Things We Loved And People We Lost in January

CC Teneal and the Soul Kamotion Band rocked the Arts Garage. If you can, make sure to see them on the next visit to town.

Things we Loved in January

Lunch at Granger’s. It’s always good.
The cool weather.  This is why we live here.
The grand opening of the  new Whole Foods on Linton Boulevard. 
Welcome aboard Jessica Steinweg, the new director of marketing at Old School Square.
Ms. Steinweg comes to OSS from Brandstar, a brand marketing agency. We wish her well.
Sitting outside at the Seagate Hotel on a beautiful evening enjoying happy hour and great conversation. Just perfect. The hummus is awfully good too, just saying.
Dinner at J Alexander’s after a movie. Just a great combo.
A day on the Avenue with friends and family. Lunch at City Oyster and a stroll. Such a nice way to spend a beautiful winter day.
The wings and margaritas at Driftwood in Boynton Beach are as good as these things get.
The stagiano salad at Renzo’s is also as good as a salad gets. Which is pretty good.
The kale salad at Rex Baron in Boca is not too shabby either.
Don’t miss the Linda Ronstadt documentary on CNN on Demand. It’s amazing. She’s amazing. What a wonderful talent and beautiful soul. A true American treasure.
Other recommendations: Knives Out, The Two Popes and Mrs. Maisel season three. Marriage Story for the great acting and Once upon a Time in Hollywood for the great chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Don’t miss Bombshell either.
Nice to see WBO Middleweight Champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade train at the Delray Beach Boxing Club.
Andrade will fight Jan. 30 in Miami. He’s a former Olympian and undefeated as a pro.
Good to see City Commissioner Ryan Boylston and County Commissioner Bob Weinroth serve as judges at the High School Ethics Bowl at FAU. 
We love dogs. And we love Tri-County Rescue.
So it was cool to see that 30 of the 80 dogs rescued from the Puerto Rican earthquake are ready for adoption now. Visit Tri County Animal Rescue on Boca Rio Road and rescue your new best friend.
A good time was had by all at the sold out annual Arts Garage Gala last weekend. 
Great music courtesy of Ce CE Teneal and the Soul Kamotion Band, great food by Chez Gourmet and a lively crowd made for a wonderful night. 
Another great run at the Australian Open for Delray’s own Coco Gauff. She also made the U.S. Fed Cup team. A grand slam is in her future. Also, great to see her grand mother Yvonne get some props in the Washington Post. She would have made a great City Conmissioner.
We mourn the loss of two Delray icons and civic giants.

We lost former city commissioner Armand Mouw a few weeks back.
He was a nice man and a good elected official too. Why? Because he wasn’t political. He called it like he saw it. He brought a lot of common sense, civility (there’s that word again) and business acumen to the dais in the early 90s when he served.
I was a young reporter back then and Mr. Mouw was always kind and always accessible.
He brought a lot of knowledge as a construction executive to the city at a time when the Decade of Excellence was getting under way. He will be deeply missed,  a true gentleman.

Mr. Mouw had an amazing career as CEO of Mouw Associates and was very influential in his field and in the business community.  He was just a wonderful man.
We also mourn the loss of Ernie Simon.
You can write a book about Mr. Simon who was deeply involved in the Delray Playhouse, ran for mayor in 1990, was a dedicated Rotarian, a city judge (back when they had those), a business leader and a terrific attorney.
He was always so kind to me and was the law partner of my predecessor as mayor, Dave Schmidt.
I remember our chats, his sense of humor, his kindness and the twinkle in his eye.
They just don’t make em like that anymore. Ernie loved Delray and Delray loved Ernie Simon.

Things We Loved in November

Marie Horenburger was a Delray city commissioner, Tri-Rail board member and former Boynton CRA commissioner.

