“IT’S TIME FOR WINE AND OTHER THINGS” by Monty & Sara Preiser, Guest Column, October 2020; Dining in Palm Beach and Broward Counties During The Crisis, Seven Highly Recommended Dining-Out Destinations that Take Diners’ Health and Safety Seriously and Serve Delicious Food, from Boca Raton to Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and Hollywood, Florida

 

Monty and Sara Preiser (Pictured) are veteran food and wine writers in South Florida and in Napa/Sonoma, California. Publishers, Preiser Key to Napa, Vintners, Shadowbox Cellars of Napa, Co-Founders, American Fine Wine Invitational, and Wine Judges

Monty Preiser also kindly endorsed my book “The Restaurant Diet,” How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight (first edition in the series). Monty and Sara are good friends and are a go-to resource for spot-on restaurant and wine recommendations in South Florida, Napa, across the country, and worldwide, so I am very honored to share their latest post on dining out during the days of COVID-19 in South Florida. For more information, visit www.preiserkey.com
and www.shadowboxcellars.com

IT’S TIME FOR WINE AND OTHER THINGS by Monty and Sara Preiser October 20, 2020 Dining in Palm Beach and Broward Counties During the Crisis

For many of us, one of the things we missed most for many months after the March shut-downs was dining out. As we learned over the next 160 days of self-chosen home confinement (only going out to the grocery or to pick up an occasional pizza or sushi roll), it wasn’t simply the professionally prepared cuisine we longed for, but the opportunity to have someone else compose, serve, and clean. Monty has never appreciated the hours it might take to chop, dice, peel, and mix, only to consume the meal in 20 minutes and then have to clean the dishes relatively quickly so nothing stuck. For both of us, however, that truly did become old after 160 consecutive days – and 160 consecutive nights. Fortunately, though the virus is still out there (as are, sadly, tens of thousands of incredibly selfish Americans who think their freedom in not wearing a mask or distancing overrides the freedom of their fellow citizens to be safe from disease), we all have learned much about this modern plague. We are not scientists or doctors, though we can read, and Monty’s career in the law involved pharmaceuticals, epidemiology, vaccines, and the manufacturing processes thereof.

Nevertheless, our choice to finally begin to dine out on a limited basis should not be taken as a recommendation that anyone else do so. We simply decided that under certain conditions (which we will mention as part of our reviews below), and given what science seems to have concluded, we could be relatively safe in the right establishments while dining. Without being flip about it, we suppose our health in the next few months will tell us whether our decision was reasonable. At first, we only dined outdoors, as there seems to be little argument that doing so is safer than being indoors, though by what degree no one can really swear. Gradually, and only under circumstances where we felt safe, did we sometimes go inside (and, yes, Florida heat and humidity were often part of the determining equation). We have now been out about a dozen times in the last 6 weeks, and will report about seven establishments where, for the most part, and sometimes with a little insistence, we both feel comfortable.

Like most of us, we want to support our friends and the economy, but we have obligations to our families not to do it recklessly.

Arturos’s Ristorante (Federal Highway between Yamato and Linton in Boca Raton): If you enjoy elegance and New York professionalism when you dine, there is no restaurant in Boca Raton, and few in Florida, that approaches Arturo’s, owned and run by the Gismondi family. There was a time, though much rarer now, when some would say Arturo’s was more for the older crowd. We believe those people were wrong then, and are even more so today. This Italian superstar attracts a crowd of all ages, and offers a variety of strong entertainment. It can also be very romantic. While average service usually blends into the background, great service, such as here, featuring professional servers who have almost all been there for years (even the younger guys), stands out and is part of a special dining experience. Though the famous rolling antipasti cart has been, at least temporarily, retired, you can still order the mouth-watering appetizers that usually reside there. And preceding dinner, gloved back servers will set the table with incomparable fresh baked breads and authentic bruschetta. Fortunately, Arturo’s is large enough for diners to be placed far enough apart to meet most health concerns. Customers are required to wear masks when walking through the dining room. You have a couple of options as to your seating. There is a small outdoor area if that is your present comfort level. There is the garden room with various forms of music, something that is hard to find at this time, and the large main dining room. Your selection will depend on your mood and safety concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask the maître d’ of the evening to explain your options. Not surprisingly, all the staff is masked, and you may remove yours while at your table. We suggest starting your evening with one of Luke’s excellent cocktails, and then ordering from a well-conceived international wine list. For dinner, the homemade pastas are the equal of any, as is the preparation of numerous choices of fresh fish and seafood. The veal chop is wonderful. The menu has a large number of choices, and we have never had any dish we did not enjoy, nor have we ever heard anyone express disappointment. Desserts are perfectly and professionally conceived in house by one of the Gismondi daughters, who also creates some amazing cakes for special occasions. You can ask for a custom design Prepare to relax and enjoy the best of the best when you visit Arturo’s.

