Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fooq’s & Friends: ‘Byzantine Nights' w/ Chef Roel Alcudia of Mandolin

This Thursday, June 23rd, Fooq’s and Friends hosts a feast, coined ‘Byzantine Nights.’ Featuring chef Roel Alcudia of Mandolin Aegean Bistro, alongside Fooqs’ own Bryan Rojas, the night draws on culinary inspiration from the Middle East, Turkey, Persia and Greece, merging an exotic mix of flavors to create something new, expressive, and personal. Inspired by the Byzantine Empire, the night will blend an assortment of colorful and cultural dishes, all served family style in a refreshingly cozy atmosphere.

The family-style meal will present a plethora of dishes for the price of $55, which includes a handcraft welcome cocktail, and dishes that take a novel approach to renditions of Byzantine cuisine, with imaginative mezes, such as dips, spreads, flatbreads, and a refreshing watermelon salad to diverge the palate. A custom wine pairing will be available for an additional $45, to complement the dining experience. 

‘Byzantine Nights’ will be complete with the fixings for an exotic ambience, with a selection of hookahs and artful belly dancing performances to connect with the splendor, ritual, and mystery of the night. Local DJ Manumat will play a middle-eastern themed set, creating an entrancing aura for the evening. 

Two seatings will be offered at 7pm and 9pm. Space is limited - to make a reservation, email, or call 786.536.2749.

Fooq’s is located in the heart of Downtown Miami’s Arts + Entertainment district at 1035 North Miami Avenue (valet parking available). 

Monday, March 28, 2016

10 Outdoor Spots for Every Occasion in Miami

As food writers, at Zagat we are always asked for restaurant recommendations. There are the typical questions like “where should I go for a first date?”, or “what’s a good place to take my parents?”. 

And then there are the picky ones like “where can I go for an elegant dinner in South Beach, that won’t charge a fortune, serves gluten-free options and can accommodate a group of 12 (with kids) on a Friday night?”. 

While there might not be a restaurant for absolutely every scenario, here are 10 that will take care of the most common ones. And they all offer outdoor seating, you know, to take advantage of the last month and a half that we have before the soaring heat arrives. You’re welcome…
Click here to read the story

Monday, December 28, 2015

Where to Celebrate the New Year in Miami

If you haven't yet, now is the time to plan where to celebrate the New Year in Miami. This year, many of the Magic City's best restaurants and hotels are playing host to New Year's celebrations with special prix fixe dinners and brunches, many of which include champagne to ring in 2016. Check out my favorites below and reach out to the restaurant directly for reservations. 


Byblos is kicking off 2016 with two New Year’s Eve dinner seatings featuring two separate menus. On December 31st, guests can enjoy a three-course menu during the first dinner seating from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The second seating, between 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., features a four-course menu that includes a bottle of Perrier Jouet to toast the New Year. Guests will also enjoy the sounds of a DJ, who will set the mood as the year comes to a close. The first seating is $125 per person. The second seating is $225 per person.

Dolce Italian

Dolce Italian will offer a delicious five course dinner menu by Executive Chef Paolo Dorigato. Two dinner seatings are available from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and from 9:30 p.m. – midnight. The prix fixe menu is $150 for adults and $75 for children. After dinner, guests can take their pick and enjoy New Year’s Eve on the Gale Rooftop, inside Rec Room, or inside Regent Cocktail Club, or enjoy all three with a Gale Hotel All Access Pass. 


Bodega is celebrating 2016 in style with their New Years Eve & One Year Anniversary party starting at 9:30 p.m. As always there will be no cover at the door! Partygoers looking for something a bit more intimate, Bodega is hosting a private VIP reception earlier in the evening from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. with passed her d'oeuvres curated by Chef Bernie Matz.

Red Ginger

Red Ginger is celebrating the New Year in style with a two seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with a 5-course menu featuring Tartar Diver Scallops, Stone Crab, Miso Sea Bass and Crispy Pork Belly along with unlimited Perrier Jouet, Nuit Blanche. Dinner is priced at $180 for the 6:30 p.m. seating and $220 for the 8:30 p.m. seating. As an added bonus, those booking dinner at Red Ginger will also have VIP access to Radio Bar's New Years Eve celebration that features an open bar from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. 

