As the dough rises, so does business at Aioli

The sourdough can be a diva. Sometimes she cooperates, but there are times she refuses to give in to the coaxing.

Chef Michael Hackman of Aioli sandwich shop in West Palm Beach knows them well, the whims of sourdough.

Aioli's basic bread ingredients: 'Water, flour and salt.' Plus patience. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Aioli’s basic bread: ‘Water, flour and salt.’ Plus patience. (LibbyVision.com)

“It’s a lot of work. It’s very temperamental. You mess up one thing and it’s ruined,” says Hackman, who owns the daylight café with wife/partner Melanie.

Aioli's chef/co-owner Michael Hackman. (LibbyVision.com)
Aioli’s chef/co-owner Michael Hackman. (LibbyVision.com)

He bakes bread daily for the shop’s sandwiches as well as for retail sale. He bakes semolina bread and seven-grain loaves. Within the bread-baking rotation, he makes two types of sourdough bread, a plain loaf and an olive-studded one. But they can be tricky.

Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (LibbyVision.com)

Part of the reason for the challenge is that Hackman uses no shortcuts.

“I started making sourdough from scratch. We don’t use commercial yeast. We make the ‘mother,’ the culture. We’re making the yeast and watching it grow,” he says. “There was a moment when I literally fell in love with it.”

The handmade loaves sell for $6, $9 and $12.

Preparing bread molds: Hackman at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)
Preparing bread molds: Hackman at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)

Hackman’s love of baking – and his customers’ demand for his breads – sparked expansion plans at Aioli. The couple recently began construction on a separate baking facility that will operate adjacently to the café.

“We will be doing all the bread production there, plus a little wholesale,” says Hackman.

Time for a nap: rising dough at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)
Time for a nap: rising dough at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)

Also in the works, an Aioli location in downtown West Palm Beach.

“We’re still in the beginning stages,” Hackman says of that spot.

Michael Hackman's olive-studded sourdough beauty. (LibbyVision.com)
Michael Hackman’s olive-studded sourdough beauty. (LibbyVision.com)

Although the business is set to grow, he says it will not change Aioli’s mission to create fresh food using seasonal and many times local ingredients:

“We love to make stuff from scratch here.”

Aioli: 7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741

 

BEST GUIDE: What’s hot on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor?

Move over, Clematis Street. The hottest new thoroughfare near downtown West Palm Beach is South Dixie Highway, from Flamingo Park to just past Antique Row.

This is where a string of chef-driven, indie restaurants have opened in the past three years, adding eclectic notes to the street. They join a few of the city’s iconic restaurants in what is now dubbed the Dixie Dining Corridor.

Here’s a north-to-south guide of The Corridor:

Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)
Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)

TABLE 26

1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-855-2660

If you wonder why this sophisticated spot has drawn so many regulars to its doors, the answer is simple: They serve simple, delicious food, and they treat you like family.

The power duo behind Table 26, Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros, were pioneers of sorts on The Corridor. They opened the nautically themed place in the summer of 2012 and the valet attendants have been busy ever since.

Best reason to go: The place is lovely. It makes any night feel like a special night on the town.

Coming next year:

Patina – The husband-wife duo behind Kitchen plan an upscale spot serving Greek and Israeli dishes. Expected to open in fall 2017 at 1817 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Paccheri with herb ricotta, Parmesan and "Sunday gravy" with braised pork shoulder, short rib and Italian sausage. (LibbyVision.com)
Grato’s paccheri with ‘Sunday Gravy’ and herb ricotta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

GRATO

1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334

This local trattoria has earned a following by offering outstanding brick-oven pizza, house-smoked meats and homemade pasta in an accessible setting with just the right amount of vibe. Success is not an alien concept to the powerhouse team behind Grato: Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners. In August, Conley brought in a new executive chef, a rising star named Jimmy Strine, former executive sous chef at Café Boulud Palm Beach. Strine has notched up Grato’s smoked-meat game and introduced some exquisite seasonal dishes that showcase his balance of refined and rustic.

Best reason to go: There’s handmade pasta for lunch; a late afternoon drink at the bar can easily segue to dinner; Sunday brunch is sublime.

Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

JEREVE at EmKo

2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511

There’s a restaurant in this hulking structure that presents itself as an artist hub. Restaurant is not the word used here – they call it “culinary studio.” They do serve lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Best reason to go: There’s half-priced wine (by the glass) during social hour, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Chef Matthew Byrne's fave: Kitchen's chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Matthew Byrne’s fave: Kitchen’s chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

KITCHEN

319 Belvedere Rd. (at S. Dixie Hwy), West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281

Chef Matthew Byrne once served as personal chef to golf superstar Tiger Woods. At Kitchen, the restaurant he opened with wife Aliza Byrne in the fall of 2013, he serves as personal chef to a loyal crowd that includes many a visiting celeb. This is how the couple like to describe their intimate and gradually expanding restaurant: It’s like a dinner party.

Best reason to go: Chef Matthew’s simply prepared yet sumptuous dishes.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • City Diner – A retro diner that’s always hopping, at 3400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6776
Mexican street corn at Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)
Mexican street corn is on the menu at the new Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)

CHOLO SOY COCINA

3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-7018

Chef Clay Carnes ventured east from a spacious Wellington restaurant to open a tiny, neo-Andean spot. He makes his own tortillas and fresh ceviche, and roasts and smokes his own meats. There’s not much seating, but there is a sweet patio out back.

Best reason to go: Those tortillas, they’re made of organic corn grown in Alachua County.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Belle & Maxwell’s – Quaint café that’s popular at lunch, at 3700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-832-4449
  • Rhythm Café – Neighborhood favorite, serves eclectic mix of bites and main plates, at 3800 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-3406
  • Dixie Grill & Bar – Offers large selection of excellent craft beers and pub fare, at 5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189
  • Howley’s – A diner that burns the wee-hour oil (so to speak), serving comfort grub, at 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5691
Buffet at El Unico: Consider it a Latin 'meat + 3.' (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
El Unico’s Buffet: It’s a Latin ‘meat + 3.’ (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

EL UNICO

6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962

She’s Cuban-American; he’s Dominican. Together, husband-wife duo Monica and Enmanuel Nolasco have created a cozy spot for authentic island cooking and weekend get-downs.

