Saturday, January 13, 2018

Key West by Nikki Beach Brings the Southernmost Point in Florida Closer to Miami

Everybody knows... a little place called... Key West by Nikki Beach. Well if they don't know it yet, they will.  Key West by Nikki Beach opened its second restaurant here in South Beach on December 18th. The first one debuted in Dubai earlier this year.

The concept brings together the tropical vibe of Key West with its laid back oceanside charm. Decorated with whitewashed walls, and rustic furniture, the blue and white ambiance exudes a beachy feel that makes its guests want to kick back and just chill with friends and family.

Located in the trendy SoFi neighborhood at 1 Ocean Drive, the restaurant offers a wide variety of seafood dishes combining the Caribbean and Latin flavors of South Florida, along with a fish market that displays fresh catch guests can choose from.  Executive Chef Frank Ferreiro will entice diners with his signature dishes such as Banana-Leaf-Wrapped Red Snapper and Stuffed Yellowtail Snapper.

If that's not all, seafood buffs like myself will also be able to enjoy a delicious raw bar complete with Alaskan King Crab Legs and sushi. Roving oyster shuckers will roam the place helping guests with the slippery suckers.  Of course, if you're more into the land than the sea, there are plenty of non-seafood options available on the menu to soothe your palate.

Key West is not just known for its appetizing seafood but also its fabulous drinks and that's very obvious here at Key West Nikki Beach. Hemingway would be proud. Serving tropical drinks like the Floridian Daiquiri and the Key Key Lime Margarita Diabla, a visit here is nothing short of a quick drive to the island paradise- only closer.

For more information on Key West by Nikki Beach or to make reservations, you can call them at 786-515-1150.  Cheers....

Monday, November 13, 2017

Slow It Down at Essensia While Giving Back to South Florida Farmers

Palm trees, a sandy beach and Essensia Restaurant and Lounge at The Palms Hotel provide the perfect incentive to kick back at Slow Food Miami’s “Snail Social” on Tuesday, November 14 from 6-8PM. Admission is $15 with all proceeds benefiting the backbone of Miami’s restaurant and farm-to-table food community – South Florida farmers impacted by Hurricane Irma. Tickets are available here.
Guests can indulge in Essensia’s signature cocktail, Mosheto, made with Caña Brava rum, Hiro sake, mint, PAMA pomegranate liqueur, kaffir lime syrup and club soda. Savory bites from Essensia’s “Tasters of Winter Menu” include:
  • Florida Corn Crab Soup and Spiny Lobster with herbs, citrus and avocado oil
  • Fennel-Crusted Lamb Carpaccio with arugula, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, shaved Manchego, pickled velvet pioppini mushrooms, rye croutons and capers
  • Wahoo Carpaccio with dragonfruit, white shoyu and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, Aleppo peppers, watermelon radish and rice crisp
  • Belgian Endive with local citrus medley, hearts of palm, herbed mascarpone, candied pecans, avocado oil and blood orange vinaigrette
Essensia’s new chef de cuisine, Jonathan Haloua presents these delicious bites. With 13 years of experience as Executive Chef and Partner at Ze Café in Manhattan and La Fleur Restaurant in Mayville, Haloua enjoys the accomplishment of having received the A.A.A. 4-Diamond Award for a French Dining Restaurant at La Fleur every year since 2008.
Guests can treat themselves to happy hour specials, including $10 essential cocktails, $8 classic cocktails, $7 featured wines, $5 featured beers and $7-10 for additional bites. Guests staying for dinner will receive 20% off their bill.
In addition, parking is $15 with validation. Student and teacher sponsored tickets are available – those interested can send a message to Slow Food Miami on Facebook or to
There will be a Snail Social hosted by different Snail of Approval chefs and restaurants throughout Miami on the second Tuesday of every month. Other participating chefs and restaurants will be announced throughout the season via Slow Food Miami’s mailing list and social media tagged with #snailsocial. Follow Slow Food Miami onInstagram and Facebook to stay current.
Essensia Restaurant and Lounge is located at The Palms Hotel is at 3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140. for Breakfast from 7-11AM; Lunch is Monday-Friday from 11:30-3PM; Dinner is Sunday-Thursday from 6-10PM; Friday and Saturday from 6-11PM; and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:30AM-3PM.

