Bravo – W Barcelona

September 30th, 2015

Taming of the beasts was now on the way as we headed to  Bravo, celebrity Chef Carles Abellan’s restaurant in the W.  We met up with Chef Jakob and received the royal treatment from Chef de cuisine Luis, at Bravo after introductions were made.  This welcomed lunch was spectacular.  As we sat down to indulge, the tapas started to appear, the wine flowed and we stopped when the food stopped.  Chef Luis was terrific as he only wanted to know if we were hungry – - wrong question to ask a bottomless pit.






Privat Cava (Alta Alella)




Tomato bread and pork sausage


Chicken Croquettes and Fried Squid rings with Saffron


Bravo Oysters


Godeval Godello




Tomato and Lobster Soup


Tio Pepe Fino Sherry




2011 Allende – Rioja




Sea bass with fresh herbs and vegetables


Sea bass with fresh herbs and vegetables


2011 Finca Viladellops


Beef with fresh herbs and mushrooms


2013 L’Olivera, Rasim Vimadur Negra (sweet)


Frutas Cru


“Tio Nelo” Hot Chocolate Fritters


Frutas Cru & “Tio Nelo” Hot Chocolate Fritters


Chef Jakob & Chef Luis


In the kitchen at Bravo


This was truly an incredible start in Barcelona, as we had the sheer pleasure of sitting back and letting the kitchen send out whatever they desired.  And yes we had dinner in mind as the courses kept flowing.




 Up Next: Enoteca


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The W – Barcelona

September 25th, 2015

What happens when one of your favorite chefs’ cuisine is no longer at your fingertips?  You book a flight, make an extended hotel reservation and have the time of your life eating and drinking under the Mediterranean sun!!!  That’s exactly what we did on September 3rd through September 13th, as we flew to Spain to visit Chef Jakob Esko (Washington DC) at the W Barcelona.  It’s been fourteen months since we last had the pleasure to dine under the meticulous and awe inspiring gastronomic direction of Chef Esko – - this trip to Barcelona was to make up for the hiatus.

Arriving at the W was an experience in and of itself as the welcome from Chef Esko awaited us in the lobby.  This entrance was reminiscent of those long ago arrivals to parties in the music industry as all eyes are on you and everyone is waiting with baited breathe for an autograph, a hello or just eye contact – - after all this is the place to see and be seen as the lobby was adorn with beautiful people coming and going – - staff included!!!   We checked in and was escorted to the sixteenth floor with a to die for view of Barcelona, the Wet Deck and the beach. Here’s a quick peak at the view and where I returned to recoup from days and nights of all out indulgence.


The W


© The W – – Courtesy of The W Barcelona




© The W – – Courtesy of The W Barcelona


The W – AM


The W


Wet Deck


Wet Deck


As we slowly adjusted to our new found paradise, our appetites, as they so often do, turned into beasts and had to be tamed.  Not to worry Chef Esko knew what he was up against and was two courses ahead of us.  Luggage down and appetites up – - lunch awaited us at Bravo as our unforgettable food adventure was about to explode.


Up Next: The “Welcome” lunch at Bravo!!!!


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Ristorante Santucci – West Palm Beach, FL

August 16th, 2015

My love of all things Italian keeps growing as I make new discoveries and new friends through food and wine.  My latest palate and mind blowing gastronomic encounter is Ristorante Santucci.  This West Palm Beach find is definitely a keeper and one I encourage repeat visits to.  After several meals and getting to know Gianluca and Eugenio, I felt it was time to share the experiences that have made each return rival the previous one.  My go to list of “Highly Recommended” restaurants, just received another member – - yes Santucci is now part of the family of coveted returns.

The family is Italian-Belgium and the food is of old world Mediterranean essences with a new world flare of excitement and innovation.   This father (Emilio) and son (Eugenio) team know how to set fire to food that will in all ways delight and please your palate.  Their first four impressions have truly been outstanding.

Here are dishes from my past visits that will sure to have you making reservations months out, especially before season starts – - heads up “Snow Birds and Snowflakes.”

I now plan my treks to West Palm with confirmed Santucci reservations.

May 25, 2015:


Ristorante Santucci


Calamari Fritti – Fried calamari accompanied with an arugala and radicchio salad drizzled
with a light citrus dressing and a side of tartar sauce


Fettucini Estive – Sautéed baby shrimps in glazed white wine, prepared in a creamy yellow curry sauce, peas, onions and finished with fresh diced tomatoes and fine herbs


Grilled Branzino – with fresh lemon and herbs. Side of arugula, sautéed spinach and polenta.