Things we loved in November 
Well it was a busy month and this month will only be busier. We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season…
Good to see former 32 East and Tryst chef John Thomas resurface at a new restaurant in West Palm Beach.
While he will be missed in Delray, it looks like his latest concept Sassafras, which features southern cuisine has great potential.
It’s the latest offering from the always interesting Sub Culture Group and is located on Narcisssus Avenue.
Sassafras also features sous chefs who have worked at Dada, Farmer’s Table and 32 East. 
The first and hopefully annual 65 Roses on the Avenue event to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was a smashing success.
The event was held at the Old School Square Fieldhouse and featured catering by Jimmy’s Bistro.
I’m proud to note that our companies; CDS International Holdings and Celsius were presenting sponsors.
The event was an eye opener about a disease that affects tens of thousands of people. Researchers recently made a major breakthrough which is validation that support of the foundation’s efforts makes a big difference.
Kudos to the Delray Chamber of Commerce for featuring western businesses.
The 2019 West Delray Business Expo held in November at the Big Apple Shopping Bazaar is an important step as the chamber has long sought to include and represent businesses in the greater Delray area. Bravo.
Welcome aboard Shannon Eadon.
Eadon took the reigns as the new CEO of Old School Square after a successful stint as Development Director at the Bergen Performing Arts Center.
OSS has been without a CEO since May 2018 when Rob Steele resigned.
We’re looking forward to seeing Ms. Eadon take Old School Square to new heights.
Congratulations to Joe Hart on his retirement after 30 terrific years as a Delray Beach Police Officer.
Joe has made a tremendous difference in our community and will be missed. Just a nice guy and a super cop. We wish him well on his future endeavors.

Congratulations to Ron Tarro for being awarded Maverick Mentor of the year at FAU Tech Runway, a startup incubator in Boca Raton.

Ron is a tech veteran, Delray resident and all around nice guy.

We continue to be impressed with Elisabetta’s.
We celebrated several birthdays there this month. Excellent service, great food and the atmosphere can’t be beat.
Congratulations to the three newest members of Boca’s Walk of Fame. 
Philanthropist Arthur Adler, former Fire Chief Kerry Koen (who also served as Delray’s Chief) and Florida Atlantic University which was represented by President John Kelly are the newest honorees.
There are now 81 members of the Walk of Fame which is truly a terrific idea.
We were terribly saddened to learn about the passing of former City Commissioner Marie Horenberger.
Marie was a bright light, always so friendly and positive.
She was deeply interested in local government and was a fixture at the Palm Beach County League of Cities. She was deeply involved in both Delray and Boynton Beach serving on that city’s CRA.
She was also a lobbyist with a gentle touch. A kind woman who always asked about your children and family. Regardless of what was going on in her world she always found something positive to focus on.
We will miss her smile and kindness.
We were also touched by the loss of a special young man that we learned about. Here’s the story from a gofundme campaign set up in his memory.
“On Wednesday, November 13th at around 7 am the world lost a truly special soul. Rodney Cox Jr. passed away just feet away from his bus stop as he was on his way to school. Before he could make it, he was tragically struck and killed by the Brightline Train. We will miss his joyful spirit and his contagious smile will remain in our hearts forever.

To show our Love for Rodney and his family Directors from 505 Teen Center, EJS Project and Milagro Teen Center came together to create this GoFundMe to assist with expenses while allowing the family the opportunity to support each other during this difficult time.

Rodney was such a talented and kind young man with an infectious positive attitude towards life. His family held a candlelight vigil and a large crowd showed up to pay tribute to his life and to support his loved ones. There were so many great memories shared about the type of person Rodney was and the lifelong impressions’ he left during his short time here in the physical.

Rodney aka @foreign.rich3 (his artist name) was an extremely talented artist with a gift of turning his lived experiences into stories through his music. He always talked of being a star one day to share these stories but most importantly he wanted to “Take care of my family, we are going to be Rich one day”. To know him was to believe him because he put in the work and stayed committed toimproving his craft.

Even though we all mourn during this difficult time we must reflect on his memory and smile because that’s is exactly what he would have wanted!

We finally went up on the roof, with a visit to the rooftop bar at the new Courtyard Marriott on US 1 just south of Atlantic Avenue.
The rooftop features a great happy hour from 4-7, picturesque views looking west, fire pits and friendly bartenders.
Really cool addition and they make great margaritas.
Dishes We Dig
We remain fans of the pecan crusted chicken at Sazio. It has been too long.
Love the southern chicken sandwich at Granger’s, which is fast becoming my go-to place. Great food, wonderful service, easy parking and fair prices. Bravo.
Three vegetarians and three carnivores walked into Harvest…
Sounds like the beginning of a joke but it’s a true story and all six of us came away happy with our meals.
Harvest on Linton and US 1 remains a really great and healthy dining option for palates of all persuasions.
We enjoyed an amazing Thanksgiving at the wonderful La Cigale.
Great food, attentive service and a wonderful ambience made for a terrific holiday. P.S. There is no better biscotti in all the land.
We also recommend Baciami in Boynton Beach.
The Italian restaurant is owned by a Delray family and features a large menu, great service and ridiculously good cannoli cheesecake. Just a fabulous experience.
We also dined with friends at City Oyster and enjoyed the ambience of the avenue a few steps away not to mention some really great food. It’s good to rediscover a long time favorite.
Have a great December and thanks for reading.

