Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bourbon on the Brain Charity Tasting 5.23.13


Don't Miss the 1st Annual
"Bourbon on the Brain" Bourbon Tasting Event
* Only 25 Seats Will Be Sold *

Bourbon on the Brain

May 23rd at 7 p.m.
Steak 954 in Ft. Lauderdale

Taste rare, extinct, select, and old bourbon while eating world class cuisine and listening to bourbon industry experts!

100% of proceeds will benefit the University of Miami - MIller School of Medicine, Department of Neurology

For more info click here or email

**Restaurants and Bars we could use a few more donations (gift certificates) for the gift bags**

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors
Angels Envy
Jefferson's Bourbon

Bourbon Tasting Event

Who: 25 Bourbon Enthusiasts
What: 1st Annual "Bourbon on the Brain" Bourbon Tasting Event
When: Thursday, May 23rd at 7pm
Where: Steak954, W Hotel - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Why: Proceeds will benefit the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Neurology

For $1,000 per person, Guests will receive...
1. A World Class Tasting Event
2. Delectable Cuisine from the Chefs at Steak954
3. Chance to Win Prizes all worth over $500
4. A Luxury Gift Bag worth over $150
5. Opportunity to Speak one-on-one with Masters in the Bourbon Industry
6. The Ability to Help Researchers Find a Cure for Memory Disorders

Bourbon Tasting List
1. Jeffersons Ocean
2. Pappy Van Winkle 23 yr
3. Willet 21 yr Cask Strength - (Old Heaven Hill Distillery)
4. Buffalo Trace Experimental 21 yr - (Only 1 barrel made)
5. Pappy Van Winkle 20 yr
6. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon '06, '09, and '10
7. Blanton's Special Reserve - (Only sold oversees)
8. Pappy Van Winkle 15 yr
9. Van Winkle 12 yr
10. E.H. Taylor Hand Selected Barrel

Featuring; Angels Envy's Hand Created Blends by Master Distiller. These bourbons have never been made before and will never be made again!

Executive Chef, Jason Smith, of Steak 954 will create a special menu to complement the Bourbon selection

Private Tour/Tastings at Bourbon Distilleries
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Free Hotel Stays
Private In-Home Tastings
Gifts from Top Designers
More prizes to come....

For more info or to reserve your spot call 305.206.3507 or

Friday, March 29, 2013

Veuve Clicquot Tasting with Dominique Demarville at Steak 954 4/3/13

Andrew at Wine Watch has curated another great dinner featuring the champagnes of  Veuve Clicquot.  The dinner is being held at one of the best restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale, Steak 954.  This is a good opportunity to enjoy some nice pours in the company of the chef du cave. 

Veuve Clicquot Tasting with Dominique Demarville at Steak 954 at the W Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Wednesday, April 3rd


Per Andrew, this is a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to taste the Champagnes of this famous house with one of the region's top minds behind these great wines, the chef du cave Dominique Demarville.

The chef du cave is kind of like being the pope, you have the job for life. This is one of the most important jobs in the wine business and it takes a lifetime of experience to make it to this position. Demarville became Veuve Clicquot’s 10th cellar master in 2009, where he continues the 240-year-old Champagne house’s legacy. Dominique earned a degree in oenology and viticulture from Lycée Viticole de la Champagne in Avize, and later, a supplementary oenology degree from the University of Burgundy, Dijon.

Join us as we break bread with Dominique at one of Fort Lauderdale's hottest restaurants on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The fee for this event is $125 + Tax + Gratuity, for reservations call 954-523-9463.


KomoGuay Oysters with Pear & Champagne Mignonette

Chorizo Croquettas with Chimichuri Aioli

Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon Roe

Mini Tuna Tacos with Foie Gras

Lobster Roll

Veuve Clicquot Rose Brut Champagne NV

Price: $78.75       Sale $69.30          Case $804

The wine has a luminous colour with radiant rose accents. The nose is elegant and generous, with initial aromas of fresh red fruit (raspberry, wild strawberry, cherry and blackberry) leading to dried fruits and biscuit notes (almonds, apricots and brioche). On the palate, the fresh first impression is followed by a fruity harmonious sensation. In line with the style of the Veuve Clicquot House, the wine is perfectly balanced and combines elegance and personality. The wine works its magic - this delectable champagne is beautifully ample and full of charm.


