Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mexico Meets Miami on Cinco de Mayo @ The Federal

Food Editor of the Miami Herald and Beer Expert, Evan Benn is teaming up with J. Wakefield Brewing and The Federal for a Cinco de Mayo beer and food feast.  Chef Zapata's five course menu is below along with the six beer pairings.  Tickets are $65.00 and can be purchased HERE.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Dinner @ The Vagabond w Norman Van Aken 5.5.15


Alex & Norman via The Vagabond

Chef Alex Chang is teaming up with chef Norman Van Aken to host a “Four Corners of the World” series of dinners at MiMo’s Vagabond Restaurant & Bar. The series kicks off on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), showcasing signature dishes from Mexico with future events showcasing Japan, Peru and India.

Seatings are at 7:00 and 9:30 pm; prix-fixe menus are $130 each (food only) or $190 (food and wine pairing) inclusive of tax and tip.  You can buy tickets  HERE

May 5, 2015 
Bocadito Duo 
NVA: Flor de Calabaza with Goat Cheese and Ancho Jam
Alex: Beef Tendon and Pork Chicharron with Sal de Gusano
Tartare of Tuna on Tortilla with Huitlacoche, Avocado, Uni and Finger Limes
Chilpachole, Ayocote Bean, Key West Shrimp, and Okra
Ancho-Tamarind Glazed Roasted Quail with Tamale Stuffing & Mole Verde

Jalisco Style Goat Birria served with Fresh Corn Tortillas
Nopales Granita, Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta, Tomatillo and White Chocolate 
“I drank to drown my pain, but the damned pain learned how to swim,
and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good behavior.”
--- Frida Kahlo

Vagabond Restaurant & Bar
7301 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Chef Daniel Serfer of Mignonette and Blue Collar is partnering with Chef Deme Lomas of the Catalan-inspired Niu Kitchen for a ten course meal on April 27, 2015 at Mignonette.

Spanish label Cerdá, Llanos y Cía will be pairing the dishes with some of their great wines.

The dinner is $150 per person (including gratuity and wine pairings). 

A reception with passed hor d'oeuvres will begin at 7PM.

Reservations are required: (305) 374-4635

Mignonette is located at 210 NE 18th Street, Miam.

Kentucky Derby Crawfish Boil @ Yardbird 5/2/15

Two of my favorite things, The Kentucky Derby and Crawfish. And  Yardbird Southern Table & Bar is throwing a Derby party with a crawfish boil. Yardbird will also be serving up some Derby specials, like a Big Ass Mint Julep for $10, to help wash those crustaceans down.

 They will be doing a crawfish boil every Tuesday night from May 12- July 28.  Run Crawfish Run.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top Burgers Miami 2015

It's Burger Week and I'm long overdue for an updated ranking.  I cut way back on my burger intake over the past year but the primary reason for the delay is that I didn't have any new burgers that cracked the list.  That changed recently thanks to three burgers.  One is a burger from the past that has recently resurfaced in Wynwood and Aventura Mall.

Bourbon Steak

I take these rankings very seriously.  The restaurants that made the list are sourcing quality meats and using great blends.  Let me make one thing very clear. My burger rankings are similar to my pizza rankings.  Forget the crazy toppings. I'm about the blend, seasoning, execution and bun.  That's it. Medium rare unless the chef suggests otherwise.

I decided to limit this list to Miami instead of including all of South Florida as usual.

There are 8,765 places serving burgers in Miami.  These are The Fifteen Best plus ties. 

Let's do this:

1. Shake Shack
2. Michael Mina 74
3. Bourbon Steak
4. Wolfgang's Steakhouse
5. The Cypress Room 
6. Proper Sausages  *also available retail*
7. gastroPod
8. Blue Collar
9. Houston's
10. Swine Southern
11. db Bistro Moderne 
12. The Dutch
13. Michael's Genuine  
14. Tongue & Cheek
15. Edge Steak & Bar
15. The Vagabond
15. Lokal/Kush
15. Pincho Factory

To Eat List - Lure, L'echon, BTW & Corsair.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vagabond Restaurant & Bar (Miami)


Food Restaurant Fans of Miami you have another new spot to get excited about.  I stressed restaurant over food because they have nailed almost every facet of the dining experience.  It's the type of place that you can go with a group of friends and everyone will be happy.  Food fanatics, scenesters, trendsetters and vegetarians too.  The food, setting, design, vibe and service are all outstanding.  The cocktail game is the only weak link (pour/price ratio) but it has potential.  It's a fun, lively place and I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. Plus you can grab some prime real estate at the kitchen bar area where you can keep an eye on the 25 year old star of the show, chef Alex Chang.

This is a great overall restaurant but make no mistake, Chef Alex Chang and his food are the primary reason to go. And go often.

Miami may not be familiar with the name Alex Chang but you should be and I bet you will be really soon.

In a nutshell, Alex started a popular underground restaurant in his apartment while attending USC (hmmm sounds like he has a Cobaya in him…) It was called Paladar, a reference to the home operated restaurants in Cuba, and he charged a whopping $15.00 for three course tasting menus. I'm hoping his squid ink and roe pasta dish makes the Vagabond menu. 

After graduating he traveled and trained at reputable spots around the world before settling in at Animal Restaurant where he cooked under South Florida natives Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.

His dishes at The Vagabond are diverse, creative and bold. They also exhibit finesse and restraint. His flavors are balanced and devoid of the ubiquitous Miami heavy hand.  And his dishes are not pretentious. He's young and aggressive and that may result in some misses along the way but that's okay. The triples and home runs are well worth the risk.

Still not sold? Watch the trailer for the documentary on Paladar below and then watch the movie. Then go while you can still get a reservation.

Alex and The Vag are on the verge of blowing up.

You can watch the documentary in its entirety on Amazon

Recent visits featured great dinner and brunch dishes. I enjoyed them all.

Sun shrimp & Anson Mills blue corn grits, Benton's bacon, poached egg.

Cured ocean trout Smørrebrød, rye bread, cucumber, dill, poppy seed.

Soft scrambled eggs, fines herbs, EVOO.
Sun Shrimp Hash, nduja, fennel, poached eggs. 

Stracciatella, leek oil, country bread.
Tsukune Sandwich (best sandwich in town) tare, nori, scallion, pickled cucumber.

Dry aged burger, potato bun, American cheese, b&b pickles, onions, remoulade.

Smoked Fish Huarache, salsa campechana, lime.

Roasted baby carrots, mole, hazelnut, yogurt, za'atar.

Foie Gras Torchon, loquat, fermented honey & Japanese milk bread.

Ricotta Gnocchi, kale butter, breadcrumbs, savoy cabbage.

Pan seared beef heart, warm duck egg yolk, shiitake mushrooms.

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich, yuzu kosho sauerkraut, spicy mustard.

Blistered cauliflower, grilled goat's milk, smoked trout roe.

Sweetbread milenesa, swiss, country ham vinaigrette, mustard frill.

Rabbit leg piccata, nasturtium caper, blue oyster mushroom, potato purée.

 Vagabond Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

7301 Biscayne Blvd North Miami, FL 33138

(305) 400-8420

Friday, April 10, 2015

Gelato for the Kids @ Siena Tavern April 2015

Swine & Wine Supper @ Swine Southern Table & Bar 4.14.15

50 Eggs Sommelier Daniel Toral and Swine Southern Table & Bar Chef de Cuisine Jacob Anaya are throwing a Swine and Wine Dinner on April 14 at 6:30pm.

The dinner is featuring the Rieslings of Maximin Grunhaus, from the Mosel in Germany, along with special guest Carl Von Schubert, owner & winemaker.

Tickets are $85 and include drink pairings (exclusive of tax and gratuity).

“Family Style"

Amuse: Smoked Florida Shrimp tomato water, cilantro oil

1st Course: House-Made Cold-Smoked Cobia pickled radish, compressed mango, citrus puree

2nd Course: Riso Con Carne 12-hour cooked beef brisket & pork shoulder, Swank Farm fresh beans, roasted corn 63° duck egg

3rd Course: Flintstone Beef Rib 12-hour roasted low and slow, smoked potato puree salt-grilled baby beets, papaya BBQ sauce

Dessert: Smoked Peach Cobbler textures of peaches, rum-raisin ice cream

Swine is located at 2415 Ponce de Leon Blvd in Coral Gables.
Reservations  can be made by calling 786.360.6433.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tongue & Cheek 2nd Anniversary Kitchen Collab 4.15.15

Cochon 555 4.19.15



$125 General Admission
$200 VIP

Purchase tickets at


Cochon 555 is back! The country’s most talked about culinary competition returns with an epic 3-day feast showcasing some of the best bites and chefs of the good food movement. The goal, to celebrate family farms! Clear your calorie counter, this is going to be epic!

Sunday's main event - COCHON 555 features five chefs cooking five pigs in a friendly competition. This year’s competing chefs include Lindsay Autry of Fin & Feather, Xavier Torres of Drunken Dragon, Todd Erickson of Haven South Beach, Jason Pringle of db Bistro Moderne and Richard Hales of Blackbrick. The five chefs, champions of whole hog utilization, will prepare a maximum of six dishes with hopes to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. They will be preparing the following heritage breeds from family farms including a Berkshire from Florida Fresh Meats, two Large Blacks, one from Maverick Meats and one from FKS Farms, a Hereford from Palmetto Creek Farms and a Red Wattle from South Florida Heritage Farm. Wait too long? Then you get none!

Sunday, April 19th, 2015
Loews Miami Beach Hotel | Official Host Hotel
1601 Collins Avenue | Stay the Night!
$200 VIP 4pm | $125 GA 5pm

The weekend kicks-off on Friday, April 17, with a Chef’s Course Dinner ($125 all-inclusive) hosted at Pubbelly when Executive Chef Jose Mendin and “2014 Prince of Porc” welcomes guest chefs Aaron Brooks of Edge Steakhouse “2013, 2012 Prince of Porc”, Cesar Zapata of The Federal, Timon Balloo of Sugarcane, Danny Smiles of La Bremner in Montreal, and COCHON 555 founder Brady Lowe for a five-course dinner paired with the stunning Wines of Germany. The seated five-course dinner is a “must-do” culinary experience.

On Saturday, April 18th, join us for Cochon 555’s “Large Format Feast,” ($115 all-inclusive) hosted at L’echon Brasserie with Chef Jose Mendin. The three-course meat feast features reserve Prosciutto di Parma, new wines from St. Francis Winery in this epic “Big Beef vs. Heritage Pig”. To close the evening, guests will enjoy a discussion of spirits featuring Hirsch and Old Potrero 18th Century from Anchor Distilling.

Keep the belly ready for SundayThe Miami version of this fairy-tale heritage pork event includes more than 36 chef-prepared dishes in an all-inclusive stand up reception with notable tastings from Wines of Germany and St. Francis Winery. Cochon’s “pop-up” culinary experiences include the Petit Format Bar presented by Wilsonart® Quartz decorative surfacing featuring a selection of amazing half-bottles and the Mezcal Chupito Bar where guests can enter to win a 4-day Mezcal adventure to Mexico. Upon arrival, guests will enjoy Buffalo Trace’s “Welcome Punch Reception” paired with a delicious bite. Attendees will sample foods at signature experiences like the Monger Cheese Bar with The Cheese Course, Rappahannock Oyster Shelf, Prosciutto di Parma, Black River Caviar, Hudson Valley Foie Gras and the famous TarTare Bar featuring Creekstone Farms prepared by Chef Jose Mendin of Pubbelly. Bourbon and whiskey lovers rejoice with the return of Whistle Pig Rye and the “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon and Hirsch finished with Luxardo cherries in this hand-prepared classic topped with a special treat from Creminelli. As guests leave the event, they’ll receive a special departing gift from La Brea Bakery.