Rituals & Happy Hours

City Oyster on Atlantic Avenue is one of many good spots to start a lunch group.

I’m noticing a new trend.
At least I think it’s a trend.
I can’t speak for my female friends (and unlike Harry Met Sally, I do think men and women can be friends) but the guys I know are forming tribes around breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour.
Aside from the caloric risks, I think this is a healthy activity.
There’s a group of guys who meet for Friday breakfast, a Thursday lunch group, a Friday happy hour bunch and a semi-regular group that heads for the Sail Inn whenever their “captain” sends out an email enlisting his fellow ‘sailors’.
It’s a great tradition.
Not only do you get camaraderie and fellowship, but you get to experience the insults, humor and gentle reminders leading up to the event.
These rituals that I know about happen at Ellie’s Diner, The House of Pancakes, Donnie’s, J Alexander’s, Caffe Luna Rosa, Christina’s, Tom Sawyer, Farmer’s Table, City Oyster,  the Cuban Café, Tap 42, Rocco’s Taco’s, Latitudes and the aforementioned Sail Inn.

It’s a nice array of Delray and Boca restaurants–so these activities benefit local businesses while also building friendship and community.

My schedule doesn’t allow me to  attend every group activity every week but it’s comforting to know you can tap into these regularly scheduled get togethers and get plugged in.
I’ve seen how a few of these rituals develop and it’s quite simple really.
It often happens when someone calls a few friends to gather for a a meal or a drink. The key is to add a new element. Someone new or a different combination of people than the usual lunch bunch. If the outing goes well it becomes a “thing.”
On Friday, I went to a lunch at City Oyster with Tom Block, a former JP Morgan executive who retired to Juno Beach a few years back after a long and fascinating career in Washington. He’s a childhood friend of Jon Levinson, a former City Commissioner and I’ve tagged along at several of their get togethers over the years to talk national politics. Tommy knows everyone and for a political buff like me it’s just fascinating to get the inside scoop about Congress.
For this outing in Delray, Tommy arranged to bring his winter neighbor John DeStefano, a long time mayor of New Haven, CT and a former president of the National League of Cities who now teaches political science at Yale.
At the last minute, I got an email from former Delray Mayor Tom Lynch asking if I had lunch plans so I called Tom and asked him to join us. What followed was 90 minutes of great conversation about cities, local politics and the difference between Florida and Connecticut and Delray and New Haven (roughly the same size geographically but with twice the population).
It was great.

And I hope it becomes a semi-regular thing.

Why? Because I want to learn more and these guys have done a whole lot in politics, business, education and the non-profit world.
They also happen to be nice, smart, opinionated and funny.
Mayor DeStefano seemed to enjoy Delray.
And a day later he emailed us all–thanking everyone for a nice lunch, good conversation and asking if we could do it again someday soon.
And so a tradition begins.
I highly recommend you join or start a group–it’s the spice of life as they say.

Places To See and Be Seen: An Insider’s Guide to Local Hot Spots

Where the action is...

Where the action is…

Like lots of towns, Boca Raton and Delray Beach have what’s known as “it” places, haunts to see and be seen.

You know the description, restaurants, cafes and other hot spots where the movers and shakers make deals, break bread and toast the future.

Here’s a look at our subjective (with a capital S) list:

Boca Raton

  • The Grille—For years, this spot strategically located near tons of businesses on Congress Avenue near Yamato Road, has been a go-to place for business leaders. It’s so popular—and parking is so limited—that if you don’t get there at 11:45 a.m. you might not get a table for lunch. Who will you run into? Techies, investment bankers and real estate moguls.
  • Max’s Grille—This mainstay remains hugely popular. Located right next to the valet stand at Mizner Park, visitors can feast on good eats, the best crème brule on the planet and watch the steady stream of Bentley’s, Rolls Royce’s and Lexus’ pull up to dine. Who will you run into? Wealthy investors, visiting titans of industry, philanthropists and a smattering of politicians.
  • The Boca Resort & Club—The legendary pink hotel attracts a world class clientele and has hosted presidents and royalty. It also is well-known for its legendary conferences many of them business or finance oriented featuring speakers that range from Fed Chairmen to Fortune 100 CEOs. Who will you run into? Masters of the universe.
  • Abe & Louie’s—This Boston-based steak house attracts a large business crowd for lunch and for dinner. Who will you into? Count on seeing civic and business leaders, big wigs from FAU and and elected officials.
  • J Alexander’s –Located in the hugely popular University Commons, J Alexander’s is a smartly designed restaurant. The lunch crowd draws a lot of civic leaders, academics and business types. After six, the bar scene is lively and chock full of a who’s who of people making it happen in Boca.
  • Seasons 52—Located on the busy Glades corridor, Seasons 52 is busy for lunch and dinner. Who will you run into? Attorneys, bank presidents and people looking to watch their calories but still eat well.
  • Tom Sawyer’s—A breakfast and lunch hot spot for many, many years, Tom Sawyer’s on Second Avenue is non-descript from the outside, but step inside and you are sure to see lots of interesting peeps: Who have we seen there recently? Prominent land use attorneys, city officials, VIP’s from Delray looking to get out of town for a discreet lunch, a former editor of the National Enquirer and FAU coaches. Great food and reasonable prices make this a perennial favorite.
  • Uncle Thai’s—Boca Center is a major gathering spot for VIP’s for lunch and dinner. Uncle Thai’s is a long time institution popular with university figures, elected officials, real estate players and top sales and marketing professionals.
  • Houston’s—Yes, we know it’s a chain. But it is a cool chain and a very popular spot for business meetings. Boca’s tech and financial sector loves the place.
  • Capital Grille—Another chain, but this one is at the venerable Mall at Town Center, located near lots of businesses on bustling Glades Road. Hospital officials, public company CEO’s and investors love the ambience and the food.
  • Rocco’s Taco and Tequila Bar—Another Boca Center gathering spot for Boca’s most influential. Chock full of business visitors from the nearby Marriott and local leaders.
  • Prime Cigar and Wine Bar—Located at 2240 NW 19th Street #916, Prime is…well…a prime spot for business men. This is the place that ad agency principals, restaurateurs, real estate investors, developers, bankers, high powered executives and others come to relax at all hours of the day. It was Mark Twain who said: “Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar.” This is the spot for people who believe in that adage.
Tramonti: Ideal for business

Tramonti: Ideal for business


Delray Beach

  • City Oyster—Delray’s business scene is a lot less formal than Boca’s, more board shorts than Bentley’s but don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you. There’s plenty of high commerce happening in the village by the sea. City Oyster is a political hot bed, with rivals eyeing each other to see who’s dining with whom. But aside from the political stuff (which is kind of silly), there’s plenty of business conducted over lunch at this beautifully designed restaurant which opens to the busy Atlantic Avenue.
  • Prime—This “supper” club also does a healthy lunch business with business types enjoying the view of Atlantic Avenue and nearby Worthing Park. Who will you see? Real estate investors, techies, bankers and non-profit execs.
  • Tramonti—Tramonti is busy for dinner and for lunch. Here’s where you’ll see visiting celebrities, high net worth investors, developers and their attorneys. The food is superb and so is the service.
  • Cabana El Rey—Popular with city leaders, local artists, non-profit leaders and creative types Cabana El Rey features a vibrant outdoor dining scene. We have seen Scottie Pippen of the Bulls and Sofia Vergara of Modern Family dining there (not together).
  • Brule Bistro—This smart and eclectic local bistro is a highlight of Pineapple Grove and popular with power players who don’t need to be seen on Atlantic Avenue. Developers, architects, philanthropists and foodies flock to Brule.
  • Caffe Luna Rosa—Busy for all three meals, but especially for breakfast. Popular with business types who need to remind themselves that they live near a beach. The restaurant offers great views of the Atlantic. Located at A1A and Atlantic. And some of the breakfast dishes are named after local figures (the French toast is named after me).
  • Smoke Inn Delray Beach—Popular with business types who like a good cigar. Cozy and cool perfect for good conversations.
  • The Sail Inn—Not an obvious choice, but a good one. This is where you’ll see locals go to blow off steam including ex mayors, former commissioners, city staffers, business types etc. Why? Because it’s a New York Yankee bar and that alone makes it cool.