Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

A Place To Relax And Kick Back Kickback Neighborhood Tavern In Wellington Serves Up Great Food And Live Entertainment

A Place To Relax And Kick Back   Kickback Neighborhood Tavern In Wellington Serves Up Great Food And Live Entertainment

By Callie Sharkey

If you’re looking for that comfortable hometown feeling merged with great food and entertainment, Kickback Neighborhood Tavern is the place to be, with its mantra, “Eat Local. Drink Local. Stay Local.”

Dan Hooker, general manager and managing partner at Kickback, brings decades of experience in the food and hospitality industry. He was there when Kickback opened last year and has never been happier.

“It’s great working here because I never have to apologize for the food. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants all my life. The food here is great, and we get compliments all the time,” he said. “The staff here is loyal. It’s a small staff, but it is a bunch of great people. It’s a family, and we all work together toward the same goal.”

The menu offers elevated tavern fare with a variety of options and delightful new versions on classic comfort foods. Every week, the chalkboard shines with new specials and fun dishes not on the regular menu.

“We have something for everyone,” Hooker said. “As far as high end, we have some handcrafted tavern bowls that are really good, like the Korean Sesame Salmon Bowl. Our hamburgers are outstanding, and people love our mahi sandwiches and buffalo mahi fingers.”

He said that Kickback is essentially a scratch kitchen, with all the sauces made in house. From mango sweet chili to the Kickback remoulade, homemade flavors are a highlight with each plate.

Kickback welcomes all visitors to take it easy and also has a spacious covered patio that is dog friendly. In fact, every pup that comes to visit receives a “doggie cocktail” (a bowl of water).

“This place is all about kicking back and relaxing… We love being local. We support local, we are supported by locals,” said Hooker, who is proud of the restaurant’s connection to local organizations. “We’ve co-sponsored events with many nonprofit groups and even had large events where they bring out tents.”

Working with professionals is also part of being a local hotspot. Almost once a month, a special Realtor Happy Hour takes place with special guest bartenders and live music. Every day, patrons can take advantage of discounted drinks during a standard happy hour that runs from noon until 6 p.m., and food specials are available between 3 and 6 p.m.

Since getting through the week is tough enough, Kickback has a Wednesday routine for everyone. Kids eat free off the Little Farmers menu with a purchase of one adult entrée per child, and right around dusk, the locals start rolling in to battle it out during the weekly trivia night. “We have Think and Drink Trivia every Wednesday, and it’s a big event. Come as you are and play from 7 to 9 p.m.,” Hooker said. “People love trivia.”

It is important to the culture at Kickback to provide quality, diverse live entertainment every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. “We wanted to make sure to incorporate great dining with good music,” Hooker said. “I bring in new people all the time, so we are not stagnant. There is a variety — reggae, country, rock, contemporary. It’s not just background music, it’s entertainment. This is a great place to see local talent.”

The hard work has already paid off, with acts booked through next May.

Hosting special events where locals can gather and have fun includes a car show on the fourth Friday of every month. Recently, a popular 1980s-themed Let’s Get Physical party was held. Plans are already in the works for a Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 29 with live entertainment.

“Kickback Neighborhood Tavern and Mad Hospitality Group are currently in talks to expand the brand locally,” Hooker said. “We also have a new and exciting concept coming soon right here in Wellington.”

Kickback is open seven days a week, with service offered Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. On Fridays, visit anytime between 11:30 a.m. and midnight, or Saturday from noon to midnight, with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m. It’s open Sundays from noon to midnight, with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. Take out is also available, along with delivery via Uber Eats and Delivery Dudes.

Kickback Neighborhood Tavern is located in the Wellington Plaza at 12771 W. Forest Hill Blvd. For more info., call (561) 795-0100 or visit www.kickbacktavern.com.

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Taste Of The Caribbean Take A Culinary Journey To The Islands With A Visit To Jamaica House Grill In Wellington

Taste Of The Caribbean Take A Culinary Journey To The Islands With A Visit To Jamaica House Grill In Wellington

Story and Photos by Callie Sharkey

When the island-nation of Jamaica was in its infancy, the government decided to build an official residence for the prime minister, known as Jamaica House. To immerse yourself in the culture and food of this unique Caribbean island, pay a visit to the iconic building’s local namesake, Jamaica House Grill in Wellington.

Guests are greeted by reggae fusion music and portraits of Jamaican icons like Marcus Garvey and Usain Bolt. A cheerful rack of wines and an open floorplan greet visitors and continue to build the Jamaican setting.

There is no coincidence that Jamaican native and Executive Chef Collin Allen landed at Jamaica House Grill, often called JHG.

“I’ve worked at Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island, but for me, Jamaica House is the office of the prime minister, and I’m devoted to that,” said Allen, who served as the personal chef to Jamaica’s first female prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller.

He visited the restaurant when down in Florida on vacation.

“I saw the restaurant’s menu and said this is where I belong,” Allen recalled. “This is where I want to be — to take guests on a culinary journey of what it is to really have authentic Jamaican cuisine.”

Despite having cooked for celebrities like Harrison Ford, Ralph Lauren and Naomi Campbell, Allen finds joy in bringing his heritage to plate for everyone who visits Jamaica House Grill.

