Swank Farm to host Sunday morning mini-market

Thanks to Hurricane Matthew’s bluster, West Palm Beach cancelled its waterfront green market for this Saturday.

But those who flock to Swank Farm’s fresh produce stand won’t have to wait one week for their lettuces and baby greens.

They’ll only have to wait one day. The Loxahatchee Groves farm is hosting its own mini-market on Sunday.

Jodi Swank with a bowl of greens at Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida on June 3, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Jodi Swank displays lettuces at Swank Farm, near Loxahatchee. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

The market will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the boutique farm, which is now harvesting a heap of hydroponically grown greens.

“We’ll have lots of lettuces and lettuce mixes, watercress and upland cress, squash blossoms and squash,” says Jodi Swank, who owns Swank Specialty Produce with her husband, farmer Darrin Swank.

She has invited various vendors to join her Sunday. Among those selling their goods will be Delray Beach-made Pascale’s jams, Koroneiki olive oils and vinegars, and West Palm Beach-based Accomplice Brewery, which will offer flavored ciders.

Swank, who also hosts farm dinner events during harvest season, is also expecting a fresh bread vendor and a granola maker, among others. Her full list of vendors will be posted on Swank Specialty Produce’s Facebook page.

Swank’s farm market will become a regular event after the West Palm Beach GreenMarket season wraps at the end of April. The Swanks will host Saturday farm markets throughout May and the first two weeks of June. Like this Sunday’s market, the 2017 markets will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

Swank Farm: 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee Groves; 561-202-5648; SwankSpecialtyProduce.com




Hurricane Matthew party: Coniglio restaurants to stay open during storm

Not everyone in Palm Beach County is a freaked-out mess about this hurricane. The folks at E.R. Bradley’s Saloon plan to party right through the storm. In fact, they’re calling the place “The Official Hurricane Landfall Headquarters.”

They’re taking Hurricane Matthew’s approach as a reason to flip into full, old-Florida-watering-hole mode.

The infamous no dancing sign next to the bar at E.R. Bradley's in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Sign at the bar at E.R. Bradley’s in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

“This is how we’ve always done it. We stay open and service the downtown area. We become a hub to commiserate and celebrate and just gather,” says Nick Coniglio, whose family owns Bradley’s.

The popular pub perched on the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront has no generator to kick in during a power outage. But Coniglio is not worried.

“We’ve got lots of bagged ice and gas burners and we’re ready to go. And we have staff members who plan to tough it out during the storm,” he said, adding that he will have a police officer on premises as well. He says the restaurant and bar will offer a special $5 hurricane menu.

E.R. Bradley's faces the waterfront in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
E.R. Bradley’s faces the waterfront in West Palm Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Coniglio’s other restaurant, Cucina Dell’Arte in Palm Beach, will be opened during the storm as well, he says. The windows there are boarded up, but the door will be open for customers who want a nice Italian meal and a cocktail.


One of the first short-lived menus from E.R. Bradley's in West Palm Beach on December 11, 2014.  (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The restaurants will also be preparing food for delivery by Cravy. (Meals can be ordered at GoCravy.com.)

“These situations bring back that local spirit. We can have a cocktail among friends, or just stop in if we need ice or something to eat,” says Coniglio.

He plans to visit both restaurants during Thursday, when the hurricane is expected to impact Palm Beach County.

“The last time I did this, it was a real eerie feeling. It’s isolated out and the winds are coming through – and a couple of people think you’re really nuts for being out,” he says. “But it was kind of a proud Floridian moment, too. This is where we live and what happens here.”

E.R. Bradley’s Saloon: 104 S. Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-3520




Hurricane Matthew: Which restaurants are open, closed?

If you think every local restaurant will close during looming Hurricane Matthew, we’ve got news for you. Which restaurants are open and which are closed due to the storm? Here’s what we know so far:

Gotta eat: Not even storms keep some away from their favorite spot. (Cox Newspapers photo)
Gotta eat: Not even storms keep some away from their favorite spot. (Cox Newspapers photo)

Flanigan’s, West Palm Beach

Is open and busy Thursday, as storm approaches.

ER Bradley’s, West Palm Beach

Will be open during its usual hours, even throughout the storm.

