Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

Tasty Delights From Colombia

Tasty Delights From Colombia
El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 Offers Patrons Flavorful Latin Food In A Casual Atmosphere

Story and Photos by Melanie Kopacz

It’s Colombian food as authentic as being in the coffee-growing capital of Pereira itself. The mountainous coffee-growing region of western Colombia is known for mild Arabica beans and a number of traditional flavorful foods. It’s those delectable recipes and other regional Latin dishes that can be found at El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 here in the western communities.

Rinconcito Colombiano is nestled at the southeast corner of Southern Blvd. and State Road 7 in the Western Plaza shopping center with Home Depot. The tricolors of Colombia’s national flag with yellow, blue and red painted outside the restaurant proudly welcome customers as they walk in.

The doors at this location opened four years ago to complement its original West Palm Beach restaurant. For many longtime customers, like Patricia Recalt and her son Giovanni, the food here feeds their soul.

“We’ve shared a lot of special meals over the years. My husband, Arnaldo, who was from Cuba, passed away two years ago. We would come here for the traditional soups,” Patricia Recalt said.

She and her friend, Marielena Hotusing, agreed it’s that soup and the many other Colombian dishes that they find both so comforting and appetizing.

“If we can’t make it, we will come and get it here, because it’s the same thing as making it,” Recalt said. “It’s home-cooked food, and it’s delicious.”

It’s delicious — and also as fresh as you can get.

“Everything is freshly made daily. We even have our own private butcher,” Rinconcito Colombiano’s General Manager Gladys Restrepo said. “We’re always busy because of the natural food and fresh ingredients.”

Fresh ingredients, like in Colombia’s national dish, Bandeja Paisa, from the Antioquia region.

The hearty meal includes grilled steak, fried egg, pork belly, sausage, sweet plantains, beans and rice, as well as a half an avocado. It and other platters range around $13.

The menu also includes flavorful seafood dishes and several chicken options, like Pechuga De Pollo Asada. The marinated and tenderly grilled chicken breast comes with rice and salad.

Tasty and very filling empanadas are enough for a meal in itself. While other areas of South America make the pockets with dough, Colombian empanadas are made from corn meal and deep fried, making for a soft-yet-crunchy bite into the full chunks of lean beef and potato mixture steaming hot inside. Aside from beef filling, you can get them with either chicken or cheese, and they are $1.59 each.

Sandwiches include the Colombian Burger topped with bacon, pineapple, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and oozing with ketchup, mustard and mayo, with a topping of potato chips and served with a side of fries.

The restaurant’s walls feature the typical street art in the city of Pereira, where Restrepo hails from, with a brightly painted mural of the mountainous landscape as a traditional bus travels along the Andes mountainside. A trellis hangs above with greenery. TVs fill the corners set to stations from the home country.

The restaurant is often filled with people from all ethnicities and ages enjoying the food and conversation. The cozy dining room features a mixture of tables of four to some booths and high tops. There’s seating for 55, as well as an outdoor patio. Or sit up at the bar and grab one of the traditional coffees, like cafe con leche, or a frothy cappuccino. There are also a number of fresh juices, like passion fruit with milk. Several imported libations are also available with a running special of a bucket of beer or Cubetazo at $19 for five.

A number of bakery items will tease your tastebuds, including cheese-filled breads like Pandebono. About a dozen delectable pastries are on display for the choosing. There are also gourmet desserts, like creamy rice pudding and more.

If it’s a meal to start out the day, breakfast is served every day until noon with a number of popular dishes. The Tamal Paisa, a breakfast tamale, is a favorite for many. A corn cake stuffed with chicken, pork, potatoes, peas and carrots, it is then wrapped in banana leaves with a side of rice or corn cake.

Latin music fills the background as people enjoy the cultural culinary delights. For many, it truly is a taste of home.

“Our staff is like family,” Restrepo said, adding that the nationally recognized Colombian food at Rinconcito Colombiano comes from many family recipes.

She wants all who eat there to feel the same love in those recipes, too.

El Rinconcito Colombiano #2 is located at 9900 Southern Blvd. in the shopping plaza at the southeast corner of State Road 7 and Southern Blvd. near Home Depot. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with breakfast served from 7 a.m. to noon. For more information or takeout, call (561) 304-8650 or (561) 469-1689.

