About a month ago I came up with the idea of a surprise visit to see my daughter, Samantha in West Palm Beach, FL. Along with that surprise was 2 tickets for us to go to an event at Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, Burgers on the Beach. We are both foodies, love to cook, entertain family & friends and can curl up on the couch with a great cookbook or food magazine. So, this was the PERFECT gift for her! wink wink
I could hardly wait to surprise her and surprise she was! We started the weekend off by heading downtown West Palm Beach to Clematis street. Clematis street is a definite stop if you are in WPB. Lots of great restaurants and different events going on all the time. We found out Cassedee Pope was making a hometown appearance that was being filmed for Mondays episode of The Voice. I have been watching it this season so that was pretty exciting for me. She sang a few songs and thanked everyone for their support. I will have to say, she sounds better on TV. She did mention they just found out that they were going to their hometowns and performing. I am sure being home, not having much practice and seeing all her family and friends had something to do with it….because Monday on The Voice, she sounded awesome. If you watched it Mondays night, when she was singing to a crowd, I was one of the them in the crowd.
After she was done singing, it was off to Rocco’s Taco’s. It is always a must eat place when I go to WPB. Great Margaritas, Sangria, and atmosphere! Unfortunately, I did not take any photos here. Just trust me, the food was really good. Here is their website,check out their menu. Roccos Tacos
Samantha had to work Friday morning, so I decided to head across the street to City Place for some breakfast and shopping. Whenever Sam has to work, I love going IL Bellagio’s for breakfast. I always order Nana’s Breakfast. It is Italian Bread Grilled with an Egg Cooked in the Center, Served with Roasted Pepper & potatoes and bacon. I had a nice surprise, Jeff, Samantha boyfriend joined me for breakfast.Check out IL Bellagio’s Website.
That afternoon I went back to Samantha’s apartment. She was back from working and asked if we wanted to do a little shopping at City Place. I said sure, so we shopped a bit when she said “Let’s check things out over this way”. She surprised me with a wonderful Spa afternoon :) We had massages and facials. I do not get them often, but when I do, I wonder why don’t I get them more often. I think that is going to be a must for 2013!
After the spa, we hurried and got ready for dinner. Samantha made reservations at Max Harvest, Farm to Fork in Delray Beach. The best thing about this place is all of their ingredients are from local farmers. Their menu changes frequently according to what is available. We decided to order several things and share them. After scouring the menu, we decided on Ricotta Gnocchi with Short rib, Smoked Gouda & Pancetta Mac ‘n Cheese, Bacon-Sizzled brussels w/ Kimchee & Lemon and stuffed squash blossoms.The food was fantastic! Here is their website. Max Harvest.
Even though we did not need it, the waiter talked us into dessert! Yes, he twisted our wrist until we said uncle ;)
The day has come….Palm Beach Wine & Food Festival, but we needed to check out Samantha’s new apartment first. She will be moving the end of this week. It is just a couple blocks down from where she is now. It is a great apartment with a fantastic view from the pool. She has a good view from her apartment too, but love this one.
Burger on the Beach, Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, my one word to describe it would be Fabulous! It was held at Four Seasons Resort
I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous going to this being from a small farm town. When we first got there, we spotted the bar. Free cocktails, champagne, beer or whatever you wanted. We got a cocktail and then I said Let’s just sit on this couch, take it in and see how this thing works etc. So we did, then I immediately spilled my drink! Damn…sunglasses with readers. So, embarrassed! There was a guy there within seconds cleaning it up for me. I apologized profusely. He said, Not a problem, anytime! Ha! I thought I was going to have to call him over a couple other times. I was a mess with those glasses. Funny thing, we were standing at a table and this lady spilled her drink. Her husbands said to us, “She has these sunglasses with readers and she is having a hard time with them.” I was never so happy to hear that! Note to self: Do not wear Sunglasses with readers next year or to a party!
The setting of the party was just off the beach. In the pool area. It was like I had held a party in my back yard. That is how small and intimate it was. We were up close to all the chefs. We got to chat and mingle with them. Samantha and I were standing at a small cocktail table and realized Marc Murphy, Chopped judge was standing there with us. She recognized several local celebrities. I heard several people and chefs comment that this is the one to go to, the others are too big.
You can ask anyone in my family, I always have Food Network, Bravo or The Cooking Channel on the TV…I was in heaven with winners of Top Chef and Food Network celebrities there. Here are some of the photos from the event.
The Burgers we tasted were, Fabio’s short rib burger with caramelized onions in a balsamic glaze, brie and red raddicchio, Chef Irvines pimento cheeseburger sliders with pork belly, Jeff Mauro’s Patty Melt, Top Chef season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga’s Za’atar lamb slider (great, but when I took a bite it squirted all over my dress) and Four Seasons chef Darryl Moile’s lobster burger. There were truffle fries, sweet potato hash browns and all other kind of goodies floating around.
As we were taking everything in, Sam said “Mom, can we do this again next year?” my reply “You betcha!” Thank you to my wonderful husband for saying yeah, you should go. I hope he is ok with it now being a yearly event ;)
On Sunday, Samantha and I headed to the grocery store to load up on the ingredients we needed to make dinner that night. We decided we wanted to make Mussels with 2 different sauces and Lobster Mac N Cheese. I love cooking with my daughters, Samantha seems to be the one who likes it the most. Kate and Grace are beginning to jump on the boat with us. While cooking, we realized that it would probably be the last meal that Samantha cooks in that apartment. It lead to her thinking about the life lessons and experiences and people who gathered at her table while living in that apartment. She told me her first meal she made there, she was by herself and She made a dish that called for 2 adobe peppers….she put 2 cans in it. Needless to say, it went uneaten. She made a wonderful toast before we ate, it brought me to tears. I have a saying written in my kitchen; A good cook knows it’s not what’s on the table that matters, it’s what is in the chairs. She is a good cook! I am so happy that I was there for the last meal there and so sad I was not there for the first meal.
Ok, onward to a recipe.
The brussel sprouts at Max Harvest reminded me of a recipe that I have made a couple of times. I have always been nervous to try brussel sprouts. The word on the street was they were yucky! I took the plunge at Paulos at the Mansion a few years ago. Mark actually ordered them. I think I ate most of them. Mark and I both fell in love with them.
I am not sure how brussel sprouts got a bad rap, but it was not with the recipe I am going to share with you.
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Balsamic Syrup< I found this recipe on Just a Taste Blog.
½ pound pancetta (one thick slice), diced (You can buy packages of chopped pancetta at Dierbergs or Trader Joes. That is what I used.)
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, stems removed, halved
Salt and Pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Toss Brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400ºF oven for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not get over done.
While they’re roasting, sauté the diced pancetta cooking until golden brown. Set aside.
Simmer 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until it reduces by half, about 10 minutes. It will be thick and syrupy.
Remove the roasted Brussels sprouts from the oven and pour the sauteed pancetta (plus any drippings) directly on top of the Brussels sprouts, tossing to combine.
Transfer the mix to a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
Another good brussel sprouts recipe to try is Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussel Sprouts.
It is basically the same recipe minus the Balsamic reduction.
~Relish Food & Life!