Tastemakers Boca Raton Returns to Mizner Park September 17

Categories: Tastemakers

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Racks
Sample fare, like these fish tacos from Racks in Mizner Park, during the third-annual Tastemakers in Boca Raton.
It's that time of year again, a time when foodie events flood our calendars with special wine pairing dinners, food festivals, and tasting extravaganzas.

Back for its third year, the annual Boca Raton Tastemakers is returning to Mizner Park, and it's looking to be even bigger and more inclusive than in years past. This time around, the event -- which is officially titled "Rock, Roll & Stroll" -- will include live music and a special craft-beer tasting, in addition to food, wine, and cocktail samples.

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Tickets on Sale for Sixth-Annual Tastemakers in Delray Beach

Categories: Tastemakers

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Downtown Delray Beach Development Authority
The annual food and drink event known as Tastemakers in Delray Beach is back for its sixth year this August, and tickets go on sale this month. The event, organized by the Downtown Delray Beach Development Authority (DDA) in partnership with Delray Beach magazine, has officially announced the dates for the 2014 Tastemakers, which will run 5 to 10 p.m. August 7 and 8. During the special event, 13 downtown restaurants will roll out the red carpet for Tastemaker passport holders.

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Clay Conley Has a Secret Love for Skittles, Starburst, and Twizzlers

Categories: Tastemakers

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If you don't know who Clay Conley is, you're obviously not that into food. For the past two years, Conley has been nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef in the South -- this year he was the only nominee in all of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The Maine native started off his culinary career washing dishes in a pizza joint as a teenager. Obviously, things skyrocketed from there -- he later went on to become the Director of Culinary of the Olives Group for Todd English. And then he replaced Michelle Bernstein as the Executive Chef at Azul. You obviously have to know what you're doing to even attempt to fill those shoes.

Broward and Palm Beach's blue-eyed boy can now be found behind line of his prestigious Palm Beach spot Buccan or overseeing operations of its Japanese-inspired 'little sister' Imoto at Buccan.

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Paul Castronovo: Give Him Pasta and Wine and He's Good to Go

Categories: Tastemakers

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If you've spent more than five minutes in South Florida, you know who Paul Castronovo is. As part of the Paul and Young Ron Show, Castronovo has woken up more South Floridians than a strong cup of Cuban coffee.

The Paul and Young Ron morning radio show is much more than the usual comedic high jinks. It builds our community while it entertains, and a large part of that is food talk.

Castronovo, you see, is the ultimate "foodie," talking about local restaurants, interviewing chefs, and participating in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The radio personality is also president of Castronovo Vineyards, which imports a fantastic Montelpucciano d' Abbruzzo from Italy.

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Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich: South Florida's Savviest Restaurateurs

Categories: Tastemakers

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To say the South Florida nightclub and restaurant scene would be a much more bland and boring place without Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich would be a huge understatement. While Mayo was opening his long-established West Palm Beach nightclub and live music venue, Respectable Street, in the mid-80s, future business partner and friend, Frielich, was just relocating to the area from his home state of New Jersey to begin a career in the biz.

Nearly 20 years later -- and 10 places together -- Mayo and Frielich are co-owners of some of the area's hippest bars, hottest restaurant concepts and popular clubs -- with more in the works. Today, that list includes Longboards, Lost Weekend, Feelgood's Rock Bar, and Howley's in West Palm Beach; Dada, Tryst, and Delux in Delray Beach; Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton; Dubliner in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale; The Vagabond in Miami; and Lost Weekend and Kill Your Idol in Miami Beach.

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Ryan Sentz of Funky Buddha Brewery Wants More Breweries and No More Crappy Beers

Categories: Tastemakers

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As craft beer bubbles into South Florida's mainstream Ryan Sentz and the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in only two short years have risen to the head of the pack.

Maybe it's the Maple Bacon Porter that has craft beer enthusiasts packing their bar three deep. Maybe it's the speakeasy vibe of their Boca Raton spot that often includes live bands and comedians. Whatever the case Sentz has tapped into South Florida's long-repressed desire for good beer and community, and Buddha's cup overfloweth.

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Nanci Alexander of Sublime Would Vote Foie Gras Off the Island

Categories: Tastemakers

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Quick! Name all the restaurants you can that donate all their profits to non-profit organizations?

Sublime does just that.

Sublime's owner, Nanci Alexander, is number five on our Tastemaker countdown. She founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF). The creation of Sublime is an extension of her efforts to reduce animal cruelty. She wanted to show the world that a plant-based diet can be delicious and that a restaurant that serves all vegetarian food can be sophisticated.

Alexander believes that the world's greatest source of animal cruelty is "animal agriculture," and that the most significant step any one can do to reduce animal abuse is to adopt a vegetarian diet.

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Tim Petrillo of the Restaurant People Wants to See Edgier Restaurant Concepts

Categories: Tastemakers

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When it comes to downtown Fort Lauderdale restaurants, many have come and gone. If it wasn't lack of interest, it was the recession. If that didn't kill their business, changing trends did. Point being: it's a fickle business and you have to be on top of your game to stay relevant.

In terms of the Fort Lauderdale restaurant scene, our Tastemaker number 6, is about as elite as you can get. Restauranteur Tim Petrillo runs some of the busiest bars in all of Fort Lauderdale: Tarpon Bend, a mainstay in the Himmarshee district for well over a decade, YOLO, the spot credited with bringing the life to the business district of Las Olas, Vibe, Las Olas' only upscale club, and the brand-new beach-side spot S3.

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Steve Martorano Wants More Great Italian-American Places

Categories: Tastemakers

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A little over 20 years ago, Steve Martorano -- number seven on our Tastemaker countdown -- was on his way back up north. His dreams of opening a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale didn't work out and the cook (he doesn't like the word chef) was at the airport, waiting for a flight to Philadelphia. Then, as if in the movies, a call to a friend turned his fate around.

A small storefront in a shopping center in a slightly-seedy section of the beach was for sale. "I drove my car, I got out, I looked in the window. This is for me. If I didn't make that call, my entire life would be different," Martorano told Clean Plate Charlie.

From that point on, things started looking up for the muscular restaurateur with a positive attitude toward life and an old-school way of cooking. On a Saturday night, expect to wait hours for a table at his flagship, Cafe Martorano. His other restaurants, at the Seminole Hard Rock and the Rio in Las Vegas, are equally busy. What's the secret? People flock as much to meet Martorano as to dine on his famous meatballs. And he doesn't disappoint -- stepping away from the burners to schmooze or to spin tunes (he acts as his own DJ when the mood strikes).

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Tom Moynihan of d.b.a./cafe Follows in His Father's Footsteps

Categories: Tastemakers

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d.b.a./café breaks the notion that good food and drink must be accompanied by a fancy setting and fancy prices.

Cut up wine boxes line the kickspace under the bar. More of them form a New York City skyline at the far end of the restaurant, past the multicolored string of Christmas lights. Yes, Christmas lights.

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