Happy National Licorice Day! What’s your favorite flavor? Take our poll

(Getty Images)

For the love of candy,  it’s National Licorice Day! According to NationalDayCalendarDay.com, this day was created to celebrate black licorice. But we want to know, what’s your favorite licorice flavor?

Related: Bulk candy sweetens approach to retail shoppers by doubling its store



7 restaurants you must try in West Palm Beach’s Northwood District

photo Relish Burger
A mango salsa-topped burger at Relish, located in West Palm Beach’s historic Northwood district. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)


Burger possibilities are endless at this Northwood spot, where a dozen types of patties are offered, from wild boar to grouper to wild mushroom. We love the buffalo burger topped sweet-smoky bacon jam. If you can stand the heat, try the scotch bonnet and mango salsa topping. And make sure to leave room for a shake (hello, salted caramel!) or hot, fresh mini-doughnuts.

Relish: 401 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach; 561-629-5377


Linger just long enough at Bistro Bistro, the quaint bakery café on Northwood Village’s main drag, and you just may find refuge from the daily noise. Settle in at a table. Listen to owners Carole Gallant and Alain Ponze greet customers by name. They’re husband and wife, she from Montreal, he from Lyon, their food a soulful hybrid. Besides pain chocolat, latticed pastries, country pates and other specialties, they offer heaping servings of sanity.

BISTRO BISTRO: 506 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach; 561-596-3769 

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A “classic” grilled cheese sandwich (cheddar and hearty white bread) is served with a cup of tomato basil soup at the Grilled Cheese Gallery in the historic Northwood district of West Palm Beach. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)

Grilled Cheese Gallery

On the menu: grilled cheese and more grilled cheese. On the wall: art that’s for sale – and if it doesn’t, it rotates. (What else would you expect from an art dealer who loves comfort food?) The small, new spot has been a hit in a neighborhood that loves its artisans – and food.

Grilled Cheese Gallery: 422 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach; 561-328-7425

Related: Artistic Northwood eatery pays homage to comfort food


Table 427's Vermouth Salmon: a pan-seared fillet of salmon served with vermouth-mustard seed sauce, saut ed spinach and chipotle mashed potatoes. (Photo by Libby Volgyes/Special to The Palm Beach Post)
Table 427’s Vermouth Salmon: a pan-seared fillet of salmon served with vermouth-mustard seed sauce, saut ed spinach and chipotle mashed potatoes (Libbyvision.com/Special to The Palm Beach Post)

Table 427

In Northwood’s primetime bustle, it may be easy to overlook this quiet, cozy eatery. Located on the historic district’s main drag, Table 427 is the domain of chef/owner Roberto Villegas, a versatile cook who often takes inspiration from his Mexican roots. His dishes are not precious, but they are earnestly prepared and lovingly served. Villegas is the culinary equivalent of a DJ – he takes requests. And for those who enjoy surprises, he offers a “No Menu” option, a five-course dinner of his own design. The pace here may be slower than at other neighborhood eateries, as the chef does most of the cooking himself. Consider the lag a chance to have a glass of wine and an invitation to be treated like family.

Table 427: 427 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach; 561-506-8211

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Meatballs from the Sunset Bar and Grill in West Palm Beach (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

Sunset Bar & Grill

This is a cozy eatery and bar where the food is soul-warming and the staff, led by co-owner Matt Reber, is welcoming. Just about anything on chef and co-owner Terry Marince’s menu is delicious. In addition to showing his skills on a wide range of mainstream and refined dishes, the chef makes some of the best soup in Palm Beach County. His French onion soup, a full-bodied onion broth topped with melting cheeses, is insane. His jalapeño soup is an unexpectedly creamy soup that’s made rich by a crush of corn chips in the broth. Those soups are rotated into Marince’s nightly specials. Other standouts: Spanish artichoke dip, lacquered duck (an occasional special), and lightly blackened ribeye steak. Make sure to save room for dessert (the Hummingbird Cake, the specialty cobbler and coconut bread pudding are to die for.) The funky spot is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner Tuesday through Saturday (5 p.m. to close); the bar opens at 4 p.m.

