I had the great pleasure of dining at Chops Lobster Bar’s sister property Lobster Sea Grille in Miami Beach this past week. I came to Miami for the purpose of building & solidifying new partnerships with restaurants in the Miami market for our new culinary tours and experiences being presented to our cruise line and destination management partners. Exciting stuff going on, I tell ya! Anyway, I had met Dawn Bryan, So Florida Marketing Manager for the Buckhead Restaurant Group, a couple years ago when I was invited for a tasting at Chops Lobster Bar by Chef Sean (who, by the way, creates stunning masterpieces, both visually and in taste).
On this occasion, I was joined by my product development manager, Annette, and Dawn. The place is gorgeous, inside and out. The restaurant occupies the former China Grill spot, for those who need a familiar landmark. Shortly after being shown to our table, Matt approached and asked if it would be ok if he selected the tastings for us for the evening. After confirming we didn’t have any food allergies or specific dislikes, he was given the go-ahead to surprise us. I always enjoy and prefer the tastings to be done this way, actually. To get the evening started, I began with a lovely glass of Cloudy Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which paired exceptionally well with the calamari, tuna tartare and quinoa, and jumbo lump crab cake.
I recently was invited to check out Via Emilia 9 in South Beach. I had not heard of it before and was super excited to go after taking a peek at their website.
Named after the merchant road in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure), ViaEmilia 9 is Miami Beach’s first authentic regional Italian restaurant and market. Emilia Romagna sits on the border with the third-smallest country in Europe, the Republic of San Marino, which happens to be the birth place of my mother-in-law, and a place I had the good fortune of visiting several years ago.
Perfect for lunch or dinner, Via Emilia 9 has something for all palettes and represents the Italian regions of both Bologna and Modena. Never compromising authenticity, Chef Giancarlo “Wendy” Cacciatori imports everything served at Via Emilia 9 from Italy (with the exception of fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs), including bread, which is brought in from the Vasalli Bakery in Ferrara, Italy. Via Emilia 9 has an expert “Sfoglina” or pasta maker on site hand rolling a variety of pastas and raviolis daily and upon request, she can personalize the stuffing of your ravioli or any pasta you’d like to try.
To get us started on our culinary journey through the Emilia region, Chef Wendy prepared for us a perfect antipasti plate that included 24 mo aged Parmigiano, 18 mo aged proscuitto di Parma, balsamic pearls (Chef Wendy & Tina import the balsamic from their own barrels in Emilia, where the balsamic sits and ages), fresh figs, artichoke, lemon jam & arugula with a side of gnocco frito (fried dough). Let me just say O – M – G!!!! This platter is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of tasting and I have tasted a lot, trust me! The quality of the imported products is undeniable. I loved (and ate, no…devoured is a more accurate description) everything on that plate. And the fried dough…don’t get me started. It was served piping hot and oh so good! We were served a lovely Lambrusco from the Emilia region to pair and it was nice and light.
The next dish to arrive was the cappellaci di zucca which were made that day (see above picture). These cappellaci were stuffed with pumpkin and marscapone cheese and came with crispy sage butter and topped with fresh Parmegiano cheese. This course was served with a Pinot Nero, a white Pinot Noir made by separating skins from the pulp- a really unique (and tasty) wine. My dining companion and I both LOVED this dish, every aspect of it. Pure perfection.
The next dish delivered to our table was their tagliatelle with prosciutto. I especially liked the bonus piece of grilled prosciutto placed on the top; the crispiness was a unique and welcome addition. A wonderful cabernet had been selected to pair with this course. Again, the freshness of the pasta along with each of the ingredients in the dish stood out to us and is an exception to what is served at most “Italian” restaurants here in the U.S.
For dessert, we delighted in the trio di ciaccolato. Tenerina al cioccolato (homemade chocolate cake), salame al cioccolato to (chocolate salami, an Italian dessert made from cocoa, broken biscuits, butter, eggs and a bit of port wine or rum. … like salami, chocolate salami is formed as a long cylinder and is sliced across into discs for serving) and mascarpone & strawberries. We loved each of the three components of the dish. The most unique I found was the chocolate salami.
