A Neighborhood Treasure
Walking into Belle and Maxwell’s for my recent Road Trips For Food felt like I was going back in time. Part of this was because I used to live in the neighborhood and part was because it felt so warm and welcoming.
Belle and Maxwell’s opened its doors in 1995. I remember being blown away when I ordered my iced coffee and it came with coffee ice cubes. This was before anyone else was making them. Their menu was, also, always lovely.
Fast forward to 2004 and new owner Michelle Taylor took over. Michelle grew up in a restaurant family in Buffalo and never thought she would be a part of this industry as an adult. However, after working in the Human Resources department at Saks Fifth Avenue for 15 years, the opportunity presented itself to buy Belle and Maxwell’s. Once you enter this restaurant, you will understand why Michelle said, “Yes”.
Six years into ownership, Michelle expanded Belle and Maxwell’s, nearly doubling its space. I wondered before the RTFF, if this would take away from the quaint feel of the former size. No need for that worry. Michelle pulled off a double coup; the restaurant is as warm and inviting as it had been back in the 90’s and the expansion of the menu is fabulous.
We have all been to restaurants that started out with a limited menu that was delicious and then they proceeded to expanded to include so many items on the menu that they were no longer able to cook anything well. This is definitely NOT the case here.
Just to give you some idea of the lunch menu, there are several appetizers, flat breads, sandwiches, salads, kid’s menu and entrees that include mussels, chicken and guacamole wraps, as well as roasted eggplant and prosciutto. We had a tough time making our selections.
Two people had the quiche of the day, one had the crabmeat salad, one had the chicken wings and I had the beet & goat cheese salad knowing full well what I was going to order for dessert! The plating was beautiful and everyone thought her meal was delicious.
Then it was time for dessert, better known to me as the main course. Michelle makes 90% of the desserts herself; so we had a sampler plate of 8 desserts. Not too shabby.
It was hard to pick a favorite, but if we had to do so, the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding was the winner. The Butterscotch and Caramel Sauce it is served over made the pudding irresistible. Actually, the sauce was so good that we were dipping many of the other desserts into it.
Other top picks were the Peanut Butter Pie that was very smooth and a tasty combination of flavors, as well as the Chocolate Espresso Flourless Cake that was rich, moist and not in the least bit dry. The Lemon Curd Tart was like eating the lemon part of a lemon meringue pie…sweet and tangy. Lastly, the Chocolate Pecan Pie had a very nice flavor and great crunch on top. Best of all, it was not overly sweet.
There were other desserts that were, thoroughly, enjoyed. Tony’s Cheese Cake is a ricotta cheesecake, so it is not as creamy as one made with cream cheese but still quite flavorful. The Russian Tea Cookies were loved. They were not too crumbly and, as one of the ladies said, “It gets better with each bite.” Too bad there were only so many bites before they were all gone!
The last dessert we had was Carrot Cake. Extremely moist with a lovely cream cheese frosting, it was hard to stop eating because I love the taste of clove. Faith on the other hand does not care for cloves and, therefore, did not feel the same way.
What was great about all the Michelle’s desserts was the fact that, any comments made that were not positive about a particular dessert, were based on personal taste preference of ingredients, not about the quality of the desserts.
There is one other thing that Belle and Maxwell’s does that I think is brilliant. They offer half portions of their desserts. Talk about a fantastic idea…WOW! I don’t know why other restaurants do not offer this, but they should. We were able to try 8 desserts without wasting a crumb.
Belle and Maxwell’s is definitely a wonderful place to go for lunch. I have not yet tried their dinner menu, but you better believe I will be soon. Hope to see you there, as well!Belle and Maxwell’s 3700 South Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, Florida 33405 561-832-4449 http://belleandmaxwells.net