Friday, February 27, 2009

Rocco vs. The Crazy Crowd

What a difference a few years makes. Last time we caught Rocco Dispirito at a cooking demo at the festival he was unsure how to handle the drunken chef groupies that slapped his ass and cat-called him from the audience. While we appreciated the aw-shucks routine back then, we found this new Rocco supremely entertaining. All swagger and sass, Rocco began his Sunday cooking lesson on how to make gnocchi by rousing the audience with an "Are you guys drunk enough?" He then singled out a voluptuous audience member and continued to make reference to her ample decolletage as the hour progressed.
"You know I'll sign anything, books, boobs, whatever. Just make sure you brought a big enough sharpie!"
And on it went.
His shtick was so refined we wondered if he any Tony Bourdain practice bits on each other back in the green room (though Tony was MIA this year, too bad).
At one point he heckled a woman who got up to leave forcing her to get on the mike and explain why she was walking out.
"I'm not drunk enough for this," she said.
"That's a completely legitimate reason," he conceded. "You may go."
Good thing the rest of the audience was plenty soused and oozing estrogen-fueled howling. If you could get past all the sloppiness you'd realize that Rocco is actually a pretty good teacher, mixing useful info with the banter. And his newfound charisma was refreshing.
Step aside, Bobby Flay.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Party Like It's Beta 2008!

Ok, it's week 4 of's relentless 1-year celebration crusade. Just two more events to go and the site will finally be at peace with it's one year of existence. Thank gawd. My liver aches just thinking about all these events.
From their blog:

Friday, Feb 27: Party Victorian style -- without getting the Plague -- at The Gansevoort's newest club, Louis. Corsets meet cosmos when pours complimentary Van Gogh vodka from 10 p.m. to midnight. RSVP here.

Saturday, Feb 28: This is it! Our very last bday party (until next year, that is) and we're classing it up with complimentary mojitos from 10 p.m. to midnight at The Mondrian's Sunset Lounge. RSVP here.

It's Good to be King

So there we were on Sunday, traipsing through the tasting tents, dodging tequila swilling sunburned festival-goers and trying not to get pelted with biscotti when we spied a rather elegantly-appointed table serving up some very classy bites. We read the table sign announcing the restaurant - Bizkaia - and the sample as "Olive Oil Drunken Bread." Another tray held plastic cone cups of "Truffled Cream of Ibar Cheese." Who were the purveyors of such refined fare, we wondered. Three chefs outfitted in the crispest white chef jackets stood behind the table, sporting serious expressions methodically plating each of the olive-oil soaked pieces of cornbread.

"Where's your restaurant?" we asked.
"In Bilbao," came the reply.
"Oh. What are you doing here in South Beach?"
"We're here traveling with the King of Spain, representing the Basque region."
He then went back to pushing the artfully-arranged plates on the table, looking up momentarily as passersby swiped the plates, gulped down the contents and moved along.

Sunday @ The Grand Tasting Village

Thousands of food enthusiasts, football-field sized tents on the beach. Midriff-baring liquor ambassadors. Must be Sunday at the Tasting Village!

Longest lines: RA Sushi and The Forge.
RA was handing out the equivalent of a bento box with two pieces of nigiri, a few pieces of maki and seaweed salad. It was generous, but kind of unnecessary considering that people would be happy with a piece of maki and move on. Instead they created a massive clusterfuck that blocked their neighboring tables. And The Forge always has a meat-salivating crowd for their filet mignon sammies.
If you were smart enough to move to the next tent you'd see that Morton's (below) and Prime Blue Grille were doling out plenty of succulent steak and roast beef with virtually no wait.

Other great tastes included a white pear gazpacho from 660 at the Angler's hotel, Kobe Club's beef ravioli, Dewey LoSasso's decadent Plugra butter-drenched bread pudding, meatloaf and mashed potatoes from Smith and Jones and fresh fruit salad at the Whole Foods station.

What Price Fame, SBWFF?