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Great Food With Amazing Entertainment

Great Food With Amazing Entertainment Newly Renovated Boonies Wild West Saloon Serves Up Great Food With A Country Flair

Story and Photos by Melanie Kopacz

Boonies Wild West Saloon is like an old friend waving to drivers along a road, not so less traveled anymore. But the longtime hangout along busy Southern Blvd. in Loxahatchee Groves is seeing a vibrant rebirth. It’s bringing in a multi-generational crowd that can enjoy a variety of live music, mouthwatering American cuisine with a southern twist and an all-around down-home vibe.

“Our staff is the heart and soul of this place and takes care of everyone who walks through that door,” General Manager Jim Wallace said. “We try to focus on treating everyone like they’re family from the minute they walk in.”

Since its re-opening under new ownership in September 2021, a new vision has come to life for Boonies.

“It’s a vision of having a western live venue. The area needed it. A local place they can go to dance, listen to live music and enjoy a great family friendly experience,” Wallace said.

Larger-than-life prints of country icons like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash welcome you in, while an array of flickering hues ranging from electric blue to green and pink along a stage backed by an American flag plays host to out-of-town bands as well as local acts.

“It’s almost electric when you walk in on a Friday or Saturday night, and you have the live bands playing, and you see people up and dancing and just having a great time,” Wallace said. “We recently had a Toby Keith Tribute band. That was really exciting.”

Just as exciting as the live entertainment is the wide-ranging menu. Part steakhouse, part southern pub, Boonies is a blend that has an array of options for anyone’s taste.

For meat lovers, there’s a number of options. From hand-cut filet mignon to Delmonico hand-cut boneless ribeye, or the Chairman’s Reserve New York Strip, which happens to be the chef’s favorite. “I cut all the steaks by hand, and we grill to order. People love them. My favorite is the New York strip, but this crowd loves the ribeye,” explained Arturo Lorenzo, the chef at Boonies Wild West Saloon.

The crowd also loves the Lollipop Lamb Chops. This delicacy is a huge seller. “They’re French style,” Lorenzo said. “We marinate them overnight with garlic, rosemary and mint, and grill them to the customer’s taste, then add a balsamic glaze.”

The redskin whipped potatoes with gravy along with steamed asparagus are two of the most popular pairings. Two sides come with each entrée, with a number of choices.

The Wild West Burger comes made to order topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, sizzling applewood bacon and a trio of beer-battered onion rings on a brioche bun accompanied by light, crispy French fries.

Boonies’ Gator Bites are also a top favorite. Deep fried, locally sourced gator is made to order and served with the house special sauce. The Stacked Nachos are also a crowd-pleasing appetizer piled with homemade chili, queso, pico de gallo, jalapeños and cilantro crema.

For greens, salad options include Boonies’ House with mixed lettuce, cucumbers, cheddar jack cheese, tomatoes, red onions, croutons and a choice of dressing. Options of lightly blackened shrimp, salmon, mahi-mahi or chicken can be added.

“Our chef is phenomenal,” Wallace said. “He’s gifted and cares about every ingredient in everything that’s made. We have an incredible team in the kitchen. They have a dedication to putting out great food.”

A fully stocked bar and friendly bartending staff is ready to serve from open to close. Order your favorite or choose from signature cocktails, which can be served in a Boonies’ 20-ounce souvenir LED cowboy boot mug with colors beaming through drinks like in the Boot Scootin’, which is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Malibu Rum, Creme De Banana, pineapple and orange juice, with a touch of grenadine. The Southern Mule has its own spin made with Jameson Orange Whiskey, Fever Tree Ginger Beer and lime juice.

The weekly event schedule is packed. Each day and night of the week there is action. Mondays are open for various community events with a big focus on charity.

“We’re very big into giving back. We try to sponsor as much as we can,” Wallace said. “Every month, we do a different charity event where we do a quarter auction option in addition to a portion of proceeds from sales.”

Tuesdays are always for karaoke, so warm up those vocals and grab the mic. Wednesdays are Bingo Night, popular and friendly for all ages with payouts. Thursday night is Ladies Night with line dancing lessons, an in-house DJ until midnight and discounted drinks.

