At the insistence of my editor who loves the joint, I visited TooJays Gourmet Deli in the Palm Beach area last week, and I was really impressed. Great sandwiches for under $10, just the right size, great bread, real cheesecake and rye bread, killer soup, very good chopped liver, etc. And it was packed every night I drove by. Price point is low, and the evening menu features fantastic comfort-food meals such as stuffed cabbage and pot roast. I think this begs an important question: Why can’t we have one of those in our town? Answer: Because no one has opened one yet.
I’m not going to pull the Yoda card; I really mean it. The concept is simple, the numbers work, the place would be wildly popular here, and the biggest failure is that people with the intentions of copying this type of concept have simply not executed it well or located it properly. Hopefully it will happen soon . . . but I am not hopeful given the sad state of the economy.
Elissa Altman, whom I have the hugest food crush on, has a new blog, and wow, was she quick to the punch. Just days after posting her killer malaise du siècle piece on HuffPo , she doubles down on the recession bandwagon and launches Poor Man’s Feast. Check it out; we love it.
In an era when fine dining and all things spendy are on the outs and a return to simple pleasures is in, we are all eager for a different type of food-driven conversation. And along comes my NYC homegirl with a great new read for blog-o-philes.
I just returned from a fabulous break with my family in southern Florida. We checked out Walt Disney World and were there for NYE, which everyone should experience at least once in their lives. The fireworks at Epcot were, without a doubt, some of the best I have ever seen, and the happy and magical vibe was in full effect for days. I even managed to meet Mickey and hang out with Goofy.
The coolest part of the trip was experiencing the whole shebang through my son's eyes since we both were there for the first time. The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was awesome, but the best times we had were riding the Small World ride and the Toy Story ride again and again. Simply wonderful. Disney is a world-class organization to say the least, and the turkey legs ain’t too shabby.
We also stayed for awhile at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, had some great weather, and ate some amazing food. The deals we found booking late at good hotels were AWESOME. We scored two bedrooms at the Ritz in Orlando during our Disney break for $499—for the 2 rooms together! That’s better than a 50 percent savings. Anyway, every time we hit Palm Beach, we always eat at Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court, and this trip was no exception. The heirloom tomato composition was a tomato soup perched next to a tomato salad with olive tuiles; the skirt steak was paired with short ribs; and we loved the white truffle risotto. Awesome stuff.
Very quietly, Daniel has stocked some of the best chefs in the country in his restaurants, Gavin Kaysen in NYC and Zach Bell in Palm Beach. The restaurant is one of the prettiest in the nation, sitting in the lush garden of the Brazilian Court Hotel. Anyone venturing to Southern Florida should check it out. The menu is divided into the four categories that Boulud loves to play with most: tradition, seasons, the garden, and international flavors . . . just like DB’s Upper East Side eatery.
Anyway I am glad to be home and can't wait to settle in for a while before I have to go off and start shooting the new season . . . and eating more balls. Check out andrewzimmernatemyballs.com for a good laugh. The pics are hysterical.