Pairings – Food and Wine Event in Downtown West Palm Beach

People of Clematis Street, it’s the time once again for West Palm Beach’s most popular foodie event! Grab your tickets TODAY for tomorrow’s big “Pairings” event!

 

 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2013) — 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 second annual “Pairings” event. This progressive dinner tour will take place on Thursday, May 30 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 offered by the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Little Smiles, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children affected with cancer.

More than 15 restaurants will offer 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 turkey burger bites and mini root beer and orange ice cream floats from Hamburger Heaven, to Middle Eastern chicken kabobs and Arak Lebanese liquor from Leila Restaurant. The Tin Fish Clematis will serve shrimp with corn chowder and Tin Fish Tea, Palm Sugar will offer its famous pork buns and Coastal Vines pinot noir, and Cabana Nuevo Latino will have authentic anticucho steak and caipirinhas. Other participating restaurants and cafés include The Backyard Bar, Best Darn Kettlecorn, Bistro Ten Zero One, Café Sweets Bakery, Duffy’s Sports Grill, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Hullabaloo, Irie Island Cuisine, LongBoards, Off the Hookah, O’Shea’s Irish Pub, Roxy’s Pub 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 St., suite 200, and the SunFest office at 525 Clematis St. On-site tickets can be purchased the day of the event for $30 at the ticket booth tent outside City Center at 401 Clematis St. Tickets include entry and sampling at each of the participating restaurants, a map of the downtown district, and a VIP dining card that can be used for 10 percent off the check price at downtown restaurants during future visits in June 2013.

Trolley transportation will be provided by the DDA to take guests from one bite to the next, and there are other activities and experiences Pairings patrons can take advantage of in between tastings. Joshua Isla from the new downtown business, Portrait Therapy Studios, will be on site creating portraits for interested guests, and spray paint artist Manuel Trujillo will wow the crowd with his designs. DreamShare photographers will also be located around the Clematis District to capture the evening’s festivities on camera, which visitors will be able to have emailed to them directly for instant sharing.
Pairings sponsors include the DDA, SunFest, Palm Beach Illustrated, Onli Beverages, SavorTonight.com, LocalDines.com and Atlas Party Rental. For more information on the West Palm Beach DDA, call (561) 833-8873 or visit westpalmbeachdda.com or WPBGO.com.

Try Sweet Ginger’s Vietnamese menu!

We headed out to CityPlace to catch Iron Man 3 and have a Mother’s Day dinner. Since we were feeling like Asian food we had decided to hit up Thai Jo before watching the movie. As things happened, we ended up getting an earlier showing (great movie) and then heading out to dinner a little later.

Once leaving the movie, dinner service was in full swing so we decided to change plans and go to Sweet Ginger, which was slightly off the beaten path and had plenty of tables available.

We’ve been to Sweet Ginger a couple times before and always enjoy their Asian food, but this time we talked to Do, who explained the new Vietnamese menu.

We had the Vietnamese Beef Stew, Sweet Ginger Pho, Udon Stir-Fry Noodles and Fresh Coconut milk to wash everything down. Not only was the menu phenomenal, but the service was fantastic as well. After packing up our left-overs for lunch the next day, Bo gave us a 10% of our bill back on a gift card and invited us back. We will certainly take him up on it.

Bobbi Sue BBQ closes. I hope the food is better at J. Flynn’s Irish Pub.

Bobbi Sue BBQ closes. I hope the food is better at J. Flynn’s Irish Pub.

Today the Palm Beach Post published an article on the unfortunate closing of Bobbi Sue BBQ on the 200 block. The article essentially blames Clematis Street, parking, and the downtown crowd for the failure.

With all due respect, it was the food at Bobbi Sue BBQ that was lacking.

Here are a couple choice lines from the most recent Palm Beach Post article:

Only eight short months after opening, Bobbi Sue Bar-B-Que has closed on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, an indication that even a hot urban destination can’t meet all the needs of the dining public.