Jerk spices are a cornerstone of Jamaican food, and chicken wings are one of the best ways to showcase the different levels of spice available. From the tangy Mango Tree Wings to the bold Sorrel Jerk Wings, there is a flavor profile for every palate.

One of the most popular dishes at Jamaica House Grill is the Braised Oxtails. This rich and savory dish is served with seasonal vegetables, rice and peas. It is a direct inspiration from the Spanish heritage of the island.

Manager Steve Dillon pointed out several of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

“Most people like the oxtail, curried goat and our fish. It’s a variety of dishes that I grew up eating every day,” said Dillon, who hails from New York but has been with Jamaica House Grill from the beginning. “I get to come here and have the best Jamaican dishes all in one spot.”

Since opening its doors in November 2019, the restaurant has been a dedicated source of authentic Jamaican flavors and traditional cuisine. The menu also contains American-style food such as burgers or mac and cheese alongside Jamaican staples like Curried Goat. Vegetarians also have a variety of options, such as the Coconut Curry Tofu, the Country Man Salad and the Jamaican classic Ital Bean Stew.

For the food extraordinaire Allen, every plate is important.

“At Jamaica House, we pay attention to the details and provide personalized service. So, when you come here, we will do the food according to how you like it to be done. Our jerk is spicy because it is authentic Jamaican food that we have inherited over the years. Our curry comes from India and China. We inherit the Ital from the Rastafarian culture,” said Allen, who is also fascinated by the history of the food. “Being spicy is a form of preserving food in the old days. Americans would use smoke, but we use herbs as a preservative. Our food gets better over time because of the rum and all the spices.”

But Allen doesn’t want the fear of trying intense jerk spices to concern patrons. “You tell us what you want. Don’t be afraid to come in, because everybody will get what they like. Jamaican food is spicy, but we can bring down the heat,” he said.

The Grilled Salmon is a must-try for any fish lover. The medium-well fillet is served in a sweet chili sauce encasing cherry tomatoes, diced bell peppers and onions. On the side is asparagus cooked in a delicate parsley butter, and the signature side of mashed sweet potatoes balances the sweet chili sauce.

For dessert, embrace the rich aromas of the Jamaica House Signature Bread Pudding with rum sauce. The plate arrives wrapped in the soft blue flames of the burning Jamaican rum.

The past year has been rough on many industries, particularly restaurants, but Jamaica House Grill has persevered and kept the focus on serving great food and keeping patrons happy.

“Back in New York, so many of the restaurants I grew up eating at are closed now,” said Dillon, who is optimistic about the future. “Jamaica House Grill made it through that, and we are still going. I believe that says something about the food and about us.”

Part of that future includes eventually expanding the restaurant’s hours and opening for breakfast service. Allen is excited to bring a Jamaican twist to traditional American breakfast items.

Jamaica House Grill is located at 2557 S. State Road 7 in Wellington, in the plaza with Whole Foods Market. The restaurant currently serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. For more information, call (561) 619-9074 or visit www.jamaicahousegrills.com.

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COLOMBIAN STREET FOOD New Baby Back Rib Burger The Latest Colombian Creation At Los Quesudos

COLOMBIAN STREET FOOD
New Baby Back Rib Burger The Latest
Colombian Creation At Los Quesudos

Story and Photos by Callie Sharkey

The true passion of any foodie is the desire to find authentic and original flavors. And if you’re looking to discover the unique tastes of true Colombian street food, there is nowhere better than Los Quesudos in Royal Palm Beach.

With the wide range of backgrounds and cultures in the area, Los Quesudos stands alone with its focus on popular Colombian street foods. The Gutierrez family opened the restaurant with a goal to bring these unique Colombian flavors to the general public.

Want to really eat like a local? Then order something not on the regular menu! Just last month, the team at Los Quesudos introduced the Costi Quesuda — the baby back rib burger. This hardy, satisfying burger will change the way you view street food forever.

The tender, boneless baby back ribs are smothered in cheese and combined with coleslaw and cooked onions, on a bed of crunchy potato strings and a slice of green tomato.

Bringing forth such a unique combination was a hard sell to the family, according to restaurant owner and Costi Quesuda creator Ivan Gutierrez.

“It was a fight with my family about that dish, because I was pushing to get it out, and they wouldn’t let me,” Gutierrez recalled. “So, one day I just decided to sneak out, get the ribs and make one anyway. We tried it and everybody liked it. They really loved it because the ribs are so good.”

Gutierrez sees the restaurant and its accompanying food truck business as the realization of a dream to bring something unique and different to his customers. With this latest dish, he knew people liked ribs and wanted to incorporate the Colombian flavors.

“All those flavors together is amazing, and since we launched the burger, it has been kind of crazy,” Gutierrez said.

His daughter Camila wasn’t so sure the baby back rib burger would be successful, but she gives credit to her father’s creativity and tenacity.

“We thought it was going to be this huge and messy thing, and he kind of went off on his own and built it,” she said. “He made his idea come to life.”

Gutierrez’s wife Juliana wasn’t sure about the concept for the Costi Quesuda being worth the work, considering there are so many components to the dish, but head chef Camilo Muñoz has found a way to execute it in a way that still works as original, hand-held street food.

