From Peru, the holiday dish that transformed a Jupiter table

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.

Spicy, creamy stewed chicken: Peruvian-style aji de gallina. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Spicy, creamy stewed chicken: Peruvian-style aji de gallina. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

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.

Cookbook author Katie Choy at her Jupiter home. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Cookbook author Katie Choy at her Jupiter home. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

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.”

Katie Choy displays the herb paste she blends into her Peruvian ocopa sauce. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Katie Choy displays the herb paste she blends into her Peruvian ocopa sauce. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

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.

RECIPES

Reprinted with permission from Katie Choy’s “Family Secrets” cookbook.

This kicky Peruvian yellow pepper paste is a key ingredient in aji de gallina. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
This kicky Peruvian yellow pepper paste is a key ingredient in aji de gallina. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

Ají de Gallina

Chicken Chile

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

Ingredients

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)

  1. 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.
  1. Remove chicken and let cool. Reserve water. Shred or cube chicken and set aside. This step can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.
  1. Blend nuts, bread, and ¾-1 cup reserved chicken water on high until smooth. Remove and set aside. Rinse blender.
  1. Blend onion and ¼-½ cup reserved water until pureed. Remove and set aside.
  1. 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.
  1. Add 1 teaspoon salt, ají paste, garlic, nutmeg, and 2/3 cup reserved water, stir and cook another 10 minutes.
  1. Add nut puree and stir and cook about 8-10 minutes.
  1. 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.

COOKING TIPS

  • 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.
Potatoes ladled with Peruvian ocopa sauce are served with a purple Peruvian olive. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Potatoes ladled with Peruvian ocopa sauce are served with a purple Peruvian olive. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

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

Ingredients

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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Pour sauce into medium sauce pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  1. 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.

To purchase Katie Choy’s cookbook, visit KatieChoy.com.

Openings: Trump’s former chef debuts Abacoa restaurant

For days now, friends and locals have been shuffling into Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar for a sneak-peek taste of the new Abacoa restaurant by Mar-A-Lago’s food and beverage director.

Aaron Fuller’s restaurant officially opens to the public at 4 p.m. Saturday. That’s four days before the presidential election that pits Fuller’s Mar-A-Lago boss, Donald Trump, against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On the menu at Aaron's: pan-seared branzino with lemongrass-infused butter. (LibbyVision.com)
Aaron’s branzino is pan-seared and served with lemongrass-infused butter. (LibbyVision.com)

But Fuller says he prefers not to talk about whatever happens or doesn’t happen on Tuesday.

“I stay out of those conversations,” says Fuller, who served as executive chef at Trump’s Palm Beach estate and club before his present role as food-beverage chief there. “My big goal here is to do the best I can at my new restaurant.”

That’s not to say he’s secretive about his political loyalties. On his Facebook page, Fuller roots for his boss and posts items consistent with Trump’s more fervent supporters.

Still, he must stay mum on far lighter topics – like the boss’ food preferences.

“I signed a confidentiality agreement here,” he said this week on a call from Mar-A-Lago, where he has worked for seven years.

Aaron's port poached pear salad. (LibbyVision.com)
Aaron’s Table’s port poached pear salad. (LibbyVision.com)

What Fuller is eager to talk about, however, is Abacoa, the newly energized district near his home in Jupiter. This is where he chose to open Aaron’s Table and where he’s hoping to add his flair to the eclectic district.

“We live literally two blocks away, my wife and kids and I,” says Fuller, who hopes to attract a mix that includes families, date-night couples, casual groups and ladies’ night revelers.

He’s hoping the “farmhouse chic kind of feel” of Aaron’s Table will make diners feel welcome and comfortable, despite the menu’s swanky terms.  To drive home this wish, he notes that his braised lamb shanks are simmered in Civil Society IPA – that is, beer brewed directly across the street in Abacoa.