Branzino A L’Aqua Pazza – Branzino filet, steamed in a fresh diced tomato broth


Eugenio preparing sabayon


Eugenio preparing sabayon




Homemade Cannoli


June 29, 2015


Scaloppine alla Ricotta: A bed of thin sliced veal with a layer of ricotta cheese and grilled Sicilian eggplant oven gratin with tomato sauce, basil and topped with Parmigiano cheese


Scaloppine alla Ricotta: A bed of thin sliced veal with a layer of ricotta cheese and grilled Sicilian eggplant oven gratin with tomato sauce, basil and topped with Parmigiano cheese


Agnolotti al Prosciutto San Daniele: House-made stuffed pasta (chef’s selection), prepared in a tomato Parmesan sauce, topped with arugula and San Daniele prosciutto slices


Tagliata di Manzo: Grilled choice Angus ribeye steak sliced and topped with shaves of parmigiano, sea salt, truffle oil and truffle glaze, served on an arugola bed prepared with fine onions and sun-dried tomatoes


Scaloppine Portafoglio: Thin sliced veal folded and stuffed with smoked ham and fontina cheese, prepared in pan with sautéed wild mushrooms, deglazed with cognac, served in its sauce


Homemade Cannoli


Wine poached pear


Eugenio & Alberto


July 6, 2015


Italian Herb seasoned eggs, cooked procuttio, thinly sliced ham with arugula Bruschetta


Thin slices of prosciutto topped with mushrooms, Parmesane cheese, blasamic vinegar and truffle oil


Scampi al Liquo r e di Sambuca: Sautéed prawns and chopped calamari, deglazed in a Sambuca liquor, caramelized julienne bell peppers and onions, light cream




Festival di Pesce: Assortment of filet cooked in a delicate tomato and parsley broth with caramelized onions


Poached pear and deconstructed cannoli


Ristorante Santucci


August 1, 2015


Broccoli & Cheese Bruschetta, and Burrata Cheese, Bacon & Strawberries Bruschetta


Broccoli & Cheese Bruschetta, and Burrata Cheese, Bacon & Strawberries Bruschetta


Zeni – Pinot Grigio Ramato


Hot Fresh Bread with Balsamic vinegar and Olive Oil


Branzino A L’Aqua Pazza – Branzino filet, steamed in a fresh diced tomato broth, endive and polenta with micro greens


Veal and Aged Beef Bolognese




Grilled Steak with Balsamic Vinegar and Truffle Oil


Eugenio Delivering Desserts


Eugenio Delivering Desserts


Assorted Desserts




Gianluca & Eugenio


La Cucina 



Gianluca, Eugenio and Mitch


Ristorante Santucci


One of our most treasured and now repeated experience is when we give Eugenio the number of courses we desire and he determines what to send to the table.  Be it the seafood pasta with hints of anise, grilled branzino with fresh herbs and lemon, the amazing veal bolognaise or grilled steak with truffle oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, you will experience something special and unique when you are at Santucci.  This is “La Dolce Vita” at its best!

The cozy and relaxing atmosphere surround by exceptional cuisine and amazing personalities is the idea spot to travel to Italy by way of your palate and their hospitality.  So, “Mille Grazie” to  Emilio, Eugenio, Gianluca and Nicla.   Your welcoming us back and always treating our palates to something wonderful and amazing is so very much appreciated.  We look forward to seeing you soon!!!  And by the way, thanks for choosing West Palm and not Brisbane!!!!


610 Clematis Street,

Suite CU-1

West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Ph: (561) 337-2532



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Wynton Marsalis…..

August 3rd, 2015

Speechless is what I was on this rare evening when I met Mr. Wynton Marsalis several weeks ago.  During a private event where I was one of the fifty luckiest people in DC to attend, I had the sheer pleasure of hearing Mr. Marsalis up-close and personal as he played several pieces within arm’s reach.  The second most amazing event that evening was the opportunity to actually “talk” to Wynton and I say Wynton not out of disrespect, being the southerner I am, but out of the most incredible connection we made during our conversation – - one southerner to another, one musician to another and one brother to another!!!!  This was truly a life changer.  And Wynton, when you read this you’ll know what it means as this acronym was the first thing out of your mouth – - Y.C.A.M.

So to an unforgettable evening, which allowed for a once in a lifetime experience, I shall forever raise a glass to that which was an incredible blessing and life lesson.

Play on Wynton, Play on!!!!  Thanks for hanging out after dinner and for the down to earth, on the front porch conversation.










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Louis Roederer “Cristal Wednesday”

July 15th, 2015

My visit to Louis Roederer in 2011 had all the trappings of what I’ve come to enjoy in life: Great Wine, Amazing Food and Dear Friends.  Today, I had the opportunity to experience two out of the three and shall make up for the third this evening.  Today I had the pleasure seeing Monsieur Charles FOURNIER, Export Manager for Louis Roederer and to taste the wines of this renown house. Yes, this is my kind of “Hump Day!!!” Happy Wednesday!!!!

Today’s MacArthur Beveragestasting included:

1.) 2006 Brut Nature – Starck (Philippe Starck)

2.) 2009 Blanc de Blanc

3.) Brut Premier

4.) 2008

5.) Cristal 2005

6.) 2009 Rosé

7.) Carte Blanche (Demi Sec)


Louis Roederer


Monsieur Charles FOURNIER, Export Manager


I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed all the Champagnes as each bottling had it’s own distinct character which is ideal for each day of the week!!!

Two photos from my 2011 visit:

Louis Roederer


With Monsieur Charles FOURNIER in Champagne 2011


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