Mondrian South Beach

Mondrian South Beach invites guests to ring in 2016 with the best view on the beach. The romantic bayside property with sweeping skyline views is offering a premium open bar, rotating DJ sets and a private fireworks display alongside breathtaking views of the iconic Bayside fireworks show. General Admission tickets start at $250. For a more intimate party-within-a-party, guests can purchase a luxurious daybed or cabana starting at $1500. 

Shore Club

Shore Club is ringing in 2016 with DJ sets by Orange is the New Black Star Taryn Manning and Grammy nominated producer Dave Audé. Guests are invited to toast tonew beginnings around Shore Club’s iconic pool. Free admission is guaranteed for the first 200 guests to RSVP. Those guests will also be treated to a complimentary glass of champagne to enjoy as Manning and Audé count down the last moments of 2015. For those looking to dine and drink in the same spot, Terrazza will feature a four-course plated dinner designed by Chef Steve Rhee starting at $195.

Delano Beach Club 

Delano Beach Club and Suzanne Bartsch are hosting a New Years Eve Tropical Madness party. The South Beach icon will be transformed into Tropical Madness with a fabulous menagerie of rare orchids, flowers of passion, mischievous monkeys, cannibal witchdoctors and restless natives. Get lost in paradise this New Years at Delano Beach Club’s Tropical Madness Party.

Driftwood Room 

Driftwood Room invites guests to start the new year the right way with a special brunch buffet on January 1, 2016. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests can enjoy a wide selection of cold and hot dishes including cheese and charcuterie, huevos rancheros, and prime rib. In addition to the buffet, guests can make their own cocktails at the Bloody Mary Bar featuring 20 different hot sauces, bacon, shrimp, flavored salts, pickled vegetables and more. 

db Bistro

Enjoy an early three course pre-fixe menu with additional share and taste options like seafood and charcuterie platters, or a luxurious five-course gala dinner featuring Executive Chef Jason Pringle’s seasonal favorites and toast to 2016 with a complimentary glass of champagne. 


Miami Beach’s newest dining destination featuring the unforgettably bold cuisine of Chef Michael Pirolo, will be offering Chef’s Feast, a one-night-only New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner menu along with bubbly specials from 9:30PM to 11PM, following regular dinner service. Guests will be able to enjoy the live music of DJ Tom Laroc while toasting to the New Year with champagne specials by the bottle. Priced at $120 per person, the party goes until 2AM and the city fireworks will be visible from the patio. 

Meat Market

Lincoln Road’s sizzling hot steakhouse, invites locals and visitors alike to come celebrate the New Year in style with special holiday offerings. Diners can enjoy the sounds of live DJ entertainment and choose between three decadent packages featuring four-course dinner menus. New Year’s Eve packages include the Early Package (a four-course dinner menu priced at $150 per person), a Second Package (four-course dinner menu with a champagne toast and party favors at midnight  at $250 per person), and Champagne Bar Package (bottomless champagne by the glass at the bar at $50 per person).


To celebrate New Year’s Eve, The Setai, Miami Beach will be hosting its “La Belle Epoque”, an evening of sophistication and fine dining inside each of its restaurants, Jaya and The Grill. Jaya will have one seating at 7 p.m. and will offer a five-course dinner menu that includes dishes like Foie Gras Torchon, Eggs 62 degrees with croquant filo dough and petrossian caviar. The Jaya menu is $555 per person, and upon entrance into The Setai, guests will enjoy cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres in The Courtyard. Following dinner, from 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., guests will countdown to midnight with a Louis Roederer Champagne hour and also have access to The Setai Club, a speakeasy with a bar and DJ until 4 a.m.

The Dutch

South Beach’s popular American roots-inspired dining destination will offer a special menu for New Year’s. The New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner menu with two seating options, Early Seating from 7PM – 7:45PM ($165 per person) and Late Seating from 8:30PM – 10:30PM at $250 per person.

Beaker & Gray

Wynwood’s newly opened hotspot will be offering a one-night-only New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner menu along with a bubbly toast featuring the guest’s choice of champagne or cocktail. Priced at $85 per person, diners are invited to celebrate the holiday with a five-course feast.

BLT Prime

BLT Prime is offering two different New Year’s Eve prix fixe dinner options, so guests can ring in the New Year with double the fun. The first offering on deck is a $95 per person preset dinner menu, available for seatings at 6PM and 7PM.


At TALDE Miami Beach, Chef/Restaurateur Dale Talde’s newest culinary venture will be offering a five-course dinner priced at $125 per person with seatings beginning at 8PM and 10PM. 


Chef Michelle Bernstein will offer two seatings – a special four-course meal priced at $125 per person at 6:30PM and a five-course meal for $150 per person at 9PM. Menu items include shaved kona kampachi with osetra caviar; squid ink spaghettini with uni butter; grilled wreckfish with saffron broth and lardo; Jackman Ranch New York strip with buttermilk pommes puree, savoy spinach, and bordelaise sauce; and butter poached Maine lobster with scallop mousse, roasted gem lettuce, and vermouth butter.

Cantina la Veinte

Chef Santiago will welcome each guest with a classic margarita this New Year’s Eve. Entrees like Alaskan King Crab or a whole Prime Tenderloin with 3 chili butter will be a couple of the flavorful dishes on the menu. Cantina La Veinte is also offering unlimited wine during dinner and a glass of Dom Perignon to end the year. This four-course meal costs $475 per person.

La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel

With the backdrop sounds of Pitbull New Year’s Revolution and the spectacular Bayfront Park fireworks show, La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel is located at the epicenter of all the New Year’s Eve action with clear views of the InterContinental’s “Orange Drop” and surrounding festivities. Buffet stations featuring La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel’s classics will include a variety of Spanish cheese, salumeria and hams from the prestigious 5-Jotas, marinated seafood and vegetable salads, La Feria’s famous seafood, chicken and chorizo paellas, succulent roasted meats and sausages, and much more. The $85 per person experience includes tent access, buffet, complimentary Cava and 12 grapes at midnight. 

La Mar

Join La Mar for a lively New Year’s Eve celebration featuring high-energy music by a DJ and an unforgettable three-course menu of flavorful specialties. Dishes include Crispy Jumbo Shrimp, Causa Verde, Wagyu Beef, Lobster and a dessert trio. Price: $150 per person includes Chicha Morada champagne cocktail.


Enjoy a tasting menu priced at $125++ per person featuring items such as Bianconeri Tartare, Charcoal Tagliatelle and Duck Pie. 


Enjoy a five-course tasting menu priced at $99++ per person including party favors will feature items such as Pumpkin Soup with Truffle Oil, Bacon Wrapped Dates, Crunchy Tuna Roll, Flap Steak, and Mini Torrejas. 

Katsuya South Beach

This New Year’s Eve, Katsuya will be offering two special seatings and an entrance to Hyde Beach upon request to welcome the new year. Guests can expect a prix-fixe menu filled with signature dishes including the Robata Dry Aged New York, Whole Maine Lobster, Omakese Sushi and so much more. 1st seating (starting at 5pm) - $145.00 2nd seating (starting at 8pm) - $245.00

Cleo South Beach 

Cleo is ringing in the new year with a prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails from Chef Danny Elmaleh with two special seatings at 6pm and 9pm for a scrumptious celebration. The prix-fix menu will include classic favorites such as the Spicy Beef Cigars, Lebaneh with Feta, Kale Flatbread and Grilled Hanger Steak. At 9pm, guests will have access to the rooftop where Cleo will be giving away party favors, offering cocktail specials, and toasting to 2016 at midnight with a complimentary glass of champagne. 