Cucina Dell’Arte, Palm Beach

Will open during regular hours, even throughout the storm

Havana Hideout, Lake Worth

Will stay open during the storm and operate on regular hours. The kitchen works on propane. “Bring your perishables — it will be a hurricane pot luck,” says Shelly Earhart.

Havana, West Palm Beach

The iconic Cuban restaurant plans to be open as long as it can during the storm. If it has to close, management says it will reopen earliest Friday.

Table 26, West Palm Beach

Open for business Wednesday night, closed Thursday and Friday. Will reopen at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday night, closed Thursday and also at lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s TBD.

Cholo Soy Cocina, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday night, closed Thursday and also at lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s TBD.

Bistro Ten Zero One at Marriott, West Palm Beach

Open during regular hours, serving a limited menu.

The Cooper, Palm Beach Gardens

Will be open Wednesday, closed all day Thursday and through lunchtime Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday.

Burger Bar, Palm Beach Gardens

Closed Thursday. May open Friday, but that’s TBD.

Evo, Tequesta

Will be open till 11 p.m. Wednesday night. To be decided after that.

McCarthy’s Pub, Tequesta

Open till 10 p.m. Wednesday, likely not open Thursday. Will reopen Friday if there’s power.

Calaveras Cantina, Jupiter

Closed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Plans to reopen Saturday, if able.

Agliolio, Wellington and Boynton Beach

Open Wednesday for regular hours, closed Thursday. Will post reopening info on its Facebook page.

Marcello’s La Sirena, West Palm Beach

Will be open Wednesday, closed Thursday. Plans to reopen Friday, if there’s no power outage.

Buccan, Palm Beach

Will be open Wednesday, closed Thursday (and The Sandwich Shop at Buccan is closed Friday as well). Friday and Saturday dinner at Buccan is to be decided.

Imoto, Palm Beach

Buccan’s “little sister” next door is closed Wednesday and Thursday. May reopen Friday for dinner, but that’s to be decided.

Grato, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday, closed Thursday and during lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s to be decided.

Biergarten, Boca Raton

Will open at 11 a.m. Thursday and remain open as long as possible.

Rapoport Restaurants, south county

All Burt Rapoport-owned restaurants are open all day Wednesday, closed Thursday. Friday is to be decided. This goes for Deck 84, Henry’s and Burt & Max’s in Delray Beach as well as for Bogart’s in Boca Raton.


Restaurant owners and representatives: Is your restaurant operating on special hours due to Matthew? Let me know at lbalmaseda@pbpost.com.


Superstar pastrami: Dorrian’s will serve Katz’s Delicatessen favorite

Call it Temptation Tuesday: Some big-time pastrami has been added to the specials menu at Dorrian’s Red Hand pub in downtown West Palm Beach.

Superstar sandwich: a scene from the 2013 book 'Katz's: Autobiography of a Delicatessen,' published by Bauer and Dean. (Photo by Baldomero Fernandez)
Superstar sandwich: an image from the 2013 book ‘Katz’s: Autobiography of a Delicatessen,’ published by Bauer and Dean. (Photo by Baldomero Fernandez)

There’s pastrami and there’s Pastrami. This is the latter. It’s Katz’s Delicatessen pastrami, which is considered to be the superstar of pastrami.

It’s the pastrami that made a cameo appearance during the most memorable scene of “When Harry Met Sally.” But Sally’s fake orgasm aside, Katz’s pastrami is prime stuff – people flock to New York’s Lower East Side just for a bite of it.

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in 'When Harry Met Sally.' (Palm Beach Post file)
At Katz: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal in ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ (Palm Beach Post file)

Starting this week (Wednesday, to be exact), a Katz’s pastrami-on-rye sandwich is as close as Clematis Street. It’s on the newly announced weekly specials menu at Dorrian’s, another New York institution which opened the West Palm outpost in May.

The American bar of Irish roots, an Upper East Side fixture for 56 years, opened on Clematis at the urging of regulars with ties to Palm Beach County. The owners set out to give the place a New York feel, with Guinness brown interiors and Tiffany-style bar lamps.

Dorrian's Red Hand pub, downtown West Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dorrian’s Red Hand pub, West Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Now, the New York flavor will be heightened on Tuesdays. That’s Katz’s pastrami day at Dorrian’s. The pastrami will be shipped weekly to Dorrian’s, according to a restaurant publicist. If it’s popular, the pub might put it on its regular menu.