Best reason to go: The lunch buffet is unbeatable. Friday night music and dancing kicks off the weekend with hot rhythms. 

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Marcello’s La Sirena – World-class Italian cuisine, a wine lover’s destination restaurant and multiple winner of Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award, at 6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-585-3128
  • Havana – This authentic Cuban restaurant just got an exterior makeover, at 6801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-9799
  • Don Ramon Restaurante Cubano – Cuban classics served with a smile, at 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

AIOLI

7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741

This daylight spot is no ordinary sandwich shop. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife/partner Melanie approach their menu with fresh, seasonal ingredients and a lot of soul. “We love to make stuff from scratch here,” says Chef Michael, who bakes the shop’s breads daily. He uses the fresh loaves – sourdough, seven grain, semolina, and more – in Aioli’s sandwiches. The shop also sells the loaves retail.

Best reason to go: After your scrumptious lunch, you can take one of Chef Michael’s prepared dinners to go. Multitasking!

Openings: Hey, Boca, there’s a new cheesecake in town

Buckle up, Boca. There’s a new cheesecake in town – and we’re not talking about Junior’s.

Amazing as it is, Junior’s fluffy, cake-crust, New York cheesecake will meet its match Tuesday, Dec. 6. That’s when Rappy’s Deli opens at Boca Raton’s new Park Place plaza.

Rappy's vintage New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Rappy’s New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

We had a taste of the dessert at a recent preview lunch. Restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who created the Rappy’s concept as a tribute to his late grandfather’s New York Jewish deli, offered the cheesecake without much commentary at the end of a multi-dish lunch.

The cheesecake recipe was brought to Rapoport’s, his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, by a Swedish pastry chef. It was the first cheesecake served in New York, says Rapoport, who grew up in an apartment above that long-closed deli.

The cheesecake: a fluffy, cream-cheese intense filling atop a thin cake crust. It’s divine stuff.

Rapoport is not making a big deal of it. “When something’s good, people will find it,” he says.

Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy's pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy’s pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The rest of the menu is just as rooted in the New York deli concept, but presented with a modern spin.  A Reuben is turned into a spring roll for Rappy’s Pastrami Spring Roll appetizer, which is stuffed with caraway-scented braised cabbage, Gruyere and Thousand Island dressing. Don’t fret, traditionalists, there’s a classic Reuben as well.

As delicious as the cheesecake: Rappy’s classic pastrami, to be made in-house. The meat is brined, smoked over a mix of hardwood, then steamed. The result is layer upon layer of flavor, a stack of pastrami that needs only a couple slices of rye bread and a smear of coarse-grain mustard. There are healthy offerings: chicken soup, health slaw, veggies.

Even the health slaw at Rappy's is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Even the health slaw at Rappy’s is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The menu is extensive, with offerings for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner: caviar, shareable “noshes,” soups, entrée salads, large plates, blintzes and latkes, a mountain of hot/cold sandwich options,  dogs and wursts (hello, pastrami-wrapped dog!), burgers and melts, Reubens and Rachels, “Bubby’s chicken in a pot,” shakes and desserts, plus a full bar.

Well dressed dog: Rappy's pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Well dressed dog: Rappy’s pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

Rappy’s will first open for lunch and dinner next Tuesday. Brunch begins on Saturday, Dec. 10. Breakfast will be served starting Monday, Dec. 12.

Rappy’s: Opens Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton; RappysDeli.com

 

 

 

Goodbye Grub: Jordan’s Steak Bistro says goodbye in Wellington

Jordan’s Steak Bistro, Wellington’s only independently owned upscale steakhouse, closed Sunday, management announced.

The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan's Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan’s Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

The family-owned restaurant, which opened in March 2013 in a plaza near the Mall at Wellington Green, specialized in hearty steaks cooked in an 1800-degree broiler. The big daddy on the menu: Jordan’s bone-in cowboy steak ($59), weighing from 18 ounces to 2 pounds. A heap of matchstick French fries completed the feast.

Jordan's truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jordan’s truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Jordan’s owners, Jordan and Ivette Naftal, announced the closing in a special email to regular customers:

“Big news. We would like to thank our loyal guests for a wonderful four years!” said the email. “Stay tuned for a future announcement letting you know where we land.”

That “next adventure” could come “very soon,” the owners suggested on the restaurant’s Facebook page last weekend.

Jordan Naftal, a former Baltimore-area restaurateur, opened the steakhouse in the space Pangea had operated.

Jordan Naftal, his wife Ivette, and son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Naftals: Jordan (at right), his wife Ivette, and their son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

On Sunday, the Naftals’ son, Jake Naftal, posted a message of his own on Facebook:

“I have adored being a part of this place, a part of your lives, and a participant in all the splendorous evenings we provided here. I’ve made many friends out of you, and learned so much… We love making food, we love making you smile, and you make us smile, too. See you at the next cookout.”

New restaurant opening in CityPlace: Bowery restaurant and music venue

CityPlace will welcome its fourth new restaurant this year when Bowery Palm Beach makes its debut in the former BB King’s/ Lafayette’s space next week.

Bowery, which combines an upmarket seafood restaurant and live music club, opens Thursday, Dec. 8.

A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette's Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)
A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette’s Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)

The menu describes dishes with some refinement: snapper panzanella (bread salad) with fried capers and tomato confit, black cod served with olive oil poached potatoes and watercress pesto, octopus with Meyer lemon gel and smoked potatoes.

Starters include steamed bao (buns) stuffed with a variety of fillings, including fried gator tail with pickled jalapeño. The dessert menu includes a black sesame ice cream sundae with kiwi, mocha, passion fruit and caramel. Specialty cocktails include the “Bowery Red,” vodka mixed with Giffard grapefruit syrup, Aperol and fresh lime juice.

