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Valentine’s Day Restaurant Happenings

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS — Valentine’s Day Special

Some restaurant happenings in Miami this Valentine’s Day…

His and Hers Meny and Chocolate Tapas Bar at the Four Seasons
Acqua at The Four Seasons, 1435 Brickell Avenue, (305) 381-3190.

Acqua, the signature restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, will offer a four-course set menu with his and hers selections on Valentine’s Day. The menu is offered at $75 per person with optional wine pairings at $50 per person. For a less extravagant but still wildly indulgent celebration, the Hotel will also offer its popular chocolate tapas bar on Valentine’s Day and on the following Friday and Saturday nights.  The chocolate tapas bar offers gourmet selections such as dark chocolate orange terrine with mini macaroon, chocolate and caramelized banana tart with bourbon vanilla sauce and perennial favorites such as chocolate fountains and chocolate-covered rice krispie treats. The chocolate bar is available from 9 pm to midnight at $21 per person.

Grimpa Steakhouse Special for Valentine’s Day
Grimpa Steakhouse, 901 Brickell Plaza, 305-455-4757

Celebrate this romantic evening with your loved one at Grimpa Steakouse in a specially decorated ambience.  They offer a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne to celebrate, salad bar and full “Rodizio” including 14 varieties of meat and fish, served at your table.  There is also a special “Chocolate Decadence” as dessert and coffee. Everything is $75 per person.

Valentine’s Day at Panorama Restaurant
Panorama Restaurant, 2889 McFarlane Road, 407-447-8256 

Panorama Restaurant wants to ignite your passion this Valentine’s Day.  The special dinner menu is priced a la carte, or your choice of appetizer, entrée, dessert and a bottle of Champagne for $150 per couple.  Menu items include Lobster Squash Soup, Braised beef short ribs, Grilled Colorado rack of lamb, Tropical Mandarin Charlotte, and Flourless Chocolate Heart Cake for dessert.  A harpist will perform between 6:00-10:00 p.m.  Panorama Restaurant is located on the eighth floor of Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove overlooking Biscayne Bay, Dinner Key Marina and the Miami Skyline. 

Whitelaw Hotel, B.E.D. Miami and Sex…& Boutique team up
to offer guests the ultimate Valentine’s Day getaway
Please call 305.398.7000 or book online at whitelawhotel.com/valintines08. 

The five-day/ four-night South Beach Style package, valid February 13-17, 2008, is priced at $1,400 and is based on double occupancy.   For love birds looking to heat up their romance this Valentine’s Day, the Whitelaw Hotel’s South Beach Style package includes five-day/ four-night deluxe accommodations with an in-room complimentary bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne and daily rose petal turn down service. Upon arrival, guests are presented with two complimentary membership cards to the luxurious Sex…& boutique (www.sexand.com). Guests will dine at their own private bed on a three-course prix fix menu prepared by B.E.D. Miami’s co-executive chefs Freddy Vega and Raul Rustarpo. Following dinner, the couple is invited to dance the night away as B.E.D. Miami transforms from one of South Beach’s sexiest restaurants to the hippest nightclub. The package also includes complimentary VIP bottle service, South-Beach style, with an endless supply of Motley Love Birds, a mix of Motley Bird premium energy drink and champagne.

Get in BED with the Ones You Love This Valentine’s Day
B.E.D. Miami, 929 Washington Avenue, 305.532.9070

On Tuesday, February 12,  singles will be ready to mingle while sipping on two-for-one glasses of champagne and  enjoying chocolate-covered strawberries as Cupid.com and Moët & Chandon host Miami Beach’s genetically blessed, ages 25-39, for rounds of six-minute “speed dates.”  For those lucky enough to find their match, B.E.D. Miami’s official Valentine’s Day celebration invites couples to slip off their shoes and jump into bed for an evening of mouth-watering fare and sexy atmosphere perfect to set the mood. For the price of $400++, each couple will enjoy their own private candle-lit bed sprinkled with rose petals and a three-course, seven-dish tapas-style menu – perfect for nibbling and sharing with the ones you love.  Additionally included is a bottle of Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne to complete the evening.

Come and Seduce Your Senses at Christabelle’s Quarter
Christabelle’s Quarter, 3157 Commodore Plaza, 786-517-5299

Receive a complimentary glass of champagne with your meal. Dinner menu includes choices like Venison Carpaccio, Lobster Bisque, and Char-grilled Cowboy Steak for Two.

Show Her You Are A Gourmet Cook this Valentine’s Day at The Setai
For reservations please contact The Setai at 305.520.6000 or visit www.setai.com.

The exclusive “Valentine’s Day Indulge-Her” Package includes a lesson with the Chef at the Setai. This two-night package is the ultimate pleaser.  While she is whisked away to The Spa for “Her Setai Retreat,” a four and a half hour indulgent afternoon, the Setai’s acclaimed chef Jonathan Wright will prepare the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner for two within the privacy of your one-bedroom suite.  Plus, a complimentary breakfast on both mornings can be served in your suite or enjoyed at The Restaurant or at The Pool & Beach Bar.   
Each course is also paired with a decisively chosen wine to compliment the flavors of the exotic Asian-inspired cuisine.  Available for February 13 and 14, 2008, and is priced at $7,980 for a one-bedroom suite.  Larger suites are available starting at $11,600.  The uber-luxurious Penthouse suite is also available for $71,000.   

VALENTINE’S DAY at MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK, 130 N.E. 40th Street Atlas Plaza 305-573-5550, www.mchaelsgenuine.com

Enjoy Valentine’s Day at the restaurant of accomplished and talented Chef Schwartz who makes you feel at home with his homemade, unpretentious, delectable food. With an emphasis on local and organic ingredients, dine on inside or alfresco dinner in the courtyard. 

ANNUAL VALENTINE CELERATION ROYAL AT THE BILTMORE
The Biltmore Hotel, Anastasia Avenue in Coral Gables, Florida.  RSVP a Must- please call 305.913.3203.

Tuesday, February 12th Table Champagne Gala Winemaker Dinner at  7 PM in the Granada Ballroom.   Master Sommelier Eric Hemer hosts a stellar evening showcasing the Rosé Champagnes of Laurent-Perrier, Gosset, Henriot, Veuve Clicquot, Nicolas Feuillatte and Moët & Chandon, with dinner creations by Biltmore’s awardwinning culinary team. Priced for Members at $150, and for Non-members at $225.  The Attire is Black-tie. 
 
 
BLUE DOOR AT DELANO CELEBRATES VALENTINE’S DAY
Blue Door at Delano, 1685 Collins Avenue, 305 674-6400.
Miami’s most celebrated hotel is also home to its most romantic dining experience.  This Valentine’s, Blue Door will offer a delectable four-course dinner priced at $95 per person. 

