Foodie Friday – Local Edition

February is our kind of month. By now, we’ve all moved past our “New Year, New You” resolutions (better luck next year!) and are back to full-blown gluttony. Here in Miami, February is especially gluttonous. After the traditional Super Bowl gorgefest and Valentine’s Day decadence, we’ve only got a couple of short weeks before the South Beach Wine & Food Festival rolls into town. And, in between all of that, we’ve got a whole bunch of new restaurants, menu offerings, and special events to indulge in. As per usual, we’ve rounded them up for you below. Enjoy!

New Restaurant Openings & Menu Additions
Tucked inside the Avalon Hotel on famed Ocean Drive, Craft Café is the new sister establishment of the property’s longstanding restaurant, A Fish Called Avalon. The cafe will offer a dizzying array of coffee, tea, and specialty drink selections complemented by both classic and innovative desserts and baked goods. With a view of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean from the al fresco dining area, guests can enjoy watching the non-stop action of Ocean Drive and take in the melting pot that is Miami by people watching.

The Wynwood Yard has announced the addition of one of the country’s first full-service restaurants built entirely out of modified shipping containers, CHARCOAL Garden Bar + Grill, helmed by Ken Lyon, a long-time Miami visionary and culinary entrepreneur. Taking center stage in the kitchen is Lyon’s pride, a magnificent Josper grill, which uses 100% charcoal to fully develop flavors on perfectly-charred grilled meats, seafood and vegetable dishes that embrace a pre-cuisine and back-to-the-roots approach to cooking. The architecturally innovative restaurant also exemplifies the principles of lean urbanism with its collection of modified shipping containers, while a lush urban garden provides organic vegetables, fruits and herbs that CHARCOAL incorporates into its thoughtful menu. Complementing its analog menu, diners can select from rare large-format craft beers served in growlers or thoughtfully chosen French and Italian wines on tap. CHARCOAL also offers an abbreviated estate-bottled wine list with rosé, Prosecco, and Champagne by the glass, along with a craft cocktail menu.

PokéBao, an exciting, new, chef-driven, fast-casual eatery located in Coral Gables’ growing Giralda Avenue is now open daily for lunch service. Helmed by Chef/Owner Daniel Bouza, who enjoys a celebrated culinary career with past stints at Nobu Lana’i and Makoto in Bal Harbour, the menu offers a fresh take on the wildly popular flavors of Hawaiian style poké and bao buns. The carefully crafted menu focuses on authentic, flavor-forward selections including an array of delectable bowls, buns and bites. PokéBao is open seven days a week for lunch service from 11AM to 4PM. Dinner service will be introduced at a later date.

Brickell welcomes yet another expansion from the Tucandela Group, but this time they’ve traveled out of Colombia… and into Mexico. La Cueva is a Latin bar with a Mexican flare that looks and feels like you’re in one of Mexico’s famous caves. The new bar will serve all your favorite and classic cocktails and mezcal, but specializes in everything tequila: cocktails, shots, shooters and flights. La Cueva will hold some of the most exclusive tequila brands and will have limited addition tequilas available for tastings every month. Like Tucandela, La Cueva will play popular and upbeat Latin tunes, but will also be more open-format by playing hip-hop and dance music. For some visual appeal and entertainment, expect the Mariachis regularly and Lucha Libre Mexican fighters!

With more news from the Tucandela Group, they’ve just opened Candela Gastrobar right in the heart of Mary Brickell Village. Candela’s menu consists of all different kinds of ceviche, tiraditos, salads, rices, meat, seafood, and much more, all staying true to the restaurant’s authentic Peruvian roots. The restaurant serves its food in sharing portions so the whole table can enjoy. Owners of Candela intended for it to be the go-to spot to have a delicious dinner and a few mojitos and pisco sours with a lounge vibe, and then head over to its sister location nearby, Tucandela.

