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COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our local businesses, and on the hospitality industry in particular. 

We watch as our favorite eateries close, laying off hundreds of employees; we feel helpless as we witness hospital workers tirelessly serving the community; we desperately want to make a difference, but need just a little guidance.

Lucky for us, people like Will and Mac Osborne exist, as they truly are the guiding light, enabling us to do just that. 

Meals for Heroes
Courtesy of Sam Angelo

Meals for Heroes was conceived when Mac Osborne’s visit from NYC was extended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 quarantine.  A restaurateur in New York, Mac expressed to his father regret that he wasn’t at home with his business, as he would come up with creative ways to help the community.  His father, Will, who has been living in Miami for ten years, suggested they go to work on his ideas right here in Miami Beach.  As a local philanthropist and certifiable foodie, he knew enough people to get things moving in the right direction. 

That was on April 1st, and since then, Meals for Heroes has delivered thousands of meals to Miami’s first responders, providing extra work for local restaurants. 

The mission of Meals for Heroes is two-fold: feed (and comfort) hungry first responders; and provide work for cooks and restaurant employees.  “This is a fight that is going to be won by our healthcare frontline workers, in conjunction with our first responders.  These three constituencies, hospitality, healthcare, and fire/EMS/police need our support.  Purchasing meals to deliver to these stressed professionals is a sign of support from a grateful community,” says Will. 

How It Works

Meals for Heroes, Miami reaches out to hospitals and testing centers to determine their needs. In partnership with local restaurants, Meals for Heroes purchases between50 to 500 meals daily from local restaurants to be delivered to each facility. Restaurant partners take all necessary precautions outlined by the CDC, and working with each medical and emergency facility, ensure a contact-less delivery of the meals.

The growing list of restaurant partners include:

RED, The Steakhouse
Joe’s Stone Crab
Yardbird
Stubborn Seed
Thierry Isambert Catering and Event Design.

Front Line recipients to date include:
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Miami Baptist Hospital, Miami Baptist Miami Beach
Miami Beach Fire Department
Emergency Operations Center
Miami Beach Police Department
Mt. Sinai Hospital Miami Beach

How to Support Meals For Heroes, Miami

Meals for Heroes

Meals for Heroes, Miami is a donation-based organization. All administrative, legal and financial and operational expenses are borne by the founders; therefore 100% of donations go towards restaurants in the purchase of meals. 

A $15 donation will support a first responder meal,
$500 will provide meals for one ICU shift,
$5,000 will support an Emergency Room for two shifts, and
$10,000 can ensure meals for one day at three Miami Front Line Hospitals. 

Donations can be made at www.mealsforheroesmiami.org.

Follow Meals for Heroes on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

As Easter Sunday is fast approaching what are your dinner plans? How can we maintain any sense of “normalcy” during this unprecedented time of COVID-19? Grab your laptops, iPhones, iPads—any tool to set up your virtual family dinner and indulge in a delicious homecooked meal.

So, what should you make?

Well, DiningOut had the opportunity to speak with executive chef Luis Polanco of Miami’s trendy Boulud Sud Méditerranée and he says, why not bring a taste of the Mediterranean right to your kitchen?

Maybe we can’t physically go on an adventure during this time, but our taste buds sure can!

First stop: the Mediterranean for Chef Luis’ favorite dish, Braised Lamb Rigatoni. (Cue the applause!)

While the dish is a slow cookin’ commitment, Chef Luis makes a great point: during this lockdown “we all have the time, so why not?”

Chef Luis added, the best part about this recipe is, regardless of how complex the dish seems, the ingredients can be bought (use your delivery services) from your local grocery stores.

Braised Lamb Rigatoni
Braised Lamb Rigatoni

Ingredients:

3 lb. boneless lamb shoulder 
1 ea Spanish onion 
1 ea stalk of celery 
1 ea carrot 
16 oz. can of DOP San Marzano tomatoes 
1 bottle of your favorite red wine 
1lb. of butter 
4 oz. oil (Grapeseed or any high smoking temperature oil) 
32 oz. beef broth (store bought) 
salt 
black pepper 
1lb. of your favorite dry rigatoni 
8 oz. ricotta cheese 
1 ea lemon 
Parmesan cheese 

Directions:

Use a pot large enough to fit all the contents. Add 4 oz. of oil and half a pound of butter and let your butter brown, but ensure it doesn’t burn—this could change the taste of the final result!

Clean your lamb of all bone and hard cartilage.

Season your lamb with salt and black pepper.

Once your pan is hot, add in your lamb and brown evenly on both sides. 

While your lamb is roasting in a food processor add your onions, celery, and carrots and pulse until they become small pieces. (Do these separately because they break up differently).