Via Emilia 9 recently received a facelift. After two years in business, the traditional Italian eatery underwent renovations to incorporate a new open kitchen plan, an expanded market featuring homemade and imported Italian goods for sale, an eat-in bar, and pasta making station, along with other additions. Via Emilia 9 owners, Chef Wendy and his partner Valentina (aka Tina), decided to open up the space to give diners a look into the daily workings of an authentic Italian kitchen.
“We want to involve our guests in the cooking process and not just the end result. Being able to show people the process behind making food and being able to interact with their food is part of Italian tradition,” said Chef Wendy.
We tried just two of the wonderfu pasta dishes served at Via Emilia 9. Other dishes you may be interested in trying when you come is their signature dish, the Tortellini in Brodo (tortellini in broth) which is homemade and hand rolled- the tortellini is stuffed with Prosciutto di Parma, parmesan cheese, mortadella, beef and pork. Other highlights include The Basket from the Emilia Romagna- a charcuterie board that features prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, parmigiano, as well as fried dough, prosciutto, mortadella, stracchino cheese, and marmalades. Other highly recommended dishes include the Ravioli dello chef, the Tagliatelle Panna Salsiccia e Funghi (tagliatelle with mushrooms, sausage and cream sauce), the Cotoletta alla Bolognese, the Chef’s Filet and the homemade flatbreads.
Via Emilia 9 is also available for catering and private chef services at your own house or event. Happy Hour is offered daily from 4 – 6:30pm featuring bottles of wines & appetizers for 50% off. They also have what looks like an amazing 5 course truffle tasting which I am undoubtedly going to try! You can learn peruse their menu and learn more by clicking here.
Via Emilia 9 is located on 1120 15th Street in Miami Beach and is open daily from 11 a.m. until 11p.m. for both lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends. Reservations are available by phone at (786) 216-7150.
I’m very excited to share with you my excursion down to South Beach a few weeks ago to attend my very first Slow Food Miami event, where over 300 ravenous foodies joined an elite group of South Florida’s top chefs for the recent 6th Annual Slow Food Miami “Snail of Approval” Tasting Party.
What is Slow Food Miami you ask? Slow Food Miami supports our local community from the ground up – from the Edible School & Community Gardens that are planted to encourage the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown; to the local growers and artisan food makers they support for their use of sustainable methods. Planting a fresher future for our children.
All proceeds from events such as The Slow Food Miami “Snail of Approval” along with donor contributions support local school and community gardens and points South Floridians and visitors to food that is good, clean and fair by identifying and honoring producers, purveyors and artisans who contribute to food and beverage quality, authenticity and sustainability. In its inaugural year (2010), nominations were solicited among Miami-Dade county farmers. Now nominations come from the general public and all nominations are vetted by the Slow Food Miami Snail of Approval Committee and donor contributions support local school and community gardens.
They are a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization. Their local members are passionate about good food, supporting local growers and celebrating Miami’s diversity. By acting locally, we are helping to build a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. Slow Food Miami is the local chapter of Slow Food USA and the International Slow Food Association.
Celebrity Chef/Owner of Malibu Farm and author of Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast, Helene Henderson hosted this year’s Slow Food Miami’s“Snail of Approval” Tasting Party. Regarded as Miami’s “Freshest Night Out”, the 6th Annual celebration was held Friday, March 24, 2017, at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort. This year, the unforgettable evening under the stars was made possible thanks to a partnership with Eden Roc, The Miami Scout Guide, Just Ask Boo, Vero Water, JetSet Sounds, FOH, J Wakefield Brewery, Menu Men, Inc., and wines sponsored by Twenty-One Wine & Spirits. The tasting party united dozens of the city’s top chefs, and local growers and producers for a night of tasting and honoring Miami’s food scene.
