Best restaurant: Mizner Park’s cool spot for hot tamales

Uncle Julio's Skinny Guava Rita, flavored with guava nectar and sweetened with an agave sour mix, weighs in at under 130 calories. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Skinny Guava Rita, with guava nectar and agave sour mix. (Contributed)

South county pick: UNCLE JULIO’S

Location is everything here. Grab an outdoor table at this Mizner Park eatery on a night when there’s a concert at the amphitheater across the street and enjoy the music while you nosh on crisp tortilla chips and smoky salsa.

Order the chicken tamales appetizer for the table (eight to an order, also available individually) and enjoy the contrast of the creamy masa and the tangy tomatillo dipping sauce.

Uncle Julio's Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)
Uncle Julio’s Bacon-pineapple guac. (Contributed)

Or visit for weekend brunch (served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and feast on hearty chilaquiles or Julio’s migas. For the pairing, skip the Bloody Mary and have a tequila-loaded Salty Juana (Herradura, Bloody Mary mix, salt rim) instead.

Uncle Julio’s: 449 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-300-3530; UncleJulios.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

 

Critic’s pick: fresh-baked bread and prime pizza in Royal Palm Beach

Margherita pizza at Francesca's Pizza and Wine Bar, Royal Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
Margherita pizza at Francesca’s, Royal Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Central-west county pick: FRANCESCA’S

This is the kind of red-sauce place you’d want in your neighborhood.

At Francesca’s Pizza & Restaurant, husband and wife team Danielle Vallone and Tasos Kentimenos bake their bread fresh daily, handcraft the marinara and all the classic dishes. Kentimenos is a master of the pizza crust — he turns out a nicely crisp, but substantial crust.

The eatery offers a nice wine and craft beer menu, ample, fresh salads and tasty appetizers.

Bread is baked fresh daily at Francesca's. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Bread is baked fresh daily at Francesca’s. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

Dining deal: Spend $15 (before tax and tip) at Francesca’s and get a free appetizer plate of mozzarella sticks, fried ravioli, zucchini sticks or garlic bread with cheese. The offer is good until Nov. 30 and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Francesca’s Pizza & Restaurant: 11452 Okeechobee Blvd., Royal Palm Beach; 561-422-0600

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

One of the best pizza places in U.S. is in Florida!

pizza

Well, TripAdvisor has spoken. They combed through their user reviews and came up with the ten best pizzas in the country. The list was based on the quantity and quality of restaurant reviews. The top places had a minimum of 500 reviews.

How did south Florida rank? Well, south Florida did not make the list, but number 2 was Pizza Time in St. Augustine, Florida. Time for a road trip!

Check out the full list here.

Critic’s pick: Jupiter roadside shack where hot dogs are king

Foot-long with onions and mustard at Dune Dog. (Richard Graulich/ Palm Beach Post)
Foot-long with onions and mustard at Dune Dog. (Richard Graulich/ Palm Beach Post)

North county pick: DUNE DOG CAFÉ

In our Old Florida-loving hearts, we pray there will always be places like this: a rustic, open-sided structure that serves some delicious hot dogs.

Not all of Dune Dog’s hot dogs are franks, mind you. The Sea Dogs, for instance, are fish fillets fried crispy and tucked into toasted New England-style rolls.

Of course, if you’ve come to this 21-year-old establishment for a meaty dog, belly up to the counter and go for a Chicago Dog, flanked by long slices of pickle, then topped with tomatoes, raw onions and a sprinkling of celery salt.

Foot-long with onions and mustard at Dune Dog. (Richard Graulich/ Palm Beach Post)
Foot-long with onions and mustard at Dune Dog. (Richard Graulich/ Palm Beach Post)

Grab a spot where you can find it and settle into let the shack’s cross-ventilation chase away the humidity as you focus on the finer things in life, like Dune Dog’s five-napkin Junkyard Dog (chili, cheese, diced onions, sauce).

Dune Dog Café: 775 Alternate A1A, Jupiter, 561-744-6667; DuneDog.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Diner en Blanc: Why you may not get into exclusive secret dinner event

Diner en Blanc began in Paris as a picnic among friends. (Contributed by Diner en Blanc International)
Diner en Blanc began in Paris as a picnic among friends. (Contributed by Diner en Blanc International)

Don’t buy those fancy, white duds just yet. Your invite to Diner en Blanc may never come.

The massive outdoor dinner, to be held Nov. 10 at an undisclosed public space in West Palm Beach, can accept 1200 guests. So far, there are 3000 on the waiting list.

Designer Nora David, one of the event’s three local organizers, explains the complex, three-phase invitation process in MyPalmBeachPost.com.

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Are these the best barbecue spots in Florida?

Derrick McCray's barbecue is a Palm Beach County favorite. (Contributed)
Derrick McCray’s barbecue is a Palm Beach County favorite. (Contributed)

Round up the best barbecue spots in the South? Impossible!

