Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Pizza Spots

As many of you know, a few new restaurants have opened recently that feature Pizza. Racks (North Miami), Sosta (Lincoln Road) and Pizzavolante (Design District). The openings prompted Frodnesor from Food for Thought to organize the Pizza Showdown Part I.

I'm a huge traditional NY style pizza fan who has come to the realization that I'm not going to find the NY style Pizza I was raised on in Miami. Nevertheless, there is still good alternative style pizza out there to enjoy.

In my never-ending quest to find great pizza I recently had the opportunity to try Racks and Pizzavolante.

Mozzarella fans should head over to Pizzavolante. They have a mozzarella bar with several options and accompaniments. I tried the mozzarella di bufala from Italy and the burrattatini. Both were excellent but I liked the mozzarella a little more. The organic tomatoes, spinach and zucchini were all fresh and tasty.

The pizza is cooked in a wood burning oven that you can't miss upon entering. I sampled the margherita pizza which I enjoyed. It's thin, light, fresh and tasty. I know, not your typical pizza description but that's exactly right. The sauce wasn't a traditional pizza sauce and sort of reminded me of a vodka sauce. Whatever it was worked.

Pizzavolante will be a winner because of the fresh, high quality ingredients they are using along with the reasonable prices. I'm looking forward to heading back soon and trying more mozzarella, pizza, the accompaniments and inexpensive wine.

3918 N. Miami Ave.
Miami FL 33137

Pizzavolante on Urbanspoon

Racks recently opened on the intracoastal in North Miami Beach. They have a sister location in Boca called Coal Mine Pizza. Both feature coal fired pizza and I found it to be similar in style to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza but not as good. The sweet sausage pizza I sampled did not have a crispy crust and the dough was on the soggy side. The cheese and toppings slid right off when I attempted to fold my slice(s) and take a bite. The cheese and sauce were fine but the entire package didn't really work for me. It was on the heavy side. It wasn't bad but not great. If you are looking for good coal oven pizza in the area, I would stick with Anthony's.

Racks Italian Bistro and Market
Intracoastal Mall 163rd St and NE 36th Ave
N. Miami Beach, FL

Racks Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon

I've also been back to Spris(Lincoln Road) and Piola (Hallandale Beach location) over the past two weeks and both continue to serve very good thin crust pizza with several interesting options.

To do list includes Pieducks (Miami), Andiamo (Miami), Sosta (Lincoln Road).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great American Bake Sale @ Aventura Mall 5/24/09

Sweet treats for charity sounds like a perfect combo to me... You can also grab a burger at the new Five Guys located in the food court.

Share Our Strength, the chefs' hunger-relief charity, ''bakes a difference'' Sunday with its fifth annual Great American Bake Sale at Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura. From noon to 4 p.m. in the mall's center court, a score of local restaurants, hotels, bakeries and caterers will sell sweet treats for $2 to $5 each.

Also on tap: Le Cordon Bleu pastry demonstrations, raffles and, for kids, a cupcake decorating station and puppet performances. The event, organized by longtime South Florida SOS chair chef Allen Susser, benefits the group's campaign to end childhood hunger; www.shareourstrengthsouthflorida.com.

Free Vodka Tasting @ Hollywood Vine 5/22/09

I'm not familiar with SAAGA Vodka but it sounds like it is worth trying at that price point.
You can always wash it down with a nice glass of wine....

SAAGA…Super premium, unfiltered Vodka

Come and join us at HVine on Friday night 5/22 from 7-10pm for the next in our most recent series of spirits tastings as we attempt to save you from the world of overpriced vodkas with fancy labels with an unfiltered Estonian Vodka called SAAGA. This distillers of this fine spirit are combining a resurrected 18th century recipe with slow continous distillation, super premium ingredients and modern technology. All of this stuff is produced in small batches (just like we like it). Did I mention it only costs $19.99? We’ll be mixing drinks with the addition of our favorite “easy mixers” from Stirrings. This will definitely be a memorable tasting for all of you Grey Goosers…

Saaga Vodka

Saaga Vodka

2035 Harrison Street Hollywood, FL 33020. Phone 954.922.2910

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

$30 Summer menu @ Cafe Maxx

Neighborhood Nights
Café Maxx $30 Summer Menu

“NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHTS”, is our answer to Florida’s “Staycation." For those of you who are going to be here for the summer months, relax and enjoy a small slice of luxury right around the corner! Join Darrel & Oliver for dinner, and relax while the summer heats up.

This promotion will be offered four nights a week, every Sunday through Wednesday, beginning Mother’s Day, May 10th, through September 30. Enjoy this summer long promotion featuring an amazing three course summer menu for $30 dollars.

Chef Oliver has been working with his purveyors to provide us with the freshest ingredients at their peak of flavor and value. Oliver and staff will be highlighting seasonal favorites from our ever changing menu. The NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHTS menu will be updated monthly.

First Course
Slice of caviar pie
Tropical BBQ glazed shrimp, fruit salsa, sweet mash and crispy plantain
Beef and shiitake mushroom pot stickers, mango chili sauce, sweet and sour red cabbage
Goat cheese salad with endives, baby greens, citrus vinaigrette, and cashews
Mozzarella Caprese salad, basil, shaved onion, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette
Chicken and penne pasta, sundried tomatoes, spinach, garlic and parmesan cream
Filet mignon tartare, capers, herbs, olive oil and aioli with crostini

Main Course
Sweet onion crusted snapper, Madeira sauce and gaufrette potatoes
Lamb chops with sun dried tomato and goat cheese crust, naturals sauce, new potato and roasted vegetables
Breast of duck with brie mashed potatoes, grilled baby carrots and berry sauce
Shrimp scampi with pappardelle pasta ribbons, garlic butter, basil and fresh tomato
Three pepper crusted petite filet with blue cheese au-gratin, shallot thyme butter & red wine sauce
Grilled and nut crusted mahi mahi, sweet potatoes, plantains, wilted spinach and citrus vinaigrette
Breast of chicken piallard Milanese, tomato basil sauce and chopped Mediterranean bread salad

Warm apple tart with ice cream and caramel sauce
Triple chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce
Bread pudding with Anglaise and berry sauces
Trio of ice cream or sorbet in almond lace cup
Vanilla crème brulee spoons with cookies and strawberry
Cheese cake with mosaic of fruit sauces

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Beer Alert crafted by Ferran Adria

A new beer crafted by Ferran Adria, Juli Soler and the sommeliers at ElBulli is being introduced in the USA this week. It's called Estrella Damm INEDIT. It was created to pair with food. Not sure where to find it yet but will post back with more information.

Friday, May 15, 2009

ARTWALK Downtown Hollywood 5/16/09

AND $3 DRINK SPECIALS @Lola's on Harrison

John "Lemon" Drop
Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup

Yellow Submarine
Vodka, Orange Juice, Vermouth

All You Need Is Love
Vodka, Raspberries, Mint, Peach Puree,
Pineapple Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Peach Schnapps

A Hard Days Night
Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, Club Soda

I would also recommend stopping by Hollywood Vine for a pre or post Artwalk glass of wine and/or grab dinner over at Lola's on Harrison


Weekend Menu @ Lola's on Harrison


Baby Red Leaf Lettuce, Bacon Strips, Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes, Housemade Thousand Island Dressing

Hearts of Palm and Mango Salad, Swank Farms Rainbow Swiss Chard,
Drizzled with Jalapeno Oil

Whipped Cream


link to updated menu below. Note select wines are 50% off on Sundays
Lola's on Harrison

Chef Mike strives to bring his guests the best ingredients possible and that's why we have partnered with Swank Farms- a hydro-natural farm located in Loxahatchee Florida. Supporting local growers not only helps the local economy, reduces your carbon footprint, but also guarantees you receive only the freshest ingredients.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hell's Kitchen Chef Dinner @ 3030 Ocean 5/20/09

Hells Kitchen Chef Dinner Wednesday May 20th
Your favorite competitors cook for you!

Giovanni, Colleen, Ben and Ji are coming to Harbor Beach Resort to join Chef Paula in the kitchen for a dinner presentation you will long remember. Starting at 6:30 p.m., enjoy a Champagne Reception with passed hors d'oeuvres, followed by a five-course dinner with each course prepared specially by one of the five chefs. Wines from the award-winning B.R. Cohn Winery of the Sonoma Valley will be served.

Limited Seating !

Only 85 seats are available for this special event. Reserve your spot now --

call Corey Blohm or Nicole Jackson at 954-765-3129.

$100 per person

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hell's Kitchen Finale @ 3030 Ocean

Hell's Kitchen:
Viewing Parties for Paula!!


Harbor Beach Marriott Resport & Spa is hosting a Viewing Party during the last episode of Hell's Kitchen - Thursday May 14, when patrons can cheer on Paula DaSilva and even mingle with the finale contestant. 3030 Ocean will offer reserved seating at 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00pm so the entire kitchen staff can be free to watch the episode airing 9:00 - 10:00pm. During this hour, complimentary appetizers and Prosecco will be passed around to guests. In addition, complimentary Bacardi, Mojitos and Caipiriñas will be available from 8:00 - 10:00pm.

Chef Paula DaSilva will be on site during the final episodes mingling with guests and available for media interviews. Multiple televisions will be set up in the lobby and restaurant areas for guests to watch in anticipation of who will be crowned the winner.


Gold Medal Wine Tour Series

Between April 21 and November 17, the 2009 Gold Medal Wine Tour Dinner Series will host thirteen dinners prepared by the finest Chefs in South Florida and paired with winners from the "American Fine Wine Competition". This competition is restricted to fine "American only" produced wines among which at least five Gold Medal winning wines not easily found outside California.

Dinners begins at 6 PM with a one hour "Sparkling Reception" followed by a four course pairing dinner, prizes and a silent auction.

The schedule of dinners is:
April 21- Cucina d'Angelo, Boca Raton;
April 30- Ritz Carlton, Coconut Grove;
May 5- Eduardo de San Angel, Ft Lauderdale;
June 3- Casa d'Angelo, Boca Raton;
June 11- Lola's, Hollywood;
August 26- Fontainebleau, Miami Beach;
September 9-Chef Allen's, Aventura;
September 22- Ortanique, Coral Gables;
October 6- Café Boulud, Palm Beach;
October 21- City Fish Market, Boca Raton;
November 4- Paradiso, Lake Worth;
November 16- Omphoy, Palm Beach;
November 17-Two Chef's, South Miami.

For reservations call Shari at 561-504-VINE (8463) and visit www.goldmedalwinetour.com for details about the menus and wines, and up-to-date information. Dinners are $125 inclusive. Proceeds will benefit Kids in Distress, End Childhood Hunger, Crohn's & Colitis, and PROPEL.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Miami/Broward Zagat Survey

The Miami/South Florida Zagat survey is up. Voting runs through June 10 and all participants get a free guide or 60 day membership. I encourage everyone to vote in order to have a strong and accurate South Florida guide.

Zagat Survey

Free Rum Tasting @ Hollywood Vine 5/8/09

This Friday night from 7-10pm Hollywood Vine is offering a complimentary tasting of Atlantico private cask rum. This is a super premium rum that can be sipped by it self or mixed in a variety of ways.

A sampling of some of their Artisan cheeses will be available complimentary as well.

2035 Harrison Street Hollywood, FL 33020. Phone 954.922.2910

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rao's Premium Pasta Sauces

Rao's is a famous Italian restaurant in East Harlem that is known for being impossible to get a reservation. They also have an outstanding line of premium pasta sauces
that are available at select Publix and at Italian/gourmet food markets. (Doris and Epicure carry them). I am not a fan of jar sauce and was fortunate to have homemade sauce on a weekly basis growing up. That said, I have had my share of jar sauce over the years and Rao's marinara is fantastic and easily the best jar sauce I've ever tasted. It costs approximately $9.00 which is expensive for jar sauce but it is worth every penny and still less expensive than going out. They have several options (vodka sauce is great too) but you can't go wrong with the marinara.

Marinara Sauce - 12 jars (32oz) Special