“We had a great lunch crowd, but not a strong family presence,” Mash said, especially at night. That’s when the young, hip professionals gather on Clematis Street hot spots for happy hours or nightlife.

Families, on the other hand, prefer a place that’s convenient to go to for weekend meals and has easy parking, Mash added.

Bobbi Sue closed six months after the Palm Beach Pulse had written a scathing review on the food. Emphasis is mine.

The minds behind two-month-old Bobbi Sue BBQ have brought this attractively branded concept to Clematis Street, along with a focused, well-edited menu that goes from fried pickles to pulled pork to fried catfish to chicken and waffles.

They’ve brought Mason jars filled with Southern specialty drinks.

But here’s what they didn’t bring: good grub.

The creation of nightclub owner Cleve Mash (Dr. Feelgood’s, Dirty Martini), who named the place after his fiancée, Bobbi Sue attempts to ride the Southern-hipster wave. But instead, it flounders. Its fun and tempting menu fails to inspire its kitchen.

For the diner, it means disappointment on the plate.

The review was followed by 17 comments by locals who piled on about how they disliked the food. Urbanspoon gave Bobbi Sue a 50% rating with comments such as “Green beans from a can!” and “Just Bad”. The food was clearly a problem.

When people don’t like your food, you fix your food; you don’t continue on as normal and then blame the parking when you fold.

Bobbi Sue BBQ had a LOT going for them. The 200 block has a TON of walk-through traffic. The liquor license means that even though your food isn’t a culinary marvel, you can still make a ton on drink sales. And it was a cool design and concept! There were  a couple good items on the Lunch menu, I personally enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich (pictured below). Everyone loves BBQ, and there was a lot of buzz prior to its launch. If executed correctly there would be no reason why the concept wouldn’t work.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to kick a restaurant once they are down. I love working and playing on Clematis Street and sincerely want all the restaurants to succeed. I feel that finding out what went wrong is a more constructive approach than arbitrarily blaming the location and parking.

We have restaurants that are doing exceptionally well. Rocco’s Tacos is literally across the street from Bobbi Sue and is packed every night. Kabuki took over the spot of the failed Mambos Italianos, and is packed for lunch and dinner. The Wine Dive on the 300 block, carved out a unique position on the street and attracts a very loyal following. Palm Sugar moved into a spot where a restaurant had previously failed. They put a TON of work into their menu, and after only one year, they are the most talked about restaurant on Clematis Street, even without a liquor license. And we’re not even going to discuss the 500 block, which has created a very successful ecosystem despite having less parking than the blocks to the east.

When Five Guys closed their doors on Clematis Street I wrote a blog entry called Five Tips for Surviving Clematis Street. Everything in that article remains true and it is still my firm opinion that Clematis Street is a  great place for destination restaurants who are managed well, and provide a great dining experience.

To finish this rant I want  to say this: “If you build it, they will come” does not apply to Clematis Street. Throwing a good concept up against the wall is not going to create a popular and hip restaurant. Clematis Street is a difficult market and if you go into it like you go into setting up a food stand in the food court of a mall, it simply won’t work. You need good food, good management/servers, events, a connection with the local audience, and good PR to brand yourself as a “destination location” and bring in people from outside your local area.

I’m sad to see Bobbi Sue’s go, and hope to see a cool, fresh, and most importantly, good menu at J. Flynn’s Irish Pub.

Boston – Bus Loop – DNA Party and Tweeting up!

Dear Friends,

I’m not much of a runner. I’ve run a bunch of 5Ks and a couple half-marathons, but have never had the fortitude to commit to training for a full marathon. Marathon runners have extraordinary strength, as do those who line the route providing support for exhausted runners passing by. The attacks this week hit the strongest of us, but what makes a marathon runner what they are is the ability to keep running and not let the pain slow you down, which is what we must do now.