ON VALENTINE’S, GET ROMANTIC AT SOCIAL MIAMI AT SAGAMORE
Social Miami at Sagamore, 1671 Collins Avenue, 305 535-8088. 

Set amid the chic Sagamore hotel and Marty & Cricket Taplin’s stunning collection of contemporary art, celebrate with your valentine at Social Miami at Sagamore, Miami’s first and only culinary lounge experience. Delight your date with chef Bryan Fyler’s three-course Valentine’s menu, priced at $75 per person.
 
 

Restaurant Happenings January 30, 2008

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 1.30.08

MOONRISE DINNER SERIES AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, KEY BISCAYNE
Cioppino, The Ritz-Carlton, 455 Grand Bay Drive, 305-365-4186, $60 per person/$90 with wine.

Cioppino restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne brings the island’s magic and mystique to life with romantic monthly moonrise dinners outdoors on a beautiful terrace, with a front seat to nature’s show.  Choose from the award-winning menu at Cioppino restaurant, or take a journey with an ever-changing three-course menu inspired by a gastronomic region of Italy and created especially for the evening by Chef Ramon Guerrero and his culinary team. Dates: February 21, March 21, April 20, May 20, June 18, July 18, August 16, September 15, October 14, November 13, and December 12.

THE GRAPE MERCHANT OPENS FINE WINE BOUTIQUE, BAR & LOUNGE
The Wine Merchant Fine Wine Boutique, Bar &, Shops of Pembroke Gardens, 416 SW 145 Terrace, Pembroke Pines, 954-602-0000. www.thegrapemerchant.com

Owner Michelle Lambros’ second location features a sleek 1800 square-feet space decorated in warm woods are lined with 700 labels in easily categorized sections. There is a Wine Tasting Bar offering wine tasting by the glass or by the taste, behind which is a specially designed refrigeration unit which maintains the proper serving temperature for reds and whites, and seals off the air to prevent oxidation. The back of the store is a jazzy lounge with couches and cocktail tables for 20 or 30 where wine lovers can sip wines with self serve cheeses and crackers. The Grand Opening, a weekend of complimentary wine tasting & discovery the fine wines of the world will take place on February 8, 9 and 10. Over 210 wines will be served with hors d’oeuvres and live music.
ALL THINGS OYSTER ON FEBRUARY 6@ LEGAL SEA FOODS
Legal Sea Foods at Sawgrass Mills, 954-846-9011
 
Legal Sea Foods will host a festive and informative Oyster Tasting and Tutorial at its Sawgrass Mills location on February 6, 2008 from 6:30-8pm. proceeds from the event will benefit Share Our Strength (S.O.S.) Tickets : $40 per person on the Share Our Strength website at www.strengthsouthflorida.org.

SOUTH BEACH EXPORT, NEXXT CAFÉ, OPENS IN CORAL GABLES
Nexxt Cafe, 101 Miracle Mile. (305) 567-5888. www.thenexxtcafe.com

The jazzy bar offers a large selection of wines by the glass, cocktails and spirits as well as micro-brew beers from an iced tap, and a mini bar menu with smaller versions of popular menu items at half the price.  There are over 200 selections available for take out, including Thai Rock Shrimp salad and Kobe beef burgers.
 

Restaurant Happenings January 23, 2008

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 1.23.08

THE FOOD GANG OFFERING BRUNCH FOR LUNCH TUESDAY-SUNDAY
The Food Gang, 9472 Harding Avenue in Surfside, 786-228-9292
A neighborhood bistro in Surfside, The Food Gang, has announced the restaurant’s weekend egg brunch menu will now be available weekly, Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  To wash it all down, Charpentier is offering diners a complimentary bloody Mary or mimosa cocktail. Choose from the egg brunch menu, consisting of omelets, poached, fried and scrambled eggs. Menu items include a Greek Omelet (egg whites, Kalamata olives, oven cured tomato, spinach, feta cheese, and basil) and eggs a la Parisienne, three hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, radish and butter. 

MANRINHEIRO RESTAURANT
1155 Brickell Bay Drive, The Mark Building on 1155 Brickell Bay Drive, www.marinheirorestaurant.com.
Its exquisite fusion of International cuisine with Portuguese influences is what makes this an amazing dining experience for all guests. Executive Chef Nakia Arnold and owner Jair Gomes showcase an array of dishes with an emphasis in seafood, pastas and meats with the natural tastes of ingredients such as olive
oil.
SHARE OUR STRENGTH’S TASTEFUL PURSUIT AT CAFÉ BOULUD
Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel, 301 Australian Avenue, Palm Beach, Florida,  561-655-6060 $300 Per Person (75% is tax-deductible)
On Monday, January 28, Café Boulud is hosting a Reception & Silent Auction  to benefit Share Our Strength’s A Tasteful Pursuit. The event is hosted by chefs Daniel Boulud, Zach Bell & Jennifer Reed of Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel, and features guest chefs Michelle Bernstein, Bradford Thompson, Michael Ginor, Stephen Asprinio, and Christopher Eagle. The wine portion of the event will be led by Sommelier Jenny Benzie of Café Boulud and Master Sommelier Virginia Philip of The Breakers Palm Beach.

CASA TOSCANA NEW HOURS, NOW SERVING LUNCH AT MIAMI SHORES
Casa Toscana Fine Foods and Wine, 9840 N.E. 2nd Avenue in Miami Shores, 305-757-4454
Casa Toscana Fine Foods and Wine is now serving lunch Monday through Saturday from 11 am on, and owner Sandra Stefani announced that Casa Toscana Ristorante will be open for dinner only Monday through Saturday from 6pm to 11pm. Towards the end of February, she will conduct “Hands on” cooking classes three days per week.

RODIZIO-STYLE TEXAS DE BRAZIL OPENS IN MIAMI BEACH
Texas de Brazil at the Miami Beach Marina, 300 Alton Road, (305) 695-7702; www.texasdebrazil.com.
Brazilian rodizio-style steakhouse Texas de Brazil is open – a testimony to the evolution of Miami Beach. The luxurious second floor location at the Miami Beach Marina, 300 Alton Road, where Monty’s was briefly, seats 650 and has been lavishly refurbished with Brazilian cherry wood and soaring ceilings. 
The fixed price menu ($44.99) features grilled meats prepared over an open fire and includes an array of Brazilian specialties changing daily such as “moqueica de Peixe” or Brazilian fish stew, soups and an amazing salad bar. 
 

Food News and Views 1/17/08 Chocolate

Food News and Views Radio Show – 1.17.08

 

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Joseph Cooper (JC)

Gabby Orehuela (GO)

Susan Kurzban (SK)

 

LG: Chocoholics, this is your day! How about diving into a dark chocolate truffle cake or a light as a cloud chocolate mousse? If chocolate is your passion you’re going to love our program today. My guests are Gabby Orehuela, the marketing assistant for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, who is here to explain how chocolate is grown. We also have Susan Kurzban who is making delicious chocolate for the House of Chocolate at Fairchild. They are here to discuss the Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Jan 26 and 27.  Welcome.

 GO: Thank you for having us.

 LG: We’d love to hear from our listeners. Do you have questions for our chocolate experts? Give us a call.

 Let’s start with Gabby. The aroma in here is fantastic. You’ve filled the studio with chocolates. We don’t think of chocolate as a cocoa bean. Tell us about it.

 GO: Cocoa beans are about an 8 inch cocoa pod that looks like a tiny football or sweet potato. The plant grows in the rainforest in many different countries. In Fairchild we have four of these plants. The seeds inside the pod are going to be turned into chocolate. First there is a fermentation of the seeds for about 5-7 days, then there is a drying process and finally there is the roasting process.

 FT: It’s not the same process as alcohol.

 GO: No, it’s not. Depending on the time of fermentation and drying process, that’s what gives the flavor.

 LG: Does the quality depend on where it’s grown?

 GO: Yes, it depends on the soil – if the soil is acidic or not. The most important part is the process of fermentation and drying.

 LG: Susan, you’re going to making the chocolate treats for Fairchild. What is a House of Chocolate?

 SK: It’s taken after the cafes in Europe. We have a white picket fence in the garden where people can be served. We make a wonderful Mayan hot chocolate.

 LG: This is very thick. Why is it Mayan?

 SK: We’ve added spice to give it a kick. Chocolate was originally made into a drink in South America.

 JC: This is so rich it almost makes you shudder.

 LG: So that’s one thing you can have at the House of Chocolate. What’s in that box?

 SK: Chocolate bark with mangoes and pistachios. It’s a thin layer of chocolate that has been combined with fruit and nuts. It’s 63% combined with an organic chocolate that is 73%.

 LG: What brand?

 SK: It’s called Blue and Black. It’s a new brand out on the market.

 LG: You mentioned percentages and bittersweet. What’s the difference?

 SK: Semisweet has more sugar in it. Bittersweet has a more bitter taste because of less sugar.

 LG: When a recipe calls for a certain kind of chocolate you really need to use that kind of chocolate. There’s fruit in this?

 SK: Yes, I use dried mango and pistachio nuts. I melted the chocolates together and then added the fruit and nuts. Then I laid them out on a cookie sheet so it’s a thin layer. They call that a bark.

 LG: Melting chocolate is difficult.

 SK: It’s the most difficult part.

 LG: Be careful not to burn it because it might separate. It’ll get clumpy. You have to be very cautious.

 SK:  I use a water bath which is a dish put over hot water. It’s like a double boiler. Also, don’t let any steam get into the chocolate.

 LG: And be very careful if water or steam gets into the chocolate it can cause it to seize up. I sometimes melt mine in the microwave.

 SK: I melt it in the microwave also but I wanted it to be perfect so I used the bath.

 LG: What’s the remedy for seized up chocolate? Some people think to add water.

 SK: The wrong thing to do is to put more water in. I add a little cream and that corrects the problem. You can also use oil.

 [break]

 LG: Now it’s dinner in minutes time. Since we’ve had dessert, it’s now dinner time. I’ve got a meatloaf that takes only 15 minutes. I bake it on a baking sheet in small little loaves. The heat can circulate around the meat.

 JC: Texture is great; it’s very light and moist.

 LG: This is a pesto meatloaf because I added pesto sauce to the meat, which is ground chicken. You mix that all together and it cooks for only about 15 minutes. Then I made mashed potatoes. I use waxy potatoes because you need less cream and butter for them. Cut them into small cubes and cook them for 10 minutes. Then I mash them with a potato ricer. I added scallion, a little cream, salt and pepper and that’s it. See the recipe on dinnerinminutes.com.  Gabby, what else are you doing at Fairchild?

 GO: We have many activities for kids and families. We want our guests to have a great time. There is going to be a movie also. We’re kicking off the festival next Friday – it’s Jan 26, 27 – with a series of outdoor movies. The first one is “Like Water for Chocolate.”  It’s a Mexican movie and it’s going to be $20.

 LG: So you can go to the garden and sit outside to see the movie.

 GO: Yes, you can go to our website www.fairchildgarden.org and buy tickets online.

 LG: At the beginning of the program I mentioned chocolate mousse. If you’re still dreaming about it, I have a recipe for you and it only takes a few minutes to make and it’s 190 calories. See the recipe on the website.

 SK: And we’ll be having chocolate mousse at the House of Chocolate at the Garden. We’re also going to have cakes, cookies and brownies…anything you can imagine.

 LG: My mouth is watering. We’ve come to the end of this delicious program. Thank you to Gabby and Susan for joining us. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Chocolate Festival is Jan 26 and 27. For more information go to www.fairchildgarden.org.

 

 

 

 

Light as a Cloud Velvety Chocolate Mousse

Velvety Chocolate Mousse

from Prevention’s Fit and Fast Meals in Minutes by Linda Gassenheimer (Rodale Press)

This chocolate mousse is smooth, velvety and light as a cloud. It’s made without cream or butter so the pure chocolate flavor comes through. 

The secret to this mousse is beating the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry.  When the beater is lifted from the bowl, peaks should stand in stiff points.  When bowl is tipped, the whites do not slide.

Helpful Hints:

• Use best quality chocolate.
• The egg whites should be at room temperature.
• Decaffeinated or regular coffee can be used.
• This mousse has a deep, chocolate flavor.  For a lighter flavor, use 1 ounce of chocolate instead of 1 1/2 ounces.
• To make chocolate curls, bring chocolate to room temperature and soften slightly with a warm hand.  Scrape chocolate with potato peeler.

Countdown:

• Melt chocolate and mix with cocoa and coffee.
• Whip egg whites.
• Fold mixtures together.

Velvety Chocolate Mousse

1 1/2 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate
1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon strong black coffee (can use instant)
3 egg whites
11/2-tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon shaved chocolate curls (optional)

Microwave method:
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. (If it is not melted, return to the microwave for 30 seconds.) Remove, stir and add the cocoa powder and coffee. 

Stovetop method:
Break chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  Add the cocoa powder and coffee.  Stir to blend. 

Beat egg whites to a medium peak (the whites will form a peak, but be very soft.)  Add the sugar and continue to beat until the whites form a stiff peak.  Take a spoonful of the whites and stir them into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold the chocolate mixture into the whites making sure all of the white is incorporated. Spoon into two dessert dishes.  To make chocolate curls, scrape the sides of room temperature chocolate with a potato peeler.  Sprinkle chocolate curls on top of the mousse and refrigerate until needed.  The mousse is best when made 1 hour ahead.  It can, also, be made in the morning for the evening.  Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 193 calories (64 percent from fat), 13.7 g fat ( 8.1 g saturated, 4.6 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol,  8.0 g protein, 17.6 g carbohydrates, 4.2 g fiber, 10 mg sodium.
Shopping List
Grocery
1 small package bitter chocolate
1 container unsweetened cocoa powder

Staples
Eggs
Coffee
Sugar

Restaurant Happenings January 16, 2008

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 1.16.08

 

AZUL DEBUTS 2008 CULINARY CLASS SERIES

Azul at Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Drive, (305) 913-8254.

 

Azul presents its 2008 interactive cooking class series starring award-winning chef Clay Conley. Guests will have an opportunity to savor a weekend of culinary delights, book individual classes or reserve the entire six-class culinary series.  Themed interactive classes from a New England Style Clam Bake, Indian-inspired Cooking to a visit to an Organic Farm provide a creative approach to cooking in a lively, luxurious setting. Classes are held from 9:30am to 1pm on February 9, March 8, April 5, May 24, September 6, and November 15. Each class includes a three-course lunch paired with wine, recipe booklet and signature Azul apron. Attendance is limited to 15 students. 

 AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND WINE THEMED DINNER

The Biltmore Hotel Granada Ballroom, 1200 Anastasia Ave. RSVP 305.913.320

On Wednesday, January 30, at 10pm Chef Ruiz will prepare this dinner with service overseen by Sommelier and Maître D’ Verrier. Members $89, Non-members $109.

NEW MENU, NEW SIZZLE AT HI-LIFE CAFÉ, FORT LAUDERDALE

3000 N. Federal Highway in the Plaza 3000 in Fort Lauderdale, 954-563-1395. 

Hi-Life Café is rolling out an inspired new menu and customers will be encouraged to vote for the dishes they’d like to remain on the menu via comment cards and online at www.hilifecafe.com.  New appetizers include Portobello mushroom timbale filled with ricotta and scallions served over a spicy tomato puree, new entrées include tender T-Bone steak in a blueberry barbeque sauce, and Caribbean shrimp in a lobster Creole sauce.  Classic Hi-Life dishes will remain on the menu.

 

LOLA’S ON HARRISON LAUNCHES BEER DINNER TO BENEFIT CHARITY

Lola’s on Harrison, 2032 Harrison Street in Hollywood, (954) 927-9851

Michael Wagner of Lola’s on Harrison proudly announces the kick-off of his monthly charity beer dinner with Rouge Brewery on Thursday, January 31.  Served throughout dinner service, the multi-course menu, $60 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, will pair rare, boutique microbrew beers with Wagner’s delicious culinary creations.  The best part: diners will have the chance to nominate one of four local charities chosen by Wagner or one of their own for a drawing at the end of the evening. The winning charity will receive a percentage of the beer dinner’s proceeds.

STIR CRAZY RESTAURANT OPENS SERVING FRESH ASIAN FOOD

New Shops of Pembroke Gardens, 14571 SW 5th St.

The Pembroke Pines location has the distinction of being Stir Crazy’s 12th restaurant nationwide and its 2nd in South Florida – joining its sister restaurant in Palm Beach County, located in the Town Center in Boca Raton.   Stir Crazy offers a diverse menu of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese food, in a fun, vibrant atmosphere with a focus on fresh, quality ingredients and bold flavors. 

 BAR AT LEVEL 25 OFFERS PINTXOS

Bar at Level 25, 1395 Brickell Avenue, (305) 503-6529

 The Bar at Level 25 in the Conrad Hotel is now serving Spanish Pintxos (pronounced peen-chose). These small plates, that are also known as tapas, are perfect for sharing. The Bar also offers creative cocktails, music, ambiance, stunning views and over 40 wines by the glass. Pintxos are served daily from 5pm-11pm.

MAISON D’AZUR OPENS AT THE ANGLER’S ON SOUTH BEACH

The Angler’s Hotel at 660 Washington Avenue, 305.534.9600

Parisian Brasserie, Maison d’Azur, with its lushly landscaped fine dining indoor/outdoor full bar and restaurant, is open now at the Angler’s South Beach. From the imaginations of NY husband and wife restaurateurs Stephan Fortier and Tove Nord, who created Pazza Notte and Loft, The Angler’s Boutique Resort is open daily 7am to 1am Sunday through Wednesday and 7am to 4am Thursday through Saturday.

CELEBRATE THE CHINESE NEW YEAR AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL MIAMI

Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Drive, (305) 913-8358. 

Mandarin Oriental, Miami is hosting a vibrant Chinese New Year party at its private beach to honor the Chinese lunar calendar and usher in the Year of the Golden Rat. On Thursday, February 7 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., guests will enjoy festive delicacies, captivating lion and dragon dance performances and artistic demonstrations.  The beach will be elegantly adorned with authentic red and gold lanterns, ornate candles and other traditional Chinese decorations.  $125 per person plus tax and gratuity.   Reservations are required.

 

 

Food News and Views 1/10/08 Alice Waters

Food and Dining Radio Show – 1.10.08

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Alice Waters (AW)

LG: We’re talking about organic ingredients and sustainable agriculture today. Thirty years ago these words were not in our vocabulary. One woman started a food revolution and her name is Alice Waters. She was one of the first to use a local network of farmers to supply the ingredients for her restaurant Chez Panisse. She created a menu each day with whatever was fresh in the market. When I ate at Chez Panisse everything was fresh and good and packed with flavor. She’s going to talk with us today. Welcome Alice Waters. As always we have our panel of experts. Fred, what are we drinking today?

FT: Yes, I’m going to talk about the connection between wine and music.

AW: I think it’s important to talk about food in the context of culture.

 LG: Alice, did you realize that you were starting an American revolution when you opened Chez Panisse?

 AW: I had no idea that it would be anything more than a neighborhood restaurant for my friends. I was cooking for them at home and I thought, “if I have a restaurant they’ll pay.” Of course I opened the restaurant and never saw them again.

 LG: Opening a restaurant with a new concept takes a lot of guts. Where did you get the idea?

AW: I went to France when I was 19 and I had an awakening. I had never experienced food as a part of everyday life and celebrations. I had never seen a Farmers Market with vibrant colors. I fell in love with baguette and oysters on the half shell. The fact that people ate in these small family restaurants made me want to live like that. When I came back I thought, “this is a bigger vision of life.”

