Those of you who follow this blog at all might know that it started as a way to chronicle my Harley-Davidson (RIP) ride from Boston to Austin, Texas and back looking for a PhD program in Spanish Literature in 2011. After the trip I just kept writing and writing. I write about anything that interests me in any way: Academics and education, literature, The Camino de Santiago, culture, cities, food, cigars, travel and adventure, etc. Today is restaurant review day:
I recently had the opportunity to have breakfast with a dear friend in West Palm Beach at Hive Bakery and Café.
The restaurant is on iconic Route 1 (South Dixie Highway) across the street from the Norton Museum (which I have written about a lot, click here). The whole block is owned and run by the same folks. They have a home decoration store and business, and a clothing store.
Hive sits on a nice corner and has the obligatory artsy design (with a beehive pattern, get it?). Inside it is warm, well lit, and airy, very pleasant, with all the de rigueur décor. Your eyes immediately catch the counter full of delicious looking pastries. This being 2022, and West Palm Beach, the food was healthy but delicious, you will not find greasy diner breakfast fare here. The coffee was top notch, well made with quality coffee. My pain au chocolat looked very elegant, crunchy on the outside, but it missed the buttery softness inside. The service was attentive and professional. It was a perfect experience.
So, what is wrong with this place? Nothing. And that is the problem: it has no character, no personality, no charm, it is all Instagram perfect, there is nothing exceptional, it is sterile. Critically, it has no narrative, or the narrative is boring. Everything was good but not remarkable. If I never go back, I will not miss it, I will not miss the food, the people, nothing. It seems to me that nowadays everything is designed to perfection, consultants develop the perfect menu, accountants establish the perfect everything to maximize revenues, everything is so impeccable that it is boring.
When I get the chance to go out, I will always choose a place that has something, usually a combination of extraordinary (not expensive) food, character, personality, history, sense of humor, great staff, or an indescribable factor that makes you want to come back again and again. Hive is not that place.