“I recommend the Costi Quesuda with fries or bananas,” Juliana said. “It’s a lot of work, but it is so good, and people love it. Like our other dishes, it comes with four bonus flavors on the side — a pink sauce, a cilantro sauce, a pineapple sauce and a garlic sauce.”

Los Quesudos takes pride in its ingredients being fresh and light, which keeps the baby back rib burger from being too heavy for a daytime meal.

“Everything is local. We have a good relationship with distributors. We bring the ideas from Colombia and make everything here in house. The coleslaw, we don’t buy it, we make the coleslaw here in the kitchen,” Gutierrez said. “We do everything from scratch, start to finish. The salsas, the pink sauce, the cilantros, the garlic sauce — we do everything here. When you come here, and want a burger, you know that it’s not precooked. Everything is made fresh. Always.”

Los Quesudos offers a wide variety of Colombian street food ranging from burgers and hot dogs to maicitos and desgranados (corn-based dishes popular in Colombia). There are also vegetarian options and Colombian desserts, so no one goes home hungry.

The restaurant is open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Los Quesudos food truck can also be found at many local events and the upcoming green markets in West Palm Beach. Catering services are also available.

There is a dine-in option at the restaurant, or you can order your street food to go through delivery services such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates. Carryout is available by ordering online. Keep an eye out for the Los Quesudos app coming soon.

Los Quesudos is located at 9864 Southern Blvd. in the plaza with Home Depot. For more info., call (561) 331-8114 or visit www.losquesudosusa.com.

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Enjoy A Traditional Argentinian Experience At Asador Patagonia

Enjoy A Traditional Argentinian Experience At Asador Patagonia

By Meredith Burow

Argentinian steakhouse Asador Patagonia brings an authentic taste of South America to the western communities.

“We wanted to try something different,” said owner Natalia Ayala, explaining why she and her husband, Juan, left Argentina and moved to the United States nearly two decades ago.

Eighteen years, two children, a restaurant and tiki bar later, and “different” is still the family’s mantra.

Bringing a taste of their home country to central Palm Beach County, the couple opened Asador Patagonia, a restaurant nestled quietly in the Royal Inn Hotel plaza at the northwest corner of Royal Palm Beach and Southern boulevards, about 10 years ago. The establishment includes a large dining area, a private events space, an indoor bar, an outdoor tiki hut and a patio overlooking the lake.

The Ayalas wear many hats at the restaurant, cooking, cleaning, managing and serving. It’s a big job, but it is a dream that became a reality.

“You think of something, and God gives you the resources,” Ayala said. “We don’t know exactly why, but it happened.”

But what makes it so different? Unlike other restaurants, Asador Patagonia implements a traditional, Argentinian grilling method: charcoal.

While a typical cooking technique in the food service industry elicits a gas grill, the Ayalas wanted the community to enjoy the rich, unique flavor brought out when grilling with charcoal. Prior to being seared on the grill, the meat is flavored with salt alone, and according to customer reviews, it does not disappoint.

“Nobody knows about Argentinian food, and it’s a different kind of food. At a lot of restaurants, it’s all the same,” Ayala said. “Argentinian food is so different — it’s a lot of meat, but we cook the meat on the charcoal. That’s the difference. It’s a different steak house.”

Hailed by some as “the best Argentinian steakhouse in Florida,” Asador Patagonia is known for both its great food and excellent customer service. Its menu is a collection of meat choices for the asado, the term used for a traditional Argentinian barbecue.

Guests can choose from a traditional Argentinian Grill, including flank steak, skirt steak, short ribs, chicken, sausage and more, or choose their own meat selection from a variety of steaks, as well as filet mignon, chicken and shrimp skewers. There’s also an array of appetizers and side dishes.

Aside from the grilled meats, there’s also a wide array of traditional Argentinian appetizers and side dishes. Argentinian cuisine is uniquely South American, but also has strong influences of European cuisine, especially Spanish and Italian. This creates unique flavors with an emphasis on meat dishes.

If the food alone wasn’t enough to attract patrons, the weekend live music, lakeside view and laidback atmosphere helps to keep the customers coming back.

“It’s always a really nice spot just to hang out,” said Nicole Elizabeth as she sat under the shady tiki bar on the back patio. “Everyone’s always very nice and welcoming.”

First-time guests Syd and Arlene Zudekoff enjoyed their experience eating out on the patio. The couple had been to the location about 15 years ago, before the space became Asador Patagonia. “We knew that the view was nice, and we knew this area was nice, and we’re looking for different places to go,” Syd explained.

They enjoyed the experience and plan to return with others. “It’s a lovely local restaurant,” Arlene said.

The Ayalas have worked hard to cultivate the relaxing environment. Ayala even recalled with amusement a time when they first opened the restaurant, and their two boys, Matias and Lorenzo, were still very young.

“Lorenzo grew up in the restaurant, and sometimes they’d go to the table and take bread, and take the food for the customers, also,” she said. “They’d run through all the restaurant.”

Fortunately, the customers were amused, too.

Like the children, Asador Patagonia knows how to have fun. With a capacity for 250 people, guests can reserve the space for weddings, birthday parties and more. That being said, patrons wishing to use the space cannot bring in outside catering and must use the restaurant’s food and drinks only.