 LG: Most people think French food is so complicated but it’s the opposite.

 AW: It used to be the opposite for sure. At least for the one star restaurants it was about fresh ingredients. I think in the three star restaurants it was more elaborate and a richer kind of food.

 LG: We were talking before the show about when I lived in Paris and started a cooperative. I was excited because the vendors taught me how to cook the things they gave me.

 AC: The very famous Chef Alain Ducasse says that 85% of cooking is about finding the right ingredients. If you find that peach that’s really ripe and in season, all you have to do is slice that peach and it’s going to be delicious.

LG: This is exactly the point. When you have delicious, fresh ingredients, just cooking it simply it is going to turn out wonderful

AW: You need to know a few small things like how to make a vinaigrette or mayonnaise and how to sauté or steam a piece of fish. When you learn those things you never have to look them up again and it’s not a struggle to put together a meal because you learn these things by heart.

 LG: That is the key. Have the ingredients available and know a few simple things.

 AW: That’s exactly what I do. I’ll have some salad greens, sauté fish with herbs, and pour a vinaigrette over it.

 LG: Organic and natural are words we hear a lot. It’s hard to know what they mean now. What do they mean anymore?

 AW: I’m looking for people who care about my nourishment and people who are taking care of the land. They don’t use pesticides and they are thinking about the right variety to plant and in the right place. They’re thinking about when to pick it and when to take it to the market. They are connected to the seasons and a kind of purity about what they’re growing. I’m talking about meat, fish and poultry as well as fruit and vegetables. It’s important to know how something is raised, what diet that animal had, where it was slaughtered…all those things.

 LG: We can all ask those questions on every level. It doesn’t mean you can only buy at Farmers Markets. For those of us in South Florida we don’t have Farmers Markets in the summer.

 AW: I think we need year-round Farmers Markets. It is the way to get connected to the farmer. I jut came back from Mexico where I went to the marketplace and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it. There were small vendors bringing whatever they had. It was all kinds of potatoes and greens and it was a place where everybody shops.

 LG: As I mentioned, what I found in Paris is I could only afford to buy for my cooperative what was in season that day. We shouldn’t be afraid to try all new items and buy in season.

 AW: It’s difficult to do that when we have globalized food in the market. Most comes from Mexico and California. I want to know what’s grown right here and now in South Florida. That’s what I want to eat today.

 LG: Tell us about your initiative called the School Lunch Initiative.

 AW: I think the only way we’re going to come back to our senses and really begin to understand the culture of food is if we have a course in schools that teaches children about this. The idea that we have in Berkley is a curriculum that’s integrated into all the courses. The kids come into geography class but they learn about Indian curry and learn about India.

 LG: How did you start all that? The school day is so packed here and it’s hard to get more things into the school curriculum.

 AW: We’ve always had space for lunch. I think if we took that time slot and really incorporated some of the courses that you might want to learn during lunch time like language, we could make that into a beautiful experience for children. I want children to have a new relationship with food. I want them to be connected to agriculture and traditions around the table.

 LG: How did you get the funding?

 AW: It is an expensive proposition. Chez Panisse Foundation has founded this with a support group in the Bay Area. We’re trying to make a model for what could happen around the US. We jut need an enlightened President who believes that school lunch is important and that children need to understand the consequences of every decision they make about food.

 [break]

LG: We’re talking today with Alice Waters who was one of the first to rely on local farmers dedicated to sustainable agriculture in America. Her new book is called The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution. It’s Dinner In Minutes time now. Since we’re talking about fresh vegetables, today’s dinner in minutes takes only 20 minutes to cook. I call it Greek Minestrone because it has feta cheese and Arborio rice. I also have some zucchini, beans and rice in there. Arborio rice is shorter and plumper and is used to make creamy risotto. See the recipe on my website: www.dinnerinminutes.com.

LG: You mention simple principles for the Delicious Revolution in your book. Tell us about them.

AW: This cookbook would be like any other if it weren’t for the philosophy of food that guides you around how you eat and buy food. It begins with the idea of going to the Farmers Market. Find out who produces locally gown sustainable food.

 LG: What does sustainable mean?

 AW: Sustainable means you are thinking about future generations; you aren’t taking everything from the land, you’re putting back into the land. When we buy vegetables we take all the scraps back up to the farm and put them back into the land. It’s the idea that you’re going to leave it better than the way you found it.

 LG: This kind of farming is great but can we feed our nation with that type of farming?

 AW: They’ve done so many studies that prove you can absolutely raise as much as and more food sustainably than you can with chemical farming. You’re not considering when you’re farming in big agro-businesses how you wear out the soil and destroy the ground water. There are so many consequences when you make the choices to eat that food. I don’t want ground water to be contaminated. I want to give my money to people who are taking care of the land. We don’t pay the real price of food. Fast food nation has made us think food should be fast, cheap and easy. That’s not true. I want to know that what I’m eating is real food.

 LG: I think some of our young people don’t like the flavor of real food anymore.

 AW: That’s why we need a program in the schools that begins at a young age so that they can learn about taste. All of those cultural conditionings that happen in other countries happen naturally because they have a culture of food that’s very important. We don’t have those deep roots and it’s hard for us to really understand the place of food in our culture.

 LG: You’re the Vice President of Slow Food International. What is slow food?

 AW: Slow food is the opposite of fast food. The idea is to bring people to the big philosophy of biodiversity and sustainability through the pleasure of the table.

 LG: And they promote sustainable agriculture?

 AW: Yes, it was started by Carlo Petrini in a protest against fast food coming into the main Piazza in Rome. They protested the idea of industrial food.

 Fred Tasker’s Wine Suggestions:
FT: I was impressed with the Chez Panisse wine list.

 AW: We’ve always bought wine from people that we know. That adds a whole other dimension to how it tastes. When you know the person who made it, it makes it difficult for me not to love the wine. It’s a way to extend that experience of drinking.

Alice, I’m glad you’re here; you’re the perfect person to talk to about this. Your website has a page called The Delicious Revolution in which you speak of a profound disconnect between the human experience that our society values and the way we actually live our lives. You seek to repair this in part by re-connecting people with the food they eat and how and where it’s grown.

There’s a fascinating kind of parallel argument right now lighting up all the California wine blogs run by really serious wine fans. It’s about pairing wine not only with food, but also with music. Does merlot go better with, say, Mozart or Def Leppard?

This may be tongue-in-cheek, but I don’t think so. Winemaker Clark Smith put together a tasting panel and tasted 150 wines while listening to 250 pieces of music, and came up with a philosophy of wine-music pairing.

A delicate wine like pinot noir goes well with Mozart’s elegant Eine Kleine Nachmusik, but a big, tannic cabernet sauvignon doesn’s.

