When a former registered nurse named Lojo Washington opened this jewel-box of a restaurant on a neglected block of West Palm Beach’s Historic Northwest District, she tapped into the essence of what makes a restaurant truly great: passion and devotion.
The Ethiopian-born restaurant owner and cook presents the foods of her native land and the lightly sour injera bread, which serves as a scoop for stewed dishes and veggies she serves. Because Queen of Sheeba is South Florida’s only Ethiopian restaurant, her customers hail from near and far – a dream come true for a woman eager to share the flavors of her childhood with the community at large.
But it is Washington’s devotion to the restaurant’s struggling neighborhood that fuels her sense of purpose in the kitchen. She wants to do more than dazzle customers with stunning plate presentations – she wants to share with them her food stories, to nourish them in body and soul.
This Boca Raton bistro is celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau Day in grand style, complete with a three-course, prix fixe menu and live music.
The eatery is cozy and often lively, featuring some nights of live music. On Beaujolais Day (Thursday, Nov. 19), the entertainment comes courtesy of vocalist and keyboard player Thierry Khalfa, who performs classics from the ’50s to today, plus French pop songs and other global tunes.
The special three-course menu that night, which costs $29.90, includes a sample glass of this year’s Beaujolais.
Chez Marie French Bistro: 5030 Champion Blvd., Suite D3 in the Polo Club Shoppes, Boca Raton; 561-997-0027; ChezMarieFrenchBistro.com
One of Palm Beach’s biggest names in food is getting into a knife fight — and you can watch.
Sean Brasel, chef-owner of the Meat Market restaurants in Palm Beach and South Beach, is competing on the Esquire Network television cooking show, “Knife Fight.” The episode will air Nov. 17 at 9 p.m., and the Palm Beach restaurant will host a watch party, with free bar bites and happy hour specials.
Brasel’s Meat Market immediately became one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach County when it opened earlier this year, earning food editor Liz Balmaseda’s top marks for food and service.
“The steaks are stellar, the service sensational, the ambiance downright sexy,” she wrote.
This is the second cooking show Brasel has been involved in. He is a past contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” Season 12.
IF YOU GO
What: Meat Market Palm Beach will host a watch party with free bar bites and happy hour specials as chef-owner Sean Brasel competes in the Esquire Network television show “Knife Fight.”
When: The one-hour show airs Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Where: Meat Market Palm Beach, 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach
There are many reasons to dine at Pistache at lunch, dinner, late-night bites or weekend brunch. There’s also the setting: The eatery is perched by the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront, offering a view of the lively commons. But perhaps the best reason to dine here is the outstanding food.
Chef de cuisine Isaac Cerny and sous-chef Sam Horrocks lend a refined touch to a menu of French favorites. On a recent visit, I tried their delicious “confit” treatment of a chicken leg served over brunch waffles. (The chicken is slow-cooked in fat using a traditional preserving technique.) The flavors on the plate spanned that decadent stretch between rich and richer.
That chicken leg will be on the menu on Beaujolais Nouveau Day (Thursday, Nov. 19), though this time it will be served with a side of maque choux (Cajun succotash), pea tendrils and sauce “diable” (hot sauce).
Other a la carte specials to pair with your glass or bottle of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais that day: chicken “oyster” and andouille gumbo, zucchini blossom beignets, mirliton and Anjou pear salad, grouper in court bouillon and pork tenderloin.
Pistache French Bistro: 101 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-5090; PistacheWPB.com
You can join the costumed masses in their takeover of Clematis Street at Moonfest Saturday night, or you can opt for a different type of other-worldly experience on Sunday. That’s when Rocco’s Tacos celebrates the Day of the Dead, the Mexican-inspired celebration of the dearly departed and their favorite dishes.
Fortunately for the living and the celebrated dead, this Dia de los Muertos falls on a Sunday, when Rocco’s serves one of the best brunches anywhere in Palm Beach County. Brunch kicks off at 11 a.m. and goes to 4 p.m. My favorite bite on the menu: The Benedict Azteca, Rocco’s Mexican take on traditional Eggs Benedict. Earthy masa sopes cradle poached eggs, pork chunks and spinach, are ladled with chipotle cream and served with griddled potatoes.
For the pairing at brunch, there are $12 endless Bloody Marys and mimosas, plus there are $3 Corona bottles and $3 Modelos at the bar all day.
Later, from 4 to 8 p.m., the party transitions to night with sugar skull-inspired makeup sessions and DJ-spun music. The full day’s celebration is not limited to Clematis Street – it happens at all six Rocco’s locations in Florida, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens.
Rocco’s Tacos: 224 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-650-1001; RoccosTacos.com
This 2-month-old restaurant and bar, owned by golf superstar Tiger Woods, has been a hit at the Harbourside Place dining and shopping complex in Jupiter. And for good reason: The food is delicious, the service superb.
It’s a steakhouse with the approachability of a sports bar, and the dish that best bridges the two concepts is the rib-eye sandwich. (That melted goodness atop the tender steak is Drunken Goat cheese.)
Halloween revelers, if you hit Harbourside Place Friday night, you may want to pack a picnic blanket or chair – there’s a free viewing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at 6:30 p.m. at the waterfront amphitheater, which sits across from The Woods.
If you visit the complex on Halloween night, you may want to see the canine costume contest (6 p.m.) before dinner. That event is hosted by the pooch shop Pucci & Catana.
The Woods: 129 Soundings Ave., at Harbourside Place, Jupiter; 561-320-9627; WoodsJupiter.com
Halloween night at this seafood-centric spot in Delray Beach comes with a water view. In addition to its full menu, served in the dining room, Hudson is throwing a “Nauti Hallow’s Eve” bash Saturday night. The party starts at 6 p.m. on the newly revamped outdoor bar.
For the occasion, the eatery is serving a special “Fangtastic Flatbread” ($8), made with roasted butternut squash, ricotta, sage and sunflower seeds. For the pairing, there will be appropriately spooky sips, like Pumpkin Smashed Martinis ($8), Jack O’Lantern Shots ($3) and Witches Brew ($5).
Diners and revelers are invited to dress up and take part in Hudson’s “mischievous” costume contest.
Hudson, at Waterway East: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., #22, Delray Beach; 561-303-1343; HudsonDelray.com
Tryst in Delray Beach epitomizes the gastro pub concept with inspired plates, a free-wheeling selection of craft beers, boutique wines and cocktails and an eclectic setting for nightly dinner and drinks. (Check Tryst’s Facebook page for terrific nightly specials.)
A homey brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring some country-style breakfast items as well as burgers and sandwiches.
You may not know this, but there’s a bacon omelet with Vermont cheddar and sweet peppers calling your name.
Travel to Turkey without leaving this friendly eatery in West Palm Beach. Go the mezze route, dabbling in Aegean dips, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), grilled octopus and other small plates. Or feast on fish dishes such as red snapper in parchment, or a range of Mediterranean classics.
Salads are outstanding – and ample. Desserts are homemade. And if you over-do the calorie count on a Friday or Saturday night, you can always burn it off when the belly dancing starts at about 8 p.m.
Agora Mediterranean Kitchen: 2505 N. Dixie Highway, Northwood district, West Palm Beach; 561-651-7474; AgoraKitchenWPB.com