Time Out New York's Feed blog pipes in with an insight about how Miami pimps itself out (either passively or proactively) to the annual food fest.
But for a visitor like me, it’s tough to tell how much the event has to do with Miami itself. I am guessing that the connection, much like NYCWFF’s to New York, is incidental. The Food Network/Food & Wine festival is primarily a showcase of its own talents, a traveling chef show that could be transplanted to any city, anywhere. Which is the beauty of it for organizers, should they wish to expand. But that very flexibility also adds to an untethered and somewhat hollow quality after all is said and done. How much better would the overall festival be if the celebrity- and sponsor-driven programming were more supported by events that were connected to the fabric of the hometown food scene? They are called the South Beach and New York Wine & Food Festivals, after all.
The truth is, almost all the restaurants represented at the Tasting Village are local spots so there is a bit of synergy there. Sure, these folks are not celebrated like the chef glitterati from the Food Network. Instead they slog it out in the hot tents, graciously serving food for 5+ hours to increasingly sloshed, sloppy festival goers. And the financial burden of participating must be getting less and less attractive for these restaurants. But they must benefit from it and from the exposure to affluent festival-goers. Otherwise, why would they do it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miami: Still Losing Valet Keys

In town covering the SBWFF, the NYPost discovers that service in Miami sucks. Thanks, Captain Obvious.
One bad surprise that really isn't a surprise: Service in Miami overall still sucks. (It's like these people just can't get it into their heads that this may be the last job they ever have in the local hospitality business.)

Many we spoke to at the festival complained about incompetent staff: concierges who didn't know where their own hotel's signature restaurants were, valet parking attendants who refused to listen to simple instructions, bellmen who brought the wrong luggage to rooms, in-over-their-head chefs who were fired at 10 p.m. during the second night of the festival.

Based on what we've seen on recent trips, Eden Roc, the Mondrian on Biscayne Bay and Canyon Ranch will treat you better than most. Which is to say, stay away from South Beach (as in the beach itself.) One star or five star, there's something about the location that makes everyone exceedingly stupid. You've been warned.
FYI, The Mondrian is technically still South Beach, just a bit off the strip.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cocktails With Sandra Lee @ The Standard

Probably one of the calmest, nicest events of the festival. You can't really go wrong with sunset at the Standard. The hotel's spacious bayfront patio was practically designed for cocktails hours like these. Semi-homemade cooking star and sunny blonde Sandra Lee was in the house, addressing the crowd informally by getting up on a plastic ottoman and apologizing for the lack of music "Apparently it's not aloud here," she said. Must be a Venetian Islands thing. She didn't make reference to the event's puzzling design element - dozens of models decked out in metallic paint perched on plastic cubes, a strange choice for the homemaker-appealing, pink-loving host.
Good thing the cocktails were abundant. Lots of semi-homemade-inspired bites made the rounds like cherry tomatoes stuffed with blue cheese, raspberry chicken skewers, and platters of smoked ribs. The Standard's chef Mark Zeitouni was also on hand to provide some of his Mediterranean bites like flatbread with hummus and feta, cheese-filled phyllo batons and carrot juice with ginger tapioca balls. Best in show was the toasted baguette topped with cream cheese and poached (or canned pears), made with stuff you could probably find in your pantry in time for last-minute guests.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Whole Foods To The Rescue

So Publix bowed out of sponsorship this year and Whole Foods stepped in. And what an improvement it's been. The Whole Foods station was hands-down the nicest place to sit (but they could use more seating), the best-staffed and the most organized food distribution booth at the fair. Yesterday they were offering brie cheese with marcona almonds, fresh fruit salad, spinach and Parmesan scones, tomato tartlets, ubiquitous biscotti and specialty coffees made to order - you want a decaf skim vanilla latte? They got that, and organic ice teas. Loverly.

Alcohol on a Stick

Popsicles are the new cocktails. Or so the marketing wizards hope.
Of all the new-fangled products to be tested out on lush guinea pigs at Trade Day the LIQ frozen daiquiri and margarita pops were a standout. Cool, refreshing, tangy and tart. And with 6% alcohol content, packing quite a buzz.

