Spring comfort food and a sweet new restaurant to put on your radar
After having supper all winter, when there was often a casserole of hearty lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans simmering on my stove, I thought I would crave salads all spring long. But the pictures of food on my phone negate that prediction. Apparently this season has been all about spring brunch dishes for me.
I appreciated :
• Vegetable quiche from my neighborhood French bakery, the lovely PikNik sandwich shop and confectionery by French chef Christophe Bozzano.
• Beautiful chicken pies from Joseph’s Classic Market – reheated in the oven, they are one of my favorite and affordable weeknight dishes.
• Eggs Benedict which hit the spot at the former Royal Cafe, cash only, in Jupiter, which was packed with brunch goers when I visited recently just before Easter.
• Delicious deviled eggs at happy hour at the fun and welcoming Salute Market restaurant and bar on PGA Boulevard.
• A deliciously simple BLT at the art-filled, chef-owned Garden City Café, the Juno Beach spot where I had this most memorable grouper sandwich.
• A spring chicken salad made with the most flaky buttery croissant – the one I recently wrote in this space – at the new Hive Bakery and Café in West Palm Beach.
• And my own Easter brunch project, a pascualina torta, which filled a thick filling of spinach, ricotta, parmesan, breadcrumbs and eggs in a puff pastry for an impressive presentation. This classic Argentinian and Italian Easter pie would be perfect for a spread for Mother’s Day.
I always find it daunting to work with any type of pastry, but it turned out beautiful, thanks to the faithful, step-by-step instructions from Tequesta’s personal chef, Lenore Pinello. You’ll want to bookmark them!
Speaking of great local bites…
Now open: the new South of Southern spot
The SoSo, the relaxed restaurant imagined by a couple of childhood friends, made its quiet debut last week on the South Dixie Highway in the South of Southern neighborhood of West Palm. Owners Kye Akavia and Alex DiSchino have structured the airy and surprisingly spacious place into a ‘fast-fine’ restaurant, which results in plenty of tasty, chef-led options, cooked to order but served long enough to enjoy a few sips. . some wine.
After visiting the restaurant this week, I came away with a great appreciation for this chef who runs the kitchen at SoSo, Cesar Brea. His creativity, preference for quality ingredients and knack for bringing together unique flavors elevate the menu to something that transcends any concept of fast food.
Some must-have menu items:
The Charred Cauli ($9), a seared, zaatar-seasoned cauliflower “steak” drizzled with lemon tahini, pomegranate seeds and herbs. With its hint of Mediterranean flavors and contrasting textures, this dish can stand on its own as a mighty vegan entrée, but it’s also great to share as an appetizer or side dish. For those who prefer to take away, it warms up well. Akavia says the Cauli is already a customer favorite — and for good reason.
Steak & Blue ($26), an entree salad featuring Creekstone Farms small tender cut (teres major), provided by the gourmet meat market next door, Palm Beach Meats. A medley of local greens is tossed with a Champagne Truffle Vinaigrette, sun-dried tomatoes, crispy shimeji mushrooms, pickled red onions and Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese for heady flavors. This salad is an adventure.
The Cuban ($18), a heavy, pressed sandwich that layers mojo pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, dijonnaise, kimchi pickles, and garlic and onion jam on Cuban bread for one bite grilled. Sure, Chef Cesar tweaks the classic a bit, but those unique flavors — kimchi pickles and garlic jam — give this sandwich a savory flavor.
The place has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, easy-to-go offerings, and a small, well-targeted menu of wines on tap.
There’s a very cool, bigger picture happening in this block, where now two independent food businesses have opened. The SoSo and Palm Beach Meats, which have created something of a gathering space for local foodies and pop-up events, have brought a youthful and up-and-coming energy to this beloved neighborhood.
The SoSo: 4802 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, 561-486-7676, TheSosoWPB.com
Have a delicious weekend!