Story and photos by Mary Thurwachter
Mizner Park, with its Spanish-styled courtyard, 44 shops and restaurants, art museum, amphitheater, iPic Theater, fountains and large gazebos, has been around for 25 years and continues to enjoy wide appeal. Visitors can view art, attend concerts, take cooking classes, furnish their homes with beach-themed decor, score fashionable clothes and shoes, and mull over what to see next while dining on a gourmet lunch or dinner. Here are five places not to miss:
Homeowners who seek to capture the drama and mood of the sea to create their own sea-inspired retreat won’t want to miss Our Boat House III, a showroom at 42 Plaza Real that’s filled with nautical furniture, lighting and home accents. You’ll see how adding pops of watery blues, sandy neutrals and seaglass green can create a beachy, relaxed feel. You’ll also see how a giant seahorse made of reclaimed wood, or huge wooden letters on the wall urging folks to “BE SALTY” can set a cool coastal tone for your home.
It’s hard to miss Lord & Taylor at the south end of Mizner Park. It is the center’s largest and only two-floor store. Opened in 2013 and known for its dress department, this department store, at 202 Plaza Real, has all the luxury brands, from Michael Kors to DKNY. There’s even a men’s lounge with comfy couch and big-screen TV for husbands waiting on their shopping spouses, and a complimentary personal stylist service so you can get advice to suit your style and tailored to your taste. We like how well the store uses a collection of artsy, long-legged mannequins to display fashions.
It’s hard not to be drawn in by the delightful aroma of freshly baked waffle cones, cookies and brownies. We couldn’t resist. And, yes, the chocolate cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone is worthy of the caloric splurge! This place has real candy (in bulk) and eye candy, too. The walls are pink, chandeliers are twinkling and the toy trains are chugging. Owners say this shop, at 329 Plaza Real, is where fantasy becomes reality — and it is, at least in the sweet dreams department!
There is no shortage of good restaurants in Mizner Park, but we like Max’s Grille, at 404 Plaza Real, because the food (brunch, lunch, dinner) is good and the location is ideal for people-watching, sometimes even famous people-watching. Long before Adele was chanting “Hello from the other side,” she could be found chowing down at Max’s, which has been in Boca since 1991. Try the blackened salmon quesadilla with goat cheese, scallions, spinach and roasted corn guacamole. Yum!
Sur la table
A cook’s playground, Sur la table, at 438 Plaza Real, is stocked with kitchen tools, dinnerware, premium cookware and specialty food. Another big draw are the cooking classes that share recipes and techniques on how to make everything from Thai to Texas barbecue. Students get to eat what they make, of course, and go home with class recipes, a list of needed tools and helpful notes.
This is the fourth in a series of five shopping areas The Coastal Star will feature this season. Next up: Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton.