Date Night–Cocktails, Apps, & Dinner, Oh My!

Mr. R. and I had a fabulous date night last weekend.  We started with cocktails and apps at The Alchemist on Clematis.  As it was a cool evening, we opted to sit at a high-top inside.  Having previously only eaten outside on the sidewalk, I was pleasantly impressed with the interior.  It was wooden tables and chairs, tin ceilings, industrial pendant lighting, carefully cluttered bric-a-brack, and a relaxed atmosphere.  It reminded me for all the world of my favorite bar on the planet, the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City, the historic Cuban district of Tampa.  Which may explain why I loved it so much.  I had a glass of Kim Crawford while Mr. R. enjoyed a Stella or two with our lobster fritters and empanadas.

But when we searched the menu for something dinner-type, neither of us found anything that really struck our fancy that night.  Mr. R. looked at me and suggested that for dinner we could go to the Sunset Bar & Grill and I was thrilled to agree.

So we made our way to Northwood Village and the Sunset Bar & Grill.  I’ve written about this terrific little Indie restaurant before and it’s one of my favorite places to go. The interior is funky, eclectic, and artsy, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.  We were shown to our favorite booth right next to the bar and wasted no time ordering a glass of Clifford Bay.  Glancing around, we noticed that about half the tables had ‘Reserved’ signs on them and we found out that many people had booked reservations for later on that evening.

For dinner Mr. R. had the pork chop in marsala sauce and I had the shrimp Francaise.  Both were hot and delicious.  I’ve never seen a ‘chop’ the size of the one he had.  Having had apps downtown, neither of us were able to finish the generous portions we were served, but before we left we were treated to the most amazing dessert.

Mind you, I’m generally of the opinion that “if it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t dessert.”  I have changed my mind.  We were served a raspberry pear cobbler that absolutely blew my mind.  The first bite just melted in my mouth and I was hard-pressed not to stab Mr. R. with my fork in my eagerness to get another bite.

Next time you’re looking to go someplace different for a great meal, I’d recommend the Sunset Bar & Grill.  You might make reservations to make sure you’ll get a table.

And Valentine’s Day is coming up, just saying…

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Saturday Night Serenade–Garth Brooks

Last night, Mr. R. and I found ourselves at one of our most favorite local Indie places for dinner, The Sunset Grill in Northwood.  That date night is a post for another time, but for now I have to say that they played the best music all night.  I loved every song that came on and the playlist was eclectic, from James Taylor to the Police to Alan Jackson.  But one of my favorite musical  moments from last night was Two Pina Coladas by Garth Brooks and it was my intention to post that for tonight’s serenade.

However…  I’d forgotten how hard it is to locate actual Garth Brooks songs on Youtube.  They have lots of covers, but I wanted to real deal so I began to dig.  Which is good for us because I unearthed this gem from December 2014.  Garth made an appearance at a Justin Timberlake concert in Nashville and the two collaborated on that GB classic, Friends in Low Places.  They even include the ‘mysterious third verse’ which makes for a solid gold serenade.  My face still hurts from smiling.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

Happy Saturday night!

Date Night Extraordinaire–Part 2

This was so great it deserves a post by itself.  After the movie, Mr. R. and I made our way south from Jupiter to the West Palm Beach neighborhood of Northwood Village where we decided to go to a restaurant where I’ve never been and he hadn’t been there in a  long time.

Photo from Pinterest.

Our apres movie dinner was at the Sunset Bar & Grill at 2500 Broadway.  I knew as soon as we walked in that I was going to love the place.  It’s an ancient 1920s art deco building that has been lovingly maintained and restored into a funky, quirky joint that’s exactly the reason I avoid big-box chain restaurants.

We were greeted by super friendly staff who immediately made us feel welcome, telling us to pick a table.  Although a few tables were occupied and there were a handful of guests at the bars (inside and out on the patio), the place wasn’t crowded and we easily found a booth to our liking.

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Photo by Mr. R.

The decor is funky, artsy, shabby chic and according to their website the painted canvases I saw all around the place are by local artist Deborah Kerly from her “Broadway Series” and are permanently on display.  Also catching my eye was a vast and eclectic collection of beautiful red glass vases arranged throughout the dining room.  I loved the various funky light fixtures as well.

The menu offered so many things that sounded amazing that it was hard to decide, but eventually I opted for the Sunset Crab Cakes while Mr. R. chose a Ribeye cooked medium rare.  The problem there was that he couldn’t decide whether he wanted it grilled or blackened so he actually asked the server to choose for him.

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Photo by Mrs. R.

When our dinner came out, his steak was blackened and he was very happy with it.  My crab cakes were without exaggeration the best crab cakes I have ever had, ever.  Our entrees were accompanied by homemade mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, fresh green beans, a tiny dollop of sweet potatoes, and a drop of some kind of stuffing.  Everything was delicious.  Having had our share of snacks at the movie, we each ended up taking home about half of our meals, which were heartily enjoyed the following day.  Before we left the Sunset, we were treated to a slice of their homemade coconut creme pie which was out of this world, and I don’t even like coconut.

Oh, and the music.  Throughout our time at the Sunset, we were serenaded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and Nina Simone.  I overheard one of the servers telling someone that it was the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora.  You couldn’t have chosen a more perfect soundtrack for an evening at the Sunset Bar & Grill.  It was my first time there.  It won’t be my last.

Yet Another Reason I Love Him

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Behold, the new hand painted wine glass Mr. R. bought me to replace the one that was broken. We got it Friday night at the Art & Wine Promenade in Northwood Village.

Artist Nicke Barefoot (I swear, she goes by that name) has a booth there every month and she sells the beautiful one-of-a-kind  glasses. Each one is an original piece of art and she paints a signature bare foot on the base of each one. In addition to wine glasses, she has martini and pilsner glasses as well. Her flier says that she accepts commissions for special projects. I’m thinking this could make for a fabulous wedding gift.

At any rate, I’m thrilled with my new wine glass. A toast to my sweet Mr. R. Thanks, babe.

Mangoes and Hazelnut and Wine! Oh My!

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Northwood Village in West Palm Beach hosts their monthly Art & Wine Promenade tomorrow night.  It’s the Tropical Mango Celebration so in addition to the usual artists and vendors,  they’re promising mango themed menus and beverages backed by ‘island music”. 

Friday night, the shops and galleries along Northwood Road will remain open and the owners are happy for you to browse.  Usually, I’m a bit intimidated to enter frou-frou art galleries and antique shops but during the Promenade the business owners go out of their way to make you feel welcome. And nothing says ‘welcome’ like a complimentary glass of wine.

On our first visit to the Promenade, Mr. R. and I stumbled across Bistro Bistro, a French bistro and bakery.  Mon Dieu!  While sipping our wine, we pored lustfully over contents of the bakery case.  Pointing to a chocolatey looking confection, Mr. R. inquired as to what it was. 

“Eet ees ahhh-zuuul-nuuut,” the woman replied. 

Mr. R. looked to me, bewildered. 

“Hazelnut, babe,” I translated from Frenglish. 

To say Mr. R. was in is a massive understatement. 

If you’re local or just visiting the area tomorrow, you won’t want to miss this fun celebration of art, wine, and small business.  Toss in mangoes and island music, it’ll be like you’re in the Caribbean.  And if you play your cards right, maybe you can even get your “ahhh-zuuul-nuuut” on.