Fridays and Saturdays are all about live entertainment with bands from near and far taking center stage. Finally, on Sundays, it’s poker at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.

There are a number of specials each week. Monday through Friday, happy hour runs from open until 6 p.m. with two-for-one well drinks, domestic drafts and house wine, as well as 25 percent off appetizers. Early bird specials run from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., when entrées are the same portion size at a discounted price.

“We didn’t want to change the portion, but allow for those who don’t want to be out late to still get to try our most popular items, without sacrificing size,” Wallace explained.

For the really early birds, breakfast is also now being served both Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7 to 11 a.m.

A kids menu ranging from burger bites to meatball marinara with several sides make for a well-rounded selection.

For sweet treats, desserts include Killer Key Lime Pie, as well as a Turtle Cheesecake topped with chocolate ganache, creamy caramel and pecans.

Aside from the food and drinks, it’s game time with a billiards area to the left of the bar, which offers additional seating, relaxed lighting and bar games. The pool tables extend outside under the large patio area, which will include an outdoor bar come late spring. Both smoking and non-smoking outdoor areas are available. Corn hole is also on hand to play.

With so many options, Boonies strives to be an all-in-one, early morning and late-night place for everyone.

“We’re really all about the community, not just giving back, but trying to make them feel this is a place they can call their own,” Wallace said. “From regulars to those trying for the first time, we want to exceed their expectations.”

Find Boonies on Facebook and Instagram for the daily schedule and specials. Take out is available, as is delivery from DoorDash. The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday, and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Boonies Wild West Saloon is located in the Palms West Plaza at 14555 Southern Blvd. in Loxahatchee Groves. For more information, call (561) 855-7405 or visit www.booniesfl.com.

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Palm Beach Meets New York City

Palm Beach Meets New York City
Maxwell’s Plum Restaurant Brings A Piece Of History To Life In Wellington

Story by Jennifer Martinez  |  Photos by Libby Volgyes

Wellington just got a little sexier with the opening of Maxwell’s Plum, a new restaurant on South Shore Blvd. The vibe: think Palm Beach meets New York City. The food: tantalizing tapas, a delectable raw bar and entrée options for every taste. The cocktails: handcrafted, thoughtful and always craveable. And, of course, an entertainment lineup that has already solidified its place on the social scene.

“We are excited to have opened with season here in Wellington,” owner Jenny Oz LeRoy said. “I grew up in the original Maxwell’s Plum and loved what the restaurant meant to so many. In day-to-day travels, we always hear the most incredible stories from those who visited. It became a dream of mine to open a new Maxwell’s Plum, and what better place than Wellington?”

LeRoy, the great-granddaughter of Jack Warner, a legendary Hollywood director, producer and one of the founders of the film studio Warner Brothers, spent her youth in New York City’s iconic Tavern on the Green, the Russian Tea Room and the original Maxwell’s Plum, all of which her parents Kay and Warner LeRoy owned and operated. And, her middle name, that is no accident. With a life of adventure and excitement, it was only fitting to incorporate a little of her grandfather’s heroine, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz.

In this new venture, LeRoy, an avid equestrian who has been visiting and competing in Wellington since 2001, and her team have captured the original New York City restaurant vibe while crafting a new dining experience. The focus was a marriage of creating a destination for locals and knowing the importance of events that complement Wellington’s equestrian season.

The restaurant has quickly become a must-visit for world travelers and, year-round, South Florida residents. Aside from the weekly drag nights and polo after parties, the culinary team has designed a menu of locally sourced ingredients presented among impeccable tablescapes.

The menu already has standout favorites, including the house-made chips and Truffled French Onion Dip; Steak Tartare with wagyu terres major, smoked egg yolk, traditional garnish and crostini; and Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with olives, capers and lemon confit. Pizzas, steaks, chops and a full raw bar round out the menu.

Leading the beverage program is Christian Hartmann, who hand selects each and every ingredient being served in the cocktails. While his talents speak for themselves, it is his warm and energetic personality that puts guests at ease while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones to try new cocktails. His hand-curated wine list is not to be missed, nor is the Rosé Café, which will soon feature a drive-through option.

