Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Sir Paul McCartney Eats Sublime; Maybe Darbster Next Time?

April 6th, 2010 · No Comments

Sir Paul was in town this weekend to play the Sun Life stadium in Miami for his Up and Coming Tour 2010. He and his band of 500 or so – roadies, assistants, wrinkle smoothers,  etc. – dined on Nanci Alexander’s food from the well-known Sublime vegetarian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.

He’s dined there pretty much every time he comes to town.

Darbster in West Palm another choice

If he makes it north to West Palm Beach, he might enjoy Darbster – the new(er) vegetarian bistro on the spillway at the south end of West Palm Beach. It’s in the long-ago location of Trees Wings, with a big outdoor deck (casual dress is encouraged). They’ve modernized the space, cleaned it remarkably, landscaped it lushly, and made it look green and inviting, especially at night.

The restaurant’s named for Darby, the owners’ teen-aged rescue poodle. Chef Amanda Russcol works magic to fool many mainstream customers into thinking they might be eating non-vegan food. Instead, it’s all vegan and some even raw. Nothing with a mother is served here – except the diners (and their 4-legged companions).

Cheez and ice ‘cream’ part of vegan and raw foods diets

In fact, not everything on the menu is cooked, either. There is a raw foods section that begs exploring. This diet, espoused by those who believe cooking kills vital nutrients and enzymes, as well as oxygen in the plant foods, has a minute but steadfast following. Studies are limited on the effects of the diet; many more exist for plant-based diets.

Soy-based proteins used as meat, coconut cream subbed for dairy-based cream, and pasta made from long strands of zucchini, artfully prepared with a blender-made raw marinara are still full-on with seasonings and flavors. They might convert some skeptics. Not all, of course – this eatery isn’t for the carnivore whose idea of a meal is meat-centric, though given the opportunity and an open mind, they might at least concede the food is good enough to dip into occasionally.

Word play on the menu

“Trees” wings – written just like that – appear on the menu. They’re a plant-based chicken substitute, coated with a Buffalo wing sauce. Sliders are another seitan-like product, cut into “steak” tips, served with lettuce and onions and “Alan’s special sauce” on a sesame-seed bun.

The tempeh Reuben is tempeh, a grain-based protein, marinated, and served with sauerkraut and sauce in a wrap. Meatloaf is grains and vegetables, combined and sauced and yes, served with mashed potatoes.

More recognizable might be the chile relleno – a fried poblano, stuffed with veggies and “cheez” – the dairy substitute – served with sauce.

Peanut butter and jelly is on the menu for the kids, just in case they don’t like the vegan offerings – but kids can be more adventurous at the table, studies show, providing their parents don’t prejudice them.

Now open for lunch

Hearts of Palm Cakes

They’ve been around since last fall, but just now are getting their legs. They opened March 31 for lunch; and the Sunday brunch with animal guests is catching on.

Lest you think it’s all sacrifice and tofu, consider there’s beer and wine on the menu, fried foods like the vegetable tempura, flautas, French fries, and pan-fried faux crab cakes, made from hearts of palm and flax seeds.  And – there’s TV over the bar that shows sports.

Lectures and specials

April 11, at 4:30 p.m., you can get in on a discussion about vegetarian lifestyles and why go in that direction. It’s free; presented by James Wildman of the Animal Rights Foundation. Every Thursday night, wines are 25 percent off from 5-7 p.m. There’s live music on the deck Thursday nights, too.

Doga

Jake and Darby

Yoga with your dog! A number of events are held at Darbster for your canine companion, including dog yoga. Show up with him/her and get 25 percent off the bill from 5-7 p.m. on Dog Night – check their schedule online.

Darbster Waterside Bistro

  • 8020 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach 33405
  • Phone: 561-586-2259; on the web, www.darbster.com
  • Open Wednesday-Friday, lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner, 2-9 p.m.

Tags: Talking Tables · The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Today in the World of Food · Uncategorized

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