Back from Vacation: Random Thoughts From the Road

Charming, vibrant and walkable.

Charming, vibrant and walkable.

We’re back!

Thanks for indulging us during a vacation and the Labor Day holiday. We hope you had a great few weeks. We missed you.

Random thoughts…

We had a chance to visit Maine last week (Dave went to college at Bowdoin) and came away suitably impressed.

The coastline is gorgeous, the lobster and chowder is ubiquitous and the people are New England friendly.

We hit Portland, Boothbay Harbor, Rockland and Camden and got out on the waters of Casco Bay.

When you’re a recovering journalist, the first things you seek out in a new town are local publications. Newspapers and websites can give you a flavor for a place (much like we hope does for our hometowns) and also give you some ideas for restaurants, day trips and shopping excursions. It’s always fun to see the issues that other communities are debating and read about local businesses, artists and people.

When we grabbed a copy of Portland Magazine and opened the page to the editor’s notes we were pleased and surprised to see a picture of Delray’s historic Colony Hotel and a column about how dishes and glassware from Delray often winds up at a sister hotel also called the Colony in Kennebunkport. The article talked a lot about Del Ray (spelled that way, with the space) and described us in kind terms. Colony owner Jestena Boughton would have been proud. We clipped the piece and will send it to her.

We also read a local alternative paper called The Bollard and read about Delray’s Ocean Properties in one of the stories. Ocean Properties, owner of the Delray Marriott and bunches of other hotels, is also a major player in Maine and New Hampshire. It’s indeed a small world and Delray’s tentacles extend Downeast as well.

Another great way to get a feel for a new locale is to walk the city’s streets, not just the main drag but the nooks and crannies. Portland is a great city for doing just such a thing, with cobblestone alleyways, charming old brick buildings and beautiful Victorian homes mixed in with newer development.

Armed with advice from some friends, we tried to avoid the touristy places and sought out local hang outs and live music.

Portland, like Delray, is a vibrant and walkable town. We highly recommend a visit.

 All Hail Barbecue

We were pleased to come back to learn that our friend Scott Kennedy of Union Delray fame, was transforming his popular place into a world class BBQ restaurant he’s calling Smoke.

Pitmaster Bryan Terrell has been hired and he comes with incredible credentials. Terrell hails from Kansas City where he was the original smokehouse manager of the world famous Oklahoma Joe’s.

Anthony Bourdain named that place “one of the 13 places to eat before you die”.

Terrell has also achieved success in the world series of bbq. Now he’s coming to 8 East Atlantic Avenue.

Atlantic’s dining scene can use great barbecue. Smoke is set to debut this month. Stay tuned.

 Food Scene Adds Player

Trader Joe’s opened in Delray last Friday and it’s a welcome addition to the local grocery scene.

As we’ve remarked before, competition is a good thing and with Whole Foods, Publix, Trader Joe’s, Winn Dixie, Wal Mart Neighborhood Grocery, The Boy’s and Fresh Market competing in Boca/Delray we expect to see high quality stores vying for local market share.

P.S. We can still use a public market.


Speaking of food…

Finally had a chance to have lunch at The Farmer’s Table in Boca.

This is a must see establishment with a wide array of healthy and natural food choices.

A shout out to FAU’s Kim Gramm of the Tech Runway for ensuring we went there.



Food Options Expanding

Delray Place at US 1 and Linton will be anchored by a Trader Joe's.

Delray Place at US 1 and Linton will be anchored by a Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s is bullish on Florida, especially South Florida.

The popular grocery store chain has announced several new stores and opening dates for stores in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.

According to the grocer’s website, new stores are coming to Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton and Pembroke Pines.

 The Delray Beach location is set to open on Friday, September 5th. The Boca Raton location is scheduled to open on Friday, September 26th.

 The rest of the South Florida opening dates have not been announced.

 The company will also open stores in Winter Park, Jacksonville Beach, and St. Petersburg.

Trader Joe’s has become a hugely popular brand, with dedicated fans. But until recently, the chain hasn’t had a presence in the Florida market.

 A majority of the products stocked at Trader Joe’s are private label.

 The private label that means it’s free of artificial colors, flavors, ingredients, and preservatives.

 Some of the most popular are “Two Buck Chuck,” bottles of wine for 2.99 a pop and Trader Joe’s famous cookie butter products

 Since its launch in 1958 in the Los Angeles area, Trader Joe’s has expanded to more than 390 stores in 35 states.

With Whole Foods, Western Beef, Aldi, Walmart food stores, several ethnic markets and Fresh Market in Boca-Delray, the food landscape is rapidly evolving and becoming more diverse.

This is good news for a growing cadre of foodies, including Julie McNamara of West Boca, who says she visits up to three different stores a week.

“I’ve been living in Boca for 22 years and the only choices used to be Publix or Winn Dixie,” she said. “Albertson’s came and went but this is just a far better situation for people like me who love to cook and comparison shop.”

Nationally and locally the interest in food is soaring. Green Markets and community gardens have become popular staples in many cities, the restaurant scene is thriving and craft food and beverage manufacturers are cropping up everywhere.
The food trend is even spawning new magazine titles, Delray Beach entrepreneur Irene Revelas recently launched Edible Palm Beach, a glossy publication devoted to food, chefs, gardens, agriculture and craft purveyors. Visit for more information.

Trader Joe’s Adds New Stores in Delray and Boca

Trader Joe's will be coming to Delray and Boca in 2014

Trader Joe’s will be coming to Delray and Boca in 2014

After months of speculation, it has been confirmed: Trader Joe’s is coming to Delray Beach.

The popular grocer with a cult-like following will be anchoring the newly approved Delray Place located at the southeast corner of U.S. 1 and Linton Boulevard.

The store is expected to open in Oct. 2014, according to Retail Property Group, the developers of Delray Place.

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