Trade Day @ The Tasting Village

It was rilly, rilly crowded.
My heart sank as I walked up to the tents at about 1:15 (fifteen minutes after opening) and saw the line for the entrance snaking all the way from the sand dune to Ocean Drive and nearly stretching from 13th to 14th street. When we finally got inside things were a bit more spread out but there was plenty of jostling and involuntary bumping and grinding.
Lot's of Tommy Bahama shirts, too.
As it was trade day the ratio of wine and spirits tables to food tables was about 12:1. This effectively meant that the crowd was sloshed within 3 minutes of entering the tents. The food offerings were snack-like and provided by big corporate sponsors (Sysco, Barilla, Sargento, etc.) and smaller brands hoping to get some exposure. Biscotti seemed to be the culinary trend of the year with 4 booths offering the crispy treats. There was lots of cheese, both literally and figuratively on display, and long lines at the tables where actual food was being offered prompting folks to weigh the likelihood of being trampled while waiting for that one slice of filet mignon from the beef purveyor. Umm, pretty darn likely.
And what's up with no wine glass necklaces this year?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Foodie Blogs Covering SBWFF

Out-of-town bloggers are lending their twitter tweets, blog posts and witty observations right here on location in Miami. Man, they must be lurving life. Writing from the trenches indeed.
* It must be mandatory that any writer from New York, regardless of publication, is obligated to make reference to Miami's ample decolletage.

Modern Luxury Party @ The Raleigh

The setting: The Raleigh's sandy backyard, 10pm. Sobe Food Fest, Thursday night.
The occasion: MIAMI Modern Luxury's Cruzan after-party.
The crowd: Hundreds of food fiends drunk on burgers toting red Vibrant Rioja goodie bags puffing on freebie cigars. How, you may ask, could these folks possibly choke down another bite of food after sampling over 22 types of burgers? Very easily, apparently. They moved slowly (burgers and beer will do that to you) but they managed to crowd the tables nonetheless.
The host: Tyler Florence, sweating over a massive pan of paella but taking the time to pose for photos and talk to guests.

The chefs: Representatives from local restaurants including Joe's Stone Crabs, DeVito's South Beach, da Campo Osteria (no Todd English but plenty of fresh-pulled mozzarella and a fantastic olive oil cake topped with lemon curd). And the dynamic duo from Paradigm, the "bastard stepchildren of the festival" (chef Chad's words, not mine), Chad Galiano and Kurtis Jantz serving up a taste explosion of orecchiette pasta and skate over a gorgonzola cheese square.

Other popular tables included the Raleigh's "Kushi" oysters with cilantro gelee, and cones of boniato fries and clams wrapped in kataifi pastry.

Escopazzo Organic Italian represented with gulf shrimp over gnochetti with brocoletti. It was incredi-belly.

Artoconecto's Fun Raiser

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mouton Rothschild Luncheon @ The Wolfsonian

If you've been keeping up with things here at APD you already know that The Wolfsonian is hosting two gala dinners this weekend in honor of their new exhibit "Mouton Rothschild: Paintings for the Labels" opening this weekend (the first dinner is sold out, but the second dinner, on Sunday, is still available). I was lucky enough to get invited to the press preview today and spent the afternoon kicking off the Dionysian weekend to come with some very classy folk, the classiest of which was the lady of the hour, the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, the current doyenne of the Château, and a rock star of the wine world.

Before lunch we were escorted to the 7th floor gallery where we sipped Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2006 and perused the exhibition which consists of original paintings commissioned to illustrate the labels of vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1945-2006. Madame Rothschild unveiled the 2006 label designed by Lucien Freud that whimsically features a palm tree and a zebra, sort of appropriate for Miami. You can tell the Baroness is a true patron of the arts and loves to unite her wine with their work. I asked her if she gives the artists free reign when designing the labels and she said of course. The only issue they had was when certain designs came back with naked ladies, "In those cases, we ask them to change it, because you know, we can't be selling wine with nude paintings on the labels." The exhibit features work from Kandinsky, Jean Cocteau, Picasso and my personal favorite, Chagall.

Lunch was catererd by Lyon and Lyon, helmed by chef Ken Lyon of Fratelli Lyon and it was an elegant midday meal. First course was roasted cod with thyme-cured tomatoes over a salt cod and potato puree with ratatouille. This was paired with the Chateau's white Aile d'Argent 2004, cool and refreshing, with citrus hints that balanced well with the fish.

Moving on to duck breast dressed with a green peppercorn sauce, frisee salad and a petite toast point with creamy foie gras and sage. This was paired with the Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2001 (label designed by Robert Wilson), a wine that sells for $250-$400 and tasted like a million bucks. Seriously, it was easily one of the most complex wines I've ever tasted, wafting aromas of jammy fruit, pepper and vanilla.