A Katz’s pastrami sandwich at Dorrian’s will set you back $17. It’s served with coleslaw (or fries) and half a sour pickle.

Note: This week only, the pastrami special will be offered Wednesday instead of Tuesday, according to Dorrian’s publicist. Next week and on, the specialty will be offered Tuesdays. (Other weekly specials include pot roast on Mondays, spaghetti with meatballs on Wednesdays, and prime rib on Thursdays.)

Dorrian’s Red Hand: 215 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-355-1401; Dorrians-wpb.com


SEASON PREVIEW: Five local food and drink highlights to enjoy

As season approaches, hungry minds wonder what’s on the horizon for the local food-and-drink scene. Glad you asked.

Here’s what we’re hoping to enjoy this season.

The Regional's fresh-baked Parker House Rolls are served with seasoned butter. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Regional’s fresh-baked Parker House Rolls. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)


From The Regional Kitchen to Cholo Soy Cocina, West Palm Beach is shaping up as the county’s foodiest city.

Cholo in chief: Chef Clay Carnes. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Cholo in chief: Clay Carnes. (Credit: Alissa Dragun)

Drop into The Regional for some of Chef Lindsay Autry’s Southern-meets-World cooking and you’ll witness a chef rising into her prime. The space may be cavernous, but it still feels cozy, thanks to seating layout and attention to décor detail.

At the other end of the size spectrum, there’s tiny Cholo Soy, an Andean street food-inspired spot where Chef Clay Carnes offers a variety of smoked and roasted meats and hand-made tortillas.

The Regional Kitchen + Public House: 651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-557-6460; EatRegional.com

Cholo Soy Cocina: 3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; @cholosoycocina on Instagram; www.cholosoycocina.com.


Hello, pup: The West Palm Beach GreenMarket loves the pooches. (Greg Lovett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Hello, pup: The West Palm Beach GreenMarket loves the pooches. (Greg Lovett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Forget summer. The sunniest, most delicious time of the year in Palm Beach County is the fall and winter harvest season. Just drop into any of the county’s top green markets and you’ll find a bounty of locally grown produce, freshly harvested ingredients, prepared foods and other items. We love the West Palm Beach GreenMarket (Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) not only for its great variety, but also because it’s super pooch-friendly. But chances are that no matter where you live, there’s a good green market not too far away.

Check out our full green market guide for one near you.


The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival runs from Dec. 8-11. (LILA PHOTO)
The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival runs from Dec. 8-11. (Credit: LILA PHOTO)

This festival is a little gem. Each year, it brings a constellation of food stars — and their cooking — to Palm Beach and environs. And unlike far bigger national food fests, this is one in which festival-goers get plenty of opportunity to interact with some of the nation’s top chefs. The four-day fest celebrates its 10th year this December. Tickets are on sale at pbfoodwinefest.com.


Swank Farm will host nine farm feasts this season. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)
Swank Farm will host nine farm feasts this season. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

The now cliché “farm to table” tag takes on wider dimensions in this agriculture-heavy area. The county, which produces the most sweet corn, sugar cane and bell peppers in the country, boasts some $1.41 billion in total agriculture sales, according to Palm Beach County data. And what better place to soak up the flavors of a local harvest than on a boutique veggie farm?

Swank Farm in Loxahatchee Groves offers a series of harvest feasts throughout the growing season. These barn-chic affairs feature top chefs, locally brewed beer, sommelier-poured wine and live music. See this year’s schedule at SwankSpecialtyProduce.com.

Speaking of farm events, the Jupiter-based OBEO Society is hosting a “Boots, Brews and BBQ” event featuring a lineup of acclaimed local chefs and local beers at Jupiter Farms’ Lucky Old Sun Ranch. The cookout happens Sat., Nov. 12 from 3 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit ObeoSociety.com.


David Bick of Sons and Daughters Farm and Winery pours a glass of Ginger Kombucha. His family opened their business to the public in April, making available their organic crops, wine and beverages. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
David Bick of Sons and Daughters pours Ginger Kombucha. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The local brewery scene continues to expand, from Boca Raton to Tequesta, and the expansion involves more than beer. Accomplice Brewery in West Palm Beach is making some popular ciders. Sons and Daughters Farm & Winery is making fruit and flower-based wines and kombucha. The family-owned farm opened to the public for tastings in April.