Banana Boat (Ocean Dr. in Boynton Beach on the Intercoastal): This is a very popular and energetic seafood and cocktail establishment, so if you have health concerns, we recommend going on off hours as only a few of the tables are spaced far enough away from each other for our liking. Masks are supposed to be worn when moving throughout the restaurant, but many customers don’t, and the rule is lackadaisically enforced. The servers, however, not only all wear masks consistently, they seem to be very health conscious. There are a good number of selections on the menu, but not much in the way of wine (you can bring your own). As a whole, the prices are not too high, and they reflect mostly average food. Banana Boat is reflective of hundreds of like places that sit on the coastal waters throughout the eastern United States – it can be fun for an afternoon outing, easy on your finances, and provide some nice inside or outside views. It is not geared to be a gourmet event. All cities can use a place like this.

Billy’s Stone Crabs (Ocean Avenue in Hollywood just north of Hollywood Blvd.): It takes us an hour to drive to Billy’s from our house, and few drives bring more pleasure during stone crab season (set by law in 2020 for October 15 – May 2). Billy’s offers a dining room with spaced tables, though, as always, it is best to go on off-hours. The servers are of course well trained in how to serve in light of the Virus. There is also individual seating on the water outside. As the weather breaks in Florida, that will be an enticing place to spend an afternoon. Cocktails here are well made, the staff is especially convivial, and the wine list is well conceived – you can bring your favorite, but there is little need. To aid you in making your dining choices, you will be presented with a demonstration platter consisting of King Crab legs, steaks, and different stone crab sizes up to colossal (interestingly, 2020 has seen the minimum claw size increased by 1/8 of an inch to 2.875 inches in order to help replenish the crab population that was harmed by the red tide disaster in 2018). To us, as good as everything else might be, stone crabs are the reason to be at Billy’s (at least the reason to drive an hour). They are always perfect – succulent, sweet, and fresh. In fact, one can almost ignore the famous mustard sauce that accompanies them, though Monty never does. Other regions boast their own peculiar foods that are best enjoyed while fresh (Maine lobsters, Gulf oysters, San Francisco sourdough bread, and Chesapeake crabs, for example). Yet there is no place in the world that serves stone crabs like Florida, and to us, with apologies to Joe’s, we think Billy’s sets the standard.

City Fish Market (just off the Glades Rd, Turnpike exit in Boca Raton): Home of our first venture out, City has a large porch overlooking a lake, and well-spaced tables inside. The servers and staff are masked and the back servers wear gloves when bringing the plates. We feel very comfortable here. There are many fresh fish on the menu, and you are given numerous options as to how you want your selection prepared. Our favorites are the Chilean Sea Bass and the trout. Shellfish is abundant and fresh. The oysters rival the best in the area, as does the lightly breaded crab cake. There are few places outside the New Orleans area where one can find authentic seafood gumbo, but somehow City manages it. Mondays through Thursdays the restaurant offers a 50% discount for all wines marked at $100 or less – a terrific promotion because there are some excellent choices. Though you are permitted to bring your own wine, it hardly seems necessary on those days. City has always been known for their innovative and well-prepared cocktails, and though the “bar scene” does not exist at the present time, the spirits still bring back the memories of old. Putting it all together – service, attitude, wine, food, ambiance, and safety – it is hard to rival this establishment.