Sunset Bar & Grill: 2500 Broadway (at the corner of 24th), West Palm Beach; 561-832-2722

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The Thai papaya salad served with sticky rice is a signature dish at Malakor Thai Cafe in the Northwood district of West Palm Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Malakor Thai

Once you have the green papaya salad at Malakor, a quaint spot in the Northwood district, you’ll be back. It’s a fresh, crisp, nutty, spicy, citrusy and, thanks to a little palm sugar, sweet. Its crowning touch: tempura shrimp. Healthy, yet sinful.

Malakor Thai Café: 425 25th St. (in Northwood Village, just west of North Dixie Highway), West Palm Beach; 561-762-9070

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The Agora Special at Agora Mediterranean Kitchen in West Palm Beach features lamb topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese, wrapped in lavaj and served with yogurt and mint dip. (Libbyvision.com/Special to The Palm Beach Post)

 Agora Mediterranean Kitchen

Travel to Turkey without leaving this friendly eatery in the historic Northwood district. Go the mezze route, dabbling in Aegean dips, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), grilled octopus and other small plates. Or feast on fish dishes such as red snapper in parchment, or a range of Mediterranean classics. Salads are outstanding – and ample. Desserts are homemade. And if you over-do the calorie count on a Friday or Saturday night, you can always burn it off when the belly dancing starts at about 8 p.m.

Agora Mediterranean Kitchen: 2505 N. Dixie Highway, Northwood district, West Palm Beach; 561-651-7474



Related: Dining news – 3 new Mexican restaurants opening in downtown West Palm


National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day: Best sandwiches in Palm Beach County

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In Delray Beach, Dada restaurant’s 7-cheese Grilled Cheese. (LibbyVision.com)

For those who love cheese, today is your day! It’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!

At Dada, in Delray Beach, executive chef, Bruce Feingold wins the heart of comfort food lovers with a grilled cheese sandwich to outshine most grilled cheese sandwiches: It oozes with not one, not two, but seven cheeses.

There are plenty of respectable renditions to be had on the local dining scene – here are some that rise above the ordinary:

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in Palm Beach County

Which two local bartenders will vie for ‘best mixologist’ title?

This year the Taste of the Nation bash features "The Shake Up," a bartender battle. (Cox Newspapers photo)
The Taste of the Nation bash features “The Shake Up,” a bartender battle. (Cox Newspapers photo)

A month-long battle of the cocktail shakers is coming to a frothy finish this week when two local bartenders compete for “top mixologist” bragging rights during the popular Taste of the Nation foodie event.

The face-off, which happens Thursday night at the Kravis Center, wraps up a fundraising contest by 10 local bars and eateries to benefit the national No Kid Hungry campaign. The participating establishments crafted specialty drinks to raise money for the effort that aims to eradicate childhood hunger in America.

So the final two contenders are those whose creative drinks raised most funds.

They are: Jonathan Silva of Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach and Matt Swig of Max’s Harvest in downtown Delray Beach.

The cocktail contest, dubbed “The Shake Up,” is in its first year at the annual Taste of the Nation food-and-drink bash, which features 45 of the top restaurants and chefs in the county, four local craft beer breweries, two cocktail stations, one local coffee roaster and 12 wine-pouring tables.

TOTNticketIt’s an effort local chefs have been eager to support because 100 percent of funds raised go to the cause. Last year, the local effort raised enough to help provide meals to more than 760,000 children in need, organizers say.

The Shake Up’s throwdown will take place on the main stage of the Kravis’ Cohen Pavilion as “mystery ingredient” baskets are revealed to the two bartender-contenders, who are allowed to bring one secret ingredient of their own into the contest. They will have five minutes to whip up two cocktails for the event judges. (Disclosure: I will be serving as one of those judges. Let’s hope the secret ingredients don’t include anchovies.)

