Monday, October 29, 2012

Burger Beast's Top Turkey Thanksgiving Challenge 11/15/12


Everyone's favorite jive turkey is at it again. Burger Beast has put together another fun event/challenge. This time he has selected twenty two of South Florida's best food trucks to compete in the first ever Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge. I am honored and excited to be judging the event along with Chat Chow TV and Fatgirl Hedonist We will be awarding "Top Turkey" honors to the truck with the best savory dish and the best sweet dish.

The challenge will be take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood on Thursday November 15th from 5:30-10PM. The dishes will be available for sale to the public.

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Every Food Truck will have their Regular Menu along with the Dishes below:

AZ Canteen: Goat Sausage (Cabrito) Grinder and Goat (Cabrito) Butter Burgers with Homemade Cranberry Sauce and Minted Stuffing Sauce & Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches on Ginger Snap Cookies.

B.C. Tacos: Roasted Turkey Taco, Topped with Stuffing and Charred Green Beans, then a Mini Taco with Sweet Potatoes and Torched Marshmallows served with a Side of Gravy and Cranberry Sauce.

Best French Fries: Choose between Mashed Potato Fries served with Cranberry Sour Cream Accompanied by Fried Corn-on-the-Cob  Or Sweet Potato Fries served with Pumpkin Pie Dipping Sauce Accompanied by Fried Corn-on-the-Cob.

Bocaditos: Dish 1: Turkey Meatloaf with Apricot Glaze on Brioche Roll dressed with Sriracha Mayo. Dish 2: Plum Glazed Turkey Roast on a Cream Biscuit with Bacon + Spinach Sauce and Gravy & Dish 3: Bread Stuffing Bun with sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon and Cranberry Mustard; Sides: Fried Green Beans with Shallot Rings  Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans + Spiced Cranberries.

Clarabelle’s: Our 3 Pumpkin Season Specialties (as featured last month in the Miami Herald): Cupcake 1: Pumpkin Spice with Maple Rim Butter-cream, Cupcake 2: Pumpkin Pie with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, Cupcakes 3: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cointreau Cream Cheese Frosting

Crazydilla: Sliced Roast Turkey, Melted Swiss, Sweet Potato Mash, Green Apple Stuffing, and a Cranberry Compote with Gravy Dipping Sauce.

Daddy’s Grill: Glazed Turkey Fillets with Teriyaki served with Mashed Yuca with Mojo Criollo.

Dim Ssam a Gogo: Korean BBQ Pulled Turkey Ssam (Lettuce Leaf Wrap) with Sweet Potato Kimchi.
Fireman Derek: Pumpkin Cheesecake

HipPOP’s Handcrafted Gelato Bars: Vanilla Gelato Pop with Caramelized Pecans, Dipped in Semi Sweet Chocolate, inCRUSTed with Cinnamon dusted Graham Cracker Crumbs.

Jefe’s Original Fish Taco & Burgers: Turkey Melt on Oatmeal Toasted Bread, Havarti Cheese, Sliced Tomato Applewood Smoked Bacon, Sage Herbed Mayo & Acai Cranberry Relish.

JOJI Yogurt: Sweet Potato Pie Frozen Yogurt

The Loaded Burger: Fresh Ground Turkey Stuffed with Homemade Southern Cornbread Stuffin’, Injected with Roasted Turkey Gravy and Topped with Creamy Mac n Cheez served on Toasted Brioche with Cranberry Relish and Garlic Mayo.

Marlie’s Delights: Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake with Praline Crunch and Cranberry Compote.

Mr. Good Stuff: Turkey burger Stuffed with Mushrooms, Mozzarella Cheese & Bacon Topped with Provolone Cheese, a Spicy Cranberry Sauce & French Fried Onions on a Brioche Bun.

Ms. Cheezious: “All the Fixins Remixin”

Nacho Bizness: Mayflower Burrito is filled with Turkey, Stuffing, Roasted Butternut Squash, Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Chili.

Purple People Eatery: Turkey Roulade Stuffed with Kale, Carrots, Honey Ham and Swiss Cheese Served with Savory Yam Sauce.

The Rolling Stove: Sausage Cornbread Dressing Stuffed with Sliced Herb & Wine Roasted Turkey & Spiral Cut Honey Ham, Swiss/Cheddar Cheese, Cranberry Marmalade, Battered and Lightly Fried until Crisp. Served with Madera Wine Gravy for Dipping(Monte Cristo Style).

Slow Food Truck: Open Faced Grilled Corn Bread Turkey Sandwich. Buttered Grilled Corn Bread, Cranberry Chutney, with Duck Fat Sous Vide Dark Meat that is then Fried to Perfection & Topped with a Giblet Gravy.

Taco Fresh: Dish 1: Mexican Torta with Oven Roasted Turkey on a Toasted Mexican Bolillo Roll with Fresh Avocado, Cilantro & Topped with Tangy Cranberry Salsa, Spicy Marinated Jalapeños and Caramelized Onions on Side. Dish 2: Turkey Taco with Oven Roasted Turkey Mixed with Green Salsa Tomatillo on a Fresh Homemade Corn Tortilla  topped with Fresh Avocado, Cilantro and Tangy Cranberry.

