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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
As for where you’ll find it — not in Whole Foods ‘Fresh Picks.’ Acai can’t be bought in its true form, a berry from palm trees that grow in the Amazon rain forest in Central and South America. When an acai berry is picked, it’s taken to a lab, processed, sometimes frozen, and then sent to the United States.
Why is it healthy af?
That’s simple. Acai berries are high in fiber and antioxidants which are known to help balance cholesterol levels.
If you’re anything like me, of course you care about long-term health benefits, but what really makes you happy is knowing what foods and drinks are good for your body almost instantly. Acai does that. Its energy boost is just what you need to get going in the morning.
Acai bowls and all their glory… kind of.
The good news is that acai bowls are packed with protein. Shops and cafes add granola, seeds and butters to almost every bowl. Most are topped with berries other than acai like blueberries and strawberries which makes them “a nutrition powerhouse,” said Sandy Livingston, a registered nutrition and licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach County.
The bad news? Some acai bowls are high in sugar and sodium content.
I’ll put it like this: Sambazon, Acai Roots and Tambor are three popular brands of acai that are shipped to the U.S. and used in nutrition-conscious businesses like Jaya Nutrition in Juno Beach and Celis and The Bee in West Palm Beach. Half a cup of Acai Roots acai sorbet in a bowl has about 65 mg of sodium and 16 grams of sugar. That doesn’t include the sugars your body will consume from the added layers of almond/peanut butter or yummy honey that top a standard acai bowl.
That’s okay. Me too. Between you and me, acai bowls make up 50 percent of my “eating out” budget! I love them all, from the healthier bowls (low in sugar content and 100% organic) served at Jaya Nutrition bar to the sugar rush I get from a bowl at Field of Greens in downtown West Palm.
Check out this guide to my 5 favorite bowls around town.
Fill up for a few hours at The Bee
Toppings like homemade granola (to die for) and fresh raspberries please me more than the acai does. This is because it’s blended with banana and mylk (milk substitute) so the taste of the tart berry is not as potent and melts really fast. Trust that you’ll be served a hearty amount of deliciousness, though. More than enough to fill you up until your next meal.
Location: 123 Datura St, West Palm Beach
Cost: $12 or $13
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Field of Greens
Lil Root is my go-to bowl at Field of Greens. It’s cheap and small enough to eat on the go. The nutella on top of the freezing cold acai is all the sweet I need, so I usually skip the drizzle of honey on top.
Jaya Nutrition Bar is as beautiful and welcoming as its owner, Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, who designed the place herself.
Your acai bowl will be served in a white paper container with a handwritten, motivational phrase on it — a conversation starter for anyone. The bar’s acai has no coloring agents and is low in sodium. All of these elements make me happy.
I upgraded from the Cacao Crunch Bowl to the Green Cacao Crunch Bowl. You know, something a little more green with added superfood powder, kale or spirulina. It’s not as sweet as some of the other bowls on this list but still tasty and undeniably healthy.
The freezing cold, perfectly textured organic acai is what I love about the bowls at Celis. Prepared with acai ahead of time, when you order your bowl, all they have to do is add peanut butter, hemp/flax granola, honey, bananas, strawberries and kiwi. It allows for a bit of everything in every bite.
“Customers love our bowls because of the quality of our ingredients. The fruit is always fresh, never frozen and the granola we use is airy and crunchy,” Alex Celis, Co-Owner of Celis Produce, said.
Bonus Points: Celis is just a few steps away from The Palm Beach Post building, which is a gift for my taste buds and a curse for my pockets.
Location: 2814 S Dixie Hwy d, West Palm Beach
Cost: Between $10 and $12
Get your superfruit serving Whole Foods
You won’t be able to order an acai bowl at Whole Foods, but you can get your acai fix through various drinks, bars and supplements.
Personally, I can’t imagine skipping out on a bowl for a drink that costs just as much, but hey, that’s me.
For anyone who has been skeptical about the hype hovering over acai and acai bowls, I get it. Everything in the bowl can be thrown into a blender and taste just as good as a smoothie.
But it’s satisfying to spend a little more time with colorful (and healthy) variety of textures that melt in your mouth, airy granola that has the right amount of crunch or thick and handmade almond butter that sticks to the roof of your mouth.
A bowl from any of the locations on this list are at least worth a taste test, but don’t rush through it. Challenge yourself to pay attention to your tastebuds and your mood, then tell me what you think.
When it comes to brunch spots, this is not the most pizzazzy. There’s no Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar. There’s no ocean view or lush garden.
Still, there’s a line that stretches into the parking lot as the sun glints on passing traffic along U.S. 1. And there’s a sweet guitar weaving Sunday morning tunes, some standards, some bluesy, some folksy.
It wouldn’t be Sunday brunch at the Juno Beach Café without guitarist and singer Jordan Lee, who says he hasn’t missed a Sunday morning gig at this daylight café for the better part of two decades. He’s not a “look at me” type of entertainer, but one who gently enhances the ambiance.
