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On The Prowl: Summer Beats and Good Eats in South Florida

Palm Beach Waterfront. © Charles & Mary Love

Palm Beach is great in the summer: The snowbirds have flown north, traffic has ebbed, prices are down, and we have the beaches and restaurants all to ourselves. Best of all there’s good music year-round in South Florida.

We’ve been on the prowl, zeroing in on the best jazz and blues venues in or near the Palm Beach area. Along the way, we’ve discovered some great restaurants, too, which we’d like to share with you.

For great jazz and blues music, check out Blue Jean Blues (www.bluejeanblues.net) in Ft. Lauderdale and The Bamboo Room (www.bambooroom.com) in Lake Worth. In addition to jazz, featured musicians often tip their hat to blues legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King and others. In Miami, check out the jazz in the elegant bar at the Biltmore Hotel (www.biltmorehotel.com/miamicoralgables) or at the The Van Dyke Café (www.thevandykecafe.com) in South Beach.

Everyone’s favorite restaurant in Palm Beach is Chez Jean-Pierre (www.chezjean-pierre.com). You can’t beat the excellent cuisine and professional, unpretentious service.  Our new favorite is Buccan (www. buccanpalmbeach.com), which calls itself a “progressive American grill.” Subdued lighting, a lively bar and an open kitchen (serving American-style tapas) contribute to the stylish atmosphere of this new see-and-be seen watering hole on the island.

In West Palm Beach we can count on seeing most of our friends at Joy Noodles and Asian Cuisine (www.joynoodles.com). Joy Sumonthee, whose hometown is Chiang Mai, Thailand, is the owner. Inspired by years of traveling across Asia—from Japan to Burma and Bali—she has brought her own Asian-fusion recipes to Dixie Highway, just south of the Norton Museum of Art .

A few blocks away is Maison Carlos (www.maisoncarlos.com), an intimate space where CIA-trained Chef Robert Dedrick, (whose resume lists New York’s Aurole and Le Cirque, as well as Palm Beach’s gone-but-not-forgotten Nando’s) serves up delicious French and Italian specialties.

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