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Iron Fork

Miami Spice starts on August 1st, and tonight, Miami New Times is celebrating with its annual Miami Spice kickoff event: Iron Fork. Open to the public, this blockbuster night brings together more than 70 restaurants and top Miami chefs for a night of mingling, munching, and at the heart of it, a sizzling competition between two dazzling Miami chef duos. Moderated by Chef Allen Susser, of the great Chef Allen’s Restaurant, this fun-filled match-up will pin the “Wonder Twin Chefs” Fabrizio and Nicola Carro (Via Verdi) against “Dynamic Duo Chefs” Dustin Ward (BLT Prime) and Sean Brasel (Meat Market) for thousands of attendees to see.

Adding to the excitement, this delicious Thursday is all about a good cause. All proceeds will go to FLIPANY’s Cooking Matters and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, both of which strive to end childhood hunger in Florida by ensuring all children get the healthy food and good education they need to make sure they stay healthy for a lifetime. On top of that, all leftover food will be donated to Camillus House.

Ready for Iron Fork? We are, too. Here are the top five Miami Spice restaurants we’re eager to taste tonight:

Tamarina Restaurant & Bar: Haute Italian staple, Tamarina {600 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305.579.1888} has become a mainstay on trendy Brickell Avenue. This Spice season, choose from dishes like grilled octopus with tonnato sauce, grilled baby artichokes, tomato confit and black olives; or even a Riso Venere entrée with sautéed shrimp, zucchini, and a yellow pepper mousse. Finish it up with a chef’s selection of house-made ice creams and sorbets, and you’ll be living “la dolce vita” in no time.

Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room: Conrad Miami’s signature restaurant, Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room {1395 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305.503.6529}, has spoken, and we’re listening. On its three-course Spice menu, it has dishes like slow-braised pork osso bucco with garbanzo bean chorizo stew and spiced chicharrones, and sweet endings like cherry bread and butter pudding with a house-made vanilla cherry compote ice cream. 

Mr. Chow: Foodies all over the world have heard of this upscale Asian staple. Located at the W South Beach, head to Mr. Chow {2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.695.1695} for sweet and sour pork, “Drunken Fish,” Chef Yi Jia Qian’s famed pork dumplings and chicken satay, Beijing chicken, and more.

Brasserie Azur: Miami Beach’s swanky Villa Azur gained so much popularity that it’s owners decided to open a more intimate sister restaurant, Brasserie Azur {3252 NE 1st Avenue, Midtown; 786.800.9993}. This Spice season, hop over to this casual French-Mediterranean bistro for dishes like mussels Dijonnaise with French fries, and duck confit risotto with black Tuscan kale, Parmesan mascarpone cream, chicken liver, and shallots.

R House: Part restaurant, part bar, and part art gallery, R House {2727 NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood; 305.576.0201} is a Rocco Carulli staple and one of Wynwood’s hottest spots to dine and drink. Starting August 1st, fuse your art appreciation with creative plates like braised short rib with coffee-chili powder rub and jalapeño scalloped potatoes, or artisan Italian pork sausage with Parmigiano reggiano and Greek olives. Wrap up your night with dessert: we hear the raspberry tres leches with house-made raspberry whipped cream is not to be missed.

Iron Fork will take place tonight at American Airlines Arena. Entry is 6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders, and 7 p.m. for General Admission ticket holders. For more information about Iron Fork, visit the event website.

Miami Spice runs from August 1st – September 30th. During this time, participating restaurants will offer three-course lunch and dinner menus for $23 and $39, respectively. 

Bleau Bar

Looking for a new Friday night date idea? Well, look no further than our own backyard—at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.538.2000}. With 11 restaurants, eateries, and bars to choose from, just hop in the car, head to Miami’s most popular hotel, hand your keys to valet, and make a night of it… a whole night.

For a date that’s fun, fancy, and delicious, follow this guide for a Fontainebleau bar crawl like you’ve never had before:

Go early, and start with Day Drinking at Bleau Bar

We won’t judge you for actually day drinking, but this time, we’re referring to one of Bleau Bar’s best summer cocktails. As the saying goes, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so grab your sweetheart and head to the Fontainebleau right after work. The first place you’ll see when you walk in is Bleau Bar, so belly up and order two Day Drinking cocktails: it’s a mix of Pavan Liqueur de France, Whispering Angel rosé, lychee purée, and a mint and fruit garnish. Just remember to sip it slowly… after all, it is meant to be something you drink all day long.

