Archive for the ‘Palate’ Category

Chefs for Haiti

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On March - 18 - 2010

Clay Conley

Several VIPs and celebrated chefs participated in a great cause on Thursday at the InterContinental Miami for “Chefs with a Purpose: Haiti” benefiting International Firefighters Assistance (IFA). Hosted by Robert Hill, InterContinental Miami General Manager, and emcee Lissette Gonzalez, CBS 4 News Weather Anchor, along with Chef Chairs Alexander Feher of InterContinental Miami and Chef Jan Jorgenson of Two Chefs, the event drew more than 300 guests and raised $25,000 for IFA’s current and future efforts in Haiti. The culinary extravaganza offered bountiful tastings of delicious dishes by top chefs including Jonathan Eismann (Q American Barbeque, Pacific Time and Pizza Volante), Chef Clay Conley (Azul at Mandarin Oriental Miami), Chef Jeff O’Neil (Gibraltar at Grove Isle Hotel & Spa) as well as Chefs Jonathan Wright and Noah French (The Setai Miami Beach). Guests including Burn Notice actress Gabrielle Anwar; Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado; Forge proprietor Shareef Malnik; Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust Ricky Arriola; and Univision host Rodner Figueroa enjoyed music by DJ Joe Dert as they bid on silent auction items.

Graffigna Wine Lunch at the W South Beach

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On March - 8 - 2010
Chef Mauro Colagreco

Chef Colagreco

The W Hotel is known for its celebrity-packed parties and its over the top service, but recently we had the pleasure of enjoying an elegant luncheon hosted by Graffigna Wines of Argentina, featuring a beautiful (yes, the dishes were visually stunning) lunch prepared by world-renowned chef,  Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur located in Menton, on the Côte d Azur .  

With the aid of Victor Marcantoni, Graffigna’s enologist, each dish was paired with the perfect wine to best bring out its essence and flavors.

 The Graffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio 2009 was paired with the delectable oysters in a shallot cream with pears and garden cress and the giant prawns in an osetra caviar broth.

The Graffigna Grand Reserve Torrontes 2009, our personal favorite, was paired with scallops in cream with Vitelotte potatoes and Moroccan lemons. One of the prettiest and most delicious dishes we’ve had in some time.

Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec 2006 and the Graffigna Centenario Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 complimented the pork belly with orange, lime, and wasabi.

The grand finale was  the ivoire chocolate millefeuille,   which we were unable to try.  If we ever find ourselves in Chef Colagreco‘s neighborhood in the lovely French Riviera, we’ ll make sure and drop by Mirazur for a taste of the decadent dessert.

Overall, the Graffigna luncheon was sensational, with a great mix of delicious wines and dishes and an interesting international crowd.  Graffigna Wines are available in select stores in Miami.  Colagreco is Graffigna’s chef ambassador as part of its commitment to “dare to be different” and based on the menu that I enjoyed and tasted they seem to be headed in the right direction.

An Indulgent Journey Worth Taking

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On March - 1 - 2010

IMG_1126 Situated in the heart of the Palms Hotel and Spa, Essensia is a jewel within a jewel.  Executive Chef Frank Jeannetti has created a four-course journey aptly named Jeannetti’s Indulgent Journeys: Culinary Creations from Farm to Table.  Known for his use of organic, sustainable, and seasonal components, Jeannetti’s menu embraces his culinary genius with locally grown ingredients; crafting a menu that is sure to please the palate.  The menu we sampled included heirloom tomato carpaccio with a micro green salad, poached Maine Lobster, pink peppercorn crusted prime beef tenderloin (my favorite) in a sensational Cabernet mushroom compote, and a citrus trio for dessert; a delicate Key Lime pudding cake.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dim Yum!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 28 - 2010

Our fascination, O.K., OBSESSION with dim sum began while watching Eat Drink Man and Woman, the foodie cult flick of the 90s.  And with the exception of samplings at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (coming our way in just a few weeks), great dim sum has been tough to find.  Well happy days are here, thanks to Hakkasan’s new weekend dim sum lunch menu.  Not since the scrumptious dim sum delights we had at the award-winning Ton Kiang in San Francisco, have we enjoyed such perfectly prepared, authentic dim sum.  Hakkasan, which boasts a sleek yet cozy atmosphere serves up some of our favorite (in a seemingly endless array) delicious dishes, which include:  the prawn cheung fun, siew long bun, turnip cakes, and the French beans, to name a few.

In addition to the dumplings, you can also order several different roasted items (duck, chicken, pork), congee (rice porridge soup), and a few choices of noodle dishes, such as the pulled mushroom noodles and one of the best won-ton soups this side of Shanghai.  And the prices are not bad, ranging from $6-$22.  Hakkasan is hands down the best place to have dim sum in Miami, combining the “high class opium den” look and feel of the London original with top-notch service and dishes prepared to perfection.

Nikki Beach- Fine Dining South of Fifth

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 28 - 2010

Nikki Beach is known for many things: the serious Sunday afternoon-into-Monday morning parties for South Beach locals; sun kissed, bikini-clad bodies lounging about from Marbella to St. Tropez to Koh Samui; claiming the #1 spot in Travel Channel’s “World’s Sexiest Beach Bar” list…but fine dining- not so much.  Well it’s time to add exquisite dining experience to Nikki Beach’s offerings.   Executive chef, Gerry Gnassi’s gourmet menu is available for lunch and dinner, and includes sushi, including a Maine Lobster Roll with mango and tobiko caviar, wood-oven gourmet pizzas, prime steaks and fresh seafood.  Our top pick was the 2 ½ pound Australian lobster tail, which we dubbed the “Jurassic Park lobster.”  We seriously wouldn’t want to run into this thing in the ocean but it was gloriously grilled on our plate, even though we could barely eat ¼ of it.  Other favorites included the giant prawns and Chateaubriand for two (more like 4).  The menu revamp is part of a comprehensive overhaul of the entire property, and definitely worth checking out.

Cafeina-a much needed JOLT!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On January - 20 - 2010

Ultra-hip, trendy hotspot, Cafeina, named for its caffeine-infused liquors and specialty cocktails, is our latest, favorite hang-out, located deep in the heart of Wynwood (you won’t find it unless you are consciously looking -we typically use landmarks such as the overturned truck and funky green and red patterned building to know we’re on the right track).

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