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A true testament to the will of owners Manuel and Tina Torterola, Lilikoi has remained open for pick-up and delivery; And now, they are taking it one step further by offering fresh, wholesome ingredients with an organic grocery menu.

Since opening their door in 2016, Lilikoi has gained loyal customers simply by doing things the right way. Before the Miami Beach ban on plastic at restaurants, Lilikoi had already been single-use plastic-free. Before sustainable had made it into our everyday lexicon, Lilikoi knew no other way of running their business and handling their food. Lilikoi’s organic living is a reflection of chef and co-owner Manuel and his life partner Tina Torterola. 

Lilikoi Organic Living, Miami Beach
Co-owner Manuel in the kitchen

A chef-driven, casual restaurant, Lilikoi provides dishes inspired by the eastern philosophy concept of living in harmony with nature. Manuel’s core value, when it comes to food, has to do with the integrity of how food is handled, cooked, and shared. He oversees every detail and culinary aspect of his food, from creating every single item from scratch or sourcing it from the best providers to serving food that is made as it is ordered. Even the fish is smoked in-house with local wood!

Behind Lilikoi’s philosophy lies Manuel’s unique upbringing in Argentina. He grew up eating and understanding food as an essential aspect of our health. He and his family would feast on a garden salad every night, and when sick, they would resort to using Chinese medicinal tinctures instead of reaching for the pill cabinet. At an early age, he was introduced to the Eastern concept that supplying the best nutrition through wholesome and freshly prepared foods is key to our health and vitality. 

Lilikoi’s organic living motto is not limited to serving food. For Tina and Manuel, organic living encompasses interacting with every part of life in this same way, with their peers or with a stranger on the street. Organic living is extending kindness in every aspect of our lives. Manuel defines food by likening it to comfort and art, to a bridge between people in good company, a conversation, a sunset, or a memory with friends. 

Lilikoi Organic Living, Miami Beach
Lilikoi Organic Living, Miami Beach

Lilikoi’s menu offers warm, filling, and savory dishes inspired by Hawaiian cuisine—hence the name Lilikoi, which means passionfruit. The menu boasts plant-based options as well as animal-protein dishes with high quality and responsibly sourced meat and fish. Manuel recommends the poke bowl with salmon or his farro -heirloom grain- trumpet mushroom risotto.

You can now order organic groceries online on Lilikoi’s website.

Lilikoi Organic Living
500 South Pointe Dr #180, Miami Beach, FL 33139; T:(305) 763-8692

By contributing writer Pamela Wasabi

TEMPURA AVOCADO, Essensia Restaurant & Lounge

In Florida, the only thing we love more than avocados is coming up with fun, new ways to eat them. Luckily, we here in Miami have Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III—the mastermind behind Essensia Restaurant + Lounge {3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.908.5458} and our personal guru on all things delicious, good-for-you cuisine—to make sure that happens. Fusing his own “New American” twist into Essensia’s local, seasonal, farm-to-table menu, Chef Rogers came up with a fun way to enjoy this favorite South Florida fruit, with a little indulgence thrown in for good measure.

Want to try this dish for yourself? Head to Chef Rogers’ must-try restaurant, in The Palms Hotel & Spa, and order his Tempura Avocado. Then, when you love it, go home and use the recipe below to whip it up on your own.

Tempura Avocado from Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III of Essensia Restaurant + Lounge
serves four to six

The Ingredients

Tomato Chipotle Jam:
1 c Roma tomato, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 c red wine vinegar
2 tsp Chipotle Purée
1/2 small red onion, 1/4 c diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche:
1 lime, juice and zest
1/2 c crème fraiche or sour cream
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Tempura Batter:
2 egg whites
1 c All-Purpose Flour
2/3 c cold water

Tempura Avocado:
2 avocados
6 c oil, excluding olive oil
sea salt, to taste

The Method

For Tomato Chipotle Jam: Sauté onion in a large sauté pan for four to six minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and cook for an additional four to six minutes. Deglaze the pan with vinegar. Add all remaining ingredients, and allow everything to simmer on medium or low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the consistency resembles jam.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

For Tempura Batter: Beat egg whites until frothy. Fold flour and cold water into the egg whites until the batter is barely mixed.

For Tempura Avocado: Remove the skin and pit from the avocado. Slice each avocado into six even wedges. Using a fork or a skewer, dip each avocado wedge into the tempura batter and shake off the excess batter. Fry each wedge in oil at 355 degrees for two minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the wedges from oil and season immediately.

To Serve: Drizzle Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche directly on the serving plate, and space battered avocado wedges evenly across. Fill the curve of each wedge, where the pit used to be, with a dollop of the Tomato Chipotle Jam and serve.


By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

PM Fish & Steak House

Earlier this month, DiningOut had a fun opportunity to attend a special wine-pairing dinner at the upscale PM Fish & Steak House {1453 South Miami Avenue, Brickell; 305.200.5606}. The event was hosted by the prestigious Castillo de Argum winery located in Villarrobledo (Castilla-La Mancha), Spain, known for making 100-percent organic wines. We were joined by the winery’s winemaker, Fernando Santos Jimenez, who led us through each wine’s aging process from grape to bottle. Each wine was expertly paired with distinguished and mouthwatering dishes by PM’s Chef Mauricio Rocha.

We started off the evening with the Castillo de Argum Rosada, a fresh and fruity raspberry-pink rosé. It was paired with a colorful sashimi platter featuring cuts of salmon, tuna, and striped bass, along with PM’s signature Octopus Carpaccio, finely sliced pieces of fresh octopus topped with olive oil, ponzu sauce, and lemon and lime zest. The simplicity of the dishes paired with the refreshing rosé wine was the perfect beginning to what turned into an extravagant multi-course journey of food, fun, and friendship.

PM Sashimi

The rosé was soon traded in for the Castillo de Argum Sauvignon Blanc, which is made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The winemaker explained to us that young white wines sugar themselves, paralyzing the fermentation that’s obtained naturally. To fully soak up the flavor, the dish was paired with a mixed ceviche, which was prepared in a light tomato sauce with oyster and citrus juices.


The white wine continued to flow before we switched over to the winery’s signature reds: the Cencibel Ecológic, made from 100-percent Cencibel (Tempranillo), and the Roble Cencibel, a Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend aged for just four months in oak barrels, but then kept six months in the bottle before it is even released.

Argum rose wineargum white

We were served even more delicacies from PM’s kitchen, including the restaurant’s homemade chorizo sausage and provoleta cheese, a thick, gooey slab of aged provolone served piping hot. Red wine was all around us before along came the dish we all were waiting for: a prime slab of New York Strip Steak cooked to perfection.

Pm steak

The meal ended on a sweet note with the Chocolatisimo PM, a hot decadent chocolate soufflé served over a coffee reduction with vanilla ice cream. Suffice to say, we were beyond satisfied.


Our takeaway from the evening was twofold.

  1. Castillo de Argum organic wines are by far superior to a majority of the wines that we’ve tasted in the past;
  2. PM Fish & Steak exudes unmatched sophistication and fine culinary prowess that we know we’ll be back to enjoy in the very near future. Oh, and the next time we’re in Spain, we know where we plan on staying. The winery gets its name from the medieval-like castle in which it sits, a space that doubles as an elegant hotel.

Castillo de Argum

 By Sherri Balefsky | Online Editor