Who will win? Follow hashtag #ShakeUp4NKH on Twitter and Instagram to find out.


Palm Beach’s Taste of the Nation

When: Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (VIP access at 6 p.m.)

Where: Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

Tickets: General admission tickets cost $125, VIP $200 at TasteOfTheNation.org/palmbeach


National Empanada Day: Our favorite empanadas in Palm Beach County


The recipe for these Argentine-style empanadas appears in the cookbook “Empanadas, ” by Sandra Gutierrez. (Photo by Tina Rupp)

A good empanada holds the flavor secrets of Latin America in its soul. Its core reveals an aromatic story that’s unique to a nation, a kitchen, a street kiosk.

So there is no such thing as your basic empanada, as each region has its own definition of basic.

Here’s a range of local hand pies to try on National Empanada Day, which is today:

Calaveras Cantina

Calaveras Cantina at Jupiter's Harbourside Place serves delicious, crispy-fried empanadas filled with duck confit and mushrooms. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

Calaveras Cantina at Jupiter’s Harbourside Place serves crispy-fried empanadas. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

The flaky duck empanadas at this Harbourside Place eatery are addictively good. They’re fried crispy with a juicy center of duck confit and mushrooms. A batch of four, served with a side of avocado ranch dipping sauce, make a great, shareable starter.

Calaveras Cantina: 125 Dockside Circle, Jupiter; 561-723-0059; CalaverasCantinas.com


A pulled pork empanada at Mojito restaurant in CityPlace is flavored stuffed with roasted poblano chiles and topped with diced tomatoes and goat cheese. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

An empanada at Mojito restaurant in CityPlace. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

This lively spot atop CityPlace makes empanadas with your choice of three fillings: roasted chicken, picadillo or ham and cheese.

Mojito Latin Cuisine: 700 S. Rosemary Ave. (CityPlace, second floor), West Palm Beach; 561-832-6688;MojitoCP.com

El Sabor Latino

Empanada con carne served with a mildly spicy aji at El Sabor Latino, Palm Beach Gardens. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/ The Palm Beach Post)

Empanada con carne at El Sabor Latino, Palm Beach Gardens. (Palm Beach Post)

This small, pan-Latino eatery, with locations in Palm Beach Gardens and Greenacres, serves 2-buck, homemade empanadas filled with either chicken or beef. The crust on these babies: corn masa.

El Sabor Latino: In Palm Beach Gardens at 4391 Northlake Blvd. (inside Joseph’s/ HomeGoods plaza); in Greenacres at 2202 Jog Rd.; ElSaborLatinoRestaurant.com


Buccan's famous braised short rib empanadas are topped with aji amarillo cream and fresh salsa criolla. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/ The Palm Beach Post)

Buccan’s famous braised short rib empanadas are topped with aji amarillo cream and fresh salsa criolla. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/ The Palm Beach Post)

Chef Clay Conley makes the best empanada in town. You’ll need a reservation, valet tip cash and proper attire to savor it, but, oh, is it ever so worth it to dig into Buccan Palm Beach’s short rib empanada. Conley dresses it up with a touch of salsa criolla and Peruvian-style ají amarillo (yellow pepper sauce).

Buccan: 350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-833-3450; BuccanPalmBeach.com 

Related: Empanadas – The soul of Latin America wrapped in a hand-held pie


Which Palm Beach County city is one of ’15 Best’ food cities in the country?

Buzzy Buccan: Palm Beach's hottest bistro, shown here in full effect, is where Chef Clay Conley creates inspired small plates and raw seafood specialties, while elevating dinner classics. (LILA PHOTO) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Buzzy Buccan: Chef Clay Conley's festival dinner at Buccan bistro, shown here during the 2013 Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, is always a hot ticket. (Contributed by LILA Photo)
Buccan in full effect: inspired small plates, crudos and plenty of buzz factor. (LILA PHOTO)

Conde Nast Traveler just unveiled its readers’ choice list of the “15 Best Food Cities in the U.S.,” and guess what?

