Buon appetito at the Boca Italian Fest!

Boca Italian Fest parties for 3rd annual festival

When you say “Italian,” and you mean music, food and wine, you have to head to the 3rd Annual Italian Fest in downtown Boca Raton Feb. 3.

Head for the many Italian food booths, and stick around for the live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, grape stomping, rides, face painting, a sketch artist and more. This year the city is introducing a meatball eating contest, so come hungry. Of course, there’s beer and cocktails, too. And best of all, admission is free. Mangia!

The free festival takes place at Sanborn Square Park, 72 N. Federal Highway, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Parking is available at City Hall, the downtown library and Building Administration lots.

PB Catch's bluepoint oysters. Photo by Lynn Kalber.
PB Catch’s bluepoint oysters. Photo by Lynn Kalber.

Happy with PB Catch happy hour oysters

Here’s the latest in making good on my promise to you, which was to share snippets of great food and drinks from my meanderings:

The raw bar special at PB Catch on Palm Beach has always been a favorite for me. Reasons include: great space, terrific raw bar with a large selection of oysters, great happy hour prices, excellent service, nice staff and a very good wine selection. Those reasons haven’t changed, even though the space has. Late last year, PB Catch moved the full bar across the restaurant to where the raw bar once was, adjacent to the dining room. Now the raw bar is right inside the front door. Doesn’t sound like much, but the success is in the details, and it works.

A new entrée feature here is being able to pick your dinner from local, fresh-caught whole fish selections (yellowtail, hogfish, rosefish, sheepshead, rouge, tautog, etc.) and have it cooked your way. Love that.

I sat at the bar the other night with my $1.55 bluepoint oysters during happy hour (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.), had a really nice vouvray (half-price glasses) and a good chat with the talented bartender. These were some of the largest bluepoints I’ve ever seen. And I ordered my favorite small plate: popcorn shrimp with sweet chili-garlic and tartar sauces ($18).

My other favorite about this happy hour is that it opens at 4:30 p.m., and yes, sometimes I’m very ready for an oyster dinner and a nice white at that time. Don’t judge me. But I’m judging PB Catch, one of my favorite seafood restaurants, and it gets a big thumbs up!

Lynn Kalber was raised in Boca Raton and has always worked in Palm Beach and Broward counties. She is a career journalist, with 26 years at The Palm Beach Post alone, where she wrote feature and food articles, edited the food section and wrote about wine as part of the Swirl Girls. She lives in West Palm Beach with her husband, writer and author Scott Eyman.

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