The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress), is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left is co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)
The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress) is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left, co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)

The Bowery Palm Beach concept includes two parts, the Bowery Coastal restaurant and the Bowery LIVE music venue. It is the brainchild of restaurateurs and reality TV stars Joe Cirigliano and Karena Kefales, whose search for a “dream bar” in St. John’s was featured on HGTV’s “Caribbean Life” property-hunting series last year.

The couple, who went on to appear on other cable reality shows, named the upcoming West Palm Beach restaurant after their home street in New York City.

Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.

In the kitchen at Bowery PB: Chef Anthony "Theo" Theocaropoulos. (Contributed image)
In the kitchen at Bowery: Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos. (Contributed)

A native New Yorker, Theocaropoulos is a graduate of the now-defunct Lincoln Culinary Institute. His career includes stints at Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori and Mario Batali’s Eataly New York La Pizza & La Pasta.

The chef was the culinary mind behind Cooklyn, the now-closed Prospect Heights restaurant that had served as inspiration for a Palm Beach outpost. That Cooklyn Palm Beach concept, once destined for the 150 Worth shopping plaza, was scrapped.

Bowery Palm Beach will be the fifth restaurant opening at West Palm’s centerpiece dining and entertainment plaza in the past year, following the opening of The Regional Kitchen, City Tap House, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Cabo Flats (which opened in December 2015).

Bowery Palm Beach: 567 Hibiscus St. (CityPlace), West Palm Beach; 561-420-8600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Water view at ‘Che’ elevates a simple empanada

On a crisp day in Delray Beach, it doesn’t get much better than this: a waterfront view, rosé sipping and tapas noshing, and snippets of rumba adrift on the patio.

Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)
Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)

No, it wasn’t a bad way to meet Che, the 3-month-old restaurant perched on the Intracoastal in Delray Beach. The fact that it was still Happy Hour when I got there made the intro even better. That’s the magical period when the restaurant serves 5-buck delicacies such as eggplant chips, long, crispy shavings stacked in surreal patterns.

The sparkling view and delicious starter gave me the feeling that this place would be a good one. Then the server felt the need to overshare. That was moments after he dropped an F-bomb at me – in a good way, I suppose. He used it as an adverb to qualify the word “amazing,” which he used to describe the steaks.

When my dining companion arrived, I brought her up to speed.

“Our server says the steaks are ‘f#*% amazing.’ He’s also ‘f#*% hungover.’”

At Che, a view that screams "Delray Beach!" (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
At Che, a view that screams “Delray Beach!” (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

He was charming in the way your party friend from college is charming. But, yes, he was clueless. When I asked about the terrific, smooth and smoky red dipping sauce served alongside Che’s hearty, overstuffed empanada, he said it was a classic Argentinian chimichurri.

It was a delicious twist on the classic condiment, but for the most part, chimichurri is green, a hand-minced garlic, herb and oil sauce. The server told us chimi is always red in Argentina and green in Brazil. Charming, but mistaken.

Che's overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Che’s overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

Condiment theories aside, this was a tasty empanada (two for $9), its crispy fried crust encasing chopped premium beef studded with chopped olives, peppers and egg. And we couldn’t get enough of that smoky red sauce. It was served with a lightly dressed tangle of arugula and sliced baby tomatoes.

This empanada shares the menu with other starters that reflect Che’s South American and Iberian roots. The concept was dreamed up in Buenos Aires and brought to being in Spain by sibling restaurateurs Daniela and Martin Sujoy. Some 15 years later, they have a “Che” family of 15 related restaurants in Spain.

Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

The Spanish influence on Che (a Rio de la Plata expression which can mean “hey!” or “bro,” among other things) declares itself in a Galician style octopus appetizer ($11), a gazpacho starter ($8), a plate of cured Iberico meats and cheeses ($15) and a classic seafood paella ($48 for two).

The Argentine inspiration is told in classics such as morcilla (blood sausage, $9), provoleta (grilled provolone, $12) and a heap of grilled steaks, ranging from $29 for brochettes to $64 for a 24-ounce butterflied South American NY strip. We landed somewhere near the middle, ordering the “George V” filet steak ($43), an 8-ounce prime South American tenderloin served with caramelized onions and veggies in a red wine glaze, with a side of potato gratin.

Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

To my eyes, 8 ounces never seemed as robust. This filet towered above the veggie sauté. It was large enough to share. It was not as buttery as one might expect from a filet cut, but the steak was tender, a true medium-rare beneath a smoky char.

In the non-beef department, the grilled Pacific King Salmon ($30) did not disappoint. It was prepared medium-rare as well, revealing a moist interior. The salmon is served with nicely grilled asparagus and a black trumpet mushroom risotto that proved better in flavor than in texture. I prefer a creamy, more loose risotto. This one had the consistency of clumpy rice pudding.

Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

All this in a menu that also includes wood-fired flat breads ($12). The menu’s range makes this an ideal waterfront spot. You don’t want a steak? Have a fig-blue cheese flat bread and a glass of wine. The setting is outstanding.

The waterfront Delray Beach location, which inhabits the former Hudson at Waterway East property, is the Sujoy family’s first U.S. location. And it is a beauty, with crisp, white walls and chairs, velvety teal booths and banquettes and simple wooden deck touches. Che infused light and just the right amount of teal blue into a dim space.

Soothing tones: Che's decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Soothing tones: Che’s decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

Now those shimmery waters outside find their reflection in the restaurant’s furnishings. The view, it seems, begins inside and flows outward. The minds behind the restaurant’s décor maximized the visual gifts of the place.

Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

What a lucky thing for local lovers of Argentinian and Spanish foods: a place where the empanada comes with one of the best views in South Florida.

REVIEW

Che Restaurant

FOOD: B

SERVICE: C

ADDRESS: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

TELEPHONE: 561-562-5200

WEBSITE: Delray.CheRestaurant.com

PRICE RANGE: Moderate to expensive

NOISE LEVEL: Lively, but conversation is possible.

