It’s Worth It!

Last week I was in Florida, visiting my father. One stop that we always make is Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, which appears to be the last bastion of elegance in the U.S. Worth Avenue remains a place where both men and women dress to shop or to have lunch.

The typical man that you see is grey-haired, thin, wears a colorful pocket square in his jacket (linen, seersucker, blazer), topping white or pink or red trousers, and loafers (no socks). The women are in hats, skirts, flats, all in pastels. What would we expect from the place that gave birth to Lily Pulitzer. The whole place looks like ice cream topped by tropical fruit.

Lilly Pultizer was a New York Socialite who moved to Palm Beach with her husband in the 1950s. Bored, she opened a juice bar on the tony Worth Avenue and designed her own cotton shift as a uniform. “The Lilly Look” was born.

The food is in keeping with the old school look. Relaxed and Refined is the overarching style. The restaurants offer some variation of “Continental” cuisine, French or Italian, reflecting a time when Americans did not know that all good food is regional — that Tuscan food is different from Roman, which is different from Naples, all of which are different from Sicilian. It seems that obvious ethnic food, like Tacos or Kathi rolls, is restricted to somewhere outside the city limits.

My favorite “go to” lunch spot is Ta-boo. Here impeccable service, people watching and models from surrounding Palm Beach stores roam around while showing off  latest fashions (Who knew there could be so much color!? “YES” to resort wear!!) while we tuck into fabulous chopped salads, poached salmon and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and few G & T’s on the side, thank you. I especially love this emblematic quote on the Taboo website….”Signature drink: The Bloody Mary. This is the original cocktail, no punches pulled. No funky wasabi or “jerk” spices are added, but it packs the right amount of wallop”. Classic and Beyond Fabulous.

Walking down the street, you see a Ferrari parked behind a Maserati, which is next to a Bentley, which is near a huge, black Mercedes.

It’s that aesthetic that appeals to me — the elegance coupled with the paradox of understatement and excess all at the same time. The style gladdens the maximalist in me. Less is never more!!

Here’s a nostalgic cocktail reminiscent of Worth Avenue, to be enjoyed on a warm Palm Beach afternoon.

Classic Worth Avenue Martini Recipe

1  ½ oz Gin

1 ½ tsp  Sweet Vermouth

1 ½ tsp Grapefruit Juice