Devouring December: top food events this month

The barrage of this month’s food and drink events has given us whiplash. So many tastings, wine dinners, chef multicourse events. So much to eat and drink. And that’s not including the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which kicks off Thursday night.

December, won’t you stay a little longer?

James Beard Award winning chef Mark Militello. (Photo: The Buzz Agency)
James Beard Award winning chef Mark Militello. (Photo: The Buzz Agency)

Tradition, an Italian Wine Dinner

Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m.

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

Josie’s Ristorante: 1602 S. Federal Hwy, Boynton Beach

Truffled lobster mac and cheese at Maison Carlos. (Palm Beach Post file)
Truffled lobster mac and cheese at Maison Carlos. (Palm Beach Post file)

Maison Carlos’ 15th anniversary

Thursday, Dec. 15 through Dec. 30

A neighborhood favorite on South Dixie Highway, Maison Carlos celebrates 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.

Reservations are strongly suggested.

Maison Carlos: 3010 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6524

Manor's executive chef, Miguel Santiago, at the grill. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Manor’s executive chef, Miguel Santiago, at the grill. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

Five-course wine dinner at Hilton West Palm Beach

Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Chef Matthew Byrne is 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.

Hilton West Palm Beach: 600 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

Puerto Rican treat: coconut tembleque (panna cotta) by Chef Christian Quinones. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Puerto Rican treat: coconut tembleque (panna cotta) by Chef Christian Quinones. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

Puerto Rican garden party at Bistro Ten Zero One

Sunday, Dec. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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.

Bistro Ten Zero One: at the Marriott, 1001 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

Rural meets big city: Swank Farm hosts a series of feasts each harvest season. (Palm Beach Post file) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The table set for lunch prepared by chef Daniel Boulud during a visit to Swank Farm on Monday, October 20, 2014 in Loxahatchee. Swank Farm provides fresh produce to Boulud's restaurants Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach and DB Moderne in Miami. (Madeline Gray / The Palm Beach Post)
Rural meets big city: Swank Farm hosts a series of feasts each harvest season. (Palm Beach Post file)

‘Swank Table’ kicks off

Sunday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m.

The popular Swank Farm supper 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.

Farmers Darrin and Jodi Swank will host nine “Swank Table” dinners during the 2016-2017 harvest season. To reserve a spot, visit SwankSpecialtyProduce.com.

Cost: $160, which partially benefits a youth charity, FLIPANY.

Swank Farm: 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee Groves

 

 

Openings: Hey, Boca, there’s a new cheesecake in town

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.

Rappy's vintage New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Rappy’s New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

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.

Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy's pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy’s pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

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.

Even the health slaw at Rappy's is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Even the health slaw at Rappy’s is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

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.

Well dressed dog: Rappy's pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Well dressed dog: Rappy’s pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

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

 

 

 

Openings: Cheesecake lovers, Junior’s is open in Boca Raton

New York cheesecake lovers, your reward is as near as Boca RatonJunior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake is open for business after a wait that surely seemed interminable to fans of its rich, fluffy namesake dessert.

The Brooklyn-based restaurant debuted this week at Mizner Park and is serving lunch and dinner. (Breakfast service starts within a few weeks.)

The debut was short-lived before the threat of Hurricane Matthew came knocking. As most of the restaurants in Palm Beach County’s “cone of concern,” the new restaurant closed Thursday due to the storm. It reopened for business Friday.

Owned by Alan Rosen, grandson of restaurant founder Harry Rosen, Junior’s has breathed retro Deco style into the former Ruby Tuesday’s space, where it can seat 225 diners.

READ: JUNIOR’S BACKSTORY 

juniorscheesecakeOn the menu: deli classics like matzo ball soup, potato pancakes and blintzes, plus charbroiled steak-burgers, sandwiches galore including pastrami, various Reuben renditions, and open-face beef brisket, salads and desserts (hello, red velvet cheesecake!).

Of course, the main attraction is the Famous No. 1 Original Cheesecake.

What makes that cheesecake so good? Glad you asked. Here’s our riff on the guilty pleasure.

Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake: 409 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-672-7301; JuniorsCheesecake.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.

Hurricane Matthew: Which restaurants are open, closed?

