For the largest minority in the United States, October is a month in which to celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture and the contributions that Hispanics and Latinos have made to this country. Perhaps our greatest gift to American culture is that sazón that we have injected into the national palate. Many Americans have become enamored with Latin American dishes and ingredients, and it makes many Latinos and Hispanics proud to see people from other cultures serving our traditional dishes at restaurants and out of food trucks. In addition to being Hispanic Heritage Month, October is also the time of year when the temperature drops, leading chefs and home cooks to think about warming comfort foods, and nothing says comfort food to a hungry Latino like a plate of arroz con pollo.
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.
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:
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.
This is the age in which food is no longer something with which to merely fill our bellies, and many chefs and individuals throughout the world are now taking the time to reexamine, refine, and reinvent their native cuisines. Greek cuisine in the US has seen a major revolution over the past several years, garnering the respect of the culinary world and bidding farewell to the days of mystery meat gyros, greasy spanakópita, and leaden blocks of moussaká that many of us have unfortunately come to associate with Greek food. In its stead, today’s Greek chefs are bringing us bright flavors and preparations that highlight the quality and freshness of the ingredients used. The result is a cuisine that is zen-like and subtly nuanced, while at the same time offering bold flavors and exotic spices that are reflective of this Mediterranean nation’s vibrant history. Fort Lauderdale’s newest Greek restaurant, Thasos, is one such restaurant that is redefining our notion of Greek cuisine in South Florida by serving up a combination of authentic favorites, regional specialties, and exciting new creations that pay homage to Greek cooking traditions.
South Beach will never cease to attract South Florida’s artistas, fashionistas, and film buffs, however, there is another reason why the trendy mecca is gaining more hype. A much needed surge has resulted in Miami highlighting a variety of neighborhoods for those who seek out culture...and great food. Wynwood Arts District has already been drawing in locals and tourists, alike, for years with its rows of contemporary art galleries amid a grid of warehouses that manages to retain a somewhat edgy, young, and pre-gentrified vibe. Wynwood now offers two independent coffee bars, several watering holes, and a handful of snazzy eateries like Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Locavore. That seems to be the word on the proverbial gastronomic street these days, and chefs seem to be going to great pains to bring diners produce, meats, cheeses, honeys, and libations that are as local as possible. However, it seems as if Sundy House in Delray Beach has every farm-to-table restaurant in South Florida beat when it comes to shrinking the space between where a restaurant sources its produce and its final destination on a diner's plate. Anyone who hasn't been to Sundy House (read review here) is in for a an unforgettable and almost enchanted experience. The property, which features a boutique hotel and exquisite restaurant, is a tropical oasis just off the main drag of downtown Delray Beach, which is perhaps one of the most culturally and culinarily vibrant areas north of MiMo. Perhaps the most unforgettable part of Sundy House are its tropical gardens featuring dozens of edible flora, some of which are even new to the most seasoned horticulturist.
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:
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.