Last night foodies from all corners of the 5 boroughs gathered together to mingle and nibble on the some of the city’s top eats to raise funds for Slow Food NYC at the Village Voice’s Sixth Annual Choice Eats at the 69th Regiment Armory. Joonbug, for one, should’ve went with a better plan instead of trying to eat everything in sight. We don’t recommend eating Liberian, brownies, ramen noodles, halibut ceviche, and sweet shrimp rolls in the same sitting but we absolutely don’t regret it either. In an otherwise impossible feat in a 3-hour time frame, Choice Eats allowed foodies to sample foods that may have been outside of their comfort zone and not within the reaches of their neighborhood.
There is that moment in every gourmand’s life when he or she has that first great meal - that meal that demonstrates not only just how good food can be but how cuisine truly is art. For me, that happened on my first trip to New York City when I was in high school with a dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne. For a Miami boy, that meal was far better than anything I’d had in my hometown, and the experience raised my standards when it came to fine dining. Miami’s food scene has grown up considerably in the last 10 years, and while we have yet to see any local chefs receive a Michelin star, it is comforting to know that Michelin-starred chefs consider Miami a fitting locale to open a restaurant as they expand their empires. Ten years after that first taste of haute cuisine in NYC, I was ready to revisit db Bistro Moderne, but this time it would be on my own turf.
Bal Harbour is as recognizable for anyone in Miami as Lincoln Road or Calle Ocho. The highly affluent stretch of Collins Avenue is home to some of the most luxurious residences and also to one of the most luxurious malls in the country, Bal Harbour Shops. While more renowned for it’s designer clothing and jewelry boutiques that include Chanel and Harry Winston, as well as its Neiman Marcus and Saks anchors, the mall is also a destination for the truly savvy gourmand with restaurants like Makoto. Named after Chef Makoto Okuwa who mans the kitchen, this Japanese restaurant has been offering shoppers and culinary connoisseurs inventive fare since it opened its doors a few years ago. Chef Okuwa seems to be in a constant state of creation, and his unique interpretations of Japanese dishes inspire diners to look at one of the world’s most elegant cuisines in an entirely new light.
For those of you who don’t reside in the 305 or just don’t want to deal with Miami’s infamous traffic and parking, there are many restaurants north of County Line Road where one can have a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day. Whether you decide to dine on bustling Las Olas Boulevard or in quirky Delray Beach, Joonbug’s Broward/Palm Beach dining guide for V-day will help point you in the right direction. Here are a few of our picks:
Big City Tavern
609 E. Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
February is filled with so much to do in South Florida for a foodie. As if our minds aren’t already constantly occupied with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, we have Valentine’s Day to think about next week. If you’re lucky enough to have someone with whom to celebrate it, you probably know that a romantic dinner can truly take this day of love from simply romantic to truly memorable. While attempting to make a gourmet, multi course meal at home is an honorable feat, sometimes it’s best to let some our best chefs work at the food while you enjoy each other’s company. In case you haven't already made plans, here are some of Joonbug’s picks in Miami for Valentine’s Day dinner:
It's about that time again! Quicker that you can utter the words, "he loves me, he loves me not" Valentine's Day 2013 will be here in a flash. Whether you're looking for a romantic dining experience, a more laid back spot, or going to spend the evening having some fun with your friends -- Joonbug breaks down the festivities in our handy little list. Je t'aime ( I love you in French).
David Burke's Townhouse: The decor alone at David Burke's Townhouse on the Upper East Side exudes a Valentine's Day vibe with crimson red leather seating done in an ultra-chic way. Renowned Chef David Burke has created an amazing Valentine's Day menu that most definitely sets the backdrop for the perfect Vday experience. Their three-course menu features delicious and exquisite cuisine, such as green garlic soup, tuna parfait, foie gras terrine, whole roasted red snapper, veal chateaubriand, and lobster stuffed filet wellington. Chef Burke will make your evening even sweeter with dessert selections such as; chocolate nougat glace, coconut cake, warm drunken donuts, and their signature cheesecake lollipops.
