A Bountiful Harvest

harvest_logo-220We finally had a chance to visit Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar a few weeks back.

Over the weekend, we went back and happily saw many people we knew and one we recognized, former tennis champion Jim Courier.

Harvest is the new restaurant at Delray Place and it’s been on my to do list ever since I met the GM at the Chamber’s holiday party.
She seemed nice and she handed me a voucher for a free flatbread. She had me at flatbread.
Still, it took a couple of weeks to make it to Harvest.
It was worth the wait.
The restaurant is beautiful and warm with fireplaces and dark wood.
The menu is full of healthy low calorie choices sourced from local farms and producers like Old School Bakery, Heritage Farms, Saltwater Brewery and Barrel of Monks.
Delray Place elicits a lot of comments among people I know.
There’s not enough parking…
It’s weird looking…
It’s a great looking …
I love Trader Joe’s…
What’s up with Trader Joe’s…
You get the picture.
But here’s what I thought as we walked around after dinner and read a sign for a new business called “Local Greens”: how cool is this?
I also had this thought. I’ve lived here nearly 30 years and never before have we had so many great places to visit.
So many great local businesses here and in Boca too.
Top notch restaurants, great hotels, nice shops, terrific grocery store options, really cool arts venues and nice parks and recreational facilities. It wasn’t always this way.
Which brings me back to Harvest.
As a noun, harvest means the time of year when crops are ripe and ready to be gathered. The picked crop is also called a harvest: a bumper crop is a plentiful harvest, and a poor harvest is when things didn’t grow as well as expected.
I think we grew up to be a nice place. I would label it a bumper crop. 
We can focus on what we don’t have –which I tell my kids is a recipe for unhappiness– or we can appreciate the gifts we’ve been given or those that we’ve earned. 
Gratitude is so important. 
We have an awful lot to be thankful for.

Monday Musings: Fresh Market Equals Fresh Competition & More

Graffiti eggplant at the new Fresh Market on U.S.1 and Linton Boulevard.

Graffiti eggplant at the new Fresh Market on U.S.1 and Linton Boulevard.

In praise of Fresh Market

The new Fresh Market has opened in Delray and it’s magnificent.
Aside from adding 90 jobs and $3.4 million of investment to the Delray economy, Fresh Market brings much needed competition and quality to the Delray grocery scene.
Publix has always been a good corporate citizen but even some diehard fans admit that the venerable franchise will benefit from the competition.

 Suddenly the local grocery market is heating up after years of inactivity. Walmart has opened a neighborhood market on South Federal Highway and Trader Joe’s is slated for an adjacent corner of Linton and U.S 1. in the new Delray Place development.
The new competition should drive both prices and quality.
The Fresh Market is not a large store, but it is packed with different brands and even uses some local suppliers. The quality is apparent in every aisle and a lot of time and effort goes into creating an experience for the shopper. This is a store that beckons you to peruse every aisle and marvel at things you might not have seen before including an array of “dry” soda and “graffiti eggplant.”
Walmart’s Neighborhood Market is also a relatively small store, conducive for bargain hunting and quick trips for fill in items.
Trader Joe’s will bring another element to the market when it opens later this year. The chain is full of personality and while it doesn’t carry a whole lot of SKU’s, the selection is eclectic, almost curated.
For those readers in Boca, this may sound like no big deal. You’ve had Fresh Market and Whole Foods for awhile now, not to mention a few small grocers, including a great organic market in east Boca. But for Delray, this is big news and long overdue.
We’re grateful for the choices.

Andy Roddick joked about a serve that hit only 109 on the radar gun. "Brooklyn wouldn't have married me if she saw that."

Andy Roddick joked about a serve that hit only 109 on the radar gun.
“Brooklyn wouldn’t have married me if she saw that.”

Champions Tour

It was a busy weekend at the Delray Beach International Tennis Stadium.
The Champions Tour featuring Andy Roddick, Mats Wilander, Goran Ivanisevic, Aaron Krickstein and others was entertaining and perfect for long time tennis fans who loved the era when tennis was more than a big serve and one crack of a forehand.
Sure, Roddick had the biggest serve of all–he did set a world record on the Delray stadium court during a Davis Cup tie against Sweden in 2004–but he can also hit the ball. And Wilander..well at almost 50 he can still run, retrieve, serve, volley and return.
We especially enjoy seeing Krickstein, the director of tennis at St. Andrew’s in Boca. He hasn’t missed an event in Delray and he still resembles the teenager who played an epic match at the U.S. Open against Jimmy Connors all those years ago.
While the older guys played on center court, the new generation slugged it out on the side courts in an effort to qualify for this week’s Delray Beach Open, an ATP event.
It was fun to see the contrasts in the style of play.
Mikael Pernfors, a two-time NCAA singles champ, former Swedish Davis Cupper, and 80s-90s stalwart likes to construct points by moving his opponent around the court, using angles and spins before pouncing on a weak shot.
The young guys are all power and brawn, hitting serves at 120 miles per hour plus and teeing off on both wings. The points are short, almost brutal, as the ball is punished more than stroked.
I still love the game and admire the new style, but I think the old game was better.
Sorry, folks.
See ya at the Open this week.

Delray Place Seen As Catalyst for South Federal Highway

Delray Place hopes to jumpstart a new look for South Federal Highway.

Delray Place hopes to jumpstart a new look for South Federal Highway.

Support is building for a new $30 million, 100,000 square foot retail center on the southeast corner of U.S. 1 and Linton Boulevard.

Delray Place, proposed by the Boca Raton based Retail Property Group, is planning an ambitious new shopping center featuring restaurants, neighborhood retail and possibly a Trader Joe’s supermarket, the first in the area.

The project has been through an 18-month “odyssey” of neighborhood meetings and advisory board hearings, but seems to have finally won the support of the adjoining neighborhood, Tropic Isles, with a few exceptions.

The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce is putting its muscle behind the project which will go the City Commission on July 9 for final approval.

If the commission gives the go-ahead, Retail Property Group, plans an accelerated schedule and hopes to open in July 2014.

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