FULL BAR: Yes, a full liquor bar; separate bar areas.

HOURS: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

CREDIT CARDS: Major cards accepted

RESERVATIONS: Dinner reservations are strongly suggested.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:

A — Excellent

B — Good

C — Average

D — Poor

F — Don’t bother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PB Food and Wine Fest: Five big food stars you’ve never heard of

If you watch Food Network competition shows or Bravo’s “Top Chef” series, you’ll recognize a lot of the culinary talent at this year’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Dec. 8 through 11. There’s Robert Irvine of “Restaurant Impossible” fame. There’s Jeff Mauro of “The Kitchen.” There’s Marc Murphy of “Chopped.”

But some faces are less familiar, except maybe to in-the-know gastronomes. Here are five big food stars you may not know, but should.

George Mendes

Chef George Mendes (center) poses with fellow stars Mike Lata (left) and Daniel Boulud (right). (LILA PHOTO)
Chef George Mendes (center) poses with fellow chefs Mike Lata (left) and Daniel Boulud (right). (LILA PHOTO)

This New York City chef/restaurateur creates dishes that reflect his Portuguese roots. At his restaurant Aldea, Mendes’ refined touch has earned the spot a Michelin star every year since 2010. Last year, he opened Lupulo, a Lisbon-inspired “cervejaria” (brew pub), which houses a daytime takeout window called Bica. Mendes has been a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for “best chefs in America” four times.

Mendes is scheduled to appear at the “Sustain” dinner at PB Catch in Palm Beach on Dec. 8. That event costs $170 per person.

Mike Lata

Charleston star chef Mike Lata. (LILA PHOTO)
Charleston star chef Mike Lata at last year’s festival. (LILA PHOTO)

If you’ve flocked to Charleston for the great foodie scene, you may have dined at one of Lata’s acclaimed restaurants. A pivotal figure in the city’s culinary renaissance, he’s the star chef behind FIG Restaurant and The Ordinary. FIG is a local favorite, serving farm-inspired Lowcountry food. The Ordinary is Lata’s “fancy seafood” spot. Lata is a James Beard Award winner for best chef in the Southeast. He was a nominee for the prestigious award twice before. Most noteworthy perhaps: Lata is a self-taught chef.

Lata will participate in three festival events, a dinner at Buccan Palm Beach, a street food competition at the Four Seasons and a brunch with Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud. All three events are sold out.

Lee Wolen

Michelin man: Chicago chef Lee Wolen. (Contributed by Lee Wolen)
Michelin man: Chicago chef Lee Wolen. (Contributed by Lee Wolen)

Here’s a cook with a dream resume. Wolen has worked in the company of great chefs throughout a career which has taken him into the kitchens of some of the world’s finest restaurants, the legendary, late El Bulli among them.

The Cleveland native polished his craft at Eleven Madison Park, the famed three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant. More recently, in Chicago, Wolen earned a Michelin star at The Lobby at the Peninsula, where he was chef de cuisine. In 2014, he became executive chef/partner of Boka Restaurant in that city, helping the restaurant maintain its prized Michelin star for three years. Last year, the Chicago Tribune named him Chef of the Year.

Wolen will appear at the festival’s “Rise and Dine” breakfast at the Eau Palm Beach Resort on Dec. 10. Tickets are $75 each.

Anita Lo

Anita Lo at Annisa, Greenwich Village. (Contributed by Annisa)
Anita Lo at Annisa, Greenwich Village. (Contributed by Annisa)

She’s the chef and creative mind behind Annisa restaurant in Greenwich Village, where the refined dishes reveal Lo’s Asian roots and high-end French training. (Her miso marinated sable with crispy silken tofu in bonito broth is simply divine.) Lo is a Michigan-raised, first generation Chinese-American who as a college student plunged herself into French food, language and culture. She honed her French culinary techniques in top restaurants in Paris and New York, coming into her own with the opening of Annisa in 2000. Almost instantly, she amassed accolades. Then, 9 years later, a fire destroyed her restaurant. Lo spent a year traveling and rebuilding, reopening Annisa in 2010. As the chef returned with renewed inspiration, the raves returned as well.

Lo is set to appear at the “Sustain” dinner at PB Catch in Palm Beach on Dec. 8. That event costs $170 per person.

Jose Mendin

Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)
Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)

You may know this name if you’re familiar with Miami’s vibe-y dining scene. Mendin is chef and founding partner of the Pubbelly family of hot and happening restaurants, three of them clustered on one South Beach block. As a chef, he fuses global flavors and ideas into “soul” dishes reminiscent of Mendin’s Puerto Rican roots.

Some of this – like the Pubbelly gastro pub cochinillo (sucking pig) with green apples and fennel and chanterelles and soy butter jus – shouldn’t work. But it does. In many ways, Mendin is the chef who best reflects right-now Miami. In the 1980s, that rather fantastic reflection came from the famed Mango Gang of award-winning chefs. Today, it’s Mendin and his “Pubbelly boys” who translate the 305 dialects most exquisitely onto the plate.

Mendin is appearing at the festival’s “Rise and Dine” breakfast at the Eau Palm Beach Resort on Dec. 10. Tickets are $75 each.

 

On 10th year, 10 reasons to toast the PB Food and Wine Fest

It’s a gem of a little food fest, one that doesn’t subject its guests to hordes or parking nightmares. There are many reasons to celebrate the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival any year, but as the fest turns 10 next month – it runs from Dec. 8 through 11 – here are 10 reasons to raise a glass this year.

It’s an intimate affair.

At the fest, a civilized toast is possible. (LILA PHOTO)
At the fest, a civilized toast is possible. (LILA PHOTO)

As food festivals go, this one works hard to maintain a level of intimacy. Granted, chances are there will be human traffic jams during parts of the fest’s Grand Tasting finale at The Gardens Mall. But that’s one event – and still it’s a fun one. For the most part, the festival’s dinners and tastings are easy to navigate. That’s because the organizers don’t overbook events. This means fest-goers get the civilized, top-notch experiences they expected when they purchased their tickets.