Crispy Risotto, Seared Foie Gras and Tomato Marmalade

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut 2004

Price: $108                          Sale $95.04          Case $1102

winemaker's notes:  In the mouth the wine is silky and generous. The expectations promised by the nose are met and even exceeded as the complexity of this wine is superlative: simultaneously evoking fruity and floral, mineral and spicy notes, menthol and toast…This wine is quite simply dazzling with its wealth of aromas, and a deliciously long and powerful finish.


Pan roasted Fluke with Florida Corn Chowder and Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms

Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame Brut Champagne 2004

Price: $199.25    Sale $175.34       Case $2033

winemaker's notes:  Veuve Clicquot's Prestige Cuvée, La Grande Dame, is a very great wine which pays homage to a very "grande dame de la Champagne," Madame Clicquot. The incomparable finesse of this cuvée results from a blend of eight of the House's traditional Grands Crus.

This wine has a fine, complex fragrance, blending sweetness and nobility. It is smooth and silky in the mouth, with considerable substance and structure. A remarkable balance, with a fresh, harmonious finish, and a unique aromatic aftertaste.


Nieman Ranch Slow Cooked Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree, Charred Broccoli Rabe and Gala Apple Gremolata

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut Rose 2004

Price: $122.75    Sale $108.02       Case $1252

winemaker's notes:  The Vintage Rose 2004 offers a deep pink color with the highlights of copper and delicate, light effervescence. The nose, extremely elegant, at first reveals flavors of ripe red fruits that burst on the tongue, before gradually giving way to violets, lilacs and light "pastry" notes. A discreet touch of ground coffee can also be distinguished. The attack is forthright and energetic.

This generous wine offers an astonishingly long and subtle finish. It is extremely complex and is distinguished by great freshness. On the palate, strong notes of fruit recall the refined nose. The finish is surprising in is persistence.


Strawberry and Rhubarb Crostata with Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt and Wild Strawberry Caviar

Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame Brut Rose Champagne 1998

Price: $353.25    Sale $310.86       Case $3603

Winemaker Notes - The first nose is already very expressive, with strawberry, pink grapefruit, and quince notes with pepper and cinnamon at the forefront against a refined mineral background. More gourmet aromas griotte cherry and blackberry jam appear.

The price of this event is $125+ Tax + Gratuity, for reservations call 954-523-9463.

 Wine Watch
901 Progresso Dr  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Steak 954
401 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

(954) 414-8333

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Equinox Dinner @ The Dutch Miami 3.21.13

Chef Kilgore, a Bearded Fellow & Chef Hanlon

Chef Conor Hanlon and Chef Bradley Kilgore worked together in the past and remained friends since that time. They both respect each others skill set and decided to team up for a Spring Equinox dinner at The Dutch Miami. The theme highlighted some of the current local seasonal offerings.

Make no mistake, these are two of the best young chefs in Miami.  These consummate professionals left their egos at home and collaborated on each dish together.  The result was a remarkable combination of cooking skills and flavorful food.  They delivered straight forward, ingredient driven fresh food that was executed flawlessly from start to finish.

Two local chefs joining forces was a real treat for those in attendance and something refreshing to see in the local culinary community.

Miami's food future is looking bright thanks to young chefs like Conor and Brad. 

The Gripper!!

And I can't forget one of the best pastry chefs in town, Joshua Gripper.  He delivered one of the best desserts I've ever had.


The evening started with a nice pre dinner, Smokey BBQ Old Fashioned featuring bacon infused Four Roses bourbon, maple syrup and smokey BBQ bitters.  

Sommelier Nicholas Abuabara did a terrific job pairing the wines with each course. 

Early Radish Salad pre parmesan.

The dynamic duo started us off with a wonderful early radish salad with celery, fine herbs pickled ramp vinaigrette and topped with Parmesan.  The textures, vinaigrette and cheese complimented each other perfectly.
The first course was paired with a very nice Foss Marai, prosecco D.O.C. Brut, Italy

The second course featured white and wild green asparagus, succulent stone crab and a tasty truffle sabayon.  It was paired with the wine of the night, a dynamite Charles Hours, Jurancon Sec "Cuvée Marie" Rhone, France 2011.