And, yes, there’s beer. You’ll find the full run of local breweries.









Swank Farm steps up barn-chic dinner series in Loxahatchee Groves

Rural meets big city: Swank Farm hosts a series of feasts each harvest season. (Palm Beach Post file) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The table set for lunch prepared by chef Daniel Boulud during a visit to Swank Farm on Monday, October 20, 2014 in Loxahatchee. Swank Farm provides fresh produce to Boulud's restaurants Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach and DB Moderne in Miami. (Madeline Gray / The Palm Beach Post)
Rural meets big city: Swank Farm hosts a series of feasts each harvest season. (Palm Beach Post file)

Growing season has kicked off at Swank Farm, which means party season is on the horizon at Palm Beach County’s premier hydroponic farm.

Farmers Darrin and Jodi Swank have stepped up their farm dinner schedule this harvest season, booking nine “Swank Table” events beneath their newish, soaring, open-sided barn between December and April.

That’s one more dinner than last season. But as Darrin Swank puts it, the chef-driven feasts signal a shift in the farm’s identity and goals.

Jodi and Darrin Swank. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jodi and Darrin Swank. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

“We’re going more from a production side to more of an educational, entertainment, tourism side,” says Swank, whose 20-acre farm sits on a dirt road in Loxahatchee Groves. “Our idea is to keep bringing more and more folks here to educate them about the values of using local produce.”

The Swank Table events draw carloads of South Florida foodies in farm-hip garb. They travel west for chef-made dishes inspired by just-harvested ingredients, locally brewed beer, sommelier-poured wine and live acoustic music.

This year’s lineup features a night with the chefs from Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood and Coconut Creek restaurants, a specialty farm market, a Chinese New Year celebration, a Valentine’s dinner, a 70s party, an Argentine barbecue, a vegetarian feast, a white party and a pig roast.

See the full schedule at SwankSpecialtyProduce.com. Individual event tickets cost $160 per person.


Jamaican fest at PB Catch: conch souse and reggae in the house

PB Catch's summer "shack" jams to Jamaican flavors and sounds Saturday. (Courtesy: PB Catch)
PB Catch’s summer “shack” jams to Jamaican flavors and sounds Saturday. (Courtesy: PB Catch)

The spirit, sounds and flavors of Jamaica will bounce through the lounge at PB Catch Palm Beach Saturday night. That’s when The Shack, the lounge’s summer pop-up series, turns its focus to spicy bites and laid back island music.

Jamaican style conch is on the menu at PB Catch's "The Shack." (Credit: Cheryl Blackerby)
Conch is on The Shack’s menu. (Credit: Cheryl Blackerby)

On the menu at this “Jamaican Seafood Fest:” conch souse (marinated conch with citrus, chili, cilantro, $16), crispy whole yellowtail snapper (with braised callaloo and spiced sweet potato, $34), Jamaican banana fritters (with Blue Mountain coffee and crème fraiche, $10), among other a la carte items.

In the backdrop: a reggae band playing live tunes.

Each summer, the seafood-centric restaurant turns its lounge into a beach-themed “shack” that serves as a backdrop to island-y sips, bites and tunes.

PB Catch’s Jamaican Seafood Fest

When: Saturday, from 5 p.m. to midnight

Where: “The Shack” lounge at PB Catch, 251 Sunrise Ave., Palm Beach; 561-655-5558; PBCatch.com


Which local spot made OpenTable’s ‘100 Best Restaurants for Foodies’ list?

The dining room at Boca's La Nouvelle Maison is adorned by a Mark Kostabi mural. (Contributed by La Nouvelle Maison)
A Mark Kostabi mural adorns the dining room at La Nouvelle Maison. (Courtesy: La Nouvelle Maison)

Here’s an unexpected nod of “foodie” approval: Verified subscribers of the OpenTable.com reservation site have selected just one Palm Beach County establishment in a newly released, top-restaurant list.

The list of “100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America for 2016” names Boca Raton’s La Nouvelle Maison, passing over better known “foodie” spots across the county.

The restaurant, which opened two years ago, was inspired by the locally beloved La Vieille Maison, which closed in 2006. And like La Vieille Maison, La Nouvelle Maison aims to be a temple of fine French cuisine.

