Lost In My Own Backyard

It’s been awhile. I wish nothing more than to be able to travel and write about my experiences for my career. This is part of my reason for my love/hate feeling towards Anthony Bourdain.

But I’m not Anthony. And I’m not rich. Which for me means a full-time 9–5 office job and the rare chance to travel. (In full disclosure, I write this from thousands of feet in the air somewhere over the middle of the US on my way to LAX. Sometimes, work does have it’s benefits.)

However, when I don’t get the chance to travel, I try to explore my own backyard. Most would say I’m lucky to live where I do. Sunny warm weather, gorgeous water, palm trees for days. And don’t get me wrong, I do love it. But after 27 years in the same state, it’s hard to find excitement in a place that’s so excruciatingly familiar.

THANK. GOD. for the craft beer uproar. Surprisingly, South Florida is progressing in something that’s current and we’re not 10 years behind the liberal minds (cough cough, legalization for medical purposes, cough cough).

Without the growth in microbreweries and their incredible inventions of food flavored beers, I don’t know what I would do with my weekends (Although I’m sure I’d be much more in shape… Can we start figuring out how to make beer with little calories that isn’t just beer flavored water? Shame on you, Miller Light). And one of those beautiful establishments is one of the best in the country right now… Funky Buddha.

I’ve been in love with Funky Buddha for many years. Working and managing the first craft beer bar in Boca Raton, I quickly heard about this cute little hookah place down the street that started brewing their own beer. I was hesitant. Hookah and beer? We’re flooded with hookah restaurants in South Florida and each one is scummier than the next. So beer from one? No thanks.

Running the bar, we had 24 taps that rotated bi-weekly. Luckily, this allowed me to try my fair share of craft beers that no one in the area had tried, or even heard of, before. And man, were they good. 9%, 10%, 12% beers? I was living in a fairytale for the beer guts of the world. But those barleywines? Those IPAs? I just couldn’t enjoy the flavor. After one glass, it was often too much.

Then I discovered something. One of my regulars came in and asked me if I had heard about this Funky Buddha place. I said I had but that I wasn’t interested in trying them really. Then the magic words flowed of his mouth. Coconut flavored porter. COCONUT FLAVORED PORTER. Forget the fact that I have a strong love for dark beers, but coconut? I didn’t believe it. I had to try it for myself.

I walk in this place in a tiny little plaza to a dark and grungy atmosphere and nothing more than what I would expect from a typical South Florida hookah bar. I sat down, ordered the coconut beer questionably, and fell in love. (For anyone that wants to try it, search for Last Snow. Or better yet, Last Buffalo in the Park, the imperial version. Yes, this is real life).

Most people say you know your soulmate the moment you meet them. I understood that day what they meant. With all the beer in the world that I had dated casually and liked over the years, this was the one.

Fast forward about five years.

The small grungy place is still there. Still as grungy as ever. And still making some killer beers (Note: a PBJ flavored beer and a French Toast flavored beer. That’s only the beginning).

But now that small grungy place has now turned into two, with the newest being their taproom and brewery, which is definitely not grungy and definitely awesome. The Brewery has been open for two years now and in most recent news, expanding to include a kitchen.

In regards to bar food, you know to expect nothing special. A burger. Some fries. Beer battered wings. Your typical. But since Funky Buddha never follows the rules, I couldn’t wait to try it out. While the kitchen is still under construction, the boys over at Funky were nice enough to hold a brunch. And if you know anything, you know bitches love brunch. And this bitch loves beer. Naturally, you manage to put the two together and I’m there.

The menu was posted for us all to see and while just reading it makes my mouth water, I wasn’t ready for what I was about to endure. And I apologize for the lack of pictures. It was just too good to take a break and pull out my phone.

I’m just going to leave this menu here and let you know, every single thing on this menu was to die for. And the ceviche? I’m pretty sure the guy at the ceviche station knew me by the end of the day. I mean, they put popcorn on their ceviche. Don’t you give me that look. It was incredible. Try it next time.

Not only was the food outstanding, but the way everything was handled from the service to the beer pours to the ease of grabbing whatever dish you were craving next was out of this world.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Let’s just say I’m waiting to hear the date of the next one. And when their kitchen opens up, no one in South Florida or I’d say it’s safe to say even the east coast is going to be able to come close to this monster that tiny little grungy place created.

You’re killing it, Funky Buddha. Keep doing what you’re doing. Just for us locals’ sake, don’t ever sell big. You’re perfect just the way you are and I love you for it.

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Originally published at lostininebriation.wordpress.com on August 6, 2015.