Duck confit flatbread with arugula, fontina, almonds and dried cranberries. (LibbyVision.com)
Duck confit flatbread with arugula, fontina, almonds and dried cranberries. (LibbyVision.com)

Upholding the “wine bar” part of the restaurant’s name, Fuller lists 22 wines by the glass on the menu. And Thursday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., he hosts wine tastings with passed hors d’oeuvres.

“We’re doing some fun things, without being too snobbish,” he says. Fuller says he’s pleased at the early response to the restaurant. “The feedback has been fantastic.”

Man in charge: Aaron Fuller at Aaron's Table in Abacoa. (LibbyVision.com)
Man in charge: Aaron Fuller at Aaron’s Table in Abacoa. (LibbyVision.com)

Although he has a chef de cuisine at Aaron’s (his Mar-A-Lago protégé Marc Cela), Fuller crafted the menu himself and took inspiration from his own wanderings. So, there’s a little Palm Beach, a little global in it.

“The menu itself, the only reasoning behind it is my experiences at different places in the world. I could call the lumpia ‘spring rolls,’ but my wife is from the Philippines and we know them as lumpia. The items like the langoustine – that’s from the Palm Beach side of me,” says Fuller of his sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce.

Sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce. (LibbyVision.com)
Sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce. (LibbyVision.com)

Of course, inquiring minds want to know: Would his Mar-A-Lago boss order those fancy langoustines? Or would Trump request a well-done burger instead, as other past staffers have reported?

Fuller says only this: “He expects perfection. We do our best to do that for him and for everybody we serve. He’s known for quality and that’s what we try to give him.”

We asked one final question, one not covered by that confidentiality agreement:

What would Fuller serve Hillary Clinton?

“I don’t know,” he says, taking a measured Mar-A-Lago moment. “That one – you’re making me laugh with that one.”

Baked Alaska a la Aaron's Table in Abacoa. (LibbyVision.com)
Swanky stuff: Baked Alaska at Aaron’s Table, Abacoa. (LibbyVision.com)

Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar: 1153 Town Center Drive, Jupiter; 561-855-2628; AaronsTable.com; hours are Tuesday through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with happy hour offered from 4 to 7 p.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays starting Nov. 11, there will be live music.

Harbourside Place: Calaveras Cantina hosts ‘Fiesta de los Muertos’

Day of the Dead doesn’t arrive until Tuesday, but Calaveras Cantina is celebrating early. As in Friday night.

The Harbourside Place restaurant is hosting a “Fiesta de los Muertos” bash, offering drink specials, music, dancing and prizes.

Calaveras' watermelon-jalapeno margarita. (Contributed by Calaveras Cantina)
Calaveras’ watermelon-jalapeno margarita. (Contributed by Calaveras)

The party, which runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., has a cause beyond margaritas. The restaurant will donate 10 percent of sales to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s fight against breast cancer.

MAKE THIS: Day of the Dead bread

But, yes, there will be margaritas. Calaveras will pour is own rendition cocktail (and other cocktails) for $6. Craft beers on draft are $4.

Calaveras Cantina: 125 Dockside Dr. (at Harbourside Place), Jupiter; 561-320-9661; CalaverasCantinas.com

 

Hurricane Matthew: Still boarded up and nowhere to go? Which restaurants are open/closed

Hurricane Matthew gave us a scare, but in the end spared us. In the boarded-up confines of home, that makes us grateful — and a little hungry for some good, hot grub.

So what’s open and what’s closed today, restaurant-wise? Here’s what we’ve got so far:

E.R. Bradley's Saloon bartender Sam Paolillo serves drinks to patrons in West Palm Beach Thursday October 6, 2016. The restaurant will serve food until 3 p.m. and remain open serving only drinks throughout the evening. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)
Service with a smile: E.R. Bradley’s bartender Sam Paolillo. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

SOUTH

Rapoport Restaurants, south county

All Burt Rapoport-owned restaurants will reopen at 4:30 p.m. for dinner Friday night. This goes for Deck 84, Henry’s and Burt & Max’s in Delray Beach as well as for Bogart’s in Boca Raton.