Things took on a downright decadent tone with the next course in which we paired the wine (which was free-flowing) with a selection of cheeses. My tablemates were loving life at this point. "The Baroness is such a wonderful, generous woman!" the exuberant French woman to my right exclaimed. Indeed, one couldn't help but fall in love a bit with the whole thing.

The exhibit will be open through March 8, so you've got some time to check it out. Tickets for Sunday's dinner on February 22nd are still available at 305-535-2631. The $600 ticket price goes entirely to the Wolfsonian and Daniel Boulud is cooking. Yes it's steep but you only live once, right?

Bobby Flay's Oscar Party Menu

Sunday night Bobby Flay and his lovely wife Stephanie March host Oscar Night Sobe Style at the Paris Theater. Tickets are still available and the program consists of a 6:30pm Moet & Chandon reception followed by the Oscars telecast. Here's a sneek peak of the party's menu, composed by the man himself, grill-master Flay:

Lobster-Avocado Cocktail
King Crab-Coconut Cocktail
Shrimp-Tomatillo Cocktail
Spicy Salmon Tartar on Crispy Hominy Cakes with Avocado Relish and Mesa Hot Sauce
Crispy Squash Blossoms filled with Ricotta Cheese and Roasted Corn with Sweet & Hot Yellow Pepper Sauce

Asparagus Chopped Salad
New Mexico Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Sauce
Smoked Chicken with Black Pepper-Vinegar Sauce
Plantain Crusted Red Snapper with Mango Habanero Sauce
Dirty Wild Rice
Corn with Chiles, Crème Fraiche and Cotija
Sauteed Peas, Asparagus, Papaya and Piquillos
Buttermilk Biscuits

A Sultry Night With New World Symphony

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Carnival @ The Florida Room This Friday

Tix Still Available at Sobe Food Fest

Not everything is sold out peoples. Here's a list of what's still up for grabs. Purchase tickets here.

Friday, February 20, 2009-

* Taste Wine Like a Master Sommelier
* Culinary Conversations: The Relationship between Chefs and Scientists hosted by the Biltmore Culinary Academy
* Perrier-Jouet Bubble Q hosted by Tom Colicchio & Friends

Saturday, February 21, 2009-

* Wine Spectator Wine Seminar Series “A”
* South Beach Diet presents Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen
* Beyond Chicken Nuggets: How to Raise a Healthy Eater
* A Stylistic Comparison of Northstar Merlot
* Wine Spectator Wine Seminar Series “B”

Sunday, February 22, 2009-

* Wine Spectator Wine Seminar Series “C”
* South Beach Diet presents Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen
* Sherry and Cheese Pairing hosted by Steve Olson and John Cuevas
* Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village
* Interactive Lunch with Ilan Hall & Hung Huynh with Special Guest Gail Simmons
* Wine and Comfort Food Pairing Seminar hosted by Andrea Robinson and Art Smith
* Sizzle and Swirl: Barbeque and Wine Pairing Seminar hosted by Alpana Singh and Howie Kleinberg
* Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Vertical Tasting
* Vega Sicilia Wine Seminar
* “Pick-Me-Up’s, Eye Openers or A Little Hair of the Dog” hosted by Tony Abou-Ganim
* Oscar Night® America Sobe Style hosted by Bobby Flay and Stephanie March

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Brunch @ Brosia

Brosia is shaping up to be one of my fave places in the city. It opened last year in a flurry of new spots in Design District and almost got lost in the celeb-chef worship that came with Pacific Time and Fratelli yet it's managed to hold its own despite all that. The food is just good enough to warrant repeat visits. On any given night you'll find them hosting community networking events and happy hours and during Art Basel the courtyard is hopping with action.
The focus of today's post is their new Saturday brunch. Perks include live jazz and lots of enviable outdoor seating in that striking courtyard. Bloody Marys are $1 from 11am-12pm so there's incentive to get there early. We didn't make it there until after noon but each diner is greeted with a complimentary shot glass of the drink, a nice touch and one that'll prompt you to order a full glass once you've tasted its tangy tomatoey goodness. You can also nibble on the complimentary corn bread as you peruse the menu, so sweet and moist we asked for seconds.

The menu is typical brunch fare with a few creative flourishes thrown in along with the restaurant's stated Mediterranean mission. None of the dishes top $12 unless you opt for a burger or steak and eggs which are priced a bit higher. The buttermilk pancakes, though a bit crispy on the edges, come with lovely marinated cherries and toasted walnuts - no syrup necessary there. We also tried the Design District omelet, stuffed with spinach, onions, peppers and manchego cheese and came with a side of patatas bravas, hearty and filling as a great post-hangover feast.
It's easy to spend the good half of the day there, so accommodating is the staff and so pleasant is the setting. Saturday brunch is the new Sunday brunch. You heard here first.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ain't No Party Like A Website Party, 'Cuz the Website Party Don't Stop!

The folks at refuse to stop celebrating. At this point I think it's a thinly-veiled attempt to mask their rampant love of cocktails and local paparazzi flashbulbs. But oh, what the heck. Let those crazy online cats have their booze-filled good times. Lord knows the prints mags aren't throwing any big bashes anymore.*
This week's schedule includes an event tonight at Cavas, a party at Blade, free tix to see the Spam Allstars at Mansion and a mind-blowing blowout at LIV at the Fontainebleau.
All you have to do is RSVP and show up. The world asks so little of you, doesn't it?

*Moment of silence for the good 'ole days of Ocean Drive swag-fests.*

Phelps and Duckhorn Wine Dinner @ 1 Bleu

Here's a food and wine event next weekend that you can actually get tickets to. And it sounds lovely.

Chef’s selection of hors d’ oeuvres
Truffle Quail Egg
Lobster Salad canapé with Caviar
George Blanc Potato Fritters with Osetra Caviar
Proscuitto wrapped Dates stuffed with Gorgonzola
Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley CA, 2006

First Course
Shrimp “Saganaki”
Olives, Tomato, Capers, Feta, Roasted Garlic Crostini
Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, CA, 2005

Second Course
Foie Gras Stuffed Quail with La Ratte Potato and Truffle Jus
Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, CA, 2006
Duckhorn Vineyards “Three Palm Vineyards” Merlot, CA, 2005

Third Course
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Brown Butter, Sage, and Aged Parmesan

Main Course
Braised Kobe Beef Short Ribs with root vegetables
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA, 2005
Joseph Phelps “Insignia” Napa Valley, CA, 2005
Paraduxx Napa Valey, CA, 2006

Tasting of Seckel Pear Delight
Joseph Phelps Eisrebe 2007

$125 per person plus tax and gratuity

For reservations, please call 305-455-5460
10295 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, Florida

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Food Fest Gossip

Some insider info on invite-only parties going down next weekend:
Lee Schrager, the SoBe Wine & Food Festival organizer, and American Express are hosting a very exclusive after party on the roof of the Gansevoort after the Emeril Legasse dinner (Saturday night). Top-tier chefs, VIPs and a select few others will be in attendance. Philippe and the Gansevoort will likely be the place to catch a glimpse of these culinary stars.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Prime 112 Anti-Climax

Oh Prime 112, how have you managed to create legions of adoring fans while simultaneously robbing them of such hard-earned cash?
Yesterday I dined for the first time at the popular steakhouse. I know you're probably thinking how is that possible? Well, it's possible when there are so many other worthwhile places in the city to spend your money.
I was unimpressed. Nay, I was disappointed.
Everyone I know who has eaten there literally swoons over the place. Oh! The mac and cheese! Oh! The truffle fries! Oh, the kobe sliders!!!!
I've seen friends have foodgasms just talking about the place.
So yes, there was a lot of hype. As there should be for a place that spawned a steakhouse bonanza in the city and is repeatedly ranked as one of the top-grossing restaurants in the country. We have Prime to thank for such incarnations as Meat Market, Manny's, Prime Blue Grille and all the national steak chains that have set up shop around town.
To be fair, I did not order the steak. It was 2pm, a late lunch, I wasn't about to induce a food coma with a ribeye. But it's sort of hard not to walk out of that place covered in truffle oil and a layer of unneeded carbs. So a heavy meal it was. We ordered the Kobe sliders. 4 mini-burgers for $25. This is an appetizer, mind you. On the lunch menu. The burgers were fine enough. But I've had better.

Next up, an upscale starch fest of white truffle fries $15, and the five-cheese truffle mac, $13. This is a side dish. All the side dishes are $13. In this economy? Someone needs to send owner Myles Chefetz a memo, Re: your absurdly overpriced food.
The truffle mac was a gluttonous affair, adequately rich and cheesy, with a light bread crumb topping, but no foodgasms there. Frankly, I think the mac and cheese at Red Light or Bourbon Steak is better. At Red Light it'll cost you a recession-friendly $4, as it should. It's effing pasta and cheese. At Bourbon it's $12 but at least you're getting duck fat fries for free.
Which brings us to the truffle fries. Absolutely not worth it. For the most part they were soggy, some were undercooked and not well-salted, the bowl emanating that synthetic truffle oil smell. Please.
For $15 these fries are supposed to satisfy all the pleasure points - fatty, salty, crunchy. I can usually polish off a bowl of these and half a cow in one sitting but my dining companions and I lost interest pretty quickly.

The one highlight of the meal? The complimentary cheese bread you get before the meal. It was chock full of cheddar cheese and had a flaky almost scone-like texture. Like a gourmet version of the cheese bread you get at Red Lobster. So yes, I'd go back for the pre-dinner bread. And that's about it.

Chefs for Scher Brunch @ Scarpetta

In addition to the plethora of food events associated with the South Beach Food and Wine Fest there are also plenty of ancillary events that we locals can take advantage of. One such is this "Chefs for Scher" brunch happening on Sunday February 21 at 11:30 am at Scarpetta at the Fontainebleu.
Host chef Scott Conant welcomes highly regarded chefs Charlie Trotter and John Fraser and pastry chef Jean Marie Auboine, into his kitchen, while guest sommelier Jean Luc Le Dû presides over the wine service pouring champagne, white and red wine donated by Henriot Inc., to honor the food industry magnate Steven Scher and raise money for this worthwhile scholarship in his name.
Tickets to this event are $200 ($180 for James Beard members.)
Any donation over $100 is 100% tax-deductible, and tickets are non-refundable.
Purchase tickets here or call The James Beard Foundation at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shopping Event @ Kitchen 305

Tonight's all about V-Day shopping.
See below for info on the “Shop Lover’s Lane” event tonight from 7 pm to 10 pm. Guests can enjoy live music and sip on complimentary Love Potion cocktails while perusing the love-themed, fashion and beauty trunk shows. Keep an eye out for the pink and red merchandise which donates a percentage of sales to the American Heart Association.

Shopping and Cocktails @ TOD'S, Tonight

Tonight from 7pm-9pm.
Everyone who attends receives $100 off anything over $345 for TONIGHT ONLY!
RSVP to or 305.534.0008

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Industry Night @ Brosia

I never understood how these "industry nights" work. I get the concept in theory - people who work in food and liquor business keep long hours and usually need to unwind late at night - but I don't get how it works in practice. Do you need to show a business card? Because most of the bartenders I know don't have business cards. I worked at a bar for a stint, and I never had a business card. So it seems like if you just tag along to one of these parties, there's no way someone's going to call you on your questionable "industry" status. Seems like a win-win.

Except you have to hang out with bartenders.

In any case, I like Brosia and they're launching a weekly Industry Night every Monday. It started yesterday (sorry, should have posted this sooner), here's more info:

From 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., this exciting new program offers patrons, with proper employment identification, 2-for-1 glasses of Brosia’s signature sangria, $3 beer specials, and specialty tapas by executive chef Arthur Artiles.

Brosia is located at 163 NE 39th Street, in the Miami Design District. (305) 572-1400.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Key West Adventure

Spent the weekend in Key West, a chilly weekend at that, but one that was filled with a much-needed break from Miami and anything work-related. We didn't really do much (isn't that the point of the Keys?) except hang out, avoid the drunks on Duval, eat fish sandwiches and admire the sunsets. We stopped in for a leisurely lunch at Pepe's, a Key West institution serving food since 1909. We got there at noon, just as they were transitioning from breakfast to lunch so no pancakes for us (but I spied folks finishing up their breakfasts and it looked good). There were plenty of cruise-ship tourists, so there was about a 35-minute wait on tables. The place is small with maybe 20 seats inside and 25 outside. The wait becomes more festive when you realize they have beer on tap for $1.50 and all their cocktails are made with fresh-squeezed juice, a nice touch.

We tried the fish chowder (excellent) and mahi sandwiches ($10, with $1 extra for blackened, kind of worth it). Almost stayed for a piece of homemade pie but looked up and saw a dozen people salivating for our table so we felt guilty lingering. There's always next time.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Under the Sun Launches

While we're on the topic of stellar content, check out this new blog and radio program called Under the Sun brought to you by WLRN and fellow food blogger Miami Dish. The show premieres this Saturday at noon and looks quite good. I'm a public-radio addict (partly because I love Terry Gross, partly because all the radio stations in Miami are devastatingly bad) so I'll be tuning in for shizzle.