Once your lamb is roasted remove from the pot and let sit until the braising liquid is ready.

Remove the fat you used to roast the lamb and add in 4 oz. of butter. Then, add your onions, celery and carrots. Cook this out until tender for about 10 minutes at medium heat. 

Once your vegetables are tender add in 1/2 of your bottle of red wine. Simmer your wine until it reduces by half and the smell of alcohol is gone. It will smell sweet.

Add your tomatoes, beef broth, and lamb back to the pot. Bring it to a simmer. At this point, you can cover it and cook it on a stove top until tender or place the covered contents into a 350 F oven for about 2-3 hours, depending on your oven or until the lamb is tender. 

While your lamb is cooking, now it’s time to get your ricotta ready!

In a small bowl add in your ricotta, zest of 1 lemon, some grated parmesan, and black pepper.

Once your lamb is done let it rest in the liquid.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Cook your pasta for about 10-13 minutes until it is al dente. 

Once your lamb has rested, remove the meat from the pot and choose nice big pieces of the lamb for the final dish.

While you shred it, put the braising liquid back on high heat and simmer it until it becomes the consistency of a nice tomato sauce.

Add your pieces of Lamb back to the pot then add in your cooked rigatoni, 4 oz. of butter, and parmesan and mix until nice and creamy. 

Grab your favorite pasta bowl and place some of the ricotta mixture to the bottom of the plate. Next, add your beautiful Lamb Ragu Rigatoni on top, grate some fresh parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper and enjoy with a glass of wine!

Chef Luis’ Cooking Tips for Success:

DO: What is your go-to cookware for this dish?

Chef Luis: “My go to for this dish at home is my 4.5 qt. Le Creuset.”

DO:  Why is it important to clean the lamb of all bone and hard cartilage?

Chef Luis:  “if bone and cartilage is still intact, it will not cook out during the braising process.”

DO: What if you don’t have a food processor?

Chef Luis: “if you do not have a food processor you can cut the vegetables into small pieces, just dice with a knife”

DO: What is the secret behind a perfect pasta dish?

Chef Luis: “You want your pot of boiled water for the pasta to be salted enough so the pasta can soak up the flavor. It’s a crucial step for making the perfect pasta dish.”

Boulud Sud decided to temporarily close on March 20th as a safety precaution for their staff and customers. They’re looking forward to welcoming their guests back soon! Until then, Bon Appétit and let us know how your recipe turned out!

Although we all will be celebrating Easter at home because of COVID-19 this year, it doesn’t mean that we cannot indulge ourselves in great food. You can either order in from your favorite local restaurant, or try your hand at these Easter recipes from Miami restaurants. Check out our roundup of restaurants doing takeout and delivery with special Easter menus and take a look at the Easter recipes below. Whether you choose to order in or cook, happy Easter from DiningOut family!

1. Plant-based Mac and Cheese by Planta South Beach

Ingredients

3 cups plant-based milk of choice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flour
Plant-based cheese of choice
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 cup almond flour
2 cups pasta shells
Salt
Pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven at 400°.

Start boiling a large pot of salted water for the pasta. When water has boiled add pasta, cook pasta.

Pour plant-based milk into medium sized saucepan, bring to a boil.

In a small bowl combine olive oil and flour, whisk together.

Using a spice grinder or food processor, combine almond flour and nutritional yeast to make a plant-based parmesan cheese.

When the plant-based milk has come to a boil, turn down the heat and add the olive oil and flour mixture. Mix together on a gentle heat, making sure the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add a couple pinches of salt to taste.

When the pasta has cooked drain the water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir on medium-high heat.

Add the plant-based cheese to the pasta and sauce. Mixing in to melt the cheese. Cook the pasta on a gentle heat for 2-3min.

Transfer about two-thirds of the mac and cheese into an oven-safe casserole dish. Add a layer of plant-based cheese, plant-based parmesan and fresh pepper. Add the remaining mac and cheese for a second layer. Add another layer of cheese, parmesan and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 15-20min at 400° or until golden brown.

Remove the mac and cheese from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving

2. Rustic Bread Spinach Dip by La Fontana Steakhouse 

Easter Recipes
La Fontana Steakhouse

Ingredients

Yellow Onion ( 2 Cups)
Chopped Garlic ( 1tbsp)
Unsalted Butter (1tbs)
Heavy Cream ( 6 Cups)
Grated Parmesan Cheese ( 2 Cups)
Chopped Baby Spinach ( 4 Cups)
Rustic Bread (3 Units)
Mozzarella Cheese ( 2 Cups)

 Instructions

In a medium heated pot, add the unsalted butter until melted. Add chopped garlic and yellow onion and sweat for 2 minutes. 

Add the heavy cream and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and turn off the stove.

