Upon thinking about the many holidays we celebrate throughout the year, most of them revolve around food...at least to a foodie. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and even Chanukah and Passover center around some sort of banquet. Even patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day involve some sort of special meal comprising delicacies that are reserved for little else than those specific holidays. Halloween, while definitely a swell time to partake in ghastly amounts of candy, is not what one would consider an “eating holiday”. Nevertheless, a true gourmand would never pass up the opportunity to enjoy terrific food, regardless of the occasion, and Miami’s top eateries promise to offer us foodies some delicious Halloween treats.
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
South American raw bar and grill Sugarcane is offering special courses for Thanksgiving like spiced squash soup, creamy polenta with duck egg, roasted fall vegetable salad, suckling pig porchetta with roasted apples, apple cider-roasted turkey, chestnut stuffing with cranberry demi, and roasted sturgeon. Prices for dishes range from $7 to $25. Sugarcane has also got dessert covered with warm, caramelized apple pie with rosemary-olive oil gelato.
3252 NE 1 Avenue, Miami, 33137
Yardbird is as Southern as Thanksgiving can get this Thursday. For $65, enjoy the definition of Southern in dishes like fresh house-baked, honey butter biscuits, heirloom baby beets with local crumbled goat cheese and spicy pecans, and sweet potato pie topped with house-made marshmallows, walnuts and a bacon crust. Main dishes for the prix-fixe menu include smoked pulled turkey, dumpling “stuffing” with peas, carrots and crisp ham, and Bone-in Rack of Lamb. Yardbird is pulling out all the stops with their Turkey Three Ways dish. A 3-day brined roasted breast confit turkey roulade stuffed with figs, apricots and foie gras, along with a big crispy drumstick with bourbon cider gravy.
1600 Lenox Avenue, Miami Beach, 33139
Aside from the aji Amarillo red snapper ceviche, assorted fresh maki, crab claws and specialty rolls that Vida will be dishing up this Thanksgiving, traditional stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and maple baked yams will also be served buffet style! And for your sweet tooth, the casual, American brasserie offers pumpkin or apple pie, bourbon pecan tarts and cranberry apple brioche bread pudding. The buffet is $75 per person and $32.50 per child.
4441 Collins Avenue, Miami, 33140
Scarpetta has designed an Italian-inspired Thanksgiving buffet for $75 complete with a carving station serving slow cooked turkey breast and leg of lamb. Enjoy buttermilk biscuits, stuffing and cranberry sauce on the side. Scarpetta is also offering their signature Italian cuisine with a pasta station serving pumpkin tortelli and spaghetti with tomato and basil. Finish off the night with Panettone bread pudding and a duo of chocolate mousse and hazelnut praline.
4441 Collins Avenue, Miami, 33140
Gotham Steak has put together an à la carte multi-course menu this Thanksgiving. Start with slow-roasted turkey breast or a slow smoked turkey leg. Compliment that juicy entrée with your choice of Yukon potato puree or roasted quince with Alsatian cabbage, while a decadent desert awaits you in the form of rich apple almond cake with pumpkin coulis and rum raisin ice cream.
4441 Collins Avenue, Miami, 33140
Enjoy braised short rib gyoza for starters at Sushi Samba as a part of their far east inspired Thanksgiving menu. Then bite down on a mojo roasted organic turkey linguiça quinoa stuffing and crispy brussels sprout as an entrée for $24. For desert, savor a Brazil nut apple pie made with Fuji apple, Brazil nut crumble, apple cider caramel and Wild Turkey crema for $10. Sushi Samba will even offer a Thanksgiving cocktail: a tart mixture of spiced, dark rum, sparkling sake and white cranberry juice garnished with cranberries. Other options include: East Coast oysters, scallop Usuzukur, and a Japan roll.
600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 33139
Among many South Americans, Peruvian cuisine is considered to be the the most extensive, most diverse, most sophisticated, and most elegant cuisine of the Americas. With influences from Spain, France, Italy, North and West Africa, China, Japan, and the native peoples of Peru, Peruvian cuisine is one that offers a great complexity of flavors that is unique to this country. Nevertheless, outside of Latin America, it is seldom understood or appreciated in full other than the disappointing experience of an overcooked ceviche or greasy rotisserie chicken.
Well over 5,000 people this weekend did! No, not at Ultra. At the Deering Seafood Festival! This year the 7th Annual Deering Seafood Festival saw record numbers in attendance to their festivities. Yesterday, Sunday the 27th, the Deering Estate at Cutler was filled with tons of people, food, music, and plenty of seafood to go around! From 11am until 6pm the Estate hosted live music, local seafood vendors and restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and local artists for guests of the festival.
With more than 444 acres of land and wild habitat, the Deering Estate held more than 30 booths of food, artists, and local sponsors, including a huge music stage for local bands and musicians. All the while, local chefs prepared dishes and demonstrated cooking skills in the Whole Foods Market-sponsored tent, just outside of the Stone House. I got there just in time to see Chef Jouvens Jean, Executive Chef from Sawa Restaurant in Coral Gables, make a to-die-for ‘Shrimp Al Ajillo’ on a Crostini. Other chefs that were featured at the tent were Chef Sean Bernal from Sushi Samba, Chef Dean Max from 3030 Ocean, and Chef Tricia Ferguson, co-author of “Lionfish Cookbook.”
Get out your favorite eye-catching beach cover up or take this as a reason to splurge on some chic surf attire for MOCA BASH Surf’s Up. North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting their annual cocktail and dance party, MOCA BASH Surf’s Up, on February 19th. The theme of this year’s fundraiser celebrates the thrill of surfing and will encompass all aspects of the surfing lifestyle. From 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. guests will dance the night away among beach bunnies and bonfires under colorful surfboards and fabrics evoking ocean waves.
Cocktails will be provided from GREY GOOSE Vodka, with Samuel Adams Beer and wines from Touch Catering. Guests will indulge in delicious items from Miami’s top restaurants, including China Grill, Asia de Cuba, Blue Door Delano, Adriana Restaurant, Meat Market, Sushi Samba and Shiraz Events Catering.
In another example of restaurant narcissism, SushiSamba is having a “Biggest Fan” competition to celebrate their ten-year anniversary. Here’s an excerpt from the website:
“Do you experience regular El Topo cravings? Do your shoulders take on a life of their own with the sound of our samba beats? Is sushisamba.com bookmarked on your web browser? Do you have the number of your nearest SUSHISAMBA location on speed dial? If you've answered 'yes' to more than one of these questions, you may be eligible for the title of SUSHISAMBA'S BIGGEST FAN! . . . Think you're 'the one'? We invite you to submit your written memories, photos, YouTube videos and creative tributes to be considered for the title. ”