The winner was selected from our online poll which was created based on your social comments. Want to know the runners-up? Here are the top three places for ice cream, based on your votes:
Sloan’s Ice Cream, various locations (won with 181 votes)
An excerpt from our original story:
“But for all its bells, whistles and foggy glass, Sloan’s is best loved for its 48 varieties of deliciously rich, chef-made ice cream. The concept founded 17 years ago by Sloan Kamenstein has expanded to include 10 locations (including one in Kuwait) and a newish ice cream factory in West Palm Beach. Business has been booming since the company started franchising three years ago.”
Founded in West Palm Beach, Sloan’s continues to operate two locations in the city (on Clematis Street and at CityPlace), one in Palm Beach Gardens (Downtown at the Gardens), one in downtown Delray Beach, and one in Boca Raton (Mizner Park).
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:
In case you haven’t noticed it’s a rainy day outside today. Which means, it’s a good time to get some coffee.
Here are some of our favorites in Palm Beach County.
This unique Swedish coffee shop, in downtown West Palm Beach, is a spot to sit and enjoy your hot brewed coffee in a proper ceramic cup, in a plush, deep-violet, Alice-In-Wonderland-like chair. You don’t come here for a high-octane, Sharpie-on-paper-cup, American coffee, you come here to relax.
Johan’s Joe: 401 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach, 561-808-5090
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
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: 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
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.
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.
You’d never guess Taquería Taco Chula just opened last week – many of the customers streaming into the charming taco shop Friday were greeted by name.
Palm Beach Gardens’ newest restaurant already has regulars even though it is not so easy to spot from Military Trail, out front. The small, Mexican-style taco spot is tucked into the corner of the Abbey Road Plaza, just south of PGA Boulevard.
But there’s a reason for the repeat customers – the tacos. They’re authentic and delicious. They get top billing in a well-focused menu that includes burritos, quesadillas, tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and gorditas, all stuffed with a choice of five meats or simply veggies.
That means you can have that spicy, heady “al pastor” pork filling in gluten-free corn tortillas (purveyed by Lake Worth’s Gallo de Oro tortillería), in flour-tortilla-wrapped burritos, in fried corn gordita pockets, in cheesy quesadillas or torta-style in fresh, thick-cut telera bread.
Wash it all down with Mexican Coke, a “Jarritos” soda or any of three fresh-made aguas frescas, offered in tamarind, hibiscus and horchata. The horchata is especially destination-worthy – the cinnamon-laced rice punch tastes like rice pudding, but in refreshing liquid form. It makes a perfect, cool pairing for any of Taco Chula’s spicier meats.
The team behind the counter-service restaurant share a great love of Mexican cuisine, though none of them are Mexican. Brother-sister duo Peter Tapia and Dahiana Lainfiesta, who co-own the place with their father and Dahiana’s husband, hail from Venezuela.
“We’ve been eating Mexican food since we were kids,” says Tapia, who moved to Palm Beach Gardens after spending four years in California, where he fell in love with Mexican food. “It’s one of the most amazing tasting food I’ve ever had in my life.”
In opening the taco shop, the family spreads its presence and enterprise in the plaza. Dahiana Lainfiesta owns the Canino Pet Spa grooming shop there. Her artist husband Scott Lainfiesta, who created the shop’s wall art and outdoor wood bar, has an art studio.
So, why the “chula” in the shop’s name? It’s a flirty word that can mean “cute” or “chic.”
At Taco Chula, the word serves as a kind of mission statement, says Tapia.
“It means a handsome taco, or a pretty taco,” he says. “We decided on that name because every taco was going to look perfect, was going to have just the right amount of onions, the right amount of cilantro, the right amount of sauces. So we always strive to have every order perfect.”
Taquería Taco Chula: 10800 N. Military Trail, #108 in the Abbey Road Plaza; 561-530-7755; tacochula.com; open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to close (till the tacos run out, usually about 8 p.m.); closed Sunday.
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
Katie Choy’s crash course in Peruvian cuisine came years ago, when her mother-in-law fell and broke her leg during a visit to her Jupiter home.
Until then, the food of her husband’s homeland seemed almost too complex to master. In her newlywed years, Katie, a Pittsburgh-area native raised on meat and potatoes, would jot notes as she watched her mother-in-law cook. Consuelo Aragon de Choy would create classic Peruvian dishes by fusing earthy Latin American flavors with interesting Asian ingredients, spooning out spicy chile pastes of various hues and intensity.
But it was when Consuelo could not cook that Katie became her surrogate in the kitchen.
“I’ll teach you,” her mother-in-law would say from her chair, directing Katie to grab pots, open spices, raise and lower the flames on the stove.
Ingredient by ingredient, the dishes would come together on Katie’s stove. Today those dishes fill a large cookbook – Katie Choy’s “Family Secrets: Experience the Flavors of Peru” ($29.99, Lydia Inglett Publishing). But well before the book was published months ago, and well before the Choy family came to expect delicious Peruvian feasts at their Jupiter table at holiday time and, later, on random weeknights, there would be a few disasters in Katie’s kitchen.
One incident involved what is perhaps one of Peru’s more iconic dishes. Once Consuelo went back home to Peru, there was a disastrous attempt to make ají de gallina (creamy stewed chicken in Peruvian yellow pepper sauce). Katie recalls she didn’t have the right ingredients on hand and her substitutions didn’t work out as well.
But once she managed to transcribe the recipe in detail from Consuelo and seek out the authentic ingredients at local specialty markets, Katie not only mastered the traditional Peruvian dish, she devised a crockpot shortcut for the stew she likens to chicken chili.
“It became our holiday meal. We’d have it for Christmas. It was that special meal,” says Katie, a former nurse who met her husband, Dr. Rogelio Choy, while on the job at Jupiter Medical Center.
She was cooking that very dish one night when her husband got home from work and stopped by the stove in admiration.
“He just stood there and he smiled at me. And I said, ‘What are you smiling at?’ And he said ‘I think you’re turning into my mother,’” she recalls.
Some might be mystified at such a remark, but Katie knew exactly what he meant – and she took it to be “the biggest compliment ever.”
Her rendition of the dish had conjured a powerful memory of home and childhood for her husband. It was a gift to both the recipient and the cook.
That crockpot shortcut has turned the dish into an anytime meal for the Choys and their younger children, Francesca, 17, and Stefan, 19. (Their son Armand, 20, lives in San Francisco.)
“I’ll make it on a weekday like nothing,” says Katie, who now blends most of the stew ingredients, pours them into the slow-cooker and tops it with chicken breasts. The flavors intensify as the chicken cooks. “The chicken shreds like a dream. It’s just so good.”
More than two decades have passed since she had her first taste of the cuisine that transformed her kitchen. It came in the form of aromatic ocopa sauce, the first thing her mother-in-law cooked on the day she arrived at Katie’s Jupiter home.
“She comes in and she’s unpacking and she’s putting things in the freezer. Then she made this wonderful sauce,” recalls Katie. “I can’t say I remember the exact day that I tasted it, but it was one of those things you don’t forget. We put it over potatoes first. Then, whatever we’d have for dinner, we’d pour it over the top, and it was just so delicious.”
It turns out, her mother-in-law had brought the homemade sauce, frozen, all the way from Peru, and braved a U.S. Customs interrogation before warming up the delicacy on the stove in Jupiter. She had brought it from home because she wasn’t sure she could find the sauce’s key ingredient, a Peruvian herb known as huacatay, in Jupiter.
“At the time, I was unfamiliar with the spice and asked her what it was,” Katie Choy writes in her cookbook. “She leaned over and whispered, ‘It’s similar to marijuana!’ I thought to myself, ‘Hmmm. What is she feeding us?’”
She came to find out, the herb belongs to the marigold, not marijuana, family. And it’s sold locally in a jarred paste.