The soirée took place at the spectacular newly renovated Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort with ambient tunes by Michael Casola from JetSet Sounds. The first 100 tickets sold were priced at $75. After that, general admission tickets went to $85 per person with sales ending at noon on March 23. Tickets at the door were $100 per person. All event proceeds benefitted the Slow Food Miami’s Edible Garden Program. VIP Garden Sponsor tickets were available for $750 and included a garden box for a school, free entry to Freshest Night Out with early bird admission at 6:30PM and a signed copy of Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast.
The Eden Roc’s fusion of fun and luxury was the perfect setting for this festive and sophisticated event where the “who’s who” in the South Florida culinary scene mingled about the lovely ocean front property. Guests indulged in tastes from Miami’s best farm-to-table, including a mix of current 2016-2017 “Snail of Approval” honorees and past “Snail of Approval” winners. This year’s chefs and food artisans included:
Helene Henderson (Malibu Farm)
Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean)
Paula DaSilva (Artisan Beach House)
Sean Brasel (Meat Market)
Jessica Weiss Levinson (Serendipity Creamery)
Frederic Joulin (Semilla)
Zak Stern (Zak the Baker)
Blair Wilson (Social Club @ The Surfcomber Hotel) * “2017 People’s Choice” AwardWinner
Brian Nasajon (Beaker & Gray)
Corey Bousquet and Evan Boomer (The Brick) – *2017 “Judges Choice” Winner
Andres Barrientos and James Bowers (Miami Smokers)
Allen Susser (Books & Books, Coral Gables)
Ray and Shannon Allen (Grown)
Carolina Quijano (exquisito chocolates)
Buster Brown (Counter Culture Kombucha)
Giorgio Rapicavoli (Glass and Vine)
Maria Laura Aleman (Artichoke Foods)
Della Heiman (della test kitchen)
Rene Reyes and John Gallo (Pinch Kitchen)
Isabel and Susana Garcia (Cacao Art Chocolates)
Matthew Kenney (Plant Food & Wine)
Julie Frans (Essensia Restaurant & Lounge)
Muriel Olivares and Tiffany Noe (Little River Cooperative)
Freddy and Danielle Kaufman (Proper Sausage)
Gabe Bernal (Seasons Farm Fresh)
Aaron Dreilinger (Chef David’s Catering)
Chuck Lyons (Verde Community Gardens)
Paul Massard and Chris Nolte (Per’La Specialty Roasters)
Chris French (French Farms)
Carlos Cararas (MIA Beer Company)
Kevin Rusk- Titanic Brewery
Johnathan Wakefield (J Wakefield Brewing)
Ben Conniff (Lukes Lobster)
Cristina Ivory (Angry Booch)
Nick Paton (Kelvin Slushies)
The coveted “People’s Choice” Award, judged and selected by popular vote was awarded to Chef Blair Wilson from Social Club at The Surfcomber Hotel for his amazing sweet and savory pecan-smoked St. Louis ribs with sesame-sorghum barbecue sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and pickled local veggies, while the “Chef’s Choice” Award for the “Best Bite of the Night”, judged by Slow Food Miami’s Chef Host Committee, went to Restaurateur Corey Bousquet and Chef Chris Huff of The Brick for the ultimate comfort food of shrimp ‘n’ grits made with Key West pink shrimp and War Eager Mill grits.. This year the event also featured a live auction including a weekend at Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort and including dinner for two at Malibu Farm, among other surprises. Guests had the opportunity to purchase school garden grants at the event.
Find the “Snail of Approval” list on the Slow Food Miami website, as well as on the upcoming mobile app. The Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort is located at 4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140. Discounted valet tickets were available for $20.
Follow #SnailMIA and #SFMFreshestNightOut on Twitter and Facebook for additional 2016-2017 participating honorees and the latest updates.
