“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.
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.
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.
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.
Also in the works, an Aioli location in downtown West Palm Beach.
“We’re still in the beginning stages,” Hackman says of that spot.
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
And like too many of this year’s election-related topics, this one is likely to give us heartburn. But isn’t it better to focus on someone else’s food choices as you fizz up those Alka-Seltzer tablets? It’s no time to think about that pizza you scarfed down last night. With Election Day less than a week away, this may be your final chance to deflect from the junk food guilt you’ve been lugging.
So here’s a glimpse of what may be on the candidates’ plates:
“The best time I’ve had in my career is when I’ve made the client happy. It really comes down to what the client wants,” Fuller said when asked for his culinary opinion on overcooked meat. “We all have different opinions about how we like our meat. That doesn’t mean mine is one that is better than the other.”
Trump’s fast-food habits have been well documented as he’s been caught on camera ready to devour some KFC aboard his plane, snapped with a questionably timed taco bowl at the office and immortalized with heaping amounts of fries.
Those hard-cooked steaks he so loves? They once had culinary promise. We learned during one of the candidate’s local appearances that Trump steaks were actually steaks purveyed by Bush Brothers, the 91-year-old West Palm Beach provision company known for supplying some of the best beef in the country.
In an interview last year with Bloomberg’s “With All Due Respect,” Trump issued this confession: “I love steak and hamburger and pasta and French fries, all of the things that we shouldn’t be eating.”
He also admitted he can’t resist bacon and eggs. “I eat what I like,” he said.
As for Clinton, while she was spied holding a pork-chop-on-a-stick at last year’s Iowa State Fair – and, yes, that was Clinton seated before two tempting cheesecakes at Junior’s restaurant in Brooklyn in April – the former secretary of state is more disciplined in her food choices.
She eats like a world traveler, one who has learned to eat well and eat selectively, rather than to simply eat and be done with it. Then again, as the Huffington Post notes, she was the most-traveled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 nations and clocking more than 950,000 miles.
Earlier this year, she played food critic for Thrillist.com, penning a review of “not-to-be-missed dining experiences” across New York state. Her picks included a few references that reveal some foodie tendencies: Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Harlem, Fox Run Vineyards boutique winery on Seneca Lake (for riesling and a light lunch), the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse.
The place serves farmhouse-fancy food and tempting, Hudson Valley-inspired dishes, including grass-fed Angus beef cheeseburgers and NY strip steak with buttermilk Vidalia onion rings. Of course, Clinton might order them many shades rarer than overdone.
First, keep in mind this is an outdoor event, which means it’s vulnerable to the elements. Second, keep in mind you may have to lug your supplies for many yards.
With those two things in mind, here are five ideas on what to tuck into those picnic totes:
1. Cold or room temperature and crispy is fine: think crisp veggies, good crackers, breadsticks, even room-temp fried chicken. Hot and crispy, not so much. Your crispy duck might not survive the schlep, neither will your warm, toasty garlic bread.
2.You can’t go wrong with fancy charcuterie.
Here’s how: Pack great cheeses – oozy ones, sharp ones, aged ones, even beautifully stinky ones. Tuck in some fine Spanish ham, Italian salumi, hot mustard, elegant jams or honey. Add baggies of fresh fruit and nuts. After you set up your table, you can arrange them on a nice platter with those crispy crackers or hearty bread.
3. Whip up some sophisticated chilled soup, like Chef Michelle Bernstein’s White Gazpacho.
Here’s how to make it: In a high-speed blender, add 1 ½ cup Marcona almonds, ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, ½ tablespoon peeled shallot, 2 cups of peeled and chopped English cucumbers, 2 cups seedless green grapes, 1 tablespoon fresh dish and 1 ½ cups cold veggie broth. Puree until very smooth. With blender running, add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup quality extra-virgin olive oil. Blend for at least 4 to 5 minutes, until velvety smooth. Chill until ready to sip. Garnish with sliced grapes, crushed almonds and dill. (Recipe serves 4.)
4.Rice salads (or other grain salads) served room temperature can be luxurious.
Here’s a variation: Make a pot of your favorite rice. Separately, sauté onions, garlic and celery in olive oil until just tender, adding a sprinkling of curry powder or ground turmeric and ginger. Add the rice to the sauté by the spoonful, tossing to coat the rice in the aromatics. Add a handful of frozen peas and stir. Shut off heat and allow mixture to sit until the peas are tender. When cool, add your choice of raw, chopped veggies, like diced zucchini, seeded tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs. You’ll have a mix of textures and flavors in one hearty bowl. If you prefer a hot meal, pack soups, stews or chili in Thermoses.