In a blender, add the chopped baby spinach and the mix from the pot. Let  it blend for 2 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Cut  the top of the bread. Take out the inside dough of the bread. Fill it out with the creamy spinach.

On top, add the bread crumb and mozzarella cheese. 
Put the bread bowl in the oven for 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown.

3. Charred Eggplant Spread by Fi’lia Brickell

Ingredients

Eggplant – 1500 grams
Roasted Garlic Cloves – 16 grams
Garlic – 6 grams
Lemon Juice – 50 grams
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 100 grams
Kosher salt – 14 grams
Black pepper – 6 grams
Eggplant Juice – to taste 

Instructions

Char whole eggplant over open fire until the skin has charred and the inside is soft but not smooshy. Keep in a container covered with plastic wrap. 

Once at room temperature remove the charred skins and place the meat inside a robot coupe / food processor. Reserve the liquid from the container that held the eggplants after charring.

Add all of the ingredients in the robot coup / food processor and puree until a smooth paste is achieved.

4. Crispy Brussels by Katsuya Brickell

Easter Recipes
Katsuya

Ingredients

74 Grams of Brussels sprouts 
255 Grams of Mirin
200 Grams of Sake
250 Grams of Soy Sauce
100 Grams of Sugar
125 Grams of Balsamic Vinegar
Shaved Almonds
Scallions

Instructions

Cut out the core on the brussels

Deep fry till a dark golden brown

Balsamic reduction: Combine Mirin, Sake, Soy Sauce, balsamic vinegar and Sugar over heat until sugar is dissolved (yields 1.5 liters, which can be stored up to one month) 

Once Brussels are fried, place in a mixing bowl and toss with 20 grams of the balsamic vinegar reduction

Add almonds, chopped scallions, and additional balsamic vinegar reduction to taste 

5. Chilaquiles Con Huevos by Coyo Taco

Easter Recipes
Coyo Taco

Ingredients

8 eggs cooked sunny side up or scrambled if you prefer
8 ounces tortilla chips
12 ounces salsa (opt for store-purchased salsa like Herdez salsa Verde)
4 ounces Mexican crema or sour cream
16 ounces grated white cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese (store-bought options will work)
8 ounces refried black beans or canned refried beans, if available
4 ounces pico de Gallo
1-ounce guacamole
4 tablespoons cotija cheese
Pinch chopped cilantro on each serving                      

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large-size mixing bowl, add chips, salsa, sour cream and half of the grated cheese and toss until all chips are coated with sauce, cheese, and crema/sour cream. Place the mixture in a large baking dish, sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top of the chilaquiles and bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and chips are lightly browned. In 4 medium-size serving bowls, spoon warm black beans in the center of each bowl and then pile the chilaquiles on top, place fried/scrambled eggs next, then spoon a dollop of sour cream and guacamole in the center of each portion, sprinkle with cotija cheese and pico de gallo, garnish with cilantro.

6. Caprese Salad by Fi’lia Brickell

Ingredients

1.5 Heirloom tomatoes cut in wedges
Stracciatella – 2 oz
Balsamic dirt – 18 grams 
2 basil leaves 
Olive oil – to taste 
Salt – to taste 

Balsamic Dirt
Mix 15 grams of Lemon bread crumbs and 5 grams of Balsamic reduction in a bowl 

Instructions

Toss the heirloom tomatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil, add the stracciatella on top and around the tomatoes, add the balsamic dirt on top of the cheese and tomatoes, and top with basil leaves. 

7. Chocolate Skyscraper Cake by Big Pink


Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Layers

1 Pound Butter
2 Pounds Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1.5 Cups Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Buttermilk
1 Pound All Purpose Flour

Chocolate Pudding Layers

1  1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
1/2  Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
3 Cups Milk
1 Qt. Heavy Cream
1 Pound Semi-sweet Chocolate
2 Tablespoons Butter

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

In a large bowl, cream sugars and beaten eggs until light and fluffy and  buttermilk until completely combined.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until fully incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour batter into greased layer pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Set on a wire rack to cool, at least one hour, or frosting will melt.

Chocolate Pudding

Put cream, milk,  sugar, and cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.

Whisk in cornstarch, eggs in a bowl.

Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil.

Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and add chocolate and butter, continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.

Celebrating Passover and Easter in Miami is going to be a little different this year. With mandated shutdowns of businesses and places of community gatherings and stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Miami will be staying home for the foreseeable future to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. This means live streaming Easter Sunday service, joining a virtual Passover Seder, face-timing grandparents, and entertaining kids with virtual Easter egg hunt. 

Maybe we’ll be away from our family, but luckily a number of Miami restaurants will be serving special takeout menus and meal kits for Passover and Easter, keeping at least one aspect of the tradition alive. Check out our roundup of restaurants offering Passover Seder meals and Easter menus. 