Move on to Talladega Days at Hakkasan

Shake n’ Bake! This Talladega Days cocktail is just what you need for a hot summer night. Hakkasan is a world-renowned hotspot, and its talented team of bartenders spare no luxury in this mix of Corzo Tequila Silver, Cointreau, orange and pineapple juices, and guava purée. Throw in a hint of Filthy Black Cherry Syrup, garnish it with a fresh orchid, and drink up. Ricky Bobby!

Indulge in a Vita di Luxuary at Scarpetta

You’ve had a couple light drinks, and now it’s time to move on to the serious stuff: like this Vita di Luxuary cocktail. Part Sauternes Wine, Spring gin, Domain de Canton, lime juice, and hibiscus syrup, this drink will taste delicious when you pair it with Scott Conant’s famous spaghetti (which we also won’t judge you for ordering). The Hibiscus blossom and citrus foam garnish? Well, that just adds more pizzazz.

Finish the night with a Perfect Hemingway Daiquiri at StripSteak by Michael Mina

There’s nothing more “Florida” than this Perfect Hemingway Daiquiri: two kinds of Diplomatico Reserva rum, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, Luxardo Maraschino, and one Amarena cherry. To really treat your special someone, pair it with a sweet slice of key lime pie with caramelized honey, graham cracker crust, and lemongrass sherbet. It’s also very “Florida.”

Happy dining!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Skinny Crush with Stoli Gluten Free

Las Olas is one of South Florida’s hottest dining destinations, and of its dazzling restaurants, Grille 401 {401 E. Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale; 954.767.0222} is one gem not to be missed. Known as much for its upscale comfort food as it is for its trendy cocktails, there’s no better place to spend those hot South Florida summer nights. And now, this must-try spot is catering to cocktail-lovers everywhere by stocking its shelves with the recently-released Stoli Gluten Free Vodka. Want to try it at home for yourself? Try Grille 401’s newest addition to its Signature Cocktail Menu, Skinny Crush. And we know just how it’s made.

To make it at home, just mix 1.5 ounces of Stoli Gluten Free Vodka, 1 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and 1 ounce grapefruit juice. Serve in a martini glass with a grapefruit twist. Enjoy!

Can’t make it to Grille 401? Find Stoli Gluten Free Vodka on the menu at some of our other favorite South Florida restaurants, including: ZestCoya, American Social Brickell, The SLS South Beach and The River Seafood Oyster Bar.


Renderings, Coral Gables “Streetscape” Project

As life often teaches us, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. So when beautiful Miracle Mile and Downtown Coral Gables started construction for the highly-anticipated “Streetscape” project—which will renovate Coral Gables’ public works systems, sidewalks, and landscaping and turn it into a destination location—affected restaurants had to face the reality that their streets would be closed-off to cars for weeks. Fortunately, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the City of Coral Gables, and other partnering organizations have come up with a way to support these restaurants while simultaneously indulging in good company and great food: an activation initiative called DineOut!

Launched to get community members to do just that, DineOut! encourages Coral Gables residents and employees to show their love for the affected restaurants by dining at them during their lunch breaks. A re-boot of a successful 2009 program, when the Chamber wanted to stimulate tourism after 9/11 and during the Great Recession, this activation project will not only support the restaurants themselves, but will deter any notion that they’re closed during construction. To bring it to a reality, leaders of the initiative are urging businesspeople to host breakfast meetings and dinner appointments over lunch, move date-nights up to lunchtime, and switch their weekend plans to take friends and family, colleagues, and co-workers out to lunch on Miracle Mile and its surrounding streets.

Having kicked-off on Wednesday, July 13th, and continuing weekly through summer, DineOut! is already off to a great start. And you can do it, too! So where should you go when you join the fun? Some of our favorite spots include: The Local Craft Food and Drink {150 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables; 305.648.5687}, Bulla {2500 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables; 305.441.0107}, Cibo Restaurant and Wine Bar {45 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305.442.4925}, Ortanique {278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305.446.7710}, and Talavera Cocina Mexicana {2299 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables; 305.444.2955}.

And when the construction is all over, Coral Gables businesses and residents are excited to see the change and beauty the Streetscape project will inevitably bring. “Miracle Mile is Coral Gables’ ‘Main Street,'” says Mark A. Trowbridge, President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. “In the end, we’re putting the ‘miracle’ back in Miracle Mile.”

See you there, diners!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

The Cuban Frita (1)In the foodie world, anyone who’s anyone has heard of the famous Michael Mina. He’s a James Beard Award-winning chef. He’s a restaurateur with 18 restaurants worldwide. He wrote a best-selling cookbook with all of his famous recipes. He brought us the lobster pot pie, his signature dish.

And this summer only, the legend himself has transformed his namesake Magic City restaurant, the fine-dining Michael Mina 74 {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.4636}, into a laid-back pop-up. Called Pizza & Burger–Michael’s Backyard Kitchen, this summer-centric spot was inspired by Chef Mina’s own fun-filled backyard barbecues with childhood family and friends. And as casual as it is in feel and appeal, like any Michael Mina mainstay, its menu of pizzas, burgers, drinks, salads, and more is anything but ordinary… unless, of course,  you’re talking about its (surprisingly) affordable prices.

The Food:  Turn your sides into starters and kick-off your meal with The Toast—a slice of fresh-baked sourdough bread slathered with house-made ricotta, black pepper honey, toasted pecans, prosciutto, and stone fruit—and The Wings, chicken wings covered in spiced honey gastrique, pickled apple, and popcorn peanuts. Throw in some farm-fresh healthy eating with the Market Salad, where guests can choose their own greens, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, nuts, seeds, croutons, and dressings, and top it off with premium proteins like Gulf prawns, king salmon or grilled skirt steak, to name a few.

The Toast 2

For the main event, order one of the handcrafted burgers, made-from-scratch pizzas, or better yet, both. Inspired by its Miami roots, The Cuban Frita burger boasts a beef and chorizo patty topped with smoked paprika aïoli and crispy potato, while The Hippie Chick was made with veggie-lovers in mind: it’s a layered “burger” of grilled marinated eggplant, tomato jam, crispy zucchini, red onion labneh (Lebanese cream cheese), and Haloumi cheese. Pizzas like The Standard are topped with crushed San Marzano tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil and sea salt, and more indulgent versions, like The Surf, is Mina’s lobster pot pie reincarnated into a delicious, charred corn and butter-poached lobster pie. Whatever you choose, like Mom always taught you, no meal is complete without a sweet ending. Try the Rocky Road ProfiterolesCaramel-Roasted Peaches and Gelato, or the Guilty Pleasure Sundae, and thank us (or rather, Chef Mina) later.

The Drinks: At this seasonal pop-up, even the drinks taste like summer. Local beers from MIA Brewing will always be on tap, while select wines by the glass pair perfectly with any dish on the menu. If you’re craving a more traditional cocktail, the house-made margarita blended or on the rocks is a sure thing, and the $15 Mark It Zero (High West Silver Whiskey, orange, blueberry, and soda) will add a “zing” to your summer spread.

Group Cocktails

The Verdict: Do you even need to ask? It’s a star-studded restaurant turned into your neighborhood barbecue hotspot. It’s at the famed Fontainebleau, and it’s serving up dinner Tuesday through Sunday nights, from 6 p.m. to midnight, through Labor Day. Go. Now.

Happy dining!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Havana 1957

It’s time to party… Cuban style!

Havana 1957 has been a staple on South Beach for as long as Miamians can remember, and now it’s opening a brand new location on one of the Magic City’s most iconic streets: Ocean Drive. And while the location might be new, this longstanding locale plans to celebrate like South Beach has for decades; with sexy vibes, flowing drinks, beautiful people, and endless amounts of fun all night long.

To join the party, head to the brand new Havana 1957 {1410 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 786.216.7580} TONIGHT, from 6 to 9 p.m., and get ready to be transported back to the glitz and glamour of 1950’s Cuba. You’ll be handed a classic mojito as soon as you walk in, and Bacardi bars will be scattered throughout the restaurant for complimentary cocktails throughout the event. Pair those sippers with complimentary passed bites from Havana 1957, like tostones y vaca frita and empanadas, and be entertained by live music, themed dancers, and even a Cuban cigar expert giving demonstrations on how to craft the perfect Cuban cigar. A raffle will give one lucky winner a dinner for two at any Havana 1957 location, the proceeds from which will benefit Kristi House, a charity organization dedicated to healing and eradicating child sexual abuse. It’s a night flowing with fun and good food, just like one would expect to find in “un dia en la Habana.” 

At all its locations, Havana 1957 combines flavorful Cuban cuisine by renowned Chef Luis Rosales, classic Cuban music, and decades of Cuban culture and nostalgia. And lucky for you, you can go to the latest opening of this Cuban mainstay TONIGHT and get a taste of it all firsthand.

See you there!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Shiso Plum Mojito

Craving a mojito on this National Mojito Day? We are, too. Here’s where we’re heading:

Ortanique on the Mile + Zest: Thanks to the talented Cindy Hutson, both Ortanique on the Mile {278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305.446.7710} and Zest {200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Downtown Miami; 305.374.9378} have made a name for themselves on the Miami dining scene. Head to either today and you can order an “Ortanique Mojito”—a mix of Bacardi Superior Rum, mint, soda water, simple syrup and lime—for $8 all day.