That big cab goes better with heavy metal rock music, like something by Metallica.

 And playing a polka by the North Water Street Tavern Band made a white zinfandel taste better than a $100 cabernet sauvignon. This is why I’m not sure they’re serious. 

In any case, everybody in California is talking about this. And other serious wine fans like retired wine professor Ann Noble are pushing for more research. She wants an experiment in which tasters sip various wines and listen to various pieces of music while undergoing MRIs, so they can see what’s really going on in their brains.

 LG: Well we’ve had a delicious week here. Thank you Alice Waters for joining us. The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution is a wonderful and informative book.

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Happenings January 9, 2008

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 1.9.08

 SOUTH FLORIDA TASTE OF THE GROVE — THIS WEEKEND!

January 12th and 13th, 11am to 7pm, 2820 Grand Avenue,305-444-7270

Coconut Grove once again opens its restaurants to the community with the Great Taste of The Grove in Peacock Park, this year for two days: Saturday and Sunday, January 12 & 13. Free admission. Over 30 restaurants/hotels are participating with dishes ranging from $1 to $8. Live music and children’s activities. This year will be the best Taste yet, and a good opportunity to get to know the Grove and what it has to offer.

 TWO CHEFS’ JAN JORGENSEN OPENS TWO CHEFS TOO IN NORTH MIAMI

Two Chefs Too, 2286 NE 123rd St., North Miami. 305-895-5155.

Two Chefs of Pinecrest has opened a new restaurant, Two Chefs Too, where Mark’s Place used to be. The menu is very similar to that of Two Chefs in Pinecrest with like Galantine de foie gras, entrees offerings from Coq au vin and Atlantic salmon steak 20 or more different types of cheeses accompanied with different condiments. The wine list is extensive and varied and includes a good selection of wines by the glass.

 CHEF JASON MCLAIN OPENS JASON’S AT THE HARRISON, SOUTH BEACH

Jason’s at the Harrison, 411 Washington Ave., (305)-672-4600

Chef Jason McLain who made waves at Pearl Champagne Lounge at Nikki Beach before opening his own 8 1/2 Café in South Beach, is now opening the 200-seat Jason’s at the Harrison. Casual but with a sophisticated atmosphere the restaurant offers an extensive wine list, cool cocktails and chef Jason’s Creative Global Cuisine.

 LIME FRESH MEXICAN GRILL OPENS IN PEMBROKE PINES

Lime, 601 SW 145th Terrace Pembroke Pines, www.limefreshmexicangrill.com

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill has expanded their two South and North Beach sensations and opened his first franchise location in Pembroke Pines. As owner Kunkel says, “I think everyone deserves a great meal at reasonable prices. I am excited to expand my concept into Broward and create a new place where everyone is welcome and can enjoy a great meal at a reasonable price in a comfortable place.” Franchisees, Salsa Management Incorporated has plans to continue to expand the proven concept in Broward County with their second franchised location opening in Coconut Creek/Coral Springs, mid 2008. 

 JOLEY OPENS ON SOUTH BEACH

Joley, Hotel Astor, 956 Washington Avenue, 305-534-3343

The team behind upscale brasserie Café Joley of Boca Raton is ready to make its mark on South Beach, opening their second location, Joley, at Hotel Astor. Joley will feature American cuisine with a European influence designed and prepared by partner and chef John Suley who has trained under Daniel Boulud, Gordon Ramsey, and Pierre Gagnaire. Joley, under the direction of partner Michael Kurgan and designed by Nicky Bernstein, designer of Michy’s on Biscayne Boulevard, will provide guests with fine dining in an elegant, edgy, and comfortable space.

  KOBE CLUB, SOUTH BEACH OPENS

Kobe Club Miami, 404 Washington Avenue, 305-673-5370.

Located in the hot “south of fifth” area, China Grill Management’s Jeffrey Chodorow and partner, entertainment executive Charlie Walk, have opened Kobe Club Miami. The menu created by New York Kobe Club’s Executive Chef Russell Titland, China Grill Management Corporate Chef Luke Rinaman, and NY Regional Chef Scott Ubert features the finest cuts of meat as well as steakhouse classics. A seasonal Raw Bar offers a trio of Shellfish trays with selections of Kumamoto Oysters, Taylor Bay Scallops, Florida Stone Crab, King Crab and Maine Lobster. Mix and Match Entrées can be ordered in “flights” or as “surf and turf” combinations with Kobe Club’s signature shellfish options.

 
CHECK, PLEASE! HOSTED BY CHEF MICHELLE BERNSTEIN PREMIERES JAN 28 – 31

visit uvu.channel2.org, keyword: Check Please for sneak previews

Check, Please! the hit series on public television stations in Chicago and San Francisco is now reaching South Florida. Hosted by celebrity chef and Miami restaurateur Michelle Bernstein, the series premieres Monday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m., airing over four consecutive nights. The show features restaurants from BBQ joints to high-end bistros. On each episode Chef Bernstein invites a diverse group of three local diners, from CEOs to cab drivers, and asks them to test one another’s top South Florida restaurant choice.

 

1/3/08 Food News and Views – Food Wine Trends 2008

Food and Dining Radio Show – 1.3.08

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Douglas Rodriguez (DR)

LG: Can you believe it has been 9 years since we started the radio program? I’m looking forward to next year and lots of good food, great wine and great company. Our guest today is Douglas Rodriguez, the chef owner of  OLA South Beach. He has been ahead of food trends in Florida for many years.

DR: It’s a pleasure to be here. Congratulations on your anniversary.

LG: Thank you. Chef, you’re the father of Nuevo Latino cooking. The original YUCA restaurant in Coral Gables was your first platform where you showed this new cooking. That’s when the Miami culinary scene was beginning to be noticed. Tell us, what’s in store for 2008?

DR: I think we’re seeing many organic, sustainable things on menus – anything to do with the word “green.” That’s a trend for the upcoming year.

LG: How does a restaurant become “green”?

DR: By being conscious of the environment. Things like recycling in the restaurants and buying sustainable fish. We put a water filtering system in the restaurant so we don’t have to sell bottled water.

LG: But bottled water is so profitable for restaurants?!

DR: I’m a business man! I’m not giving up profits. We use the same 100 bottles and fill them with our water from our filtering system.

LG: You’ve brought some wonderful food for our anniversary.

DR: Yes, I brought pistachio cake filled with blueberries and pastry cream. I’ve also brought you some pineapple mustard glazed ribs.

LG: These are so juicy and sweet. The flavor goes to the bone; it’s not just on the top.

DR: We put them in brine with salt, dry mustard and brown sugar. Then I smoke them – hot and cold smoke.

