Foodie Friday – Local Edition

Foodies, we made it through February and survived another SOBEWFF (albeit with a few extra pounds on the scale). But, just because the King of Food Festivals is over, that doesn’t mean we can stay in our food coma for much longer. March is truly coming in like a lion with plenty of new openings, special offerings, and more foodie events hitting us hard all month long. From Cork & Fork to Cochon555 to Donuts! and much, much more, let’s keep our belts loose and enjoy another gluttonous month here in the Magic City – the beach bod can wait. Below is our local Foodie Friday round-up for your perusal. Enjoy!

New Restaurant Openings & Menu Additions
La Petite Maison has opened it’s first U.S. location, right here in Miami. Founded in Nice, France in 1988, the restaurant is known as one of the best restaurants in the South of France thanks to its menu’s simple combinations of delicious home-cooked fare. Here in Miami, the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner to Brickell diners who will experience an extensive menu of popular dishes that are a combination of original menu items created by the Nice founders, reinterpreted recipes, and several new and lighter-fared dishes that honor the principles of this Nicoise micro-cuisine. The menu, designed by Chef Patron Raphael Duntoye (who, oh by the way, has a three Michelin-star pedigree), pays no compromise to ensure the very best, fresh ingredients with changes made to reflect the season.

Lightkeepers, a casually elegant new restaurant and bar housed in The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, is set to be a beacon for foodies and craft cocktail aficionados when it opens its doors just off the island’s gorgeous waters this month. Named as an homage to the lighthouse keepers who watched over Key Biscayne’s historic Cape Florida Lighthouse dating back to the 1800’s, Lightkeepers will feature a contemporary, coastal-inspired dining room; a cool, casual indoor/outdoor bar and a beverage program featuring unique, hand-crafted cocktails. Executive Chef Raul A. Del Pozo will helm the kitchen and serve up an inviting menu influenced by the abundance of fresh seafood sourced from the southern waters of Florida and the fertile soils of the Florida Keys, northward. With cheeses from Winter Park, beef from Ocoee, and snapper from Key West, locally grown and caught ingredients will be key to the quality and diversity of the menu.

Living Room at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences recently unveiled a new cocktail program. In keeping with their reputation as a trendsetting influence on the cocktail circuit, the cutting-edge selection of new, globally-inspired drinks were created by a global group of mixologists and feature exotic herbs, house-made spices and essential oils, edible flowers, top-shelf spirits, and locally-sourced organic produce. Additionally, Living Room is hosting a new live music series on Friday evenings.

Being one of the hottest spots on Miami Beach for over FIVE years now, and due to popular demand, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar has just extended its hours to accommodate all sorts of diners, from the early birds to the night owls. Guests can now dine at Yardbird as early as 8:30AM on Saturdays and Sundays, and enjoy late night bites ’til midnight daily. Not to stop there, the restaurant now opens at 11AM from Monday through Friday, featuring a savory pre-fixed power lunch menu for $25 per person. But wait, there’s more! Happy Hour has also been extended an hour earlier, from 4-7PM, where guests can enjoy the restaurant’s beautiful bar area and innovative signature cocktails.

Special Menus & Offerings
Latteria Italiana launched a Gelato Chef Series last month, in partnership with Chef Dena Marino from MC Kitchen. Moving forward, the initiative will feature different star chefs from Miami who will create their exclusive flavors that will be featured by Latteria Italiana for a period of two weeks each. The Gelato Chef Series will run through the end of June with the next exclusive flavor coming from Chef Bryan Rojas from Fooq’s. His creation, Fior di Cardamomo e Vanilla in Pasta di Fillo, combines cardamom-infused seeds, vanilla beans, whole milk, fresh whipped cream, and infused fillo pasta.

Foodie Events & Happenings
The First Annual YardFest Weekend is here this weekend, bringing the best of The Yard’s events into one very merry weekend – from March 3-5. Friday includes events like a special YardFest edition of Taste of The Yard and Suénalo’s Afro-Latin, hip-hop, R&B and funk jams live. Start your day off at noon on Saturday with breakfast from Viv’s Little Waffle Shoppe pop-up. Hurry though, once they’re gone, they’re gone. After fueling up, get ready to roll your sleeves up and get crafty at Prism Creative Group’s Raddest Craft Fair with a live soundtrack by charming local singer-songwriters. Stay till 8PM and get down with Orlando’s The Legendary JC’s live soul funk blues. Sunday brings it all full circle with fun family-friendly relaxation with the legendary Reggae Sundays and a live performance by The Movement, a food craft event for kids and many more surprises!