“We work hard on the food, the service. Nothing goes by us. We put our hearts and soul here every day,” said a surprised Guido Barisone, La Nouvelle Maison’s general manager/partner when we told him about the honor.

The restaurant’s menu reflects the classic inspiration in the form of Burgundy-style escargots, foie gras on brioche, a trio of caviars, steak frites, rack of lamb in thyme-scented jus, dessert crepes and many other dishes.

Apart from La Nouvelle Maison, two other Florida restaurants made the list: Naples’ bha! bha! Persian Bistro and Maison Blanche in Longboat Key. They share the larger list with highly acclaimed restaurants such as New Orleans’ Shaya and Chicago’s Michelin-starred Boka.

New Orleans' acclaimed Shaya restaurant also earned a spot on the list. (Credit: Stephen Young)
New Orleans’ acclaimed Shaya restaurant also earned a spot on the list. (Credit: Stephen Young)

OpenTable arrived at its “Best Restaurants for Foodies” list after “analyzing more than five million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country,” all submitted by verified member diners, according to the website.

“These standout restaurants are delicious destinations for the most passionate eaters — those for whom dining out is practically sport,” Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer, said via news release.  “Using ingredients both humble and exotic and drawing culinary inspiration from around the globe, this year’s honorees consistently offer thrilling experiences sure to please even the most discerning diners.”

The site introduced its newest list by defining the judges like this: “Foodies. Gourmands. Epicureans. These are the people seeking adventure on a plate.”

The honored restaurants, says OpenTable, serve “delicious dishes from rustic to refined, meant to be shared with both forks and phones.”

For the full list, visit OpenTable.com.

Two weeks left to snap up Flavor Palm Beach dining deals

Cafe Boulud offers a terrific Flavor Palm Beach menu. (Contributed by Noah Fecks)
Cafe Boulud offers a terrific Flavor Palm Beach lunch menu. (Contributed by Noah Fecks)

Because we are midway through Flavor Palm Beach month, otherwise known as September, it’s a good time to update our dining whim list.

We have just two weeks to take advantage of the month’s discount dining deals, the multi-course lunches and dinners offered at top local restaurants for nice prices.

Cashing in on the promotion is easy. The Flavor website (FlavorPB.com) offers one-stop-shopping in the form of links to the prix fixe menus as well as links for online reservations.

The site also shows which restaurants impose restrictions on the days Flavor menus are offered. Only four restaurants cite exceptions this year. But here’s a tip to avoid a disappointment: Before you reserve, call the restaurant to make sure the special menu is offered at the time/day of your desired visit.

The 52 participating Flavor restaurants are scattered throughout the county and include seven in Boca Raton, one in Delray Beach, 14 in Palm Beach, eight in West Palm Beach, 11 in Palm Beach Gardens, four in North Palm Beach, one in Singer Island, five in Jupiter and one in Tequesta.

Among those restaurants are some fancy chain steakhouses — you know, those special-occasion spots that may be too pricey for a routine weeknight dinner. If you’re a steakhouse fan, Flavor offers an affordable way to dine well at some upscale chain spots.

The Capital Grille, whose Flavor menu extends to both its Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens outposts, is featuring both surf – with the above Seared Citrus-Glazed Salmon – and turf, with the Dry Aged Sirloin with Roasted Pepper, Fresh Mozzarella and Arugula Salad. (Courtesy:
On The Capital Grille’s Flavor menu: Seared Citrus-Glazed Salmon.  (Courtesy: The Capital Grille)

The Capital Grille menu, for instance, is too good to pass up. For $20, you get a three-course lunch that includes a choice of wedge salad or bacon clam chowder, four tempting entrée choices and two dessert options. For $35, dinner is a deal – appetizer, entrée (options like filet mignon and bone-in NY strip), a side dish and a dessert.

Other participating chain steakhouses include Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s and III Forks.