Waffleosophy: Seasonal Pumpkin Waffle with Roasted Turkey, Chestnut Gravy, Cranberry/Raspberry Reduction, Sweet Potato Crisps, & Roasted Marshmallows.

The Details:

Thanksgiving Dinner Food Truck Challenge @
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Date: Thursday November 15th
Time: 5:30PM – 10PM
Location: 1 Seminole Way Hollywood, Florida 33314
Parking: Plenty of Free Parking

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seasonal Supper @ Essensia 11/8/12


Essensia Restaurant’s Signature Chef, Julie Frans, and the Essensia culinary team present the Fall edition of Essensia’s Seasonal Supper Series on Thursday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. at $95.00 plus tax and gratuity.

Chef Julie in Garden

An intimate gathering for all who enjoy farm-fresh flavors, diners will discover the tastiest ingredients available this season in South Florida with an exquisite 5-course dinner paired with fine wines carefully selected from Essensia’s sustainable wine list.  

Essensia's Chef's Garden Entrance
The evening will begin with a Cocktail Social in the hotel’s private beach area at the back of the property, home to Chef’s Organic Garden, where guests will sip on Signature Artisanal Cocktails and nibbling on a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres while learning about the crops currently farmed in the hotel’s Chef’s Garden.  The 5-course dinner will be served in Essensia’s intimate dining room.


1st Course

White Bean and Kale Soup featuring Butternut Squash, Local Oyster Mushroom, Garden Celery, and Crispy Serrano Ham (Vegetarian option available)

2nd Course

Mini Jackfruit Carnita served with Local Avocado, Garden Herb Chimichurri, and Heirloom Tomato Salsa Fresca

3rd Course

Grilled Okechobee Shrimp served with Mediterranean Salad with Purslane, Mint, and Pomegranate (Vegetarian option available)

4th Course

Hog Fish en Papillote featuring Lemongrass, Ginger, Thai Basil, Sweet Chile, served with Coconut Black Thai Rice (Vegetarian en Papillote option available)

5th Course

Panna Cotta featuring Fresh Local Strawberries, Aged Balsamic, Tellicherri Pepper, served with Lavender Rosemary Biscotti

In addition, several of the purveyors and farmers who work with Chef Julie will be on hand to educate guests on what they are about to taste and to answer any questions on the importance of using local vendors/farms, freshness, sustainability, harvesting, seasonality, and nutritional value.

Seats are limited to 50 guests and are $95.00 per person (not including tax or gratuity). The Seasonal Supper includes a welcome cocktail, 5-course farm-to-table menu paired with fine wines carefully selected from Essensia’s sustainable wine list. 

For reservations, please call 305.908.5490. Full pre-payment is required to reserve a space. 

The Palms Hotel & Spa
3025 Collins Ave

Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 534-5458

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best Restaurants in MIami "Tiers of Excellence"


The food scene in Miami continues to improve making my rankings increasingly more difficult.  Nevertheless, I've done a lot of eating since I posted my last rankings back in July and the following rankings are the most accurate to date.  It should be noted that while food is the primary factor in my formula value, service, ambiance and wine/beverage programs also play an important role.  Moreover, every restaurant ranked here is good to great and all are recommended by me.  Eat well and often!!

TIER ONE- The BEST of the BEST. Run don't walk to these spots for A++ meals.

TIER TWO- This is a solid tier of restaurants putting out great food and providing an overall great dining experience. 

Azul (Chef Kilgore recently left)


Red Light  (Closed-Chef Wessel is now at Florida Cookery)


Chef Philip Ho


Joe's Stone Crab

The To Do Eat Tier - Exit 1,Machialina, The Hoxton, Essensia, Tikl, Haven, Katsuya, Il Gabbiano, Zuma, The Setai.

Coming soon and looking forward to tier- Catch, The Florida Cookery, Oak Tavern, Khong River House and MC Kitchen.

THE CASUAL TIER- Counter service and/or on the casual side.

Shake Shack

Harry's Pizzeria

Josh's Deli

Kings County Pizza


Monday, October 1, 2012

Southern Fried Sundays @ The Dutch



Monthly All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken Dinner Premieres Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Dutch at W South Beach Hotel & Residences will introduce monthly Southern Fried Sundays featuring all-you-can-eat down home cookin’ from Andrew Carmellini and chef de cuisine Conor Hanlon. Available the first Sunday of each month, the special kicks off on Sunday, October 7, 2012.

Priced at $34 per person (excludes beverages, tax and gratuity), guests will be treated to unlimited hot fried chicken, honey butter biscuits and house made Anthony’s slaw. Add a kick to dinner with The Dutch’s specialty made-in-house hot sauce. According to Carmellini, “The great fried chicken debate is all about the inside versus the outside. Fried chicken that hits the skin and the meat is about as easy to find as a unicorn or a four-leaf clover, but we think our recipe is about as close as you can get.”

For Southern Fried Sundays, guests can imbibe in the Southern Peach, house made peach-infused bourbon and southern Peychaud’s bitters, served up in a crème de pech rinsed glass ($9).

Desserts from pastry chef Josh Gripper, include rotating southern-inspired pies; house made ice creams and Gripper’s Chocolate Grail for two – a concoction of ice cream, hazelnut crunch, chocolate brownie and passion fruit sauce.

2201 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 938-3111