Copenhagen (on the corner of Woolbright and Jog in Boynton Beach): Opened last year by the couple who owned and sold the immensely popular Andros, this larger space with outdoor dining gives owner/executive chef Adam Cardoso and his owner front-of-the-house wife Deborah Kreinces a true opportunity to shine. Both are excellent at their craft, and it shows. Though situated in a strip shopping area so common on corners in South Florida, the restaurant’s location and hours allow it to offer inside and outside dining with comfortable spacing. Naturally, the staff has been trained to keep tables and service procedures healthy, and masks are required. We have written before that Adam is one of the best, and most under-the-radar, chefs we have ever encountered. There seems to be nothing he cannot prepare, from the simple to the exotic, and make it come out beautifully. We alter between lamb, fresh fish (often stuffed with seafood), roasted duck, and fresh rainbow trout. And the menu includes “Shrimp Meritage,” composed of jumbo shrimp sauteed with shallots, exotic mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach, all flambed in a cognac sauce and finished with a dollop of goat cheese; Escargots in a light butter garlic sauce; and Veal Schnitzel. None should be missed. How Adam accomplishes all this with a minimum of salt and cream, we wish we knew. We also wish we could present the entire list of opportunities, but you get the idea. Ask Adam about his available wines, as he usually has many not on a printed list. His palate is quite marvelous and his talent at finding great wines for even better prices is a wonder. Finally – and this is good – you will never find a lower check for a gourmet meal anywhere in this country. It would be hard to spend over $35.00/person (before wine), and you often get a salad and soup included. This is a United States gem.

Paradiso Ristorante (in downtown Lake Worth on Lucerne near K St.): Owned by master chef Angelo Romano, this beautifully remodeled space and the attentive and professional serving staff set the ambiance for a dinner that surprises many people. Lake Worth is not known for fine dining, but you find it at Paradiso. An award-winning wine list and enticing cocktails serve to enhance a dinner that would still be wonderful without them. Pastas are hard to beat, and the cloud-like gnocchis are perhaps the best in the area. The triple pasta sampling plate is always a pleasant surprise. The beet pasta tortelloni filled with veal and porcini mushrooms, and a perfect veal chop (ask for grilled mushrooms and onions to accompany) are killers. We sometimes enjoy the lamb chop or whole Branzino. Just tell the accommodating staff what you want, and it will usually show up. Italian restaurants are known for their desserts, of course, and the table-side gelato for two will take you to heaven. The Tutto Pistachio is a good second choice (pistachio cake, pistachio mousse and pistachio gelato). As to virus concerns, be sure to ask for a safe table. The restaurant is large (two rooms) and a little hard to monitor, so mask offenders are sometimes not called out. All in all, we are comfortable with the staff’s concern and the distancing availability. This is gourmet dining at its best.

Prime Catch (on Woolbright just east of Federal Highway in Boynton Beach): This one presents us with a conundrum. As a rule, we will not visit restaurants that prohibit their customers from bringing their own wine for a fair corkage charge. There are a number of what we would argue are good reasons for our personal policy, but primarily we think this is a poor business decision, and if that decision is bad, what else is too? Yet Prime Catch offers many things that make it very attractive, and so we occasionally dine there. The outside, always a pretty scene since Prime Catch sits on the Intercoastal, has been remodeled and is even lovelier, especially the “Island Bar’ and its surrounding bar tables reached by a short bridge. There is plenty of space, making us feel doubly at ease since we are also outdoors. The masked servers are quite congenial, and one must be covered to move around. 4:00 begins happy hour, with excellent drinks and, on Thursdays, succulent $1.50 raw oysters, which is the successful hook to bring us in. We don’t usually order the standard 1.5 pound lobster, as the hassle to eat it isn’t worth the trouble, so we call ahead to see if 3 pounders are available. Prime Catch knows how to make them, as they do for everything we have tried over the years. As an aside, we have never sampled the meat dishes (the place is, naturally, famous for its seafood), but they look enticing, and next Thursday Monty vows to try one. As we alluded to, this is a fine and popular place to be that unfortunately adheres to one mistaken long-time family rule about its customers bringing wine. We have given you the facts as best we can, and leave the decision whether to dine there up to you. We might even see you there, though the odds of that would be increased if you could also see a bottle of wine we brought. -Wear a Mask and Stay Healthy –

