Onion rings are meant for ogling. Certainly, they’re not made for scarfing down. Unless you are a particularly enthusiastic sort who can eat more than five onion rings at one meal.
They’re too rich to be eaten like French fries, in rapid succession. Those crispy circles do have star appeal, however. A tall stack of them, crowned upon a burger, can take a plate from blah to bodacious.
And for this, we celebrate the crispy, greasy bites on National Onion Rings Day. Find some locally at the following five spots:
One might believe a good deviled egg shines in its simplicity and requires nothing else to achieve perfection. We beg to differ.
Sure, simple, Southern-style deviled eggs are swell on their own, but add a sliver of crispy Serrano on top, a dusting of Cajun spices and dill on the egg white halves and you’ve got deviled eggs that are sublime.
SOUTHERN-STYLE HERBED DEVILED EGGS
In this recipe, Chef Lindsay Autry takes inspiration from her grandmother’s deviled eggs.
Makes 24 deviled eggs
12 whole eggs, boiled and peeled
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s or Hellmann’s)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped gherkins or dill relish
For herb crust:
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning or any Cajun spice blend
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
For crispy topping:
3 to 4 slices Serrano ham or prosciutto
Prepare the eggs:
1. Cut boiled eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a fine sieve over a small mixing bowl. 2. Force the egg yolks through the sieve into the mixing bowl, creating a fine powder. (Alternatively, you can mash the yolks with a fork.) 3. To the mixing bowl, add mustard, mayonnaise and optional cayenne and mix well. Adjust seasoning, and fold in the chopped gherkins or dill relish. Set aside. 4. Gently wipe out the egg whites with a damp paper towel to remove any of the leftover yolks.
To crust the eggs:
1. In a small bowl, mix the Old Bay or Cajun seasoning together with the chopped fresh dill. Spread mix on a plate. 2. Place each egg white half, cut side-down on the spice blend to crust the tops. Set aside.
Crisp the topping: Place slices of ham or prosciutto in a 250F degree oven for 30 minutes to crisp. Set aside.
To fill the eggs:
1. Place the yolk mixture in a piping bag or a Ziploc bag. (If using a plastic bag, snip off a lower corner for piping.)
2. Pipe the mixture into the crusted egg whites. If using a simple plastic bag without a fancy pastry tip, pipe the filling in a zigzag motion for added flair.
3. Break crispy ham or prosciutto slices into bite-size pieces and place them atop filled deviled eggs.
GIVE YOUR EASTER EGGS A POP OF NATURAL COLOR
Here’s a natural way to dye your Easter eggs:
Chef Lindsay Autry soaks hardboiled and peeled eggs in natural ‘dye’ liquids that take their color from beets and turmeric.
After 3 hours of soaking, the eggs turn brilliant hues.
The new Italian restaurant is the north county outpost of a lively Clematis Street spot. And it seems the owners have brought some of that downtown West Palm Beach verve to northern Jupiter.
Just try to walk in and find a table on any given night, even on a weeknight. More than likely, you’ll find there’s a wait. It’s a smallish restaurant that can accommodate 89 diners scattered throughout its main dining room, indoor bar and al fresco patio.
What’s the draw? Certainly not the location. There’s no water view or people-watching potential on the patio. The restaurant sits in a commercial plaza that faces U.S. Highway 1. Sure, it’s a spiffy-new, Bermudian-style plaza, but the view it offers is parking lot and passing cars.
And yet, Lynora’s possesses that “it” factor restaurateurs crave: vibe. It’s an animated spot. You pick up the chatter as you squeeze past the bar and in between tables, feeling like the dinner party guest of a large, merry family. On Sundays, the restaurant hosts a Clematis Street-style brunch replete with red-sneakered servers in “Legalize Marinara” t-shirts and bottomless Bellinis, mimosas, bloodies and Peroni (for $18).
All this in a neo-Brooklyn setting of warm woods, subway tile and simple furnishings.
The food stands in striking contrast to the hip décor. It’s old-school home cooking, red-sauce specials, comfort grub.
That’s because Lynora’s roots are in a bygone Italian restaurant owned and operated by Ralph and Maria Abbenante, the parents of current owner Angelo Abbenante. That now-closed family restaurant, also named Lynora’s, stood for years on Lake Worth Road. (Lynora’s is named after Maria’s mother.)
Angelo Abbenante wanted to bring back the spirit of that restaurant. He and a partner opened a modernized version of the restaurant, Lynora’s Osteria, in 2014. But that collaboration ended in a lawsuit and the owners went their separate ways. Abbenante and his family remained at Lynora’s, dropping the “Osteria” from the name.
Legal matters aside, the food endured. This is not food that rises to astonishing levels, but it is food that would draw me back again and again. It is simple and well prepared by Lynora’s Italian chef, Mario Mette. The sauces are on-point, the servings abundant. It hits the spot.
On a recent visit, our party of three skipped the varied, classic antipasti offerings (bruschetta crostini, $6, cheese/meat plate, $22, fried rice balls, $8, fried calamari, $14, among other dishes), and started our meal with a shared “piccante” pizza ($14).
Topped with pepperoni, salami, mozzarella and cherry peppers (hence the spicy name), this wood-oven-baked pie popped with flavor. The crust, of medium thickness, puffed up on the edges, sending the toppings toward the middle. Even so, the deliciously chewy dough did not go to waste.
For main course, we sampled Lynora’s homemade pappardelle, wide noodles tossed with duck ragu (pappardelle all’anatra, $26). It’s an earthy dish that’s particularly appetizing on a crisp or chilly night. The pasta is bathed in a brandy-spiked sauce of roasted duck and porcini mushrooms and presents just a hint of truffle essence.
The Pollo Francese (chicken in lemon sauce, $24) did not disappoint. A lightly battered chicken breast was served on a bed of linguine in the bright Francese sauce. Mounded beneath two pounded chicken fillets on a flat plate, the pasta seemed incidental on this dish. The shape of the plate made it difficult to twirl and scoop up the linguine, so much of that delicious sauce remained on the plate.
We also sampled the Braciole con Gnocchi ($24), which is listed as one of Lynora’s classic dishes. This rolled-up meat favorite is made with pork that’s folded with prosciutto, garlic and Parmesan, braised in a light tomato sauce and served with small gnocchi dumplings. This is a homey, rib-sticking dish, but the monotone flavors of the meat and pasta could have used some contrast, perhaps from a pop of bitter greens.
Dessert time brought us a couple of memorable bites: a classic tiramisu stacked high with ladyfingers and mascarpone layers ($10), and a warm and sinful Nutella lava cake ($10) that was served with a tumbler of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Our dishes were delivered promptly, as, despite the bustle, service is brisk and professional. However, I did feel rushed. And our server did that “I’ll take this when you’re ready” thing, dropping off the check before we could request it.
Sometimes, I take the check nudge as an opportunity to ask for something else, say, a cappuccino. But, truth be told, I didn’t want a cappuccino, and I didn’t want a perfectly nice dinner to end on a sour note.
The service slip will not keep me from returning to the restaurant. Untimely check aside, Lynora’s is a fetching spot that brings a little buzz where it’s needed.
ADDRESS: 1548 U.S. Highway 1 (Inlet Plaza), Jupiter
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.