Steam Horse craft beer brewery headed to industrial West Palm Beach

A new brewery will join the emerging craft beer scene next year. (Cox Newspapers)
Steam Horse Brewing will join Palm Beach County’s emerging beer scene next year. (Cox Newspapers)

The craft beer minds behind Tequesta Brewing Company and Twisted Trunk Brewing will join West Palm Beach’s rising food and drink scene next year. They will open Steam Horse Brewing near downtown West Palm Beach, says co-owner Fran Andrewlevich.

The new brewery is headed to The Warehouse District, a sprawling urban complex that’s now under construction in West Palm Beach’s industrial district. When completed, The District will serve as its own mini-neighborhood and will be home to Grange Hall Market, an eclectic food hall, and other food and beverage spots. It’s located in the industrial zone that sits off Elizabeth Avenue, just southwest of the Palm Beach County Convention Center, near downtown West Palm Beach.

Andrewlevich and brewery partner Matt Webster hope to open next year by late spring or early summer. They tapped into the vintage rail theme in naming the new brewery. An abandoned rail spur on the property inspired images of old locomotives billowing great clouds of smoke. And so Steam Horse was born.

The brewery and large tasting room will breathe new, hoppy life into a 6000-square-foot space currently occupied by a cabinet shop. Andrewlevich notes the space, which will be mostly devoted to Steam Horse’s tasting room, is about the same size as Twisted Trunk on PGA Boulevard.

“We’re hoping to get in there by January to start the renovation. Hopefully, permits will move smoothly,” says Andrewlevich, who says building has begun on the brewing equipment for the place.

About the beers to be brewed, the brewmaster promises a “wide variety.” And while the brewery will offer no food, patrons can order from nearby restaurants and have food delivered to the tasting room.

Vintage steam locomotives inspired the brewery's name. (Cox Newspapers file)
Steam Horse: Vintage steam locomotives inspired the brewery’s name. (Cox Newspapers file photo)

Andrewlevich, who was the original brewmaster at the now-defunct Brewzzi brewpub in CityPlace, believes Steam Horse will be the city’s first true brewery.

“I’ve been researching this and I haven’t found any other breweries. Brewzzi was a brewpub, which is different,” he says.

He says he is most excited about joining the city’s burgeoning dining and entertainment scene. Just as Tequesta and Twisted Trunk breweries have their distinctive personalities and crowds, he expects the West Palm brewery to draw from the city’s hipster demographic.

“The market as a whole is young and vibrant and it’s Ubers and people going out. It’s a little trendier, a little more cosmopolitan,” says Andrewlevich. “We just love what’s happening in the restaurant scene, the art scene, the music scene here. Everything that’s alive is here.”

Steam Horse will join an emerging, countywide craft beer scene and native breweries that include Funky Buddha and Barrel of Monks in Boca Raton, Saltwater in Delray Beach, Due South, Copperpoint and Devour in Boynton Beach, plus Tequesta Brewing in Tequesta and Twisted Trunk in the Gardens.

Follow: For Steam Horse updates, follow its siblings, Twisted Trunk and Tequesta Brewing.

High marks for Highland Beach seafood restaurant: Latitudes gets an A

James King is executive chef at Latitudes in the Delray Sands Resort. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
James King is executive chef at Latitudes in Highland Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

It’s a good sign when a hotel restaurant is bustling, so much so that reservations are strongly suggested, if not required. And it’s an even better sign when that restaurant is busy despite heavy competition from neighboring hot spots and some of the county’s most popular dining districts.

Sandwiched between the hum of Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach and the stir of eastern Boca Raton’s dining hub, Latitudes is a local sensation. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that the seafood-centric restaurant is perched by the ocean and that daytime views are sparkling.

But I’ve seen my share of empty or half-empty oceanfront resort restaurants. Located in the Delray Sands resort in Highland Beach, Latitudes is decidedly different. And there is one culinary reason for this: Executive Chef James King.

The former Four Seasons Resort chef is well known for creating dishes that are both stunning and delicious. His attention to detail and refined hand is evident in even the simplest dishes.

King arrived at the Delray Sands shortly after the resort (a former Holiday Inn) underwent an extensive remodeling in 2014. He has given the place cuisine to match its sleek, new look. Now it not only reflects the colors of the sea but the flavors as well.

It is here that his team serves some of the best coastal cuisine in the county. It begins with a selection of chilled seafood starters that carry global flavors.

Seared scallop carpaccio is served at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Seared scallop carpaccio is served at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Find interesting local-meets-global touches in the Scallop Tiradito, a sashimi-like dish that’s scented with saffron, key lime honey, citrus, fried olives and micro cilantro. The Corvina Ceviche brims with kicky Peruvian yellow pepper. The Mini Ahi Tuna Tacos ($15) pack a punch of Asian flavors, thanks to wasabi aioli, citrus-soy vinaigrette and a tangy ginger-scallion salad.

A local favorite is King’s Tuna Poke, a raw yellowfin tuna dish he calls “a hot, hot seller.” His rendition of the Hawaiian classic takes its sweetness from mango, its crunch from macadamia nuts, its deeper hits from fish sauce and rounder flavors from sesame seed butter. (That’s the gray swoosh on the plate.) He adds crispy wonton chips to help scoop up all the goodness.

Tempting tuna: Ahi poke is popular at Latitudes in Highland Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Tempting tuna: Ahi poke is a popular starter at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Those craving a warm starter will find yummy comfort in Latitudes’ Lobster Bisque ($10), a version that’s not overly rich. Deepened by a touch of smoked paprika oil, the bisque is swimming with lobster chunks.

Not all good bites here are seafood-centric, as evidenced by the Braised Short Rib Empanadas (two for $15), fried hand-pies overstuffed with ancho chile-spiced beef and served with pickled red onions, a swirl of chipotle aioli and a thimble of herb-y, garlicky chimichurri dipping sauce. One empanada – or even half of one – is large enough for an appetizer.

An appetizer that’s large enough to be an entrée is the Scampi Style Maine Lobster and Shrimp ($16), a large soup bowl filled with shrimp, lobster chunks, peas and slivered garlic in rich, saucy scampi goodness. The dish is served with toasted ciabatta slices and a large wedge of lemon for brightening the bite (not that it needs any adjustments). This might have been my favorite bite of the night.

Entrée options are well varied, ranging from “simply prepared” fresh fish served with a choice of flavorful butter, sauce or relishes. For those who want something more than simple fish, there’s a simply Grilled Seafood Trio ($32) that combines a fillet of local fish with tiger prawns and jumbo scallops. A light citrus beurre blanc is offered for dipping along with fresh veggies and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. The entire combo, a popular dish on the menu, is pristine and perfectly cooked.

Not so simply prepared but just as delicious: the Crab Crusted Florida Grouper ($35), a moist fillet made even more flavorful by a layer of toasty-golden crab. It’s served atop a creamy white polenta with a toss of sweet corn and smoked bacon, braised baby spinach and whole carrots. A pool of Florida citrus butter deepens and pulls together the flavors.

Branzino in parchment is a specialty dish at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Branzino in parchment is a specialty dish at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

And there’s a Branzino in Paper ($30) that takes the moist, flaky factor to another level. Because it’s roasted in parchment, the fillet’s delicate flavors are amped. It’s given a Mediterranean treatment with Israeli couscous, Kalamata olives, roasted fennel, confit tomatoes and Meyer lemon tanginess.

It was this dish that became our vehicle to learning about the quality of service at Latitudes. When it was first presented to our table, the paper seemed slightly burned. When the server opened the package, parts of the fillet appeared to be overcooked. A taste of the edges proved our hunch. But before we could say much, our server spirited the fish away.

“I can’t leave it here,” he told us. “This is not an example of who we are or what we do.”

Moments later, he returned with a perfect dish.

Amid the weekend night bustle, this server made sure our glasses were filled, our table was cleared of empty dishes and our whims were met.

All this in a setting of soothing lines and leisurely chatter. The dining room was filled with a mix of diners, a crowd that skewed more Boomer than young hipster. It’s a sexy spot, nice for date night or special occasions, particularly when it’s early enough to catch the last of the day’s sunlight.

It’s a good place for lingering over dessert. At our table that dessert was a batch of hot, puffy beignets ($7) with a blueberry compote and a bourbon creme anglaise, and a dense, sinful praline tart ($9) that made the feast complete.

