Showing posts with label just passing it along. Show all posts
Showing posts with label just passing it along. Show all posts

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Food For Good

Given the latest spate of disasters and losses, it's been hard to summon the passion to write about my favorite last meal. But if you're looking for a way to feed your appetite and do some good, here are a few suggestions:

Chefs For the Keys | Friday October 6 @ Riviera Beach Marina Village

A lineup of more than two dozen Palm Beach chefs will be participating in this event, with all of the proceeds of the $125 per person admission going to benefit Florida Keys food and beverage hospitality industry workers who have been out of work as a result of Hurricane Irma (use the link above to get tickets).

Recipes for Change | Saturday October 14 @ Casa Florida

Next weekend, chef Santiago Gomez will host an international brigade of chefs at Casa Florida in the Roam Miami (a/k/a the Miami River Inn), including Carlos Garcia of Venezuela's Alto, and also opening Obra Kitchen in Miami; Sebastian La Rocca from El Mangroove in Costa Rica; Mirciny Moliviatis of Guatemala; Xavier Torres of Miami's Drunken Dragon, and Renzo Garibaldi of Peru's Osso Carniceria. $25 will get you 6 bites, $50 for unlimited bites and a drink, with 100% of the moneys collected going to the families of local farmers affected by Hurricane Irma (use the link to get tickets).

Or, you can make a contribution to World Central Kitchen, an organization spearheaded by Chef José Andrés, which was on the ground in Puerto Rico two days after Hurricane Maria, and has already delivered over 100,000 meals and plans to deliver another 20,000 meals a day for the next several weeks. You can read more about what they're doing here. It's absolutely remarkable and vital work. Maybe consider matching what you'll spend on a dinner this weekend with a contribution to help feed those in need.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cochon 555 Miami - Sunday March 26

I'm not a regular on the food fest circuit, but there are a few events I always eagerly anticipate. One of my favorites is coming to town this Sunday, March 26 at the Ritz Carlton South Beach: Cochon 555. Started back in 2008, Cochon turns a spotlight on heritage pork producers with a simple formula: five pigs, five chefs, five winemakers – do something great with them. The chef who is crowned Prince or Princess of Porc goes on to the Grand Cochon, which pits the winners from ten cities against each other, with own becoming the Queen or King of Porc.

Cochon first landed in Miami in 2012 (you can see my pictures here), and the event has gotten more elaborate ever since (more pictures from Cochon Miami 2014 and Cochon Miami 2016, if you'd like to see). Now, in addition to featuring five South Florida chefs working with five heritage breed pigs, you'll find craft cocktails – including a rum cart, a margarita bar, a smoked old fashioned bar – charcuterie bars, farmstead cheesemongers, a pop-up ramen bar, a tomahawk ribeye bar (!), and more.

This year's competitors include Rick Mace and Clarke Bowen of DB Bistro, Tito Vargas of The Bazaar, Paula DaSilva of Artisan Beach House, Jeremiah Bullfrog and a contingent of the P.I.G. (Pork Is Good) crew, and John Gallo and Rene Reyes of Pinch Kitchen, plus lots of contributions from Cochon Miami alumni and several others.

You can see the full lineup here at the Cochon 555 Heritage BBQ Miami site.

There's a link on that page to buy tickets, or go straight here to get them at Eventbrite. General Admission is $125 per person, or $200 for the VIP pass which guess you early entrance before the madding crowd. And, stay tuned for updates on the twitter @frodnesor and the instagram @frodnesor – I may have a couple tickets to give away.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

sitting shiva and eating P.I.G.

Ugh. This is going to be one of those personal posts.

Even worse: it's going to be a political one.

And just to make it really atrocious: it's going to have a food-related tie-in at the end.

Sorry. But you've been warned.

I know there's nothing unique about my grief, but sometimes it feels a bit better to share it, so here goes.

Publicly, anyway, I've generally kept my political beliefs to myself. If someone wants to talk politics I'm glad to do so, but I've never been one to put bumper stickers on my car or signs in my lawn or spend my spare time telling other people how they ought to vote. And I've treated my online presence the same way. That's not because I'm one of those "stay in your lane" types who thinks that if you're generally known for something else (i.e., food), you're somehow obligated to shut up about politics. To the contrary, I have nothing but admiration for very prominent people with business interests potentially at stake – folks like Tom Colicchio and José Andrés and many others – who risk alienating a substantial portion of the population by speaking and acting on their beliefs. Just not my style.

Perhaps I've missed an opportunity to share my own political beliefs with the phalanxes of porn-bots and twitter eggs among my followers, but curiously, based on my twitter feed, it would largely seen like preaching to the choir, anyway. There's been lots of talk after this election of how we all live in "bubbles" that insulate us from contrary opinions, and I see what that means. Of the 624 people I follow on twitter, there are only a handful who I've chosen to follow for their political commentary; I'm here for the food (and the laughs, and the snarky comments). And yet, for this entire election cycle, my feed has read mostly like a political echo chamber, at least until the past couple days, when everyone seems to have a different opinion as to what went wrong and who's to blame.

But privately I've been worried about this election for months, and now I'm in mourning. That's an awfully strong word, but that's what it feels like right now. I think of a daughter who has to grow up in a country where misogyny and sexual assault are not only trivialized but effectively endorsed. I think of a son of draftable age with a hot-headed megalomaniac responsible for our foreign policy. I think of friends and loved ones who already feel in danger just because of how they look, or where they come from, or what they believe, or who they love, and who have seen the hate directed towards them normalized and ratified. I think of struggling working class voters who have been conned by a snake-oil salesman into thinking that he cares about fixing their problems, much less is capable of doing it. I think of the next four years, and I mourn.

But when my people mourn, what do we do? We sit shiva: we gather with family and friends, and of course, we eat. And that's what I intend to do this weekend. I'll be doing so Saturday afternoon at P.I.G. – my favorite local food event of the year, with some of my favorite people.

This year's celebration of porcinity organized by Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog includes locals Gabriel Ask (Faena), Aaron Brooks (Edge), Will Crandall (Izzy's), Babe Froman (Babe Froman Fine Sausages), Jimmy Lebron (27 Restaurant), Brian Mullins (Ms. Cheezious), Niven Patel (Ghee), Michael Pirolo (Macchialina), Patrick Rebholz (50 Eggs), Steve Santana (Taquiza), Dale Talde (Talde), Phuket "Cake" Thongsodchaveondee (Cake Thai Kitchen), Nicole Voltano (Dirt); visiting dignitaries Craig Deihl (Cypress in Charleston), Kyle Foster (Julep in Denver), Joe Sparatta and Lee Gregory (Southbound in Richmond, VA), plus sweets by Josh Gripper (The Dutch), Giselle Pinto (Sugar Yummy Mama), and Malcolm Prude (Proof); and libations orchestrated by Jenn Massolo of The Liquid Projects including cocktails from The Anderson, a gin bar from Rutte Distillery, and more.

I know that this seems like either a ridiculous way to make a political rant somehow food-related, or maybe conversely just a cynical way to make a food post topical, but seriously: this is how I'm trying to feel better. I just want to stuff my face and spend time with people I care about.

If you want to join in, there are still tickets left: get some at PIG Pork Is Good. $50 to eat and drink, and maybe feed your grief. Eating pork is not usually part of the shiva ritual, but we each observe in our own way.

Here are pictures from last year's event:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Aubergine @ Alter - May 24, 2016

I have not yet written about my dinner at Chef Justin Cogley's Aubergine in Carmel, California a few months ago, but it has stood out as one of the best meals I've had all year (see all the pics here). I've also only sparingly mentioned the series of collaboration dinners that local Chef Bradley Kilgore has been doing at his restaurant Alter in Wynwood. They've hosted two, and both times they've ended up in the "best thing i ate last week" report, and have been among the best meals I've had in Miami this year.

So you can probably guess that I was pretty excited to learn that the next Alter collaborative dinner will put chefs Cogley and Kilgore together at Alter. It's next Tuesday, May 24, and will feature an 8-course dinner created by the chefs in collaboration for $180 per person. I have it on good authority that Chef Cogley will be bringing with him a couple of the best things I ate at his restaurant a few months ago: some Monterey Bay abalone, sourced from waters within a couple miles of the restaurant; and the fantastic A5 wagyu beef that he sources from Japan. Aubergine pastry chef Ron Mendoza is coming too, and his desserts at Aubergine were also among the best I've had all year.

TL;DR - this event is highly recommended, and spots are still available.

Get your seats here.

Also – don't sleep on Duck Duck Goose, the avian version of Chef Jeremiah's great P.I.G. party, coming up on June 4. More info here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

calendar highlights: Taco & Tequila Showdown 11.8.15; P.I.G 11.15.15

You may already know that in addition to the infrequent restaurant reviews, Food For Thought also features "The Calendar" – a list of upcoming dining events that may be of interest to food-minded people. Here are a couple highlights coming up soon on the calendar:

Taco & Tequila Showdown at the Vagabond on Monday November 8 (6pm-9pm). Presented by MIAbites and The Liquid Projects, the event will pair 12 chefs creating signature tacos with 12 bartenders creating signature tequila cocktails. If you don't get into the Cobaya dinner that night, this might be a good Plan B: about half the chef participants are Cobaya alumni. Tickets ($65) available at Eventbrite.

P.I.G. 6 in Wynwood on Sunday, November 15 (3pm-7pm). This shindig in celebration of the pig, orchestrated by Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog of the gastroPod, is always one of my favorites every year. Participants this year include Kyle Foster of Denver's Colt & Gray (and before that, my beloved Talula), Craig Deihl of Charleston's Cypress, plus locals Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House, Steve Santana of Taquiza, Todd Erickson of Haven and HuaHua's, Roel Alcudia (formerly Cypress Room), Brian Mullins of Ms. Cheezious, Aaron Brooks of Edge, Brad Kilgore of Alter, James Strine of Café Boulud, and Mike Pirolo of Macchialina and Bazi. Tickets ($50) available through Tock.

By the way: these types of events always get put on the FFT calendar but are usually not the subject of a post – I've tried to use blog posts only for actual content. But if you, dear reader, find these type of posts useful (or conversely, annoying), please speak up. Thanks.

Monday, October 5, 2015

gastroDobo - 10.10.15 with Chefs Roel Alcudia and Jeremiah Bullfrog

In lieu of the "Best Thing I Ate Last Week" – because I didn't really eat anything all that great last week – let me take a moment to pitch something I look forward to eating. Chef Roel Alcudia, until very recently chef de cuisine at The Cypress Room, is teaming up with Jeremiah Bullfrog of the gastroPod, to do a pop-up dinner in Wynwood on Saturday October 10. Roel will be getting back to his roots with some Filipino style dishes – a preview menu hits on lots of classics: balut, lumpia, kinilaw, chicken adobo and more (hey guys, where's the sisig?).

Service will be a la carte style and you can ensure your spot by booking here (your $25 deposit will go towards your tab).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Big Things at Little River CSA

For the past few years I've subscribed to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable share through Little River Market Garden, and periodically (OK, sporadically) posted about it here. Muriel Olivares operates a flourishing, but small, "urban farm" from a couple lots in residential neighborhoods in North Miami which produce several dozen varieties of vegetables and fruits. Though it's self-evident from the primary subject matter of this blog that I enjoy dining out, I always get excited when our Fall-Spring South Florida growing season kicks in, and the weekly pickup from farmer Muriel inspires a bit more home cooking.

For this upcoming season there are several new developments of note. First off, there's a new name: Little River Cooperative, as Muriel has partnered with former intern Tiffany Noe to run the farm, CSA and nursery. It's even got a sharp looking new website. The partnership will enable them to add more growing space, which is also going to mean more CSA shares will be available.

Speaking of which, there will now be an option to choose a large share or small share ($640/$500 for 20 weeks of vegetables), and in addition to the regular Saturday pick up location at the Upper East Side Farmers Market at Legion Park (Biscayne & 64th Street), there will also be a new Thursday afternoon pick up location further south at the Grove Green Market in Coconut Grove.

I've talked before about the kinds of things that elevate a food community. There may be none more important than farmers like Muriel and Tiffany who supply fresh local stuff, produced in a natural, sustainable fashion. Though the season doesn't start for a few more months, now is the time to sign up. To do so, or for some more information, go to the Little River Cooperative website.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Help Kickstart Zak the Baker's Wynwood Bakery and Café

There are few things as elemental as bread. And yet there are few things as hard to find in Miami as a great loaf of bread. For me, that changed when I discovered Zak the Baker. For the past couple years, Zak the Baker (a/k/a Zak Stern) has been making beautifully simple natural leaven country bread. I got turned on to Zak's bread via Chef Michelle Bernstein, who has been serving it at her restaurant, Michy's. I rejoiced when my CSA farmer, Muriel Olivares of Little River Market Garden, started selling it on Saturdays at the Upper Eastside Farmers Market at Legion Park on Biscayne Boulevard. His bread is almost intensely crusty, its interior crumb is pocked with big airy holes, its flavor is hearty and rich. His bread has character, maybe even - dare I say it - soul.

(You can read more about Zak and his backstory in this feature in Edible South Florida, or this profile in Miami New Times).

For me, these are the kinds of things that elevate a food community: the folks who dedicate themselves to a particular craft, who focus on making one thing as best as they possibly can. Miami has plenty of glitzy restaurants with multi-million dollar investments behind them. It is still very much a work in progress when it comes to the network of farmers, bakers, butchers and fishmongers who can supply both restaurants and individuals with great products.

Sometimes, your community is what you make it. Here is one of those opportunities.

After spending a couple years gradually building up his business, working out of a variety of makeshift facilities, usually from early evening until late the next morning, Zak is making a big leap: he will be opening a bakery, retail outlet and café in Wynwood. And he's using Kickstarter to raise some of the capital needed to open the place. I said it a few weeks ago when I made my pledge:

With a week to go, Zak is more than 75% of the way to the additional $30,000 he is hoping to fund through Kickstarter. I don't normally use this platform for these kinds of purposes, but I'm doing so now: please help.

For a little insight, I dropped by the space yesterday to talk to Zak about what he envisions. Unfortunately, I didn't record our conversation or take notes, so this is more in the nature of loose impressions than an interview, but here is what I learned:

(continued ...)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tapas - Spanish Design for Food @ The Moore Building

According to Penelope Casas' excellent book "Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain," the original tapa was a slice of cured ham or chorizo, served compliments of the house, and - according to some - placed over the top of the customer's wineglass to keep flies out of the sherry. In other words, it was a simple, effective, and delicious confluence of food and design.

The exhibition "Tapas - Spanish Design for Food," currently on display at the Moore Building in the Design District, explores and celebrates that confluence, using Spanish tapas as the springboard. Organized by Acción Cultural Española, and curated by Spanish architect Juli Capella, it's a fascinating glimpse into the circular relationship of cuisine, art, design and culture.

The displays are divided into sections - "The Kitchen," "The Table," and "The Food" - with a well-selected compilation of objects created for each. They range from the utterly pragmatic - a set of cookware designed by José Andrés - to the entirely whimsical - a cutting board with a chute for bread crumbs connected to an outdoor bird feeder. Here are just a few of the fun things I saw at a media preview yesterday:

(You can see all my pictures in this Tapas - Spanish Design for Food flickr set).

"Jamón de la Crisis" - designed by Julí Capella, produced by Vinçon - one of the most famous of Spain's culinary icons, but in consideration of the recent economic collapse, rendered in recyclable plastic and "filled with pure, Spanish mountain air." "Cured in 2008, on sale in 2013."

(continued ...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cobayas for a Cause - 11/18/12

Local Miami Chefs to Join Andrew Carmellini for Dinner & Silent Auction November 18, 2012


Miami is no stranger to hurricanes, and when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast last week, thousands of businesses and residents were left struggling for survival. In an effort to provide relief for the victims of ‘Sandy,’ chef Andrew Carmellini and his team at The Dutch at W South Beach Hotel & Residences have teamed up with Cobaya – Gourmet Guinea Pigs, the organizers of Miami’s premier underground dining events, to gather renowned Miami chefs and businesses to join them in a five-course dinner and silent auction taking place Sunday, November 18, 2012.

“We got rocked up in New York, some much worse than others. Many people like myself have roots in both the tri-state and South Florida, so I knew I could count on the culinary talent of Miami for help. Cobaya has been instrumental in this rally,” says Carmellini.

Priced at $250 per person all-inclusive, the special evening will bring together some of our region’s most notable chefs including Antonio Bachour (J&G Grill), Michelle Bernstein (Michy’s), Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak), Jeremiah Bullfrog (gastroPod and the upcoming Freehand), Richard Gras (J&G Grill), Brad Kilgore (Exit 1) and Andrew Zimmern’s AZ Canteen joined by The Dutch’s stellar culinary team, chef de cuisine Conor Hanlon, pastry chef Josh Gripper and head bartender Rob Ferrara. Guests can expect signature dishes and chef favorites for each course, expertly paired with wine and cocktails, and Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink will be on hand to pour his Michael's Genuine Home Brew and help out in the kitchen. The evening starts at 7:00 p.m. with cocktails by BarLab and canapés in the lush Grove at W South Beach followed by dinner on The Terrace at The Dutch.

All of the participating chefs are Cobaya alumni in one way or another, and we are thrilled by the incredibly generous and unhesitating response by local chefs to the call for help. We hope that our group of guinea pigs responds in the same fashion. We have a block of tickets that we are taking requests for and will conduct a lottery this Friday November 9, 2012 to fill available spots. Though this is pricier than our usual Cobaya events, it is a stellar lineup and a worthwhile cause, and we hope you feel the same.

We also encourage you to come ready to bid on some fantastic items for the silent auction, which will feature an array of items from hotel stays and spa days to autographed cookbooks and dinner certificates. Cobaya also will be contributing four guaranteed seats for a future Cobaya dinner to the auction.

ALL PROCEEDS from the dinner and silent auction will go directly to NYC Food Flood, a fund started in concert by Carmellini and fellow New York chefs, Marco Canora, Seamus Mullen and George Mendes, joining efforts to generate funds directed to relief efforts in their own backyard. You can follow NYC Food Flood on twitter @NYCFoodFlood.

To request seats, please email your request to and specify how many spots you would like. We will be conducting a lottery to fill the available spots on Friday November 9, 2012. You will then need to book your seats via PayPal by Monday November 12 (a link will be made available on the Cobaya website). So please respond quickly if you're interested.

Please help Cobaya support this worthy cause.

The Dutch is located inside W South Beach Hotel & Residences, 2201 Collins Avenue, in Miami Beach, Florida, 33139.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The FFT Calendar

If you're not on the twitter and don't inspect this site pretty carefully, you may have missed the latest addition to FFT:  the Food For Thought Calendar, a running list of upcoming food and dining events in and around Miami. This calendar will likely fall somewhere between the "carefully curated" and the "neighborhood bulletin board" kinds of lists: I don't intend to include every 50-cent discount day at the frozen yogurt shop, but I'll probably include more events than I might strictly intend to go to myself, even with an unlimited budget and caloric intake capacity.

Unless it's particularly exciting, I will likely not be doing separate posts every time a new event is added, even though that makes for great blog filler. Instead, consider this your invitation to periodically visit here, click the "Calendar" link underneath the banner, and see if there's anything you might find interesting. And if you think there's something I've omitted that ought to be included, please email me the info here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I don't care if Monday's blue ...

Miami is not exactly at its most charming in the summmer: the constant 90°+ heat and sweltering humidity can wear just about anyone down. But for those of us who stick it out year round here, there are at least a few good things about summer. There's mango season, for one. And there are the dining specials, designed to bring the locals out from their air-conditioned caves until the tourists come back in the fall.

We're still a month away from Miami Spice season, but there are already enough restaurant specials to fill out nearly the full week of dining. Consider:

Monday - It's not quite every week, but Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill has been using Monday nights to host a "Dinner with Friends" series of guest chef events. Chef Timon Balloo has already teamed up with Jamie DeRosa (Tudor House), Paula DaSilva (1500°), Lee Schrager (SoBeWFF), David Bracha (River Oyster Bar), Dean Max (3030 Ocean), and Dena Marino (MC Kitchen). Coming up next: Cesar Zapata (The Federal) on Monday July 23, and Clay Conley (Buccan) on Monday August 27. Reservations open up on the 10th of each month, priced at $110 including beverage pairings. For more info, email Sugarcane.

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
3252 N.E. 1st Ave., Miami

Tuesday - Every Tuesday through the summer, it's "Bourbon, Beer and Q" night at The Dutch. Each week they will be featuring a different genre of BBQ, with a spread of several mains and sides for a fixed price of $30 (excl. tax, tip and beverages), plus $3 PBR tallboys and $22 pitchers of cocktails. This coming Tuesday, July 3, is Memphis-style, with dry-rubbed baby-back ribs, whole roasted and smoked BBQ turkey breast, and BBQ spaghetti with pork shoulder,[1] plus fried pickles, corn on the cob, and brown sugar sweet potatoes. Every week will bring a different style, with St. Louis, Carolinas, and Korean in the pipeline.

The Dutch
2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

(continued ...)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Gavage: it's not just for ducks. We will get back to the usual business of writing about actual dining experiences shortly, but in the meantime there is a fantastic, if slightly daunting, list of culinary events in Miami over the next couple weeks that may result in engorged livers:

Monday March 26 - Cobaya Experiment #23 - already sold out, but waitlist requests still being taken.

Tuesday March 27 - Michael Mina wine dinner at Bourbon Steak. Chef Mina himself is in town, the wines are from Fairchild Estate (Paul Hobbs is the consulting winemaker), and a four-course menu, inclusive of wine, tax and tip, is $200/pp. For reservations call 786-279-6600 or email

Thursday March 29 - Support two great organizations at once - Common Threads and LegalArt - by going to Pairings, an event to benefit both organizations, with food from Chow Down Grill, the gastroPod, and Mad Max Jack's and artworks on display from several of LegalArt's resident artists. 7pm-10pm, tickets are $25 in advance, $40 at the door, more details here.

Friday March 30 - Harding Dinner Series with Chef Jeremiah at Chow Down Grill / Josh's Deli Surfside kicks off. I've already mentioned this here before, but it's worth mentioning again. The pop-up is running through April 5, and the best opportunities to get a spot may be during the weekday seatings April 3-5. Seats are $79/pp all inclusive. More info, including the number to call for reservations, here.

But wait, there more!

(continued ...)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Harding Dinner Series Pop-Up at Chow Down Grill Surfside


Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog

A couple weeks ago when I wrote about Eating House, I noted that:
There are some genuinely interesting and exciting things going on in Miami's dining scene right now.
The momentum continues. News recently came out that the original Chow Down Grill location in Surfside - since supplemented with a second location in South Beach - is being converted into a Jewish-style deli during the day, and a pop-up dinner venue in the evenings. The first guest chef to take over the site will be Jeremiah Bullfrog, who, aside from running the gastroPod truck, has also been responsible for a couple of our Cobaya "underground" dinners and contributed behind the scenes to several more.

If you're interested - and you should be - go here for more information here about the Harding Dinner Series, which starts on March 30 and runs, for right now, through April 5, including dates, prices, and the number to call for reservations.

For a glimpse of some of Jeremiah's earlier Cobaya and other dinners, check these posts: CobayaJeremiah (flickr set), Cobaya Experiment #2, 2.5 (flickr set), and Notorious P.I.G. (flickr set). I'm going to miss having Chow Down so close to home for me, but I'm looking forward to what's coming - both the deli and the pop-up.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vote or Die(t)

We've been sticking to the restaurant write-ups for the most part here at FFT, but every once in a while things come up that seem worth passing along. Fresh on the heels of some local recognition in the form of several 2012 James Beard Award semifinalists[1] - Yardbird for Best New Restaurant, Hedy Goldsmith (Michael's Genuine) for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Jarrod Verbiak (DB Bistro Moderne) for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Clay Conley (Buccan), Paula DaSilva (1500°), Jeff McInnis (Yardbird), and Jose Mendin (Pubbelly) for Best Chef: South - Food & Wine magazine is opening its annual "Best New Chef" listings up to the riff-raff. A hundred chefs from among ten different "regions"[2] are up for selection by popular vote as "The People's Best New Chef."

As one who labors for recognition of the local talent when it's warranted, I encourage you to make your own opinion known. The South Florida candidates are:
You can vote here: Food & Wine People's Best New Chef : Gulf Coast Chefs

While we're at it, a question for you readers. Lately I've focused my energies here on restaurant write-ups, rather than "news," openings, events and the like.[3] Candidly, I figure most everyone that's reading this particular niche publication is already on the same mailing lists as me, and you're either getting the same e-mail blasts or are reading about them somewhere else shortly afterwards. Even if you're not scouring Eater Miami and Short Order yourself, you can always check the "Blogosphere" columns on the right-hand side of FFT and read the same exact fluff stuff that I'm reading. Or, if you're the kind of person who gets all your political news from The Daily Show - like me - you can get your food news in funny and easily digestible weekly doses over at Miami Restaurant Power Rankings.

(continued ...)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

P.I.G. 3

It's no secret we're big fans here at FFT of (1) pig and (2) Chef Jeremiah. The two will be coming together for a third reunion on Sunday November 27 for P.I.G. #3.

"P.I.G." = "Pork Is Good," Chef Jeremiah's celebration of all things porcine. For a bit of a preview, you can read my takes on P.I.G. #1 and P.I.G. #2, or you can just go and experience it for yourself.

The festivities begin at 4pm on Sunday, November 27, right around the time you start to get tired of Thanksgiving leftovers. There will be plenty of porky goodness being served from Chef Jeremiah's gastroPod and Ms. Cheezious, desserts from Coolhaus, a cash bar tended by Bar Lab, and music by Cog Nomen. Location: 210 NE 65th Street in Little Haiti.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If You'd Like More Food and Drink ...

