Here’s where you can dine for two without breaking the bank

So you and your significant other, or you and bestie, are looking for some place to eat. Whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, your requirements are simple: good, but cheap.

This kind of leaves you with a short list, considering the most talked about (and delicious) places can break your shoestring budget. But have no fear. We’ve looked far and wide (across Palm Beach County at least) to find you taste-worthy meals for two for under for $40.

Warning, we are not including you drinking the night away on champagne, indulging in a three-course meal or calorie-splurging on dessert. This is for the savvy foodie, who wants good food, but knows it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

For Breakfast / Brunch / Lunch:

Sara’s Kitchen

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Sara’s Kitchen is a hole in the wall of a very “business-looking” plaza. This place resembles your favorite neighborhood diner where they serve breakfast all day with a smile. You will need Sara’s Kitchen most when you and your BFF had a little too much fun the night before and are looking to solve your problems with comfort food.

  • Must try: Panhandle Benedict with hash browns or grits for $9.49 and Bananas Foster French Toast for $9.99 with a coffee for $2.99
  • Total Cost: Around $27 (including tax/tip)
  • Address: 2000 PGA Blvd., Building A, Suite #3140, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 2:45 pm | Saturday-Sunday 7:00 am – 1:45 (yes, that is the exact time)
  • More: http://saraskitchenpalmbeachgardens.com/ 
The French House 

With a cozy and cutesy atmosphere, The French House makes the perfect brunch spot for you and your boo to start your day. The warm and helpful staff makes the place really come alive and feel authentic. Bon appetite!

  • Must try: Buffala baguette for $13.50 and splurge a little for the French Brunch for $16.50.
  • Total Cost: Cutting it close, but still making it at almost $37 (tax/tip included)
  • Address: 821 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth, FL 33461
  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am – 2:30 pm | Saturday-Sunday 9:30 am – 2:30 pm | Breakfast on Saturday 9:30 am – 11:30 & all-day breakfast on Sundays
  • More: http://www.thefrenchhousecafe.com/ 
Johan’s Joe 

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Most people aren’t familiar with this new-ish, downtown Swedish spot. Or they’ve seen it but are too afraid to try something as different as Swedish cuisine. But hey, Swedes are known for their meatballs, but you may leave loving their pastries. At Johan’s Joe, the décor is modern and clean, there’s free wifi (score!) and a helpful staff.

  • Must try: Savory Crepes for $10.50 and the Classic Swedish Meatball Plate $10.95 and throw in a Frappe Iced Latte for $3.95.
  • Total Cost: Roughly $30 (including tax/tip)
  • Address: 401. S Dixie Hwy. West Palm Beach, FL 33401
  • Hours: Sunday – Monday 7 am – 4 pm
  • More: http://www.johansjoe.com/food
Alaina’s Bake Shoppe & Café 

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If you can make it through the lunchtime rush on Northlake Blvd., reward yourself with a sandwich at Alaina’s. Get a fully-packed Panini or cold sammie, filled with fancy meats and delectable cheeses or for a quick (and sweet) bite, try the specialty cupcakes.

  • Must try: Two Pigs & a Birdie Panini and Peary Good Panini for $10.95 each
  • Total Cost: $26.68 (including tip/tax)
  • Address: 4377 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am to – 5:00 pm
  • More: http://www.alainasbakeshoppe.com/ 
KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe 

If you’re in the mood for a classic, American breakfast, but also want some elbow room for digging in and some colorful art to gaze into after each bite, KeKe’s is the place for you. No, it is not an IHOP or a Denny’s, and yes, the portions are huge. The specialty is pancakes (and this time of year, the pumpkin ones are everything), but the French toast is bomb too.

  • Must try: Create Your Own Combo with pancakes, French toast or waffles for about $10
  • Total Cost: $26 (including tip/tax)
  • Address: 10120 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday 7:00 am to – 2:30 pm
  • More: http://www.kekes.com/kekes-wellington.html
Grilled Cheese Gallery 

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What’s better than a homemade grilled cheese sandwich? A gooey, restaurant grilled cheese sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Gallery (less clean up, duh). You honestly can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, but this place takes it to a whole new level, stuffing it with things like pulled pork, brie and mac and cheese. Yes, I just said that: grilled cheese, mac and cheese.

  • Must try: The Mac Daddy for $8.50 and The Artist for $10.
  • Total Cost: About $23 (including tax and 15% tip).
  • Address: 422 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33407
  • Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm | Friday – Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • More: https://www.facebook.com/GrilledCheeseGallery/

Dinner 

The Dubliner 

Join the likes of famous Irishmen (Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw) as you indulge in a traditional Irish meal at The Dubliner. Although the restaurant is in busy Mizner Park, inside feels like your favorite pub, complete with Guinness, Jameson and Baileys. And guess what? It’s open late.

  • Must try: The Famous Shepherd’s Pie for $16.50 and the McMac and Cheese for $11.
  • Total Cost: For just $34 (tax/tip included) you have a foodie trip to Ireland in Boca Raton
  • Address: 435 Plaza Real (Mizner Park) Boca Raton, Fl 33432
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 4:00 pm – 2:00 am | Sunday: 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
  • More: http://sub-culture.org/dubliner/ 
Kapow Noodle Bar

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Also hidden in the large scope of Mizner Park, Kapow gives a new twist to noodles. Take seat at the indoor-outdoor bar and enjoy a wide variety of small plates, dumplings and ramen. Share the plates to get the most out of your meal.

  • Must try: Pan-Seared Pork Gyoza for $7.50, Short Rib Steamed Buns for $9 and Pork Ramen for $16.
  • Total Cost: Hits close to $40 (with tax/tip included), so maybe save this for a fun date night before drinks and a movie.
  • Address: 431 Plaza Real (Mizner Park) Boca Raton, Fl 33432
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30 am – 12:00 am | Friday-Satuday 11:30 am – 2:00 am
  • More: http://kapownoodlebar.com/ 
Havana 

Whether you are looking for a big sit down meal, or are having the late night munchies, Havana has you covered. The authentic Cuban food is unbeatable, and the celebs agree. Stars such as Martha Stewart and Sofia Vergara are frequent visitors to the spot on the corner of Dixie and Forest Hill.

  • Must try: Sandwich Cubano for $8.69 and Chicharrones de Pollo for $13.99 or eat your weight in empanadas at the walk-up window. 
  • Total Cost: About $28 (including tax/tip).
  • Address: 6801 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach, FL
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm | Friday-Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm | 24 hour walk-up window
  • More: http://www.havanacubanfood.com/ 
The Counter 

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So The Counter may be in a mall, but it’s a far, far stretch from what the food court is serving up (insert praised hands emoji here). It is a famous burger chain, with locations mostly in California, and some even in Ireland and Malaysia. If you’re splurging, you can create your own burger, but for the best price, it’s best to stick to what they create — whether that’s Brie cheese over American or Crab Cake over beef.

  • Must try: Why the Face burger for $12.25 and BBQ Bacon for $13 with a side of Parmesan Fries for $8.
  • Total Cost: Right at $40 (including tax/tip), so if you want to ditch the fries to save a few bucks, the burgers are still filling enough.
  • Address: 3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, Fl 33410 (in the Gardens Mall)
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm | Friday-Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm | Sunday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
  • More: http://www.thecounterburger.com/PalmBeachGardens_FL/ 
Carmine’s Coal Fired Pizza

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Split at pizza pie (or two) at Carmine’s Coal Fired Pizza. Carmine’s has many different kinds of locations (a market, an upscale restaurant, a burger place and a seafood place), but this location will make you feel warm and cozy, thanks to the intimate interior and wall of brick oven pizzas. Stick to the pizzas, but ask for extra toppings.  

  • Must try: Pizza Pesto (medium) for $15.95 and the White Pizza (medium) $15.95.
  • Total Cost: Coming to a close $39 (including tip/tax), but come on, you’re getting two pizzas with the works.
  • Address: 4575 Military Trail, Jupiter, Fl 33458
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:00 am – 10 pm | Friday-Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • More: http://www.carminescfp.com/index.html
Rancho Chicos

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You will never find a faster meal than at Rancho Chicos. Take a seat in the eclectic dining room that looks like it belongs in a theme park and munch on endless (warm) chips and (spicy) salsa until your meal arrives. The beans and rice, which in most Mexican restaurants are discarded to the side due to lack of flavor, are killer at Chico’s and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you finish them.

  • Must try: Combination Cheese Enchilada & beef burrito with rice and beans for $10.25 and the Dos Spinach Enchiladas for $9.99.
  • Total Cost: $24.61 (including tax/tip).
  • Address: 6390 Indiantown Rd., Jupiter, Fl 33458
  • Hours: 7 days a week 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • More: http:/http://www.ranchochico.net/ 
Thai Lotus 

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One of the best things about Thai Lotus (other than the fact that it is delicious) is the big portions. It is the perfect place for you and your beau to share a dish or two. Try a curry! A noodle! A roll! A soup! Whatever your heart desires — just make sure you get two. And get ready for some heat. Thai Lotus ranks “spiciness” on a scale of 1-4 stars, 1 being easy to digest and 4 being fire dancing on your tongue. Believe it or not, 3 stars is perfect.

  • Must try: Massamun Curry with tofu for $11.95, Pad Thai with beef for $10.95 and the Crunch Roll $9.95.
  • Total Cost: Just hits the $40 (including tax/tip), but if you share it all, it’s one heck of a meal.
  • Address: 201 North U.S. Hwy., Jupiter, Fl 33477
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm | Saturday 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm | Sunday 5:00pm – 9:00 pm (no sushi)
  • More: http://www.thailotusflorida.com/

What meals did we miss? Comment below with your favorite cheap (but tasty) eats in Palm Beach County!

5 best restaurants for lobster in Palm Beach County

Florida's spiny lobster season doesn't start till August, with its mini-season landing on July 29-30, but there's plenty of Maine lobster to be had around the county. (Madeline Gray/ The Palm Beach Post)
Florida’s spiny lobster season doesn’t start until August, with its mini-season landing on July 27-28, but there’s plenty of Maine lobster to be had around the county. (Palm Beach Post file)

There’s plenty of lobster to be found in this sea-loving county. Here are five spots to find a good bite of lobster:

Maison Carlos 

Maison Carlos' Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/ The Palm Beach Post)
Maison Carlos’ Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese. (J. Gwendolynne Berry/ The Palm Beach Post)

Try: the truffled lobster mac-and cheese, topped with shaved black truffles.

Maison Carlos: 3010 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6524; MaisonCarlos.com

The Sandwich Shop at Buccan

Maine Lobster Roll, served at The Sandwich Shop at Buccan. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Maine Lobster Roll, served at The Sandwich Shop at Buccan. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

Try: the Maine lobster roll served on a toasted, buttery brioche roll.

The Sandwich Shop at Buccan: 350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-833-3450; BuccanPalmBeach.com

 

Spoto’s Oyster Bar

The lobster risotto at Spoto's Oyster Bar. (Madeline Gray/ The Palm Beach Post)
The lobster risotto at Spoto’s Oyster Bar. (Madeline Gray/ The Palm Beach Post)

Try: the lobster risotto appetizer, sprinkled with asiago cheese.

Spoto’s Oyster Bar: 4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-776-9448; Spotos.com

 

Juno Beach Fish House

The 2-pound lobster at Juno Beach Fish House. (Jennifer Podis/ Palm Beach Post) Photo/Jennifer Podis
The 2-pound lobster at Juno Beach Fish House. (Jennifer Podis/ Palm Beach Post)

Try: the 1 1/2 or 2-pound Maine lobster baked and stuffed with crabmeat.

Juno Beach Fish House: 13980 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach; 561-626-2636; JunoBeachFishHouse.com

 

The Woods

The Woods' lobster-crab cake. (Contributed)
The Woods’ lobster-crab cake. (Contributed)

Try: the lobster and jumbo crab cake with warm mustard sauce and roasted corn relish.

The Woods: 129 Soundings Ave. (at Harbourside Place), Jupiter; 561-320-9627; WoodsJupiter.com

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Chipotle’s latest E. coli outbreak is over, CDC says

Chipotles is shutting down all of its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety. Will you still eat there? (Contributed photo)
Chipotles is shutting down all of its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety. But the latest E. coli outbreak is over, the CDC said Monday. (Contributed photo)

Chipotle is back on the menu, burrito lovers.

The most recent outbreak of E. coli, which infected 60 Chipotle Mexican Restaurant diners in December appears to be over, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bad news? The CDC still doesn’t know what caused it.

“Most ill people in these outbreaks ate many of the same food items at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant,” today’s report stated. “When a restaurant serves foods with several ingredients that are mixed or cooked together and then used in multiple menu items, it can be more difficult for epidemiologic studies to identity the specific ingredient that is contaminated.”

The chain’s image and stock price took a huge hit in the last six months because of outbreaks of E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. And the restaurant will shut all its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety with its employees. But that hasn’t stopped Palm Beach County diners who spoke recently to The Palm Beach Post.

Just over half of the 297 votes in a Post poll (154) favored eating at Chipotle despite the recent food-saftey concerns.

WHY PALM BEACH STILL LOVES CHIPOTLE DESPITE CONCERNS

Chipotle poll

Five places for hot coffee on a rainy day

An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

It’s rainy outside today. A good time to get some coffee.

1. C Street Café

This cozy coffee shop welcomes you with a laid-back, urban vibe and freshly brewed coffee. Can’t go wrong with an Italian espresso.

  • C Street: 319 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-469-9959; on Facebook here
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

2. Oceana Coffee

The cold brew at this Tequesta roaster is clean and sublime. And now you can enjoy it at Oceana’s spiffy new coffee lounge.

  • Oceana Coffee: New coffee lounge at 150 N. US Highway 1, #1 (across from the Marshall’s/Homegoods store), Tequesta; roasting house at 221 Old Dixie Highway, Tequesta; 561-401-2453; OceanaCoffee.com
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

3. Brewhouse Gallery

As you peruse the works of local artists or listen to some live music, treat yourself to a yummy cappuccino made with The Rabbit’s locally roasted Guatemalan beans. It’s so delicious, I could sip it by the gallon.

A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

4. Subculture Coffee

This hipster hang on Clematis Street brews some delicious coffees that are roasted onsite. My favorite preparation: the macchiato, a bold café with the slightest puff of milk foam. South county folks can enjoy their Subculture brews at the new-ish second location in downtown Delray Beach.

  • Subculture: In West Palm Beach at 509 Clematis St. (561-318-5142), in Delray Beach at 123 E. Atlantic Ave. (561-808-8482); SubcultureCoffee.com
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

5. The Grind Café

This Delray Beach spot serves some yummy – and artistic – lattes. Sip one from one of The Grind’s branded retro cups while you decided if you’ll succumb to the café’s baked good temptations.

  • The Grind: at the Delray Marketplace, 14859 Lyons Rd., #132, Delray Beach; 561-270-2058; GrindCafeDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Newsroom favorite: this cheese pizza won our downtown taste test. Which is your favorite?

Which cheese pizza scored most votes? (File photo)
Which cheese pizza scored most votes? (Cox Newspapers file photo)

Who knows more about room-temp pizza than journalists on election night? No one. We proudly claim our expertise. We are to pizza what truffle hogs are to ascomycetes.

And because of this, we snag all available opportunities to devour pizza – by the slice, by the pie, or by the stack of boxes. It’s rib-sticking grub, as we were reminded on a recent day when we gathered at one end of the newsroom to taste-test four downtown West Palm Beach cheese pizzas.

We sampled pies from Pizza Girls, City Pizza, Mellow Mushroom and Nico’s Pizza.

In the end, Nico’s scored the highest percentage of our votes (38 percent).

See? None left. (Photo by Laura Lordi)
See? None left. (Photo by Laura Lordi)

The Clematis Street pizzeria delivered with its thin, foldable crust, hearty sauce and cheese and slightly greasy awesomeness.

Second place went to Mellow Mushroom (34 percent). Next was City Pizza of CityPlace (16 percent). Lastly, Pizza Girls fans were saddened to see the waterfront spot earned a paltry 13 percent of our votes.

Leftovers? Not in this newsroom. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
Leftovers? Not in this newsroom. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

Here’s your chance to comment on for your favorite Palm Beach County pizza. Tell us your favorite on our Post on Food & Dining Facebook page.

Next week: vote in our poll (based on your comments) to name the best pizzeria in Palm Beach county.

ReadersChoicePizza2015
Click on the photo to cast your vote!

This Florida bar is among the world’s 50 best bars

Broken Shaker co-owner Elad Zvi mixes a cocktail in Miami Beach. The Broken Shaker was named the best hotel bar (Patrick Farrell/ The Miami Herald)
Broken Shaker co-owner Elad Zvi mixes a cocktail in Miami Beach. The Broken Shaker was named among the 50 best bars in the world. (Patrick Farrell/ The Miami Herald)

It’s not everywhere you can get a drink at one of the best bars in the world — while sitting in your bathing suit at the hotel pool.

But that’s exactly the case at the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach, which was recently named among the World’s 50 Best Bars, in a “Drinks International” poll of more than 400 voters worldwide. The Broken Shaker was ranked No. 14 on a list that includes bar from London to Singapore.

It’s yet another honor for a tiny bar wedged inside the Freehand Miami hostel, which opens up to a pool courtyard filled nightly with revelers, no matter the weather. In the heat, it’s bathing suits optional.

Earlier this summer, the Broken Shaker — which has been nominated for a James Beard Award, the highest honor in dining and spirits — won the title of Best American Hotel Bar at the international Spirited Awards in New Orleans.

 

Three places for a sinful bite on World Vegetarian Day

LettuceFILE

If your idea of celebrating World Vegetarian Day is to dine on salad, you may be missing the day’s more sinful temptations. Like cashew cream.

Chef Chris Slawson, who owns the plant-based Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens, is a master of this delicacy. It’s the substance that adds dreamy richness to his eatery’s ice “cream.” And wait till you try the macadamia “ricotta” that melts atop Christopher’s Kitchen’s pizzas. Like the ice cream, it’s among the stylish cafe’s more naughty options — and there are many of those.

Here’s the reality check: You don’t have to brave a mound of cold iceberg to stand in solidarity today (Thursday) with World Vegetarian Day. You can indulge. Here is a trio of good spots to do so in Palm Beach County:

Christopher's Kitchen: chocolate tart with vanilla ice "cream" made with cashew-coconut cream. (Palm Beach Post file)
Christopher’s Kitchen: chocolate tart with vanilla ice “cream” made with cashew cream. (Post file)

Christopher’s Kitchen

For all the above reasons and more.

4783 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-318-6191

Darbster's Palm Cake is a crispy favorite. (Post file)
Darbster’s Palm Cake is a crispy favorite. (Post file)

Darbster

Few places are more pooch-friendly than this waterside eatery. In fact, the restaurant’s proceeds benefit the Darbster Foundation, which helps local animal rescue and welfare efforts.

Decadent pick: the crispy hearts of palm cakes with caper remoulade and baby greens.

8020 S. Dixie Hway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-2622 

Getting crunchy at The Bee, West Palm. (LibbyVision.com)
Getting crunchy at The Bee, West Palm. (LibbyVision.com)

The Bee

This sunny spot is a good place for a fragrant cup of tea or vegan snack.

Decadent pick: the avocado toast with watermelon radish, lemon, tomato, cayenne, sea salt and sesame seeds.

123 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 561-651-9796

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Hurricane Matthew: stock up on these six fancy foods

Hurricane Matthew update: for all their drama, hurricanes can be drab affairs when it comes to their culinary consequences.

The dismal checklist usually involves the usual suspects: granola bars, canned chicken or tuna salad, Spam, Vienna sausages, generic crackers and peanut butter.

For the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew check our WeatherPlus blog.

In a storm and aftermath, chances are your pantry supplies will dictate what ends up on your plate – particularly if the aftermath involves a power outage.

So in the spirit of thoughtful preparation as Hurricane Matthew approaches — here are some pantry items that promise to lift your post-storm meals and mood, especially when consumed by candlelight.

FANCY TUNA

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My new favorite tuna is packed in a 6.7-ounce jar with olive oil. Tonnino’s Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil packs Costa Rican tuna that’s dolphin-safe, wild caught and hand packed.

These are pricey little jars, retailing at just over $5 each. But each serves two to three – even more, if used in a larger salad.

Find them, among other places, at Publix, Publix GreenWise and The Boys’ market in Delray Beach.

CANNED CANNELLINIS

FancyPantryBeans

These versatile beans are delicious, even at room temperature. They’re lovely when tossed with olive oil and lemon or vinegar, and a sprinkling of herbs. Fold in some good tuna and thinly sliced onion for a full meal.

Such a salad invites a ton of variations: Add tomatoes, avocado, fresh herbs, even other bean varieties.

Find them at your favorite supermarket.

GOOD OLIVE OIL AND VINEGAR

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A drizzle of distinctive olive oil can add instant depth and a luxurious touch to a toss of greens, tuna and/or beans. Add a sprinkling of organic red wine vinegar or aged balsamic for balance and brightness.

I love a good, hearty Spanish olive oil, but in a pinch, a little bottle of Pompeian extra virgin oil fixes the craving for bold.

YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER

FancyPantryPeanutButter

Peanut Butter & Co. makes some terrific varieties of peanut butter, from Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (our favorite) to White Chocolate Wonderful. No need for jelly – these are good on their own.

Find them at Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Target and other local shops.

CRISPY CRACKERS

FancyPantryCrackers

My new favorite go-to cracker seems custom-made for everything from hummus to pimento cheese. Plus, Blue Diamond’s Pecan Nut-Thins are wheat and gluten-free. They’re made with rice flour and pecans and manage to maintain the lightest, most satisfying crunch.

Find them at Publix and most major markets.

CRUNCHY CHICKPEAS

FancyPantryChickpeas

Saffron Road makes delicious, crunchy chickpeas that are flavored by a variety of spices. (I love the falafel-flavored ones.) These are yummy alone, by the handful, or scattered atop salads and soups. Plus, they’re healthier than potato chips.

Find them at Publix.

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

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Best restaurants of 2015 (so far): Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast

Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

I am not quite done devouring 2015, but I have feasted on my share of excellent dishes. Here’s my half-time report on my favorite reviewed restaurants so far this year.

JEREVE CULINARY STUDIO

Jereve's palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve’s palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

They call this West Palm Beach eatery a studio for good reason: The food is a work of art. But beyond the stunning presentations on the plate, the food is delicious.

The restaurant is tucked into the multiuse EmKo art space on South Dixie Highway in the Flamingo Park neighborhood, and its positioning makes sense: beautiful, thoughtful dishes served in a setting where creativity is celebrated and encouraged.

Jereve: 2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511; EmKoPB.com

MEAT MARKET

Meat Market's mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)
Meat Market’s mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)

Welcome to the sexiest steak house in Palm Beach County, where the cuts are stellar and the service is sensational.

Chef-restaurateur Sean Brasel’s hard work has paid off, as have the countless miles he’s logged between the 10-month-old restaurant and its original Meat Market location in Miami Beach. Start with a fresh tuna tartare and a glass of chilled wine at the bar, where happy hour is a refined affair. Then settle into a seat at the dining room for an extraordinary meal. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the splurge.

Meat Market: 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach; 561-354-9800; MeatMarketPalmBeach.com

THE GRILLE FASHION CUISINE

Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Rising star chef Clayton Carnes has no use for bells and whistles. He relies on premium ingredients and mad skills. The secret behind The Grille’s quality and success is as simple as that.

There’s little wonder why Carnes won an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and, more recently, a semifinals round in the summer-long Feast of the Sea’s Chef’s Challenge Series.

At The Grille, his menu is simple and accessible, and it’s inspired by what’s fresh, local and prime.

The Grille: 12300 South Shore Blvd., Wellington; 561-793-2110; TheGrilleFashionCuisine.com

DISTRICT TABLE & BAR

District Table's roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)
District Table’s roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)

This cozy and casual eatery, which sits in a quiet suburban plaza in Stuart, is where Chef Jason Stocks and his wife Mirka Stocks pay homage to local and regional ingredients.

The chef’s Southern roots – he’s a Palm City native – are evident throughout District Table’s eclectic menu. Whether it’s his Sweet Tea Fried Chicken and jalapeño-cheddar waffle, his deviled yard eggs or his insanely good beef tartare, the chef’s talent is revealed daily in dishes that are worth driving many miles to enjoy.

District Table: 900 SE Indian St. (heading north on U.S. 1, turn left on Indian Street), Stuart; 772-324-8357; DistrictTableAndBar.com

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