Thursday, February 05, 2009 Turns 1

Aww, happy birthday! It seems like only yesterday we saw this little website-that-could attempt to "break in" to the vast arid terrain that is Miami's online community. Yes, there wasn't much to break into, but that hasn't stopped this bullet train of a site from becoming one of the go-to sources for everything Miami. Thus far it's been quite impressive, churning out fun, useful and consistent content, from event coverage to hidden gems to the latest in the restaurant scene (ahem).
This weekend they're celebrating with 2 events sure to get your goose properly soused and show you a good time. RSVP for Saturday night's soiree at Vagabond here and get two hours of free vodka drinks from 10-midnight, courtesy of V Georgio vodka.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fendi Spring '09 @ Viceroy Brickell

Fendi celebrated the reopening of their Bal Harbour Shops boutique and the advent of Spring with a fashion show in the clouds yesterday.
Why in the clouds? Well, because the setting was Club 50 at the soon-to-open Viceroy Hotel at the Icon Brickell. It's on the 50th floor of the hotel tower and boasts amazing city views, a pool balcony and a lounge designed by Hollywood glamour girl (and Tides South Beach designer) Kelly Wearstler.

Plenty of socialites were in attendance and for a brief moment everyone seemed to forget grumpy economic woes and instead swooned over the lovely romantic frocks on display. A nice touch on the part of the Fendi folks was a checklist of each outfit and pencil on each chair so you could check off which frilly-yet-sexy look you'd be wearing come April. My trend forecast: puffy short-sleeve dresses, lots of eyelet-cutouts on cocktail dresses, a palette of shiny whites, creams and pinks, and sculpted wedge-heels.

Oh, and bikinis. With fur boleros. It's Miami meets Moscow. Very Russian oligarch.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Michael Mina Dinner @ Bourbon Steak

Those of you who loyally read APD (all 4 of you) know how I much I love Bourbon Steak. I look back fondly on the day Michael Mina found his way into my heart via duck fat fries and truffle mac and cheese. I'm just that kind of gal.

Now we humble Miamians will have a chance to feast courtesy of the man himself tomorrow night when Michael Mina hosts an intimate five-course gourmet dinner paired with a rare selection of wines from Hyde de Villaine, based in north San Francisco in Carneros.

According to the press release: As the nationally-acclaimed chef works his magic in the kitchen at BOURBON STEAK, Winemaker Stéphane Vivier, in collaboration with Sommelier Matthew Turner, will educate guests on the unique philosophies and marriage of Californian and French viticulture.

The intimate evening begins with a champagne reception at 7:30 p.m. in the lounge, where popular blues duo Albert Castiglia and Graham Drout will already be on “stage” to showcase the restaurant’s new BOURBON & Blues event. Following the reception, gourmands will be led to a sleek private dining room for an epicure experience like none other. $200 per person, includes tax, gratuity and valet parking. Seating is limited and reservations are required by calling (786) 279-6600.
1st Course
Nantucket Bay Scallops Tempura│ Cauliflower, Passion Fruit, Almonds
De la Guerra, Chardonnay, 2006

2nd Course
Crispy Skin Ocean Trout │ Curry, Fennel, Sea Beans, Concord Grape
2006 Chardonnay
2002 Chardonnay from Magnum

3rd Course
Angus Rib Cap │ Braised Short Rib, Forest Mushrooms,
Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes
2004 Belle Cousine
2001 Napa Valley Red From Magnum

4th Course
Artisanal Cheeses │ La Tur, Pleasant Ridge Reserve,
2005 Syrah
2002 Syrah from 750ml

5th Course
Beignets │ Macallan 18-Year-Old Pot de Crème

Valentine's Day @ Andu

Monday, February 02, 2009

Plum TV and Me

Here's my PlumTV appearance on the show "The Juice" that I taped a little while back. While I enjoyed being a guest on the show, I can't help but cringe when the sunglasses-bedecked host refers to me as "Sara Lee, queen of the bloggers." Hmm.
Nobody does it like...

Winter Spice @ 1 Bleu