Can’t beat the backdrop.

Yep. December in Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)
Yep. December in Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)

Palm trees? Check. Crashing waves? Check. The Breakers’ grand, Italian Renaissance archways and loggias? Check.

The setting for festival events is pretty spectacular. It’s December in Palm Beach – any wonder why the festival lures some big names? And in the past few years, the fest has expanded its reach into the mainland, into West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. This year, two of West Palm’s hottest restaurants (Avocado Grill and The Regional) will host festival events. While these may not be oceanfront spots, they possess the funk factor that many food enthusiasts seek in the county’s fastest rising dining destination. 

Southern food goals are strong.

The Regional Kitchen hosts Southern food stars. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Regional Kitchen hosts Southern food stars. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

This year the festival revels in the region by hosting a “Southern Revival” lunch at The Regional Kitchen. The months-old, CityPlace restaurant is where Chef Lindsay Autry gives her native Southern cuisine a global spin. The farmhouse-inspired restaurant, appointed with mementos of Autry’s North Carolina roots, provides an ideal setting for a meal created by a cast of Southern food stars. Joining Autry in the kitchen will be her acclaimed mentor Michelle Bernstein (Crumb on Parchment, Miami), James Beard Award-winning chef Stephen Stryjewski (Cochon and Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans) and Southern chef/author Virginia Willis. No surprise: The event is sold out.

There’s an all-out veggie feast this year.

Amanda Cohen, of New York's Dirt Candy. (Cox Newspapers file)
Amanda Cohen, of New York’s Dirt Candy. (Cox Newspapers file)

The festival’s “Rustic Root” dinner will bring some top food stars to Chef Julien Gremaud’s popular Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach. Among them is Amanda Cohen, the pioneering chef/owner of Dirt Candy, a New York hotspot serving plant-based cuisine. Cohen, dubbed the “Veggie Czarina” by Haute Living magazine, will be joined by award-winning chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Dean James Max.

This five-course dinner with wine pairings and open bar costs $150 per person. Tickets were still available at press time.

The best of culinary Miami comes to town.

Rock star in the 305: Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly Miami. (Galdones Photography)
Chef Jose Mendin of Miami’s Pubbelly restaurant group. (Galdones Photography)

That chaotic metropolis to our south may have some mighty fine cuisine, but one has to brave gridlock traffic and ridiculous parking situations to enjoy it. For a few years now, the festival has been luring some of Miami’s best and brightest. This year, the 305 delegation is simply outstanding. Coming to the fest:

  • Chef/ restaurateur Jose Mendin, whose Pubbelly group of restaurants mirrors Miami’s vibrancy and cultural depth. In many ways, he’s the chef who best reflects his city right now.
  • Timon Balloo, the innovative executive chef/partner at Midtown’s Sugarcane restaurant.
  • Chef/restaurateur Richard Hales, who brought new Asian flavors to Miami with his Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick Chinese restaurants.
  • Chef/restaurateur Giorgio Rapicavoli, who turned a vibe-y pop-up into one of Coral Gables’ hottest restaurants, Eating House. More recently, he opened Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove’s iconic Peacock Park.

Palm Beach Grill opens for lunch.

Hillstone haute: Palm Beach Grill. (Palm Beach Post file)
Hillstone haute: Palm Beach Grill. (Palm Beach Post file)

The festival features “Lunch at The Grill” on Saturday, Dec. 10. This is kind of a big deal. Not only is the Palm Beach Grill a tough reservation to score, the place doesn’t serve lunch. The New American-style restaurant may be part of a national chain (Hillstone), but it’s one of the buzziest spots on the island. No surprise there. Hillstone, after all, was named “America’s Favorite Restaurant” this year by Bon Appetit magazine.

“It’s never going to win a James Beard Award. Or try to wow you with its foam experiments or ingredients you’ve never heard of. But it is the best-run, most-loved, relentlessly respected restaurant in America,” went the intro to the March story.

Tickets to the lunch were still available at press time – 99 bucks gets you a seat at lunch. No famous chefs. But you get four courses with wine pairings and open bar.

It loves a good love story.

Chef Lindsay Autry married festival director David Sabin in June. (Kristy Roderick Photography)
Chef Lindsay Autry married festival director David Sabin in June. (Kristy Roderick Photography)

The festival’s “Chef Welcome Party” was the setting of one noteworthy marriage proposal two years ago. In a quiet, oceanfront spot away from the party crowd, festival director David Sabin dropped to one knee and proposed to Chef Lindsay Autry, his longtime girlfriend. The party morphed into an unofficial engagement bash. Earlier this year, Sabin and Autry had a destination wedding in one of America’s hottest food cities: They were married June 4th in Charleston, SC.

There’s a party in the ‘burbs.

Star chef selfie: (from right) Johnny Iuzzini, Robert Irvine and Marc Murphy, at The Gardens Mall. (LILA PHOTO)
Star chef selfie: (from right) Johnny Iuzzini, Robert Irvine and Marc Murphy, at The Gardens Mall. (LILA PHOTO)

The festival’s grand finale event, the 10th Annual Grand Tasting, happens at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens for the second year in a row. For eight years, the tasting event packed both floors of Palm Beach’s 150 Worth shopping complex. By moving the event to the more spacious Gardens Mall, the festival tapped into an important dining market: north county.

The cachet mingles with the commercial.

The fest brings together TV star chefs and Michelin starred chefs. (LILA PHOTO)
The fest brings together TV star chefs and Michelin starred chefs. (LILA PHOTO)

In the mix of personalities, fest-goers will find familiar faces from Food Network, James Beard Award winners and the occasional Michelin star-decorated. Take Chicago chef Lee Wolen. He’s worked at a succession of Michelin-starred restaurants, first at New York’s venerable Eleven Madison Park, then at Chicago’s Lobby at The Peninsula, where he earned a Michelin star, and most recently at Chicago’s Boka Restaurant, which has won stars three years in a row. He’ll be cooking breakfast at the Eau Dec. 10 with James Beard semifinalists Mendin and Rapicavoli from Miami. That morning, over at the Four Seasons Resort, fest-goers can mingle with Food Network stars Robert Irvine, Marc Murphy, Jeff Mauro and Travel Channel host Adam Richman at the day’s events there.