Fooq’s is premiering an exclusive Grower Champagne program, featuring a selection of imported specialty Champagnes. Guests can now sip a variety of bubbles by the glass or enjoy a handcrafted pairing by Sommelier David Foulquier. A true gem to the area, Fooq’s carefully cultivated Grower Champagne list is unlike any traditional Champagne menu found in Miami. Stemming from Fooq’s mission to source the freshest produce, fish and meat from local producers, the eclectic eatery champions the same quality and care through its Grower Champagne program. The list of premium bubbles features harvests from the world’s best craft producers, growing natural grapes on-site and blending wine in-house to ultimately coin the term “Grower Champagne.” The new list of bubbles is home to 25 different labels from over 20 harvesters all over the world. Notable labels include Jacques Selosse, the initial and the Rosé, as well as Bérèche et Fils and Paul Déthune.

Special Menus & Offerings
RUST Wynwood, located inside Wynwood Block, launches a new Sunday Brunch menu with offerings that bring a unique twist to classic dishes. The Provoleta Benedicta is a play on the traditional eggs benedict that features RUST’s provoleta stuffed with fresh tomatoes, topped with whole grain toast, ham, a poached egg, and finished with Hollandaise sauce. For the meat lovers, Honey Glazed Pork Belly with potato hash and served with a side of tomato and strawberries. For boozy deals, guests can enjoy unlimited mimosas for $20 a person or grab them by the glass for $10 each.

Mexican food is being shaken up with a new brunch menu at Coyo Taco Brickell. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 11AM to 4PM, guests can chow down classic Mexican favorites like burritos or quesadillas with a breakfast kick. For a more exclusive dish, the Breakfast Torta with toasted bolillo bread, scrambled eggs, Mexican cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, pickled jalapeño, and a choice of add-on meats will hit that brunch spot. And, to satisfy that sweet tooth, why not try the Churros con Cajeta that includes Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche.

You may not think of Seasons 52 as the type of restaurant to take on the speakeasy trend, but the Coral Gables location is currently offering an off-the-menu cocktail for those in the know. The Botanical Buzz is made with Prairie Organic vodka, honey, and lemon, and then garnished with the Szechuan Button (aka the “Buzz Button”), a flower that you consume prior to drinking the cocktail that creates an infusion that will make your tastebuds dance (or BUZZ!). The Botanical Buzz can be be ordered for a limited time only by asking any server or bartender and costs $11.

Happy hour just got “phresh as phuc” with the opening of The Lantern Garden at Phuc Yea. THE LANTERN IS NOW OPEN. Swing by for Happy hour from 5-7PM on weekdays and enjoy half-priced oysters, $6 craft cocktails, and more. And, if you’re looking for a late night spot to chill the phuc out, they’re also serving up a late night happy hour on Thursday nights from 10PM until midnight accompanied by sick beats and Golden Era hip hop.

Foodie Events & Happenings
Tonight, Fontainebleau’s newest laidback eatery, Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina, will be hosting an exclusive craft beer pairing and five course dinner featuring two highly respected breweries – local Concrete Beach Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Co. Guests will have the opportunity to vote on which beer pairs best with each course. At the end of the evening winners will be chosen. The menu – featuring specially paired dishes by Chef de Cuisine Timothy Elmore – includes Loaded Potato Skins, Fish Taco, Smoked BBQ Ribs, Dry Aged Burger and S’mores. The dinner costs $85 per person.

This Sunday, February 5th, is World Nutella Day! And, for all the Nutella lovers out there (aka everyone), Bertoni Gelato Caffe and Eatery in Brickell is serving up the best Raspberry Nutella Pancakes you can imagine. Think Nutella-buttermilk pancakes with chocolate syrup drizzle, fresh raspberries, and, of course, a side of maple syrup! #Drool

With the Falcons and Patriots going head to head this weekend, Miami Beach’s new gin lounge Gin + Collins is hosting a Super Bowl LI party featuring team themed cocktails such as the Coffee for Patriots (Jameson, crème de cacao, and coffee with a cardamom cream on top), and the Dirty Bird (Bulldog Gin, cabernet, St. Germain, lemon, and egg white). Sip on the specialty cocktails or opt for $5 beers while enjoying the game on an 86 inch TV inside the lounge or the 60 inch TV on the Gin + Collins terrace.

