When you travel, do you have to get the food the area is known for? In Chicago, do you have the urge to try deep dish pizza? In New Orleans, is a Po’ Boy on the menu? In San Francisco, is a bowl of rice-a-roni all you crave? Many people know that the best way to experience a city is through food, because food tells the story of a neighborhood’s people, history and culture. In West Palm Beach, our eclectic mix of cultures, styles, and tastes combine to come up with a smorgasbord of flavors that rival those of any major metropolitan city.
Recently, Palm Beach Happening was able to take part in a food tour of downtown West Palm Beach. Known as the West Palm Beach Food Tours, this trip to foodie heaven highlights six of the finest eateries in the city, paired with a little history along the way.
The tour began at The Blind Monk. This little, hole in the wall place located in the Whitney condominium (410 Evernia Street, #107) was founded by a West Palm Beach native, who after his tours of Iraq and Afghanistan in the Marine Corps, decided to return to his native city and share his love of fine food and even finer adult beverages with the world. The sampling featured a Cuban inspired Mojito, which also included Prosecco to amp up the sweetness; an ahi tuna tostada with fresh mango salsa, and a garlic rubbed toast with a tomato drizzle.
From there, we journeyed to Hullabaloo. This local gem, located west of the tracks on Clematis (517 Clematis Street) , was highlighted by a Major Tom, consisting of gin, simple syrup, lavender, cucumber, and parsley. The appetizer was their world famous (or soon to be) fire roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon aioli and candied pine nuts. At this stop, the chef, Fritz Cassel, took several minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about the restaurant, their culinary philosophy, their menu, and more. He is known as a “Celebrity Chef,” and has cooked on the Food Network with Emeril Lagasse, as well as competed in, and won, several cooking competitions.
The next stop was Ganache Bakery and Café. This small counter style place, located off Dixie Highway (120 S. Dixie Hwy.) , had probably the most engaging baker, Jamal, and some of the tastiest beverages on the tour. Since it was north of 90 degrees, cool, fresh beverages were much appreciated! Jamal demonstrated the proper way to open and clean a coconut, and distributed glasses of fresh from the coconut water to everyone of the tour. It was very refreshing. He then provided us with a cup of tamarind juice, that they extract and prepare on site. The dessert offering was a Key Lime Tart, which was perfectly balanced, and very good. You can find the owners of Ganache at the West Palm Beach Green Market from October until May, and at their storefront Monday through Saturday throughout the year.
Our fourth stop was Jardin (330 Clematis Street), a less than month old creation of Chef Jordan and his wife. They combine their culinary styles to come up with a unique menu that will get your salivary glands flowing! They gave us a three course plate featuring a roasted garlic and pepper madeline, crispy hummus, and a brigadaro (chocolate fudge ball.)
Next, we travelled to the foot of Clematis and Pizza Girls (114 Clematis Street.) If you’re a local and haven’t been to Pizza Girls, you can’t consider yourself a local! This West Palm Beach icon, founded by two women from New York in the late 1990s, features pizza by the slice at very reasonable prices. They also have a wide variety of local craft beers, as well as many soft drinks. It should be included in every stop downtown, whether you’re on a food tour or not!
Our last stop was Le Rendez-Vous, an art gallery/restaurant located on Datura (221 Datura St.) There, we enjoyed a simple dessert of apple crustada, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with red pepper. (the spice, not the vegetable.)
The tour provides locals and visitors alike with a glimpse into the burgeoning artistic and culinary scene in West Palm Beach. It shows what amazing food is being created here, in our own backyard, and demonstrates a bit about how the cultural tapestry that is the Palm Beaches is woven into our everyday lives. It’s a great way to combine sightseeing and try lots of new restaurants, too!
Palm Beach Happening would like to thank owner Kristl, our tour guide Kelli, and the rest of the staff of West Palm Beach Food Tours for their hospitality.
West Palm Beach Food Tours operate Tuesday through Saturday, and last for three hours. (11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.) At only $65 adults, $45 children (ages 12 & under), free (ages 3 & under, not eating,) it’s a bargain for what you get, and the memories and comradery are priceless!