Just as important as what is being served, is the setting. As the original Maxwell’s Plum was known for being a showcase filled with Art Nouveau decor, kaleidoscopic stained-glass ceilings and walls, Tiffany lamps, ceramic animals, etched glass and crystal, LeRoy knew that opening a new location without several pieces of art from the original location would be a miss. Using her stylistic eye, she was able to incorporate pieces into the new look, while keeping that fresh, South Florida feel.

“My dad was very theatrical and larger than life in his trademark paisley suits. Maxwell’s Plum is where he met my mom and basically where I grew up,” said LeRoy, who noted that the family’s popular restaurant was once serving an average 1,200 customers a day. “He hand-selected so many of the décor pieces, and I wanted to honor him by bringing them here.”

Following her father’s passing in 2001, LeRoy successfully managed Tavern on the Green until 2009 when she married two of her biggest passions — horses and events. She founded Shale Hill Hospitality and turned her 82-acre Hudson Valley working horse farm into a magical wedding and unique event venue specializing in outdoor dining.

That experience is the perfect addition to the offerings of Maxwell’s Plum’s off-site catering and experiences, which can be brought to life from Wellington to Palm Beach and everywhere in between and beyond.

“My father often quoted director Elia Kazan, who told him, ‘You’ve got to go out on a limb, and if you don’t fall off the limb, you haven’t gone out far enough.’ I’ve remembered this at the start of every new challenge,” said LeRoy, whose love of horses also led her to Wellington, where she continues to offer private events to clients both on and off-site.

Maxwell’s Plum is currently serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 5 p.m. Happy hour/social hour is 5 to 7 p.m. daily, and special nightly events happen weekly. Stay tuned for lunch and brunch service coming soon.

Maxwell’s Plum is located at 12300 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington’s Mizner Place plaza. To learn more, call (561) 793-2110. For up-to-date information, visit www.maxwellsplum.com and follow @maxwellsplum for updates.

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Fine Dining With Innovative Twists

The Clubhouse At Palm Beach Polo Brings Unforgettable Flavors To Wellington At A Venue Great For All Occasions

Story by Callie Sharkey  |  Photos by Jenny Schartner

The Clubhouse at PBPCC, located in the Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club, offers dishes that are both creative and traditional in a setting fit for any occasion.

With beautiful views of the golf course and elegant décor, guests can enjoy a relaxed meal with friends or colleagues, or reserve larger spaces for special events.

Following years of success as the seasonal venue Patio at Polo, husband and wife owners Sheila Motley and Chef Mathew Allen committed to a year-round concept, opening the Clubhouse in the fall of 2019.

“After three years, the Patio at Polo lease was finished,” Motley said. “We were lucky enough to build a relationship with the owner, and we shifted to a larger space and are now open year-round.”

The Patio at Polo was consistently selling out during the equestrian season, and the couple decided to transition to a full-time concept, which remains busy enough that reservations are recommended.

While popular with Palm Beach Polo residents and members, the restaurant is open to the public.

“The Clubhouse offers the best event venue in Wellington. We have numerous outdoor spaces, as well as a variety of indoor options,” Motley said. “Our staff is well-versed in hosting small and large groups, as well as team members with successful careers in event planning and catering.”

Having trained staff at your service means that any occasion can be transformed into the event of the year. From quiet dinners to large receptions, the Clubhouse has a dedicated space for any need. The private dining room is perfect for groups of 12 or less, and patrons have options seating up to 100 guests without even having to book the full venue.

Guests do not have to be country club members to enjoy the amazing cuisine and exceptional service available. Looking for that special place to celebrate? The Clubhouse has you covered.

“The terrace tables make a perfect location for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner,” said Motley, who suggests a 6 p.m. reservation to enjoy the stunning sunset view. The Clubhouse’s outdoor seating was so coveted even before the pandemic that the restaurant has expanded the amount of available terrace space with golf course views.

While the location is lovely, it is the food that makes this restaurant spectacular. The menu is designed around classic dishes with an upscale twist and flawless execution.

“The short rib with potato puree and roast Brussels sprouts is very popular here, as well as the salmon with Mediterranean flavors of tomatoes, olives and capers,” Motley said. “My personal favorite is the goat cheese with caramelized onions and honey — it is so delicious it could be a dessert!”