FEBRUARY 21 – 25, 2018
 The 17th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®) returns to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. February 21 – 25, 2018.  One of America’s most prestigious gourmet gatherings, the Festival has raised more than $26 million to date for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).  Next year’s edition will feature more than 90 events, including signature fan-favorite soirées, an array of new parties and intimate dining experiences, expanded CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series, and much more.  
We are truly looking forward to an exciting 17thedition,” noted Festival founder and director Lee Brian Schrager, who serves as senior vice president, communications & corporate social responsibility for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “With a variety of new experiences and refreshed fan-favorites, the 2018 Festival offers up a plethora of culinary, beverage and lifestyle events for passionate fans and hospitality industry professionals to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE.”    
The 17th annual Tribute Dinner presented by Bank of America part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series gets a fresh new format this year, with a star-studded line-up of more than a dozen chefs cooking at this walk-around affair in honor of restaurateur, author and beloved Food Network personality Bobby Flay and Treasury Wine Estates managing director and chief executive officer Michael Clarke.  Top-rated radio host Elvis Duran will serve as the emcee during this not-to-be-missed evening taking place at Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Saturday, February 24, 2018.  Also new this year, the celebration will continue at Sweet Moves: Late-Night Desserts & Dancing hosted by Bobby & Sophie Flay with beats by lifestyle guru and popular DJ Hannah Bronfman.
Iconic Miami Beach events continue to evolve and tantalize the taste buds of passionate fans from around the world, kicking off with Italian Bites on the Beach sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company hosted by Giada De Laurentiis.  The beloved Heineken Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons gets a new twist this year, with resident Food Network Rockstar Guy Fieri serving as its host.  Additionally, the music revolution that began last year at the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village featuring Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid®Culinary Demonstrations expands with the David Grutman Experience spanning both Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25.  The BACARDÍ Beach Party also returns with late-night beats and eats under the Festival’s sparkling white tents on the sand, and the new Beachside BBQ hosted by Michael Symon closes out the weekend on Miami Beach. 
The third annual CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series returns with an all-star schedule of events in Broward County, including:
● Signature Wine Seminars presented by Bank of America, a BBQ Dinner hosted by Chris Lilly and Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Chef Jorge Ramos and Clambake hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Jorge Ramos; all taking place at the brand-new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach.
● The introduction of the Festival’s fan-favorite Lucky Chopsticks hosted by Andrew Zimmern and a Rooftop Rosé Happy Hour hosted by television star, jewelry and shoe designer, True Roots cookbook author and all-around lifestyle guru Kristin Cavallari - who is also a new part-time fixture on the South Florida scene thanks to the addition of husband Jay Cutler to the city’s beloved Miami Dolphins  at the W Fort Lauderdale.
● Plus, a selection of intimate dinner experiences with renowned chefs and a Grand Bloody
Mary Brunch hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian to top-off the series.
A variety of late-night parties accent the line-up, including returning fan-favorites like Tacos After Dark hosted by Rick Bayless and King’s Hawaiian presents the Taste of Aloha and Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown hosted by Anne Burrell, and new experiences like Midnight Munchies hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten on the Art Deco oasis Española Way featuring special guest DJ Action Bronson round out the midnight owl offerings.  
Between SOBEWFF® and its sister NYCWFF, which takes place each October in New York City, more than $36 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities for each Festival.  Beyond the funds raised, both Festivals draw attention to the vibrant dining culture in their respective cities, provide economic stimulus in their communities, and serve as an invaluable platform to drive awareness, engaging and inspiring people to get involved in philanthropic activities. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Celebrate Rumtoberfest at Bahama Breeze

There's always a party happening at Bahama Breeze, and right now it's a different kind of celebration: Rumtoberfest 2017.