The attention-grabbing stars here are the “UEPs,” the stacks of “Uncle Eddie’s Pancakes,” which are some of the most popular items on the extensive breakfast menu. Last Sunday, I pondered the eight pancake options offered here (from $5.99 to $8.99), from Nutella-slathered UEPs to Banana Nut Loads of Walnuts UEPs, and settled on a stack of plain originals, which fixed my pancake craving just fine.
The pancakes join the heaps of French toast, eggs, meats, breakfast skillets and other morning dishes spirited from the café’s kitchen.
Within that extensive menu are some true gems. The potato pancakes, for instance, are killer. Patted of shredded potatoes and onions, these thick and toasty latkes are offered in a combo ($10.29) with two eggs, bacon or sausage and a choice of applesauce or sour cream.
The toasty finish that elevates these potato pancakes also can be found in any side of hash browns here. Not too long ago, I enjoyed those with a spinach-tomato-cheese omelet, rye toast and bacon. And on another occasion, I had them with Eggs Benedict. (Breakfast joy: crispy potatoes that don’t ooze fat onto your omelet.)
Beyond potatoes and pancakes, menu highlights include migas ($11.19), a Mexican-style scramble with eggs, beans, peppers, avocado, corn chips and several other whims. There’s also chicken and waffles that are served with poached eggs and hollandaise ($11.29), cheese blintzes and apple crepes ($9.99), pecan praline French toast ($6.79, $8.79) and six types of Eggs Benedict ($9.99 to $12.49).
Service is harried and as friendly as one can expect during a Sunday morning bustle. But servers do their best to keep your mug hot and filled with fresh-brewed coffee.
And then there’s Jordan Lee, the gentle guitarist. He fills in the gaps of ambiance and service at brunch time. He provides that thread of a melody you may catch while waiting for a table, the raspy rendition of Johnny Mercer’s “I Remember You,” perhaps.
The regulars here have come to learn Lee’s own songs, like the one he titled “Cruise for Two.” It floats on a light reggae beat and can transport a breakfast patron eastward, across U.S. 1 and toward the sea:
“Hey, there’s a place where I’d like to be/ Sailing the ocean, from sea to sea,
“Jamaica island, Bahamas too/ No crowd of people, just me and you,
“Spending time together, just me and you/ On a cruise for two.”
It’s hard to imagine a weekend when there was not a celebration of some kind at Avocado Grill, Chef Julien Gremaud’s popular spot in downtown West Palm Beach. Perhaps that’s because the very air in the lively restaurant, which spills onto the sidewalk and side patio, seems to sway.
But as Avocado Grill turns 2 this weekend, the restaurant is cranking its celebratory mode to full blast.
First, there’s a reggae brunch Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., to the live music of Spred the Dub. On the menu: island-y offerings like coconut lobster rolls, jerk shrimp tacos and dirty rice. Five hours later, the vibe turns clubby as DJ Adam Lipson kicks off his set (9 p.m).
Sunday starts with a brunch as well – a ‘70s-style disco brunch. Adding to the mood: music by Mr. Trombone (Wayne Perry), drummer Ryan Anthony and DJ German Garcia. Brunch also features a costume contest. The contestant with the best retro ‘70 attire wins a $200 Avocado Grill gift card.
Chef Gremaud is hoping guests “go all out” on their costume concepts.
“It’s almost Halloween and we want to see what everyone’s got,” he said via news release.
Of course, there are two weeks of potential celebrations to go before Halloween shadows our doors.
And Gremaud admits he “can’t resist a good party.”
Here’s a compromise for anti-buffet types who love to brunch: a buffet that comes to you. The food is tucked into small tin pots and rolled to your table in a metal cart. Lovers of Hong Kong style cuisine call it dim sum.
Yes, I know you’ve heard about dim sum. But who are we kidding? This isn’t Hong Kong or New York or San Francisco – or any city where dim sum is more a religion than a meal. This is Palm Beach County, where dim sum menus are few and far between.
The Saturday and Sunday dim sum crowds put plenty of mileage on that metal cart. It’s laden with dumplings, finger foods and dim sum favorites.
On a recent visit, I asked my dining companions, two dim sum devotees, to order their favorite dishes. I added a couple of my own (Hello, sticky rice in lotus leaf!) and soon our table was filled with what seemed like the contents of two dim sum carts.
We feasted on plump shrimp dumplings ($4.25), pork sui mei dumplings ($3.95), raggedly finished and greasy fried taro dumplings ($4.25), dense chive dumplings ($4.25), sweet-savory steamed barbecue pork buns ($4.25), chicken feet ($3.95) and rich steamed egg custard buns ($4.25).
In this dumpling landscape, two dishes stood out as must-order: the delicious shrimp dumplings and the sui mei dumplings, which revealed their porky filling through their split tops.
