Tag Archives: florida

Florida Noms: Chardonnay (Palm Beach Gardens)

6 Jun



Our Florida trip was going to end with taking in a pre-season Mets game in Port Saint Lucie.  As we drove up in torrential down-pouring rain, I had a feeling the game wasn’t going to happen.  Sure enough, just as we were passing the Palm Beach area, the game was cancelled.  Since we were flying out of the West Palm Beach area airport, we decided to kill some time at the movies and the mall.  What else are you supposed to do in a Florida beach town in the pouring rain?  After a lovely indoor day, we had about 3 hours before our flight and found ourselves in search of a nice place to have dinner.  A few cross-checks via Yelp and OpenTable sent us to Cafe Chardonnay in Palm Beach Gardens.

Here is a peak at the menu:





This place was having a bit of an identiy crisis.  It was called a cafe, had a cheesy graphic logo that looked like it was made in MS Paint, was decorated sort of high end French and sort of street cafe, and had an elegant sounding menu.



We started with Warm Almond Crusted Goat Cheese to share.  It came with figs and a raisin bread.



And it was fantastic.  The goat cheese was perfect, the figs were a great sweet compliment, and I liked that they crisped up the raisin bread so everything spread well on it.



Mike had a wedge salad.  The blue cheese was chunky and very good.



Then he had the Prawn “Scampi” over fresh linguine.





We both agreed that it was just okay.


I made a combination of specials (to avoid peppers) with the Sea Bass over the side dishes that were originally to come with the crab crusted flounder.



Braised artichokes, mushrooms, gnocchi…  all the makings of a great dish.  But it just wasn’t.  It was okay, but also lacking.  (Is there a lack of flavor problem in Florida?)



I was kind of surprised that the entrees were just bland, but dessert looked promising.



We chose the pecan pie.


AND the cheesecake (hush… it was “vacation”)



Both were totally “ehh.”


I think the best description for this place was “ehh.”  Everything was just “ehh.”  Which basically described most of our “high-end” Florida dining experiences on this trip… “EHHH”

Total Nom Points: 6 out of 10



Florida Noms: Stonewood Grill and Tavern (Wellington)

1 Jun



For a dinner with Mike’s family, we went to Stonewood Grill and Tavern in Wellington, Florida.  It’s a small chain across Florida with one location in North Carolina.

It reminded me of an Outback but without the Australian theme.  The salmon looked great and was enjoyed by all who ordered it.




A few of us got steaks, and all were quite tasty with good char.



Char is key in my opinion.  A good char can lift the quality of even a bad steak, and these were quite good.





The baked potato came with a lovely set of fixins.


The lamb chops were also artfully plated and delicious.



Overall, I thought this was a very good dinner for a “chain”-type place.  I would prefer Outback, simply for the sweet potatoes, but this was still tasty and had a big enough menu for everyone to find something they liked.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10





Florida Noms: Max’s Grille (Boca Raton)

30 May



When Mike and I headed to Florida for a family wedding, I was excited to see an area of Florida that I had never been in: Boca Raton.  I heard about the Rat’s Mouth as the haven of Rich Retirees.  I was a bit surprised when most of it looked like a glossed up luxury strip mall, but I tried to get past my strange distaste for all shopping quarters that are outside and tried to remind myself that when the weather is always warm, strip malls are not the same as in New Jersey.  So we parked and scoped out a place for brunch in Mizner Park. After perusing some lovely high-end stores and finding an awesome little tea and spice shop called The Spice & Tea Exchange, we stumble on Max’s Grille which had a lovely outdoor patio… in the strip mall (stop judging Sara… stop judging).  


As I went to take the picture of the sign, our waiter walked right into the shot and made such an awesome face that I just couldn’t crop it out.



Then we had a lovely little friend join us, who was damn cute even without the tail.



Mike got the smoked salmon BLT, which was fine but somehow lacking.



I got the eggs benedict which was… not good.  Boring english muffins, bland hollandaise, tasteless spinach…


And poorly poached eggs…




But it did make for a lovely glamour shot.




Oh well!  It filled us up, we got to eat outside in the middle of what would have been a sub-freezing day in Manhattan, and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  It was fine, but I wouldn’t go back.

Total Nom Points: 5 out of 10