Through November 5th, Bahama Breeze is rolling out the rum barrels and honoring the signature drink of the Caribbean for the fifth year in a row.  This year, there are even more ways to sip- and eat- rum. Bahama Breeze just unveiled three brand new signature rum cocktails - Shipwrecked, Tradewinds and the Frozen Mojito,

This year's Rumtoberfest also introduces the restaurant's largest rum flight, the Rum Raid - featuring eight rum-based cocktails for parties of two or more to conquer. I gotta tell you, me and my partner in rum checked out the flight, and we were humming some pretty good tropical tunes by the end of the night.  Either that or we had similar dreams that involved some rum, the Caribbean, and having no shoes, no shirt and no problem.

 In addition to the cocktails, guests can also enjoy Rum & Coke Ribs and Chicken, and finish on a sweet note with Rum Cake, made with my personal favorite: Bacardi Oakheart Rum. The best part is that Fridays during the promotion will feature fun in-restaurant entertainment including live music, fortune tellers, and games and giveaways. 

For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Authentic Mediterranean Experience at Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill

We know Miami has become an epicenter for cuisine from around the world and one such place that will take you through a culinary journey through the true Mediterranean is Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill, located at 11052 Biscayne Boulevard. This cozy spot in Miami Shores combines all the elements and the senses to bring guests' palates a little piece of places like Italy, Spain, France, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Morocco and the Eolie Islands.

The décor is reflective of the Mediterranean, with each room exuding a homey, comfortable aura emphasized by the eclectic furniture, lighting and wall hangings. Great care has obviously been placed in recreating a visit to these far away lands not only with the ambiance, but also with the friendly service. I had the opportunity to take a culinary voyage at Panarea and I have to tell you, I was impressed. If we add a good-looking Italian gentleman to the menu, I might just never leave.


But back to the food.... One of the key things that stood out for me was the simplicity of their dishes. The chefs obviously rely on the purity and quality of the ingredients as they create their meals, and it's evident in every bite.  They offer a nice variety of fish and sea food which is perfectly complemented by an extensive wine list.


We started our tasting menu with a Cold Gazpacho to awaken our taste buds. From there the journey began with a Crudo di Branzino from Italy, Tartare De Thon from France and Sarde Marinate from Italy. The fish was fresh and flavorful and the sea bass delicately prepared with pink peppercorn and radish-fennel salad. The tuna loin was just as delightful to the senses, accentuating its taste with a hint of radish, cucumber and lemon dressing. Finally, the sardines, a favorite of the house, were marinated to perfection, with a texture that made placing each morsel in your mouth a foodgasmic experience.
Other delights served for the evening included a taste of their Pulpo a la Valenciana from Spain, a tender octopus. served with potatoes, chickpeas, lemon and olives, and Pejerreyes Fritos, another Spanish treat, consisting of fried sand smelts, prepared with sage leaves and served with green zucchini. We also indulged in a sampling of Baba Ghannouj from Lebanon and Filfil Roomi Hummus from Egypt. Both the eggplant puree and the roasted bell pepper hummus had an amazing texture that didn't go unnoticed.
But there was more. How we were able to consume it all is beyond me, but I think the wine had something to do with it...oh and the incredible taste. Check out the gallery below for yourself.




You can experience the gastronomic journey inside or you can choose to sit outside on their patio. For more information on Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill, or to make reservations, you can contact them at 305-640-5580 or visit their website here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Get a Taste of BRIO's New Fall Flavors

Fall doesn't just have to  be about sitting in traffic as the little guys go back to school. BRIO is making sure of that by taking Tuscan dining to new heights. The transition from summer to fall will be a delicious one at BRIO Tuscan Grille locations at The Falls in Miami, Dolphin Mall in Miami, The Village at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, The Shops at Pembroke Gardens in Pembroke Pines, and Westfield Broward Mall in Plantation. Not only are the restaurants offering watermelon-inspired seasonal sips but they are also presenting special fall seasonal dishes, as well as two-course early dinner combo packages.
Melon-Rita, Melon-Kick Martini, Melon-Berry Mojito (my favorite)
Fall seasonal favorites will be available from August 8th - October 1st and will include my personal favorite, the Chicken & Mozzarella Stuffed Ravioli featuring pancetta, sweet potatoes, asparagus, light champagne cream, Gorgonzola cheese, and pine nuts sprinkled in a balsamic glaze.

