Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Pissed off at Publix? Think you just can't choke down one more slice of gummy, supermarket-nuked bread? Tired of settling for choice beef when your adventurous, poetic soul yearns for prime? Fed up with fish that smells like... well, you know what it smells like. A girl's gotta take matters into her own hands if she wants to stop eating to live and start living to eat.

The wilds of Palm Beach County still harbor good game: Le Petit Pain in Lantana (123 S. Third St.,), run by Gaelle and Thomas Tcherniavsky, a gorgeous, elegant young Parisian couple, turns out a French baguette ($2.25 for a long, thin loaf) unrivaled in all details: a buttery, flaky, crunchy crust; and a fluffy interior pocked with holes, moist as a cloud when you split it open. The Tcherniavskys and their pastry chef cram the display cases with French butter cookies, cream horns, truffles, almond custard strips, croissants, 19 kinds of bread, cardamom coffee cakes, fruit tarts, chocolate mousse cakes, beignets, napoleons -- all lovingly baked on the premises. Their rapturous, raspberry-jam-filled crepes ($2) will help build your strong body 12 ways. Sumptuous large cakes for special occasions are made to order.

Just south in Boynton Beach, Torchio's Finer Meats (1877 Woolbright Rd.) is your best source of protein and dietary fat. Brothers Steve and Rich Walker, who took over the place from Jim Torchio 24 years ago, can help you bag a few whole or cut-up Bell & Evans chickens (natural, antibiotic-free hens, $1.99 a pound), whole legs of lamb ($3.49 a pound), sirloin tip roast ($4.99 a pound), glistening slabs of center-cut bacon ($3.99 a pound), fresh hot or sweet Italian sausages ($2.99 a pound), and prime New York strip steaks ($11.99 a pound), cut and wrapped to order. Got a fancy recipe? They'll go the extra mile to get you those oxtails and beef cheeks. Homemade all-American pies (apple, rhubarb, blueberry, cherry) are $7.99 each; fresh Thanksgiving turkeys are prepared to order.

A healthy girl also needs her Omega-3s. Delray Seafood (120 SE Fourth Ave., Delray Beach), a funky, family-run market in business since 1960, has pared its stock down to what's fresh: You won't find any days-old filets in its coolers. If you get lucky on a typical Friday, you might hook a few rosy, clear-eyed yellowtail snapper ($5.99 a pound), translucent flounder filets ($4.95 a pound), plump Pompano ($8.95 a pound), or rough-and-ready Florida littleneck clams ($5 a dozen) ready to be drowned in wine and suffocated in butter (Note: These make an incomparable meal with the baguettes, above, soaked in wine/butter/clam broth.) Get out early; the fish run in the morning. And remember: Always hold out for the big ones. -- Gail Shepherd

 
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