With Hudson Restaurant Week now in full swing Joonbug wanted to visit one of the waterfront restaurants to get the culinary scoop. One of the beauties of traveling across the Hudson from NY to NJ or being a New Jersey resident is most definitely the glittering views of Manhattan. The wonderful aspect to restaurant week is that there are special deals and promotions, so you are getting more value for what you spend dining! It's also a great time to kick back and enjoy a much deserved after work cocktail! Cheers!
One of the most exquisite on the list, is the Liberty House. With a gorgeous southern estate atmosphere, beautiful grounds and sweeping views of Manhattan this restaurant is a Hudson Restaurant Week standout. The welcoming vibe of the restaurant is beautiful yet is unpretentious and we like that. The live music by George Macheda and his band will instantly put you in a good mood. The oak bar serves up tasty cocktails, a vast selection of fine wines, and the best scotch.
Dirty words can be good sometimes...that is, when they have another meaning. To most who grew up speaking Spanish (myself included), one hears the word “carajo” (meaning crap or hell) used as a cursing exclamation, as in the phrase popular among my Cuban breed “Vete pa’l carajo!” (Go to hell). It's a risk when a business, moreover a restaurant where the last thing you want to taste is crap, appropriates the word as its own. But in this instance El Carajo, a Miami Spanish tapas and wine spot, the word grabs our off-put attention and then wafts it under our noses so we can wake up and smell the roses - the roses of meaning. The restaurant’s “carajo” refers to the lookout basket at the top of a Spanish ship's mast.
There are two things that Miami Beach seems to have a lot of these days: constant change and Italian restaurants. Many Miami natives sometimes wonder whatever happened to the quirky SoBe they knew back when Gianni Versace held court there, and it seems as if for the non Miami Beach resident, every subsequent visit to the southern reaches of Collins Avenue reveals more change, more commercialization, and a sense of frustration. As much as we may not like to hear it, there seems to be no going back to the 90s for Miami Beach, and the few remnants of 20th century seem to get polished up and renovated one by one almost every day. Then there are the denizens of Italian restaurants dotting almost every imaginable storefront and hotel lobby, apparently making South Beach a chic, sexy little Italy of the 21st century. There are, obviously, a great deal of bad restaurants, a great many more mediocre ones, but still enough fantastic Italian restaurants to warrant at least an occasional visit for any foodie. A recent dinner at Dolce in the newly renovated Gale South Beach showed that all the change on SoBe can actually be a good thing and that Miami Beach continues to be a destination for some of the best Italian fare.
If you live in a cosmopolitan city and you love to eat, chances are that you’ve sampled Thai cuisine at one point in your life. Anyone who considers themselves a foodie is most likely very familiar with the coconut milk-enriched curries, the flavors of lemongrass and galangal, the fiery nam prik chilis, and the sweet undertones from the addition of creamy palm sugar. Miami isn’t generally known for having a large Thai constituency, but that doesn’t deter from the fact that we have a generous selection of good Thai restaurants, and with good reason: the complex flavors of Thai cuisine tend to fare well in a tropical climate like that of South Florida. Nevertheless, what many of us think we know about Thai cuisine is just the tip of the iceberg...or in the case of Thailand, the tip of the peninsula. Thailand, while a lot smaller than the US, is a large, very old, and quite diverse country, and the majority of the Thai cuisine that is available in Miami and much of the rest of the country is the fiery, aggressively flavored cuisine of the south. While southern Thai cuisine is arguably delicious, discovering the cuisines of northern Thailand is a true epiphany that will turn any newbie into an instant convert leading them to thumb through the pages of Thai menus looking for sticky rice and Chiang Rai sausages. We used to have an authentic northern Thai restaurant in Kendall many years ago, but it appeared as if Miami just wasn’t quite ready to embrace a Thai cuisine that was dissimilar to the coconut milk curries, pad thai, and heaps of jasmine rice most people were familiar with. It wasn’t until the foodie revolution hit Miami hard that the 305 was ready to embrace regional ethnic cuisines, and that’s when John Kunkel decided to open Khong River House on Lincoln Road in the old Miss Yip’s space.