Leave it to the Four Seasons to take Miami’s culinary scene by storm! Ever since the Brickell hotel giant decided to revamp its dining options and bring Chef Aaron Brooks up from down under, it seems that the talented Australian chef is winning awards everwhich way you look. He is also turning the attention of savvy foodies’ toward Edge, Steak & Bar, where he mans the kitchen. Few local chefs have been able to more astutely capture Miami’s food culture than chef Brooks, whose offerings showcase a love and understanding of many Latin American cuisines, as well as a respect for local products.
Contrary to popular belief, foodies aren’t always eating all the time. Sometimes we like to go out just to hang out, maybe listen to some good music, and maybe just move around the dance floor a little...you know...to burn off some of that incredible dinner we just had that is sure to appear on our blogs the next day. Nevertheless, it does go much appreciated when a nightlife venue offers a little something for foodies and makes a “one-stop shop” out of what would otherwise have been a night around town. I’m sure most night owls in Miami have seen delicious examples of this trend: the lounge offering non-afterthought small plates or the food truck parked just outside the bar. To add to the ever-increasing roster of bars, clubs, and lounges catering to foodies is Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell.
OTC is one of the few restaurants in Miami that has given me the same kind of satisfaction I received after having meals in Paris, which is saying a lot when one compares our local burgeoning food culture to that of the perhaps the most important food city in the world (read review here). The order-at-the-counter restaurant has been making waves in Brickell’s dining scene ever since it opened with its honest, flavorful, and reasonably priced à la carte menu that enables diners to create their own meals from a variety of proteins, sandwiches, sides, and salads in addition to its ever-changing selection of craft beers. If you have yet to become addicted to this casual eatery’s cuisine, then now is as good a time as ever as OTC has recently unveiled a brunch menu and is launching its Beer Week this coming Tuesday, January 22nd.
Anyone who lives in Miami knows that we are no strangers to the night owl lifestyle. In a city where one meets for dinner with friends at 9:00 PM (which really means 10:00 PM) and people don’t arrive at the club until well after midnight, it should come as no surprise that Miami has its fair share of late night eats. Nothing works up an appetite quite like a night of drinking and dancing, and with Miami’s unmistakable Latin flavor, post-party dining options include a wide array of not only typical pizza and burger joints, but favorites from throughout Latin America.
When I went to Paris for the first time, I was most looking forward to eating, and people warned me that the portions would be a lot smaller than they were in the United States. I wasn’t terribly concerned about that detail, and what I found out after dining in Paris was that despite the smaller portions, the food was so flavorful that I left each restaurant satisfied but not stuffed. French cuisine has a reputation for being rich, but French people have a reputation for being thin...at least thinner than Americans. The reason being, I discovered, is that they eat good food in moderation, and trying to find good food in moderation stateside can prove to be a challenge in a country that loves overabundance and has industrialized food to the point that it has lost much of its original flavor. Meals that have the same effect as those I enjoyed in Paris are usually reserved almost exclusively to haute cuisine, but that seems to be changing as eateries like OTC in Brickell make a very European concept of dining something that can be enjoyed at least once a week, if not every day. While the menu is very American in character, a meal at OTC ended with the same afterglow I experienced while dining in Paris.
This Saturday evening, enjoy cocktails and other adult refreshments at many of Brickell’s best bars and eateries with some of Miami’s finest at the United Way of Miami-Dade’s Young Leaders Society’s Boo’s and Spirits Pub Crawl. The organization consists of young professionals from Miami-Dade who enjoy networking, personal and professional growth, and giving back to the community through the United Way’s constant efforts at improving education, health and financial stability, and proceeds from this weekend’s pub crawl go towards continuing those efforts. The evening starts off at Brickell Irish Pub and finishes at LA Sweets, where participants will be able to indulge in the bake shop’s noteworthy cupcakes.
When one thinks of German-American culture, perhaps the last place that comes to mind is Miami, and for a foodie, trying to find a good German eatery, delicatessen, or bakery in Miami can be like trying to find an English-speaker in Little Havana. While sourcing good German sausages or baked goods might be a no-brainer in other places like the Midwest or Pennsylvania, it can be a daunting task in a city where chorizo, in its various incarnations, is the sausage of choice and the pastelito reigns supreme. Nevertheless, Miami does love its celebrations no matter what culture they pertain to, especially if they involved drinking, and every year many of the German-esque bars and eateries in the 305 do their best to recreate an authentic German Oktoberfest experience. While many of Miami’s Oktoberfest celebrations can be a lot of fun for the beer-swilling crowd, many celebrations can seem identical to Saint Patrick’s Day events - just swap out the green for blue and white, and add a lot of sausage. For a lover of good food, or just someone who craves authenticity, Oktoberfest in Miami has usually been a disappointment until Brickell Bier Garden brought Miami a true taste of Germany this past weekend.
We all love any holiday that gives us an excuse to eat well, drink heavily, and abandon ourselves to debauchery. While Cinco de Mayo is the time for scarfing down tacos and taking shots of tequila, and we all become just a little bit Irish during St. Patrick’s Day, October is the time of year when everyone embraces the German traditions of good beer, nourishing food, and all-around merry making that are Oktoberfest.
This weekend, the heart of Miami gets ready to become very German as the historic Miami Circle is converted into the Brickell Bier Garden. From Friday, October 5th, to Sunday, October 7th, the historic site marking the birthplace of our Magic City will be transformed into a traditional Bavarian biergarten complete with German beers, foods, music, and games.
Downtown Brickell has a new kid in town today! Restauranteur Claudio Giordano, who brought us Altamare on Lincoln Road, as well as one of the most fondly-remembered Italian restaurants of the '90s, La Bussola, is venturing into the bustling business and nightlife neighborhood of Brickell with his new restaurant, TIKL Raw Bar & Grill. Focused around small plates and sharing, Chef Simon Stojanovic, the executive chef at Altamare who was nominated for Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2012, has formulated an internationally-inspired menu of tapas-style dishes that are meant to be shared. In tune with today's culinary trends, Chef Stojanovic will focus on local and seasonal products that will result in an ever-changing menu that is sure to satisfy seasoned foodies and savvy business people looking for a relaxed bite to eat. The restaurant promises an unpretentious, loungy ambiance with an industrial décor accented by steel beams, exposed concrete columns, and Old Chicago brick walls.
Summer time is considered barbecue time, but even if you're not a huge grill enthusiast, it's almost a patriotic requirement to have some sort of grilled or barbecued food on the Fourth of July to celebrate our country's independence. Brother Jimmy's Barbecue based in New York City, is planning on moving down to the sunshine state soon, and to celebrate its upcoming opening and Independence day, the barbecue eatery is teaming up with Sailor Jerry Rum to bring Miamians a free southern-style barbecue fest. Revelers can enjoy a complimentary pig roast along with rum cocktails like the Backyard Tea and Rockabilly Lemonade in front of Brother Jimmy's future Brickell home, which promises to open later in July.