It had been a while since I had passed any of these along, and now there seems to be a wave of really good looking dinner events coming up. To supplement the list from earlier this week:

October 30: The Local + Brooklyn Brewery

Coral Gables gastropub The Local Craft Food and Drink pairs up with Brooklyn Brewery for a multi-course beer and wine pairing, and Chef Alberto Cabrera looks like he's put together a good one:

Salt Cured Sardines
Bread & Butter Vegetable Relish, Hot Sauce, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette & Dill Biscuit
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Cured Foie Gras
Country Duck Ham, Frisee, Pickled Mango, Scarlet Beet Puree & Duck Fat Vinaigrette
Brooklyn Local 1

Sous Vide Bacon Fat Pork Belly
Farm Egg, Scallion Puree, Peanut Powder & Bacon Dashi
Brooklyn Local 2

Crispy Lamb Sweetbreads
Peas, Lamb Sausage, Pecorino, Spearmint, Polenta Chips & Natural Lamb Jus
Brooklyn The Companion Ale (100% bottle re-fermented)

Pan Roasted Grouper Cheeks
Butternut Squash, Sweet Peppers, Green Beans, Shitake Mushroom Chips, Meyer Lemon Puree & Basil Buerre Blanc
Brooklyn Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge

Iron Skillet Seared Ribeye
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Pearl Onion Marmalade, Arugula & Bone Marrow Vinaigrette
Brooklyn Cuvee Elijah

Peach Trifle
Brown Butter Cake, Basil & Buttermilk Ice Cream
Vintage 2010 Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Spots are $85, 7pm start time, RSVP (required) to

October 30: Share Our Strength Benefit Dinner at Būccan
If you're feeling charitable, Chef Clay Conley is hosting a benefit dinner at his Palm Beach restaurant Būccan for Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to ending child hunger. Locals Timon Balloo of Sugarcane and Jim Leiken of Café Boulud will be joining RJ Cooper of Washington DC's Rogue 24 and Jonathan Waxman of New York's Barbuto along with Chef Conley to put together a cocktail reception and multi-course dinner.

6pm reception, 7pm dinner, tickets $200 each (but it's for charity!). Contact or 202.649.4356 or do it online.

November 3: Local Farmers' Dinner at 1500°

Fresh off being named to Esquire's latest "Best New Restaurants" list, 1500° celebrates the arrival of South Florida's growing season with a dinner featuring products from local farmers including Paradise Farms, White Water Clams, Palmetto Creek Farms, Jackman Ranch, Swank Specialty Produce, Hani's Mediterranean Organics, Maggie Pons, Lake Meadow Naturals, Seriously Organic, and Teena's Pride:

Crispy Pork Belly Tacos with Kimchee
Florida Wahoo Ceviche
Deviled Eggs with Capers and Pickled Veggies

Garden Leaf Lettuce and Heirloom Tomatoes
with Crispy Calabaza Blossoms and Hani’s Goat Cheese

White Water Clams with Spicy Greens, Grilled Bread
White Wine Butter Sauce

Whole Fried Local Snapper and Lake Meadows Roasted Chicken
accompanied by Cold Cucumber Salad with Fish Sauce and Sesame Seeds,
Anson Mills Black Rice, Braised Local Greens and Roasted Radishes

Palmetto Creek Pork Loin Chops and Jackman Ranch Florida Raised Wagyu Beef
with Anson Mills Polenta and Hani’s Cheese, Grilled Baby Squash, Roasted Carrots, Braised Oyster Mushrooms, and Spicy Smoked Potato Salad with Benton’s Bacon and Farm Egg

Selection of Homemade Pies and Tarts with Homemade Ice Cream

Reception and five courses, including paired wines and cocktails, is $85 per person (excluding tax and tip). 7pm start time.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If You Like Food and Wine ...

You're in the right place. If you don't like food and wine, well I'm not sure what you're doing here. With Miami Spice season concluded, those of you who do like food and wine may be wondering how to spend your dining dollars. Some local restaurants have a few ideas: as if it to make up for two months of serving $35 three-course dinners, several places are now rolling out some higher-end dining propositions. Here are some upcoming wine-themed dinners, including a couple for tonight that may still have seats available:

October 18: Domain Lucien Albrecht Dinner at db Bistro Moderne:

Chef Jerrod Verbiak will be cooking a four course dinner (no menu posted), paired with eight of Alsatian vintner Domaine Lucien Albrecht 's wines. Domaine Lucien Albrecht's owner Marie Albrecht will host. Reception at 6:30pm, dinner starts at 7:00pm, spots are $150 per person including tax and gratuity. Sign up here.

db Bistro Moderne
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami

October 18: Spain: A Wine Dinner at Charlotte:

Chef Elida Villaroel closed down her charming Charlotte Bistro over the summer, revamped, and recently reopened. To help kick off the reopening, she's hosting a Spanish-themed wine dinner at the restaurant together with Sunset Corners. The lineup:

1+1=3 Cava Brut (D.O. Cava)

King Crab Risotto with truffle emulsion and micro-greens
Abadel Picapoll 2008 (D.O. Pla de Bages)

Grouper with celery root puree and a lemongrass veloute
Becquer Tinto 2008 (D.O. Ca. Rioja)

Magret de Canard with a fruit chutney and finished with a balsamic pomegranate emulsion
Luna Beberide "Finca la Cuesta" 2008 (D.O. Bierzo)

Lamb Shank with red wine au jus and fennel salami finished with fine herbs and cacao beans
Finca Torremilanos, Torre Albeniz Reserva 2006 (D.O. Ribera del Duero)

Moelleux au Chocolat with Grand Marnier creme anglaise

Dinner starts at 7:00pm, price is $69 per person plus tax and gratuity. Contact the restaurant for a reservation.

264 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Aged Stone Crabs, Anyone?

I've generally done my best to ignore the recent glut of dining "deal" sites. "Groupon" is just a tremendously unappealing-sounding name, and there is usually way too much fine print for me to pay much attention to the various other incarnations. Besides, in food as in life, what sounds like a "too good to be true" deal often is, and many other folks are doing a fine job pointing that out, including Ryan Sutton with "The Bad Deal," and closer to home, Chowfather with his "Jilt City" experience at STK Steakhouse. There's also been plenty of discussion of whether participation in these deal sites is really any good for the businesses either.

But they don't seem to be going away any time soon, and even almighty Google is getting into the act with "Google Offers." Still in "beta," the inaugeral Google Offer for Miami was a $69 signature meal at Joe's Stone Crab, featuring a choice of stone crabs, steak, chicken or salmon, open beer and wine service, side dishes and dessert. Of course nobody in their right mind goes to Joe's Stone Crab for the steak, chicken or salmon (at least not for $69 - though the fried 1/2 chicken for $5.95 remains one of the all time greatest deals in the food universe). It's all about the stone crabs, a seasonal and usually pricey item. Indeed, Google Offers claims the dinner is a "$135 value."

Even better, the "exclusive, private dinner" scheduled for October 10 lets you kick off the stone crab season early, ahead of all the shmoos waiting until the restaurant officially opens nearly a week later.

There's just one hitch: by law, the season for harvesting stone crabs in Florida doesn't start until October 15. The Florida Administrative Code says:

The season for the harvest, possession and sale of stone crab claws shall be from October 15 through May 15, each year. No person, firm or corporation, shall harvest, or have in his or her possession, regardless of where taken, or sell or offer for sale, any stone crab of any size, or any parts thereof, from May 16 through October 14, each year, except for stone crab claws, placed in inventory by a wholesale or retail dealer as defined in Section 379.414, Florida Statutes, prior to May 16 of each year.

If you're eating stone crabs on October 10 - they've been on ice for the past five months.

In other words, Joe's Stone Crab just convinced 400 people to pay $70 for last season's stone crabs. There's a reason they've been in business 99 years.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Phuc Me? Phuc You!

Several weeks ago, I was disappointed to hear that Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata had packed their bags and left Blue Piano. I'd only gotten in once to the pocket-sized wine bar and music lounge just north of the Design District, but was very pleasantly surprised by the well-selected wines and the creative and tasty tapas-style bites while Aniece was running the bar and Cesar was in the kitchen.

Silver lining and whatnot, Aniece and Cesar, along with Daniel Treiman (chef and occasional Short Order and Eater Miami contributor) are now teaming up to do Phuc Yea!, a modern Vietnamese pop-up restaurant that will have a 3-month run in downtown Miami.

Launch date is this Thursday September 8, after which they will be up and running Tuesday - Saturday from 5:30pm - 10:30pm until November. Phuc Yea! will be setting up camp in the Crown Bistro, located inside the Ingraham Building in downtown Miami (19 SE 2nd Avenue).

Some preview menu highlights include mini banh mi sandwiches with roast pork and house-made cha lua; thit bo kho, a Vietnamese beef jerky they've redubbed "Viet Cowboy Snack;" banh cuon (a/k/a rolling cake, a rice crepe wrapped around pork); caramelized pork riblets; "Nam Style Charcuterie;" and a few larger plates of char siu style pork, confit duck or fried snapper served with rice and a "table salad" of lettuces, greens, herbs and pickles. You can see the whole Week 1 menu here.

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