Karaoke lovers can also show up and show off on weekend nights. Customers are encouraged to reserve seats beforehand, however, as these tend to be the busiest times at Asador Patagonia.

Asador Patagonia is located at 675 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. It is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.asadorpatagoniawpb.com or call (561) 651-9477.

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Authentic Flavors Make Tender Rack Of Lamb Stand Out At Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar

Authentic Flavors Make Tender Rack Of Lamb Stand Out At Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar

Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar, located in the original Wellington Mall, brings a slice of India to central Palm Beach County. The ambiance is as authentic as the food, and it captures the culture in every way — from the music and décor to the fragrances and smiles that cheerfully greet patrons.

Raja offers many traditional dishes, but a standout signature dish is the tender and flavorful rack of lamb.

“It is a fusion between Indian, French and American cuisine,” Executive Chef Vijeesh Parayil said. “Rack of lamb is really a standard for any great restaurant. Ours is made with sour cream, cream cheese, mace, nutmeg, green cardamom, fennel powder and Indian garam masala.”

While rack of lamb may sound familiar, the flavors, plating and sides are truly unique. The colorful plate arrives with sauteed vegetables, like carrots and broccoli, flavor-filled rice and kitchen made naan bread. It is truly a complete, upscale dish for only $26.

“The lamb chops are a team effort. We have a couple of chefs working together on it — one cooks it in the clay oven, another chef pre-plates, and I do the spices. Once we cook it up, I slice the rack and finish the presentation,” Parayil said. “It’s all such a good flavor once you put in all the spice.”

One reason why the food is layered in beautiful flavors is because the team at Raja take authenticity very seriously, down to the smallest details.

“We make all the spices here. We get the whole ingredients, and we grind the spices here in the kitchen. Spices lose their flavor over time, especially after being ground. By keeping everything fresh, we get more flavor,” Parayil said.

There are a number of popular curry dishes on the menu, along with several vegan options. Tandoor options include tandoori chicken, jumbo shrimp and more. A variety of Naan breads are available to complement your meal.

Parayil has been the head chef at Raja since the restaurant opened two years ago. Originally from the southern Indian state of Kerala, he finds particular joy in developing seafood dishes inspired by his roots while utilizing local ingredients.

“We have a lot of seafood [in Kerala]. In-house, we serve a chef’s special, which is a yellowtail snapper. Its flavors are from where I am from,” Parayil explained. “We cook it in the clay oven, and we add some shrimp curry on top of the fish.”

The yellowtail snapper is also well priced at $25 a plate. Keeping prices reasonable while finding ways to offer a unique variety has always been important at Raja. Combine this with putting customers as a priority, and it explains how the restaurant has managed to thrive despite difficult circumstances.

“We didn’t close when the pandemic hit. We just kept open for to-go orders,” Parayil said. “Now, we are open for in-person dining, but some people want to come in and some people don’t. Many call, and they want to pick up their order — or they go through another service like Uber Eats or Delivery Dudes.”

Parayil said that Raja works with all food delivery options — anything to keep their customers comfortable and content.

“We used to be very busy on Saturdays and Sundays, because of our buffet, so we are happy to finally be able to bring it back,” he said.

On April 10, the lunch buffet returned to the weekends from noon to 3 p.m. for $16 per person. The buffet includes two different salads, an appetizer, rice, three different vegetable options, two proteins and two desserts, plus fountain drinks and bread already included, to make for a serious meal.

Look to Raja to find even a signature dessert you won’t find anywhere else.

“My signature dessert is called gulab jamun pie, and no one ever made it here in America until I did. It’s a fusion, and my personal innovation,” Parayil said. “There is a mango-caramel sauce and jackfruit ice cream on top.”

Gulab jamun are small, round, milk-based donuts that have been soaked in a sweet syrup.

To find Raja, look for the sign with the Golden “R.” Once inside, you’ll find an array of authentic treasures — dishes spanning many regions, draped in layers of bold flavors, and a dining atmosphere that’s warm and welcoming. Raja’s owners — the husband-and-wife team of Sunil Kayalchirayil and Sheeba Krishnankutty — call it “modern Indian.”

Raja Indian Cuisine is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. The buffet is now available on Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. Visit Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar on Facebook to see current specials.

Raja Indian Cuisine & Bar is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 20. The restaurant has direct access through both the mall interior and from the back parking lot. For more information, or to see the menu, visit www.rajawellington.com or call (561) 318-5383.

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Looking For The Perfect Cheeseburger? Try The Ford’s Garage Signature Burger

Looking For The Perfect Cheeseburger? Try The Ford’s Garage Signature Burger

What do you get if you pair an upscale burger joint with nostalgic Americana? Ford’s Garage, of course. The Wellington location of this unique Florida chain has been making burger fans happy since opening in 2019 at the Mall at Wellington Green.

Ford’s Garage prides itself on cultivating a classic American atmosphere through Ford memorabilia and savory comfort foods. All burgers at Ford’s Garage are fresh-pattied and built with gourmet toppings, creating what the chain calls “Ultimate Burger Experience,” or “UBE” for short.

Nothing says “classic” quite like a juicy bacon cheeseburger. The Ford’s Signature Burger is a half-pound grilled Black Angus patty, topped with aged sharp cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, a bourbon barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a toasted brioche bun — a simple, yet perfectly crafted “UBE.”