If you think every local restaurant will close during looming Hurricane Matthew, we’ve got news for you. Which restaurants are open and which are closed due to the storm? Here’s what we know so far:

Gotta eat: Not even storms keep some away from their favorite spot. (Cox Newspapers photo)
Gotta eat: Not even storms keep some away from their favorite spot. (Cox Newspapers photo)

Flanigan’s, West Palm Beach

Is open and busy Thursday, as storm approaches.

ER Bradley’s, West Palm Beach

Will be open during its usual hours, even throughout the storm.

Cucina Dell’Arte, Palm Beach

Will open during regular hours, even throughout the storm

Havana Hideout, Lake Worth

Will stay open during the storm and operate on regular hours. The kitchen works on propane. “Bring your perishables — it will be a hurricane pot luck,” says Shelly Earhart.

Havana, West Palm Beach

The iconic Cuban restaurant plans to be open as long as it can during the storm. If it has to close, management says it will reopen earliest Friday.

Table 26, West Palm Beach

Open for business Wednesday night, closed Thursday and Friday. Will reopen at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday night, closed Thursday and also at lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s TBD.

Cholo Soy Cocina, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday night, closed Thursday and also at lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s TBD.

Bistro Ten Zero One at Marriott, West Palm Beach

Open during regular hours, serving a limited menu.

The Cooper, Palm Beach Gardens

Will be open Wednesday, closed all day Thursday and through lunchtime Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday.

Burger Bar, Palm Beach Gardens

Closed Thursday. May open Friday, but that’s TBD.

Evo, Tequesta

Will be open till 11 p.m. Wednesday night. To be decided after that.

McCarthy’s Pub, Tequesta

Open till 10 p.m. Wednesday, likely not open Thursday. Will reopen Friday if there’s power.

Calaveras Cantina, Jupiter

Closed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Plans to reopen Saturday, if able.

Agliolio, Wellington and Boynton Beach

Open Wednesday for regular hours, closed Thursday. Will post reopening info on its Facebook page.

Marcello’s La Sirena, West Palm Beach

Will be open Wednesday, closed Thursday. Plans to reopen Friday, if there’s no power outage.

Buccan, Palm Beach

Will be open Wednesday, closed Thursday (and The Sandwich Shop at Buccan is closed Friday as well). Friday and Saturday dinner at Buccan is to be decided.

Imoto, Palm Beach

Buccan’s “little sister” next door is closed Wednesday and Thursday. May reopen Friday for dinner, but that’s to be decided.

Grato, West Palm Beach

Open Wednesday, closed Thursday and during lunch Friday. May reopen for dinner Friday night, but that’s to be decided.

Biergarten, Boca Raton

Will open at 11 a.m. Thursday and remain open as long as possible.

Rapoport Restaurants, south county

All Burt Rapoport-owned restaurants are open all day Wednesday, closed Thursday. Friday is to be decided. This goes for Deck 84, Henry’s and Burt & Max’s in Delray Beach as well as for Bogart’s in Boca Raton.

NOTE:

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

 

SEASON PREVIEW: Five local food and drink highlights to enjoy

As season approaches, hungry minds wonder what’s on the horizon for the local food-and-drink scene. Glad you asked.

Here’s what we’re hoping to enjoy this season.

The Regional's fresh-baked Parker House Rolls are served with seasoned butter. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Regional’s fresh-baked Parker House Rolls. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM’S BUZZY NEW SPOTS

From The Regional Kitchen to Cholo Soy Cocina, West Palm Beach is shaping up as the county’s foodiest city.

Cholo in chief: Chef Clay Carnes. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Cholo in chief: Clay Carnes. (Credit: Alissa Dragun)

Drop into The Regional for some of Chef Lindsay Autry’s Southern-meets-World cooking and you’ll witness a chef rising into her prime. The space may be cavernous, but it still feels cozy, thanks to seating layout and attention to décor detail.

At the other end of the size spectrum, there’s tiny Cholo Soy, an Andean street food-inspired spot where Chef Clay Carnes offers a variety of smoked and roasted meats and hand-made tortillas.

The Regional Kitchen + Public House: 651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-557-6460; EatRegional.com

Cholo Soy Cocina: 3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; @cholosoycocina on Instagram; www.cholosoycocina.com.