On the heels of SOBEWFF, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana is kicking off Cork & Fork, the annual food and wine tasting festival in Coral Gables this weekend, from March 4-5. Hosted by some of South Florida’s most iconic chefs, the two-day event features intimate sessions of unrivaled culinary tastings, cooking demonstrations, wine pairings, and more. This year’s sessions will be led by Chefs Michelle Bernstein, Eileen Andrade, Adrianne Calvo and Cindy Hutson, as well as feature additional local talent including Chef Michael Beltran of Ariete. Tickets are on sale now for $50 per session, with all proceeds from Cork & Fork benefit the Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation “Future Leaders Through Education” scholarship fund.

Celebrate 3:05 Cafecito Time on March 5th at the Official 305 Day Block Party presented by Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso as part of the Jameson #HialeahNow event series! 3:05 Cafecito has become synonymous with South Florida, and founders of Miami’s official coffee break time began celebrating March 5th as “305 Day” in 2013, soon becoming a quintessential Miami tradition. The holiday celebrates all things Miami, and this will be 3:05 Cafecito’s biggest party yet. Come celebrate cafecito, community, and 305 pride in the Leah Arts District from 2-8PM.

South Beach gets a piece of Mykonos on Sunday, March 21st at Villa Azur, as the Mediterranean restaurant opens its doors for an exclusive brunch and dinner experience by Mykonos’ 2017 James Beard Award featured chefs Chris Athanasiadis (owner and chef at Nice N Easy Restaurant) and Panagiotis Diamantis (Executive Chef at Rodors Palace Hotel). Transforming the venue to reflect the idyllic beauty found in the Greek island, guests at the event will be taken on an unforgettable gastronomic journey where they will experience a total of six Greek dishes conceptualized by Chef Chris and Chef Panagiotis, all of which will be later incorporated into Villa Azur’s menu. Those visiting for dinner will enjoy Villa Azur’s new dinner menu, as well as a “specials” menu containing the six new dishes conceptualized. Attendees will stay refreshed with cocktails including Skinos Mastiha Spirit as three rotating DJs provide summer in the Mediterranean vibes in collaboration with globally renowned venues Mykonos’ Cavo Paradiso, Super Paradise Beach Club and Tropicana Beach Club.

The participating chefs for Cochon555’s return to Miami have been announced. The 2017 edition of the whole-hog competition will take place on March 26th at the The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. The chefs competing in this year’s Heritage BBQ event are: Chefs Clark Bowen & Rick Mace of db Bistro Moderne & Café Boulud Palm Beach; Chef Tito Vargas of The Bazaar by José Andrés; Chef Paula DaSilva of Artisan Beach House; Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog of gastroPod; and Chefs John Gallo & Rene Reyes of Pinch Kitchen. These five local chefs will each be given one whole, heritage breed pig of 200 pounds and one week to prepare the whole animal. Each chef must present a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes scored on utilization; global influences; cooking techniques; and overall flavor. A panel of notable judges selects a winner, who will then be crowned the “BBQ Prince/Princess” of Miami. This year’s event will also feature two satellite competitions to complement the original whole-animal tilt: the Somm Smackdown, pitting five of the city’s top sommeliers against one another in a quest to find the best wine/pig match; and Punch Kings, which does the same for five bartenders, challenging them to each make their own twist on the original, historic large-group drinking format — cocktail punch. Tickets for general admission start at $125, and VIP tickets are $200. To further champion the good food movement, a portion of all proceeds will go to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank.

Donuts! is back! South Florida’s only donut festival will once again bring the best donut shops together for a night celebrating everyone’s favorite sugary treat. Donuts! 2017 will take place on Thursday, March 30th from 6-10PM at MAPS Backlot in Wynwood. Guests can expect to enjoy delicious traditional and unique donut samplings from a variety of shops, including Circus Eats, Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Mojo Doughnuts, YoNutz – Gourmet Donuts and Ice Cream, Jupiter Donuts, The One Donut Company, and Crave Clean. Adding to a truly delicious experience are beverage sponsors Concrete Beach Brewery, Voss, Deep Eddy Vodka, and Nespresso, and a Food Garden with savory options from South Florida’s best food trucks, unique donut-themed yard games, and a donut photobooth! GA tickets cost $35 and include unlimited donuts and two beer tickets, while VIP tickets cost $65 and include early entry, complimentary drinks at the sponsored bar, and small bites. Portions of ticket proceeds will go to United Way of Miami-Dade.

More Takes
SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: The College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus has announced finalists for the sixth annual JWU ZEST™ Awards, which include us!!! The awards showcase and honor leaders in culinary arts in Miami, and we’re honored to be nominated in the “Reader’s Choice – Best Food and Drink Influencer” category. If you haven’t already, you can still vote through March 7th. Winners will be announced on March 29th.  

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Cheers to local foodie adventures this month!

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