Palm Beach skates in as No. 15.

To which Buccan bistro fans everywhere say with an eye roll: “Obviously.”

Panache on PGA: The Cooper's dining room. (LibbyVision.com)
Panache on PGA: The Cooper’s dining room. (LibbyVision.com)

By “Palm Beach,” the magazine means the county at large. One of the three restaurants named in the “15 Best” blurb is The Cooper, which is located at the PGA Commons in Palm Beach Gardens.

Also mentioned was Bistro Chez Jean Pierre (Palm Beach), hailed by Traveler for its “impeccable classics” and extensive wine collection.

Warm baguettes at Chez Jean-Pierre, Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/ Palm Beach Daily News)
Warm baguettes at Chez Jean-Pierre, Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/ Palm Beach Daily News)

And, yes, there’s Buccan, the buzzy bistro where Chef Clay Conley and his partners transformed the dining scene in Palm Beach five years ago.

One other Florida city makes the Traveler list: Sarasota, where the farm-inspired eatery Indigenous and the sidewalk café C’est La Vie are mentioned.

Those dining aficionados stung by the recent James Beard Awards snub of Florida chefs on its list of finalists might find a measure of solace in Traveler’s tidy readers’ choice lineup. It excludes Miami, Tampa, Winter Park and other culinary hot spots.

But it loves Palm Beach.


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3 new restaurants you must try in Royal Palm Beach, Wellington

photo Bolay
Bolay bowl. (Contributed by Alissa Dragun/Southmoon Photography)

Do you live out in the western communities? If so, there are a few new restaurant options you must try:


This new fast-casual eatery, which opened Feb. 26 in a new Royal Palm Beach plaza, is a spot that enshrines bowl cuisine, and it is doing this by filling oval bowls with fresh veggies, interesting grains and well-seasoned meats. The concept is already attracting fitness-minded folks to the new spot – not to mention fitness-minded celebs, like polo star Nic Roldan and champion equestrian show jumper Jessica Springsteen (Bruce’s daughter). — Liz Balmaseda, Palm Beach Post Food Editor

Bolay: 250 S. State Rd. 7, Royal Palm Beach; 561-899-0111

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Habit Burger’s Double CharBurger (Contributed)

Habit Burger

The burger spot opened its second Palm Beach County location Jan. 20. The company is based in California and its third Florida location is in Miami. Other than char-grilled burgers, the eatery offers sandwiches, salads, shakes and malts.

Habit Burger: 280 S. State Rd. 7, Royal Palm Beach; 561-784-4011

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The assembly line at one of Blaze Pizza’s national locations. (Contributed by Blaze Pizza)

Blaze Pizza

The NBA All-Star, LeBron James, is part of the Levy Family Partners group behind this California pizza chain’s expansion into South Florida. The restaurant offers build-your-own pizzas. The pizzas take about three minutes to cook in an open-flame oven. Other Blaze specialties include fresh salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies, according to the release.

Blaze Pizza: 250 S. State Rd. 7, Royal Palm Beach; 561-513-6454

Related: 20 best restaurants in Palm Beach County right now




National Beer Day: Best craft beers in Palm Beach County

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One of the many craft beers available at Copperpoint Brewing Company in Boynton Beach, FL. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Beer drinkers rejoice! It’s National Beer Day! And we have some ideas on where to enjoy the best beers in Palm Beach County.

It’s almost impossible to have tasted every variety of every beer brewed at each of the county’s nine breweries — and that’s a good problem to have.

These Beers of the Year (2015)— and our choice for 2015 Brewery of the Year, which is Copperpoint Brewery in Boynton Beach — are a nod to the best locally brewed craft beers around. Cheers!

