One of the interesting things about holidays is that the traditions surrounding them can be so enjoyable, and oftentimes so delicious, that even the most staunch atheist can feel hesitant to completely abandon them. Even those who still identify with a particular religion can often forgo the rituals, services, and prayers associated with certain holidays but will definitely embrace the gift exchanges, parties, and most definitely the food. I’m certain that not everyone has been making sacrifices for Lent. Many Catholics have probably forgotten that Palm Sunday was this past weekend, many more will be observing Holy Week as just another week, and there are probably quite a few who don’t plan on going to church this coming Sunday. Nevertheless, many self-identifying Christians will probably be making plans to enjoy an Easter meal this weekend. Along with the warmer weather our northern compatriots hope to experience, our recent “spring forward” to which many of us are still adjusting also marks an unofficial start to “the brunch season”. Sure, we enjoy leisurely al fresco brunches all the time in South Florida, but brunch never seems as mandatory as it does during one of the Spring’s most brunch-friendly holidays, Easter. In case you have yet to make plans for this weekend, here are few of Joonbug’s suggestions for restaurants serving up Easter brunch in South Florida:
February is filled with so much to do in South Florida for a foodie. As if our minds aren’t already constantly occupied with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, we have Valentine’s Day to think about next week. If you’re lucky enough to have someone with whom to celebrate it, you probably know that a romantic dinner can truly take this day of love from simply romantic to truly memorable. While attempting to make a gourmet, multi course meal at home is an honorable feat, sometimes it’s best to let some our best chefs work at the food while you enjoy each other’s company. In case you haven't already made plans, here are some of Joonbug’s picks in Miami for Valentine’s Day dinner:
February is upon us, and it’s only a few weeks until the year’s most important food event, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, begins. Tickets to the nearly countless events have been on sale since before 2013 even started, and while some of the more coveted events are sold out, there are still tickets available to some very exciting dinners, tastings, and parties that are sure to be the highlight of your year. A list of all available events for this year’s Wine & Food Festival can be seen at www.sobefest.com, but here are some highlights that any foodie should definitely not miss:
It might not be the same for everyone, but in my experience, Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when some of the worst cooks consider themselves to be award-winning chefs. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been a victim of such atrocities as a coleslaw-ambrosia salad combination, an unnaturally colored cool whip and graham cracker crumb dessert, or a casserole so replete with cream, butter, cheese, and bacon that it constitutes one’s allowable fat intake for the entire year. Trying to dissuade these mad scientists turned amateur cooks from contributing to your Thanksgiving feast can quickly become an ugly scene with all the crying, fighting, and emotion of a 90’s talk show. Trying to trick yourself into making your relative’s multicolored congealed salad into a suitable side dish for your chestnut and morel stuffed bird has proven futile...and quite ridiculous. The only solution to make everyone happy is to leave the cooking to the professionals this Thanksgiving and going to a restaurant. If your ideal Turkey Day is one in which there are no dishes to wash and you’re not stuck with a week’s worth of leftovers, then you should definitely check out Joonbug’s recommendations for restaurants offering some of the best Thanksgiving dinners in South Florida this year.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and all throughout the country organizations and businesses are doing their part to raise awareness of the disease, as well as to raise funds for finding a cure. Pink has become the color of the fight to end breast cancer, and many of South Florida’s businesses are going pink this month in support of breast cancer awareness and research. Not least among them are some of our most popular dining destinations that are offering deals, special dinners, and other promotions during the month of October.
Returning for the fourth year in a row is “Bleau Goes Pink” at the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach. The resort’s three AAA four diamond restaurants - Hakkasan, Gotham Steak, and Scarpetta - will each be offering “Dine for the Cure” menus featuring three courses for $45. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which has consistently fought to end breast cancer through awareness and early diagnosis, as well as research. “Dine for the Cure” dinner menus are available Sunday through Thursday, and diners will receive a discounted valet rate of $12. For more information, please visit www.fontainebleau.com. For reservations, please call (877) 326 - 7412. Menus are as follows:
It's a beautiful thing for anyone who seeks out the good life when spa month and restaurant month coincide. It's an even better thing when you can experience a spa day and a gourmet dinner all in one place. Miami's top resorts have been known for having some of the nation's best spas for quite some time, but now that the foodie movement is in full force, it seems as if luxury hotels have also become the destination for epicurians seeking out some of the city's finest meals. For those of you who are addicted to enjoying life's finer pleasures and have an affinity for a good deal, August is the month to be in Miami when Miami Spa Month and Miami Spice overlap, and there are fewer places more adept at satisfying the most seasoned spa aficionados and ardent foodies than the Fontainebleau Resort on Miami Beach.
I really love summers in South Florida! Many of the obnoxious tourists have gone back home, there are no major festivals going on that make some of my favorite neighborhoods virtually impenetrable human fortresses, the beaches are full of sexy locals, and there is almost always some sort of deal on some of South Florida's most luxurious leisure activities. Whether you crave a spa day during Miami Spa Month, discounted rates on chic hotels, or all-you-can eat fried chicken, there always seems to be something for the sophisticated local on a budget during our balmy summer months. Of course, for any local foodie (myself included), the most anticipated event of the summer is Miami Spice during the months of August and September, when locals and visitors alike can dine at some of Miami's finest restaurants for a fraction of what it would normally cost. I'm sure I don't speak for myself when I mention that I am already planning out my Miami Spice itinerary, and no serious attempt at tackling Miami Spice is complete without a visit to at least one of the Fontainebleau's award-winning restaurants.
July 14th marks Bastille Day, an important event during the French Revolution in which the Bastille prison was raided thus releasing its prisoners, many of which were jailed for going against the French monarchy. In a way, it can be seen as France's Fourt of July, but with a lot more wine and - according to some - a lot finer food. This Saturday, celebrate French freedom from the bonds of oppressive royalty with a special prix-fixe dinner at The Fontainebleau Resort's signature French Riviera-inspired restaurant, La Côte. For $40, enjoy a first course of vichyssoise (a cold leek and potato soup) with lobster, an entrée of citrus poached slamon with parsnip purée and lemon vinaigrette, and a dessert of raspberry-chocolate galette with chocolate sorbet. Additionally, enjoy some specially-made cocktails inspired the revolutionary spirit of Bastille Day, such as La Revolution (Bombay Sapphire, blueberry compote, lemon juice), the Marchons (Hennessey VS, Xante Pear Cogna, lemon, rock candy syrup, and crème de cassis) and the French Press (Grey Goose, lemon, and watermelon)