Ewan Venters is the CEO of Fortnum & Mason, a British luxury goods and food manufacturer who produce a controversial dish called foie gras. This dish is controversial due to its production process, which requires the force feeding of ducks and geese in order to fatten their livers for consumption. Recently, Venters' company has come under fire from a number of big name detractors. The biggest of which is the United Kingdom, who have outlawed the dish entirely from Fortnum & Mason's own native country. Yet even as A-List celebrities and the public continue to condemn him, Venters refuses to listen. That's where celebrity hypnotist Uri Geller steps in.
Pounds & Ounces has been on an upgrade rampage. Just recently they opened a sidewalk cafe and their awesome double happy hours. But now it's time to meet their new burger: The F&Kn Burger (Fork & Knife Burger).
This 8 ounce monstrosity ($26) comes with onion marmalade, fontina cheese, pineapple braised short ribs, more fontina cheese, lettuce, and pickled green tomato chips. You can even choose to add Foie Gras on top your your burger.
This ain't your regular Burger King Whopper. Check out this bad boy asap!
It comes as no surprise that one of the sexiest places on earth would take Valentine’s Day very seriously. While couples up north will be celebrating in layers of wool coats, huddling close to a fireplace trying to make their teeth stop chattering long enough to sip their hot cocoas, we in South Florida will be enjoying our mild “winter” with picnics and walks on the beach, al fresco dining, linen slacks, skimpy dresses, and strappy heels. Valentine’s Day in the world’s sexiest place is definitely very sexy, and for foodies the dining options are equally as sensual. Whether you want to share in the the raw eroticism of sushi, the classic romance of Italian cuisine, or the warm and exotic spices from the land of the Kama Sutra, South Florida has the perfect place for you and your date to begin your romantic evening, and may of the area’s finest restaurants will be featuring special menus to help set the mood. Here are some of my picks for getting the evening started in good taste:
Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill
One of Miami’s most innovative restaurants located in the heart of Midtown will be featuring special additions to their already daring menu that evoke sensuous images and provide luscious flavors and textures, like a beef tenderloin with melting foie gras and roasted root vegetables ($36) or triggerfish crudo with “bleeding” pomegrante and white soy ($10). Additionally, Chef Timon Balloo will be offering sweetheart petit fours ($8) that will include a chocolate chili bar, passionfruit pâte de fruit and rose water macaroon, making a sweet end to a romantic gourmet experience.
3250 NE 1st Ave
Miami, Florida 33127
Sushi Samba Dromo
Lincoln Road is an ideal place for a Valentine’s Day dinner, offering the opportunity for an intimate stroll and exemplary al fresco dining. Sushi Samba has long been a favorite on this strip for their exemplary fusion of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian flavors and techniques. This Valentine’s Day, Sushi Samba will be offering a few sexy specials to help heat up couples’ special night, including a lamb loin tataki with yuzu-mint gelée, spicy tobanjan-dijon mustard, and celery sprouts ($16), as well as an elegant dessert of rose water meringue with chocolate truffle mousse, dragon fruit-kiwi-strawberry salsa and sake gelée ($12). To drink, don’t miss that night’s special cocktail comrpised of pisco, Domaine de Canton, fresh pineapple and freshly muddled raspberry ($11).
600 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139-2916
Long-known for providing diners with some of the most breath-taking views of the ocean, the newly revamped Rusty Pelican is offering a prix-fixe V-Day dinner for $85 per person and will be available from Friday, February 10th up until the 14th. You might need to leave dinner early and find a hotel room after sampling Rusty Pelican’s aphrodisiac first courses like “Ménage à Foie” consisting of foie gras pâté, both seared and torchon, brioche toast, and honey marmalade, or the “Oysters & Pearls” that include poached Kumamotos, tapioca pearls, spinach, and Osetra caviar.
3201 Rickenbacker Causewy
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
One of Miami’s newest - and hottest - dining destinations will also be offering a prix-fixe, 3-course menu for $80 per person that also features some traditionally sensual appetizers with a twist, including a foie gras brûlée and beef tartare. Chef Andrew Carmellini will also be offering entrée choices that include simply-prepared comfort dishes, like Guiness-braised shortribs with Yukon gold mash and sprout leaf salad, or lighter options like roasted pompano with crème frâiche and caviar.
2201 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Miami’s newest shrine to haute Japanese cuisine, located inside the exclusive Bal Harbour Shops. Offering a relative bargain prix-fixe menu at $55 per person, diners will be able to indulge in fire and ice oysters with yamamomo granita and serrano chili, a surf and turf consisting of lobster and a 12 oz. NY strip steak, and chocolate yuzu for dessert. For an additional $30, diners can partake in a drink pairing for each course, that includes exciting spirits like a sparkling sake.
9700 Collins Avenue #107
Bal Harbour, FL 33154
One of the restaurants on the forefront of Ft. Lauderdale’s emerging fine dining scene offering some of the most innovative cocktails and creative preparations of sushi and seafood, SAIA will be presenting a special V-Day dinner in collaboration with Hanahouhoushu Sparkling Pink Sake. Available February 10th through the 14th, will be able to partake in a five-course prix-fixe dinner with Hanahouhoushu’s unique sparkling pink sake for only $159 per couple. Start with a salmon & hamachi miso and ginger chicken soup and end with a strawberry fruit salad featuring fresh strawberries with ginger melon sauce a coconut sorbet in a crispy wonton shell with mint granita while gazing off into the Atlantic ocean just steps away.
999 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
East End Brasserie
There is no cuisine more closely-associated simultaneously with elegance and romance than French cuisine. This Valentine’s Day, savor Chef Steve Zobel’s three-course prix-fixe menu with amuse bouch and champagne toast for $75 per person featuring such luscious dishes as ricotta gnocchi with Roquefort cream sauce, and sole and asparagus on a bed of wild mushrooms topped with lobster hollandaise sauce. Finish dinner with a chocolate fondue for two! Wine lovers can have dinner with wine pairings for $95 per person.
601 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
One of the newest reasons to visit Brickell is Mare Nostrum, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant specializing in the freshest seafood imaginable. For $150, a couple can enjoy a complimentary bottle of Moet Chandon champagne, as well as a sumptuous four-course dinner, including seared tuna rolled in Moroccan spices with seafood risotto cake, lemon buerre blanc, and red wine reduction. To cleanse the palate between course, refresh yourself with a mojito granizado!
1111 SW First Avenue
Miami, FL 33131
For those intending to fly solo for Valentine’s Day, Edge Steak & Bar has just the menu for you, which avoids using any cutesy, lovey-dovey language...it actually does quite the opposite. For $65 per person, celebrate (or wallow in) your singleness with dishes like “love shucks” (East Coast seafood tower flavored by sour orange mojo, stinking rose aioli and angry habanero hot sauce) or “burnt, bitter, blue” (salad of bitter greens, burnt almond praline, and crumbles of Point Reyes blue cheese, drizzled with two-timing balsamic dressing). Only parties of one will be seated in the restaurant’s private dining rooms, and festive event will provide single diners the opportunity to mingle and possibly find that perfect somebody.
1435 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131
No matter where you go in this iconic Miami Beach resort, you will not be disappointment. Perhaps the most exemplary Italian restaurant in South Florida, Scarpetta will be offering its regular menu including its signature spaghetti with tomato and basil that will win over any heart. Hakkasan’s dark ambiance and private dining rooms separated by a labyrinth of carved wooden partitions, along with its gourmet Chinese cuisine, make it an ideal dining destination for this special day. Solo, perhaps one of Miami’s finest pastry shops, will also be offering special Valentine’s Day-themed pastries, including raspberry and white chocolate macaron hearts. Of course, there is no better way to end the evening than with a stroll on the boardwalk!
4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Just recently celebrating its grand opening with a star-studded party, The Delano’s newest restaurant addition will be offering a prix-fixe V-Day menu laden with one of the most sensual ingredients in the world that is perhaps the most treasured by any foodie: TRUFFLES! From truffle tagliatelle to a sirloin steak served with crispy black truffle potatoes and a side dish of spinach in a truffle cream sauce, Bianca is sure to leave any truffle-lover lovestruck.
