If this decade has proven anything in regards to eating and drinking, it is that wine is not the only beverage that can be paired with food, an announcement that I'm sure has many foodies breathing a sigh of relief. It's probably more gauche nowadays to sneer at someone enjoying something other than wine with their meal than it is to drink something other than wine, and gone are the anxiety-ridden days when people were wondering what wines to pair with Chinese, Indian, and Mexican cuisines. Although grape wines are still considered to be the drink of choice with any fine meal, it is no longer seen as an absolute rule, and many chefs throughout the country are demonstrating that by offering multicourse dinners paired with spirits one wouldn't traditionally consider, such as whiskeys, sakes, and beers. Next Thursday, August 16th, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, which has always been on Miami's culinary cutting edge, will be demonstrating that a well-crafted artisenal beer can actually pair much better with Chef Miguel Aguilar's global Latino cuisine than any wine can. His four course dinner will be paired with beer selections from Duvel and Ommegang, which have received tremendous reviews as being some of the best breweries around, and will feature the chef's signature Latin and Caribbean flourishes:
Miami's most anticipated event of the year has arrived for South Florida's bargain-hunting foodies. From August through the end of September, Miami Spice presents a bounty of Dade County's best restaurants offering specially priced prix-fixe dinners at usually a fraction of what it usually costs to dine at some of these restaurants. I'm sure that most of you already have your Miami Spice to-do lists. Beginning this evening, however, a handful of the chefs participating in Miami Spice will be offering free cooking demonstrations of their creations to aid you in making your final selections. After all, seeing a chef in the process of creating a dish is a much better deciding factor than a mere menu description when it comes to choosing a restaurant to visit this August and September. If you're Miami Spice itinerary is already fixed, then the cooking demonstrations will be an excellent opportunity to meet some of your favorite local chefs and perhaps get some tips on how to create your favorite dishes at home. Culinary demonstrations will be taking place throughout August and September at Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables and Bloomingdale's and Macy's in Aventura Mall and will occur on the following dates and times:
South Florida natives know that Miami is the true Sin City. How could a place known for having the sexiest people, wildest nightlife, coolest cocktails, and unmatched dining lead to anything but temptation? And as anyone who has been out in Miami knows, things don't really start to get sinful until the sun goes down, which is when Dream South Beach hotel's lounge, Highbar, transforms from a restful rooftop oasis overlooking the Atlantic ocean to one of the Beach's hottest nightlife destinations. If you seem to be having a little difficulty tapping into your sinful side, let Highbar's nightly happy hour come to your aid with their 7 Deadly Sins. The mixologists at Highbar have managed to embody the essence of each sin with some delicious and refreshing cocktails that are a sure fire way to get your night started on a naughty note:
Back again this summer is Whole Foods' $20/20 Minute Fill The Grill Challenge. Last year's battle featured some of Miami's top fine dining chef, but this year the competition pays homage to The 305's most popular food truck chefs. The same rules apply this year as they did last summer: each chef has twenty dollars and twenty minutes to shop for ingredients within Whole Foods Market, and then an additional twenty minutes to prepare a meal using only a grill. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will award points on taste, creativity, and affordability - the dishes, after all, need to be something that can be recreated on someone's home grill.
It seems as if Delray Beach is where it's at if you're a foodie in search of a good deal next week. Angelo Elia's restaurant D'Angelo Trattoria will be offering a four cours prix-fixe menu with wine pairings on Tuesday, August 7th for only $50 per person. Chef Rickie Piper has created a sumptuous menu featuring classic Roman dishes that will beautifully accent the selection of Northern Italian wines from the region's best boutique vineyards:
PROSCUITTO DI PARMA E PERE COTTE NEL VINO BIANCO
Thinly Sliced Parma Proscuitto with White Wine Poached Pear and Balsamic Reduction
On July 25th, I had the pleasure of attending the Fourth Annual To Live & Dine in Miami event benefitting the Chapman Partnership, which has aided homeless South Floridians in employment, housing, and job training thus getting their lives back in order and helping them to support themselves. The event is presented by MIAMI Magazine each year, and this year it was hosted by Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud of DB Bistro Moderne. I had the chance to meet him in person, and while I'd like to think that I'm not prone to being starstruck, I'm slightly embarassed to say that I found myself stumbling over syllables and gushing to the acclaimed chef about how much I love him and his cuisine, and how it was the first haute cuisine restaurant I had been to, and it changed my life, and how great of an honor it was to meet him. I guess when in the presence of a great chef like Daniel Boulud, any foodie's decorum will simply dissolve.
SAIA, Fort Lauderdale Beach's bastion of chic Asian cuisine paired with perhaps the best cocktails in Broward, kicked off its daily happy hour, dubbed Social Hour, last week with a very affordable selection of sushi, Asian appetizers, and beautifully crafted cocktails. Serious cocktail drinkers with an affinity for all things vintage will gravitate to selections from SAIA's Old's Cool collection, including a unique spin on the Negroni containing Punt e Mes and Aperol in addition to the traditional gin, as well as a silky smooth Sazerac with rye whiskey, cognac, bitters, and an absinthe rinse. Drinks from the Starlet Collection tend to be on the sweeter side, and the libations evoke the personalities and charisma of the heroines for which they are named, like Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. The aptly named Bettie Page surprises with a slight sting in the back of the throat from fresh jalapeño after the flavors of blueberry, cranberry, and lime have subsided.
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.