“What separates us from all the other burger companies out there are our half-pound Black Angus burgers, made fresh, never frozen,” co-owner Keith Ledsome said. “With our aged sharp cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon, along with the bourbon barbecue sauce, we are able to incorporate all of these different flavors. This really accommodates the palate and makes our Ford’s Signature Burger our best-selling burger.”

If that does not sound like the perfect burger experience to you, not to worry. The menu features more than a dozen other burger creations made from half-pound grilled Black Angus patties, from the Mushroom Swiss to the Black-N-Bleu, as well as some smaller burger creations as well.

The well-rounded menu also features salads, such as the Ford’s Chop Shop and the Grilled Chicken Cobb, and an array of comfort foods, like Beer Battered Fish N’ Chips and Hand Battered Chicken Tenders.

“It’s not just the craft beer and burgers,” Ledsome said. “We have something for everyone’s palate, including gluten-free options and our phenomenal salads. Our gluten-free Chicken Henry is another one of most popular items, and we also have our meatloaf. It’s called Mama Ford’s Homemade Meatloaf.”

Co-owner Kathleen Gannon-Ledsome, Keith’s wife, also has her favorite.

“My favorite thing on the menu is the Chili Garlic Salmon,” Gannon-Ledsome said. “The flavoring of it is amazing, and the salmon quality we get is unprecedented when compared with any other restaurant in Wellington.”

That popular dish features eight ounces of Norwegian Atlantic grilled salmon with a sweet chili garlic sauce and your choice of sides.

“Most people assume we are only a burger place, but we have a wide range on the menu, with great salads, perhaps the best in Wellington, and amazing other dishes,” Gannon-Ledsome added.

The appetizers also turn heads with their presentation. For example, the signature appetizer is the Giant Funnel Tower of Jumbo Piston Onion Rings, which is served on a real piston, tying into the 1920s service station vibe. Edsel’s Hot Pretzels and the Famous Firestone Shrimp are also popular on the appetizer menu.

Don’t forget to save some room! Desserts include throw-back style milkshakes, funnel cake fries, a brownie sundae and key lime pie.

The Ford’s Garage concept began in 2012 in Fort Myers, an area known as the vacation destination for Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. The flagship restaurant opened just down the street from Henry Ford’s famous winter residence.

The restaurant’s décor is a step back in time to the dawn of the automobile age, feeding Wellington restaurant goers’ appetites by way of a Prohibition-era filling station. The scene is set from the moment you open the door at the entrance with its gas pump handles, flanked by two retro gas pumps.

Ford’s Garage continues this nostalgic feel with its throwback pieces of Americana. Several restored Ford Model Ts fill the 6,000-square-foot space for guests to admire as they enjoy a meal.

The main bar has a Model T hanging as a centerpiece, complete with a working horn and “smoke” that spews from the back. There’s plenty to enjoy at the bar, particularly if you are a beer lover. Craft beer is part of the restaurant’s flair. There’s a selection of 150 beers in all, in homage to the Ford F-150.

“We also have a variety of specialty drinks, such as the Lincoln Punch, which features Mount Gay Rum, as well as the Model Tea and the Ford’s Old Fashioned,” Ledsome said.

Happy hour is between 2 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 premium well drinks and $2 off drinks and drafts. Also featured on the drink menu are several frozen drinks, such as spiked lemonades and margaritas.

The Wellington restaurant, which opened in June 2019, was the chain’s first southeast Florida location. There are 13 other Florida locations, with two outside Florida in Michigan and Indiana.

Ford’s Garage offers both indoor and outdoor dining, along with online ordering and curbside pickup. Home delivery can be arranged through Delivery Dudes.

“We also do catering,” Gannon-Ledsome said. “For example, we just did the catering for the World Championship Equestrian Triathlon, a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club.”

Ford’s Garage is located inside the Mall at Wellington Green at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 122, near the Patio Verde entrance. Hours are Sundays, noon to 7 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call (561) 805-3673 or visit www.fordsgarageusa.com.

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Southern-Style Shrimp And Grits A Must-Try New Dish At DeVine Bistro

Southern-Style Shrimp And Grits A Must-Try New Dish At DeVine Bistro

Over the past 12 years, DeVine Bistro has become a popular Wellington dining spot for taste-tempting food served with style in a comfortable atmosphere.

Evenings at DeVine Bistro begin at 5 p.m. with drink specials, and the nightly menu features a homemade soup of the day, delectable appetizers to choose from, a wide selection of salads and sandwiches, a bevy of favorite entrées, and some surprising daily specials — all served with a varied array of distinctive side dishes.

New to chef and restaurateur David Palmateer’s menu is a delicious southern specialty, Shrimp and Grits. It is his very own DeVine Bistro twist on the traditional, down-home dish.

The new entrée first debuted on the specialty board, but soon after was moved to the regular menu due to its growing popularity.

“I ‘discovered’ a Georgia take on the dish during a family trip to Savannah,” Palmateer explained. “My son said, ‘Dad you’ve got to make this.’ So, I made it at home for the family with my own special twists, and the family decision was that it had to become a special [at the bistro].”

For the dish, Palmateer selects from the best of the freshest Florida Gulf Coast shrimp. He seasons the shrimp in his own unique way, and then he expertly sears them to perfection.