1685 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Blame it on former President George W Bush’s cultural campaign against France - the same campaign that brought us “freedom fries” - or maybe America’s obsession with health food to counteract the obesity epidemic, or simply the idea that the tourists want to eat foods they can identify with South Florida - light, cool, and tropical. Regardless of what you attribute it to, it has become pretty difficult to find a decent classic-style French restaurant in South Florida. I’m talking about the kind that make velvety sauces with a shameless amount of butter, cream, and demi glace, serve duck, rabbit, foie gras, and escargots, and have at least several of those preparations seasoned with a good amount of black truffles. I think I might have found one such restaurant on Fort Lauderdale Beach called East End Brasserie.Located inside The Atlantic Resort and Spa, East End Brasserie debuted last month and has been receiving positive reviews ever since. The ambiance is casual and reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie with dark wooden floors, bentwood chairs, and white marble top tables against red leather banquettes. The ceiling is painted a sky blue and the walls are covered with an iridescent metallic blue fabric, both contributing to a cozy atmosphere at night and a bright one during the day with views of the Atlantic ocean. On a recent evening, my dining partner and I started our dining experience with a classic and well-balanced Manhattan that offered a martini glass filled with all the usual suspects. While still perusing the menu, we were offered a bread basket filled with slices of rustic whole wheat, sourdough, and raisin breads with a small dish of an addictive truffle and herb compound butter that gives reason enough to visit this brasserie.
Although East End Brasserie’s menu offers several creatively conceived dishes like butternut squash wontons, we decided to stick with the more traditional French items that, while inspired by classic French dishes, still demonstrated Chef Steve Zobel’s personal touches. A perfect example is his take on the timeless frisée, pear, and walnut salad. A bed of generously dressed frisée came topped with slices of poached pears instead of the traditional fresh pears, toasted walnuts, and feta cheese, instead of the more typical blue, that provided a tangy counterbalance to the richness of the crispy duck cracklings that drew me to this salad. Another appetizer comprised of toasted rounds of brioche, chestnut puree, slices of foie gras torchon, and roasted gala apples offered a unique combination of flavors and textures. The savory richness of the foie gras paired beautifully with the sweet chestnut puree, mimicking each other’s smooth texture, while the roasted apple provided fruitiness and firmness in contrast to the softer texture of the other two elements. A drizzle of cider reduction gave the hors d’oeuvre a hint of acidity that brightened the whole dish.
On special that evening was Chef Zobel’s take on a traditional Coq au Vin, one of the staples of classic French cuisine and something not commonly found in many restaurants these days, making it an obvious entrée choice. The Coq au Vin - a stew of chicken braised in red wine with garnishes of pearl onions, mushrooms, and lardons (the original bacon bits) - was served on a nontraditional bed of mashed potatoes that were an excellent vehicle for sopping up the unctuous sauce in which the fork-tender chicken was braised. Our waiter explained that this was the first time Coq au Vin has made an appearance on the menu, and I hope that Chef Zobel’s interpretation becomes a mainstay at East End Brasserie. My dining partner ordered a dish of pappardelle with duck confit, pearl onions, veal jus, and parmesan that tasted luscious as it sounds! The wide ribbons of egg noodle were bathed in a rich sauce that tasted of a marriage of veal essence and slowly rendered duck fat with a hint of sweetness from the shallots - definitely a dish to be had with a glass of full-bodied wine.
For dessert, we passed on Pastry Chef Ashley Roehrig’s more inventive creations that include beehive-shaped baked Alaskas, chocolate mousse bombes, and homemade candy bars. Instead, we decided to try one of her more simple, French-inspired creations as epitomized by her baked-to-order madeleines, which offered everything one would expect from the classic tea cakes. Ordered with a scoop of one of Chef Roehrig’s house-made ice creams, one has the perfect ending to very French meal...with a twist. This evening, we opted for ancho cinnamon ice cream, which was a creamy combination of spicy cinnamon and even spicier ancho chile powder and provided that kink to the vanilla of the madeleines.
East End Brasserie
601 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304