Allen hails from Britain, where the cuisine is known for being hearty, but don’t expect to find any casual pub fare at the Clubhouse. The dishes are designed with a community of athletic patrons in mind. Catering to avid golfers and tennis players, along with dedicated equestrians, the menu is bursting with healthy, protein-packed options to keep one fit and feeling satisfied.

Allen was born in Colchester, England, and has always been passionate about creating classic American dishes with a contemporary twist. He came to the U.S. at age 18 for an internship with the Orient Express Group at the prestigious Keswick Hall in Virginia. He moved to Palm Beach County in 2010 and then traveled the country as a personal chef, serving many celebrity guests.

“We met while working together at the same restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I worked as the special events and catering manager, and he was the head chef,” Motley said. “We worked together then and still do. When we were ready to leave, I immediately wanted to come to Wellington.”

Motley grew up spending winters with her parents here in Wellington, while showing and competing during the equestrian season. “My parents started coming down when I was a child, so I’ve seen it grow from a tiny town with a little polo to what it is now,” Motley said. “We are so happy to be in this community and raising our son here in Wellington.”

The restaurant is more than just a local hotspot. It is becoming a culinary icon in Wellington and in the greater equestrian community.

“The Clubhouse offers intimate spaces for 12 guests up to large event capacities of 250-plus guests. The earlier the client books a space the better, so we may customize any needs they may have,” Motley said.

From weddings and bar mitzvahs to private dinners, patrons can rest assured they will receive outstanding treatment and there will certainly be something on the menu for everyone to enjoy.

The Clubhouse at PBPCC is located at 11630 Polo Club Road in Wellington. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served the same days from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are required for non-members and can be arranged by calling (561) 660-3300. For more info., and to view the menu, visit www.theclubhousepbpcc.com.

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Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

One of the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s most popular traditions is returning to Wellington this season, offering polo enthusiasts a chance to liven up the end of their weekends. Say goodbye to boring Sundays, because Sunday brunch at IPC will be the most exciting part of your week, setting the tone for the next seven days.

Every week of the 2022 high-goal polo season in Wellington, which begins Jan. 2 and runs through April 24, guests have a chance to get close to the polo action with champagne in hand and a delicious brunch spread to enjoy.

IPC’s flagship events are the Sunday feature polo matches, which showcase some of the best players and polo ponies in the world as they vie for the top prize in seven separate tournaments.

The season opens with the Iglehart Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup and Ylvisaker Cup in January, and then continues with the coveted Gauntlet of Polo series in February, March and April, which includes the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Every Sunday at 2 p.m., the doors open to the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion for eager brunch-goers, and the match starts at 3 p.m.

The best part? No horse sense or polo know-how is necessary. The thrill of the game, paired with the elegance of the outfits and the wonderful hospitality offerings, combine for a uniquely memorable experience for everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the “sport of kings.”

“We are proud to showcase some of the best hospitality that Palm Beach County has to offer at IPC. Our chefs and caterers are second to none, and I would encourage everyone to spend a Sunday afternoon with us to try the food, drink champagne and enjoy the incredible sport,” said Paul Regal, vice president of operations and catering services at IPC.

On the east side of the field, the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion can fit up to 300 people on the covered patio, a perfectly comfortable setting for a respite from the sun, while staying close to the equestrian action — sometimes just feet away. The chefs create beautifully crafted food stations that range from shrimp and steak to fruit and desserts, so your plate will surely be full. And as with any great brunch, don’t hesitate to get seconds and thirds!

At halftime, brunch guests are invited to participate in the divot stomp, where fans walk onto the field and flip the grass divots back into place that have been kicked up from the horse’s hooves. Take advantage of the champagne truck, which drives the length of the field during the divot stomp to pour free champagne.

Tables for brunch can accommodate two to eight people, with upgrade options available for bottles of champagne, VIP seating or to ensure a front row seat in order to have an unobstructed view of the amazing polo action. Ticket sales close the Friday before each Sunday match, so don’t wait until the last minute.

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.

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Bright Colors & Delicious Flavors Eat Like A Local At For The Luv Of Food, Which Opened Recently In The Original Wellington Mall

Bright Colors & Delicious Flavors Eat Like A Local At For The Luv Of Food, Which Opened Recently In The Original Wellington Mall

By Callie Sharkey

Foodies know that the best way to find memorable meals is to find where the locals go. For those who grew up in Wellington, nothing says local more than the original Wellington Mall. One of the newest additions to the familiar site is a smart little café called For the Luv of Food.