Flavor Palm Beach menus to love

  • Considering the price, some of the special prix fixe menus are particularly inviting. Take Seasons 52, for instance. The Flavor lunch there is $20, dinner $35 – and at dinner, you get four courses, including a starter flatbread, a salad, a choice of five entrée options and dessert. Plus, there’s a wine upgrade option that offers wines normally priced from $10 to $12 for $7 a glass.
  • At $25, a three-course lunch at Café Boulud Palm Beach is a steal. One possible combo: golden tomato gazpacho with chive oil, Boulud’s Piggie Burger (prime beef patty and barbecue pulled pork), and chocolate bread pudding. The café’s lunch deal is offered Monday through Friday.
  • Lunch at the Leopard Lounge in Palm Beach is a hearty affair – for 20 bucks. One possible combo (my favorite) begins with a baby green salad with poached pears, goat cheese, candied pistachios and golden raisins in a lemon vinaigrette. It segues to an outstanding chicken schnitzel in lemon béchamel, haricot vert and French fries. The sweet finale: a knockout double-chocolate Belgian cake. The lounge serves a different prix fixe menu at dinner for $45.




New restaurants joined this year

Flavor founder Briana Beaty counts nine “freshman” restaurants in this year’s promotion. They include Jupiter restaurants Craft Bar Kitchen, Rustic Inn and Nitrogen, Palm Beach Gardens-based Salute Market, West Palm Beach restaurants Burger and Beer Joint and Jardin, Palm Beach-based Al Fresco and Boca Raton restaurants Tanzy and The Little Chalet.



For info, menus and reservations, visit FlavorPB.com.

Who’s coming to PB Food & Wine Fest? Stars revealed, tickets on sale

The Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest celebrates its 10th birthday this year. (LILA PHOTO)
The Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest celebrates its 10th birthday this year. (LILA PHOTO)

Foodie alert: Tickets are now on sale for December’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, the four-day culinary bash featuring some of the top chefs in the country. And Coolio.

More on the Palm Beach/ Gangsta’s Paradise mashup in a bit.

This year’s festival, which runs from Dec. 8-11, welcomes new faces in the food world as well as some returning stars. And the 10-year-old fest welcomes at least one veteran rapper who dubs himself “The Ghetto Gourmet.” Here’s a rundown.

Chef Jose Mendin is shown here after a big win at the Cochon 555 regional fest. (Galdones Photography/COCHON 555)
Miami chef Jose Mendin. (COCHON 555)

New faces include Miami powerhouse chef Jose Mendin, whose Pubbelly Restaurant Group has redefined local-meets-global cuisine in that city and “Top Chef” winner Jeremy Ford. They will be joined by fellow Miami chef Richard Hales, whose Asian-centric restaurants Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick Chinese are among Miami’s most popular, and by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein. Also a newcomer to the festival: Amanda Cohen, chef/owner of New York City’s Dirt Candy vegetarian restaurant.


Returning faces include Food Network stars Robert Irvine, Jeff Mauro, Marc Murphy, celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud, Jonathon Sawyer, Elizabeth Falkner, Anita Lo, Johnny Iuzzini, Virginia Willis, Stephen Stryjewski, George Mendes, Mike Lata, Timon Balloo, Giogio Rapicavoli, Ken Oringer and Beau MacMillan.

Local top chefs include Lindsay Autry, Clay Conley, Tim Lipman, Julien Gremaud, Sean Brasel, Zach Bell, Rick Mace, and others.

While the festival returns to The Gardens Mall for its big closing-night finale, it also adds new events and venues to the mix this year.

There will be a plant-based, multi-course dinner at Avocado Grill, a “Southern Revival” lunch at Lindsay Autry’s soon-to-open Regional Kitchen & Public House, a rare lunch at the always-busy Palm Beach Grill and at least one late night party that’s already sold out.

"Ghetto Gourmet" Coolio will be food-festing in Palm Beach. (Cox Newspapers photo)
“Ghetto Gourmet” Coolio will be food-festing in Palm Beach. (Cox Newspapers photo)

Which brings us to Coolio, headliner at that sold-out late-night party.

“But you will see him throughout the whole weekend, enjoying the festivities,” says festival director David Sabin, who suggests he and his staff may have “a couple more surprises up our sleeves.”

What does Coolio bring to a culinary fest?

The recording artist who calls himself “The Ghetto Gourmet” does have a cookbook: “Cookin’ with Coolio.”

Here’s what his website, coolioworld.com, says about his cooking skills:

“His style is brash and in your face, for which he doesn’t apologize.”

It offers this quote from the veteran rapper: “People learn better when they’re entertained. Cooking isn’t just for the starched-stiff elite. Everyone should know how to cook something.”