Ocean view all day: patio seating at Latitudes in Highland Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Ocean view all day: patio seating at Latitudes. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

REVIEW

Latitudes

FOOD: A

SERVICE: A

ADDRESS: At the Delray Sands Resort, 2809 S. Ocean Blvd., Highland Beach

TELEPHONE: 561-278-2008

WEBSITE: LatitudesDelray.com

PRICE RANGE: Moderate to expensive

NOISE LEVEL: Lively, but conversation is possible.

FULL BAR: Yes, a full liquor bar; separate bar area. Happy Hour is served Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with drink and small plate specials.

HOURS: Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sunday brunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

CREDIT CARDS: Major cards accepted

RESERVATIONS: Dinner reservations are strongly suggested.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:

A — Excellent

B — Good

C — Average

D — Poor

F — Don’t bother

 

ICYMI: Cholo Soy Cocina restaurant to open this week on West Palm Beach’s Antique Row

Cholo Soy Cocina, a tiny space with epic dreams, is set to open next week on West Palm Beach’s Antique Row, says its chef/owner Clay Carnes.

Carnes, who left his spacious Wellington restaurant, The Grille, to pursue his street-food-joint goals, expects to open Friday, Sept. 23.

He describes the concept as “neo-Andean, Ecuadorean,” inspired by his years working as a hotel chef in Cuenca, Ecuador. On the menu: interesting snacks, small dishes, handmade tortillas crafted of organic, non-GMO white corn grown in Alachua County.

“The thing I’m most excited about is that I can finally start making these tortillas,” says Carnes, who also will be smoking and braising meats and frying tempura fish for taco fillings.

Chef Clay Carnes: Michigan by birth, "cholo" by soul. (Alissa Dragun/ South Moon Photography)
Carnes: Michigan by birth, “cholo” by soul. (Alissa Dragun/ South Moon Photography)

He has designed a menu that’s varied enough to please a range of tastes and diets.

“We will have food options for everybody. We’ll be able to accommodate dietary preferences naturally because our menu is for everybody. If you’re vegan, we have you covered naturally. Whatever crazy trend you’re doing, you’ll be able to do it here,” says Carnes, who will also offer a selection of beer and wine as well as locally brewed kombucha on draft and locally roasted coffee.

Carnes, a Food Network “Cutthroat Kitchen” winner, plans to grow his own herbs, peppers and other veggies on Cholo’s patio, which will likely hold the spillover crowd from the 600-square-foot indoor space. Inside, there will be four tables seating eight to ten guests, plus limited room at the stand-up counter. Patio benches can accommodate another 25.

The cozy, communal factor is all part of Cholo’s street-stand vibe.

Cholo Soy translates to “I am cholo,” Latin American slang for mixed race or mestizo.

CHOLO SOY COCINA

Located at 3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; @cholosoycocina on Instagram; www.cholosoycocina.com.

Hours: Opens Sept. 23 and will keep the following hours: Open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

 

Golf star Ernie Els to open ‘Big Easy’ wine bar in Miami

Beyond golf: Hall of Famer Ernie Els is also a winemaker. (Courtesy: Ernie Els Hospitality)
Beyond golf: Hall of Famer Ernie Els is also a winemaker. (Courtesy: Ernie Els Hospitality)

Golf star Ernie Els is taking his culinary interests to Miami. The Jupiter resident known as “The Big Easy” is set to open a downtown area restaurant inspired by his South African roots and passion for wine.

The Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els is expected to open Nov. 3 at the upcoming Brickell City Centre complex.

The announcement came this week from the Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group, which partnered with the Hall of Famer and plans a 200-seat restaurant inspired by Els’ “lifestyle and spirit.”

The upscale-casual grill restaurant will carry the flavors (and wines) of the Western Cape region of Els’ native South Africa. A South African native chef with extensive experience in American restaurants will command the kitchen, creating comfort dishes from Els’ motherland.

On Chef Maryna Frederiksen’s menu: unusual meats like sprinkbok (gazelle) loin and ostrich filet, “bobotie” spring rolls (stuffed with traditionally spiced ground beef curry), “sosatie” mini skewers and grilled boerewors (a sausage that is said to be Els’ favorite).

Yes, there will be burgers, as well as Florida seafood and fish, and universal dishes like lobster risotto.