My personal favorite: Chicken & Mozzarella Stuffed Ravioli

They will also offer a Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chop, served with sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pancetta, Brussel sprouts, and caramelized onions all bathed in a balsamic vinaigrette.
Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chop
Steak Lovers will be enamored with their Steak Saltimpocca, a flavorful bite stuffed with prosciutto and provolone then topped with Marsala Sauce, and served with crispy fingerlings, chile flake, fried sage, and broccolini.
Steak Saltimpocca
For dessert, you will love the Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler, served warm with vanilla bean gelato and powdered sugar. Now that's a bit of homestyle food that will welcome Fall with comfort.
Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler
“Going from summer into fall, we are happy to offer incredible drinks, seasonal favorites, and the two-course early dinner combo,” said BRIO Culinary Director & Chef Alison Peters. “Just as the seasons change, we enjoy changing up our special offerings to cater to our guests’ tastes.”
Cheers.. Loved their watermelon drinks
For more information, visit their website here.


Last Chance To Take Advantage of Miami Spice Deals


Last Chance To Take Advantage Of Summer Dining Deals Throughout Miami And The Beaches
Now in its 16th year, the Miami Spice Restaurant Program produced by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) offers visitors and locals an accessible way to experience more than 250 of the finest restaurants in the region, including 55 new participants in 2017.  Miami Spice kicked-off August 1st and will run through September 30th with dining deals that include lunch and brunch priced at $23 per person and dinner priced at $39 per person. Prices include an appetizer, entrée and dessert; alcohol, tax, tip and service charges are excluded. This year’s sponsors include Citibank®, Lyft, Chandon California, Fiji Water, Stella Artois, Terrazas de los Andes, Ketel One Vodka, Don Julio Tequila, Bulleit Bourbon and Zacapa Rum.
To spice up the second half of the program, participating restaurants are offering new takes on their Miami Spice menus. Among the restaurants launching new Miami Spice menus in September are Atlantikós, BLT Prime, BLT Steak, Blue Collar, Bulla Gastrobar, Candela Gastrobar, EDGE Steak & Bar, Fooq’s, Hakkasan, Komodo, Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, Lure Fishbar, Matador Room, Meat Market Miami Beach, Mignonette Uptown, Monty’s Coconut Grove, Novecento, Ortanique on the Mile, Pao by Paul Qui, Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar, Son Cubano, StripSteak by Michael Mina, The Forge, TUYO and Toro Toro. For a full list of participating restaurants, Miami Spice menus and special events, please visit
Summer of Temptations
The GMCVB launched its Summer of Temptations campaign aimed at attracting Floridians to explore many options to Vacation in Your Own Backyard. With more than 65 participating hotels in Greater Miami and the Beaches, there are enticing special offers and discounts. The campaign runs through September 30, 2017, and will include not just discounts on hotel stays but complimentary breakfasts, valet parking, activities and internet. For more information on the special offers visit The Summer of Temptations campaign is part of the GMCVB’s increasingly popular Miami Temptations Program, sponsored by Citibank® and Lyft, and takes a thematic focus on the best that Miami has to offer with monthly deals and special events.
As the Official Rideshare Partner of Miami SpiceLyft is offering new users 20% off two rides with code MIAMISPICE17. For the full terms and conditions, please visit
Lyft is the Official Rideshare Partner for the Summer of Temptations. Get 20% off 2 rides with code MIAMITEMPTATIONS. Offer valid for current users. Subject to Lyft's Terms of Service. Terms Apply.