5. The takeout option: Order dinner from your favorite West Palm restaurant and pick it up before you get to the meet-up location. Once the location is announced Friday afternoon, you may have a better idea of nearby restaurants. You’ll only have to bring your dinnerware and table setting.
It may sound like a mission – and it can be, depending on how you take on the night. But relax. It’s a party. It’s a picnic. Pack what you love to eat in your fancy duds. If that means Fritos in a martini glass, rock on!
Today we talk about the infinite possibility of fillings than can be stacked between two slices of bread, tucked into a bun, celebrated for its majesty. Today is the day for exploring the contrast of flavors and textures, and the way the fillings in a Vietnamese banh mi teach a baguette how to be spicy, crunchy and rich all at once. Today is for marveling at how a Cuban sandwich made miles away, in Tampa, could possess a certain smoky-spicy layer, thanks to Genoa salami.
We present five of our favorite local and more unique sammies:
This is where paleo meets Puerto Rico: a sandwich that swaps out the bread and swaps in two enormous, smashed and crispy-fried green plantains. Tucked between those tostones is a choice of steak or chicken, crisp lettuce, tomato and mayo. It’s a regal idea rooted in peasant life. The name of the sandwich is derived from the word jíbaro, which in Puerto Rico means humble dweller of the countryside. It costs $8.95 and it’s served at Don Café restaurant, 136 N. Military Tr., West Palm Beach; 561-684-0074.
The Gordo Burger
This Colombian-style colossus is more super-sandwich than burger. It starts with a beef or chicken patty, then layers on the sauces: garlic sauce, pink sauce, pineapple sauce and a Colombian fast-food classic called “showy” sauce, plus ketchup and mustard. Stack some tomato slices, bacon, cheese and a crush of potato chips and you’ve got the Gordo. It costs $6.75 and it’s offered at La Perrada del Gordo, 2650 S. Military Tr., West Palm Beach; 561-968-6978.
Not to be confused with the garlicky Argentinian or Uruguayan sauce. This sandwich hails from the Caribbean. You can call it a Dominican beef sandwich, but that doesn’t begin to do it justice. It starts with toasty bread, then it’s stuffed with either thin-sliced beef or a hand-patted beef patty, sautéed onions and cabbage slaw. The “Chimi” is dressed with a proprietary, mayo-based sauce and sold for $7.95 at El Unico restaurant, 6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962.
The Hullabaloo BLT
This is not your boring, room-service BLT. Chef Fritz Cassel has created a shrine to the BLT concept: It starts with challah bread, then stacks on some thick, house-smoked pork belly, heirloom tomato and arugula and adds a smear of red pepper aioli. It’s served at lunchtime for $11 at Hullabaloo, 517 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-1033.
TocToc’s Pork Arepa Sandwich
Here’s a guilty pleasure worth diving into at the Saturday West Palm Beach GreenMarket: a Venezuelan/Colombian corncake (arepa) stuffed with shredded pork and a big, juicy tomato slice. You can find this sandwich at the TocToc Arepas booth. Yes, it’s a simple pleasure, but it’s one that resonates with flavor contrasts – the sweet arepa, the rich pork, the fresh tomato. It’s sold by TocToc for $7.50 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the GreenMarket on the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront (eastern end of Clematis Street).
For days now, friends and locals have been shuffling into Aaron’s Table & Wine Barfor a sneak-peek taste of the new Abacoa restaurant by Mar-A-Lago’s food and beverage director.
Aaron Fuller’s restaurant officially opens to the public at 4 p.m. Saturday. That’s four days before the presidential election that pits Fuller’s Mar-A-Lago boss, Donald Trump, against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But Fuller says he prefers not to talk about whatever happens or doesn’t happen on Tuesday.
“I stay out of those conversations,” says Fuller, who served as executive chef at Trump’s Palm Beach estate and club before his present role as food-beverage chief there. “My big goal here is to do the best I can at my new restaurant.”
That’s not to say he’s secretive about his political loyalties. On his Facebook page, Fuller roots for his boss and posts items consistent with Trump’s more fervent supporters.
Still, he must stay mum on far lighter topics – like the boss’ food preferences.