“We still get a laugh over that one,” she says.
Reprinted with permission from Katie Choy’s “Family Secrets” cookbook.
Ají de Gallina
Imagine your taste buds coming alive as they savor tender chicken bathed in a nutty cream sauce, followed by a hint of heat. I find it even more delicious the next day, or as a filling in empanadas.
Serves 4 to 6
1 whole chicken (3 ½-4 pounds), skin and excess fat removed, and cut into parts
2½ teaspoons salt, divided
1 cup pecans or peanuts (soaked in fresh water for 1 hour or more and drained)
4 slices white bread, crust removed and cubed
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-4 tablespoons ají amarillo paste, depending on hot you like it (see NOTE below)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Prepared white rice, for serving
3 hardboiled eggs, halved, for serving
Peruvian olives (purple-black botija olives)
Place chicken and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
Remove chicken and let cool. Reserve water. Shred or cube chicken and set aside. This step can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.
Blend nuts, bread, and ¾-1 cup reserved chicken water on high until smooth. Remove and set aside. Rinse blender.
Blend onion and ¼-½ cup reserved water until pureed. Remove and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add pureed onion and cook 10 minutes, stirring as necessary to keep from sticking.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, ají paste, garlic, nutmeg, and 2/3 cup reserved water, stir and cook another 10 minutes.
Add nut puree and stir and cook about 8-10 minutes.
Stir in evaporated milk, cheese, and chicken. Cook another 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve over hot white rice on warm plate, garnished with eggs and olives.
NOTE: Find ají amarillo, or Peruvian yellow pepper paste, wherever Latin foods are sold. In Palm Beach County, it’s available at Presidente, El Bodegon supermarkets or other Latin specialty markets.
For an easy shortcut, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and canned broth. Discard skin, remove meat from bones and shred. Follow with recipe beginning at step 3.
Crockpot version: Take 1 teaspoon salt, soaked pecans, bread, oil, onion (quartered), aji paste, garlic and nutmeg, and blend with 2 cups chicken broth until smooth and creamy. Pour ½ into slow-cooker. Lay 4 chicken breasts over sauce and pour remaining sauce over chicken. Cook on medium 4 hours or until chicken is very tender and easily pulls apart. Shred chicken, return to slow-cooker, and stir in evaporated milk and Parmesan cheese. Cook another ½ hour on low. Times may vary according to individual slow-cookers.
Ocopa con Papas
Potatoes with Cheese Sauce
This was the first Peruvian sauce I ever tasted and loved it immediately. We serve it over everything.
Serves 6 to 8
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes
3-4 large eggs
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup peanuts or walnuts
1 medium onion, diced small
1-2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste, depending on how hot you like it
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup or more of water
1 pound queso blanco or other fresh cheese
2 tablespoons huacatay paste (sometimes called Peruvian black mint)
3-4 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Peruvian olives (purple-black botija olives)
Sprinkle of paprika
Place potatoes and eggs in a medium sized pot, cover with cold water, and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to maintain simmer and set timer for 9 minutes.
Remove eggs only and plunge into ice water bath. Continue simmering potatoes another 12-15 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes and set aside to cool.
In medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic cloves 2-3 minutes until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Be careful not to let them burn, lowering heat if necessary. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Add nuts to already hot and oily pan, and roast over medium heat for several minutes until fragrant and golden. Caution, they can burn quickly. Remove with slotted spoon, and let cool with garlic.
Return already hot pan with oil to medium heat, add a little more oil if necessary, and stir in onion, ají amarillo paste, and salt. Cook until onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Place garlic, nuts, onion mixture, water, queso blanco, and huacatay paste in blender. Puree until smooth and creamy, adding more water, a little at a time as needed. This sauce becomes very thin when heated, and thickens as it cools.
Pour sauce into medium sauce pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Peel eggs and potatoes and slice in halves or quarters. Place atop bed of lettuce along with olives, drizzle with sauce, and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Serve with additional sauce alongside in serving bowl.
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.