Max’s Grille, Boca Raton

The popular Mizner Park restaurant reopens at lunchtime Friday.

Beer Trade Co. cafe and beer lounge, Delray Beach and Boca Raton

Are open for business.

The Frog Lounge, Delray Beach

Is open for business.

Josie’s Ristorante, Boynton Beach

Is reopening for lunch and dinner Friday.

Max’s Harvest, Delray Beach

Is reopening for dinner Friday.

Rocco’s Tacos, all locations

They’re reopening at lunchtime.

City Oyster, Delray Beach

Is reopening Friday for regular hours.

Louie Bossi’s, Boca Raton

Is reopening Friday for regular hours.

Caffe Luna Rosa, Delray Beach

Is open for business.

Agliolio Italian Bistro & Bar, Wellington and Boynton Beach

Is open for business at both locations.

Habit Burger, Royal Palm Beach and Delray Beach

Is open for business.

Bud’s Chicken & Seafood, all locations

They are all open for business.

The Living Room, Boynton Beach

Is open for business with live music Friday night.

La Cigale A Taste of the Mediterranean, Delray Beach

Is open for business at 5 p.m. Friday

 

photo bradleys
Things start to return to normal at E.R . Bradley’s in downtown West Palm Beach on Friday, October 7, 2016, the day after Hurricane Matthew brushed the Palm Beach County coast line. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

CENTRAL/WEST

Maison Carlos, West Palm Beach

Opens for dinner at 5:30 p.m. Friday.  For reservations, call 561-659-6524.

Havana, West Palm Beach

The iconic Cuban restaurant has reopened for business.

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach

Will reopen at 4:30 p.m. Friday for dinner.

City Cellar at CityPlace, West Palm Beach

Is reopening Friday for regular hours.

ER Bradley’s Saloon, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Bistro Ten Zero One at Marriott, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Table 26, West Palm Beach

Will reopen at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Cholo Soy Cocina, West Palm Beach

Will reopen Saturday at 5 p.m.

Rocco’s Tacos, all locations

They’re reopening at lunchtime.

Grease Burger, West Palm Beach.

Is reopening Friday for regular hours.

Marcello’s La Sirena, West Palm Beach

Will reopen Friday for dinner. Reservations at 561-585-3128.

Cafe Centro in Northwood, West Palm Beach

Cafe Centro is open for lunch, dinner and deliveries. They will have music tonight, featuring Ray Chang.

Eau Palm Beach Resort restaurants, Manalapan

All resort restaurants reopen at noon Saturday, except for Angle, which reopens at 6 p.m. Oct. 13.

Appicella Pizza, Palm Springs

It’s open and making deliveries.

Lupita’s Tex-Mex, Lake Worth

Is open for business.

Cucina Dell’Arte, Palm Beach

Is open for business.

The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach

Will be open for dinner tonight.

Aioli, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

PB Catch, Palm Beach

Is open for dinner tonight.

Paneterie, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Pistache, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Nick & Johnnie’s, Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Habit Burger, Royal Palm Beach and Delray Beach

Is open for business.

Kabuki Sushi Thai Tapas, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens

Reopens for dinner at 4 p.m. Friday

Buccan, Palm Beach

Reopens for dinner Friday night.

Imoto, Palm Beach

Buccan’s “little sister” next door reopens for dinner Friday night.

Grato, West Palm Beach

Reopens for dinner Friday night.

Dorrian’s Red Hand Pub, West Palm Beach

Is open for business.

Bud’s Chicken & Seafood, all locations

They are all open for business.

Kitchen, West Palm Beach

Reopens for dinner Friday night.

100616 PBDN Meghan McCarthy Royal Palm Way is nearly deserted as Hurricane Matthew approaches Thursday October 6, 2016.
Royal Palm Way, Palm Beach, as seen before Hurricane Matthew’s expected approach. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

NORTH

Calaveras Cantina, Jupiter

The waterfront Mexican restaurant at Harbourside Place reopens for dinner and drinks at 5 p.m. Friday.