Posted in Fred Bollaci on Dining | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on “IT’S TIME FOR WINE AND OTHER THINGS” by Monty & Sara Preiser, Guest Column, October 2020; Dining in Palm Beach and Broward Counties During The Crisis, Seven Highly Recommended Dining-Out Destinations that Take Diners’ Health and Safety Seriously and Serve Delicious Food, from Boca Raton to Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and Hollywood, Florida

BREAKING NEWS: New Three, Six, and Twelve Month 1:1 Virtual Diet & Weight Loss Coaching Program Options Taking Reservations for January 2021

As of today, October 16, 2020, all spaces in my Private Diet & Weight Loss Mentor Coaching Program with daily support from and access to me, weekly zoom calls, and a comprehensive program created with and for your specific circumstances are full through the end of December! My Weight Loss Wait List is taking names should anything open up!

I am taking reservations NOW for 2021 Private Coaching. Due to popular demand, client feedback, and seeing what works best for people, we have streamlined our offerings for the new year as follows:

1. There will be a Three Month Express Tune-Up Program, perfect for those who are looking to lose 30 pounds or less, and are highly motivated. It’s the same program, 1:1 calls and support but it’s designed for people who don’t need to lose a substantial amount, as 30 pounds or less is completely possible in three months. We like to help clients succeed and reach their goals which is best achieved by working together for the duration of your weight loss. Having clients understand the time and dedication required from the start is helpful in creating realistic expectations and a roadmap for long term success.

2. Six and Twelve Month programs for people looking for a long term partner in your success and mentor. This is designed for people looking to lose over 30 and up to and more than 150 pounds. A long term commitment is essential if you’re serious about losing a lot of weight, say 50 or 100 pounds, developing better habits, and keeping it off. We work through the inevitable pitfalls, plateaus, challenges, setbacks, and emotional issues that are bound to come up during a longer term, substantial weight loss process. I use a compassionate spiritual, holistic approach and share my wisdom and knowledge and have “heard it all” and experienced much of it personally. This is a judgement-free program. Sessions are totally confidential. I lost 150 pounds in twelve months and have helped many folks lose anywhere from 5 to more than 10 pounds a month, (clients have lost as much as 80-100 pounds working with me) and totally change their attitude from one of fear and self-loathing to empowerment, acceptance, self-love, and determination to be their best and take back their lives. Clients will then have the option to add on three, six, or twelve months as needed.

Special first come-first served pricing is available now for 2021, message me for more information, and to reserve your spot, spaces will fill up quickly.

I will still be doing a limited number of hourly sessions for new clients and as follow-up or “tune up” sessions for existing clients, but to best serve all my clients, my 1:1 coaching program will require a minimum three month commitment. If you’re thinking 2021 will be your year to get in shape, lose weight, and kick any unhealthy habits from 2020 to the curb, let’s schedule a free call today!

Posted in News and Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: New Three, Six, and Twelve Month 1:1 Virtual Diet & Weight Loss Coaching Program Options Taking Reservations for January 2021

Recipe from the NEW Issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine: Deviled Crabs with Tomato and Corn Relish, Old Bay Hollandaise, & Johnny Cakes by Chef Peter Zoole of Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida

 

DEVILED CRABS WITH TOMATO AND CORN RELISH, OLD BAY HOLLANDAISE AND JOHNNY CAKES

Recipe by Peter Zoole, Executive Chef at Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach, Florida. Image by Gideon Heller.

​Yield: 6 Stuffed Crabs

Ingredients

Deviled Crabs
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Chef Note: reserve a couple of pats for finishing
1/2 cup Onion (finely diced)
1/4 cup Celery (finely diced)
1 pound Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Chef Note: Fresh from the sea is best, but pasteurized will work if you are landlocked.
1/2 cup Mayonnaise Chef Note: I use Duke’s
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon Brown Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
1/2 cup Ritz Crackers (crushed)

Tomato and Corn Relish
1 pint Heirloom Grape Tomatoes
2 ears of Fresh Corn (husked and washed)
1 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Shallots (finely minced)
Italian Parsley and Celery Hearts (freshly picked leaves)
Sea Salt and White Pepper

Old Bay Hollandaise
4 Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (melted)
Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)

Johnny Cakes
Yields 12-14 cakes plus a few for experiments
2 cups Yellow Cornmeal (finely ground)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Boiling Water
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Butter

Preparation

Deviled Crab
Melt the butter over a medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Gently pick through the crab to remove any pieces of shell. Chef Note: Be careful not to break up those beautiful lumps of crab too much.
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, egg, and onion/celery. Mix thoroughly.
Gently fold in the crabmeat and the crushed crackers. Chef Note: The mixture will appear a little loose, give the crackers a few minutes to absorb. Season with Old Bay to taste. Brush the reserved butter over the top of the crab mixture.
Bake in a 350 °F oven for 20 minutes until the crabs are hot and golden brown. Chef Note: My Mom always told me that the least amount of ingredients you add (besides the crab) to crab cakes, the better they taste!

Tomato and Corn Relish
Roast the corn on barbeque grill until it is lightly charred. Remove and allow to cool. Chef Note: Alternatively, corn may be broiled in an oven if a grill is unavailable. Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. Place the corn and the tomatoes into a medium-sized bowl. Add the shallots, olive oil, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the relish on serving plate or platter, garnish with celery and parsley leaves.

Old Bay Hollandaise
In a metal bowl whisk together the yolks and lemon juice. Place the metal bowl over a double boiler and whisk quickly. Once the whisk begins to trace lines in the egg mixture, gradually add in the butter. Continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened, and all of the butter has been incorporated. Season to taste with the Old Bay.
Cover and reserve in a warm place until ready to serve. Chef Note: Hollandaise can be tricky the first few times that you make it. Everything has to be not too hot, not too cold, and the butter has to be whisked in carefully. If you go too fast the the sauce will break. Old Bay is a name brand for a spice that can be purchased in just about any supermarket. I purposely left out salt and pepper in this recipe as they are included in the Old Bay spice blend.

Johnny Cakes
In a bowl, mix the cornmeal sugar and salt. Pour in the boiling water until a tight paste forms. Add in the milk until the consistency of a pancake batter is achieved. In a skillet, melt a teaspoon of butter and add a spoonful of batter to form a 3-inch cake. Cook the cake on each side until golden brown. Chef Note: I have found that when making Johnny Cakes or pancakes, the first few never come out nicely. Experiment with the pan temperature and cook time. Be patient. These can be prepared slightly ahead and held warm if need be.

Assembly

Place the Johnny cakes onto a plate, or skillet and spoon the tomato and corn relish over it.
Place the devilled crab on top, and pour hollandaise over. Sprinkle lightly with Old Bay spice and garnish with celery leaves.

Wine Match

Radio-Coteau “Savoy” Chardonnay 2018 Anderson Valley.

This organically grown Chardonnay from California’s Anderson Valley is perfectly autumnal — think pie crust, baked golden apples, and brown butter. While it certainly goes well with richly sauced fish dishes and roast chicken, it will also be lovely with braised pork shoulder or a well-spiced vegetarian main.~ Steve Monti, Director of Dining Operations.

