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:
For just having opened a little more than a month ago, Dolce has been getting quite a lot of attention as one of the tastiest Italian restaurants in Miami Beach (read review here). Of course, it comes as no surprise knowing that the restaurant is the brainchild of LDV Hospitality, the people who brought us Scarpetta. Offering a sexy ambiance within the newly remodeled 1940’s Gale South Beach hotel, Dolce has become one of the best places for classic Italian cocktails and classic Italian fare by Chef Paolo Dorigato. For those who have yet to try it out, Dolce is giving the perfect incentive as it launches its Apertivo Happy Hour and Sunset Prix Fixe dinner menu today.
For those of you who don’t reside in the 305 or just don’t want to deal with Miami’s infamous traffic and parking, there are many restaurants north of County Line Road where one can have a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day. Whether you decide to dine on bustling Las Olas Boulevard or in quirky Delray Beach, Joonbug’s Broward/Palm Beach dining guide for V-day will help point you in the right direction. Here are a few of our picks:
Big City Tavern
609 E. Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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:
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.
Yesterday saw the end of Miami Spice this year, and today will see the beginning of “season”. It’s that time of year when it seems as if every other person you meet in South Florida is just visiting...usually from somewhere cold. While dining deals are not as abundant as they are during our slow summer season, the end of Miami Spice doesn’t necessarily signal the end of all deals for South Florida’s savvy foodies. Today kicks off the 6th annual Dine Out Lauderdale restaurant event, Broward County’s answer to Miami Spice. From October 1st through November 8th, over thirty six of Broward County’s finest restaurants will be offering specially priced three course menus for only $35 per person.
If you live in Miami and love to eat, you're probably well aware that Miami Spice is in our midst right now and will be so until the end of September. The two month restaurant promotion that began on August 1st has been a yearly tradition in Miami for over a decade now and is perhaps one of the most anticipated dining events in South Florida after the South Beach Wine & Food Festival...at least to the bargain hunting gourmand. Nevertheless, perusing each and every menu of the well over one hundred restaurants that are participating this year is a daunting task. There are restaurants that choose the cheapest things from their regular menu to offer on their Miami Spice menus, making the prix fixe dinner barely a bargain, and there are those normally spectacular restaurants that create a special Miami Spice menu featuring dirt-cheap and boring options like Caesar salad and grilled chicken breast with steamed asparagus. Furthermore, this year there are two categories of dining instead of just one, and the prices for lunch and dinner are reflective of which category a restaurant thinks it's part of - luxury dining ($39 dinner, $23 lunch) or fine dining ($33 dinner, $19 lunch). As one can imagine, some of Miami's restaurants are suffering from delusions of grandeur, and while they might be offering a good Miami Spice menu, it is hardly worth the luxury dining price tag.
Pairing wine with dinner is a classic combination, and beer pairings are becoming more and more popular as we see an increase in microbreweries specializing in craft beers that are produced to offer unique and nuanced flavors instead of just a cheap buzz. However, if you are like me and love a well made cocktail that is not only tasty but unique and interesting, then you should make a date with Chef Matthieu Godard and Sommelier Christopher Lindemann at DB Bistro Moderne tomorrow evening for their luxury spirits dinner. Along with a luscious French-inspired four course dinner by Chef Godard, diners and cocktail enthusiasts will be able to savor some creative concoctions utilizing spirits that aren't generally well-known in South Florida, such as Noelet gin and Kappa pisco. The evening's menu is as follows:
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)
When you stop in your local wine boutique you see wines from around the United States, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, South America, even Africa, but when was the last time you saw a bottle of Greek wine on a shelf? It’s been there all along, it was just kept as a “secret stash” for sommeliers and other wine connoisseurs who favor more “underground” varieties. In the wine department, Greece has got it goin’ on. There are over 300 indigenous grape varieties, a unique and distinctive landscape, and they’ve been winemaking for the last 4,000 years. So like the foundations of modern civilization, it is safe to say the Greek’s have got it covered.