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.
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
A neighborhood favorite on South Dixie Highway, Maison Carloscelebrates 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.
Chef Matthew Byrneis 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.
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.
The popular Swank Farmsupper 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Also in the works, an Aioli location in downtown West Palm Beach.
“We’re still in the beginning stages,” Hackman says of that spot.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Chef Clay Carnesventured 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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.
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.
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).
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.
And like too many of this year’s election-related topics, this one is likely to give us heartburn. But isn’t it better to focus on someone else’s food choices as you fizz up those Alka-Seltzer tablets? It’s no time to think about that pizza you scarfed down last night. With Election Day less than a week away, this may be your final chance to deflect from the junk food guilt you’ve been lugging.
So here’s a glimpse of what may be on the candidates’ plates:
“The best time I’ve had in my career is when I’ve made the client happy. It really comes down to what the client wants,” Fuller said when asked for his culinary opinion on overcooked meat. “We all have different opinions about how we like our meat. That doesn’t mean mine is one that is better than the other.”
Trump’s fast-food habits have been well documented as he’s been caught on camera ready to devour some KFC aboard his plane, snapped with a questionably timed taco bowl at the office and immortalized with heaping amounts of fries.
Those hard-cooked steaks he so loves? They once had culinary promise. We learned during one of the candidate’s local appearances that Trump steaks were actually steaks purveyed by Bush Brothers, the 91-year-old West Palm Beach provision company known for supplying some of the best beef in the country.
In an interview last year with Bloomberg’s “With All Due Respect,” Trump issued this confession: “I love steak and hamburger and pasta and French fries, all of the things that we shouldn’t be eating.”
He also admitted he can’t resist bacon and eggs. “I eat what I like,” he said.
As for Clinton, while she was spied holding a pork-chop-on-a-stick at last year’s Iowa State Fair – and, yes, that was Clinton seated before two tempting cheesecakes at Junior’s restaurant in Brooklyn in April – the former secretary of state is more disciplined in her food choices.
She eats like a world traveler, one who has learned to eat well and eat selectively, rather than to simply eat and be done with it. Then again, as the Huffington Post notes, she was the most-traveled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 nations and clocking more than 950,000 miles.
Earlier this year, she played food critic for Thrillist.com, penning a review of “not-to-be-missed dining experiences” across New York state. Her picks included a few references that reveal some foodie tendencies: Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Harlem, Fox Run Vineyards boutique winery on Seneca Lake (for riesling and a light lunch), the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse.
The place serves farmhouse-fancy food and tempting, Hudson Valley-inspired dishes, including grass-fed Angus beef cheeseburgers and NY strip steak with buttermilk Vidalia onion rings. Of course, Clinton might order them many shades rarer than overdone.
First, keep in mind this is an outdoor event, which means it’s vulnerable to the elements. Second, keep in mind you may have to lug your supplies for many yards.
With those two things in mind, here are five ideas on what to tuck into those picnic totes:
1. Cold or room temperature and crispy is fine: think crisp veggies, good crackers, breadsticks, even room-temp fried chicken. Hot and crispy, not so much. Your crispy duck might not survive the schlep, neither will your warm, toasty garlic bread.
2.You can’t go wrong with fancy charcuterie.
Here’s how: Pack great cheeses – oozy ones, sharp ones, aged ones, even beautifully stinky ones. Tuck in some fine Spanish ham, Italian salumi, hot mustard, elegant jams or honey. Add baggies of fresh fruit and nuts. After you set up your table, you can arrange them on a nice platter with those crispy crackers or hearty bread.
3. Whip up some sophisticated chilled soup, like Chef Michelle Bernstein’s White Gazpacho.
Here’s how to make it: In a high-speed blender, add 1 ½ cup Marcona almonds, ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, ½ tablespoon peeled shallot, 2 cups of peeled and chopped English cucumbers, 2 cups seedless green grapes, 1 tablespoon fresh dish and 1 ½ cups cold veggie broth. Puree until very smooth. With blender running, add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup quality extra-virgin olive oil. Blend for at least 4 to 5 minutes, until velvety smooth. Chill until ready to sip. Garnish with sliced grapes, crushed almonds and dill. (Recipe serves 4.)
4.Rice salads (or other grain salads) served room temperature can be luxurious.
Here’s a variation: Make a pot of your favorite rice. Separately, sauté onions, garlic and celery in olive oil until just tender, adding a sprinkling of curry powder or ground turmeric and ginger. Add the rice to the sauté by the spoonful, tossing to coat the rice in the aromatics. Add a handful of frozen peas and stir. Shut off heat and allow mixture to sit until the peas are tender. When cool, add your choice of raw, chopped veggies, like diced zucchini, seeded tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs. You’ll have a mix of textures and flavors in one hearty bowl. If you prefer a hot meal, pack soups, stews or chili in Thermoses.
5. The takeout option: Order dinner from your favorite West Palm restaurant and pick it up before you get to the meet-up location. Once the location is announced Friday afternoon, you may have a better idea of nearby restaurants. You’ll only have to bring your dinnerware and table setting.
It may sound like a mission – and it can be, depending on how you take on the night. But relax. It’s a party. It’s a picnic. Pack what you love to eat in your fancy duds. If that means Fritos in a martini glass, rock on!