STK is gearing up for the NFL’s biggest game of the year at both Miami locations, with packages for those looking to watch the Super Bowl in style, no matter the group size or fan base. STK South Beach is offering a $10,000 MVP Package that includes a Blaze Starr private suite, complete with a private TV and pool table, two 3L bottles of Dom Perignon, and food items like a seafood platter, platter of STK’s famous Lil’ BRGs, and steak with sides served family style. For a smaller party, guests can enjoy the Magnum Package for $145 per person (min. 10 people; 3 packages available) that includes a private event suite with a private TV, two magnum bottles of Veuve Cliquot or Belvedere, and STK bites like Lil’ BRGs, seafood platter, sides and appetizer selections, and large sliced format steaks. Over at STK Miami, fans of the big game can pre-game with STK’s boozy new brunch surrounded by TVs for pre-game coverage, and including a selection of a la carte brunch items, bottomless mimosas ($50 upgrade forVeuve Cliquot) or Belvedere Bloody Marys for $22. Later on on Sunday Funday, enjoy $8 cocktails and bites at the bar, including loaded potato skins and chicken wings, all night beginning at 5PM.

This Sunday, there’s double reason to celebrate: 1. come cheer on your favorite Super Bowl team and 2. toast to two years of Repour Bar! Kicking off at 2PM Sunday Funday begins with a poolside party at the Albion Hotel as well as at Repour’s main indoor bar. The big game will be shown on a 30 foot projector screen outside and on the TVs inside the bar. Food and day drinking specials include: a Ketel One ‘Mule Bar’ featuring a variety of fresh ingredients for $10 each; a Jim Beam Bar offering $5 beers and $20 beer buckets, $8 ‘call’ mixed drinks and shots, $12 premium mix drinks and shots, and $12 Toki highballs; bottle service featuring Ketel One for $200 ++, Jim Beam for $180 ++, Sauza Blue for $175 ++, Cruzan Rum for $175 ++, and Toki Whiskey for $200++; and a pig roast with $8 pork or vegetarian plate options. 

VeritageMiami’s Craft Beer Tasting is back on February 9th, offering guests the opportunity to tap into more than 140 top-notch local, regional, and national brews, complemented by delicious bites from dozens of South Florida restaurants, with the artsy, mural-adorned Wynwood Walls as the backdrop at this walk-around, tasting event. New to this year’s tasting is the event’s expansion to the Wynwood Gardens area and a “brewcade” to cool off and enjoy arcade games, giant Jenga, and Connect Four. The fun continues after the tasting at the exclusive Craft Beer After-Party at The Wynwood Yard, featuring more food, beer and music by DJ Ethics. Tickets cost $75 per person for VIP admission and $55 per person for general admission.

On February 9th, Alter will host a very special evening, welcoming Jeffrey Chilcott, Cellar Master of Marchesi di Grésy, who will showcase an eclectic selection of wines from the winery while Chef Brad Kilgore delights with a five course tasting menu specially prepared for the evening. Le Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy, owned by the di Grésy family since 1797, began producing their own wines in 1973 following a decision by Alberto di Grésy. The vineyards are situated in the Langhe and Monferrato areas, which are recognized as the home of Piedmont’s greatest wines. The evening kicks off at 6:30PM and costs $155 per person.

The mack daddy of food festivals is back! That’s right, it’s #SOBEWFF time once again. The 16th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival returns to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. from February 22-26. The signature Grand Tasting Village is back with all of the fan-favorite, gourmet flair that it is known for on February 25th & 26th. In addition to the Festival’s featured line-up of Culinary Captains, who together have rounded up more than 55 restaurants each day to satiate attendees’ taste buds as they sip on samplings from 100 wine and spirits suppliers from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio, an array of new and returning favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel talent and more culinary personalities will take to the KitchenAid Culinary Demonstration stages each day. Benefiting the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, the Festival has raised more than $24 million to date to support the future leaders of the food, beverage and hospitality industry. Tickets for these great events and more are available now. Don’t miss out!

More Takes
Paris 6 Miami Beach has launched a downloadable app that will grant users 30% off meals as well as a rewards program at the 24-hour French Bistro. Featuring complimentary desserts on Fridays through Sunday and Lunch specials with 30% off daily, dishes such as Grande Salade Nicoise au Filet de Thon, Carpaccio de Beouf and Spaghetti Carbonara au Parmesan and the signature Grand Gateau dessert is up for grabs with a simple barcode scan.

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Cheers to local foodie adventures this month!

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