GREEN MARKET MARVELS

Hello, pup: The West Palm Beach GreenMarket loves the pooches. (Greg Lovett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Hello, pup: The West Palm Beach GreenMarket loves the pooches. (Greg Lovett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Forget summer. The sunniest, most delicious time of the year in Palm Beach County is the fall and winter harvest season. Just drop into any of the county’s top green markets and you’ll find a bounty of locally grown produce, freshly harvested ingredients, prepared foods and other items. We love the West Palm Beach GreenMarket (Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) not only for its great variety, but also because it’s super pooch-friendly. But chances are that no matter where you live, there’s a good green market not too far away.

Check out our full green market guide for one near you.

PALM BEACH FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival runs from Dec. 8-11. (LILA PHOTO)
The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival runs from Dec. 8-11. (Credit: LILA PHOTO)

This festival is a little gem. Each year, it brings a constellation of food stars — and their cooking — to Palm Beach and environs. And unlike far bigger national food fests, this is one in which festival-goers get plenty of opportunity to interact with some of the nation’s top chefs. The four-day fest celebrates its 10th year this December. Tickets are on sale at pbfoodwinefest.com.

FARM-CHIC EVENTS

Swank Farm will host nine farm feasts this season. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)
Swank Farm will host nine farm feasts this season. (Allen Eyestone/ The Palm Beach Post)

The now cliché “farm to table” tag takes on wider dimensions in this agriculture-heavy area. The county, which produces the most sweet corn, sugar cane and bell peppers in the country, boasts some $1.41 billion in total agriculture sales, according to Palm Beach County data. And what better place to soak up the flavors of a local harvest than on a boutique veggie farm?

Swank Farm in Loxahatchee Groves offers a series of harvest feasts throughout the growing season. These barn-chic affairs feature top chefs, locally brewed beer, sommelier-poured wine and live music. See this year’s schedule at SwankSpecialtyProduce.com.

Speaking of farm events, the Jupiter-based OBEO Society is hosting a “Boots, Brews and BBQ” event featuring a lineup of acclaimed local chefs and local beers at Jupiter Farms’ Lucky Old Sun Ranch. The cookout happens Sat., Nov. 12 from 3 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit ObeoSociety.com.

WHAT’S NEW IN BREW

David Bick of Sons and Daughters Farm and Winery pours a glass of Ginger Kombucha. His family opened their business to the public in April, making available their organic crops, wine and beverages. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
David Bick of Sons and Daughters pours Ginger Kombucha. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The local brewery scene continues to expand, from Boca Raton to Tequesta, and the expansion involves more than beer. Accomplice Brewery in West Palm Beach is making some popular ciders. Sons and Daughters Farm & Winery is making fruit and flower-based wines and kombucha. The family-owned farm opened to the public for tastings in April.

And, yes, there’s beer. You’ll find the full run of local breweries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Readers Choice winner: Who has the best coffee in Palm Beach County?

We admit the question may have teetered upon the unfocused: Who has the best coffee in Palm Beach County?

But you knew what we meant, dear readers, and there was nothing unfocused about your answers. Who has the best coffee, in brew and concept?

Patrons enjoy the cramped confines of Subculture Coffee in West Palm Beach. A lease will give the shop additional space. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Subculture prepares for larger Clematis Street digs next month. (Richard Graulich/ Palm Beach Post)

You voted resoundingly for Subculture Coffee, the small-batch roaster and hipster concept with locations in downtown West Palm Beach and Delray Beach.

“It’s really encouraging. As a business owner, you want your product to stand on its own,” says Sean Scott, Subculture co-owner and coffee roaster. He describes the response to his coffee and concept as a kind of “gravitational, community pull.”

Which is to say: a hit. (Also a hit were Oceana Coffee in Tequesta and the Common Grounds coffee shop in Lake Worth, which tied for second place.)

Co-owned by nightlife/restaurant czar Rodney Mayo, Subculture is both a local coffee brand and coffee shop. As a coffee brand, it uses beans harvested in far-flung places (as in Chiriquí, Panama, and Oromia, Ethiopia). Those beans are roasted in Subculture’s industrial Diedrich roaster and produce a wide range of fresh brewed coffee, diverse in flavor depth and weight.

