Thursday, December 7, 2023

MIA Kitchen & Bar Now Open; What’s New at Max’s Harvest

Sharing a sip and a bite with you

The Pan Roasted Hogfish, with shaved Brussels and cauliflower sweet corn beurre blanc. Photo by Benjamin Rusnak.
Executive Chef Blair Wilson’s pan-roasted hogfish, with shaved Brussels and cauliflower sweet corn beurre blanc. Photo by Benjamin Rusnak.

From time to time, I’ll share what I’m eating and drinking out on the town, from Juno Beach to Miami. I travel a lot, mostly in Palm Beach County, but sometimes to our southern cousin counties. And when I have memorable experiences, I’ll share them with people who understand. That would be you.

I’ll start off this feature with a tip for a great drink—or two—from Max’s Harvest new-ish lead bartender, Ivan Cerna. His invention of a fig Old-Fashioned, “The Gentleman,” is a beauty. With honey, his own fig syrup, Old Forester Bourbon Whiskey, orange bitters and a few other ingredients, this drink is an aromatic sipper. Pair that during happy hour with $5 bar bites like smooth jalapeno corn hushpuppies, the $10 harvest burger sliders (two in an order, and larger than most sliders), or Executive Chef Blair Wilson’s new crunchy buffalo alligator bites dipped in miso buttermilk with n’duja (pork salumi) hot sauce that makes them a bit spicy, but not too hot.

My Bees Knees at Max's Harvest. Photo by me, Lynn Kalber.
My Bees Knees at Max’s Harvest. Photo by me, Lynn Kalber.

Overheard at the bar to Ivan: “You make the best Cosmos I’ve ever had!” I also had Ivan’s Bees Knees, which was as tasty as it was pretty (honey, gin, lemon juice). I’ve had many a Bees Knees, and this one could make a whole hive go crazy.

It’s worth a trip to this Delray Beach staple. Chef Wilson has revamped the menu, which includes entrees like pan-roasted hogfish (pictured) with shaved Brussels and cauliflower sweet corn beurre blanc. He’s working on a new cocktail list, too. Just keep the fig Old-Fashioned on there for me!

“The Gentleman”

  • 2 ½ oz. Old Forester
  • ¾ oz. fig syrup
  • ½ oz. demerara sugar simple
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 4 dashes orange bitters

Mix ingredients and pour into a highball glass.

169 NE 2nd Ave, Delray Beach; 561/381-9970

MIA finally open and serving fresh, locally sourced dishes

When he was Executive Chef at Delray’s 50 Ocean, Blake Malatesta continually crafted delicious fare with unusual combinations of locally sourced food. He left in mid-2016 to open a new restaurant, MIA Kitchen & Bar, and to those waiting hungrily for more of his food, the good news is that if anything, he’s gotten better.

At MIA’s opening party a few weeks ago, Malatesta and his wife Ana showed their hospitality and culinary skills as Blake dished out plate after plate of appetizers to feed the crowd. No standing around sipping wine for him; he was in front of the pizza oven, behind the plating station, checking on the drinks and generally being everywhere at once. He is working with MIA Proprieter/CEO and restaurateur Joey LoGrasso. MIA is on West Atlantic Avenue, not quite as far west as Delray Marketplace, and worth the drive.

7901 W. Atlantic Ave., Suite 101, Delray Beach; 561/499-2200

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Lynn Kalber
Lynn Kalber
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.

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