The dish also uses applewood bacon and Palmateer’s uniquely developed take on grits. Instead of the typical creamy potage-type of grit presentation, he makes crispy grits. “They are creamy on the inside, with cheddar cheese chunks, and like a crusty cake on the outside,” he explained.

Somewhat resembling the look of a crab cake, these delights are served amid the shrimp, lovingly touched with a cream-based mornay sauce seasoned with New Orleans-styled spices, including jalapeño and scallions, for just the right level of delicious comfort.

Comments from diners have been very positive, Palmateer said, and his wife Sara Palmateer added that the dish proved to be a huge success.

“It became immediately popular,” she said. “So much so, that customers were disappointed when they came in and it wasn’t on the specials board that night. We just redid the menu and put it on there, so now it is available every night.”

The Palmateers opened DeVine Bistro 12 years ago after David found success as a chef with two other notable and well-received restaurants, Café Chardonnay in Palm Beach Gardens and Off the Vine Bistro near PGA Blvd. While he is always on duty running the kitchen, Sara can be found handling everything else, from administration to dessert, at this classic American bistro located in front of the Mall at Wellington Green.

Wellington residents since 2006, the couple made the village their home after they got to know and love the community when their young daughter, Ashley, came to frequent autism therapy sessions in Wellington. They moved here to be closer to the sessions and to raise the family in the community.

Over the past decade, the bistro has grown more and more famous among residents, local celebrities and equestrians, in and out of season, for specializing in what the Palmateers like to call “comfort food.” With a menu that features delicious takes on shrimp, fish, chicken, pork and beef, everything is prepared from scratch, using the freshest ingredients they can find. Diners can taste the difference in their ingredients, the Palmateers stressed.

Impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns, the Palmateers took the opportunity to undergo extensive remodeling. “Today, the restaurant has high-back booths, so people sit in a more private and friendly space,” Sara said. “It has a more elegant treatment with tablecloths, but it is still our famous comfort food.”

Those popular pastries and desserts Sara makes are all prepared in-house as well.

“I grew up in the country, in upstate New York, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom who taught me the importance of homemade desserts,” she said.

They are all based on the comfort food theme. Banana cream pie with chocolate graham cracker crust and fresh banana chunks is a favorite. “I also make chocolate cream pies, crumb cakes and things like that — all made right here with all the freshest ingredients,” she said.

David began his craft early, as he grew up in a restaurant family. There he developed his love for good food and his ethic of long hours and hard work. His family had restaurants in upstate New York and eventually in North Palm Beach.

DeVine Bistro is located at 2465 State Road 7, Suite 300, in Wellington. It is open daily, except Monday, for dinner from 5 p.m. to close. For more information, call (561) 204-5432 or visit www.devinebistro.com.

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Herb-Crusted Lamb A Customer Favorite At Kaluz Restaurant

Herb-Crusted Lamb A Customer Favorite At Kaluz Restaurant

Kaluz Restaurant is a dining gem, brimming with upscale modern/new American cuisine with a unique ambiance all its own. Smooth circular lighting and relaxingly lit water fountains in the open concept dining room make for an elegant yet laid back atmosphere. Now in its third year, it’s all about new twists on traditional comfort foods.

“We provide excellently executed staples,” Kaluz Executive Chef Ian Carpenter said. “There’s a lot of places you can get a burger and fries, or a piece of fish, but we like to rise to the occasion and do that a couple steps above.”

“We’re definitely a meat and potatoes kind of crowd,” General Manager Patrick O’Keefe added.

One of those featured meat and potatoes dishes is the incredibly popular herb-crusted lamb rack with parmesan mashed potatoes and roasted heirloom carrots topped with a balsamic port wine reduction.

“It’s a feature, once a week,” Carpenter explained. “It’s a cooler night food, almost a comfort food, but in an elevated way.”

Ingredients include finely chopped herbs, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.

“I encrust the lamb rack, sear it to render outside fat and slow-roast it in the oven. Most people prefer it mid-rare to medium, but whatever you like. If you want it well done or want it rare, we can do that as well,” Carpenter said.

It’s pleasantly plated with creamy parmesan mashed potatoes.

“They’re a little rustic. You get a little bit of chunks in there. We don’t whip them to puree. They’re well-seasoned, so you can get all the flavors of the parmesan,” he said.

The heirloom carrots are slow roasted with garlic, shallots, salt and pepper.

“You can pair it with a cabernet or a nice blend, even a pinot. It’s definitely a nice meal to have when it’s 60 degrees out, along with a nice bottle of wine,” Carpenter said.

The restaurant’s ambiance complements what they call well-crafted food ranging from $16 to $46, and a wide variety of drinks to enhance the dining experience.

“We have 15 hand-crafted cocktails. You pick a spirit and try to do something fun and new with it. A lot of classics revisited,” O’Keefe said. “The mojitos and the mules are quite popular, as is the Kaluz signature martini and anything with vodka. Tito’s is a go to. As is a large wine selection, and a number of beers.”

The neighborhood hotspot is a staple for residents and equestrians during season. Flanked by hotels brings many out-of-town visitors. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., offering a wide selection of little bites and flatbreads all under $10. The main menu is equally diverse.

