Eten n Drinken

Out of the Ashes

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Creating a neighborhood where there was none before, is more than just throwing up a few shinny new buildings and a couple of skinny Palm Trees. It is about creating the heart and soul of the town; the style, the culture and the food. And nothing shows more heart, than food.

Recently, two large South Florida cities have created vibrant downtown areas from ruins that once were home, to only wild dogs and junkies’ needles. Today, these neighborhoods are revitalized with new life, and filled with exciting young chefs serving delightfully creative dishes at every turn.

Part 1: Wild Olives Café – City Place, West Palm Beach, Florida

Almost twenty years ago, West Palm Beach put a Revitalization plan into action that took acres and acres of horribly blighted land and created a sparkling new city from burnt-out rumble.

It’s been ten years since City Place was first opened and it is now the thriving town center, envisioned so long ago. And as with any city, there is that favorite local café, the one with really good food at great prices that it quickly becomes…your place to go.

The one bright spot that is bursting with all the warmth of a small trattoria in Tuscany, is Wild Olives Café, providing us with great food, excellent prices and that warm, easy, feeling, shaping the heart of City Place.

Casual enough for quick bite and modern enough for a first date, you may be greeted by Chef John Crolly; the hot, young, King of the kitchen that enters the room and lights it up with his smile. His food is fresh and enticing but more importantly, a pleasant change from the usual everyday fare.

With easy dishes like Spaghetti and Meatballs ala Nonna [a tried and true favorite here], it is the menu of inspiring dishes such as the Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread, and the Butternut Squash Lasagna w/ an herbed fresh ricotta drizzled with a luscious maple crème, that sets this chic café apart from the rest. A good bottle of wine with dinner and a bite or two of that soft, moist White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert, and Wild Olives Café can easily become habit forming!

Next Week Part 2: Mid-Town Miami

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Author: gailcasale

A native New Yorker with nomadic tendencies, I have been fortunate enough to live, eat, drink and work, through out more than 40 countries around the world and... I'm still counting. A dedicated foodie and professional LEED AP, I believe sustainable living brings richness to all of our lives. And in between monitoring constructions sites with my so called "eagle eye", I seek out interesting place to visit, great wines to write about and the delectable dishes they compliment. It's a tough job that I gladly suffer thru!

3 thoughts on “Out of the Ashes

  1. this guy john is not a chef he went from paying bill for lirym jacoby to be on the front of the kitchen and use someone elses recepies, im sorry but he shouldnt be admire..

    • People who work hard and learn on the job, deserve just as much credit if they are putting out excellent quality food, as the ones who learned in a school. All the Figs, Wild Olives etc of the Todd English group all have pre-determined recipes. It’s up to the ones in the kitchen to prepare them correctly and get them on the table, the way they are intended. Add that to running the back of the house, and they have a lot on their plate. John did a beautiful job and is an a gracious host. A winning combination.

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