Havana 1957: With a new location now open on Ocean Drive, Havana 1957 {405 Espanola Way, Miami Beach; 305.503.3828} has taken the Miami food scene by storm. This Cuban locale has 12 types of mojitos, each with a different flavor: like kiwi, passion fruit, mango, orange, and Red Bull, to name a few. For those trying to watch their calorie intake, there’s even a delicious diet mojito, made with Splenda. Get all of them today for $10.95 each, except for the top-shelf Ultimate Mojito, which costs $11.95.

Jaya, The Setai Miami Beach: The newest addition to the award-winning The Setai, Miami Beach hotel, Jaya {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 855.923.7899} has become known for its authentic, Asian-inspired dishes and cocktails. Today, order their Shiso Plum Mojito; it’s made with Choya Shiso Plum liqueur, mint, soda, and lime, and costs $14 a pop.

Segafredo: This Lincoln Road original boasts three different kinds of mojitos. If you’re at Segafredo {1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305.673.0047} today, opt for the Italian version: it’s made with white rum, Campari, lime, orange juice, and mint leaves.

Brasserie Azur: A mojito with a twist? Sounds good to us! For just $11, head to Midtown’s Brasserie Azur {3252 NE 1st Avenue, Midtown; 786.800.9993} and order the Mandarin Mojito: Don Q rum, fresh lime and mint, vanilla syrup, and Napoleon Mandarin Liquor.

Jaya_Peking Duck 2

One of the best things about summer in Miami is Miami Spice: that glorious time of year where Miami’s hottest restaurants offer affordable, prix-fixe menus of some of the best food in town. Gearing up for the 2016 edition, which will run from August 1 to September 30, Jaya {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 855.923.7899}—located at The Setai Miami Beach—is offering a three-course “Summer Spice” menu that’s only available during the month of July.

Available from July 1-30, and priced at just $39 per person, this limited-time-only offer features Asian-fusion plates from the restaurant’s popular “East Meets West” menu. Head there tonight, and you can choose from appetizers like Pork Belly BaoTrio of CrudoChicken and Coconut ShrimpTomato, or Japanese Leaf, and then move on to an entrée, like Pad ThaiLobster LaksaTandoor Chicken Masala, or Peking Duck.

Finally, round off your tasty trip through Asia with one of two desserts: Tempura Chocolate or Chocolate and Caramel. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong!

Jaya is open Sunday–Thursday, from 7–11pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 7pm–Midnight.

The Standard_Rose Guide

No matter where you are in the world, one thing’s for sure: there is no season more perfect for rosé than summer. And no place knows that better than the iconic The Standard Spa, Miami Beach {40 Island Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.673.1717}.

New this summer, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach has not only added 20 bottles of the pink vintage to its wine list, but it’s also come up with and released its very own “wine guide,” where in-house wine expert Amy Demoga teaches us which bottles are best for which occasions. Follow her suggestions below, and then go there for yourself and start ordering them one by one.

Rumor has it there’s even some rosé cocktails, including a frozen F’rosé concoction, along with one special rosé you won’t find anywhere else: The Standard’s own Sunset Beach Rosé by André Balazs, served by both the glass and the bottle.

Read below to get The Standard’s standard on the best rosé for every occasion:


  • Sunset Beach Rose, André Balazs Collection, Channing Daughters, Long Island New York ‘15
  • Peuch-Haut, Saint Drezery, Languedoc-Rouissillon ‘15 (Grenache and Syrah)
  • Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, Corbieres Languedoc-Rouissillon ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Mouvedre, Carignan) 


  • Villa Pereire Provence, Fr ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (vermentino), Carignan)
  • Whispering Angel, Provence, Fr ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle)     
  • Miraval, Provence Fr. ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Syrah)
  • Domaine Ott ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon)

Eating a fancy dinner:

  • Chateau d’Esclans “Garrus” Provence, Fr ‘15 (Grenache, Rolle)
  • Chateau Simone, Pallette, Fr ‘15 (Grenache, Cinsault, Mouvedre, Syrah and others)
Les Dauphins, Rhone, Fr ‘15 (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault)

Eating tapas:

  • Chateau La Gordonne, Provence, Fr ‘15  (Grenache and Syrah)
  • Il Rosa di Casonoves, “La Spinetta” Tuscany ‘15 (Sangiovese, Prugnolo Gentile)
  • Marques de Caceres “Excellens” ‘15 (Grenache, Tempranillo, Viura)
  • Muga ’15 (Grenache, Tempranillo, Viura)

By Jennifer Agress