Saturday, May 30, 2009

$3 Valet in the Design District

I've never had a problem parking in the DD, but $3 valet is sweet, nonetheless. And depending on how long you plan to be there, it can be cheaper than the meter.

As of Monday, June 1, $3.00 valet from 11a.m.-11 p.m., will be available in the Miami Design District at the five top restaurants: Michael’s Genuine, Sra. Martinez, Fratelli Lyon, Pacific Time & Brosia.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BLT Steak Miami @ The Betsy Hotel

American steakhouses are genereally stuffy, overly-masculine affairs. Interiors permeated by the smell of well-worn leather commingled with cigar smoke, filled with dark wood and waiters in black jackets. There's drama to it, and a certain old-school charm evocative of men doing what men do best: drinking vodka martinis and eating copious amounts of cow. 
But things have changed in the steakhouse world and BLT is an example of that. The dining room is light and airy, with blond wood tables, lots of potted plants and soft lighting provided by beige barrel shades. It all melds with the luxe-Caribbean vibe of The Betsy. Besides the massive chalkboard "mural" that lines one wall outlining definitions of different cuts of meat - everything from Wagyu to USDA -  there's really no indicator that you're in a steak restaurant. And that's refreshing. 
The lightness translates to the food as well. It helps that the chef - Laurent Tourondel - is French and is known for his flair for fish.  This BLT Steak is one of a dozen "BLT's" scattered across the country (the chef has an enviable restaurant empire to his name) and while it's definitely somewhat of a cookie-cutter menu, there's plenty to differentiate this spot from the plethora of steakhouses that have opened in the past year.

First off, the freebies are great and on par with the free duck fat fries you get to munch on while perusing the menu at Bourbon Steak. At BLT you're greeted with a small mason jar of silky chicken liver pate and slices of toasted baguette. It's a rustic and warm way to start the meal. Next you're presented with airy popovers and their recipe (lots of Gruyere cheese in there). Lastly, a plate of charcuterie may also grace your table and at this point you should be ready to order or you may as well down a glass of wine and call it a meal. 
Highlights include the tuna tartar (above), nestled on a bed of ice and nicely seasoned with a soy lime dressing. The Wagyu flat iron is served in a hot cast iron pan which makes it difficult to cut but also helps the meat keep warm. The best side dish was a heaping bowl hen of the woods mushrooms, chewy and flavorful with slight hints of garlic and rosemary. The tower of onion rings was disappointing, with flavorless batter that packed no crunch (too bad, too as I was really looking forward to those). The gnocchi were fuffy and enlivened by lots of grated parmesean but no real revealations there. 

For dessert you could go for the carrot cake with ginger ice cream or the peanut butter chocolate mousse, both are elegant takes on American classics. Or you could opt for a cheese plate of which there are some amazing selections from American cheese makers like Cowgirl Creamery in Nothern Cali and Sweet Grass Dairy in Georgia. 

Weekly Wine Tasting @ Angelo & Maxie's

This second-generation estate at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only three residences he designed for his friends.
Savor the history of the Barboursville wines for only $15 per person.
Includes artisanal cheeses and appetizers.
Post-tasting dinner menu available for $30.

Friday, May 29th, 7pm - 9:30pm
Angelo and Maxie's Steakhouse
3000 Florida Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL

Monday, May 25, 2009

Have Spatula, Will Twitter

A few local chef have twitter feeds like Area 31's John Critchley (catch fun tidbits like the recipe for fennel vinaigrette) and Chad Galiano of Neomi's at the Trump who already authors the excellent Chadzilla food blog. 
Ah, social networking. Is anyone immune?

More 8 oz. Burger Bar To Love

The restaurant business is notoriously fickle, but this is one quick turn around - the space that was the short-lived cheeky sushi spot Zushi Flirt is now a second outpost of 8 oz. Burger Bar. We dined at Table 8 last night (more on that later) and noticed that the bar in the breezeway between the dining room and the lobby now has the menus for 8 oz. at each place setting. So the sushi is out and the popular burgers are in. No beers on tap though, so you'll still have to venture to the Alton Road locale if you want that. Otherwise, the same menu is available at both spots. And from the looks of the empty lounge last night, much less of a wait for your humanely-raised burger. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Chat with Hernan Bas

Miami art darling Hernan Bas is in New York with a show at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery and a retrospective at the Brooklyn Musuem. He talks to Blackbook mag about the retardedness of Basel and his favorite Miami bar, "Kiss 14." I'm thinking he meant PS 14 and the interviewer got it wrong. Unless there's a Kiss 14 out there and it's so under the radar even Google hasn't heard of it.
What are your favorite places in Miami?
I like to go to Pop Life and there’s a bar where artists hang called Kiss 14 near downtown. It’s as close to a dive bar you can get on the mainland, and not have to pay $30 a drink.
What’s the vibe like there?
It’s a lot of off-the-wall local bands, like Schematic records and all these kids who play bongos and weird ass shit. It’s a local old haunt. On the beach, the Deuce Bar is the classic dive bar. In the last couple of years at Basel, it gets flooded, and I can’t go because it’s the hipster capital of the world. Because of that, we go to the Deuce and Kate Moss is across the bar.
What was Basel like for you this year?
It was pretty laid back. Everyone was so freaked out about how the economy was going to destroy the world, and the art world in particular, and everyone was on their best behavior in a weird way. As much as you can never be ostentatious in Miami, people were trying not to be. The over-over-over-the-top parties were just over-the-top. That was the big difference this year. It’s always weird for me, because I’ve become the unofficial dignitary of the town. Basel turns into a lot of interviews and all my friends thinking I can get them every drug in the planet. I’m always like, “I’m not a drug dealer, by the way.” I may want to skip Basel this year and go skiing, even though I’ve never been skiing in my life.
How does being in Miami affect your work?
I think Miami helps me because I don’t find it distracting at all. Economically, it makes more sense. The studio I have in Miami is 4,000 square feet, it’s massive and what I pay in rent would get me a closet in New York. I like looking out the window and seeing pelicans. There’s something magical about that. The façade of the building next to my studio is built like a castle, with pyres and everything. So I look out my window and there’s a castle and a sunset. I’m like, “Where the fuck am I?” It’s also not the best neighborhood in the world so it’s like: pelican, castle, crack-head. Miami is weird because you can walk 10 blocks and be in the heroin pit—like the Lower East Side, circa 1980. Then you go five blocks the other way and you’re staying at the Fontainebleau.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beer Dinner @ Waxy O'Connors

This dinner priced at $45.00 per person will feature Celebrity Chef Arthur Artilles, Executive Chef of Brosia Restaurant. Happening tonight, Tuesday May 19.
Here's the Menu:

Piri Piri Chicken Wings

confit wings, piri piri sauce, cucumber yogurt dipping sauce

Shipyard Export, Handcrafted Ale, Shipyard Brewing Co.

Curry PEI Mussels

coconut curry sauce, grape tomatoes, grilled baguette

Harpoon, I.P.A., Harpoon Brewery


“Rock” Crab Cake

heirloom tomato, harissa aioli, avocado, micro cilantro salad

Harpoon U.F.O., Hefeweizen, Harpoon Brewery

Guava BBQ Kurobuta Pork Belly

saffron valencia rice, fresh water prawns, spanish chorizo

Anchor Steam Beer, Anchor Brewing

Seats are limited (45 per dinner). Reservations are required and can be made by emailing Richard Carmichael at Waxy O’Conner’s South Beach is located at 1248 Washington Avenue.

Go Green Tuesdays @ Level 25

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cut & Chow @ Van Michael Aveda Salon

Talk abot multi-tasking! Van Michale salon has partnered with Lincoln Road’s Maya Tapas & Grill to launch a customized salon menu delivered fresh to one’s chair.

Guests can choose from a Scottish Smoked Salmon Sandwich ($12.95) with red onions, capers and brie cheese; Spicy Beef Salad ($12.95) featuring mixed greens, skirt steak, tomatoes, onion, avocado and plantain crisps or Ceviche of the Day ($8.95). A variety of healthy options including Hummus ($6.95), Avocado Salad ($9.95) and Gazpacho Andaluz ($5.95) are also available. 

The sandwiches sound great but you might have to consume that gazpacho with a straw if you're getting a cut.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

RACKS Italian Bistro

RACKS Italian Bistro opened in North Miami last week.
The pros:
- Great waterfront patio seating in an otherwise ho-hum strip mall (Old Navy and Winn-Dixie are neighbors).
- Being able to grab a pizza and a beer at a cool-ish place before a movie at the Sunrise Intracoastal Theater (better than schlepping through the madness that is Aventura's Regal cinemas).
- Good coal-fired pizza like the eggplant ($14) below, made with a super-smoky mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce.
- There's a small market in front where you can buy Italian products.