Tonight, the City of West Palm Beach will pay tribute to the City of Boston at Clematis by Night. As a show of solidarity, wear your race/running shirts to show your support of those affected by Monday’s tragedy.

We’ll have a moment of silence at 6 pm, followed by Lou Galterio singing “God Bless America.” At 7:30 p.m., the crowd will join in singing “Sweet Caroline,” the unofficial anthem of the Boston Red Sox, with featured Clematis by Night entertainment, Taylor Road

Friday: Downtown Neighbors Festival on the 500 Block and Bus Loop

Tomorrow, we will have the first Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) block party on the 500 block. The party will be from 5:30pm till 7:30pm and will feature the local band Cori Spring and LotSaPapa, artists, vendors, happy hour specials and more.

The West Palm Beach Bus Loop is back, providing trolleys that will circle through Cityplace, Clematis Street and Palm Beach from 6pm till 11pm. Stops on the list are: Brewzzi (CityPlace), Blue Martini (CityPlace), World of Beer, Cha Cha’s, Tin Fish, Longboards, Backyard Bar, Hullabaloo, O’Shea’s. There will be a post-party at World of Beer.

Grab your tickets here. All proceeds will benefit Florida Community Health Centers, Little Smiles, and Palm Beach County Gator Club Scholarship Fund.

Sunday – The Smithereens are coming to Sunday at the Waterfront

We’re looking forward to a great party on the waterfront this Sunday featuring the Smithereens! Grab a couple friends and a picnic and come and join us.

Sunfest time! Let’s Tweetup on the 23rd of April!

Remember the 20+ awesome tweetups that we did? Well, we’re at it again! For the 4th year in a row we will be teaming up with Sunfest for our very own SunfestTweetup!

We will meet at the “Top of the Fish” and have drink specials, bites, a raffle for a pair of Sunfest Tickets and other surprises.

Clematis Tweetup

 

Vote for Clematis Street!!!

New Times is at it again and are taking nominations for their “Best of 2013 Lists”. Traditionally Clematis Street is underrepresented on this list, so let’s all get on this and nominate / vote for your favorite place(s).

That’s all from me! See you on Clematis 🙂

Aaron “aGuyonClematis” Wormus!

Clematis Street Identity, Downtown Community & South End Picnic

Clematis Street Identity, Downtown Community & South End Picnic

Dear Friends,

Hi guys, I’m back! With the holiday last week, I opted to sleep in instead of get up at 5:30 to craft this email…and I heard about it. If you were one of the ones jonesing for Downtown news, I’d recommend you subscribe to the DDA “Downtown Update“, there is always a lot of good information there.

This week I want to talk a little more about Clematis Street! In a recent Palm Beach Post article, Rodney Mayo talks about Clematis Street’s character (and lack thereof). It’s an interesting discussion, and got me thinking.

One of the things that give a street character is the locals that frequent it. Over the years I’ve tried to do my part to unite the two ends of the street and give the street a feeling of community, but a community is more than just a blog. When I started aGuyonClematis, in 2009 there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I saw the need for more community engagement both on and offline so three years ago in April 2010, we held the first Clematis Tweetup in the old Forte Ristorante (currently Duffy’s). Thanks to local business support and the support of Palm Beach Post and Sunfest, we had over 20 great happy hours over the two years that we had regular Clematis Tweetups.

Since then, we’ve come a long way. Now I look at Clematis Street and there are events almost every night. Here is a snapshot over the next few weeks:

  • All Aboard The History Trolley Tours – Fridays and Saturdays from April 5th – 20th
  • Corvettes on Clematis – April 6th from 10am-4pm
  • Ginger’s Dance Party: April 6th at 8PM
  • Crawl for a Cure: April 6th
  • Historic Walking Tour with Rick Gonzales – April 12th at 4pm
  • The Lorax  featured at Screen On The Green – April 12
  • Bus Loop: April 19th
  • The Smithereens at Sunday on the Waterfront – April 21
  • SUNFEST – May 1st to May 5th

That’s not even getting into all the events that the downtown businesses are throwing,

  • KRASH! Day Party at Roxy’s Rooftop
  • Wednesday night Trivia at Oshae’s and World of Beer
  • Great bands at Respectables
  • and much, much more.

Looking at the variety that’s available to us, I think we’re doing pretty good in the “Character” department.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) has done a lot of work over the last few years to bring the community together – from organizing great events, to getting great “Downtown Deals” from local businesses, and making their members aware of city issues that affect them. They are a great downtown organization.

This month the DNA is working on throwing a LEGENDARY event. It’s so epic in fact, that I’m not supposed to be talking about it, but it’s coming soon so I figured I’d let you know so you would have plenty of time to sign up as a DNA member.

Speaking of neighborhood parties, if you’re a South End resident, or if you’re someone interested in moving to the South End, or really anyone who enjoys a good picnic with good people, join the South End Neighborhood Association THIS SUNDAY for their 9th Annual Picnic at Phipps Park. We are expecting a couple hundred people and look forward to seeing you too.

Getting back to Clematis Street, while I agree that we don’t have the same type of unified “Theme” like Atlantic Avenue, the charm of Clematis Street is that there is truly something for everyone.

Whether you enjoy the charm of the backyard at Oshae’s, or a party animal who participates in the Hot Body Contest at Off the Hookah, or someone who appreciates a quiet dinner at Pistache after watching a play at Palm Beach Dramaworks, you’ll find that there’s something for you to do on Clematis.

That’s all from me! See you on Clematis 🙂

Palm Beach Dramaworks Presents Exit The King – Opening March 29th

The curtain will rise on Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist classic Exit the King when Palm Beach Dramamworks resumes its 2012-13 season on Friday, March 29 (8PM) at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre (201 Clematis Street). This comic romp will play a strictly limited engagement through April 28, with specially priced preview performances slated for March 27 and 28. For thirteen years, West Palm Beach’s only professional, multi-award-winning resident theatre has brought to the Palm Beaches a distinguished roster of plays under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director William Hayes.

The subject is mortality in this funny, life-affirming play. The incompetent, 400-year-old King Berenger learns that he has just 90 minutes to live; he is told he will die at the end of the play. But he will neither give up control of what’s left of the kingdom he has brought to ruin, nor accept the inevitable and come to terms with his imminent death. Not surprisingly, mayhem ensues.

Exit the King is one of four plays Ionesco wrote between 1958 and 1963 that make up the “Berenger Cycle.” It was preceded by The Killer andRhinoceros, and followed by A Stroll in the Air. When Exit the King was staged on Broadway for the first time in 1968, Clive Barnes, writing in The New York Times, said, “It is the most personal and moving of all Ionesco’s plays, and … incomparably his greatest work.”

Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production will be directed by William Hayesand feature Colin McPhillamy as the inept monarch. The cast also includes Jim Ballard, Claire Brownell, Elizabeth Dimon, Rob Donohoe and Angie Radosh. Set design is by Michael Amico, costume design by Leslye Menshouse, lighting design by John Hall and sound design by Matt CoreyLynnette Barkley will serve as assistant director.

Eugene Ionesco (1909 – 1994) was one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. He often rejected logical plot and character development, and created his own form to explore the insignificance of human existence. He wrote 28 plays, including The Bald Soprano, The Lesson and The Chairs.

Palm Beach Dramaworks’ spring season will conclude with Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel (May 24 – June 16).

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Florida Professional Theatres Association, Florida Theatre Conference, and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

The performance schedule is as follows: Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 7PM. Matinee performances are on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2PM. Individual tickets are $55 for all performances. Preview performances are $47 and Opening Night Tickets (March 29) are $70. Student tickets are available for $10. Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available.

The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, open Monday from 10AM to 5PM, Tuesday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, and Sunday from 11AM to 5PM, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org

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