The third course was a delicious hand rolled ricotta gnudi with minted pea puree and bacon crisps.  The gnudi was outstanding on their own and the puree and bacon really elevated the dish to another level.  It was paired with Joseph Swan Vineyards, Chardonnay, Saralee's Vineyard, Russian river valley, Sonoma, 2009.

Course number four was a ten star chicken of a lifetime caliber dish.  Their "Spring Chicken" featured a fantastically flavorful poussin along with morels, smoked carrots, wilted ramp greens, whole grain mustard and foie gras jus.  This was as good as chicken gets.  It was paired with a very nice Vietti Langhe, Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy 2009.

The Roasted leg of Lamb.

It was very hard to follow the Spring Chicken dish but the lamb came to play too. I loved the braised lamb and the goat cheese polenta and fava beans were unreal.  Another outstanding dish.

The last savory treat was the roast leg of Spring lamb dusted with Ras el Hanout.  It was paired with
J.L. Chave, St-Joseph, "Offerus", Rhone, France 2009.

Lamb condiments including goat yogurt, rhubarb-kumquat chutney, Moroccan olive agrodolce and ramp chimichurri.

As expected, The Gripper blew the roof off with his wonderfully balanced "Peach Melba" with Champagne sorbet.  His dessert was subtly sweet and hit all the right notes. Refreshing, nice textures and fresh peaches mixed in. We were all full and we all cleaned our plates.

Chef Gripper wasn't done.  The night ended on a high note with more delicious treats.

Great meal and a very enjoyable evening with a fun group of food lovers.

This dinner will easily be in the running for my Meal of the year. 

Crawdaddy Tuesdays @ The Federal


This Tulane alum is a huge fan of crawfish and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with them over at The Federal on Tuesdays. 

Something the make your belly grumble, welcome CRAWDADDY TUESDAY!

Get ready to suck on some head and nibble on some tail, CRAWFISH are in season and the Federal is hosting a crawfish bonanza every Tuesday through the end of spring. It’s all about taking full advantage of the Gulf Coast’s fruitful bounty.

Flown in live on a weekly basis, these freshwater crustacean bad boys will be fresh and dee-lish-ous! Diners will have a chance to go conventional and order their very own crawfish boil or have the opportunity to pick from some of Chef Zapata’s unique crustacean creations. Packin' a one-two-punch, it's all about spicy heads and juicy tails. Get ready to pop em and suck em!


“Crawfish Boils with corn, potato, Andouille sausage and onions,”

“Crawfish ‘n Grits creole style served over Creamy Ansom Mills Grits,”

“Crawfish Fritters saffron-scented, served with spicy corn remoulade for dipping,”

and more!

Enjoy a crisp bottle of bubbly or an ice cold beer. We'll be offerring Bottomless Beer & Bubbles for $20 per person as an added treat.

Address: 5132 Biscayne Blvd. / Miami, Fl, 33137 (map)| Telephone: 305.758.9559

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Best Restaurants Miami "Tiers of Excellence"


A lot of eating and thinking went into this updated ranking.  As a result, this is the most accurate ranking to date and includes six welcome newcomers.  Once again I am challenging myself and limiting the rankings to the Top Twenty and ties.

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. Every restaurant ranked here is good to great and all are recommended by me.
The addition of the six new spots made this very difficult and I suspect that it will become even more difficult next time with the anticipated openings of The Cypress Room, Tongue & Cheek and hopefully a new Jeffrey Brana spot.  Is Brad Kilgore far behind??

Eat well and eat often!!

TIER ONE- The best of the best.  Guaranteed to have a knockout meal every visit plus great service.

Makoto *sushi 

TIER ONE POINT FIVE- The Best of Breed Tier. Doing one thing and kicking ass at it.


Momi Ramen

** Joe's Stone Crab qualifies in season and Shake Shake would too but for fast food status.



Michael's Genuine Food & Drink



All three are Miami legends and all three chefs serve tier one worthy caliber food when they are in the kitchen.  Their chef de cuisines do not disappoint.  With Michael Schwartz, Michelle Bernstein and Norman Van Aken overseeing and mentoring the kitchen staff they deserve tier one status.