The menu is filled with bright flavors and lots of healthy options, but a highlight is the variety of taste-tempting bubble teas. Not sure what makes a bubble tea? Owner Kim Seow is happy to provide some insight and help you find the perfect drink to match your mood.

“The whole concept of bubble tea is milk-based, so it’s creamy, but not heavy or as thick as a smoothie,” Seow said. “We have the milk-based ones and the fruit teas, that’s the difference. They also come with boba toppings, like a chewy tapioca boba or mango popping boba.”

These refreshing teas are highlighted by the boba pearls that burst with flavor in a way so satisfying it reminds one of finding the prize in the bottom of a cereal box. Popular bubble teas at For the Luv of Food are the taro (a sweet and delightfully purple concoction), mango dream, and strawberries and cream.

“Bubble tea people often ask me, ‘Why doesn’t this taste like the ones I find down the street?’ I explain that it’s all about the ingredients. I’m very picky with our products and won’t accept anything that tastes chalky or artificial,” Seow said. “It is lighter than a milkshake — creamy but light. We also do almond milk and oat milk for people who want the creamy taste, but not the milk.”

Light, refreshing options are a must-have in South Florida, and Seow’s café also is a great resource for those dealing with dietary restrictions. Instead of being bored with the same flavor profiles, she has made it her mission to bring new, fun flavors that anyone can enjoy.

“Years ago, my diet changed a lot. There are things I cannot eat, and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Seow said. “That’s how I learned about gluten free and dairy free. So, we are sure to offer gluten free and vegan options. We are trying to make everything healthier but tasty, because if something doesn’t taste good, I know I can’t eat it.”

With Jamaican and Chinese heritage, Seow’s passion for food developed to include signature recipes for a made-from-scratch Asian aoli, cilantro lime, Asian vinaigrette and jerk sauce. She embraced a menu of subs, wraps and sandwiches, but quickly found that the healthier cauliflower crust paninis stole the customers’ hearts.

“The cauliflower panini is off the chain!” laughed one repeat customer stopping by to grab a quick lunch. “Oh, and the matcha tea — you have got to try the matcha tea.”

Grab-and-go meals are ready for those who find themselves in a rush, but don’t be surprised to find locals asking for specials like a banh mi sub or Seow’s one-of-a-kind chai bread. The latter is often ordered by the loaf.

“I made chai bread for a family dinner years ago,” Seow recalled. “I saw something on the internet, played with the ingredients and recipe, and then made it into a bread. Now our family always requests it, and my kids said I had to sell it. The minute I tried it, people started ordering it by the loaf.”

Seow originally opened For the Luv of Food in a different location two years ago, but still customers follow and order some of their favorite goods, like brilliant purple ube cupcakes. After two years in Royal Palm Beach, Seow finds herself finally at home, back in Wellington.

“I’ve always wanted to be here. I grew up here. I graduated from Wellington High School,” she said. “I’ve been a Realtor for 22 years out here, but I’ve always loved food. I’m always the one cooking — everyone who comes over, they know they’re gonna eat. My friends said if you love it so much, why wouldn’t you just open a place?”

Seow has always been inspired by “mom-and-pop” eateries and supported them whenever possible, but she never expected to be running one.

“We are food people, we travel everywhere. We did a trip when my boys were younger and went from Maine to New York,” she recalled. “It was literally based on restaurants I found — mom-and-pop places I’d researched.”

Since opening its doors at the end of September, Seow continues to adapt the menu and explore a love of textures and color while listening to what her customers want. Her growing team not only laughs like a family, but also incorporates family, including her talented and experienced brother-in-law, Rod Seow, who has been a chef for years.

For the Luv of Food is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 5B. The café is currently open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the most recent offerings, find For the Luv of Food on Facebook and Instagram @LuvofFoodRPB, or call the café at (561) 408-2113.

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Classic Flavors And So Much More Chicken Salad Chick Brings A Taste Of Home To New Location In Wellington

Classic Flavors And So Much More Chicken Salad Chick Brings A Taste Of Home To New Location In Wellington

By Callie Sharkey

In the land of endless summer, finding a fresh spot to enjoy light but filling food is a prize worth seeking. Now that Chicken Salad Chick has opened in Wellington, the chain’s first location in Palm Beach County, the search is over. This restaurant is more than just traditional chicken salad — it offers 12 different varieties throughout the year, plus seasonal versions of the classic dish.

How can there possibly be more than a dozen versions of chicken salad? Allie Royal has the answer.

“Most homemade recipes are just a version of our classic chicken salad, which is chicken, mayonnaise, finely minced celery and seasoning. Sometimes at home, you’ll add grapes or pecans, but we have something really different, like buffalo chicken salad,” she said. “You don’t normally make that, or a barbecue chicken salad, at home. People can be intimidated by that sometimes, but I tell them, ‘Just try it. I promise it will surprise you.’ More often than not, they fall in love with flavors that they weren’t coming in to order.”

All the versions of chicken salad found at Chicken Salad Chick have unique namesakes. Each flavor profile is inspired by a real-life “chick” too. Traditional styles are the Classic Carol and Olivia’s Old South — the latter embracing southern flavors, including sweet pickles and egg.

“The Kickin’ Kay Lynne is the one I normally get,” co-owner Bryan Royal said without hesitation.

He loves the spicy mix of buffalo sauce, ranch, bacon, shredded cheese, jalapeño and sriracha. Other spicy options include the Jalapeño Holly.

Allie is partial to the Fancy Nancy and Lauryn’s Lemon Basil. The Fancy Nancy is a sweet concoction with the crunch of apples and pecans paired with the sweetness of seedless grapes. Lauryn’s Lemon Basil is on the savory side with basil and lemon flavors.

But there is more to Chicken Salad Chick than, well, just chicken salad. Every day there are hot and fresh soups to choose from, including loaded potato and a rotation of other comforting flavors, such as tomato bisque and broccoli cheese. Not in the mood for chicken? You can also enjoy grape, pasta or egg salads, and mac n’ cheese.

Patrons aren’t likely to get bored anytime soon with the option to take their favorite flavors and have them served as a scoop with crackers, atop a salad or on a sandwich. Dressings range from their signature poppy seed to classics like ranch and Italian.

One great feature of the restaurant is the Quick Chick — a spot where guests can grab various-sized containers of any version of chicken salad, pimento cheese or one of the other salad options, to go.

“Even if it’s not out there [at the Quick Chick kiosk], we can make it for you fresh and fast. If your favorite flavor is sold out, don’t worry. Just let us know what you want, and we will make it just for you,” Allie said.

Founded in Auburn, Alabama, by Stacy and Kevin Brown in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick has grown to more than 200 restaurants in 17 states.

Bryan and Allie Royal met in college at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Allie was familiar with the brand and loved it, but Bryan wasn’t introduced to it until much later. Now the couple has settled back in Florida with their three children, not far from Bryan’s roots in Belle Glade.

Joining them in the business is brother Kevin Royal, who also operates a Chicken Salad Chick location in Gainesville.

“It’s a total family business,” Bryan said. “Siblings, parents, in-laws, cousins — you never know which Royal family member you’ll see when you come in.”

As a Palm Beach County native, Bryan now lives minutes away from the new franchise store and can’t deny the great location. “Our brand fits the Palm Beach market well. It’s close distance-wise from our main office, so it made sense to start here before we expand into north county or south county,” he said.

The Royals are also looking forward to adding a full catering service in the future.

Chicken Salad Chick is located at 12792 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in front of the original Wellington Mall. It offers dine-in, drive through and takeout orders both by phone and online. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, and to check out the lively menu, visit www.chickensaladchick.com or call (561) 623-3437.

 

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Wings, Ribs And So Much More Tree’s Wings & Ribs Brings The Fun With Iconic Food And New Favorites

Wings, Ribs And So Much More Tree’s Wings & Ribs Brings The Fun With Iconic Food And New  Favorites

Story and Photos by Callie Sharkey

Home of some of the best wings around, Tree’s Wings & Ribs is a family establishment at heart, filled with locals in the seats and friendly service since 1995. This downhome hotspot is also on the national radar for serving up its iconic chicken wings, which is impressive for a restaurant that avoids the chain and franchise tags.

“We are super excited about the National Buffalo Wing Festival coming up. It’s invitation only, and they found us,” General Manager Erin Townsend said. “We had to pass all kinds of credentialing to get in back in 2019, and we took third place for our hot sauce last time. This year, we are going up swinging.”

The restaurant caught the attention of Drew Cerza, known as “the Wing King,” after winning best wings locally for 18 years straight. Now, the team is heading back to Buffalo, New York, showcasing four different sauces, including the fan favorite bourbon barbecue, a spicy kick with the “Genghis Khan,” a sweet surprise in the “Elvis” and, of course, the prize-winning hot sauce.

“The Genghis Khan is like a hot, spicy mustard-teriyaki almost. I don’t even know quite how to describe it, but it’s delicious. The Elvis is a peanut butter-sauced wing with a banana drizzle and a touch of marshmallow,” Townsend said. “You won’t find anything like it out there!”

Yet even if wings are not your thing, Tree’s has got you covered with amazing dishes. Try one of the made-from-scratch-daily soups designed by Chef Kauwela Perreira, who originally hails from Hawaii.

“Other than cooking the wings every day and cooking the ribs, I love my soups. We change our soups daily, and we make all the soups from scratch. I love making soups,” Perreira said. “It’s my favorite thing to do. We have Wisconsin beer cheese soup, split pea with black forest ham, conch chowder, crawfish gumbo and French onion soup. We’ve come a long way over the years.”

After three years at Tree’s Wings, Perreira is more than just talent in the kitchen.

“We are super happy to have him,” Townsend said. “He is absolutely an incredible kitchen manager, and he’s a good man on top of being a good chef. He’s a lead-by-example rather than lead-by-yelling kind of guy.”

Tree’s Wings is also a great place to have a little extra fun, with karaoke every Friday from 8 to 11 p.m., trivia every Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m., and half off happy hour every single day of the week from 3 to 6 p.m.

Don’t want to leave your furry buddy behind? The team welcomes dogs to visit the covered outdoor seating area.

“We love when people bring their puppies. We will bring out doggie bowls of water, cook them up hamburger patties — whatever those puppies want,” Townsend said. “We are very dog friendly.”

If you aren’t comfortable coming in to sit down, that’s OK too. Tree’s Wings has the largest delivery area in the western communities, delivering wings to all of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, most of Loxahatchee and The Acreage, and much of suburban West Palm Beach.

“We are working on everybody else’s comfort level. We are just trying to be accommodating to everyone’s needs,” Townsend said.

So, if the hand-cut curly fries aren’t enough to get the kids through the door, and noise level is a concern, Tree’s has a unique layout with one portion of the restaurant set aside for a quieter experience. The lounge is family friendly and away from the special evening events, but still has a full bar available to customers.

After setting foot inside, don’t forget to sign up for the free VIP program. All dine-in and takeout orders over $10 earns a chance to spin the wheel for great prizes. It is also the best way to keep up with special events and promotions.

“You can win things from free appetizers to free drinks to 15 percent off. We have Tree’s dollars, they look like dollar bills with our logo on them, and you can accumulate those and spend them all at once or spend them on your next visit,” Townsend said. “You can also win promotional items and Tree’s gear. It’s just a lot of fun. We don’t abuse the e-mail and only send them out once or twice a month.”

Townsend said that Tree’s Wings enjoys its reputation catering to the local community.

“We are all local, no frills but super yummy food,” she said. “There is no dress code, but I’ve seen full wedding parties, all dressed up, come in for the wings! Honestly, we have lunch specials every day, so you should really come here twice a day.”

What does Townsend like on the impressive menu? “The Cajun Wings, drenched in house dressing,” she said. “That is my kryptonite.”

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m., although during some events, such as karaoke night, the bar remains open later.

Delivery and takeout orders, including curbside and contactless delivery, can be placed by telephone or on the web site. Tree’s Wings & Ribs is also available through Grubhub and DoorDash.

Tree’s Wings & Ribs is located at 603 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., just off Southern Blvd. in the Royal Plaza. For more information, or to place an order, call (561) 791-1535 or visit www.treeswingsandribs.com.

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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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