I spent this past weekend in Palm Beach with some of my very favorite people! My dear friend from Kathleen and I have been trying to get our moms together for years… yes, I mean years. We’ve been great friends since 2003 when we met in the basement of the Pike fraternity house in Athens. hah! So about 9 years. But for some reason or another, we’ve never been able to set up a mother-daughter get together. All of our efforts finally culminated last weekend. Kathleen, her sweet-as-can-be mother, MJ and my momma. What more could I ask for…..? A goddaughter? YEP! I was lucky enough to have the added bonus of spending some much needed quality time with my precious little 5 month old goddaughter, Kallie.
The weekend started out with an early arrival into Palm Beach and after dropping our luggage off at the house and settling in a bit, we headed to The Breakers Hotel Seafood Bar for an oceanfront lunch. I’ll tell you about our meal : ) To begin, I ordered the zucchini chips, which is a dish I order frequently. There’s enough to share with the table or you can refuse to share, keep them all to yourself and call it a meal. I shared. They are so thinly, perfectly sliced and come with a choice of two dipping sauces: marinara and (something resembling) pesto aoli. I take turns with the sauces because they are both so delicious. I wanted to order light because I was anticipating an early dinner at the Palm Beach Grill, and wanted to save plenty of room, so for my meal I ordered the gazpacho. I’ve never liked gazpacho until I tried it at The Breakers. It was refreshing, as usual. I forget what mom ordered, and Kathleen and MJ split the day-boat salad, which featured the daily fish special: yellow tail snapper, over a bed of lettuce, heart of palm and other yummy vegetables. Needless to say, we all left satisfied. Kallie was satisfied later, when she dined on her favorite: breast milk.
After a trip to the grocery store for diapers and some essential food items, we relaxed at the house on the loggia. What’s a “loggia” you ask? I think it’s a fancy name for a covered patio. And for some reason, even though I’ve NEVER used that word in any other situation, I have always referred to the patio at my grandparent’s house as a “loggia.” Maybe because that’s what it says on the light-switch that corresponds with the patio…
Anyway, for the next few hours we chatted, caught up on months worth of details, and were joyfully entertained by Kallie.
Then, what we’d all been waiting for, our dinner at Palm Beach Grill. I don’t go to Palm Beach without at least one visit to the The Grill. In fact, as soon as I have a trip planned, I book reservations because it’s nearly impossible to “walk in,” unless of course you’re someone special or famous or something, none of which I am, according to the people at PBG. Reservations open on the 15th of the month prior, so on December 15th I called to make these reservations. Luckily, due to our baby, we were interested in the early bird time slots because even though I called a month+ in advance, reservation times were either “6:30 or after 10!” crazy.
Kathleen has been to The Grill numerous times: her bachelorette weekend, Valentines Day weekend a few years ago, and a few other random PB getaways over the years. So she was familiar with the glorious culinary journey on which we were about to embark, as did my mom. MJ however, had only heard stories…. We had been telling her about “Walt’s locally grown heirloom tomato salad” for a long, long time.
Starting out with a bottle of Chianti Classico, we pondered the menu. Although we were disappointed by the news that they were out of the delicious roasted artichokes, we proceeded with our order: we would each start with a tomato salad, mom and MJ both settled on the Dover sole, and Kath and I split the red snapper with rock shrimp, accompanied by customized sides of spinach and brussle sprouts. The fish is always to die for, and the sides are equally delish. The spinach is perfectly sauteed with garlic and topped with parmesan cheese, and although the sprouts aren’t cooked in duck fat, they are nonetheless splendid. A sinful chocolate fudge sundae that has no rivals, and a piece of tres leche cake, rounded out the meal with a bang. Kallie had breast milk again (not in the restaurant, just before and after). We were fat and happy and ready to sleep.
Oh, we had some nice conversations too : )Saturday started out cloudy but after coffee and breakfast on the loggia, and a nice long walk, the sun had burned through the clouds and we jumped on the opportunity to bask in the sun. Although the Boston winter hasn’t been terribly fierce so far, it still felt wonderful to sit in the January heat of S. Florida. Kallie slept in the shade of the palm trees, and on her blanket that we set out on the grass, she occasionally rolled from her back to her stomach only to realize she was immobile once she rolled. We fixed a smorgasbord of items for lunch: salmon, sweet potato fries, turkey sandwiches, tomatos, breast milk, and enjoyed our time together outside.
There were so many places I wanted to take them, and so little time. We decided to have a pre-dinner glass of wine at Charlies Crab, a nearby, nearly beach-front seafood place that I hold dear to my heart due to so many fond childhood dining memories. It’s been renovated though, so it isn’t really what I remember it to be. Honestly, the ambiance has taken a major dip, lost of lot of it’s charm, but that didn’t dissuade us from enjoying a nice glass of Chardonnay at their new “beach bar,” while looking out at the pink sun-setting sky reflecting on the ocean. Yes, we had a baby at the bar.
After settling up, we drove over to Echo, one of The Breaker’s “off property” restaurants that I’ve grown to love. They’re known for their inventive cocktails crafted by master mixologist, Charles.
I had never been to this Asian fusion restaurant before I met Frank, but that quickly changed. He loves the Peking duck (for 2), the whole deep fried flounder and the Toro, which is fatty tuna belly flown in daily from Japan…. it’s pricey, but melts like butter on your tongue. Echo was actually the place where my 2 year stint of vegetarianism ended. I coudn’t resist a bite of the duck salad! Frank takes credit for this transition, but I give full credit to the tempting duck.
Anyway, mom’s been known to drool, literally, over the Szechuan beef, which means a lot since she’s one of the pickiest eaters I know. She chose this for her meal, and washed it down with a green grape vodka concoction. For the table we got a few Echo salads, which consist of fresh heaps of lettuce, shaved beets and carrots, mini tomatoes and gingery delicious dressing. MJ and I both ordered the the Palm Beach roll.
It’s basically a California role on crack: jazzed up with baked conch on the top, which is absolutly heavenly despite it’s richness. I usually don’t order it unless I have a few people to split it with, but was feeling ambitious. Kath helped with a few pieces. I also ordered the spicy jalapeno Hamachi, which is my favorite sashimi. I paired it all with a glass of cold saké, which comes in a “floating glass.” Last time Kath and Joey (her hubs) and I were dining at Echo, Joey pulled out all the stops to try to take one of the glasses home, but the waitstaff wouldnt oblige.
Kath opted for the Shishito Tuna Tartar. It comes in an edible shell and has a major kick of spice! She calmed that spice with a glass of Chardonnay. Once again, Kallie had no choice but to indulge in breast milk.
Kathleen and I had been talking all day about how we wanted to have a drink, just the two of us, after dinner. But we were afraid we wouldn’t make it. Our loooong day of sitting by the pool and doing nothing had really taken a toll on us but we managed to buck up, drop off the moms and baby, and head to Buccan, the new hot spot. Oh, and it was stylishly decorated by Frank’s super talented interior design sister, Sterling. I love the bronze tables in the bar area, the communal table in the dining room and the open kitchen. The red wall in the bar gives it a perfect pop of color. love it.
Besides being “hit on” by two obviously homosexual, plastic looking men, we had a nice night and some much needed quality alone time over a glass of Malbec. That’s about all we could handle, so we headed back to the house and crashed. Ooooh, how times have changed since our college days : )
We enjoyed our Sunday morning and afternoon with a nice long walk and again, doing nothing, before Kath, MJ and Kallie left at 3:00. On the way to the airport later, mom and I hit up Palm Beach Grill again, right as they opened at 5:00, to get our fix with one last tomato salad. This was a perfect little end to a perfect little weekend. Wish we had taken a picture of all 5 of us….Bring on the next trip!