“The diversity of our menu is one of our standouts, being accessible to any pocketbook. If you want to come in and have two iced teas and a couple of burgers, you can get out of here for two people under $50. Or if you want a bottle of wine and two entrées, you can come in and knock yourself out,” O’Keefe said.

The Wellington location opened nearly three years ago, with the original now in its eighth year in Fort Lauderdale with a more seafood-driven menu, being on the Intracoastal Waterway. A third location is in the works to open within a year in Plantation.

Carpenter, who started with the company’s Fort Lauderdale location, calls himself very adaptable, coming from the Chicago restaurant scene and first getting his experience in Wisconsin Dells, where he was born and raised. He began working seasonally in the tourist town when he was 13 years old. Now, 23 years later, and a long résumé of work under many talented people, he said it’s that experience and hard work that drives him to make the Wellington location a happy one.

“I try two to three recipes a week at home and think of how I can develop it into something here. How do I execute this on a large-scale setting? That’s what challenges me. That’s what motivates me,” Carpenter explained. “I like using the best ingredients to create the best food I can that someone’s going to enjoy. That’s what I take joy out of.”

The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Carryout is available, ordering through the Kaluz web site, as is delivery through Delivery Dudes. Indoor and outdoor seating is available following all COVID-19 guidelines.

Kaluz is located in front of the Mall at Wellington Green just off Forest Hill Blvd. at 2025 Wellington Green Drive. Call (561) 784-5500 for reservations or visit www.kaluzrestaurant.com for more information.

 

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Village Music Café Pairs Culture And Entertainment With Great Food And Drink

When it comes to music and business, timing is everything. For Steve and Donna Willey, owners of Village Music Café, that’s what makes both of them, and their business, tick.
“I just love this spot. It’s the perfect size and right at the entrance to the mall,” Donna Willey said.
This hometown treasure, now located near Barnes & Noble and Walgreens in the Shoppes at Wellington Green, first opened its doors in 2012 near Fresh Market. A few years later, not only did they need more room, but they also wanted to try a new concept, adding a café space to what was previously just a music store.
Located just one shopping plaza over, the new venue has brought a world of change, hitting a high note with both regulars and newcomers each week.
“We really see ourselves as a cultural center that brings the community together,” Donna said.
It’s a cultural center surrounded by the arts. It includes not only music lessons, live music, instrument sales and monthly exhibits by local artists, but it’s also all tied together with artisanal food. That food, along with various craft beers and wine, harmoniously set the stage for all things art.
“The stage is an integral part of what we wanted to do,” Donna explained. “Once we had that, we decided we needed to open this up to the community and bring in local artists. And that has become an extremely popular phenomenon. People love to come here and see local musicians play — and we get great talent here.”
That talent runs the gamut from jazz to rock, comedians to open mic nights, art exhibits to mixers, from the accomplished to those just starting out.
“During the day, it’s a hangout for parents while their kids are taking lessons. They grab a gourmet coffee or a snack while waiting. The kids will have a snack when they come out. In the evening, it turns into a place where the community hangs out,” Donna said.
A hangout filled with dark-toned bistro tables with high-backed seating along the back wall. Each month, paintings by local artists rotate, hanging throughout the space. A dim and relaxed atmosphere with sparkling tea lights dotting the tables create a calm ambiance, all while visitors nosh on some tasty eats.
For starters, there’s the Charcuterie Board for $20. It’s loaded with mixed meats and cheeses, including prosciutto, salami, serrano ham and capicola. Cheeses include white cheddar, port wine and smoked gouda. Marinated mozzarella balls, olives, artichokes, grapes and bread fill it all in. “We had a lot of input from different chefs that we worked with,” Donna said.
Other starters include hummus, ceviche, as well as fresh guacamole paired with homemade spinach tortilla chips for $8.
“Thursday through Saturday, we have a grill outside. On those nights, we have the full menu that includes New York strip steaks, pork chops, tacos and all kinds of fun stuff. The menu is constantly evolving,” Donna added.
From a gourmet cheeseburger, made with eight ounces of sirloin on a brioche bun served with homemade steak fries for $10, to grilled or blackened salmon with broccoli, for $13.
“It’s really having something nice to eat and a glass of wine to enjoy with the food,” Donna explained. “It’s not a place people come to drink, but people come to eat and listen to the music. It’s one of the reasons we get high-level musicians playing here, because they’re not background music. They are the focus.”
A large focus is also put on the selection of available craft beers and wines — from California wines to South American, New Zealand and more. “I had a vision of what I wanted. It came from all my time in Europe,” Donna said.
It’s in Europe that the couple originally met in 1987. Steve, a U.S. Army veteran, was stationed in Germany where Donna was in graduate school. Both had musical backgrounds. A year later, Steve was sent back to Texas, while Donna finished her studies. The two were separated, and they went on to marry others and start families.
But 23 years later, Donna got a message from Steve. At a time, both had been divorced. “He found me on Facebook, and we were reunited,” she recalled.
In that nearly quarter of a century, there was still music involved between the two. A love song that had been lost, still waiting to be heard.
“Steve had written a song called, ‘Donna Sweet Donna.’ An army buddy did a water painting and calligraphy with the lyrics. But I moved after our breakup and never got it. He assumed I just wasn’t interested anymore. He played it over the phone for me. So, that was the beginning,” Donna said.
Steve headed back to Germany to be with her. The two eventually moved to Boston, where they’re both originally from. “Boston is too cold, and Steve’s parents were down in Florida,” Donna explained.
Steve soon sold his music store in the northeast, and the search for a Florida location began, bringing them to Wellington.
It seems to have been written in the stars when they made that decision, as now they and others shine bright on the stage they created for a community of all generations and backgrounds, sharing a love of music accompanied by great food and drink.
Village Music Café is located at 10410 W. Forest Hill Blvd. near Walgreens in the Shoppes at Wellington Green. For additional information, call (561) 798-5334 or visit www.villagemusicwellington.com. Check online for weekly events and menu specials. Table reservations are recommended.

