When I think about Boca Raton, Florida, where I aged from 11 to 18–where I became the man that I am today–I don’t really think about food. I think about fancy cars, old ladies, and pink shopping centers; I think about humidity and palm trees and guard gated communities. If you forced me to think about food, I would think about oranges (particularly from Blood’s Groves, where we buy orange juice) and coconuts which we don’t buy or eat but which grow profusely on coconut trees.
When I am in Boca Raton and I am asked where I would like to eat lunch, one of my favorite answers is: “Max’s Grille.” It’s located in Mizner Park, a pink shopping center that was all the rage when it first opened but which is now shadowed by the cooler Muvico movie theater and Barnes and Noble shopping center across from FAU. I remember when Mizner first opened, there was deep controversy because the KKK was going to march. Now they’ve built an ampitheater and megastars like HEART come to play for geriatrics who sing along to “Barracuda.” But I digress…
Max’s Grille is an old war horse of Boca Raton restaurants. It still maintains quasi-popularity and still has better-than-average Boca food. Once, I saw Harold Ramis there. His wife spilled something and my mom gave him a napkin. Another time, I had the best salad of my life there. There was seafood in it and watermelon and it’s very hard to recall but I loved it and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t curse myself for not asking for the recipe… I wake up kicking in the night… but I digress.
My favorite stalwart at the old war horse is a pasta called Radiatore with Roasted Chicken. It has sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts and broccoli and a scoop of goat cheese on top. It’s delicious. Take a look:
I love it because the sauce is chickeny and tomatoey—I think they use the bits from the roasted chicken that are left over. It tastes great. I’ve been eating it for years. And I mean that LITERALLY–one bowl lasts years.
I am not sure how to end this post so let’s pass the buck to Heart, who will sing of the sadness I experience when recalling the salad I’ll never eat again: “These GREENS go on when I close my eyes…every second of the night…I take another bite!”