gateway Theatre or wind down with a nightcap after the din of conversation at Canyon Southwest Cafe, this new lounge couldn't get more convenient.

In fact, owner Chad Crow worked for the former owner of Canyon and Il Mulino, just steps away. He gutted two shops to merge into his own place, which is open nightly.

Chill's candlelight and sidewalk seating can also entice. Inside, retro lounge furniture sits on a restored terrazzo floor near the bar on one side, while more formal feeling table seating is on the other side. Lighted orbs hanging above the bar and atom-shaped chandeliers mix in a contemporary flair. Crow calls it a "deco glam lounge with mid-century modern twist."

He offers about 45 wines by the glass or bottle, mostly organized by the grape varietal, such as Prime Cellars' District 4 chardonnay ($12, glass; $44, bottle) and District 4 cabernet sauvignon ($14, glass; $52, bottle). A few craft beers offer an alternative, such as Milk Stout by Left Hand Brewing ($7) or Jai Alai IPA by Cigar City Brewing ($5).

"Wine is a language, and some can speak it fluently and others can't," says Crow. "However, my belief is that similar to foreign travel, the inability to speak a language fluently shouldn't prohibit you from the enjoyment of travel any more than the inability to speak the language of wine should prohibit you from all it has to offer."

Nibbles such as dips and charcuterie boards are planned, pending food licensing, and musicians perform jazz, blues, torch, standards and modern numbers during the weekend with the possibility of an additional weeknight.

Napoli Pizza and Pita

5709 N. University Drive, Tamarac, 954-720-9894,

Brother and sister Sam Herzalla and Nabeel Herzalla have brought this Italian and Middle Eastern eatery to Midway Plaza in the former space of Rita's Italian Ice & Custard.

"We make everything fresh from scratch and healthy," says Nabeel Herzalla.

Favorites are shawarma ($6.99), gyro ($6.99), chicken wings ($7.95) and calzones ($8.99 to $10.99) with traditional entrees rounding out the choices, such as lasagna ($9.99) and chicken parmigiana ($9.99).

"We will have the best pita bread around in the area," she says. "Also our pizza has a secret recipe that makes it taste different than many other pizza restaurants. In addition, our meat products will be 100 percent halal meat and healthy, which gives us the advantage to have a different kind of service that not too many in the area provide."

Nabeel Herzalla is a software engineer trying a new venture with her brother, who has more than 20 years of food-industry experience and owned several restaurants in North Florida.

Lunch and dinner are served daily.

Wine Carnival & Consumer Challenge

Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 561-504-8463,

Connoisseurs and newbies will mingle at this $40 event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 21. It's one in an annual series by the American Fine Wine Competition.

Sponsors and charities will lead guests in wine-inspired games such as "ring the wine bottle" and "toss the cork." Twelve guests will be selected to compete in a blind tasting to identify 10 glasses of wine for the grand prize of two tickets to the April 4 gala (a $600 value) at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, where the winning wines from the American Fine Wine Competition will be featured.

Total Wine will provide more than 25 wines for sampling during the Wine Carnival, and local restaurants will serve hors d'oeuvres. Proceeds will benefit the Diabetes Research Institute.

Brio Tuscan Grille

550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-835-1511,

CityPlace is expecting to welcome yet another new restaurant Feb. 21, this time across from Macy's in the former White House/Black Market.

The decor and cuisine of grilled and roasted meats, fish and pastas will match the other locations of this national upscale northern Italian chain, along with the usual attractive terrace seating. Hardwood cypress flooring, arched colonnades, Italian mosaics, antique doors, Venetian-plaster walls, marble imported from Italy and wrought-iron chandeliers are reminiscent of a Tuscan villa.

The mainstays will be here, such as Chicken Under the Brick with marsala sauce ($20.15), gorgonzola-crusted steak (8-ounce filet, $28.95; 14-ounce strip, $27.95) and lobster and shrimp fettuccine ($20.95), but you'll also find the chain's new Lighter Side menu with calorie counts. The 18 selections, ranging from $4.95 to $19.95, are either new creations or modifications.

"Millions of Americans are watching what they eat. We want our guests to feel confident that they have options when dining with us," said marketing director Nicole Roope in a press release.

Lighter Side bestsellers are grilled shrimp Mediterranean over orzo, farro pilaf, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach and feta ($14.95), salmon griglia with grilled asparagus, sweet potatoes, roasted peppers, spinach, tomatoes, feta and pesto vinaigrette ($16.95) and pasta pesto with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers, feta and spinach ($12.95).

Lunch and dinner are served daily, along with weekend brunch.

Email news to or send to John Tanasychuk, Sun Sentinel, 500 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 900, 9th floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394.

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