Friday, June 1, 2012

Taste of the Gables

Imagine sampling dishes from over 20 restaurants all under one roof.  Add to that some yummy Mojitos from Bacardi and the beautiful ambiance of the Westin Colonnade Hotel in Coral Gables, and you got yourself the Taste of Gables; held on Thursday, May 30th 2012.

Here is the scoop you definitely want to know! The Taste of Gables, presented by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. and the Jackson Family Estates, is a sort of kickoff to the upcoming 5th Annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week taking place from June 4th - June 17th; where over 30 participating restaurants from the Coral Gables area offer a three-course lunch or dinner menu, at a savings of at least 20% off their regular menu prices. Exciting stuff!

This year, a "Blogger's Corner" was featured, and local bloggers were invited to attend and partake in the event while interacting with others on Twitter. I had a great time taking pictures of the food to bring to you, and enjoyed getting a preview of all the delicious, mouth-watering dishes created by the chefs and restaurants participating in Coral Restaurant Week. After tasting the samples, (and gaining a couple of pounds) the lucky attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite "taste" of the night. Keep reading and I'll tell you who won!

Trust me when I say I tried to taste as many dishes as possible, but there was a point I thought I'd burst (Think in terms of an overinflated Good Year blimp). It's easy to miss how many wonderful restaurants there are in Coral Gables and events like these bring it all home. Here are a few of my highlights and places you can get your groove on in the next two weeks.

Pardos Peruvian Cuisine provided a great Ceviche fix. I found it was fresh, tasty and refreshing. They also featured a Cilantro rice with rotisserie chicken but I have to say of the two, the ceviche was my favorite.

Tarpon Bend featured one of my favorite tastes of the night: the Shrimp Margarita. Wow! It was a wild combination of flavors I absolutely loved! This spot is great for happy hours and dinner so definitely a must visit during Restaurant Week.

Sushi Maki was in the house sporting a fun selection of rolls! Cali Ocho, 3 Village Roll and a Salmon Miso sushi taco were a few of the delicacies we sampled. Oh and they have a pretty mean Vegetarian Roll that I know would be a hit with my Vegan friends.

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is also partipating in Restaurant Week and that's great news. They always serve an outstanding, sizzling hot steak but during Taste of Gables, they featured a Prime Beef Slider that made my mouth water. Simply prepared, it was just the patty and the bun...but the meat was magical! Tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned, it was another top favorite of the night.

Cibo Wine Bar had people asking for seconds. After trying their Short Ribs with Gorgonzola Polenta, I knew I had to be planning a food and wine adventure real soon. Offering authentic Italian cuisine, Cibo combines good food with an elegant environment; providing the ideal balance of casual with sophistication.

The Local Craft Food and Drink offers locally sourced dishes served in a neighborhood pub environment; with a selection of 24 unique craft beers to quench the thirst. This evening, their "taste" for the event was an American Beef Carpaccio seasoned in a vinaigrette that certainly woke up the senses. Another one to add to the list. Remember you have two weeks to party.

Fleming's, famous for their prime hand-cut steaks and extensive wine list, served up one of their delicious specialties: a spiced filet mignon with porcini butter sauce. I could hear the crowds ooohing and aaahing with each bite.

Gables Aragon Cuisine was located in the second floor of the Taste of Gables event and when I reached their table, I didn't know if I could eat anymore. But one look at their Aztec Mangu and I knew it was on! Mashed green plantain, stuffed with pieces of chicken and cheese, bathed with a homemade red sauce and sitting on a bed of mashed beans. How does that sound? It immediately reminded me of my recent trip to the D.R.

All these amazing dishes are great but don't you wonder why I haven't mentioned my favorite part of any meal? Well, I wanted to build up suspense before I let you see the sweetest of endings...

Season's 52 Bar & Grill provided us with the pleasure of serving their "mini indulgences".  Decadent desserts served in shot size glasses that  really  made my heart skip a beat. By the time I hit this table, I was so full I was only able to sample one. But after seeing the large selection of tiny sweet pleasures they offer, I can envision myself indulging in two or three. ( I won't ever publicly admit to more.)

I know by now you're probably wondering..but who won? OK I'll tell you. A restaurant whose "taste" was absolutely divine.

Caffe Vialetto truly blew everyone away. Once I saw the lines forming around the table, I knew something big was going on there. They featured a Pear Ravioli that was to die for. Sweet and savory, it was creamy and delicious! I cannot wait to visit them and treat my taste buds to more.

After sampling a little food (OK a lot) and goofing off a bit, I couldn't wait to get home and tell you all about what you can expect the next two weeks when the 5th Annual Coral Restaurant Week officially begins. This is a great opportunity to visit some old favorites and venture out into some new ones. I'd love to hear what your adventures were like so please let me know what was good, what was bad, and what made your senses reel. Who knows? We might just run into each other there. For more information, you can visit their site at

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