Asian and Cuban are two cuisines that one rarely sees within the same sentence. However, Cuban cuisine's hearty simplicity utilizing Caribbean ingredients with Spanish and West African techniques is the perfect foil for the bold and varied flavors of Asia, and with Miami's significant Cuban population and its tropical heat, it seems only natural that both cuisines should meet here and form a seemless fusion of flavors and textures that is a perfect match for South Florida's culture and climate. Asia de Cuba, with locations in London and Los Angeles, has proven to Miami, as well as the world, that the flavors of Asia and those of "the pearl of the Antilles" can come together with some interesting and delicious results.
Like many native Miamians, I often find myself entertaining the idea that between between County Line Road and New York City, there is nothing but farmland and highway. To give Miami some credit, we all consciously know this isn't true, but subconsciously we have this idea that Miami is the most important cosmopolitan city in the Southeastern United States, and this prevents many of us from exploring some other towns and cities that don't get quite as much publicity. Last week I convinced myself to visit a place called Sundy House in Delray Beach, a city that had previously seemed so far away and exotic to me that it was classified under "road trip destinations" along with Key West, Orlando, Tampa, and Saint Augustine. I was surprised at the fact that even during rush hour, it took me only thirty five minutes to get there from Fort Lauderdale (I'd tack on at least anouther half hour if coming from Miami), and yet when I arrived at my destination it appeared as if I was worlds away from Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The vibe of Downtown Delray Beach reminded me of Coconut Grove in the nineties: a lush tropical jungle dotted with old Florida homes and vibrating with an artsy, creative energy. Anticipating just a restaurant, I was initially surprised and then enchanted when I approached Sundy House and discovered an entire compound surround by dense tropic foliage that took up nearly an entire block. This was unlike anywhere I had ever been to before, and as my evening progressed I realized that Sundy House is unlike anywhere else in South Florida...or perhaps the world.
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.
Opening today is Key Biscayne's newest casual dining destination that has taken over the old Rickenbacker Fish Company and made it into one heck of a party. Largely located under one giant tiki hut, Whiskey Joe's is the place for nachos, wings, sliders, burgers, and all other manner of good ole American bar food, as well as oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, tropical salads, and fresh catch-of-the-day seafood entrées. Fisherman can also bring their own catches to the restaurant where the staff will be more than glad to cook your fresh-caught seafood to order. Accessible by land and by sea, with ample dock space available to boaters, Whiskey Joe's will be the place for the sea-faring and those firmly grounded on land to enjoy sports games along with their favorite beers. However, those who wish to sip on something a little more tropical can enjoy some of Whiskey Joe's specialty drinks, like the açai margarita or rock coconut mojito.
Yes, it is true that mixology culture has gained a solid footing in South Florida, but for the adventurous tippler it can appear as if the amount of local bars serving new and creative cocktails is still not enough for a palate that constantly craves invention. We all love our tried-and-true classic cocktails, especially when they're impeccably made using the finist spirits, but there comes a time in every cocktail enthusiast's drinking career when even a unique cocktail from a bar's signature beverage menu becomes a little tiring. Steak 954, located in the über chic W Fort Lauderdale, is planning to put an end to the drinking doldrums this summer with its Never-Repeat Cocktail Program. Starting today and up until Thursday, cocktail connoisseurs can enjoy a different, creative, sometimes bordering on weird, but never boring cocktail every single day from 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Steak 954's resident mixologists will give you a break during the weekend before their crusade to bring Fort Lauderdale never-before-sipped cocktails starts anew the following Monday through Thursday, repeating every week for the length of the summer.
Located within the W Fort Lauderdale
401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Back by popular demand, Meat Market and Stags' Leap Winery have again joined forces to bring South Florida foodies the summer wine dinners that were such a hit last year. Starting tomorrow, July 17th, diners can partake in a four-course menu paired with selections from Stags' Leap Winery's numerous and varied libations. Tomorrow's dinner will showcase Chef Sean Brasel's fusion of European techniques and luxurious ingredients, such as truffles and duck, with New World flavors of ají amarillo, chipotle, and cactus pear, as well as some surprising elements as witnessed in tomorrow evening's menu:
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)
It seems as if the popularity of French cuisine in South Florida had decreased over the past decade with fewer and fewer French eateries being available in our little corner of paradise. However, the trend seems to be reversing, perhaps due in part to the film Julie and Julia that rekindled interest in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which has aspiring home cooks and seasoned gourmands searching for their Le Creuset pots to recreate Julia's famous Boeuf Bourguignon. East End Brasserie in Fort Lauderdale, La Gloutonnerie in Miami Beach, and La Goulue in Bal Harbour have proven that classic French cuisine is regaining its footing in the South Florida dining scene, and now Boca Raton will have its bastion of cuisine française as Stéphane's opens its doors this Sunday, July 15th.
Due to popular demand, RA Sushi's June pairing of watermelon-kiwi shrimp and melon-kiwi-tini is with us for another month! For $18, diners can enjoy refreshing layers of watermelon, kiwi, orange, and lychee, topped with cold shrimp along with a martini that combines Monin Watermelon, Svedka Citron, Shochu, and a splash of citrus soda with watermelon and kiwi slices. I'm sure that with RA's other sushi and cocktail selections, the kiwi-melon mélange will only be the start of your evening, but with a deal this good, you might as well go for a round two. However you choose to enjoy RA's summer pairing, be sure to do it soon as this offer is only available to the end of July.
5829 SW 73rd Street
Miami, FL 33143
The United Way, in partnership with The Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, will be putting on its 18th annual Wine Walk & Shop on the Mile event tomorrow, July 10th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. For $35, attendees will participate in a sort of chic "wine crawl" with 8 Coral Gables retailers offering light, refreshing wines and small bites, as well as discounts on merchandise. The event sarts off at Seasons 52, where guests will be given wine-tasting glasses, a detailed program of the event's participating businesses, and a gift bag with goodies and discounts from local vendors. The evening culminates at Wolfe's Wine Shoppe, known for carrying only exclusive European small-production wines, where "Wine Walk & Shoppers" will receive a special 15-20% discount on bottles of wine.