Best of all, however, was a bean-curd skin roll stuffed with pork and chopped vegetables ($4.25). The beautifully seasoned filling is wrapped in a thin tofu sheet, steamed and served in a savory sauce.
Also delicious: the sticky rice in lotus leaf ($5.25), moist, nicely seasoned rice that’s wrapped in an aromatic lotus leaf and steamed until fragrant. The result is a dim sum cousin of a cornhusk-wrapped tamal or plantain-leaf-wrapped pastel. The filling takes on an ethereal layer from its steamed wrapping.
A crispy roasted duck dish ($8.50 for a quarter bird, $15.95 for a half) was ample and tasty, though slightly overcooked in parts.
We started our dim sum feast with steaming bowls of fish fillet congee ($7.25), a delicately flavored rice porridge. Hinting of ginger and dotted with chunks of mild white fish, it was downright soul-warming.
As one might guess, we had plenty of leftovers. But before those take-home containers were filled, we enjoyed our dim sum bites amid the chatter of locals in this family-owned restaurant.
No, there’s no bottomless Bloody Mary bar. But we did have a couple of pots of hot chrysanthemum tea. It soothed our full bellies on a lovely Sunday.
DIM SUM AT GRAND LAKE
ADDRESS: 7750 Okeechobee Blvd. #6, West Palm Beach
PRICE RANGE: Inexpensive to moderate
NOISE LEVEL: Low key, manageable.
FULL BAR: Beer and wine only
HOURS: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m. Cart-served dim sum is offered Saturday and Sunday.
This is the stylish café that put plant-based cuisine on the map in North county. But Chris Slawson’s eatery and juice bar is more than a simple stop for sustenance. It’s a gathering place, a community hub where the fit and fabulous come to slurp freshly made almond milk, throw back nutritional shooters, devour statuesque salads and sinful vegan pizza. And these faithful are more than willing to pay good money for top-quality grub. The place is more than a restaurant – it is a statement of good health and vital business acumen on PGA Boulevard corridor.
The Commodores once sang about being easy like Sunday morning, and there are fewer places easier to spend lots of local time and money on a Sunday morning than Palm Beach Gardens’ The Cooper. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the farm-to-table favorite offers a dizzying collection of special treats — the Chorizo and Manchego-stuffed dates are a plump, sweet dash of heaven, and the lemon ricotta pancakes are dreamy. And from hipsters extending their drinking to families foraging for sustenance, it’s primo people-watching.
Grato, the hottest new restaurant in the county, has added brunch to its buzzy dining experiences. Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Group partners quietly debuted brunch at the months-old West Palm Beach trattoria on Valentine’s Day and have been serving decadent daytime fare since.
And by decadent, I mean a ham and fontina cheese “crespelle,” a neat stack of ultrathin crepes layered with ham, cheese and béchamel and topped with a poached egg and a charred scallion vinaigrette. Turns out, the dish is also Conley’s personal favorite, according to the eatery’s news release announcing brunch service.
“It’s got all the classic brunch style ingredients but comes together in a different way,” Conley says.
For a nice starter dish, try the fresh-baked orange-apricot scones ($6), served with strawberry jam and whipped honey butter. (Or buy an order of them to go – they’re still delicious the next day at breakfast.)
Also on the menu: lobster Benedict ($22), brick-oven breakfast pizza topped with ham, asparagus, fontina cheese and eggs ($16), potato and fontina frittata ($11) and bourbon French toast with vanilla poached nectarines ($13).
For those who love a boozy brunch, there are blood orange mimosas, Italian sangria, frozen Bellinis and a concoction called “Bloody Caesar” – he’s Bloody Mary’s perfectly briny brother. (Brunch cocktails cost $8 each.)
All the above is served in a warm, wood-accented setting that welcomes families, couples and solo diners.
Hours and info: Brunch is served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.
Martha Stewart came to West Palm Beach and, in true Martha style, she flew away with something more stylish than a lousy souvenir t-shirt.
The businesswoman and lifestyle guru posted dozens of photos from her antiquing, thrifting and green market-shopping adventures on her “Martha Blog.” She also took the time to answer a few of our questions by email.
“Ever since my first trip to St. Barths, rosé has been my wine choice for brunch. Year round, I think it accompanies most food perfectly.”
What are the keys to creating and serving the perfect Sunday brunch?
“Do as much prep ahead of time as possible. I have a secret way to make eggs Benedict. Poach the eggs the day before, then store them overnight in the refrigerator in ice water. The next day, reheat them for a few seconds in simmering water right before you assemble them. Perfect eggs Benedict every time.”
Tryst in Delray Beach epitomizes the gastro pub concept with inspired plates, a free-wheeling selection of craft beers, boutique wines and cocktails and an eclectic setting for nightly dinner and drinks. (Check Tryst’s Facebook page for terrific nightly specials.)
A homey brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring some country-style breakfast items as well as burgers and sandwiches.
You may not know this, but there’s a bacon omelet with Vermont cheddar and sweet peppers calling your name.