A cappuccino by coffee master Sean Scott, founder Subculture Coffee. (Palm Beach Post file)
A cappuccino by coffee master Sean Scott, founder Subculture Coffee. (Palm Beach Post file)

This is not coffee that can be described as strictly bold or strictly high-octane. “Our coffee changes quarterly, due to seasonality,” says Scott. “I really focus on offering four or five different origins at a time, with each having unique characteristics. I try to roast to enhance those unique qualities in varieties.”

As a shop, its original location on Clematis Street has proven to be a game changer for that main drag’s 500 Block. Living up to its name, the shop has added a chill, creative subculture to the block.

There’s more than just coffee going on at Subculture – the place has nurtured a consistently caffeinated community and brought events like Tacos and Hip Hop to the block. All this in two and a half years.

And there’s more: Within weeks, the Clematis shop will double in size as Subculture expands into the locale next door.

The new space allows Scott the room to host weekly coffee appreciation classes, exploring everything from bean origin to processing technique to brewing.

“It brings coffee to the level of wine. We know that wine is complex. That’s what I want people to know about coffee,” says Scott, who plans to open the space sometime in October. “We want to move beyond the caramel macchiato and further educate our community.”

photo subculture coffee shop
A pair of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee shop in West Palm Beach. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

SUBCULTURE COFFEE

In West Palm Beach

  • 509 Clematis St.; 561-318-5182; open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday to 2 a.m.

In Delray Beach

  • 123 E. Atlantic Ave.; 561-808-8482; open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight

Online: SubcultureCoffee.com

Dim sum review: Why you should indulge in Grand Lake’s weekend tradition

Dim sum at Grand Lake is an adventure of eclectic small bites. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dim sum at Grand Lake is an adventure of eclectic small bites. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

Here’s a compromise for anti-buffet types who love to brunch: a buffet that comes to you. The food is tucked into small tin pots and rolled to your table in a metal cart. Lovers of Hong Kong style cuisine call it dim sum.

Yes, I know you’ve heard about dim sum. But who are we kidding? This isn’t Hong Kong or New York or San Francisco – or any city where dim sum is more a religion than a meal. This is Palm Beach County, where dim sum menus are few and far between.

Luckily for seekers of the real deal, there’s still tasty dim sum to be found at Grand Lake, the 10-year-old Chinese restaurant that sits in a suburban West Palm Beach plaza.

Go-cart driver: The dim sum cart is offered Saturday and Sunday. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Go-cart driver: The dim sum cart is offered Saturday and Sunday. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

The Saturday and Sunday dim sum crowds put plenty of mileage on that metal cart. It’s laden with dumplings, finger foods and dim sum favorites.

On a recent visit, I asked my dining companions, two dim sum devotees, to order their favorite dishes. I added a couple of my own (Hello, sticky rice in lotus leaf!) and soon our table was filled with what seemed like the contents of two dim sum carts.

We feasted on plump shrimp dumplings ($4.25), pork sui mei dumplings ($3.95), raggedly finished and greasy fried taro dumplings ($4.25), dense chive dumplings ($4.25), sweet-savory steamed barbecue pork buns ($4.25), chicken feet ($3.95) and rich steamed egg custard buns ($4.25).

In this dumpling landscape, two dishes stood out as must-order: the delicious shrimp dumplings and the sui mei dumplings, which revealed their porky filling through their split tops.

Dim sum delights are tucked into steamy tins. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dim sum delights are tucked into steamy tins. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

Best of all, however, was a bean-curd skin roll stuffed with pork and chopped vegetables ($4.25). The beautifully seasoned filling is wrapped in a thin tofu sheet, steamed and served in a savory sauce.

Also delicious: the sticky rice in lotus leaf ($5.25), moist, nicely seasoned rice that’s wrapped in an aromatic lotus leaf and steamed until fragrant. The result is a dim sum cousin of a cornhusk-wrapped tamal or plantain-leaf-wrapped pastel. The filling takes on an ethereal layer from its steamed wrapping.

A crispy roasted duck dish ($8.50 for a quarter bird, $15.95 for a half) was ample and tasty, though slightly overcooked in parts.

We started our dim sum feast with steaming bowls of fish fillet congee ($7.25), a delicately flavored rice porridge. Hinting of ginger and dotted with chunks of mild white fish, it was downright soul-warming.

As one might guess, we had plenty of leftovers. But before those take-home containers were filled, we enjoyed our dim sum bites amid the chatter of locals in this family-owned restaurant.