“I signed a confidentiality agreement here,” he said this week on a call from Mar-A-Lago, where he has worked for seven years.
What Fuller is eager to talk about, however, is Abacoa, the newly energized district near his home in Jupiter. This is where he chose to open Aaron’s Table and where he’s hoping to add his flair to the eclectic district.
“We live literally two blocks away, my wife and kids and I,” says Fuller, who hopes to attract a mix that includes families, date-night couples, casual groups and ladies’ night revelers.
He’s hoping the “farmhouse chic kind of feel” of Aaron’s Table will make diners feel welcome and comfortable, despite the menu’s swanky terms. To drive home this wish, he notes that his braised lamb shanks are simmered in Civil Society IPA – that is, beer brewed directly across the street in Abacoa.
Upholding the “wine bar” part of the restaurant’s name, Fuller lists 22 wines by the glass on the menu. And Thursday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., he hosts wine tastings with passed hors d’oeuvres.
“We’re doing some fun things, without being too snobbish,” he says. Fuller says he’s pleased at the early response to the restaurant. “The feedback has been fantastic.”
Although he has a chef de cuisine at Aaron’s (his Mar-A-Lago protégé Marc Cela), Fuller crafted the menu himself and took inspiration from his own wanderings. So, there’s a little Palm Beach, a little global in it.
“The menu itself, the only reasoning behind it is my experiences at different places in the world. I could call the lumpia ‘spring rolls,’ but my wife is from the Philippines and we know them as lumpia. The items like the langoustine – that’s from the Palm Beach side of me,” says Fuller of his sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce.
Of course, inquiring minds want to know: Would his Mar-A-Lago boss order those fancy langoustines? Or would Trump request a well-done burger instead, as other past staffers have reported?
Fuller says only this: “He expects perfection. We do our best to do that for him and for everybody we serve. He’s known for quality and that’s what we try to give him.”
We asked one final question, one not covered by that confidentiality agreement:
What would Fuller serve Hillary Clinton?
“I don’t know,” he says, taking a measured Mar-A-Lago moment. “That one – you’re making me laugh with that one.”
Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar: 1153 Town Center Drive, Jupiter; 561-855-2628; AaronsTable.com; hours are Tuesday through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with happy hour offered from 4 to 7 p.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays starting Nov. 11, there will be live music.
The husband-wife team behind Kitchen, the Belvedere Road hotspot popular with local and visiting celebs, are deep into the planning stages for a neighboring restaurant.
Chef Matthew Byrne and wife/partner Aliza Byrne will open Patina, a Greek and Israeli-inspired restaurant, on West Palm Beach’s happening Dixie Highway dining corridor. They expect to debut in the fall of 2017.
“What’s the best place to open a restaurant? Next to a busy restaurant,” Matthew Byrne told The Post this week. “That’s restaurant 101.”
The busy restaurant next to the Byrnes’ upcoming concept? That would be Grato, the acclaimed trattoria opened by South Florida star chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners 11 months ago.
The Byrnes hope to infuse a Mediterranean feel into the 2500-square-foot indoor space and courtyard. The building’s vintage floors inspired the name Patina, they say.
Matthew’s experience in the kitchen of a longstanding Greek restaurant in the couple’s native Philadelphia partially inspired the concept, as did Aliza’s Middle Eastern roots. (Her father is Israeli.)
“Think lemon, sea salt, rosemary, whole fishes, tons of squid, charred lamb,” says the chef. “I’m really excited about some vegan items on the menu.”
The vegan plates will come naturally to the concept, as will the fish and meat dishes, he says. And while he admits he’s not a disciple of the “small plate-y” approach, he expects to offer some shareable dishes, hummus, baba ganoush and other classics.
“It’s my version of Greek-American and Israeli food,” says Byrne, a former private chef who worked for golf star Tiger Woods.
The upcoming restaurant will have a full bar, unlike Kitchen, which serves only wine and beer, he says.
The chef offers a kind of preview of the Patina cuisine on his revamped Kitchen menu. You’ll find hints of it in his carpaccio of salmon, buttery slices of raw salmon served with hearts of palm and cucumber in a fresh lemon-dill dressing ($16). It’s also in the pan-roasted halibut with artichokes in a heady truffle-clam broth ($32).
The Byrnes purchased the 1817 S. Dixie Highway space in January from Palm Beach resident Jeffrey Cole’s Blenheim Holdings for $770,000. (Cole is a loyal Kitchen customer.) Until recently, the property housed Solar Antique Tiles.
The couple is in the permitting stage for renovation of the space.
The Patina project is underway as the Byrnes’ Kitchen, which celebrated its third anniversary in October, continues to expand. By December, they expect to spread their presence in the Belvedere plaza to include the space where Shoppe 561 now operates. That space will house a wine bar/retail space they call Prep Kitchen.
The 1600-square-foot space would host visiting winemakers, wine tastings with Chef Matthew and other wine-related events. It also will serve as a spillover space for diners waiting for their table at Kitchen. During the day, the space will serve as a retail shop, selling wines as well as grab-and-go items such as salads and Kitchen’s desserts.
Once Patina opens, the chef says he will likely shuttle between the restaurants, located just blocks apart. He says he’s confident his Kitchen crew will keep his current restaurant on point.
“It’s my original team,” says Byrne. “They’ve been with me for three years, since Day 1.”
Kitchen: 319 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281; KitchenPB.com
At the risk of slowing down the nation’s snail mail, I present you the most delicious U.S. Postal Service stamps ever issued: Each bears the likeness of a classic Latin dish. Each might make you linger wistfully before dropping that letter in the mailbox.
The USPS’ calls this batch of 2017 Forever stamps the “Delicioso” series. And, let’s be real, what else would you call a series that includes tamales and flan if not delicioso?
If you’re a food-loving stamp geek like me, you may have rejoiced when the USPS issued its “Celebrity Chefs” stamp series featuring masters like Julia Child, James Beard and Edna Lewis.
If you’re not a stamp geek, bear with us as we display the half-dozen featured dishes. You don’t have to love stamps to love empanadas.
The festive, colorful Delicioso stamps were designed by New York artist John Parra under the direction of graphic designer Antonio Alcalá.
“With the release of the new Delicioso Forever stamps, the Postal Service celebrates the influence of Central and South American, Mexican and Caribbean foods on American cuisine,” the USPS says on its website.
What are the 20 best restaurants in Palm Beach County right now?
That’s a tricky question. Every 20-best list not only is subjective and unique, but it’s also constantly in flux. New restaurants open and replace others. It’s the cycle that keeps our local culinary scene fresh and vibrant.
In many ways, Day of the Dead is the opposite of Halloween. It’s not about ghouls and goblins, sexy nurse costumes or Donald Trump masks. It’s about matters of the soul, memory — and delicious sweet bread.
In Mexico and Mexican communities, this day arrives the morning after Halloween and its high-fructose-corn-syrup rushes. It’s celebrated with colorful altars, festive Day of the Dead sugar skulls and, most poignantly, with foods to honor the dearly departed.
According to ancient indigenous belief, the souls of our departed loved ones come to visit once a year. We honor them by baking sweet, iconic Pan de Muertos dessert bread and by making their favorite dishes.
The two-day holiday, which combines All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, starts Tuesday.
Here is a recipe by Mexico City chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte, whose work on Mexican food and culture is reflected in her epic 2014 book, “Mexico: The Cookbook” (Phaidon).
Day of the Dead Bread is one of 700 recipes contained in the book.
Pan de Muertos
RECIPE: Day of the Dead Bread
From “Mexico: The Cookbook,” by Margarita Carrillo Arronte.
1 cup milk
4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry (fast-action) yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 to 2 teaspoons orange blossom water, to taste
3/4 cup melted butter, plus more for greasing and brushing
Make the bread
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of sugar
To prepare the dough, bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Sprinkle in the sugar and yeast and pour in the milk. Close the well by flicking flour over the milk and let it sit for 1 hour.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the melted butter, and shape into a ball. Transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add the butter and knead again for 10 minutes.
Return to the bowl and cover. Let rise for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Grease two baking sheets with butter. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Take two of those pieces and roll them into tight balls and then press them gently to flatten a bit. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
After the dough has rested for 1 hour, take the remaining piece of dough and divide it into 10 little pieces. Roll two of these pieces into small balls and 8 of these pieces into long, thin logs.
To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and mix well. Brush the loaves gently with the glaze. Take four of the logs and drape them in an X shape over one of the balls. Repeat for the other disk of dough.
Brush these with egg. Take a little ball of dough and place it on the top of one disk of dough, where the X meets. Press down gently so it sticks. Repeat for the other little ball of dough.
Glaze the dough balls and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. While they are still warm, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Makes 3 loaves.