Boston Proper employees enjoy the fashion show during
the Proper Affair held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club on
April 18. Sitting in the front row, from left: Alain Boyer,
Ernie Sulpizio, Deanna Lederman and Giulio Ghiro. Kurtis Boggs/The Coastal Star
Actress June Lockhart (left) poses for a photo with
Palm Beach International Film Festival Chairwoman
Yvonne Boice (center) and Executive Director Randi
Emerman during the Silver Screen Splash brunch at The Lake
Pavilion in West Palm Beach on April 15. Tim Stepien /The Coastal Star
Terri Cooper (left) of Delray Beach samples the bouquet of Michael Budd’s
wine during the Fifth Annual American Fine Wine Competition
at the Boca Raton Resort & Club on April 19.
Annette and Rod Coleman of Boca Raton enjoy a demo by
chef Emeril Lagasse. The couple were among 10 people
who won a seat at the head table for Lagasse’s demo.
Rod Coleman’s company, Coleman & Associates,
also was a sponsor of the event. Kurtis Boggs/The Coastal Star
By Thom Smith
The line of students hoping to get a seat in the gym at Florida Atlantic University stretched across the main road then snaked back and forth across the lawn next to the student center. Those who finally made it inside to see and hear President Barack Obama were mostly enthusiastic, unusually polite for college students and unbelievably patient. Applause greeted anyone with a suit who entered the arena from beneath the giant flag, even the White House staffer who attached the presidential seal to the front of the lectern.
On one wall hung a banner emblazoned with “An America Built To Last,” a presidential goal that could have been borrowed from a Ford commercial or possibly from a Grateful Dead album. The crowd didn’t applaud it, but they did give FAU President Mary Jane Saunders a big hand as she noted that FAU, the most diverse of Florida’s universities “looks like America.” They clapped for Student Government President Ayden Maher as he led the Pledge of Allegiance and for sophomore Rebecca Guillaume after her rousing Star Spangled Banner.
No special treatment, by the way, for FAU trustees such as Tom Workman, Anthony Barbar and Dave Feder, who were squeezed into a corner of the bleachers behind the stage. Recently retired football coach Howard Schnellenberger also had a bleacher seat, directly behind the president, where he snapped lots of photos on his cellphone.
Obama urged congressional support for increased student assistance and for his proposed “Buffett rule” — no connection with Jimmy. He made one sweep around the gym, hand-to-hand with hundreds leaning over the barriers and then, barely an hour later he was gone.
The presidential visit was the first to FAU since Lyndon Johnson helped dedicate the school in 1964. Yet, surprisingly, no one knows why or how the White House picked FAU.
FAU’s University Relations office speculated that it was convenient, almost on a straight line from his earlier fund-raising stop in Palm Beach Gardens to another at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood and finally at a private home in Golden Beach. But nothing definite.
When the White House was queried, staffer Joanne Rosholm sent this reply: “It’s not entirely uncommon that we would pick a place like FAU that can hold a large number of people who want to see their President speak. Beyond that, I don’t know that there’s much more to say!”
So there . . .
After a year in the making, and many more developing the concept, Due South Brewing is ready to begin pouring in earnest. With another weekend of positive reviews at Delray’s Old School Beerfest on April 21, founder Mike Halker has begun production at south county’s first commercial craft brewery.
“We’ll have our grand opening on May 12,” Halker said of his facility on High Ridge Road in Boynton Beach. “We’ll be brewing five types to start.”
Due South’s monthly production of 3,500 gallons is barely a drop compared to voluminous Bud or Corona, but Halker is confident he can win over anyone who likes his beer with a little TLC. A caramel cream ale has been testing well, but Halker said Due South’s Category 3 IPA (India Pale Ale) also is going down nicely and hoppier Cat 4 and 5 versions are on the way.
A firm believer in the social benefits of beer and brewing, Halker also will pour samples from other craft brewers at the open house. To handle the demand, the 1,000-square-foot bar area is now stocked with samplers, 12-ounce short pour glasses, and a newly arrived shipments of 1,000 pints. For details on the open house, see duesouthales.com.
As far east as you can get on dry land, a fire-and-water entrance feature welcomes the 21-and-over crowd to the Sandbar and Rhum Shack. The new sand bar on the south side of Boston’s on the Beach opened SRO on Friday the 13th. Not a blade of grass in sight nor any weeds, for that matter — the entire area is covered with packed sand that unlike the beach variety across the street is not supposed to blow away, wash away or stick like glue.
“It’s kind of an adult sandbox,” GM Tom Walsh said with a smile, noting that while a limited snack menu will be offered, the emphasis will be on building your own mojito or whetting your whistle with 12 draft beers or two dozen bottled varieties. “If people want a big meal, they can eat inside and then come out.”
A small stage will accommodate low-key entertainers, who, as with the food, will not compete with the action inside Boston’s. And when necessary, guests can avail themselves of new restrooms, labeled “Inboard” and “Outboard.”
On the road again … Michelle Bernstein, just departed as executive chef at The Omphoy in Palm Beach, is headed back to the Palm Beaches from her Miami nest, but only for one night. Bernstein, who hosts Check, Please!, the restaurant review show on WPBT-Channel 2, has expanded her repertoire to include road trips.
On May 15, 150 guests paying $125 each, will visit five restaurants in Boca. After appetizers at Sushi Rock on Yamato Road, the group will board buses for stops at Josephine’s, Bogart’s, Casa D’Angelo and The Tin Muffin Café. Co-hosting with Bernstein will be popular radio host and vintner Paul Castronovo. Proceeds support production of the show. To sign up, go to wpbt2.org.
Bernstein will not be stopping at Mizner Park, which is too bad because Uncle Julio’s Mexican restaurant has given its menu a spark. New drinks include margaritas with fresh mango and passion fruit among other blends, with and without tequila (including Patron). Want to eat on the cheap? On Tuesdays, tacos are a buck each.
What a party! Overflow crowd. Shari Gherman, president of the American Fine Wine Competition had to add two tables — for 20 last-minute oenophiles — in the Grand Ballroom at the Boca Raton Resort & Club’s Mizner Center. Alan Kalter, with a week off from announcing for David Letterman, kept the crowd informed. Saxman Dayve Stewart and The Vibe rocked the 400-plus guests at $310 each, plus whatever they spent at auction.
Bam! Emeril Lagasse put on a show as he prepared roasted filet mignon, brown butter gulf blue crabmeat, local mushroom fondu, spring field peas and black truffle butter sauce. Bam!
At auction, Theodore Bryant bid $15,000 for a dream dinner to be prepared at his home by several top area chefs, which helped bring the tally to $60,000 for Diabetes Research Institute and the Golden Bell Education Foundation.
Since it is the American Fine Wine Competition, there were winners: The 2009 Castello di Amorosa Il Passito Reserve Late Harvest Semillon, North Coast and 2009 La Follette Manchester Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino Ridge, were judged the best white and red, from more than 600 entries.
Pity the judges. A lot of sipping, spitting and rinsing for the 25 experts who spent two days at a local hotel sampling the 600 candidates in 12 categories.
“They lock you up in a room and you try wine for two days, flight after flight,” said judge Stephanie Miskew, whose Glamorous Gourmet blog is found at www.stephaniesavorsthemoment.blogspot.com. “The split us into groups of four judges. We tried all the wines in our group, made our notes and then got together and tried to come to an agreement.
“You definitely need to pace yourself.”
But late into the second day, as the judges drew closer to consensus, the tension began to dissolve. “There definitely was more sipping than spitting,” she said.
A day earlier, 350 guests had a Proper Affair at the Boca Resort. But instead of tête-à-tête, the night was devoted to prêt à porter, as they bought raffle tickets, vied for silent auction items and bid on high-end fashions from Boston Proper that were modeled by spirited volunteers. The local grass-roots project raised $160,000 for the Achievement Centers for Children and Families, a Delray Beach foundation that supports 700 low-income children.
Thom Smith is a freelance writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.