Of course there was an elephant standing outside the new Fifteen O One Barton G., twirling rings on her trunk and trumpeting on command, a kind of consolation prize for those unable to score wristbands to enter the event impresario's latest coup: a refurbished catering hall and live-music venue formerly known as Billboardlive. What kind of Barton G. event would it be without a big-top act to help it go over the top? And naturally there were flamingos, huddled together in an indoor fountain like refugees from Parrot Jungle and looking as if they were hoping guests would accidentally drop a shrimp or two. Then there were the human animals, who seemed entranced by typical Barton G. goodies like a French fry bar that offered six varieties, hot dogs and mini burgers with fixings, salmon finger sandwiches topped with hard-boiled quail eggs, entire joints of prosciutto, exotic salads, and samples of just about everything the kitchen will be offering. A funkadelic wedding-style band and the event staff, dressed in catsuits streaked with yellow and purple, provided enough entertainment that we didn't stay for the Pointer Sisters' set. The point had already been made: For retro-glam cabaret dinner theater, think Fifteen O One. (Eartha Kitt was the first booked act, and there's a rumor afloat that Barton G. turned down an offer of entertainment from Lenny Kravitz.) As for the catering aspect of it, think quince.
The only thing I like more than a good pun is good food. At Sol Kitchen it looks like I'm going to get both. Subtitled "All that's fresh and flavorful under the sun," the new Delray Beach restaurant has debuted across the street from the historic Old School Square district on Atlantic Avenue. More important, it's the sunny brainchild of renowned 32 East chef-partner Nick Morfogen, co-proprietor Butch Johnson, and several other principals. Ryan Brown, formerly chef de cuisine at 32 East, is the Apollo of Sol, which offers a menu combining the flavors of Floridian, Latino, and Mex-American cooking. That translates to such delicacies as Dos Equis steamed clams with Texas toast and chipotle mayo; fundita of chorizo and queso fresco with warm tortillas; loaded fish taco with shredded cabbage, tomato, and lime; and palomilla steak with mojo-smothered onions, Cubano rice, and beans. Or in other words, yeehaw, mis amigos. I see the rays of light.
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Looks like the Miami Wine & Food Festival -- not to be confused with the South Beach Wine and Food Festival -- is going to play master and apprentice(s). Or is that master and commanders? The Saturday-night formal dinner will feature a course from David Bouley, who recently signed on to the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, and will be flanked by courses from Willis Loughhead of the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove and Tim Andriola of Timo, two of our hometown troupers who prove that Miami sometimes gets it right.
You know a culinary trend is successful when the French start copying it. Take the dinner launch of Claude Troisgros's new menu at the Blue Door, which featured such La Broche-isms as braised endives and caramelized bananas rolled in prosciutto di parma. No, seriously. And tomato tarte Tatin with Greek extra-virgin olive oil ice cream and black olives. Which isn't to say everything was misguided or unsavory. Quite the opposite. For one thing, the celebrity chef's take on gazpacho -- first he spiced it up with black pepper, then froze it into sorbet -- was excellent. "I like that one too," the chef said when he dropped by the table. "It's a little different." True. Unless, of course, you're dining in Spain, where frozen gazpacho is considered as mundane as the rain falling mainly on the plain.