Ernie Els in action at this year's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. (Daniel Owen/ The Palm Beach Post)
Els in action at this year’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. (Daniel Owen/ The Palm Beach Post)

For the pairing, there will be a variety of Ernie Els Wines, which the golfer produces with winemaker Louis Strydom. Perhaps this is what Els is most excited about.

“One of the really wonderful things about Big Easy Winebar & Grill is the opportunity it gives Louis and me to share our passion for wine and to introduce our portfolio of wines, of which we’re extremely proud, to a wider audience,” Els said via news release.

All this in a setting reminiscent of the Western Cape, with imported wood touches, clay pottery, white brick walls and leather seating.

Miami will be the first U.S. location for the Big Easy concept, which has three locations in South Africa and Dubai.

Big Easy Winebar & Grill:

The restaurant is expected to open Nov. 3 at the upcoming Brickell City Centre in Miami’s financial district, near downtown. It will serve a weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., dinner nightly from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Boca Raton makeover: Max’s Grille shuts for renovations on its 25th year

Grilled jumbo artichokes at Max's Grille, Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Grilled jumbo artichokes at Max’s Grille, Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: Due to looming Hurricane Matthew, Max’s Grille’s official birthday party has been postponed until Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m.

 

ORIGINAL POST: Call it a millennial makeover. Just in time for its big 25th birthday, Boca Raton’s iconic Max’s Grille has closed for renovations.

The Dennis Max-owned restaurant, which closed after dinner Sunday, will debut its refreshed look on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

Workers will replace the kitchen floor, replace ceiling soffits, reupholster banquettes in deep-red tufted leather, and add a white granite top to the outside bar and new wicker seating to the patio. Updates will continue later (while the restaurant is fully functioning) and, in a stroke of nostalgia, the bar overhang will be restored to its original state.

Patio will be further pretty-fied at Max's Grille. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Patio will be further pretty-fied at Max’s Grille. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The updates, which come nearly six months after area flooding damaged the restaurant, have forced the delay of the second annual “Bar Brawls,” a local bartender competition.

However, the restaurant is on track to celebrate its 25th birthday on Oct. 6 Oct.18, when it hosts a bash for its designated VIPs and its former and current staff.

Said Max via new release: “We are excited to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year by revitalizing the restaurant, inside and out.”

Serving modernized American classics to packed houses daily, Max’s Grille is the only of the original Mizner Park restaurants that remains.

Max’s Grille: 404 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-368-0080; MaxsGrille.com

 

Can Curbside Gourmet create America’s best breakfast?

Curbside chef/owner Matthew Somsey. (Contributed by Curbside Gourmet)
At the window: Curbside chef/owner Matthew Somsey. (Photos contributed by Curbside Gourmet)

Can a convoy of 50 competing food trucks come up with America’s best breakfast recipe? Thomas’, the English muffin people, are banking on it.

And that breakfast recipe just might have some Palm Beach County finesse to it. That’s because the convoy includes local favorite Curbside Gourmet.

The West Palm Beach-based truck chef/owner created a signature dish they call Surf and Turf Eggs Benedict. Chef Matthew Somsey topped their English muffin with braised pork belly, butter-poached New England lobster, a poached, local egg and a ladle of key lime hollandaise sauce.

Curbside Gourmet's competing dish: Surf and Turf Eggs Benedict. (Contributed by Thomas')
Curbside’s Surf & Turf Benedict.

The contest, which coincides with the 136th anniversary of Thomas’ English Muffins, starts with a 50-truck pool that will be narrowed during five rounds of public votes. Overall voting ends on Oct. 16, when just two trucks will remain in battle.

Round 1 ends Sunday, when the competitor pool is cut in half. The 25 remaining trucks will compete through Sept. 25. After that, 10 trucks will battle through Oct. 2, when the field is cut to five. Seven days later, two finalists will remain.

Food truck fans are allowed to vote once a day and will be entered to compete for a $5000 prize.

Curbside, the only Palm Beach County truck listed, is one of four Florida trucks competing. To vote for Curbside, find West Palm Beach on the U.S. map that appears on the battle page and click on the tiny truck. You will be directed to a sign-in page, then to Curbside voting.

Curbside Gourmet fans may want to step up their voting – the truck was not listed among the top 10 fan favorites on Tuesday. The truck’s chef has this message for Curbside fans:

“Tell them to vote everyday this week! And support their local food truck!”