Tickets were still available for that Eau Resort breakfast. They cost $75 per person.

It’s not South Beach.

SoBe's Grand Tasting Village gets swarmed. (Palm Beach Post file)
SoBe’s Grand Tasting Village gets swarmed. (Palm Beach Post file)

Nothing against that big, bodacious fest to our south. In fact, that fest is like 20 festivals in one. It puts on more events in a day than Palm Beach puts on in its entire four-day duration. But Palm Beach has little interest in becoming South Beach, fest-wise – and that’s a good thing. The 561 festival is manageable and offers a sense of intimacy. A food enthusiast can have a proper conversation with a visiting chef. Eight of the 14 events are sit-down meals. The vibe is more lively dinner party than packed disco.

A Northerner’s guide to dining in Palm Beach County

You come for the sun, the sea and the right to wear shorts in January, dear Northerner. But no amount of South Florida stone crabs can fix your cravings for the foods of “home,” wherever in the frozen tundra that may be.

This one’s for you: our local picks for tastes of New York, New Jersey, New England, Maryland, Philadelphia and Montreal.

Did we leave out your go-to favorite? Let us know in the comments section!

NEW YORK/ NEW JERSEY 

Creamy, dreamy: Cheesecake is Junior's most iconic dish. (Photo: Junior's Restaurant)
Creamy, dreamy cheesecake: Junior’s iconic dish. (Photo: Junior’s Restaurant)

Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake

409 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-672-7301

This “Sixth Borough” outpost of the Brooklyn favorite serves cheesecake that dreams are made of. So, yes, you come to Junior’s Restaurant for the cheesecake. But first you gorge on a Reuben, maybe some potato pancakes and matzo ball soup. The menu is extensive.

New York state of mind at Dorrian's Red Hand. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)
New York state of mind at Dorrian’s. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Dorrian’s Red Hand

215 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-355-1401

The family behind the Upper East Side fixture opened a West Palm Beach rendition in May, setting out to create a New York pub vibe. As an occasional special, Dorrian’s on Clematis Street even brings in Katz’s Delicatessen pastrami from the iconic New York deli.

Slice of Brooklyn at Grimaldi's Pizzeria. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Slice of Brooklyn at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave. (Downtown at the Gardens), Palm Beach Gardens; 561-625-4665

This Arizona-based pizza chain has Brooklyn roots serves delicious, thin-crust pies. The menu is simple here – pretty much, pizza, salads and dessert – but it hits the spot.

Coming soon: The deli of Burt Rapoport's dreams. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Coming soon: The deli of Burt Rapoport’s dreams. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

Rappy’s Deli

Coming by mid-December to Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton

Granted, the place doesn’t open until December, but already it screams “New York.” Restaurateur Burt Rapoport took inspiration from his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, Rapoport’s, for this long-dreamed spot. Unlike his grandfather’s place, Rappy’s is not a strictly dairy restaurant. The menu puts a modern spin on some of Rapoport’s favorite comfort dishes.

Italian combo, Manzo's style. (Samantha Ragland/ The Palm Beach Post)
Italian combo, Manzo’s style. (Samantha Ragland/ The Palm Beach Post)

Manzo’s Italian Deli

2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-697-9411

This popular deli brings Northern soul to Italian favorites. Mike and Mia Manzo operate the 21-year-old, family-owned spot. Mike makes killer red sauce every morning. It jazzes up his homemade lasagna, the meatballs and other dishes. As for sandwiches, Manzo’s big seller is the chicken salad sub – they sell almost 200 pounds of chicken salad a week.

BOSTON/ NEW ENGLAND

Lobster roll at Boston's on the Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lobster roll at Boston’s on the Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Boston’s on the Beach

40 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach; 561-278-3364

Consider this your south county, oceanfront spot for New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, Ipswich steamers, New England clambake and Maine lobster. To wash it down, there’s a specialty cocktail named The Patriot, of course. Plus, there are more than 30 TVs to watch the big game.

Chowder Heads: where chowdah is love.
Chowder Heads: where chowdah is love.

Chowder Heads

2123 U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter; 561-203-2903

What began as a green market kiosk selling creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls evolved into a popular Jupiter restaurant. The warm lobster roll stuffed with lobster chunks that have been sautéed in butter and sherry is particularly delicious, as is the chowder. The seafood-centric menu is extensive enough to keep you coming back. Chances are, however, you’ll order your favorites again and again.

That's just the start of it at Spoto's Oyster Bar. (Palm Beach Post file)
That’s just the start of it at Spoto’s Oyster Bar. (Palm Beach Post file)

Spoto’s Oyster Bar

4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-776-9448

This seafood restaurant, consistently good in food and service, serves a mean New England clam chowder and a pretty terrific lobster roll.

PHILLY

Baldino's is cheese steak city. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
It’s cheesesteak city at Baldino’s in Tequesta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

Baldino’s Italian Restaurant

791 N. U.S. Highway 1, Tequesta; 561-743-4224

The logline for this restaurant is “A Taste of Philly,” and that’s evident from the menu at Baldino’s, which boasts no fewer than four Philly cheesesteak sandwich varieties.

They root proudly for the Philadelphia Eagles and run game day contests (win a free pizza if you’re the first customer to guess the winner and score).

Pennsylvania Dutch-style pretzels are popular among Philly natives. (Photo: Cox Newspapers)
Pennsylvania Dutch-style pretzels are popular among Philly natives. (Photo: Cox Newspapers)

Phlorida Pretzel

168 NW 51st St. (Boca Teeca Plaza on Yamato Road), Boca Raton; 561-910-1846

This Boca Raton shop bakes a variety of doughy Philly-style pretzels, from twists to pretzel dogs to pretzel sandwiches, including a pork roll and cheese-stuffed sandwich. Phlorida Pretzel also offers a good mix of party trays that are perfect for tailgating. (And, yes, this is Eagles territory.) 