Don’t forget to take a look at our roundup of restaurants open for delivery, takeout, and pickup.

Alter

The popular spot in Wynwood, Alter is offering Easter specials. From cook-at-home steak dinner kit to roasted chicken dinner for the family, Alter’s Easter takeout options sound amazing. The restaurant is currently operating from noon to 9 pm. The Easter menu prices vary from 30 to 55 dollars. You can order for pickup or delivery on this website.

Ariete Miami

Passover and Easter in Miami 2020
Ariete – Photo Credit: Blue Shell Media

Located in Coconut Grove, Ariete is offering a family-style Easter menu, which serves four and includes options such as whole yellowtail snapper, beef roast, braised lamb, traditional or vegetarian bolognese, and more. You can give the restaurant a call at (786) 615-3747 or check out their Instagram. 

Bill Hansen Catering

Located in Coconut Grove, Bill Hansen Catering has prepared a Passover menu that includes a seder plate, appetizers, and desserts. There’s a 4-guest per order minimum and the menu is $32 per person. The delivery is free, however, the orders need to be placed 48 hours in advance.

Casa Sensei

Passover and Easter in Miami 2020
Casa Sensei

Pan Asian and Latin Fusion restaurant Casa Sensei is offering an Easter special including the Easter Egg Hunt. The special menu serves a family of four with main course options such as lamb chops, salmon, or Korean steak along with sides like garlic mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, green beans, and more. 

LoKal

LoKal and Vicky’s House will be open on Easter Sunday, offering takeout and delivery from noon to 9 pm. The restaurant also offers a $10 first responder menu to the frontline workers at the hospitals. 

RWSB 

RWSB at the W South Beach is another restaurant offering Easter menu. The restaurant’s four-course Easter special includes options such as crab salad, roasted lamb shoulder, scalloped potatoes, honey glazed baby carrots, a pastiera Napoletana, and a whole pie. You can call the restaurant at (305) 938-3112 to pre-order for pickup or order on Ubereats, Postmates, or Grubhub for same-day delivery. 

Stubborn Seed

Chef Jeremy Ford’s Stubborn Seed is offering an Easter menu for your family. 160-dollar easter menu feeds four and includes dishes like warm celery root, Bell and Evans chicken, beef ragout pappardelle plus housemade bread and wine. The menu is available all Easter weekend and you can order for pickup and delivery.

In times like these, everyone can use a feel-good story — and we’ve got a great one for you that’s unfolding right now at one of Miami’s most anticipated restaurants — the South Florida outpost of Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Red Rooster, located in the heart of Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood on NW 2nd Avenue.  

The grand opening of Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Overtown didn’t go quite as was expected pre-pandemic. Amidst widespread restaurant closures and social distancing efforts, the award-winning chef and his partners, Michael Simkins and Derek Fleming, have instead transformed the restaurant into a community food hub, lending the kitchen and space to Food Rescue US and World Central Kitchen — founded by celebrity chef and Nobel Peace Prize nominee José Andrés — to provide meals to South Floridians who have lost their jobs or have been otherwise impacted by the coronavirus. 

Red Rooster Overtown COVID-19 Response

Starting Friday, March 27, volunteers from Andrés’s foundation and Food Rescue US have been working alongside Red Rooster chefs to serve prepared and packaged meals every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon until 4 pm. The project aims to offer some relief to workers who have lost their jobs in the local restaurant industry, but anyone in need will receive a meal so long as there is food available. The initiative is also taking place at Red Rooster’s original Harlem location. 

“We must fight food insecurity during this time of crisis which is why we are proud to open our brand new Red Rooster Overtown to work with incredible partners like World Central Kitchen and Food Rescue US to safely provide meals in this unprecedented time of need,” said Samuelsson, chef and co-owner of Red Rooster Overtown. 

Samuelsson’s partner, Michael Simkins, has also contributed financially to the relief effort through the Simkins Family Foundation. 

Red Rooster Overtown COVID-19 Response

“We are proud that Overtown can be a beacon of hope for Miami, supporting workers and members of our local community who have been devastated by these overwhelming circumstances,” he said.  

“We are excited to work with World Central Kitchen, Food Rescue US and our local operators at Grove Bay Hospitality to carry on the rich social justice history of this great community of Overtown,” added Red Rooster Overtown partner Derek Fleming.  

The biggest challenge right now remains raising funds and resources to keep the operation going. Ellen Schmertz Bowen, who leads the Miami arm of Food Rescue US, is asking for donations from the community. Those interested in donating food and goods should email her at ellen@foodrescue.us. If you’d like to donate money to the Food Rescue US COVID-19 Response fund, you can do so here

By Amanda Mesa, contributing writer