Edge Steak House 

Ring in the New Year at EDGE Steak & Bar with a lavish four or five course dinner in one of the “Best Steakhouses in Brickell,” as rated by Miami New Times. Champagne Toast is included and a party on EDGE terrace follows at 10 p.m. A New Year's Day brunch will also be offered at $120 per person, and will consist of a culinary feast of traditional brunch favorites, fresh á la carte offerings, create-your-own tacos, chef-attended BBQ grilling and oyster shucking stations, a special caviar presentation by Caviar Russe and an elaborate dessert presentation for a sweet start to 2016. Unlimited mimosas and sparkling wine included. 

GK Bistronomie

Countdown to 2016 at GK Bistronomie and enjoy a six-course menu priced at $150 per person. Guests will enjoy a complimentary Wynwood Sahumerio with Absolut Elyx upon arrival and will toast to the new year with a champagne toast. The menu will include: Stone Crab and Corvina Roll; Fanny Bay Oysters; Tina & Foie Gras Ceviche; Mushroom & Yuzu Ceviche; Spiny Lobster; Black Angus Striploin and Nutella Mousse. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Five New Fall Dishes to Try at Uvaggio

I originally wrote this story for MiaBites. For more great stories by this online food publication, click here!

With trendy restaurants bringing in mixologists and their fancy concoctions on board all around town, Miami’s restaurant and bar scene has no shortage of fancy, elaborate drinks. But let’s face it - sometimes all you want is just a simple glass of wine, and of course, that perfect dish to go along with it. In my case, when that craving hits, Uvaggio is always there to satisfy it.
Known for its motto of offering five star wine, food and service for only a three star value, this Coral Gables wine bar has come to build a name for itself among Miami’s top culinary gems, becoming a favorite of wine and food aficionados alike. 
Proud owners Heath Porter and Craig Dewald recently celebrated their one and a half year anniversary with a new fall-inspired food menucrafted with their signature “tasting backwards” technique, which consists of coming up with the dishes based on the aromas and flavors in the wines that they would serve them with. 
The result: five fabulous new dishes to be paired along with the wines that inspired them, all worth trying the next time the food and wine craving hits.  

The Dish: Uvaggio’s Seasonal Salad 

The Wine: Yves Cuilleron, Rosé of Syrah 2014

Worth Trying because: the citrus flavors in the salad’s strawberries and pomelo stand out when paired with the slight acidity of the rosé, while the avocado and the goat cheese give it a nice and smooth ending.

The Dish: Handmade Potato Gnocchi

The Wine: Castello Di Neive, Barbera d’Alba 2012 - Piedmont, Italy

Worth Trying Because: Uvaggio’s gnocchi need no introduction (shame of you if you haven’t tried them!), however, in this fall take the chef increased the size of the niblets and paired them with classic autumn ingredients like roasted wild mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and truffle oil. The red and green dots on the edges are arugula pesto and a tart raspberry puree made with the wine that it’s served it.

The Dish: Sous Vide Pork Cheeks

The Wine: Domaine Giacometti, Patrimonio - 2013, Corsica France

Worth Trying Because: it’s no secret that the cheek is the best part of the pig, and at Uvaggio, the meat is tender, juicy and fatty thanks to its 48 hour slow roasted preparation. Plus, it’s served with a Cuban-cigar-smoked relish that brings out the tobacco leaf aroma in the French wine.

The Dish: Duck confit 

The Wine: Kayra, Okuzgozu 2012 - Anatolia, Turkey

Worth Trying Because: the Uvaggio guys magically transform this duck into an autumn bird by pairing it with seasonal ingredients like acorns, squash puree, cinnamon, and finishing it off with a pomegranate seed reduction with cranberries. Go ahead, pair it with this bright wine from Turkey - it doesn’t get more fowl than that! (see what I did there?)

The Dish: Slow Cooked Brisket

The Wine: Abadia de Gomariz 2011 - Ribeiro, Spain

Worth Trying Because: the rich flavors of this classic comfort food are enhanced beautifully with this full flavored Spanish wine.

After only one and half years in business, who would have thought that this little bar serving non traditional wine would be known, not just for its amazing vino, but also for its food? The Uvaggio guys have truly found their stride and have outdone themselves one more time, and as their fan, I can’t wait to see what they’ll surprise us with next!
Uvaggio  - 70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Monday, November 30, 2015

Check it out! I'm on Zagat!