About Slow Food Miami
Slow Food Miami is a local 100% volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to “planting a fresher future for our children.” It’s the local chapter of Slow Food USA, a national non-profit dedicated to supporting good, clean and fair food for all that supports our local communities from the ground up – from the Edible School & Community Gardens that encourage the enjoyment of local, seasonal and sustainably grown food, to the local growers and artisan food makers who use sustainable methods. Slow Food Miami supports its Edible School & Community Garden Program through culinary educational events and fundraising, and aims to raise awareness for good, clean and fair food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community. For more information, visitwww.slowfoodmiami.org.
About Malibu Farm
“Fresh, organic, local” is the motto at Malibu Farm, the soon to open Miami Beach outpost located at the Eden Roc of the hugely popular California farm to table restaurant and magnet for A-listers. Owner, cookbook author and farmer Helene Henderson will bring her signature style of local, sustainable, fresh-off-the-farm fare along with an extensive wine and cocktail menu. With spectacular ocean views, Malibu Farm is set to premier Spring 2017.
About Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort
With an oceanfront location in the heart of Miami’s Mid-Beach and just minutes from Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and the Wynwood arts district, Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort offers travelers a beachfront retreat synonymous with contemporary Miami luxury. Following a multi-million-dollar renovation that revitalized and re-launched the Eden Roc, this property boasts 418 spacious guest rooms and suites, three stunning pools, 22,000 square feet of spa and fitness facility, the world’s largest Nobu Restaurant & Bar, and will soon be home to the farm-to-fork restaurant, Malibu Farm in Spring 2017. Inspired by the beauty and splendor of the ocean below, Eden Roc rooms and suites offer savvy travelers unique in-room dining offerings and spectacular ocean views, while light and airy furnishings set the perfect seaside scene. For more information and reservations, please call (305) 531-0000 or visit www.edenrocmiami.com.
Hello Foodie Friends, it was just last month that I was invited to visit a little hidden gem South of Fifth in Miami Beach called Santorini by Georgios and I am already dreaming of my next visit back! It was a gorgeous day that my friend Laura and I visited and the only thing better than the weather was the hospitality, food and ambience.The spacious, indoor/outdoor restaurant tucked ay inside the Hilton Bentley was entirely redone with outdoor, poolside and beachside service available.
Santorini by Georgios restaurant presents authentic, fresh Greek and Mediterranean cuisine that is locally sourced and fresh seafood is caught daily. Executive Chef, Owner and Creator Georgios Vogiatzis offers a menu of recognizable, yet creative dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch in a lively, upscale-casual pool and beachside atmospherecomplimented by friendly and professional service.
Santorini by Georgios prides itself on defining what true quality food is with their fresh cuisine, in addition to exceeding every one of their customers’ expectations. Whether it’s a girls’ afternoon luncheon (which is what Laura & I came for), an after work happy hour get together, or a romantic dinner for two, Santorini by Georgios will make sure the challenge to delight their clients is met.
To complement each dish,Georgios has created a refreshing selection of cocktails with in-house made purees and infusions. The beverage program includes full beer and wine lists, as well as large exotic fruit cocktails sold in unique hollowed-out pieces of fruit, such as pineapples and watermelons. (We tried the Pineapple but we had our eye on the Watermelon which I’m sure we’ll try the next time we’re there). The “Giant Bowl” menu also consists of beautifully crafted cocktails in bowls large enough to share – perfect for taking that “I’m on vacation” Instagram photo.
Located in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth Avenue, or “SoFi” as locals call it – the enclave South of Fifth Street – is a vibrant destinationand the ideal place for millionaires to live in Miami Beach.
-Valet parking available
-Take-out service is available
–Happy Hour seven days a week
-Weekend brunch with omelette and waffle stations
-Weddings and private event reservations
Well there you have it. We savored every bite we ate and every sip we drank. We truly felt we were transported to the Mediterranean and are very much looking to going back again soon.
They are located at 101B Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139, inside the Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach.