Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Derby Day @ Tongue and Cheek 5.4.13

Chef Jamie DeRosa's new restaurant Tongue and Cheek is getting into the Kentucky Derby spirit with their own Derby Day Party featuring Kaffir Lime Mint Juleps, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Coladas and Kentucky Hot Browns.  The race will be on the big screen for all of my South Beach followers to enjoy.  It's also a good opportunity to kick off burger month with their beef cheek burger.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Notorious p.o.d. Brunch 5.19.13

 photo e01a476b-29ee-4638-b82a-110d936efde2_zpsdce7b60c.jpg

It's time for another  Notorious p.o.d.Brunch with chef Jeremiah Bullfrog and the gastroPod.  Plus a cameo appearance by nomadic chef Brandon Baltzley.  #35.00 gets you five courses.  Bang it!!

Brandon in action during Cobaya at Broken Shaker

Jeremiah and Brandon at Cobaya

podBrunch by Jeremiah

Time Slots: 12, 1, 2 & 3 at GAB Studio in Wynwood.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Derby Day @ Bourbon Steak 5.4.13

                                            Twin Spires

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year.  The 139th "Run for the Roses" is next Saturday with post time set for 6:24 p.m.  For the third year in a row, Bourbon Steak will be opening the bar and lounge area early in order to host a Derby Day party.  From 5 to 7 p.m. enjoy $5 mint juleps, complimentary southern-style canapés and prizes for the most creative hats.

So head over to Gulfstream Park Saturday afternoon and place a couple of dollars on your favorite pony and then head over to Bourbon Steak to watch the race in style with a great mint julep and awesome bites from chef Gabe.  

See you there!!



Fairmont Turnberry Isle Hotel
19999 West Country Club Drive
Miami, FL 33180-2401
(786) 279-6600  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cobaya Makoto 4.22.13


Those of you who follow this blog regularly and/or my Twitter feed already know that I am a huge fan of chef Makoto Okuwa and his eponymous restaurant located at the Bal Harbour Shops.  They were ranked in Tier One of my most recent Best Restaurants in Miami Rankings and an omakase experience with chef Makoto made my Best Meals of 2011 list.  I also featured them recently in my Tiers of Sushi and again here.

Obviously, I was very excited that chef Makoto was hosting a Cobaya dinner. It was a fun and delicious meal that featured some very unique and interesting ingredients.  The beer, sake and wine selections were very enjoyable and paired well with each course.  Service was flawless and our server was very knowledgeable about each unique course and the pairings.   

Many thanks to chef Makoto and his team for a very special night.  And thanks to all the Guinea pigs out there for your continued support and interest.    

Chef Makoto in the shadows of the "underground."


The evening started with a wonderfully luscious turtle headcheese which was a true experiment as it was the first time chef Makoto made the dish.  Delicious hay smoked eggplant, molasses, pickled mustard seed and crispy kale served as a perfect compliment to the turtle.  It was paired with a very nice Japanese craft rice beer called Echigo.

Techili to Iseebi to Kimosoe

The next course reminded me of a bento box without the box.  It featured several outstanding bites which resulted in a dish of the year caliber plate. An extremely rare and tasty blowfish served two ways, as a tataki and with its sliced skin, was the featured ingredient but the lobster sashimi was a dynamite bite(s) and the monkfish liver pate was probably the best I've ever had. A solo Japanese peach was a flavorful treat. Ginger flower, radish, kaiware daikon, yuzu kosho vinaigrette and truffle purée all contributed to the overall success of the dish.

I also enjoyed the Shici Hon Yari Junmai Sake that was paired with the dish.

Sumi Jitate

A charcoaled blowfish tempura was served next. The crispy exterior and tender fish was a perfect combination. Pickled watermelon, shiso leaf, and green tea salt rounded out another excellent dish.  It was paired with another tasty sake, Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo Sake.

Shabu Shabu
Who doesn't love playing with their meat? Make it a Kobe NY strip and you know you're in for a fantastic treat.  This was paired with really nice seasonal vegetables and a delicious karashi dipping sauce.  The Kobe was paired with a Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier.

The marbling was a magnificent site.

One to two-seconds in the broth was all you needed to have a dynamite piece.


Dessert included a wonderful white chocolate cream, along with an Okinawa black sugar cake, soy sauce ice cream and passion fruit. It was paired with a sparking sake, Hou Hou Shu, which was a first for me.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable meal in every way and truly in the spirit of Cobaya.  If you haven't been to Makoto yet I highly recommend paying them a visit.

Bal Harbour Shops : 9700 Collins Avenue
Bal Harbour, FL 33154 | phone: 305.864.860


Monday, April 15, 2013

Oregon Wine Dinner @ Oak Tavern 4.23.13

                                                    Oak Tavern Sign 
Wines From Oregon
Special Guests:
Hilda Jones
owner of
Abacela Vineyards
Ben Thomas
winemaker of
Montinore Estate

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

$75 per person
tax & gratuity 


 ricotta, roasted peppers, kale

NV Sparkling Rosé, Francois Montand, Jura, France


avocado, sweet soy, chile
 2011 Albarino, Abacela, Estate Grown, Umpqua Valley


 duck ham, poached egg, pecorino

 2011 Borealis, Montinore Estate, Forest Grove


whipped parsnip, pickled ramps, truffle-mushroom jus
2009 Tempranillo, Abacela, Estate Grown, Umpqua Valley


 creamy polenta, brussels sprouts, mustard fruit

 2011 Pinot Noir, Montinore Estate, Willamette Valley


Crème fraiche
for reservations contact
Gary or Marcos
(786) 391-1818

About the Wines

Montinore is a family-owned vineyard producing estate grown and bottled wines in the beautiful rolling hills of the North Willamette Valley outside Forrest Grove, Oregon. The winery produces plush Pinot Noir, crisp Gewurztraminer, and sweet Riesling among others.

Abacela is Earl and Hilda Jones’ family-owned vineyard and winery that lies near the end of the Umpqua Valley in the hills of Southern Oregon. The winery produced America’s first internationally acclaimed fine wine of the famous Spanish grape variety, Tempranillo, and offers other award-winning old world varieties as well. The name comes from an ancient Spanish, Galician and Portuguese verb ‘abacelar’ which means “to plant a grape vine.” Abacela was recently named 2013 Oregon Winery of the Year.

35 NE 40TH STREET, MIAMI, FL 33137


Monday, April 8, 2013

Cochon 555 4.21.13

THE Princess of Porc 2012 Michelle Bernstein

Cochon 555 is back!!! Five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers, five years!

For those unfamiliar with Cochon 555, it was founded by Brady Lowe five years ago and is now a national 14 city traveling culinary competition.  Brady started the event to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs.

In each city, five local chefs compete head to head by preparing a menu from the entirety of one 200 pound family-raised heritage breed of pig, nose-to-tail. The winner is crowned the "Prince of Porc" and will compete at Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.

I was honored to be a Judge last year and had a blast in the process.  I was invited back this year and I can't wait.  This is an awesome event that features a ton of outstanding pork along with great bourbon, wine and other great treats. Plus everyone in attendance gets to vote on best bite!

COCHON 555 All Rigths Reserved
Manhattan Bar

This year they have added a new cocktail competition, Punch Kings featuring Breckenridge Bourbon and six local bartenders.

                  COCHON 555 All Rigths Reserved

Pork fans, food fans, bourbon fans, FUN fans, I highly recommend attending this event.

               COCHON 555 All Rigths Reserved

Michelle Bernstein and her team at Michy's won last year and moved on to Grand Cochon in Aspen.  It was a close call for me as James Strine, Aaron Brooks and Michael Schwartz all plated some outstanding dishes.


This year looks like another tough battle with Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak & Bar, Timon Balloo of Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill, Jeff McInnis of Yardbird, Cesar Zapata-Diaz of The Federal and David Thomas of The Bazaar.
As a Judge I will obviously be completely impartial and go in with an open mind.  However, putting my pre-event handicapping hat on, chef Brooks has to be a slight favorite with last years experience under his belt plus he's on his home turf. But I can't wait to see what chef Thomas has up his creative sleeve and I know Timon will come to play.  Expected strong showings from McInnis and Zapata will make things real interesting.

Also included in the evening is a preview of the new Heritage BBQ event in which chef Conor Hanlon of The Dutch will roll out family meal – an additional whole pig cooked barbecue-style immediately preceding the awards.

In addition, to celebrate five years of Heritage Breeds, Cochon added five bourbons to the lineup! All attendees will get samples of Breckenridge Bourbon, Eagle Rare, Templeton Rye, High West, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses in addition to the Perfect Manhattan Bar showcasing Luxardo cherries and Eagle Rare. Also new in 2013 is the Chupito/Mezcal Bar, a tasting experience featuring Mezcales de Leyenda, Pierde Almas and Fidencio. The infamous Craft Cheese Bar sees a facelift featuring a local cheesemonger, Cypress Grove Chevre, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Spring Brook Farm with an exclusive tasting of blues from Rogue Creamery, and favorites from Kerrygold.

The fun continues when Miyabi/Zwilling USA present a butcher demonstration featuring Sara Bigelow of The Meat Hook and a raffle to benefit the student volunteers, ice-cold brews, Champagne toast, award ceremony, Fernet Branca digestifs, pork-spiked desserts, and of course, the after party will immediately following at Edge Restaurant & Bar with food and drink specials each available for $5.55.

Again, I highly recommend attending this event.  It's a lot of fun and a great event for the local food community to embrace and enjoy.  It's a blast!

See you there!



Cochon 555, a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event created to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, is touching-down in Miami. The competing chefs Aaron Brooks (Four Season Hotel Miami); Timon Balloo (Sugarcane); Jeffrey McInnis (Yardbird); David Thomas (The Bazaar) and Cesar Zapata (The Federal) are all in contention for the "Prince of Porc" title. Rounding out the night, Miyabi/Zwilling USA present a butcher demonstration featuring Sara Bigelow of The Meat Hook. Tickets start at $125 and include local wines, mezcal and bourbon tastings, pork-spiked desserts and more.

New additions to the events in 2013 include the launch of an exciting cocktail competition called "Punch Kings" featuring Breckenridge Bourbon, prepared by [6] local mixologists, plus the new TarTare Bar round out the exclusive VIP hour. All attendees enjoy butcher demonstrations, sustainable oysters, creative pork dishes from all the chefs, a visit to the Manhattan Bar or new Chupito Bar featuring Mezcals, plus the infamous Cheese Bar saw bold enhancements, ice-cold brew from Anchor Brewing, pork-spiked desserts and as always, the awards and after will close out the evening.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Cypress Room (Miami)

Michael Schwartz the James Beard Award-winning chef and the King of Miami cuisine has added another jewel to his growing empire with the recent addition of The Cypress Room. Michael's cooking talent has been no secret to locals dating back to his days behind the stove at Nemo.  But who knew he was a savvy businessman as well? With the opening of The Cypress Room, his fourth restaurant not including 150 Central Park on the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas cruise ships, the upcoming restaurant at The Raleigh Hotel and a future spot at the upcoming SLS Hotel in downtown Miami, will a James Beard Award for Restaurateur of the Year be far behind? I think not.

The Cypress Room opened last week around the block from Michael's fantastic flagship restaurant  Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in the booming Design District section of Miami.

I know some people avoid going to new restaurants during their opening week.  That's nonsense when you are dealing with the A Team Dream Team.  The entire Genuine Hospitality Group has played a role in delivering this sensational new dining spot to Miami including Schwartz, Goldsmith, Herron, Larkee, GoodspeedBellSayetHumphreys and a welcome addition to the family, Chef de Cuisine Roel Alcudia.

Roel was born in the Philippines and moved to New York City at the age of 13. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute he worked in several high end kitchens in New York City before becoming Jonathan Waxman's Chef de Cuisine at Barbuto

I knew the Dream Team was ready to roll on week one and they certainly were. I enjoyed my first experience so much that I returned again the following night.  Both were genuine culinary treats for this food, wine and cocktail lover.

I appreciate great professional service and they delivered.  I appreciate old school proper cocktails and they nailed it.  I love great wine and Eric Larkee shines. I love great food prepared with attention to detail that respects the ingredients and is executed with finesse.  Schwartz, Alcudia and the team deliver big time.

This is sophisticated food in a sophisticated setting while still remaining genuine and unpretentious.  

The design of the dining room is sharp and inviting.  The bar area was designed perfectly.  The overall setting and vibe transported me to New Orleans.  Others at the bar mentioned Brooklyn or a Colorado Lodge.  Regardless it should resonate positively with everyone.

Four barrel aged cocktails are available including the OLD PAL, campari, basil hayden, dolin dry vermouth, carpano antic. LITTLE NOBLE, campari, lillet blanc, sombra mezcal, espolon reposado, orange bitters. My favorite, the VIEUX CARRE courvosier vs, benedictine, redemption rye, carpano antica sweet vermouth, peychauds and angostura bitters and the BONNIE AND CLYDE hendricks gin, solerno blood orange liqueur,cocchi americano.