Recipe is featured along with many other delectable and beautiful recipes in the latest issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine, which is available online at golfkitchen.com. You can also subscribe for yourself or your club to enjoy the popular print issue.

Posted in Fred Bollaci on Dining | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Recipe from the NEW Issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine: Deviled Crabs with Tomato and Corn Relish, Old Bay Hollandaise, & Johnny Cakes by Chef Peter Zoole of Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida

Fred Bollaci Featured in New Issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine, The Premier Lifestyle and Culinary Publication for the World’s Top Private Golf Clubs. Click Link in Story to Read Entire Digital Issue, Featuring Top Chefs and Delicious Recipes from America’s Best Golf and Country Club Chefs!

 

Pictured: Diana DeLucia, founder and CEO of Golf Kitchen Magazine

Fred Bollaci is proud to be featured, along with his new virtual online Diet & Weight Loss Mentor Coaching program in this fall’s issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine, THE premier culinary publication featuring top talent in the culinary arts at the world’s finest golf and country clubs. As a strategic partner with Golf Kitchen and founder Diana DeLucia, it is a pleasure to introduce our audience to Golf Kitchen. Whether you belong to a private golf or country club or not, Golf Kitchen is a great read, packed with incredible talent in the form of top chefs and delicious recipes, along with beautiful photography that will make you want to break out your finest pots and pans and start cooking!

To read the current issue of Golf Kitchen online, or to order/subscribe for a copy of the print issue, click here.

Posted in News and Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fred Bollaci Featured in New Issue of Golf Kitchen Magazine, The Premier Lifestyle and Culinary Publication for the World’s Top Private Golf Clubs. Click Link in Story to Read Entire Digital Issue, Featuring Top Chefs and Delicious Recipes from America’s Best Golf and Country Club Chefs!

Join us for Venu Magazine’s Inaugural Sip & Savor Virtual Food and Wine Event, Weds July 29, 6:30pm! Featuring Live Cooking with Chef Christopher Covelli of Sage SRQ and Williamson Wines from Sonoma! Recipes Posted Below So You Can Cook Along!

 

Friends, we hope to see you Wednesday 7/29/20 at 6:30pm on Venü Magazine Facebook Live with Chef Christopher Covelli of Sage SRQ with Williamson Wines Sam Williamson for Venu’s first Sip & Savor Virtual Food and Wine Event!

As promised, the ingredients for the two dishes are listed below so you can shop for them in advance.

Puttanesca Sauce with Pan Seared White Fish of your choice and optional side of Pasta:

Puttanesca Sauce

• Salt to taste
• 5 Tbsp olive oil
• 3 garlic (minced)
• 5 anchovy fillets
• 1-14.5 oz. can tomatoes
• ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
• 3 Tbsp capers
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 lb. linguine or other long pasta
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 Tbsp fresh basil
• White wine (optional)

4 fillets of white fish of your choice. Note: Grouper, Snapper, Flounder, Sole all work well. You can also use Swordfish or Halibut for a firmer textured fish.

The above should serve 4 but you may want to have additional ingredients on hand if you plan to cook the fish as well as some pasta, or you like extra sauce.

Crème Brulee

2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean (2 Tbsp Vanilla extract)
4 Extra large egg yolks (or 6 Large)
5 Tbsp Sugar
Very small pinch of Salt
Warm Water for the water bath
Shallow pan for the water
Ramekins or small oven proof bowls to bake the custard in.

Please join us at 6:30pm to watch the preparation by Chef Christopher Covelli live then enjoy cooking and making it in the comfort of home.

 

Posted in News and Interviews | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Join us for Venu Magazine’s Inaugural Sip & Savor Virtual Food and Wine Event, Weds July 29, 6:30pm! Featuring Live Cooking with Chef Christopher Covelli of Sage SRQ and Williamson Wines from Sonoma! Recipes Posted Below So You Can Cook Along!