TIER TWO- This is an outstanding tier of restaurants putting out great food on a daily basis and providing an overall great dining experience.  On the cusp of tier one status.

The Dutch

neMesis Urban Bistro


db Bistro Moderne

TIER THREE- This tier is loaded with spots I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.  Some of the best in town.

Edge Steak & Bar


Florida Cookery

Sushi Deli

J & G Grill

MC Kitchen

Khong River House

The River Oyster Bar

Oak Tavern

Blue Collar

PB Steak

To Do list- Catch, Zuma, The Setai, Haven, Tosca & Copperbox.

podBrunch 3.24.13

It's back!!!!  Chef Jeremiah is at it again with the return of his famous p.o.d. Brunch.
The food is guaranteed to be great and the price is impossible to beat.  As Jim Cramer would Say "BUY BUY BUY"


podBrunch by Jeremiah
Hey guys & gals, the pod is at it again! We are excited to announce the fourth installment of the popular podBrunch series!

Our next brunch will take place on Sunday March 24th at GAB Studio in Wynwood.

Tickets are $35 and are available using the link below:
Buy Presale Here via PayPal

NOTE: Don't be alarmed when you see "Binary Panda Labs" on the PayPal checkout page, they're with us :)

gastroPod Mobile Gourmet

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chowfather Madness 2013 Champion BLUE COLLAR!!!


After a year hiatus, Chowfather Madness is back with a capital B baby!!!!  The sixty-four best restaurants in Miami have been seeded and placed into brackets a la the NCAA Hoops tournament.
I've removed the seeds in order to prevent any bias from me.

This is the people's choice for Best Restaurant in Miami.

The sixty four restaurants will be cut to thirty two following the first round.  Round two winners will advance to the sweet sixteen followed by the elite eight, final four and then the championship.

BLUE COLLAR                       347 (53%)


Big thanks to everyone who voted!!  If you haven't been to either finalist I encourage you to go.  They are both hard working chefs with a lot of passion that is seen in their food on a daily basis.  

Chef Serfer w/ Chef Kilgore



Chef Micah

neMesis Urban Bistro

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chowfather Madness Finals! neMesis v Blue Collar!


After a year hiatus, Chowfather Madness is back with a capital B baby!!!!  The sixty-four best restaurants in Miami have been seeded and placed into brackets a la the NCAA Hoops tournament.
I've removed the seeds in order to prevent any bias from me.

This is the people's choice for Best Restaurant in Miami.

The sixty four restaurants will be cut to thirty two following the first round.  Round two winners will advance to the sweet sixteen followed by the elite eight, final four and then the championship.

Please vote for your favorites and have fun!!

BLUE COLLAR                         347 (53%)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chowfather March Madness Final Four!!!!


After a year hiatus, Chowfather Madness is back with a capital B baby!!!!  The sixty-four best restaurants in Miami have been seeded and placed into brackets a la the NCAA Hoops tournament.
I've removed the seeds in order to prevent any bias from me.

This is the people's choice for Best Restaurant in Miami.

The sixty four restaurants will be cut to thirty two following the first round.  Round two winners will advance to the sweet sixteen followed by the elite eight, final four and then the championship.

Please vote for your favorites and have fun!!

neMesis              66%
Naoe                   34%

Blue Collar         80%
Sushi Deli           20%

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cobaya Bracha @ Oak Tavern 3.11.13

Oak Tavern Sign

It's mind boggling that the most recent Cobaya dinner was experiment number 31. Wow! It was also coincidently held on 3.11.13 making this our first "Cobaya Palindrome." 

Chef David Bracha played host at his recently opened restaurant Oak Tavern located in the rapidly improving Design District section of Miami. Many of you are probably familiar with his popular downtown spot, The River Oyster Bar.  Thirty-five hungry guinea pigs attended and it appeared that everyone left happy.

                                                     David Bracha

Chef Bracha was born in Israel and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  His culinary career started in NYC at the legendary French spot, La Caravelle.  He moved to South Florida in 1988 and joined forces with Miami legend Norman Van Aken at Hoexter's Market and Supper Club.  Subsequent to that, he assisted Van Aken in opening Stars and Stripes Cafe and A Mano at the Betsy Ross Hotel.

Chef Bracha opened his first spot on South Beach in 1992 with 411.  In 1995 he opened Fishbone Grill and in 2001 he opened Jake's Bar and Grill in South Miami.   He opened The River Oyster Bar in 2003 and it continues to do strong business and turn out great food including the best selection of oysters in town.
With Oak Tavern, he has created a neighborhood restaurant and bar showcasing modern takes on American cuisine.  The menu is extensive and features several small plates along with some larger format options.  I've been to Oak Tavern a couple of times outside of the Cobaya dinner and highly recommend paying them a visit.  There are a lot of interesting items on the fairly extensive menu that I think you will enjoy.

His Chef de Cuisine is Curtis Rhodes who was born and raised on the island of Oahu.  He attended culinary school in Portland, Oregon. He worked in the River Oyster kitchen for a couple of years before moving to Oak Tavern.

Chef Bracha and team nailed this Cobaya.  The menu was diverse and had a nice progression.  Every dish was executed very well and each one exhibited nice balance and restraint.  The main ingredients were elevated by their supporting cast.  Most important, every dish tasted great. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this meal from start to finish. 

                                 "Oyster Ceviche," Lemon, Horseradish, Paddlefish Caviar

You never have to twist my arm to eat oysters or caviar.  I'm not sure where these oysters originated from but they were very nice and paired well with the caviar.  The citrus and horseradish provided a pleasant acidic "kick" to the palate.

                                                       Crab Cake, Sea Urchin Butter

My co-conspirator David from food for thought miami was unable to attend the meeting we had with chef Bracha but asked me to relay one request, his famous crab cakes.  When I mentioned the request he laughed and said "no no I can't do that for this dinner."  Well I'm glad he did because it's a fantastic rendition that features loads of succulent crab meat which was enhanced by a delicious sea urchin butter. 

                                           Beet, Heirloom Tomato, Goat Cheese, Pistachio

I like beets, I like heirloom tomatoes, I like goat cheese and I like pistachios.  Guess what? I liked this dish. A lot.  Fresh, simple and a refreshing change of pace for the palate.

                                                  Rabbit Polpettine, Parmesan Brodo

After his initial taste, my dining neighbor, Mr. Jdonn immediately blurted out "matzoh ball soup" and he was correct thanks to the dill in the brodo.   Bugs Bunny's balls were tasty.  Yeah, I said it.  In all seriousness, the rabbit polpettine was one of my favorite bites of the night.  It had a nice texture and flavor. 

Crispy Pig's Ear
                                              Pig Ears, Kale, Lake Meadow Egg, Pimenton

Chef Bracha's riff on bacon and eggs is currently on their dinner menu and a dish I would recommend ordering.  The crispy pig ears and kale topped with runny egg yolk is a delicious treat.

                                                 Veal Sweetbreads, Fennel, Orange, Bacon

This was a knockout dish and probably my favorite of the night.  The sweetbreads were cooked perfectly and there was a great balance of flavors that really worked well for me.  

                                             Lamb Liver, Sumac, Eggplant, Red Onion

My grandmother made me liver and onions when I was a child so this brought back fond memories.  My lamb liver was tender and you knew you were eating liver for sure.  The eggplant and onions rounded out the dish. 

                                          "Surf & Turf" Fiery Beef Cheek Ragu, Sea Scallop

Chef Bracha's unique version of surf and turf was another winner.  The seared scallop was flawless and the beef cheek ragu provided a flavorful and "fiery" contrast.  

                                                                   Chocolate Truffles

The delicious chocolate truffles were generously paired with samples of wonderful tequila from Alicia Coombs at  Casa Dragones.

Big thanks to chef Bracha and his team for a wonderful meal.  And thank you to the continued support from every guinea pig in attendance and those on the lengthy wait list.  As I've said before, if you keep showing support we will continue organizing them.


Oak Tavern on Urbanspoon

35 NE 40TH STREET, MIAMI, FL 33137

Hours Of Operation
LUNCH: MON-FRI 12pm- 3pm
HAPPY HOUR: MON-SUN 4:30pm - 7pm
MON-WED 6pm - 10:30pm
THUR-SAT 6pm - Midnight SUNDAY 5pm-9:30pm