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It’s All About Quality Ingredients And Great Presentation At India Grill & Bar Imported Spices

It’s All About Quality Ingredients And Great Presentation At India Grill & Bar

Imported Spices

For nearly a decade, India Grill & Bar has been serving authentic old and modern Indian cuisine in Royal Palm Beach. The restaurant has developed a loyal following of customers from all over the region, happily welcoming new patrons as well.

The restaurant is designed to look like an Indian palace with hues of gold and a circular 400-gallon saltwater fish aquarium as the centerpiece. That ambiance, mixed with fresh, imported spices, is what restaurant manager and owner Soye Thomas said it’s all about.

“I’m from the land of spices! That’s one primary thing for us. Much of it we import straight from India. We never use powder,” he said. “We get the cardamom and organic cumin. We have dried cumin straight from India. We roast and grind all our spices right here. The flavor and aroma is so fresh and real. It’s amazing. Next, we focus on getting the best produce. Once we have that, the rest is easy.”

One of his favorite spices — cloves. “It has a spark to it,” he said. “A burst of flavor.”

The daily lunch buffet is a great way to get a taste of it all.

For starters, try the Sambar lentil soup, Tandoori chicken and vegetable samosa.

Buffet entrees include chicken tikka masala, lamb roganjosh, chicken biryani on the bone and daal makhni. For sweets, you can enjoy galab jamun and Punjabi phirni. The entire buffet is offered daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all for $9.95.

A wide selection of light and fluffy naan is extremely popular with guests. Flavors include cheese naan that’s mildly spiced, there’s also garlic with cilantro and Kashmiri naan, which is mildly sweet with cashew and pine nuts, coconut, saffron, honey and raisins.

When it comes to dinner entrees, there are a number of Tandoori specialties to choose from — all made to order. The most popular is the mixed grill platter. It’s a combination of tandoori grilled shrimp, seasoned lamb chops and tandoori grilled chicken tikka. “We use an all-charcoal grill,” Thomas explained. “It sears all the juices inside.”

Several vegetarian and vegan-friendly options are available on the menu, as are gluten-free choices.

The restaurant also offers a banquet hall for up to 200 people. It includes a separate entrance, private bar and reception area, suited for private parties or corporate events.

There’s also a tasting room for as many as 20 people, also privately set with its own bar. In addition to the restaurant as home base, Thomas also runs a nationwide catering company known as Madras Catering & Event Production.

“We are very big into catering weddings and large events. We’ve done events at the Breakers, Boca Resort, Fontainebleau and Four Seasons,” Thomas said.

It’s at Four Seasons, JW Marriott and Hyatt where Thomas worked in management after coming to the United States from India in 1997. He used that experience and added his own twist, with now 17 years of catering under his belt. He has catered an average of 40 weddings a year, often with 300 people or more per event.

“For me, it’s very personal,” Thomas said. “The food, presentation, food culture, spices, quality of ingredients. I get to know the clients.”

It’s that same personal touch that makes India Grill & Bar a success. “Guests come here and say, ‘Wow! The food is amazing.’ But they don’t realize the chefs cooking for those weddings are the same ones cooking for them,” he said. “There are no shortcuts, anywhere.”

There are also no shortcuts when it comes to a great Sunday brunch. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a culinary experience is topped with bottomless mimosas.

“We bring a grill to the table, a live station, dosa of all varieties,” Thomas said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come and taste everything.”

For Sunday brunch, adults are $16.95, while children are $6.95.

The cuisine for both the restaurant and catering covers all areas of India with four chefs, each from a different region. “We have a south Indian chef, a north Indian chef, one from Bombay for the snacks and one from the east side to cover all the seafood,” Thomas explained.

A huge selection fills the bar, including exotic cocktails, a variety of spirits, and a large beer and wine menu.

New plans are also on the horizon for Sunday evenings, which are big in the equestrian community. Coming soon will be dinner specials, a lounge and live DJ until midnight.

Meantime, Thomas and his crew are always looking for new infusions by going on tours to India, checking out new flavors. It’s that deep passion for people and love of food and flavor that keeps them going, to the delight of many happy customers and their taste buds.

The restaurant is open seven days a week with lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. Delivery is available through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Delivery Dudes.

India Grill & Bar is located in the Royal Plaza at 650 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. at the northeast corner of Southern Blvd. For additional information, visit www.indiagrillandbar.com or call (561) 249-7168. Learn more about the catering end of the business at www.madrascatering.com.

 

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