December is finally here and for many of us in Miami that means hosting out of town friends and family, that will be undoubtedly asking you, at one point or another: where should I go to eat? 

Instead of frantically going through your friend's Instagram #foodporn for ideas, check out the article I wrote for Zagat this week on my 10 favorite "so Miami" restaurants and bars. Any of these gems will ensure an authentic Miami experience for your out of town friends or, why not, for you!

Click here to read the article!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Top 12 Thanksgiving Restaurant Specials in Miami

Don't feel like cooking or fixing up the house this Thanksgiving? No problem! Here are 12 Miami restaurants that are offering special menus and deals for this upcoming turkey day. No cooking or cleaning necessary!

Enjoy Chef Michael Pirolo’s bold flavors and exciting Asian-inspired dishes on Thanksgiving day from 5 PM – 10 PM. At $55 per person the turkey day feast kicks off with a bowl of turkey won ton soup, followed by gyoza, shrimp & chive dumplings and sweet potato dumplings; the dinner continues with Peking turkey served with wasabi mashed potatoes and scallion pancakes; and for dessert, make room for one of the restaurant’s delicious sweet specials. 

Crumb on Parchment

There’s no better way to dazzle family and friends than with dessert, and this year Crumb on Parchment is celebrating Thanksgiving with $20 pies crafted by Chef Michelle Bernstein. Choose between a tasty selection, including apple pear pie, gingersnap crust pumpkin pie, bourbon pecan pie, or chocolate pecan pie. Place your orders by noon on Monday, November 23, and pick up your pies at noon, Wednesday, November 25

Meat Market

Lincoln Road’s sizzling hot steakhouse, will offer several à la carte dinner specials on Thanksgiving. The menu will feature holiday-inspired favorites including a Bell and Evans fresh turkey leg roulade, Peruvian corn, a wood-grilled Bell and Evans fresh citrus and vanilla marinated sous vide turkey breast with cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower, and candied bacon & tomato marmalade, and a Mixed Grill of 3, which will allow diners to sample the turkey leg and sous vide breast. A seasonal Jack Daniels caramel pecan tartlet with candied pumpkin ice cream and vanilla crema will be available for dessert. 

The Dutch

The Dutch will offer a home style Thanksgiving prix-fixe dinner with a specialty menu created by Chef de Cuisine Adonay Tafur and Executive Pastry Chef Josh Gripper. Priced at $55 per person (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity), the meal will feature cider brined turkey, whipped Yukon potatoes, butternut squash with Brussels sprouts and rutabaga, traditional turkey leg stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. No Thanksgiving feast is complete without dessert, so save room for sweet dishes like pumpkin brulee with cinnamon Chantilly and rum raisin ice cream. 

Quattro Gastronomia Italian

Miami Beach’s go-to dining destination for authentic Northern Italian cuisine, Quattro, will offer a special, a la carte holiday menu for Thanksgiving. Diners can enjoy seasonal flavors of Quattro’s holiday-inspired dishes which will be offered a la carte. Antipasti starters include options like crema de zucca (a richly flavored pumpkin soup with mascarpone mouse and Blue Del Moncenisio dressing) while main course choices include tacchino ripieno alla piemontese braised turkey breast stuffed with focaccia, Italian sausage and pistachio, and served with sage mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. Guests can end the meal with a torta di noci pecan – butter pecan pie topped with Torrone ice cream or monte blanco tradizionale – chestnut puree, meringue and whipped cream. 

Lure Fishbar

Lure Fishbar will be serving a Thanksgiving tasting menu for $45 per person. The dinner begins with a butternut squash bisque served with toasted pumpkin seeds and crème, followed by a roasted pear and shallot salad topped with endive, bleu cheese, and toasted walnut vinaigrette. For the entrée, guests can enjoy roasted Carolina turkey with all of the fixings served family-style including maple roasted yams, whipped potatoes, wheat berry stuffing, and Italian sausage stuffing. Dessert will include pumpkin panna cotta and tasty pecan squares

Quality Meats Miami Beach

One of 2015’s hottest new restaurants, Quality Meats will be open from 4PM to 
10PM on Thanksgiving Day. In addition to its regular a la carte dinner menu, a special Thanksgiving dish has been added – herb-roasted heritage turkey, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, spiced sweet potato fries ($42) accompanied with local honey butter, giblet gravy and Quality cranberry sauce.

American Social
Take-out, or dine-in, American Social is keeping busy this fall with an elaborate spread of indulgent Thanksgiving holiday dishes that any host can feel proud to serve guests. For groups of four or more that prefer to eat at home, AmSo will prepare, cook and package a complete Thanksgiving spread for your convenience. Dinner is available for pick up starting Wednesday evening. Everything from corn chowder, herb-roasted gravy, and butter whipped potatoes, to oven roasted turkey, maple glazed carrots and pomegranate-cranberry sauce can be enjoyed in Fort Lauderdale, Brickell or the comfort of your home. The restaurant will also be open for the Thanksgiving holiday, serving up the same spread. Take out orders must be placed by Sunday, November 22.

StripSteak by Michael Mina
Fontainebleau’s newest restaurant – is offering a Thanksgiving a prix-fixe dinner for $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. Guests will savor roasted baby beets with dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and goat cheese, topped with walnut vinaigrette followed by roasted turkey breast with turkey leg confit, and chorizo cornbread stuffing; and for dessert, pumpkin pie topped with cinnamon whipped cream and spiced caramel sauce. 

The hotel’s acclaimed Italian eatery will offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. Guests will enjoy butternut squash soup fregato with toasted focaccia and roasted mushrooms followed by the roast turkey porchetta with cranberry mostarda and brussels sprouts. Dessert will feature pumpkin tiramisu, crafted with spiced pumpkin mascarpone and served beside Marsala soaked lady fingers, mocha espuma, and cinnamon gelato. 

Michael Mina 74 

Will offer the regular lunch menu at the bar with football games airing from 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and a special Thanksgiving specials offered from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. A hearty turkey breast roulade with confit leg (32), sage stuffing, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and turkey gravy will entice guests along with a mouthwatering pumpkin cheesecake ($10) topped with spiced Jamaican anglaise and orange compote.

KLIMA Restaurant and Bar

KLIMA Restaurant and Bar will debut its Thanksgiving Day specialty, prepared using Chef Rusti’s signature cooking techniques developed from his Barcelona roots. Guests will enjoy Chef Rusti’s Poulet Rouge with Foie entrée – described as a venerable heritage breed of chicken renowned for its rich flavor and thin skin that is cooked to a crisp perfection.  Chef Rusti will be adding his own flavor delicacy of Foie to this dish along with potato parmentier, to make this main course plate a memorable Catalonian-style feast for a price of $36. This Thanksgiving Day specialty will be served for lunch between 12 Noon and 3:00pm or for dinner, between the hours of 6:00 pm and 2:00 am

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The 3 Hottest Prix Fixe Lunch Deals in Miami

It’s official: having an affordable three course lunch at one Miami’s hottest restaurants is not just limited to the months of Miami Spice anymore. All around the Magic City, trendy and high end spots are coming up with permanent, prix fixe lunch deals for under $30, allowing guests to enjoy their signature dishes for just a fraction of the price. Up next, three of the best lunchtime deals in town.


Arguably one of Miami’s best new restaurants of 2015, Alter offers three Instagram worthy lunch courses for only $28 per person, and yes, that includes their famous egg dish (pictured), made with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls and a gruyere crisp.


This newly opened and highly popular Mediterranean bistro located in the heart of Brickell just gave adoring fans another reason to visit with the launch of its $24 three course lunch menu, featuring dishes like watermelon gazpacho (pictured), rotisserie chicken and a homemade tarte of the day.

La Mar

Served in less than 45 minutes, the express lunch menu offered at the Mandarin Oriental’s famous Peruvian restaurant includes signature dishes like ceviche, squid ink pasta and a chocolate dulce de leche dessert bar for only $25 per person.