National Chocolate Cake Day: James Patterson’s ‘killer’ chocolate cake

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James Patterson’s Grandma’s Killer Chocolate Cake. (Photo by Steve Legato)

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day. We thought the best way to celebrate was to re-introduce James Patterson’s recipe for his Grandma’s Killer Chocolate Cake.

Enjoy!

James Patterson reveals recipe for ‘killer ‘ chocolate cake.

Five places for hot coffee on a rainy day

An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

It’s rainy outside today. A good time to get some coffee.

1. C Street Café

This cozy coffee shop welcomes you with a laid-back, urban vibe and freshly brewed coffee. Can’t go wrong with an Italian espresso.

  • C Street: 319 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-469-9959; on Facebook here
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

2. Oceana Coffee

The cold brew at this Tequesta roaster is clean and sublime. And now you can enjoy it at Oceana’s spiffy new coffee lounge.

  • Oceana Coffee: New coffee lounge at 150 N. US Highway 1, #1 (across from the Marshall’s/Homegoods store), Tequesta; roasting house at 221 Old Dixie Highway, Tequesta; 561-401-2453; OceanaCoffee.com
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

3. Brewhouse Gallery

As you peruse the works of local artists or listen to some live music, treat yourself to a yummy cappuccino made with The Rabbit’s locally roasted Guatemalan beans. It’s so delicious, I could sip it by the gallon.

A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

4. Subculture Coffee

This hipster hang on Clematis Street brews some delicious coffees that are roasted onsite. My favorite preparation: the macchiato, a bold café with the slightest puff of milk foam. South county folks can enjoy their Subculture brews at the new-ish second location in downtown Delray Beach.

  • Subculture: In West Palm Beach at 509 Clematis St. (561-318-5142), in Delray Beach at 123 E. Atlantic Ave. (561-808-8482); SubcultureCoffee.com
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

5. The Grind Café

This Delray Beach spot serves some yummy – and artistic – lattes. Sip one from one of The Grind’s branded retro cups while you decided if you’ll succumb to the café’s baked good temptations.

  • The Grind: at the Delray Marketplace, 14859 Lyons Rd., #132, Delray Beach; 561-270-2058; GrindCafeDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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The buzz about Grato: Pizzeria heats up Flamingo Park

Killer carbonara: Chef Clay Conley at work on plates of buccatini. (LibbyVision.com)
Killer carbonara: Chef Clay Conley at work on plates of buccatini. (LibbyVision.com)

The fab new pizzeria on South Dixie Highway has been packed every night since its debut Jan. 8. At primetime on most nights, the bar three rows deep at Grato, the eatery opened by the powerhouse team behind Palm Beach’s wildly popular Buccan bistro.

“I’m mesmerized by the fire, the scurrying cooks, the bar crowd buzzing,” says cookbook author Judith Olney, who lives within walking distance of the West Palm Beach eatery she describes as “Brooklyn-style, coolest place in the area.”

Word of the opening has spread far and wide, even earning a mention in the Wall Street Journal last week.

Clay Conley, Grato's executive chef and co-owner. (LibbyVision.com)
Clay Conley, Grato’s executive chef and co-owner. (LibbyVision.com)

“It’s been insane. It’s been busier than we thought it was going to be,” says Grato executive chef and co-owner Clay Conley.

Why the buzz? Read the full story on Grato.

Chef Paula Deen to sign books in Palm Beach County this weekend

Chef Paula Deen will be signing her new book Saturday and Sunday in Palm Beach County. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
Chef Paula Deen will be signing her new book Saturday and Sunday in Palm Beach County. (Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)

Paula Deen is in town to steadily repair her image.

Three years since alleged racist comments cost her a food empire that spanned books and television shows, she is on tour with a new cookbook, “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up,” which she will be signing Saturday and Sunday in Palm Beach County.

Deen lost 40 pounds and kept it off, appeared on Dancing With the Stars last fall, and signed a deal last year for “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat,” with a new publisher, Hachette Book Group early last year. Her 14 cookbooks have sold more than 11 million copies and helped keep her relevant despite a lawsuit — since dismissed, with prejudice — that alleged she made racists comments to her restaurant employees.

Deen will sign her new book Saturday at Baer’s (999 N. Federal Hwy, Boca Raton) from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday she will be at Baer’s in North Palm Beach (910 North US Highway 1, North Palm Beach) from noon to 2 p.m. and at Barnes and Noble (11380 Legacy Avenue/PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Palm Beach’s Buccan celebrates 5 years today with greatest-hits menu

Chef Clay Conley opened The Sandwich Shop at Buccan in Palm Beach in December. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Chef Clay Conley opened The Sandwich Shop at Buccan in Palm Beach in December. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Time flies when you’re winning awards.

The restaurant Buccan, which shot to national prominence thanks to two-time James Beard Award semifinalist chef Clay Conley, is celebrating its five-year anniversary today. The restaurant will offer some of its most memorable dishes since its debut, focusing on the small plates and world-inspired ingredients that have been its hallmark on Palm Beach.

CRITICS CHOICE: See food editor Liz Balmaseda’s best of 2015

Among the many dishes today: Colorado lamb with harissa chili paste; grilled Florida corn with Mexican cotija cheese; short rib empanadas; and squid ink orecchiette pasta with Italian sausage and conch.

Their signature cocktail, the Buccan T (an acronym for its ingredients: basil, unsweetened iced tea, cranberry, citrus, agave nectar) will be served all night for $5.

 

National New England Clam Chowder Day: what’s the best in the county?

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New England-style clam chowder. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

Well, it’s somewhat still cold weather outside. And it’s National New England Clam Chowder Day! Two reasons to check out the best place for clam chowder in Palm Beach County! Our Food Editor had this to say about the chowder chosen in our 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards, “I find it downright addictive!”

Best clam chowder in Palm Beach County

National Cheese Lover’s Day: best grilled cheese sandwiches in the county

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The Brooklyn Porkster Grilled Cheese Sandwich at New York Grilled Cheese Co. (Photo by Libby Volgyes/Special to the Palm Beach Post)

For those who love cheese, today is your day! It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day! What better way to celebrate than with a yummy, gooey grilled cheese sandwich! Here is our list of the best sandwiches in Palm Beach County:

Best grilled cheese sandwiches in the county

Also, City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill at CityPlace is offering their ‘Cheesy Thursdays’ today, which features 5 kinds of cheese paired with 5 beer or wine tastings for $30.

 

 

Jack and Barbara Nicklaus share favorite recipes in new cookbook

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus with daughter Nan O'Leary. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)
Barbara and Jack Nicklaus with daughter Nan O’Leary. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)

Food stories have a way of rising like a cheese soufflé in the Nicklaus family kitchen. They linger as long as loved ones around the kitchen island in the Lost Tree Village home where golf legend Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara have lived for nearly 50 years, raising four sons and a daughter and feeding 22 grandchildren.

Now those stories are tucked into their newly released cookbook, “Well Done! Life, Love & Food.” Peppered with favorite anecdotes and handed-down recipes, the self-published book offers a glimpse into the family that sat around the dinner table nightly for home-cooked meals, no matter the day’s bustle.

The family meals, inspired by Barbara’s stacks of community cookbooks and jotted-down recipes, unfolded just a stone’s throw from the stretch of State Road A1A that in 2006 was renamed Jack Nicklaus Drive.

Barbara Nicklaus' red velvet cake has a backstory the family loves to tell. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)
Barbara Nicklaus’ red velvet cake has a backstory the family loves to tell. (Photo: Allen Eyestone)

When the idea to publish a cookbook came up as a way to raise funds for The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, their powerhouse charitable foundation, Barbara turned to a trusty recipe binder daughter Nan O’Leary had compiled for her in the late 1990s.

“The book would not have happened if not for Nan,” she says. Sales of the book, which costs $39.99, benefit the charitable foundation.

Read the full story and find the recipe for Barbara Nicklaus’ red velvet cake (and how it inspired a favorite family anecdote) here.

Which Florida eatery made top ‘essential’ U.S. restaurant’ list?

Beef is king at Bern's Steak House House, Tampa. (Contributed)
Beef is king at Bern’s Steak House House, Tampa. (Contributed)

What’s an “essential” restaurant in Florida? According to the gastronaut site, Eater.com, it’s not some new, trendy spot.

It’s an iconic Tampa steakhouse.

The website, which surveys the nation’s dining scene, from haute to hip to humble, features Bern’s Steak House, which turns 60 this year. The venerable meat palace is one of 38 U.S. restaurants – and the only one in Florida – listed in Eater’s newly released “National 38” list of “essential” American eateries.

“It’s our guide not to what is newest or trendiest, but to what defines and anchors us,” writes Eater’s editor-in-chief, Amanda Kludt, on the “Essential Restaurants” package, released Wednesday. “The restaurants on the list are young and old, upscale and accessible, and together, they go a long way toward cohesively defining the food scene of our great nation and its multifaceted, ever-changing dining landscape.”

Bern's joins 37 other 'essential' U.S. eateries, according to Eater.com. (Contributed)
Bern’s joins 37 other ‘essential’ U.S. eateries, according to Eater.com. (Contributed)

Bern’s is listed in distinguished company, alongside Berkeley’s Café at Chez Panisse, New Orleans’ Herbsaint, New York’s Estela, Charleston’s FIG, Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, Washington D.C.’s Rose’s Luxury, Chicago’s Alinea, and L.A.’s Trois Mec.

About Bern’s, Eater notes: “Baronial chophouses are a cornerstone of America’s restaurant culture, but Bern’s, which opened in 1956, exists in its own west Florida dimension of eccentricity and excellence.”

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

Minestrone for the soul: ‘Empty Bowls’ event hopes to curb local hunger

On February 14 & 15 Empty bowls will host a simple communal meal in which participants will dine on a piece of bread and soup in a beautiful handmade bowl. The event is designed to create greater awareness about hunger in Palm Beach County and to raise money for the Palm Beach County Food Bank. Participants get to keep the bowls. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
Photo: Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post

The handmade bowls are almost too pretty to fill, but they are empty to make a point about local hunger.

The folks at the Palm Beach County Food Bank will tell you one in six local residents do not know where their next meal will come from. This is why the annual Empty Bowls Palm Beach charity event has been planned for a third year.

The fundraiser, for which local potters make bowls to be filled with hearty soups made by local chefs, takes place in Palm Beach Friday, Feb. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Episcopal Church at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, 141 S. County Rd.

Here’s how it works: You purchase a handmade bowl of your choice for $25, then peruse the fresh-made soup offerings for servings of your favorite. After you sample your choice of soups, you get to keep the bowl. All proceeds go to the Food Bank.

You can also order soup for takeout or delivery, choosing from 10 soup options (including The Colony’s mushroom-tarragon with crab, E.R. Bradley’s lobster bisque, Palm Beach Grill’s Firehouse Chili, and Testa’s minestrone). For $25, to-go orders include soup, bread, bottled water, a cookie and a ceramic bowl (optional). Takeout and delivery orders must be placed by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. For a takeout form, email EmptyBowlsPB@bbts.org.

Last year, the soup event raised more than $64,000 for the Food Bank, with 49 local restaurants donating soup and 1027 people buying bowls.

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda