Happy National Pastry Day! Here are our favorite sweet spots in Palm Beach County

It’s National Pastry Day! You can never go wrong with these easy grab-n-go’s — whether you’re celebrating a silly, Internet holiday or not. From classic croissant to Cuban pastelito to French quiche, you’ll be happily fulfilled. And lucky for you, Palm Beach County has plenty of places to cure your cravings and help you celebrate today’s sweet holiday.

Here are 7 places to get your pastry on today:

Sugar Monkey

“Making the world a sweeter place…

Parisian macarons from the Sugar Monkey at the Grand Tasting Tuesday night at 150 WORTH on the last day of the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival 2012. (Photo by Libby Volgyes/Special to the Palm Beach Post)
Parisian macarons from the Sugar Monkey at the Grand Tasting Tuesday night at 150 WORTH on the last day of the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival 2012. (Photo by Libby Volgyes/Special to the Palm Beach Post)

… one cake at a time” as they say. This Lake Worth bake shop specializes in custom orders and sweet treats. Owner Jennifer Reed is known for blending classic French sweets with a splash of the Midwest. If you’re driving through the Dixie Corridor, keep an eye out for the Sugar Monkey.

Address: 2402 N Dixie Hwy #2, Lake Worth, FL 33460

Phone: (561) 689-7844


Tulipan

Vamo’!

guava pastry
Guava pastry from Tulipan

No chairs, no tables, no worries. Tulipan is a true take-out joint located in West Palm Beach and in North Palm Beach. This is a friendly-shop where people simply do their time in line, take their food and leave. What’s Tulipan known for? Authentic Cuban pastelitos and cafe con leche.

Address: 740 Belvedere Rd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405 | 731 Northlake Blvd., North Palm Beach, FL 33408

Phone: (561) 832-6107 | 561-842-4847


Upper Crust

A line worth the wait.

LAKE WORTH - A pecan pie baked fresh at the The Upper Crust in Lake Worth. The pie baking company offers as many as 34 different types of pies including meringue pies, fruit pies, cream pies, and specialties such as no sugar added apple and French California strawberry. The business was founded by Raul "Rudy" Quintero and his wife Helen 31 years ago. While Quintero unfortunately passed away this past September, the business is still family operated. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
LAKE WORTH – A pecan pie baked fresh at the The Upper Crust in Lake Worth. The pie baking company offers as many as 34 different types of pies including meringue pies, fruit pies, cream pies, and specialties such as no sugar added apple and French California strawberry. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Nothing keeps customers from forming huge lines outside of the Upper Crust in Lake Worth during certain times of the year. This 38-year-old bakery is known especially for its pies — especially the strawberry rhubarb pie and the pecan pie.

Address: 2015 N Dixie Hwy, Lake Worth, FL 33460

Phone: (561) 586-5456


Paneterie

Keep calm, eat pastries.

The chocolate eclair at Paneterie. (Samantha Ragland/The Palm Beach Post)
The chocolate eclair at Paneterie. (Samantha Ragland/The Palm Beach Post)

The relaxed Paneterie bakery in downtown West Palm Beach offers a quick bite with a few tables inside and outside. Choose from a variety of French fares such as salade nicoise and quiche with pricing between $7 to $10 each. But if you’re planning to enjoy the National Pastry holiday, then you need to have a few macaroons and definitely the chocolate eclair.

Address: 205 Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: (561) 223-2992


Ganache Bakery Cafe

“Everything tastes better with love”

That seems to be the motto behind this West Palm Beach Bakery since both founders had a love for baking since their early ages. Joan and Jamal founded this online business, giving customers made-to-order baked goodies all year round.

Address: 120 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: (561) 507-5082


Patrick Leze

Mmmm…délicieux.

Patrick Leze Palm Beach offers blueberry macarons and blueberry muffins. (Meghan McCarthy/The Palm Beach Post)
Patrick Leze Palm Beach offers blueberry macarons and blueberry muffins. (Meghan McCarthy/The Palm Beach Post)

Named after the chef who owns the bakery, Patrick Leze is a Palm Beach gem featuring mouth-watering French pastries. What do people buy here? The pastry case full of decadent macaroons, brioches, croissants and tarts.

Address: 229 Sunrise Ave, Palm Beach, FL 33480

Phone: (561) 366-1313


Cafe Sweets

It’s a family affair

A place that focuses on making their customers feel like family is Cafe Sweets in West Palm Beach. A traditional, bakery with a sweet touch of Southern hospitality makes this shop a go-to. If it’s been in the family for three-generations, they must be doing something right. My recommendation: The banana pudding cupcake. Though not exactly a pastry, it’ll hit ya in the heart in the best way.

Address: 519 25th St, West Palm Beach, FL 33407

Phone: (561) 249-7167

It’s PB Food + Wine Fest week: here’s a glimpse of the action

The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival kicks off Thursday, celebrating its 10th year of existence. What will it be like?

Here are 10 moments from previous years.

one

The beach behind the Four Seasons Palm Beach resort is the backdrop of the annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Thursday through Sunday. (LILA PHOTO)
The beach behind the Four Seasons Palm Beach resort is the backdrop of the annual, star-studded Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Thursday through Sunday. (LILA PHOTO)

two

Inspired bites, as in these burgers by uber chef Daniel Boulud, range from the casual to the more refined. (LILA PHOTO)
Inspired bites, as in these burgers by uber chef Daniel Boulud, range from the casual to the more refined. (LILA PHOTO)

three

Simple and sensational. It is Palm Beach, after all. (LILA PHOTO)
Simple and sensational. It is Palm Beach, after all. (LILA PHOTO)

four

The festival is a wine lover's oasis, with wine dinners and free-flowing tastings. There's a ton of beer and craft cocktails, as well. (LILA PHOTO)
The festival is a wine lover’s oasis, with wine dinners and free-flowing tastings. There’s a ton of beer and craft cocktails, as well. (LILA PHOTO)

five

Famous chefs, like Elizabeth Falkner and Robert Irvine, are now regulars at the fest. (LILA PHOTO)
Famous chefs, like Elizabeth Falkner and Robert Irvine, are now regulars at the fest. (LILA PHOTO)

six

And Jeff Mauro, Food Network's 'Sandwich King.' He's a regular, too. (Photo: Fernanda Beccaglia)
And Jeff Mauro, Food Network’s ‘Sandwich King.’ He’s a regular, too. (Photo: Fernanda Beccaglia)

seven

Beneath the palms, the festival is a big, grown-up affair. (LILA PHOTO)
Beneath the palms at The Breakers, the festival is a big, grown-up affair. (LILA PHOTO)

eight

Kids get their event, too -- there's a Kids Kitchen class offered by Robert Irvine. (LILA PHOTO)
Kids get their event, too — there’s a Kids Kitchen class offered by Robert Irvine at the Four Seasons Palm Beach resort. (LILA PHOTO)

nine

Palm Beach's local stars, like Chef Lindsay Autry, shine at the fest alongside visiting stars. (LILA PHOTO)
Palm Beach’s local stars, like Chef Lindsay Autry of The Regional, shine at the fest alongside visiting stars. (LILA PHOTO)

ten

The big finale happens Sunday at The Gardens Mall, where wall-to-wall bites and sips are served and where local chefs compete in an annual throwdown for charity. (LILA PHOTO)
The big finale happens Sunday at The Gardens Mall, where wall-to-wall bites and sips are served and where local chefs compete in an annual throwdown for charity. (LILA PHOTO)

New restaurant news: The Regional Kitchen rolls out new weekend brunch

West Palm Beach mimosa-seekers, there’s a hot new brunch in town. The Regional Kitchen quietly expanded its weekend hours recently to include an a la carte, big-city brunch.

On the brunch menu at The Regional: cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam and salted butter. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)
On the brunch menu at The Regional: cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam and salted butter. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)

Unlike some unruly, dancing-on-tables brunches, this is a civilized, soulful affair. Chef Lindsay Autry has created a menu that’s just large enough and eclectic enough to satisfy most midmorning appetites.

Related: 50 must-try ‘Sunday Funday’ brunch parties in Palm Beach County

On the savory side, there’s loaded mill grits with cheddar, scallions, bacon and roasted jalapeños ($11; add poached egg for $2, barbecue shrimp for $7), country-style sausage ($11), steak and eggs ($18), fried chicken thighs ($9), and broccoli and cheese frittata ($14).

Steak and eggs, Regional-style. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)
Steak and eggs, Regional-style. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)

On the sweet side, there’s cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam ($12), and buttermilk waffle with spiced apple butter ($12). Rounding out your options, there are smaller bites (roasted tomato pie, $11), salads, sandwiches, entrées (herb roasted Scottish salmon, $22), and homey side dishes (table-side pimento cheese, $11).

Fan favorite: The Regional's roasted tomato pie. (South Moon Photography)
Fan favorite: The Regional’s roasted tomato pie. (South Moon Photography)

Brunch-y drinks include classic mimosas, daily special mimosas ($11 glass, $30 pitcher), Frosé (a spiked, slushy rosé cocktail, $12 each) and The Regional Bloody (a well-garnished Bloody Mary, $11 each).

Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested at 561-557-6460.

The Regional Kitchen & Public House: 651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

ON THE HORIZON: New lunch coming in 2017

Stacked: Table 26's signature burger. (Contributed by Table 26)
Stacked: Table 26’s signature burger. (Contributed by Table 26)

Long a popular spot for dinner, the restaurant will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. To reserve a spot, call 561-855-2660.

Owners Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros are still finalizing menu details.

Their announcement promises to boost local “power lunch” options. Table 26’s (also upscale) neighbor, Grato, started lunch service this past summer.

Crispy French toast at Table 26. (Contributed by Table 26)
Crispy French toast at Table 26. (Contributed by Table 26)

Table 26 presently serves a Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the menu: comfort food classics with a sophisticated twist, and $5 brunch cocktails.

Table 26: 1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

RELATED:

Best Guide: Hot restaurants on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor

Fifty must-try brunches in Palm Beach County

Devouring December: top food events this month

The barrage of this month’s food and drink events has given us whiplash. So many tastings, wine dinners, chef multicourse events. So much to eat and drink. And that’s not including the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which kicks off Thursday night.

December, won’t you stay a little longer?

James Beard Award winning chef Mark Militello. (Photo: The Buzz Agency)
James Beard Award winning chef Mark Militello. (Photo: The Buzz Agency)

Tradition, an Italian Wine Dinner

Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m.

James Beard Award-winning chef Mark Militello, who played a pivotal role in South Florida’s culinary rise, cooks a four-course, wine-pairing dinner at Josie’s Ristorante in Boynton Beach. A consulting chef at the restaurant, Militello will be joined in the kitchen by Josie’s chef Sebastiano Setticasi. On the menu: passed hors d’oeuvres, Maine lobster salad, goats milk ravioli, spice rubbed roasted beef tenderloin and buttermilk panna cotta, all paired with wines from family estate vineyards in Italy.

Cost: $85 per person, plus tax and tip. To reserve, call 561-364-9601

Josie’s Ristorante: 1602 S. Federal Hwy, Boynton Beach

Truffled lobster mac and cheese at Maison Carlos. (Palm Beach Post file)
Truffled lobster mac and cheese at Maison Carlos. (Palm Beach Post file)

Maison Carlos’ 15th anniversary

Thursday, Dec. 15 through Dec. 30

A neighborhood favorite on South Dixie Highway, Maison Carlos celebrates its 15th year by offering 15 days of savings. Dine at the restaurant from Dec. 15 through Dec. 30 and receive 15 percent off your entire dinner check. Owners Carlos and Lanie Farias say it’s their way of saying thanks.

“We could not have done this without the loyal support of our clients and friends. We are a family-owned, Mom-and-Pop… We take pride in daily shopping for the freshest ingredients. We love our customers and want to make sure everyone has an optimal experience,” the couple said in an email.

Reservations are strongly suggested.

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

Manor's executive chef, Miguel Santiago, at the grill. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Manor’s executive chef, Miguel Santiago, at the grill. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

Five-course wine dinner at Hilton West Palm Beach

Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Chef Matthew Byrne is not only the hotshot chef at Kitchen, the popular restaurant on Belvedere Road and South Dixie Highway – he’s also consulting chef at the Hilton West Palm Beach. In that capacity, he’ll team up with the hotel’s chef Miguel Santiago in creating a five-course, wine-pairing dinner that features master sommelier Gordon Sullivan. The dinner takes place at Manor, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant.

Cost: $150 per person, plus tax and tip. Reserve a spot at HiltonWestPalmBeach.EventBrite.com or by calling 561-249-2281.

Hilton West Palm Beach: 600 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

Puerto Rican treat: coconut tembleque (panna cotta) by Chef Christian Quinones. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Puerto Rican treat: coconut tembleque (panna cotta) by Chef Christian Quinones. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

Puerto Rican garden party at Bistro Ten Zero One

Sunday, Dec. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.

What a treat it is when Bistro chef Christian Quiñones cooks the dishes of his native Puerto Rico. He’s doing just that on Dec. 18 when Bistro Ten Zero One hosts what has become an annual holiday feast, Boricua-style. On the menu: guinenito (banana) salad with onion escovitch, sancocho stew, orange adobo roasted suckling pig, arroz con gandules (pigeon peas and rice), coconut tembleque and many other dishes.

Cost: $35 per person, plus tax and tip. To reserve a spot, visit the event site or call 561-833-1234 or 305-929-3463.

Bistro Ten Zero One: at the Marriott, 1001 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

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)

‘Swank Table’ kicks off

Sunday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m.

The popular Swank Farm supper series kicks off on Dec. 18 with a multicourse feast titled “Big flavors, Open Skies: A Night with Seminole Hard Rock and Coconut Creek.”

Cooking at the Loxahatchee Groves boutique farm that day are Alex Q. Becker, executive chef at Kuro Japanese restaurant at Hard Rock Hollywood and the restaurant’s pastry chef, Ross Evans. Joining them are chefs from Council Oaks Steaks & Seafood and Coconut Creek’s NYY Steak.

Farmers Darrin and Jodi Swank will host nine “Swank Table” dinners during the 2016-2017 harvest season. To reserve a spot, visit SwankSpecialtyProduce.com.

Cost: $160, which partially benefits a youth charity, FLIPANY.

Swank Farm: 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee Groves

 

 

As the dough rises, so does business at Aioli

The sourdough can be a diva. Sometimes she cooperates, but there are times she refuses to give in to the coaxing.

Chef Michael Hackman of Aioli sandwich shop in West Palm Beach knows them well, the whims of sourdough.

Aioli's basic bread ingredients: 'Water, flour and salt.' Plus patience. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Aioli’s basic bread: ‘Water, flour and salt.’ Plus patience. (LibbyVision.com)

“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.

Aioli's chef/co-owner Michael Hackman. (LibbyVision.com)
Aioli’s chef/co-owner Michael Hackman. (LibbyVision.com)

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.

Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (LibbyVision.com)

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.

Preparing bread molds: Hackman at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)
Preparing bread molds: Hackman at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)

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.

Time for a nap: rising dough at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)
Time for a nap: rising dough at Aioli. (LibbyVision.com)

Also in the works, an Aioli location in downtown West Palm Beach.

“We’re still in the beginning stages,” Hackman says of that spot.

Michael Hackman's olive-studded sourdough beauty. (LibbyVision.com)
Michael Hackman’s olive-studded sourdough beauty. (LibbyVision.com)

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

 

BEST GUIDE: What’s hot on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor?

Move over, Clematis Street. The hottest new thoroughfare near downtown West Palm Beach is South Dixie Highway, from Flamingo Park to just past Antique Row.

This is where a string of chef-driven, indie restaurants have opened in the past three years, adding eclectic notes to the street. They join a few of the city’s iconic restaurants in what is now dubbed the Dixie Dining Corridor.

Here’s a north-to-south guide of The Corridor:

Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)
Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)

TABLE 26

1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-855-2660

If you wonder why this sophisticated spot has drawn so many regulars to its doors, the answer is simple: They serve simple, delicious food, and they treat you like family.

The power duo behind Table 26, Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros, were pioneers of sorts on The Corridor. They opened the nautically themed place in the summer of 2012 and the valet attendants have been busy ever since.

Best reason to go: The place is lovely. It makes any night feel like a special night on the town.

Coming next year:

Patina – The husband-wife duo behind Kitchen plan an upscale spot serving Greek and Israeli dishes. Expected to open in fall 2017 at 1817 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Paccheri with herb ricotta, Parmesan and "Sunday gravy" with braised pork shoulder, short rib and Italian sausage. (LibbyVision.com)
Grato’s paccheri with ‘Sunday Gravy’ and herb ricotta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

GRATO

1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334

This local trattoria has earned a following by offering outstanding brick-oven pizza, house-smoked meats and homemade pasta in an accessible setting with just the right amount of vibe. Success is not an alien concept to the powerhouse team behind Grato: Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners. In August, Conley brought in a new executive chef, a rising star named Jimmy Strine, former executive sous chef at Café Boulud Palm Beach. Strine has notched up Grato’s smoked-meat game and introduced some exquisite seasonal dishes that showcase his balance of refined and rustic.

Best reason to go: There’s handmade pasta for lunch; a late afternoon drink at the bar can easily segue to dinner; Sunday brunch is sublime.

Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

JEREVE at EmKo

2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511

There’s a restaurant in this hulking structure that presents itself as an artist hub. Restaurant is not the word used here – they call it “culinary studio.” They do serve lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Best reason to go: There’s half-priced wine (by the glass) during social hour, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Chef Matthew Byrne's fave: Kitchen's chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Matthew Byrne’s fave: Kitchen’s chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

KITCHEN

319 Belvedere Rd. (at S. Dixie Hwy), West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281

Chef Matthew Byrne once served as personal chef to golf superstar Tiger Woods. At Kitchen, the restaurant he opened with wife Aliza Byrne in the fall of 2013, he serves as personal chef to a loyal crowd that includes many a visiting celeb. This is how the couple like to describe their intimate and gradually expanding restaurant: It’s like a dinner party.

Best reason to go: Chef Matthew’s simply prepared yet sumptuous dishes.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • City Diner – A retro diner that’s always hopping, at 3400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6776
Mexican street corn at Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)
Mexican street corn is on the menu at the new Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)

CHOLO SOY COCINA

3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-7018

Chef Clay Carnes ventured east from a spacious Wellington restaurant to open a tiny, neo-Andean spot. He makes his own tortillas and fresh ceviche, and roasts and smokes his own meats. There’s not much seating, but there is a sweet patio out back.

Best reason to go: Those tortillas, they’re made of organic corn grown in Alachua County.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Belle & Maxwell’s – Quaint café that’s popular at lunch, at 3700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-832-4449
  • Rhythm Café – Neighborhood favorite, serves eclectic mix of bites and main plates, at 3800 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-3406
  • Dixie Grill & Bar – Offers large selection of excellent craft beers and pub fare, at 5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189
  • Howley’s – A diner that burns the wee-hour oil (so to speak), serving comfort grub, at 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5691
Buffet at El Unico: Consider it a Latin 'meat + 3.' (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
El Unico’s Buffet: It’s a Latin ‘meat + 3.’ (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

EL UNICO

6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962

She’s Cuban-American; he’s Dominican. Together, husband-wife duo Monica and Enmanuel Nolasco have created a cozy spot for authentic island cooking and weekend get-downs.

Best reason to go: The lunch buffet is unbeatable. Friday night music and dancing kicks off the weekend with hot rhythms. 

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Marcello’s La Sirena – World-class Italian cuisine, a wine lover’s destination restaurant and multiple winner of Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award, at 6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-585-3128
  • Havana – This authentic Cuban restaurant just got an exterior makeover, at 6801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-9799
  • Don Ramon Restaurante Cubano – Cuban classics served with a smile, at 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

AIOLI

7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741

This daylight spot is no ordinary sandwich shop. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife/partner Melanie approach their menu with fresh, seasonal ingredients and a lot of soul. “We love to make stuff from scratch here,” says Chef Michael, who bakes the shop’s breads daily. He uses the fresh loaves – sourdough, seven grain, semolina, and more – in Aioli’s sandwiches. The shop also sells the loaves retail.

Best reason to go: After your scrumptious lunch, you can take one of Chef Michael’s prepared dinners to go. Multitasking!

Openings: Hey, Boca, there’s a new cheesecake in town

Buckle up, Boca. There’s a new cheesecake in town – and we’re not talking about Junior’s.

Amazing as it is, Junior’s fluffy, cake-crust, New York cheesecake will meet its match Tuesday, Dec. 6. That’s when Rappy’s Deli opens at Boca Raton’s new Park Place plaza.

Rappy's vintage New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Rappy’s New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

We had a taste of the dessert at a recent preview lunch. Restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who created the Rappy’s concept as a tribute to his late grandfather’s New York Jewish deli, offered the cheesecake without much commentary at the end of a multi-dish lunch.

The cheesecake recipe was brought to Rapoport’s, his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, by a Swedish pastry chef. It was the first cheesecake served in New York, says Rapoport, who grew up in an apartment above that long-closed deli.

The cheesecake: a fluffy, cream-cheese intense filling atop a thin cake crust. It’s divine stuff.

Rapoport is not making a big deal of it. “When something’s good, people will find it,” he says.

Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy's pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy’s pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The rest of the menu is just as rooted in the New York deli concept, but presented with a modern spin.  A Reuben is turned into a spring roll for Rappy’s Pastrami Spring Roll appetizer, which is stuffed with caraway-scented braised cabbage, Gruyere and Thousand Island dressing. Don’t fret, traditionalists, there’s a classic Reuben as well.

As delicious as the cheesecake: Rappy’s classic pastrami, to be made in-house. The meat is brined, smoked over a mix of hardwood, then steamed. The result is layer upon layer of flavor, a stack of pastrami that needs only a couple slices of rye bread and a smear of coarse-grain mustard. There are healthy offerings: chicken soup, health slaw, veggies.

Even the health slaw at Rappy's is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Even the health slaw at Rappy’s is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The menu is extensive, with offerings for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner: caviar, shareable “noshes,” soups, entrée salads, large plates, blintzes and latkes, a mountain of hot/cold sandwich options,  dogs and wursts (hello, pastrami-wrapped dog!), burgers and melts, Reubens and Rachels, “Bubby’s chicken in a pot,” shakes and desserts, plus a full bar.

Well dressed dog: Rappy's pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Well dressed dog: Rappy’s pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

Rappy’s will first open for lunch and dinner next Tuesday. Brunch begins on Saturday, Dec. 10. Breakfast will be served starting Monday, Dec. 12.

Rappy’s: Opens Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton; RappysDeli.com

 

 

 

Goodbye Grub: Jordan’s Steak Bistro says goodbye in Wellington

Jordan’s Steak Bistro, Wellington’s only independently owned upscale steakhouse, closed Sunday, management announced.

The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan's Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan’s Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

The family-owned restaurant, which opened in March 2013 in a plaza near the Mall at Wellington Green, specialized in hearty steaks cooked in an 1800-degree broiler. The big daddy on the menu: Jordan’s bone-in cowboy steak ($59), weighing from 18 ounces to 2 pounds. A heap of matchstick French fries completed the feast.

Jordan's truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jordan’s truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Jordan’s owners, Jordan and Ivette Naftal, announced the closing in a special email to regular customers:

“Big news. We would like to thank our loyal guests for a wonderful four years!” said the email. “Stay tuned for a future announcement letting you know where we land.”

That “next adventure” could come “very soon,” the owners suggested on the restaurant’s Facebook page last weekend.

Jordan Naftal, a former Baltimore-area restaurateur, opened the steakhouse in the space Pangea had operated.

Jordan Naftal, his wife Ivette, and son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Naftals: Jordan (at right), his wife Ivette, and their son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

On Sunday, the Naftals’ son, Jake Naftal, posted a message of his own on Facebook:

“I have adored being a part of this place, a part of your lives, and a participant in all the splendorous evenings we provided here. I’ve made many friends out of you, and learned so much… We love making food, we love making you smile, and you make us smile, too. See you at the next cookout.”

New restaurant opening in CityPlace: Bowery restaurant and music venue

CityPlace will welcome its fourth new restaurant this year when Bowery Palm Beach makes its debut in the former BB King’s/ Lafayette’s space next week.

Bowery, which combines an upmarket seafood restaurant and live music club, opens Thursday, Dec. 8.

A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette's Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)
A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette’s Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)

The menu describes dishes with some refinement: snapper panzanella (bread salad) with fried capers and tomato confit, black cod served with olive oil poached potatoes and watercress pesto, octopus with Meyer lemon gel and smoked potatoes.

Starters include steamed bao (buns) stuffed with a variety of fillings, including fried gator tail with pickled jalapeño. The dessert menu includes a black sesame ice cream sundae with kiwi, mocha, passion fruit and caramel. Specialty cocktails include the “Bowery Red,” vodka mixed with Giffard grapefruit syrup, Aperol and fresh lime juice.

The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress), is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left is co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)
The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress) is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left, co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)

The Bowery Palm Beach concept includes two parts, the Bowery Coastal restaurant and the Bowery LIVE music venue. It is the brainchild of restaurateurs and reality TV stars Joe Cirigliano and Karena Kefales, whose search for a “dream bar” in St. John’s was featured on HGTV’s “Caribbean Life” property-hunting series last year.

The couple, who went on to appear on other cable reality shows, named the upcoming West Palm Beach restaurant after their home street in New York City.

Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.

In the kitchen at Bowery PB: Chef Anthony "Theo" Theocaropoulos. (Contributed image)
In the kitchen at Bowery: Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos. (Contributed)

A native New Yorker, Theocaropoulos is a graduate of the now-defunct Lincoln Culinary Institute. His career includes stints at Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori and Mario Batali’s Eataly New York La Pizza & La Pasta.

The chef was the culinary mind behind Cooklyn, the now-closed Prospect Heights restaurant that had served as inspiration for a Palm Beach outpost. That Cooklyn Palm Beach concept, once destined for the 150 Worth shopping plaza, was scrapped.

Bowery Palm Beach will be the fifth restaurant opening at West Palm’s centerpiece dining and entertainment plaza in the past year, following the opening of The Regional Kitchen, City Tap House, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Cabo Flats (which opened in December 2015).

Bowery Palm Beach: 567 Hibiscus St. (CityPlace), West Palm Beach; 561-420-8600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Water view at ‘Che’ elevates a simple empanada

On a crisp day in Delray Beach, it doesn’t get much better than this: a waterfront view, rosé sipping and tapas noshing, and snippets of rumba adrift on the patio.

Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)
Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)

No, it wasn’t a bad way to meet Che, the 3-month-old restaurant perched on the Intracoastal in Delray Beach. The fact that it was still Happy Hour when I got there made the intro even better. That’s the magical period when the restaurant serves 5-buck delicacies such as eggplant chips, long, crispy shavings stacked in surreal patterns.

The sparkling view and delicious starter gave me the feeling that this place would be a good one. Then the server felt the need to overshare. That was moments after he dropped an F-bomb at me – in a good way, I suppose. He used it as an adverb to qualify the word “amazing,” which he used to describe the steaks.

When my dining companion arrived, I brought her up to speed.

“Our server says the steaks are ‘f#*% amazing.’ He’s also ‘f#*% hungover.’”

At Che, a view that screams "Delray Beach!" (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
At Che, a view that screams “Delray Beach!” (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

He was charming in the way your party friend from college is charming. But, yes, he was clueless. When I asked about the terrific, smooth and smoky red dipping sauce served alongside Che’s hearty, overstuffed empanada, he said it was a classic Argentinian chimichurri.

It was a delicious twist on the classic condiment, but for the most part, chimichurri is green, a hand-minced garlic, herb and oil sauce. The server told us chimi is always red in Argentina and green in Brazil. Charming, but mistaken.

Che's overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Che’s overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

Condiment theories aside, this was a tasty empanada (two for $9), its crispy fried crust encasing chopped premium beef studded with chopped olives, peppers and egg. And we couldn’t get enough of that smoky red sauce. It was served with a lightly dressed tangle of arugula and sliced baby tomatoes.

This empanada shares the menu with other starters that reflect Che’s South American and Iberian roots. The concept was dreamed up in Buenos Aires and brought to being in Spain by sibling restaurateurs Daniela and Martin Sujoy. Some 15 years later, they have a “Che” family of 15 related restaurants in Spain.

Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

The Spanish influence on Che (a Rio de la Plata expression which can mean “hey!” or “bro,” among other things) declares itself in a Galician style octopus appetizer ($11), a gazpacho starter ($8), a plate of cured Iberico meats and cheeses ($15) and a classic seafood paella ($48 for two).

The Argentine inspiration is told in classics such as morcilla (blood sausage, $9), provoleta (grilled provolone, $12) and a heap of grilled steaks, ranging from $29 for brochettes to $64 for a 24-ounce butterflied South American NY strip. We landed somewhere near the middle, ordering the “George V” filet steak ($43), an 8-ounce prime South American tenderloin served with caramelized onions and veggies in a red wine glaze, with a side of potato gratin.

Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

To my eyes, 8 ounces never seemed as robust. This filet towered above the veggie sauté. It was large enough to share. It was not as buttery as one might expect from a filet cut, but the steak was tender, a true medium-rare beneath a smoky char.

In the non-beef department, the grilled Pacific King Salmon ($30) did not disappoint. It was prepared medium-rare as well, revealing a moist interior. The salmon is served with nicely grilled asparagus and a black trumpet mushroom risotto that proved better in flavor than in texture. I prefer a creamy, more loose risotto. This one had the consistency of clumpy rice pudding.

Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

All this in a menu that also includes wood-fired flat breads ($12). The menu’s range makes this an ideal waterfront spot. You don’t want a steak? Have a fig-blue cheese flat bread and a glass of wine. The setting is outstanding.

The waterfront Delray Beach location, which inhabits the former Hudson at Waterway East property, is the Sujoy family’s first U.S. location. And it is a beauty, with crisp, white walls and chairs, velvety teal booths and banquettes and simple wooden deck touches. Che infused light and just the right amount of teal blue into a dim space.

Soothing tones: Che's decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Soothing tones: Che’s decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

Now those shimmery waters outside find their reflection in the restaurant’s furnishings. The view, it seems, begins inside and flows outward. The minds behind the restaurant’s décor maximized the visual gifts of the place.

Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

What a lucky thing for local lovers of Argentinian and Spanish foods: a place where the empanada comes with one of the best views in South Florida.

REVIEW

Che Restaurant

FOOD: B

SERVICE: C

ADDRESS: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

TELEPHONE: 561-562-5200

WEBSITE: Delray.CheRestaurant.com

PRICE RANGE: Moderate to expensive

NOISE LEVEL: Lively, but conversation is possible.

FULL BAR: Yes, a full liquor bar; separate bar areas.

HOURS: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

CREDIT CARDS: Major cards accepted

RESERVATIONS: Dinner reservations are strongly suggested.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:

A — Excellent

B — Good

C — Average

D — Poor

F — Don’t bother