No, there’s no bottomless Bloody Mary bar. But we did have a couple of pots of hot chrysanthemum tea. It soothed our full bellies on a lovely Sunday.

Dumplings galore at Grand Lake Chinese restaurant. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dumplings galore at Grand Lake Chinese restaurant. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

REVIEW

DIM SUM AT GRAND LAKE

FOOD: B+

SERVICE: B

ADDRESS: 7750 Okeechobee Blvd. #6, West Palm Beach

TELEPHONE: 561-681-1388

PRICE RANGE: Inexpensive to moderate

NOISE LEVEL: Low key, manageable.

FULL BAR: Beer and wine only

HOURS: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m. Cart-served dim sum is offered Saturday and Sunday.

CREDIT CARDS: Major cards accepted

RESERVATIONS: Walk-ins welcome

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:

A — Excellent

B — Good

C — Average

D — Poor

F — Don’t bother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish deli dreams: Rappy’s restaurant draws from Manhattan memories

An artist's view of Rappy's dining room. (Courtesy: Rappy's)
An artist’s view of the dining room at the upcoming Rappy’s deli in Boca Raton. (Courtesy: Rappy’s)

It’s an inspiration he relegated to back-burner status for decades: the familiar embrace of a Jewish deli.

Restaurateur Burt Rapoport knows that embrace better than most. His grandfather owned a deli for 50 years. His father managed it for many of those years. The lower east Manhattan establishment was home to Rapoport and his family – literally so. They ate most of their meals there, and they lived upstairs.

The vintage Rapoport’s deli was a traditional dairy restaurant, meaning it served no meat but plenty of blintzes, breads, fish dishes and potato soup. This is where a young Burt would grow up (on bowl after bowl of that hearty soup) to be a third-generation restaurateur and an influential figure in Palm Beach County’s hospitality world.

Now the restaurateur behind some top south county concepts (Deck 84, Henry’s, Burt & Max’s and Bogart’s Bar & Grille) has a deli-themed spot on deck in Boca Raton, inspired by those old Manhattan memories.

Rappy’s Deli will open in November, says Rapoport. The newest member of Rapoport’s Restaurant Group will debut in Boca’s new Park Place, a soon-to-open plaza on Military Trail, between Yamato and Clint Moore roads.

“I felt it would be great to go back to my roots,” Rapoport said in an interview this week.

Man behind the deli: Burt Rapoport, photographed at his Deck 84 restaurant in Delray Beach. (Palm Beach Post file)
Man behind the deli: Burt Rapoport, shown here at Deck 84 in Delray Beach. (Palm Beach Post file)

Named after his late father, Ray “Rappy” Rapoport, the new restaurant is more “deli-themed restaurant than classic deli,” he says. He describes the concept as “soulful Jewish food with a modern interpretation.”

The casual spot will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will boast a 30-foot deli takeout counter as well as a full, indoor-outdoor bar, says Rapoport, who laments that true Jewish delis are few and far between in the country.

But there’s good news to be found amid the “glorified diners with zero atmosphere,” he notes.

“Now you see this resurgence with younger people who are reinventing delis all around the country,” says Rapoport. “So maybe the time is right to do this thing.”

Rappy's rendering: This deli counter will offer daylong takeout. (Courtesy: Rappy's)
Rappy’s rendering: This deli counter will offer daylong takeout. (Courtesy: Rappy’s)

The menu will mesh old school Jewish food with “a lot of fun items,” he says.

Expect franks in a blanket wrapped in puff pastry that’s sprinkled with “everything bagel” seasoning, deli-style sushi in the form of nova-wrapped tuna salad, pastrami spring rolls and house-smoked pastrami dishes. Also on the menu: classic chicken in a pot, corned beef and stuffed cabbage, plus homemade mustard, malts, boozy shakes and sweets.

“We’re taking it up a couple of notches and also hoping to appeal to a broader base,” says Rapoport, whose company was listed this year among Restaurant Hospitality magazine’s annual RH 25 list for “Coolest Multi-Concept Companies.”  

With touches of vintage subway tile, stained concrete floors and chalkboard menus, Rappy’s 4300-square-foot space will offer indoor dining as well as alfresco seating in the covered patio.

Rappy’s: Coming in November to Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton; RappysDeli.com

 

 

 

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