Tuesday, September 1, 2015

24 Hours in Palm Beach, Florida

It was a short trip, but I had some time before meeting my mom for her birthday celebration, so I decided to go for it.

I had flown into West Palm Beach Airport more times than I can remember. 

From there I always headed straight into Delray Beach without even exploring the area, even though I never actually got to the “beach,” the area didn’t disappoint.

This time, with an invitation to stay at The Chesterfield, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, I decided to stick around Palm Beach – at least for 24 hours. While I was there I decided to check out a few restaurants.

The Palm Beaches include many towns, including Ocean Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens, South Bay, West Palm Beach, and Riviera Beach.

The area has its own airport so I was able to fly right in from Chicago. 

Palm Beaches Tourism arranged for a car to pick me up and take me to Avocado Grill for lunch, where I would learn more about this region – while enjoy a fantastic lunch.

I knew I would have to come back here when I had more time to see more of the beaches, boutiques, and attractions. I also found a restaurant I wanted to return to.

Ashely, Director of Public Relations and Communications for Discover The Palm Beaches, and her Colleague, Veronica, arranged for my pick up at the airport and took me to Avocado Grill.

This bright restaurant was a dream for a flexitarian like me, with a ton of vegetarian (and even vegan) options.

We decided to go for a bunch of small plates and I bowed to their tantalizing suggestions as I sipped a fruity mule.

The Grilled Avocado Wedges were filled with a mango and watermelon salad and I could have made a meal on these alone, but there was so much else to eat.

I loved the Mushroom Fricassee with cheddar grits, truffle oil, and chives, and the guacamole was perfectly tasty and not too spicy – the way I like it.

My favorite of all were the Stuffed Crispy Zucchini Blossoms. They were stuffed with goat cheese and topped with walnuts, tomato jam, and mints. I highly recommend the trip to Avocado Grill in Palm Beach for these alone.

Dessert was even more satisfying. You can never go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate and Avocado Grill’s Brownie deliciously satisfied my sweet tooth.

I checked into The Chesterfield after lunch. It is a boutique property with a feeling of welcoming luxury.  

I especially loved the courtyard patio and pool, both offering privacy and comfort.

My room was large and comfortable. It felt a bit like an old fashioned B&B, but had updated touch-ups like a large soaking tub. (I was glad to see this hotel had not given way to the awful trend of eliminating bathtubs.)

I finished up some work before my friend Susan, who lives down in Florida, came to meet me for dinner.

The choice for dinner was the opposite of what my lunch had been. 

The Meat Market was a sophisticated nightspot that reminded me of South Beach. And, as you can tell by the name, the menu was a lot different than Avocado Grill.

Meat Market is a high end steakhouse with a few surprises and we were anxious to try as many as possible, starting with the salads.
We also shared the Roasted Beet Salad, which was quite flavorful. It had herbed goat cheese and was covered in a truffle honey vinaigrette.

For entrees, Susan thoroughly enjoyed the Buffalo Tenderloin, with a chili and a coffee rub, topped with a mole butter.

I got the fantastic Short Rib, which is usually served with a Lobster Risotto, but they let me get a full short rib order since I’m allergic to seafood.

We loaded the table with side dishes as making a decision was difficult. With the help of the waitress, we ordered the best, only regretting that we couldn’t finish any.

You can’t go wrong with any of these. In fact, I wouldn’t mind making a meal of just the side dishes at Meat Market:

Asparagus grilled just right and topped with an herbed butter;
Absolutely delicious Gouda Tator Tots;
White Truffle Mashed Potatoes;
Mac and Cheese, which was prepared with linguine in a rich sauce;
Lobster Risotto.

The dessert menu was tantalizing and it was difficult to narrow down the choices. We went with The Palm Beach Sampler and the S’Mor.

The Sampler included small tastes of the Mango Cheesecake, Crème Brulee, Sorbet, and Dulce de Leche Brownie. All were very good.

The S’Mor was a warm brownie, topped with graham cracker ice cream and marshmallow, than drizzled with a brandy filled caramel sauce. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Susan dropped me off at The Chesterfield, where I had a good night’s sleep, followed by a fresh and fruity room service breakfast.

My daughter, Sam, picked me up and we headed to surprise Mom with a birthday girls’ weekend.

I couldn’t have as asked for a better introduction to the Palm Beaches.

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