McCarthy’s Pub, Tequesta

Will reopen Friday for dinner.

Rocco’s Tacos, all locations

They’re reopening at lunchtime.

Cod & Capers Seafood Market and Cafe, North Palm Beach

Will reopen Saturday for its regular hours.

Ocean Bleu, Tequesta

Will reopen at 5 p.m. Friday for dinner.

Carmine’s Crab Shack, Palm Beach Gardens

Reopens at 4 p.m. Friday for dinner.

Evo Italian in Tequesta

Reopens Friday for dinner at 4:30 p.m., with Happy Hour served until 7 p.m.

The Cooper, Palm Beach Gardens

Reopens Friday for dinner at 5 p.m.

Kabuki Sushi Thai Tapas, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens

Reopens for dinner at 4 p.m. Friday.

Bud’s Chicken & Seafood, all locations

They are all open for business.

Salute Market, Palm Beach Gardens

Is open for business with a special “Hurricane Matthew” after party Friday

Guanabanas, Jupiter

Reopens for dinner Friday.

NOTE:

Restaurant owners and representatives: Is your restaurant operating on special hours due to Matthew? Let me know at lbalmaseda@pbpost.com.

Jupiter cantina offers free meals to uniformed police and firefighters

There is such a thing as a free lunch – and free dinner – in Jupiter. If you’re a uniformed firefighter or police officer, that is.

That’s the forever deal at Burro Loco Cantina on Indiantown Road, says co-owner Shad DiMaria.

“This is not a short-term promotion, but a permanent policy,” he said. The offer extends to all police and fire departments. “If they’re in uniform, they eat free.”

It’s a policy rooted in gratitude, he says.

A view of the bar at Burro Loco. (Contributed image)
A view of the bar at Burro Loco. (Contributed image)

“I have a lot of friends who are police and fire. There has been a lot of publicity about the few bad apples, but nobody mentions all the good things (police officers) do,” says DiMaria. “So we decided to say ‘thank you’ with actions, instead of words.”

The restaurant serves a variety of Mexican and Central American street foods, including breakfast chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, tortas, tacos, menudo stew, enchiladas, fajitas and enchiladas.

Burro Loco is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

It’s located at 711 W. Indiantown Rd., Jupiter; 561-320-0040; BurroLocoPBC.com

 

 

 

Swanky new restaurant coming to downtown Abacoa

Downtown Abacoa, home of frosty beer and comfort grub, is about to welcome a swanky new restaurant with a menu that includes epicurean terms like “verjus” and “nage” and “confit.”

Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar will debut Sat., Nov. 6, in the former Rooney’s Public House location.

Aaron's sauteed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
Aaron’s sauteed langoustines in a sweet corn sauce. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

It is the namesake of Aaron Fuller, a former resort and private club chef who was most recently executive chef at Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach. An Abacoa resident, Fuller aims to bring globally inspired dishes prepared with a refined touch and often a dramatic flair.

But despite the Baked Alaska dessert that’s flambéed at tableside, Aaron’s setting will be more “farmhouse chic” than opulent.

Baked Alaska will be flambeed tableside at Aaron's. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
Baked Alaska will be flambeed tableside at Aaron’s in Abacoa. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

“I think this community is starving for a new experience that focuses on fresh, interesting and high-quality dishes without having to travel too far from home,” Fuller said via news release. He called the restaurant “an extension of my own kitchen and family.”

Fuller has named his Mar-a-Lago protégé, Marc Cela, as Aaron’s Chef de Cuisine. Cela hails from a restaurant-industry family – his father owned and operated the now-closed L’Anjou in Lake Worth.

On the menu at Aaron’s: bar bites ($5 and up) like avocado fries, Philippine chicken lumpia and truffle Parmesan gaufrette (wafer), starters such as port-poached pear salad, truffle-ricotta ravioli, pork belly with Thai peanut brittle and sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn nage (broth), main plates (up to $36) like roasted duck in a dark cherry gastrique (sweet-sour sauce), lamb shank braised in local IPA (by the Civil Society brewers across the street) and pan-seared bronzino with coconut rice.

Aaron Fuller, downtown Abacoa. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
Aaron Fuller, downtown Abacoa. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

Several dishes, both savory and sweet, are presented in jars as a nod to Fuller’s memories of his mother’s homemade jellies and jams.

One interesting daily special is one rarely offered to the public at other establishments: the “family meal,” or whatever the chef and his crew are eating that day.

As for the “wine bar” part of the restaurant, Aaron’s will pour a selection of interesting wines by the glass and bottle. The bar has nitrogen-contained wine dispensers to help keep those by-the-glass wines fresh. On Thursday nights, the wine bar will offer wine tastings.

 

Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar: 1153 Town Center Drive, Jupiter; 561-855-2628; AaronsTable.com; hours are Tuesday through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with happy hour offered from 4 to 7 p.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays starting Nov. 11, there will be live music. Dinner reservations will be taken starting Oct. 15.

 

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

FBTeaseCoconut

 

The Parisian restaurant brings buzz to Jupiter dining scene

Sweet finale: The Parisian restaurant's oven-baked apple with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Parisian restaurant’s caramel-drizzled baked apple. (Richard Graulich/Palm Beach Post)

The Parisian is a place that easily could hide in plain sight. The lovely, upmarket brasserie may be located in a busy shopping and entertainment plaza across the street from Harbourside Place, but it’s tucked behind a discreet hedge and a grove of white patio umbrellas, almost out of view.

Hedge or no hedge, locals have found the 5-month-old restaurant and wine bar and now keep it bustling. Good for them – it’s too terrific of a spot to go unseen.

Owner Tarzi Benazzouz (the “Parisian” native in question) has created an inviting space. With its separate, dark-woods bar and lounge-area sofas, The Parisian offers you instant options: Have a glass of French vino and a starter at the bar while you wait for your flick to start at the nearby Cinepolis luxury theater. Or settle in at a table in the intimate dining room for a full meal. (Or skip the movie and do both.)

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Like us on facebook (2)

Spring training eats: where to dine and drink in Abacoa

Not this: downtown Abacoa offers options beyond stadium food. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
Not this: downtown Abacoa offers options beyond stadium food. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

This is not sparkling, waterfront Jupiter, or party-hearty Jupiter, or the Jupiter of tourists and shoppers. It’s spring training Jupiter.

More specifically, it’s downtown Abacoa, where the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals come to play in March.

And each year that’s reason enough for baseball fans to descend upon Abacoa’s pleasant, walkable Main Street area, just steps from Roger Dean Stadium, where the training games happen.

But there’s more than just baseball to this brick-lined district. We found at least five food and drink experiences – including a couple of new ones – that are proudly Abacoan.

Check out our list at MyPalmBeachPost.com

Critic’s pick: a Jupiter spot for kicky enchiladas

White Sangria is served at Cabo Flats restaurants. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)
White Sangria is served at Cabo Flats restaurants. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)

North county pick: CABO FLATS

This is the Mexican-inspired eatery that originated in the Downtown at the Gardens plaza in Palm Beach Gardens. It has since expanded to three other cities, with three others on deck.

With the original location closed, north county Cabo fans can now find their Pancho Villa quesadillas in this free-standing restaurant on U.S. 1 in Jupiter. This is where I found a lively, but not overwhelming vibe and spot-on service on a recent night.

Avocado fries at Cabo Flats. (Photo: Christina Nicholson)
Avocado fries at Cabo Flats. (Photo: Christina Nicholson)

Also spot-on: the classic enchiladas stuffed with Cabo’s Chicken Tinga. I love it with a side of the kicky ranchero sauce and a Dos Equis lager.

Cabo Flats: 1352 S. U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter; 561-320-9644; CaboFlats.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda