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Clean Plate Charlie Shares a Pie in the Sky

"You will eat, bye and bye,

In that glorious land above the sky;

Work and pray, live on hay,

You'll get pie in the sky when you die."

Clean Plate Charlie wanted to get right to The Point last night, so hopped on Flagler Drive and drove straight to number 777, and into the waiting arms of the man at the valet station. Here your porcelain princess spared a few seconds of thought for the pavers directly beneath her tootsies: This West Palm Beach address, now known as "Phillips Point," used to be the very site of a 50-year-old  drive-up burger and shake shack called "The Hut," once the only game in town come date night if you wanted to sup for 40 cents per meal. As it happens, CPC's own progenitors used to suck down chocolate malts delivered auto-side at this locale, long before they were anybody's parents and still innocently canoodling.

The Hut was the prototype for trendy beef&cream barns like the famous one in New York City at Madison Square Park, the mention of which allows for a photo CPC has been itching to post since a trip to the Big Apple:

But last night Clean Plate Charlie was on her way UP, where it was rumored the cream of Palm Beach rises, to a place now run by the Breakers Hotel called Top of the Point. This was once the exclusive old Governor's Club, a room-in-the-round with 180-degree views of bridges, beaches, and twinkling lights, the sort of view loved by the people in charge, who take pleasure in surveying whatever vast portion of earth is fully under their control. And for those of us not in charge, though we live on hay most days, we can press the up button and get our pie in the sky from 5 till 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Menu at Top of the Point: an eccentrically imagined comfort food, noteably a "wedding platter" appetizer of pigs-in-blankets and Swedish meatballs; lobster pot pie for $42, chicken and dumplings, plank salmon, flatbreads, kobe burgers, and salads. CPC efficiently vacuumed up a plate of roast chicken with broccolini and large-grained cous cous, a flatbread scattered with artichokes and goat cheese, an arugula salad with warm mushrooms. The fare wasn't far above average (heavy on the pepper and salt), the flatbread soggy under a layer of goat cheese (goat cheese is the go-to ingredient in this kichen, 'twas in everything), and all of it middling expensive for us hay-eaters. But the service was amusing: our waiter executing every rearrangement of flatware with little flourishes and wrist flicks, even pulling off a fancy heel turn (think early Temptations choreography) as he sashayed around our table. Somebody loves his job!!!

Would CPC make like a frisbee and saucer back to the tippy top of this Point? Not likely, unless for a 5 o'clock cocktail with a passel of out-of-towners. This dish will get to Heaven soon enough, and the view from there is free.

-- As told to Gail Shepherd

Top of the Point
777 S. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach

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