Tonight is PAIRINGS – 25 restaurants offering tastes of food & wine

Tonight is PAIRINGS – 25 restaurants offering tastes of food & wine

Downtown West Palm Beach residents and visitors will have the chance to experience the finest flavors of the Clematis District’s international menu during its third annual “Pairings” event. This progressive dinner tour will take place on Thursday, May 29 featuring a wide variety of delicious samplings from some of downtown’s most desirable restaurants and other exciting activities. Guests can enjoy a wide selection of light appetizers, entrées and desserts paired with specialty cocktails, wines and coffee. The event is brought to you by the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Families First of Palm Beach County, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping create a safe, healthy and sustainable environment for children and their families in Palm Beach County through innovative approaches.

This year’s event is bigger than ever with more than 25 participants offering guests the chance to wine and dine on signature menu items from 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Patrons can indulge in dishes and drinks that range from avocado wedges and buttermilk chicken paired with a French Kitten Martini from Oli’s Fashion Cuisine, to coconut oatmeal cookies and fresh brewed coffee from Subculture Coffee. Longboards will serve jumbo lump crab cakes with its refreshingly sweet Sangria, Cabana Nuevo Latino will offer its Anticucho paired with Caipirinhas, and Bee Organics will have their raw/vegan pad thai paired with a maple cleanse. Other participating restaurants and cafés include The Backyard Bar, Bar Louie, Best Darn Kettlecorn, Café Sweets Bakery, Clematis Pizza, Duffy’s Sports Grill, Dunkin Donuts, E.R. Bradley’s Saloon, Hamburger Heaven, Hullabaloo, Leila Restaurant, Off the Hookah, O’Shea’s Irish Pub, Pistache Restaurant, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Sky 309, Te Mana Kava Bar, Tin Fish and The Wine Dive.

Pairings patrons can purchase advance passes online at wpbgo.com/pairings for $25, or by visiting the DDA office located at 301 Clematis Street, Suite 200. On-site tickets can be purchased the day of the event for $30 at the ticket booth in the City Hall Courtyard located at 401 Clematis Street. Tickets include entry and sampling at each of the participating restaurants and a map showcasing locations and menu items.
From one bite to the next, Pairings patrons can take advantage of other activities and experiences Downtown. Artist Joshua Isla, from Downtown’s very own Portrait Therapy Studios, will be on site to draw portraits for interested guests in front of The Sanctuary Salon and Spa, and street performers will wow the crowd with their live entertainment. DreamShare photographer will be capturing the evening’s festivities on camera throughout the Clematis District, which visitors will be able to have emailed to them directly for instant sharing. Other photo moments can be captured at the TapSnap photo area located in front of Bee Organics and at Design Within Reach with photographer Michael Price. Throughout the event, attendees are encouraged to share their moments by using the hashtag #PairingsWPB to stay connected throughout the event.

Pairings sponsors include the DDA, SunFest, Palm Beach Illustrated, LocalDines.com and WLRN. For more information on the West Palm Beach DDA, call (561) 833-8873 or visit westpalmbeachdda.com or WPBGO.com.

About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority

The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

Touring PDQ on their First Anniversary

Touring PDQ on their First Anniversary

Time files! It seems like it was yesterday when I was checking out the PDQ on Okeechobee for the first time.  Now I look back on that post and see that a full year has gone by. Yup, the Florida-based “Fresh Food Fast” PDQ is a year old!

Happy Birthday, PDQ!

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Soon after I discovered PDQ I had the opportunity to interview PDQ founder and restaurateur extraordinaire Tim Gannon. In his interview we primarily discussed the food,  the goals of PDQ, starting a business in Florida and, most importantly,  my favorite item on the PDQ menu, the Buffalo Chicken Tender Sandwich.

To celebrate I took my two daughters on a tour of the PDQ kitchen given by none other than Chris Gannon, the son of the founder. We got to help make lunch and hand-spin a delicious milkshake.

Some interesting points about PDQ:

  • PDQ does not have a freezer. They have a walk-in fridge where all the ingredients are stored.
  • PDQ uses name brand ingredients and makes all the sauces in house
  • PDQ has a unique process for creating their fries, which involves soaking, baking and chilling the fries before frying – this process cuts down the trans-fats significantly.
  • The PDQ on Okeechobee is the #1 grossing PDQ in the country.

The tour started with the potatoes in the back – all nice Idaho potatoes straight out of the box.

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Cutting the potatoes wasn’t as hard as I expected – each of us chopped up a couple good ones before moving on.

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It was at this point where I stopped taking pictures and started asking questions about how everything was made. The staff and cooks who were working were very helpful and answered all our questions.

Everyone was in a jovial mood making it a very fun tour.

When placing their order, each guest gives their name and, when the food is ready (very quickly after the order was made), the expediter calls out the name and lets them know their order is ready to be picked up. We all took a turn on the mic calling out customer’s names.

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Mia helping Chris by calling the names out over the PA system

The human touch was there and the interaction, both within the staff as well as with the customers, always makes trips to PDQ a pleasant experience.

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After all that, finally sitting down to eat the fantastic chicken burgers was awesome. I don’t know why, but my favorite is always the iceberg lettuce slices. Yup, you read that right: instead of  loose leaves, there’s a nicely cut slice of lettuce on on your sandwich. It makes sense, it’s just the right size!

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It has been very interesting to get a first hand view of the birth and growth of a local chain. While, like any business, I am sure there will be challenges in the upcoming years, I’m happy to see this business thrive in it’s first year and wish them many more prosperous years like this one.

I want to end with some of the original interview that I did with PDQ founder Tim Gannon.

The south Florida market is very unique in that people come here from all over the world and there is a large part of our population that is very health conscious. This forces us to be smart about our menu selections but at the same time allows us to be creative with our ingredient and recipe selections! That is what makes PDQ so fun and exciting!

We are blessed to have, at all levels of our organization, folks who truly love what they do! When I walk into my restaurants I see the smiles and the energy and it’s contagious, believe me! I love to see people having fun at what they do.

You also have to serve a quality product and never, ever compromise on that quality to your guests… ever!!!

The best of Social Media on Day 1 of #SunFest14

The best of Social Media on Day 1 of #SunFest14

SunFest day 1 is over – and it was a blast! Here are my favorite moments as tagged with the #sunfest14 hashtag on twitter.

The Vegabonds kick things off!

Alexandra Bimonte decides to take a #SunfestSelfie

Josh Cohen also took a selfie


Surfer Blood’s John Paul Pitts jumps into the crowd

These Guys!

Hanging out with Surfer Blood frontman

Dick Dale rocking out

DJ Celebrities Ross Mahoney is in town for SunFest!!!

Cake rocks out at the Tire Kingdom stage

This kid will always remember his first concert as Kid Rock at SunFest!!!

Kid Rock showed the crowed how to ROCK

The picture of the night is from John Wise from Channel 25

SunFest starts Today! Here are some things to know!

SunFest starts Today! Here are some things to know!

It’s SunFest week! The five days when the West Palm Beach waterfront transforms into the East Coast’s largest waterfront music festival.

50 bands playing in a five-day period is just the start of the fun, here are some things that you may not know about SunFest and West Palm Beach.

New & Old Music

Looking through the years of SunFest pictures that I have, I was surprised at how many old pictures I have of bands that are currently gaining popularity.

Sunfest attracts a lot of new talent, Huge crowds come out to see the headliners, but the real treat for music lovers are all the small and local bands which will be providing a close-up experience for their fans.

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The Party Barges

There are two crowds of people who come down for SunFest. The people who come for the music, and the ones who come to party on the barges.

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The three floating barges are set up in the intracoastal waterway and each have DJs who play different styles of music. When telling a friend where you are, you will be tempted to refer to the barge as “The Country Barge” or “The Rock Barge”, but take my word for it “South Barge”, “North Barge” and “Middle Barge” work best. I just stick to the middle barge, it’s easiest to find.

The party is ALWAYS on at the barges & when SunFest closes at 11 pm, Clematis Street is ready for action.

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Discover Downtown West Palm Beach

Downtown West Palm Beach plays host to SunFest each year.  The eclectic Clematis Street district and City Place both make fantastic places to explore when you’re not rocking out to a band or partying on one of the barges.

From the great dining experiences to partying at the local clubs, to bowling at the fantastic new Revolutions, downtown WPB has something for everyone.

Catch a glimpse of the stars!

One of the benefits of being a small(ish) town is that if you hang out on Clematis Street you’re almost guaranteed to spot bands who are checking out the area.

Back at SunFest 2010 I was going to grab some coffee and bumped into the whole ZZTop crew at Starbucks. Being the classy guy that I am, I refrained from doing something as garish as taking a selfie with Billy Gibbons.

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Sunfest Band The Curve with @deshonallen

Local bars restaurants & clubs will also bring acts into town. In previous years Roxy’s Pub has brought Papa Roach & Snoop Dogg to perform. So after SunFest closes, you can be assured the party & live music will continue through town.

The ART

So maybe you’re not a big fan of music  or partying on the barges. Well, then you can come for the ART.

Starting Friday, the Juried Fine Art & Craft show features the work of more than 140 national artists. Their works include  jewelry, painting, pottery & ceramics, photography, sculpture, wood, arts and crafts, and more.

 

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SunFest Art Show

Run at the Sunfest 5k

So maybe you’re not a fan of Music, Partying on Barges, or Art! One of the coolest events at SunFest is the SunFest 5k which kicks off on Friday and includes entrance to SunFest.

NEW downtown course begins at Palm Beach Atlantic University, heads south and then turns onto the Flagler Drive. The finish line is in the heart of SunFest for all the Friday night fun.

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Fireworks!

Don’t forget to look up for the spectacular Fireworks Show Sunday, May 4 at 9 p.m. This fireworks display is one of the most talked about events of the festival.

SunFest hosts one of the largest fireworks shows on the East Coast. Lighting up the night sky on Sunday, the fireworks display is set to music and simulcast on The Gator 98.7.

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The Stars were Reached at the Kravis Centers Casino Royale party

The Stars were Reached at the Kravis Centers Casino Royale party

Reach for the Stars is the annual fund raiser gala that the Kravis Center throws to Benefit the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts S*T*A*R (Students and Teachers Arts Resource) Series and Education Programs.

In previous years, the theme was “Dancing with the Stars” where members of the news media challenged our local officials in a dance competition.

This year the tables were turned and an extravagant and the guests were treated to a fantastic Casino Royale themed party!

Cha Cha Ching!

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Along with the table games, celebrity hosts & meeting up with good friends, there was also an abundance of food from local restaurants.

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PB Catch had some spectacular bites – and some very interesting herb-infused vodka shots.

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Audrey provided us some delicious scones with strawberry jam and a delicious tea straight from the Serenity Garden Tea House.

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And my favorite was that we had the pleasure of trying out a preview of the treats that will be offered in Paneterie on Clematis Street.

IMG_20140426_213746I was excited to meet the owners of Aioli, a new restaurant that is opening in the South End of West Palm Beach (it’ll be in the old Blockbusters space by South Olive Park).

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And of course the night is not complete until you get The Byrdman assisting a roving magician with some up-close tricks.

The evening ended with the much anticipated raffle. Kudos for everyone who was involved with making this such a memorable & spectacular evening.

 

 

Recap of Saturday’s West Palm Beach Happy Video Shoot!

Recap of Saturday’s West Palm Beach Happy Video Shoot!

I’m still getting over the amazing day that was Saturday!

The idea started a couple weeks ago with a few tweets and a blog entry, and before I knew it the project had spun into something bigger than I could have possibly planned.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who took time out of their day to come out. Thanks for dancing despite the heat & occasional sound issues, it was YOU who made this day awesome.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the news, Palm Beach Post who put it in the paper & The List for featuring a segment on our dance & the other stations that put notices up. Also thanks to the WPB Parks & Recreation department for helping out at the Green Market as well as Dawn & Visit Palm Beach for hosting us at the Visitors Center & letting us dance on the Hakuna Matata.

Also an individual and HUGE thanks goes to Neil London of ictv1 who filmed our dances at the Green Market and Clematis Street. THANK YOU.

Here’s how it went down.

The morning started at Summa Beach in the Southend. Our dancers showed up nice and early and we filmed some great shots on the water as well as walking through some of our neighborhoods.

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By 9am we hit the Green Market where more than 30 people showed up to dance.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Mayor Jeri Muoio also came out to show off their moves.

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Next stop was the 300 block alley which was being rejuvenated by the School of Urban and Regional Planning. This was a fantastic project and everyone was certainly in the mood to dance.

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We took our dance to the 500 block where the Corvette Club was holding their car show. It took a little convicing for the DJ to play “HAPPY” but once that was cranking on their sound system we filmed the entire length of the song.

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Next stop was the First Baptist Church downtown. Tyler Williams set up their stage and screens with the #ilovewpb hashag.

Little plug – FBC will be holding their  sunrise (6:30 am) Easter Sunday service at the Chapel by the Lake for the last time. This is a beautiful downtown spot & and regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), it’s well worth getting up early to enjoy. 

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Cityplace came out strong to dance around the fountain and on the stairs to the Harriet Himmel Theatre. Great group of people, thanks for dancing despite an unfortunate lack of music!

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While in Cityplace we stopped by the luxury pet boutique Pucci and Catana to have an epic dance party. Thanks to Lauren and all the staff who are always sure to support local social media & local businesses downtown. Also thanks to the Pure Barre staff that came to dance.

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Next we headed back to the waterfront to dance. On the way we found this party who were taking prom pictures. We asked them to dance for us, and they were HAPPY to!

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Big Thanks to Deshon Allen who works tirelessly downtown, and brought some of the Mako Cheerleaders to dance at the waterfront.

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We couldn’t leave the waterfront without dancing with everyone’s favorite Pizza Girls! We had an awesome dance party which included some epic Pizza Flipping.

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And finally after almost 12 hours of filming we ended the party with a dance on VisitWPB’s cool catamaran, the Hakuna Matata.

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There is still a ways to go with editing it, but I will make sure to let EVERYONE know when it’s ready.

Here is a little clip to whet your appetite!

Again thanks to everyone who made this happen.

 

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