JC: How does cold smoking work?

DR: It’s a machine. Instead of turning on the heating element, I put it in with an ice bath under it. It’s like an oven. I can do cold smoke or turn on the oven and do hot smoke. These are baby backs with a lot of meat on them. They were smoked for 45 minutes.

LG: The cake is beautiful.

LG: What other trends will we be seeing this year? I’ve seen things in the past like stacking food. Is that gone?

DR: That was a trend like 20 years ago – the higher you go, the better chef you were. Now it seems like things are more streamlined and everything runs from left to right. It’s more clean.  Food is trending toward more casual dining. People would rather try more small plates in a casual way. We’re trending toward more plates with smaller portions.

JC: Is this the end of the entrée?

DR: I wouldn’t say it’s the end of the entrée, but you’re going to see more plates that are shareable.

LG: What else is going to be on menus that are different this year?

DR: Definitely organic foods.

LG: What about comfort foods?

DR: I think that has fazed out. Molecular/scientific cooking trends are gone, but the elements are going to stick. I don’t think every city is going to have a restaurant with molecular cooking.

JC: What is that?

DR: It’s like scientific cooking. They do a lot of foams and those little frozen balls. They use more chemicals in cooking. They bring scientific techniques into the kitchen. Some of the ideas are going to stick but a whole restaurant based on them doesn’t have a lot of longevity. People don’t want to be told how to eat or listen to a long explanation about how the food was made.

LG: I had a gin and tonic once and they poured liquid nitrogen into it which freezes the tonic which was poured over cucumbers soaked in gin. I ate my gin and tonic. That’s what we mean by molecular cooking.

FT: That sounds expensive.

DR: It’s not cheap.

LG: It’s fun and interesting though. I had a pumpkin soup recently with delicious foam on top.

DR: They put nitrous oxide into a container and that’s how they bring the foam to the table.

LG: Yes, they put flavored liquid in a canister like old fashioned whip cream. That’s how it comes.
When we talk about “beyond the Mango Gang,” what do you mean by that?

DR: The Mango Gang was a core of 4 chefs that got a lot of attention. They called it squirt bottle cuisine because they were saucing the plates with them. What we see now are those same ideas (like adding mango to a piece of fish) but in a different way. Like you see rosemary and thyme in a desert.

LG: So you’re adding sage to my sorbet?

DR: You’re going to see mixing of unusual ingredients, like chocolate mixed with other unusual ingredients like bacon or red pepper.

LG: Now you’re saying we’re not going to see fruit in our entrées?

DR: A lot less of it and it’s going to be in different ways. Now you’re seeing a lot less fruit and more with spices than with heat.

LG: What are the popular things in your restaurant OLA?

DR: Cervices is one of our main dishes. We have a cervices section. At the moment we have 9 different types. The most exotic is a sea urchin one.

Caller: We went to a restaurant and they combined bacon and pecan pie. It was outrageous – the sweet and salty together.

LG: Yes, Chinese food is like that.

DR: And that’s the basis of Thai cuisine.

Caller: I had an amazing experience at OLA. I have a question about small plates and plates to share. My question is, what flavors do you recommend for wine when sharing many different plates, and how do you get people accustomed to that kind of eating?

FT: I don’t think there’s any one wine.  My solution is to get one bottle of red and one bottle of white and two glasses each. The real purists start out with wine and then see what food goes with it.

[break]

LG: We’re talking with Douglas Rodriguez about food trends for 2008. We were just finishing a question about how you get people to accept the small plates on the menus.

DR: I think they’ve accepted it. I would rather have three appetizers when I go to a restaurant than one entrée.

LG: It’s Dinner in Minutes time now. It’s Italian Minestrone and it only takes 20 minutes to make and it won’t break the calorie bank. See my recipe on www.dinnerinminutes.com.

Fred Tasker, Miami Herald Wine Columnist’s wine trends for 2008

No. 1: Naked chardonnays.
Honest, that’s what they call them. Twenty years ago, California winemakers started pumping up the flavors in their chardonnays to wine contests. They aged them for a year or more in brand-new oak barrels, making them smell like vanilla, or even oak. And they put them through a secondary fermentation to reduce their acids, making them softer and sweeter. It was Ok at first, but then it got out of hand. Chardonnays got so sweet and buttery, even tasting like caramel, that you couldn’t drink them with food. They simply overpowered it. I spend decades recommending chardonnay for sipping – if you like pineapple juice – but sauvignon blanc to go with food.

I’m happy to say they’re coming to their senses. They’re even putting out chardonnays with no oak aging at all. Kim Crawford’s chardonnay from New Zealand has no oak, and it’s crisp and refreshing. Sebastiani has one that’s equally good. So by naked, they mean their chardonnay is no longer cloaked in oak. Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping for actual nudity.

No.2 And here’s a supposed trend that won’t happen. Last week the advertising agency JWT put out a release called 80 things to watch in 2008. Some of them make sense. Keira Knightley will be hot. No argument there. Vena Cava will be the big fashion name. What do I know. But when they say tequila will become the new wine, I have to part company. Tequila is getting better, and it’s popular with new drinkers because it’s so heavily advertised. But it’s even the best tequila is only a few steps from diesel fuel, and will never replace wine. My wino friends and I will stand in the hustings and prevent it. To the death. You got a problem with that?

No. 3 Last trend: More and more wines will come in screw caps. All the best white wines from New Zealand already do. A California winery called Plumpjack has a $140 a bottle cabernet sauvignon in a screwcap. As long as corks keep spoiling wine with cork taint, and they seem to be doing that, screw caps will continue to grow.

Pineapple Mustard Glazed Ribs from Linda’s WLRN NPR show

Recipes Created By Chef Douglas Rodriguez

Ola South Beach Restaurant

Pineapple Mustard Glazed Ribs- Serves 8

For the pineapple mustard sauce:
3 cups pineapple pure
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons orange juice

4 pounds baby back pork ribs
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup paprika

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Place the ingredients for the pineapple mustard sauce in a food processor and pulse together into a rough paste. Place the mixture in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix the sugar, salt and paprika together. Roll each portion of meat in sugar-salt-paprika mixture. Place meat in large baking dish in about one inch of water (or halfway each rib).

Bake at 250 degrees for one hour – remove from oven – turn meat. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour – remove from oven.

Drain the cooking liquid form the ribs and discard the liquid. Stir the sage into the cooled pineapple mustard sauce and slather the ribs with the pineapple mustard sauce. Return to the oven and bake for an additional hour. Remove from oven and serve.