- It's in a strip mall.
- The burrata could have been better.
- The gnocchi in San Marzano sauce was too heavy.
- Has an Italian Houston's vibe (which probably means it'll be a hit).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Symphony Season Finale, May 9

For its last concert of the season, the New World Symphony pulls out the big guns: namely, a seven-piece funk, rhythm and blues band, unlimited Chopin vodka cocktails and plenty of comely music lovers to remind you why it's great to support the arts.

When: Saturday, May 9, 9:00 PM
Where: 900 Biscayne Bay
900 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 530-0200 Cost: $50.00

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sean Brasel + Ingrid Hoffman @ Meat Market

Passed Bar Cocktails
(Ingrid Hoffmann)
Guava Jalapeno Margaritas ● Guanabana Mojitos
Passed Hors d’ oeuvres
Tangy Tomatillo Shrimp ● Lamb Chops with Cilantro
(Ingrid Hoffmann)
Tuna Tar-tar ●House Smoked Salmon on Achiote Crostini
(Sean Brasel)
(Sean Brasel & Ingrid Hoffmann)
Ceviche Flights with Canchita
Scallop & Coconut, Salmon with Mango, & Mahi-Mahi with Aji Amarillo
(Ingrid Hoffmann)
Mango, Jicama & Radishes with Peanut Dressing
First Entrée
(Sean Brasel & Ingrid Hoffmann)
Wood Grilled Florida Mahi-Mahi
Guava Barbecue Glaze, Mango & Veggie Salsa
Second Entrée
(Sean Brasel & Ingrid Hoffmann)
Kobe Skirt Steak
Trio of Sauces
Pineapple Aioli, Chimmichurri, Tomato
(Ingrid Hoffmann)
Spicy Broccoli ● Peruvian Potatoes a la Huancaina

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mother's Day @ Canyon Ranch

Give Mom a glimpse of the wellness philosophy that the Canyon Ranch lifestyle is rooted in with an ocean-side brunch at Canyon Ranch Grill followed by a complimentary Express Manicure at Canyon Ranch Salon all for $39. The brunch features a selection of organic choices including chilled avocado soup with shrimp and grapefruit salsa, Mongolian marinated bison tenderloin with shittake mushrooms and dessert items. Included in this package is a Canyon Ranch Cook Booklet, 10% discount on salon services until June 30th, 10% off Living Essentials, $5 off Chef Scott’s “Nourish” cookbook and Rose product samples. For reservations call 305.514.7474.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

La Cofradia Goes Casual

After a quick makeover La Cofradia in the Gables will debut their more casual look (no white tablecloths) and a Ceviche Bar with a happy hour on Thursday, May 7. The new Ceviche Bar Happy Hour will take place Thursday and Friday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m, featuring wine, beer and cocktails, (like a pisco sour) as well as ceviches, all priced at $5.00 to $7.00. The restaurant is also introducing a daily $14 lunch special and has reduced dinner prices so that entrees are now $17-$26 (a good $5-$10 less than they used to be).

Emena Spa Grand Opening, May 7

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cinco De Mayo @ The Catalina

Zuma Coming to Miami

Just in case Hakkasan's pricey Asian eats aren't enough to satisfy, another UK restaurant is opening shop in Miami. According the press release, Zuma, a London-based Japanese restaurant is opening at the Epic hotel in Fall 2009. Here's more info:
ZUMA, the brainchild of German chef Rainer Becker, offers a sophisticated cuisine philosophy inspired by the informal Japanese dining style called Izakaya. Becker developed the ZUMA concept of authentic, but not traditional Japanese cuisine, after returning to London from six successful years working in Tokyo, learning the intricacies of both Japanese food and culture.
What caught my eye is that the restaurant will be designed by Tokyo based Noriyoshi Muramatsu who used to belong to the design group Super Potato, responsible for some incredible interiors (imagine if Michel Gondry had gone into interior design instead of film). So yes, it's another celeb-chef cookie-cutter outpost (are we in Dubai? Istanbul? Does it matter?), but maybe this designer will make it not so cookie-cutter-like. And I'm thinking that Fall '09 opening date sounds mighty optimistic...