Alfresco dining is offered with an ocean view at Caffe Luna Rosa. (Palm Beach Post file)
Alfresco dining with an ocean view at Caffe Luna Rosa. (Palm Beach Post file)

Caffe Luna Rosa

34 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach; 561-274-9404

At brunch/lunch, this Italian spot by the sea serves Philadelphia-style scrapple, a pan-fried loaf of pork trimmings and flour. (Hey, Jersey folks, Caffe Luna Rosa also serves Taylor Pork Roll as a brunch side.)

BALTIMORE/ MARYLAND

Jumbo lump crab cakes at Kirby's. (Palm Beach Post file)
Jumbo lump crab cakes at Kirby’s. (Palm Beach Post file)

Kirby’s

841 Donald Ross Rd. (La Mer plaza), Juno Beach; 561-627-8000

This sports grill is popular with Baltimore Ravens fans as well as with fans of proper crab cakes. Kirby’s rendition are cakes chockfull of crab, not bready filler.

A Maryland-style crab restaurant in Lantana. (Palm Beach Post file)
A Maryland-style crab restaurant in Lantana. (Palm Beach Post file)

Riggins Crabhouse

607 Ridge Rd., Lantana; 561-586-3000

This restaurant not only bills itself as a Maryland crab house, the menu delivers on that promise with Maryland crab soup, Maryland-style crabs steamed in beer, vinegar and spices and Chesapeake references.

Tapping into Baltimore at True, Boca Raton. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Tapping into Baltimore at True, Boca. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

True

147 SE 1st Ave. (next to Royal Palm Place), Boca Raton

Pure Baltimore inspiration built this spot, and a love of crabs keeps it going. The cream of crab soup at True carries hints of sherry, shallots and Old Bay. The True Blue sandwich layers a Maryland-style crab cake, lettuce and tomato on a Kaiser roll. There’s a crab dip that’s topped with cheddar and the Homesick Soup with plenty of Old Bay love.

MONTREAL/ QUEBEC

Poutine, a French Canadian street dish, is a heap of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. (Contributed)
Poutine, a French Canadian street dish, is a heap of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. (Contributed)

Poutine Dog Café

17 S. J Street, Lake Worth; 561-766-2281

What’s so Montreal about fries, gravy and cheese curds? Everything. And this café serves it in abundance and with plenty of bling. There are at least nine ways to top your poutine here.

Poutine gets a fancy touch at Chez l'Epicier, Palm Beach. (Contributed by Chez l'Epicier)
Poutine is served in a stylish setting at Chez l’Epicier, Palm Beach. (Contributed by Chez l’Epicier)

Chez l’Epicier

288 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-508-7030

Set in farmhouse-chic décor, this Palm Beach restaurant offers a most compelling reason for a Montreal fan to visit: The chef is a food star there. Chef Laurent Godbout, who runs Chez l’Epicier with his wife Veronique Deneault, renders artistic yet soulful plates. And, yes, he offers a mean poutine.

How to get ‘happy’ during election day in Palm Beach County

By Julio Poletti – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

This has been the longest presidential battle in history. Not literally, but it sure feels like it. Whether you’re pumped for the election or sick and tired of the gossip and Facebook arguments, one thing is for sure: People will be glued to their TVs today, Nov. 8, to see who becomes the next President of the United States.

» RELATED: Live reports from Palm Beach County polls on Election Day

If you’re not into watching the election results alone, drinking alone or both, we’ve put together a list of places in Palm Beach County where the happy hours are too sweet to be beat. Check ’em out:


Harbourside, Jupiter

The Woods

The bar area at The Woods Jupiter at Harbourside in Jupiter Monday, August 10, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
The bar area at The Woods Jupiter at Harbourside in Jupiter Monday, August 10, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close | $8 Appetizers and cocktails | $7 Wines 

Two Words: Tiger Woods. This waterfront steakhouse/sports bar is top notch when it comes to quality and service, just like its owner. The relaxed, sports bar vibe totally works and is ideal watching the election feeds. Our food editor Liz Balsameda recommends the bone-in pork chop and prime burger.

The burger patty flavored with bacon and onions, has to be good.

» RELATED: Dining Guide to Harbourside

Address: 129 Soundings Ave, Jupiter, FL 33477
Contact: 561-320-9627

Calaveras Cantina

Calaveras Cantina at Harbourside Place in Jupiter on September 20, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Calaveras Cantina at Harbourside Place in Jupiter on September 20, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 4 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close | $2 Tacos! | $8+ Appetizers

Love it or hate it, Mexican food is here to stay. This vibrant, Hipster spin on Mexican cuisine has one of the best taco specials in the county and serves freshly made churros with cajeta (Mexican caramel). Viva Mexico!

» RELATED: “Eat the Boulevard: The PGA Dining Guide”

Address: 125 Dockside Circle, Jupiter, FL 33477
Contact: 561-320-9661


Palm Beach Gardens

The Cooper

The Cooper Bar (Thecooperrestaurant.com/ Gallery)
The Cooper Bar (thecooperrestaurant.com/ Gallery)

Happy Hour: Bar and high-tops both inside and outside between 3 p.m. and 6:00 p.m & 9 p.m. to close | $6 Cocktails | $5 Wine by the glass

For Election day only: Triple the points on lunch and dinner for Cooper club members.

Talk about sophistication. Every plate’s picture looks ridiculously stunning and delicious. This American brasserie promises to make you love in fall with the place as soon as you look at the menu. From charcuterie to cheese boards, yummy bar snacks, dining, cocktails and brunch, you’ll want to try it all.

Address: 4610 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Contact:  561-622-0032

Spoto’s Oyster Bar

Blue Point oysters are served at Spoto's Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
Blue Point oysters are served at Spoto’s Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

Happy Hour: 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | $3.50 House Wine | $4 Cocktails | $5 > Appetizers

Enjoy seafood classics such as oysters, shrimp cocktails, clam chowder and lobster risottos all in one place. This seafood heaven also offers a wide variety of appetizers all under $5. Our Food Editor’s pick is the Key Lime Pie.

Address: 4560 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Contact: 561-776-9448


Clematis & CityPlace, West Palm Beach

Maurice and Rachel Costigan enjoy a couple of pints of their new 20th Anniversary Stout at O'Shea's in downtown West Palm Beach on September 17, 2014. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)
Maurice and Rachel Costigan enjoy a couple of pints of their new 20th Anniversary Stout at O’Shea’s in downtown West Palm Beach on September 17, 2014. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

O’Shea’s Pub

Happy Hour: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. drink specials and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. food specials | $5 Captain Morgan
$3 Domestic beer | $4 Imports | $4 All appetizers 

O’Shea’s Pub could pretty much be West Palm’s landmark. This Irish restaurant has been serving the community for the past 21 years. It claims to have only the best traditions and recipes from Ireland.

Address: 531 Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Contact: 561-833-3865

Copper Blues

The main bar and tap lines at Copper Blues inside Cityplace in West Palm Beach on July 25, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The main bar and tap lines at Copper Blues inside Cityplace in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Happy Hour: 3 to 7 p.m. | $30% off most liquor and food | $4 house wine

Executive Chef Chris McKinley prepares all the meals daily, from bar food to his own unique creations. Just ask him what you want, and expect nothing but the best.

Duffy’s Sports Grill

Jets fan Jamie Frye (R) of West Palm Beach celebrates after the Jets deny the Dolphins a fourth quarter touchdown during an early game in London Sunday morning, October 4, 2015, while Dolphins fan Jason Young (L) and his mother Lisa (C) of West Palm Beach show frustration inside Duffy's Sports Grill on Okeechobee Blvd. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)
Frustration inside Duffy’s Sports Grill on Okeechobee Blvd. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: All day | All Drinks: 2 for 1.

You can’t go wrong with Duffy’s. If you haven’t been here before, get ready. This place gets crowded, loud and filled with fanatics. If you like fun places, this is it. But if you’re actually trying to listen to election updates on TV as they come, this might not be the place for you. Then again, it is on a Tuesday night so it might not be as busy. Your call.

Address: 225 Clematis St. West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Contact: (561) 249-1682

City Tap House

A view of the outdoor bar at City Tap House at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by City Tap)
A view of the outdoor bar at City Tap House at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by City Tap)

Happy hour: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. | $1 Oysters | $3 Domestic Drafts | $4 Select Craft Drafts | $7+ Small plates

This place looks great on the inside and the outside. As you can see, they have many items on happy hour on Tuesday, November 8th. $1 Oysters, seriously? This American restaurant offers anything from bar food to seafood, salads and a wide variety of gluten-free options. Check out our review: City Tap House brings eclectic beers and eats to CityPlace

Address: 700 S Rosemary Ave West Palm Beach, FL 33401 (City Place)
Contact: 561508.8525

Downtown Lake Worth

Dave’s Last Resort on Lake

112611 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) - LAKE WORTH -Visitors to downtown Lake Worth sit on the sidewalk at Dave's Last Resort on Small Business Saturday.
LAKE WORTH -Visitors to downtown Lake Worth sit on the sidewalk at Dave’s Last Resort (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) –

Happy Hour: 2 to 7 p.m. – $3 Domestic beers, house wine & well drinks. | $0.99 Oysters/each, one-dozen minimum order  |  $0.89 wings/each, 10 wings minimum order

If you like options, this is the place for you. Their menu is immense with all kinds of foods, desserts, beverages and cocktails. Their deals? ridiculous —a must visit.

Address: 632 Lake Ave. Lake Worth, Fl. 33460
Contact: 561-588-5208

 Rhum Shak

Patrons enjoy the bar at the Rhum Shak on April 3, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Patrons enjoy the bar at the Rhum Shak on April 3, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: Drinks 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Food 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $1.00 off import bottles and craft beers | $2.50 wells, domestic bottles and drafts | $2.00 of all other alcohols and specialty drinks | $10.95 Dinner Special: 2 lbs full rack baby back with side.

This friendly sports bar has so many TV screens that at least one of them is bound to broadcast the elections. If you’d rather watch something else, you can do that too. Facebook reviews gives it a a 4.6/5 stars on Facebook.

Address: 802 Lake Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33460
Contact: (561) 755-7486

Atlantic Avenue, Delray

Salt Water Brewery

Co-owner Peter Agardy, left, stands with brewmaster Bill Taylor inside the SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach on July 29, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Co-owner Peter Agardy, left, stands with brewmaster Bill Taylor inside the SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach on July 29, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 12 to 6 p.m. | $4 Drinks (excluding special releases) | 25% Off growlers’ beer refills

There’s a certain vibe when you go to a brewery. Nothing is more refreshing than sipping on some good beer and talking smack with your buddies. Breweries are a lifestyle — a lot different than going to a sports bar. You can either buy your growler or bring your own; they’ll still refill you with 25% off.

Related: Delray brewery crates eco-friendly, edible six pack beer rings

Address: 1701 W Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, Florida
Contact: 561-865-5373

Brule Bistro

Jason Binder, 30, chef de Cuisine at Brule Bistro, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015, in Delray Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Jason Binder, 30, chef de Cuisine at Brule Bistro, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015, in Delray Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Happy Hour: 3 to 6 p.m. | $4 Spirits and Wine | $3.50 Draft | $5 Fried pork cheek pizza and other appetizers under $10

This French-American restaurant has a very industrial yet classic feel. It’s not too dark, not too bright. The bartenders are friendly, and the Moscow mule is so strong, you’ll be done after one. The food is good, from small European-style tapas to more Americanized dishes. There’s also the chef’s local market menu.

Address: 200 NE 2nd Ave Delray Beach, FL 33444
Contact: 561-274-2046