The best craft beers of Palm Beach County: 2015 Beers of the Year

Delray restaurant closes to make way for Rack’s Farmhouse Kitchen

Don't call it flatbread: Farmhouse Kitchen's Kale & Cashew "farm flat." (Contributed)
Don’t call it a flatbread: Farmhouse Kitchen’s Kale & Cashew “farm flat.” (Contributed images)

Goodbye, chicken fried steak. Hello, organic kale and apple slaw.

Restaurateur Gary Rack is revamping the Delray Beach space now occupied by his Fat Rooster eatery. Sometime in May, Rack’s Farmhouse Kitchen moves into that Atlantic Avenue spot, bringing with it a “farm-fresh” eating concept with more healthy options.

That means a fade-out of sinful Southern food and fade-in of veggie-laden dishes, salads with names like “Kale Yeah” and flatbreads (“farm flats”) baked with whole grain flour and sprinkled with “power seeds.” That said, Farmhouse seeks to serve meat lovers as well with dishes such as bison meatloaf, grass-fed skirt steak and heritage pork medallions. Fish and chicken offerings will be available as well.

Contributed image.

It will be the second location for the Boca Raton-based Farmhouse Kitchen, which opened at Royal Palm Place in November 2014. This is not the first time Rack switches out one concept for another. Farmhouse replaced Table 42 in Boca.

In addition to serving lunch and dinner, the upcoming Delray spot will serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

“Gary Rack carefully considered this transition from Gary Rack’s Fat Rooster to Gary Rack’s Farmhouse Kitchen,” Rack’s GR Restaurant Group said in a news release. “There is an overwhelming positive response from likeminded locals who claim Farmhouse Kitchen is a brand champion.”

Fat Rooster, which serves its final meal on Mother’s Day, had the crow-worthy distinction of serving what one industry magazine called the best chicken sandwich in America.

Farmhouse offers vegan and gluten-free options, as well as meat dishes.
Farmhouse offers vegan and gluten-free options, as well as meat dishes.

That winning sandwich is a stack of sweet potato waffles, Southern-style fried chicken thighs, sorghum, peanut and benne seed slaw and pickled watermelon that’s macerated in jalapeño-infused whiskey.

The “Hen-Loving Waffle” sandwich may soon be gone, but her creator will remain: Chef Matthew Danaher, Rack’s restaurant group’s culinary director, oversees Farmhouse Kitchen.

FARMHOUSE KITCHEN: 399 SE Mizner Blvd. (Royal Palm Place), Boca Raton; 561-826-2625; FarmhouseKitchenBoca.com

South county dining: Messy, juicy burgers a must at Boca restaurant

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An Inside-Out Juicy Lucy Burger prepared at M.E.A.T. Eatery and Tap Room restaurant located in Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

The Inside-Out Juicy Lucy, aside from being juicy (and a burger), is a messy girl. Her smoky char envelops a heap of pimento cheese, which melts and dribbles all over the place.

The mess is inevitable when you pick up this beast of a burger at MEAT Eatery & Taproom in Boca Raton and attempt a bite. A fork and knife won’t do much to contain the cheesy, saucy mess.

But she’s worth it. Just one in MEAT’s lineup of stellar burgers, the Juicy Lucy is made better by a side of the eatery’s decadent duck fat fries.

Open since July 2014, MEAT Eatery anchors a first-floor corner of the Cendyn Spaces (shared office space) building and warms up the corporate setting. One of my favorite reasons to dine here involves MEAT’s sweet side, namely its milkshakes crafted with homemade Nutella ice cream. MEAT spikes one Nutella shake with Guinness.

It’s the most heavenly sip – and, unlike the messy Lucy, it’s easily shareable.

If you go: MEAT Eatery & Taproom

ADDRESS: 980 N Federal Highway (Cendyn Spaces building), Boca Raton

TELEPHONE: 561-419-2600

2014 review rating: FOOD: A; SERVICE: B+

Related: Full dining review – Juicy Lucy! Home Wrecker! Boca burger eatery is eclectic experience

Related: 15 best burgers in Palm Beach County