Mintel Forecasts Global Food and Beverage Trends for 2008

Those ingredient labels you’re always trying to read may actually become easier to understand in 2008, according to research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Mintel GNPD has also identified nine other innovative new food and beverage trends set to make it big in the new year. These include experimenting with ancient grains, lapping up good old-fashioned tap water instead of bottled and even viewing salt in a more positive light.

1. Bottled Water Backlash
Bottled water has been one of the fastest-growing beverage products ever, with sales in the U.S. having exploded since 2000. But this could all be set to change. Just recently, in the U.S. and Europe, some restaurants have stopped serving plain bottled water. Instead, they are serving a more retro drink, tap water. Mintel predicts that 2008 will be the beginning of a significant backlash against plain bottled water, as consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of shipping water from remote locations to their local supermarkets. We will likely see more functional waters, such as those with added vitamins and calcium, while consumers go back to the tap if all they want to do is quench their thirst.

2. Carbon Footprint
Continuing on the environmental drive, Mintel expects to see major changes in the way manufacturers talk about their food miles and carbon footprints. One of the major barriers here has always been that consumers simply don’t know how many miles are too many or what level of carbon footprint is an acceptable one. So for 2008, Mintel believes that manufacturers will discuss their companywide environmental initiatives instead of just focusing on the carbon footprint of a particular product. As a result, environmental claims will appear on company Web sites, rather than on the products themselves.

3. Fairtrade Expansion
Currently, Fairtrade products are best established in Europe, but this could be set to change. In 2008, Mintel sees more Fairtrade and Fairtrade-certified products appearing in the U.S., Latin America and Asia. While there will be more imports (e.g. European brands sold in those regions), Mintel also expects to see more activity from local companies.

4. Ancient and Sacred Grains
Next year, Mintel predicts that some ancient grains — such as amaranth, quinoa, teff, millet and Kamut — will move from niche markets to mainstream, appearing in products from leading manufacturers. Companies will focus on the whole grain nature of these grains and also on the fact that many are gluten-free. Expect to see more everyday products appearing with these new, yet old grains.

5. Salt – a Positive and a Negative
Today, products with too much salt often get a bad rap. But on a more positive note, companies may follow Campbell Soup’s lead and formulate some of their products with sea salt rather than mineral salt. In addition, “place” salts (e.g. Hawaiian red clay salt) and flavored salts will appear more often on supermarket shelves.

6. Junk-Free Foods
“Junk” is described by consumer activist groups as any additives, preservatives, colors, flavors or otherwise unknown ingredients listed on food labels. While the food industry clearly understands why these ingredients are in our food, consumers do not. Increasingly, and especially in Europe, consumers are demanding that these ingredients be removed from foods, particularly those targeting children. Watch for some companies to expand their “junk-free” labeling, while others find ways to explain the importance of these misunderstood ingredients.

7. Clean Labels
Closely aligned with “junk-free” foods, clean labels contain ingredients easily understood by consumers. Usually they are ingredients that mirror what someone may have in his or her kitchen cabinet. While for some products this may be difficult to achieve, in 2008, Mintel predicts more products with ingredient labels that read like a home recipe rather than a chemist’s shopping list.

8. Transparency Throughout the System
Taking this trend one step further, 2008 will show companies providing consumers with more information than ever before. Manufacturers will increase transparency about where ingredients come from, how they are manufactured and how they are packaged. This ties in with the trend toward more local sourcing of ingredients and a greater interest in a product’s origin.

9. Faux Genomics
We are still a long way from being able to scan an individual’s DNA to determine the correct diet and exercise regime for maximum health and wellbeing. But in the meantime, Mintel does see the beginnings of companies trying to figure out ways to customize products as much as possible. Products that are designed to be consumed all at once, like a daily shot, and that deliver a very specific single benefit will become increasingly popular. For example, a little bottle of drink that controls blood sugar levels for 24 hours.

10. Experiential Shopping
In a world where you no longer just eat, you have a culinary experience and in place of a gift, you often receive a day of adventure, Mintel has seen a shift toward experiential shopping. In 2008, traditional supermarkets will expand the number and types of experiences they offer in store. We will see more in-store dining, warmer lighting and familiar display fixtures. Mintel also expects more built-in sampling stations to keep consumers stimulated, interested and, most importantly, in the store longer.

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 1.2.08

INTERACTIVE CULINARY DEMONSTRATION AND CHAMPAGNE LUNCHEON
The Biltmore Hotel Granada Ballroom, 1200 Anastasia Ave. RSVP 305.913.320
On Saturday, January 19 at 12 Noon Chef Willy Hernandez of Caramelo Restaurant offers innovative Italian- Caribbean fusion cuisine at Caramelo in Miami. Members $48, Non-members $60

SOUTH BEACH EXPORT, NEXXT CAFÉ, OPENS IN CORAL GABLES
Nexxt Cafe, 101 Miracle Mile. (305) 567-5888. www.thenexxtcafe.com
The jazzy bar offers a large selection of wines by the glass, cocktails and spirits as well as micro-brew beers from an iced tap, and a mini bar menu with smaller versions of popular menu items at half the price.  There are over 200 selections available for take out, including Thai Rock Shrimp salad and Kobe beef burgers.

NEW RESTAURANTS SET TO OPEN IN 2008 IN DOWNTOWN CORAL GABLES
For a directory of shops and restaurants, visit www.shopcoralgables.com
The city is gearing up for several new restaurant openings in 2008 including Fatburger (232 Miracle Mile), Morton’s: The Steakhouse (2333 Ponce De Leon Blvd.), and another Pasha’s (130 Miracle Mile).  Chilorio’s will feature traditional Mexican fare and Por Fin Restaurant & Lounge (2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd.) will offer Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine.

NIKKI BEACH OPENS NEW LOCATION IN COCONUT GROVE
Nikki Beach™ at 2889 McFarlane Road www.nikkibeach.com
Nikki Beach™ is opening in Coconut Grove adjacent to the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel in Coconut Grove, where Tara Steakhouse used to be. Brian Molloy, Nikki Beach Hotel & Resort’s Executive Chef, has been assigned to open this location. A street level, European-style deli café will serve breakfast and lunch. Chef de Cuisine Tommy Nguyen will oversee the launch of– a five to seven course brunch and a la carte menu at Nikki Beach Coconut Grove. Beginning February, “Themed Nights” will feature dinners paired with wines from different wine-producing regions and NIKKI STYLE Magazine will hold magazine parties and talent searches.

South Africa Wine Theme Dinner
The Biltmore Hotel Granada Ballroom, 1200 Anastasia Ave. RSVP 305.913.320
Wednesday, January 23 at 7pm, prepared by Chef Ascione specifically for this event, Fontana (formerly 1200) at The Biltmore Hotel will hold a South Africa Wine Theme Dinner.
 



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