Still, “Garden & Gun” magazine gave it a shot and named these two Florida sites, Pearl Country Store & Barbecue in Micanopy and Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish in St. Petersburg.

Our own food editor Liz Balmaseda offers one great spot locally, McCray’s Backyard Bar-B-Q, which could easily make any list, especially since they were asked to cook for the last Super Bowl.

 

Three places for a sinful bite on World Vegetarian Day

LettuceFILE

If your idea of celebrating World Vegetarian Day is to dine on salad, you may be missing the day’s more sinful temptations. Like cashew cream.

Chef Chris Slawson, who owns the plant-based Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens, is a master of this delicacy. It’s the substance that adds dreamy richness to his eatery’s ice “cream.” And wait till you try the macadamia “ricotta” that melts atop Christopher’s Kitchen’s pizzas. Like the ice cream, it’s among the stylish cafe’s more naughty options — and there are many of those.

Here’s the reality check: You don’t have to brave a mound of cold iceberg to stand in solidarity today (Thursday) with World Vegetarian Day. You can indulge. Here is a trio of good spots to do so in Palm Beach County:

Christopher's Kitchen: chocolate tart with vanilla ice "cream" made with cashew-coconut cream. (Palm Beach Post file)
Christopher’s Kitchen: chocolate tart with vanilla ice “cream” made with cashew cream. (Post file)

Christopher’s Kitchen

For all the above reasons and more.

4783 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-318-6191

Darbster's Palm Cake is a crispy favorite. (Post file)
Darbster’s Palm Cake is a crispy favorite. (Post file)

Darbster

Few places are more pooch-friendly than this waterside eatery. In fact, the restaurant’s proceeds benefit the Darbster Foundation, which helps local animal rescue and welfare efforts.

Decadent pick: the crispy hearts of palm cakes with caper remoulade and baby greens.

8020 S. Dixie Hway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-2622 

Getting crunchy at The Bee, West Palm. (LibbyVision.com)
Getting crunchy at The Bee, West Palm. (LibbyVision.com)

The Bee

This sunny spot is a good place for a fragrant cup of tea or vegan snack.

Decadent pick: the avocado toast with watermelon radish, lemon, tomato, cayenne, sea salt and sesame seeds.

123 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 561-651-9796

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Coming to CityPlace: Chef Lindsay Autry to helm big, new eatery

Southern-meets-world chef Lindsay Autry at work. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Southern-meets-world: Chef Lindsay Autry. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Big news for the local dining scene: Star chef Lindsay Autry will take her culinary talents to CityPlace.

The Bravo TV “Top Chef” finalist has partnered with restaurateur Thierry Beaud (Pistache, PB Catch, Paneterie) to bring a refreshed “American kitchen table” concept to the massive space most recently occupied by Pampas Grille.Dish1231Beaurd

The upcoming eatery, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, is expected to open in early 2016.

“We want to focus on real, conscious and approachable food, showcasing the beautiful product that we have locally and regionally – which is how we came up with the name, really,” says Autry.

Read all about planned restaurant at MyPalmBeachPost.com.

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Beer from this local brewery will soon be available throughout South Florida

The Copperpoint Brewing Company logo is prominently displayed on the brick wall in the Copperpoint craft beer brewery in Boynton Beach. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Boynton Beach’s Copperpoint Brewing will begin distributing its beers locally, beginning in Palm Beach County. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

 

Make some room on the local tap list.

Palm Beach County’s newest craft beer brand, the five-month-old Copperpoint Brewing in Boynton Beach, will be available on draft outside the brewery for the first time this month. A dozen local bars and restaurants, to begin with, will carry beer by the brewer who won one of Florida’s first gold medals from the highly regarded Great American Beer Festival.

READ THE FULL STORY

Get Tapped In! Visit The Palm Beach Post's page, TAPPED, for exclusive coverage of Palm Beach County's craft beer scene
Get Tapped In! Visit The Palm Beach Post’s page, TAPPED, for exclusive coverage of Palm Beach County’s craft beer scene

Critic’s pick: Delray Beach bistro is neighborhood gem

Jimmy Mills, chef/owner of Jimmy's Bistro. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jimmy Mills, chef/owner of Jimmy’s Bistro. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

South county pick: JIMMY’S BISTRO

The daily fish special that’s featured on Chef James Mills’ menu at this neighborhood gem of a bistro is fresh caught and expertly prepared. Ditto for just about everything that steams out of his kitchen.

In addition to his stellar fish dishes, Mills turns out one comfort dish after another, from schnitzel to ravioli to étouffé to chicken fried chicken.

Pan-seared flounder with olive and basil ratatouille is served at Jimmy's Bistro. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)
Pan-seared flounder with olive and basil ratatouille is served at Jimmy’s Bistro. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

For the pairing, he offers a well-curated selection of excellent wines.

The place is worth the detour from the Atlantic Avenue bustle. Slip into this bistro, and expect good grub and good service.

Jimmy’s Bistro: 9 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 561-865-5774; Facebook.com/JimmysBistro

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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