Additionally, several classics, house specialties, aperitifs and digestifs are available along with an extensive list of spirits and cordials.

Chef Schwartz working hard expediting.

The three kings, Chef Schwartz, Chef Herron and Chef Alcudia.

Eric Larkee is easily one of the best and most versatile Wine Directors in town.  He excels not only at pouring and pairing affordable wines with pizza at Harry's Pizzeria but with the difficult small plate options at Michael's Genuine and with the tasting menu at The Cypress Room.

Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed has created a perfect cocktail menu for the vibe of the restaurant.  I suspect that the bar will become a destination for local cocktail lovers.  Rumor has it that the bar will stay open late and offer a bar menu.  This would be a cool addition to the area and scene. 

Christian working hard behind the bar making a proper old fashioned.  One of the best versions in town.

There are two ways to play the menu. You can opt for the a la carte route or take advantage of the frequently changing tasting menu featuring dishes that are not on the regular menu.  $95.00 for five courses actually provides the diner with some value.  For an additional $60.00 you can take advantage of Eric Larkee's knowledge and solid wine list.  His pours are paired perfectly and are a fantastic way to sample some great and diverse wine. 

The Beverage Book contains the cocktail list along with the by the glass options and a user friendly wine list.

Ryan and team deliver a proper take on the aforementioned New Orleans classic cocktail, the Vieux Carre. This is perfect pre or post dinner.


I'm a big fan of tasting menus as I love sitting back and enjoying the chefs special creations for the evening along with his/her thoughtful progression. Thus, I opted for the tasting menu on visit one along with the wine pairing.

While waiting for the first course to arrive, Eric poured a great glass of Gaston Chiquet NV champagne.

Michael and Roel started the night off with a sorrel soup littered with delicious chunks of blue crab.  Eric paired it with a nice Vio 2010 Pigato-Liguria.

Next up were wonderful pieces of tender and moist cured salmon topped with caviar and paired with picked vegetables and a saffron aioli.

Eric opted for one of my favorites, a William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru 2010.

I am a pasta snob and the gnocchi was my least favorite bite during both visits. The texture and taste were off the mark for me.  However, the mushroom and antelope ragu was packed with incredible deep flavor.  I gracefully tried to soak up every last ounce of it.

Here Eric went with a delicious burgundy from Saint Romain Alain Gras 2009.

The last savory course of the night was a dynamite ribeye cap that was perfectly seasoned and cooked.  It was loaded with flavor and elevated by the inclusion of delicious bone marrow.  Creamed potatoes and a red wine jus rounded out this home run dish.

Eric poured another winner via a 2008 Barolo Corsini.

I highly recommend dipping the rib cap directly into the marrow. Dynamite!

For dessert, Hedy delivered a perfect panna cotta which was paired with a very nice dessert wine via Muscat de Beaumes.

Two last bites courtesy of Ms. Goldsmith.  Dulce de leche and chocolate cookies.

On night two I opted to create my own tasting menu despite being advised by the waiter that the chef had new dishes ready for me if I wanted to go the tasting menu route again.  Of course, I wisely left the wine pairings up to Eric.

This was another outstanding meal.


An incredible dish that excelled on so many levels.  The royal reds were outstanding and the dish was packed with tremendous flavor plus nice textures via the puffed rice and cucumbers.  I'm a muscadet fan and thought it paired well with this dish.  It was Chateau L'oiseliniere 2004 Melon, Les Clos-Muscadet.


I almost felt bad for the frog legs because they followed the flavor pop of the last course.  Neverthless, these were very nice and meaty legs plated with a subtle brown butter sauce, spinach and Marcona almonds.  This was paired with a Prager 2011 Riesling Steinriegel, Federspiel, Wachau.


The antelope was cooked at a perfect medium rare and was tender and full of flavor.  The baby turnips, apricot and mizuna made for a well rounded dish.  I thoroughly enjoyed each end every bite.  Eric paired it was a great red wine from Domaine du Marcoux.


No disrespect meant to Hedy buy yes, I ordered the burger for dessert. And I finished it all and I loved every bite as it melted in my mouth.  I'm not sure of the exact blend but I know they are using trimmings from the ribeye cap.  It's topped with Jasper Hill Landaff cheese and an onion marmalade.

The Cypress Room is a special place that food, wine and cocktail lovers will thoroughly enjoy.  I've already booked my next reservation.  See you there!

The Cypress Room on Urbanspoon

3620 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33137