The Foodie Guru™ Column July / August 2009
MANY of our finest chefs are dedicated to providing locally-grown, in-season, organic, sustainable food including MICHAEL SCHWARTZ, Chef, Owner of MICHAEL'S GENUINE in the Design District and Winner of many National Awards. Chef JEFF McGINNIS of the DILIDO CLUB at the RITZ CARLTON South Beach, who grows his own vegetable garden on the Hotel's oceanfront property, and L.A.'s Celebrity Chef GOVIND ARMSTRONG of TABLE 8 – also on South Beach – and opened in Manhattan last month, and ... with a brand new concept for today's challenging times: 8-1/2 oz Burger Bar, in L.A. SoBe and New York.
They all buy their organically-grown fruits and veggies from a group of farms throughout South Florida – and, even dedicate themselves to doing a series of very elegant, but casually-pleasant Sunday Soirees among the gardens of PARADISE FARMS, south of Homestead. GABRIELLE, the very creative lady-farmer, stages extremely lavish affairs at her 5-acre farm, from December to April. Every other Sunday, you can experience 3 of the NEWEST Culinary trends from all of the most-celebrated chefs. THIS EXPERIENCE IS ONE OF THE FOODIE GURU'S MOST MEMORABLE IN FLORIDA – and is reminiscent of those in Napa Valley, California or the Champagn region of FRANCE.
EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN "stole" CHEF DAVID RODRIGUEZ from their ORIENTE Restaurant at the Cardozo Hotel on South Beach to open their new Vero Beach property – COSTA d'este BEACH RESORT – where all of his Cuban/Latin/Spanish/Creole dishes consist of organically-grown vegetables from a nearby farm.
SLOW FOOD, a movement started 30 years ago by CHEF/OWNER ALICE WATERS of CHEZ PANISSE in Berkeley, California, is finally beginning to take hold, even in Europe. And in the Nation's Capitol, the 20-year request by Alice that, in addition to the ROSE GARDEN, the WHITE HOUSE should have its own vegetable garden: 1 month after the OB AMA Family moved in, said garden was planted by the two OBAMA daughters and their Classmates.
Locally, the SLOW FOOD Dinners are held September through May, where even the wines are locally-grown. SCHNEBLEY Wines will do a Sunday Brunch at their south-of-Homestead Winery.
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CORPORATE CHEF SCOTT UEHLEIN – for the 30-year-old desert facility in Tucson, Arizona, CANYON RANCH, and now in Massachusetts, Orlando, Las Vegas, The Queen Mary -– has brought "BUZZ TO THE BEACH"! With its 70,000-square-foot Spa, which specialized in Wellness, Beauty, Fitness, Medical and Healthy Gourmet Cuisine, their Castle on Collins on Miami Beach has provided the South Florida community with a Spa & Wellness Center that is unparalleled: 54 treatment rooms, 80-minute Massages including gently-heated basalt stones, lubricated in oil, and an array of hydrotherapy waters, thermal cabins, soaking tubs and saunas called AQUAVANA.
THE HEALTH GOURMET CUISINE: Two Words: NUTRITIOUS & DELICIOUS !! For nearly 3 decades, CANYON RANCH has been the world's premier health & wellness destination, celebrated for its ontergrative treatments, incredible facilities and signature gourmet cuisine: so satisfying and inventive that the guests hardly know they are eating healthy food. Even Gourmet Magazine named CANYON RANCH "Best Spa For Food."
Chef Scott's new Cookbook, "CANYON RANCH'S NOURISH," features more than 200 Recipes: From breakfasts such as Thai French Toast with Orange Ginger Syrup and delicious sides such as Butternut Squash Tart to Entrees such as Cod with Cauliflower Tomato Broth or Za'atar-Crusted Lamb to indulgent desserts such as the Alsatian Plum Cake. Each of the recipes includes complete nutritional information: Easy AND irresistible!
I am a Baltimore girl, whose family threw huge Crab Fests when we lived in Virginia. May I tell you, Chef Scott's CRAB CAKES -- made with the Chesapeake Bay Backfin JUMBO lump -- was one of the best -- every! And, it was prepared at a SPA. How unbelievable is that?
To meet Chef Scott, you will be thoroughly impressed with both his Vision and his Passion. He has been invited to JAPAN on three separate occasions to teach the Japanese chefs how to use American ingredients, to learn of the health benefits and to negate our "FAST food/processed food" image. During a Sunday morning telephone interview, Chef Scott and his 4-year-old daughter had just returned from their Sunday ritual to their Farmer's Market in Tucson. When I asked WHICH Olive Oil he prefers, he replied "An oil from Tuscany that I purchase from COSTCO -- price: $12!"
BEN C. SMITH, a young chef who fell in love with the intricacies of fine wines, became the first Beverage Manager of CANYON RANCH, since most of the other locations do not serve alcohol. None of their Specialty drinks have more than 220 calories with a very simple formula of fresh fruit -- a lime or lemon and agave nectar. All of their liquors & beers are certified "ORGANIC" and their selected wineries must use only organic grapes and not use any chemical sprays. Ben states "Organic anything is a big fad right now, so we wanted to make sure we were not just buying into the FAD!"
The House-made Colas are a big hit: the C R version is made with 3 spices and 3 citrus oils, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, and lemon, lime and orange oil. The ginger ale is made with fresh ginger juice that you feel when you drink it.
CANYON RANCH is the only 10-time Winner of the Conde Nast Traveler Magazine's Reader Choice Award for "Best Destination Spa." DO YOU KNOW HOW FORTUNATE THAT MAKES EVERYONE LIVING ON AMERICA'S EAST COAST, AS WELL AS THE EXPLODING SOUTH?
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The Foodie Guru™ Column June 2009
THIS Review begins with the audacious vision of a 35-year-old New York "FOODIE" who opened his first China Grill Restaurant on Manhattan's 53rd Street in 1987, and went on to win Esquire Magazine's "Best New Restaurant" & ZAGAT's NYC "Most Popular Nightspot."
We say "aUdacious vision" because of the 22-year meteoric growth of his ChIna Grill Management company, with 27 Restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Chicago, Scottsdale, Fort Lauderdale, London and Mexico City, with 15 different concepts, generating more than $260 million.
The company has redefined the word "Restaurant" with Culinary ingenuity from world-class chefs, transporting diners to exotic worlds crafted by internationally-renowned designers.
JEFFREY CHODOROW, the creative visionary, is a part-time resident of Porto Vita in Aventura, Florida.
Enter Restaurant Number 26: China Grill Fort Lauderdale on the Intra-Coastal Waterway. (Recently, the hotel was re-named the HILTON Fort Lauderdale Marina.)
Hidden, but Inviting. A Zen-like intimacy, but seats 400+. A youthful vibe, but professional excellence everywhere!
Culinary uniqueness, but designed for a GROUP (at least four!).
A Sangria Sunset on their Deck EVERY day, from 5 to 7 pm offers a complimentary glass of Sangria or a Pitcher for $10. Wine & Beer: $5. You will definitely want to share the Sunset with any one of their 59 Sushi/Temaki/Sashimi/Izakaya -- magnificently prepared by the Executive Sushi Chef, SONGPHONG, who opened South Florida's original China Grill on South Beach.
The SPIRIT of China Grill's food is the spirit of a journey shared. The seeds were planted 7 Centuries ago, when the Explorer Marco Polo returned home to share exciting new foods with the emperor, Kubla Khan. TODAY, the China Grill concept is to gather ingredients from around the globe to create its highly-acclaimed World Cuisine.
Enter Executive Chef KEYVAN BEHNAM, also a graduate of China Grill South Beach. His dramatic presentations are meant to be explored, and shared, as a GROUP.
China Grill Classics Abound:
Excited anticipation mounts while watching the animation of a galaxy of chefs preparing such Appetizers as a mustard-sake sauce & tomatillo-pineapple salsa atop Blackfin-lump Crab Cakes; plum and sesame-blazed Lamb Spareribs; spicy beef & scallion dumplings in a soy ginger sauce; Tempura sashimi in a hot mustard champagne sauce. $22 to $28. Kobe Beef Tartare & Lobster pancakes are higher, but don't forget you are dividing by at least 4...
Widely-renown Salads are the Crackling Calamari with its lime miso dressing; the Peking Duck with crispy wontons & Tangerine orange dressing; and my fellow Foodie-Gureu's oft-repeated "Oh My Heavens" Confusius Chicken with a sesame oil vinaigrette; even the Caesar has a ginger aoli, spiced roasted cashews & crispy wontons.
Back to more China Grill Classics: Share a sweet soy-marinated skirt steak with tempura shitaki mushrooms and wok-sauteed lo mein noodles; Grilled Garlic Shrimp in a red curry coconut sauce with black fettucini; Pan-seared spicy tuna with avocado sashimi; Shanghei Lobster with ginger & curry with crispy spinach and Duck 2-ways.
Jeffrey Chodorow -- who was missing his mashed potatoes -- now has them, with Wasabi -- with Lobster -- and with Goat Cheese.
For some mysterious reason, the leadership of this man, who is now 59, inspires pastry chefs to an array of unique desserts, ice cream & sorbets; busboys so courteous you know you want to come back -- often; and a young Country Club executive to begin as a Server, to become the assistant to the General Manager in less than a year. GARY HORN has a deep knowledge of every dish -- and every ingredient.
An extraordinarily talented Staff in Restaurant Number 26: Jeffrey Chodorow should strongly consider them for Number 28, which appears to be: MOSCOW! WOW!!
The Foodie Guru™ Column May 2009
A mosaic of Mediterranean cuisine awaits you in the dynamic Design District -- in a tree-studded setting out of a magazine: BROSIA Miami. Chef Arthur will dazzle you with buttermilk pancakes topped with French Cherries and toasted walnuts or steak & eggs Benedict. Each Saturday, the Chef adds other exotic discoveries to his a la carte menu, served from 11 am to 3 pm. The drinks are equally unique: try a Green Tea Mojito with Strawberry "Art Basil". Other Good News: Brosia's Valet Parking: $3! And the DEAL OF THE CENTURY -- on Wed. 11 - 4, 1/2 pound burger topped with caramelized onions.. aged cheddar cheese ... apple-wood smoked bacon ... your choice of bistro fries or salad -- and a soda, tax and gratuity included: $10! Call 305-572-1400 | 163 NE 39 Street | Miami | www.BrosiaMiami.com.
Also Downtown, your MOTHER'S DAY will be greatly enhanced at PROVENCE GRILL with 3 seatings at 11-12:30 and 2 pm. They are offering an All-Fresh, All-You-Can-Eat Buffet including a variety of crepes -- poaches salmon and leg of lamb, with a glass of Champagne or a Mimosa. The price is the best value we found: $29 plus, of course, tax and gratuity. Call 305-373-1940 | 1001 South Miami Avenue | Miami.
At the other end of the opulent spectre is ACQUA at the FOUR SEASONS with Champagne -- Mimosas -- Bloody Mary's -- Mojitos -- and a mini-Cocktail Bar in the Lobby -- suckling pig -- a Seafood Extravaganza -- breakfast surprises -- a Children's station. And 30 different desserts by the renowned Pastry Chef CHARLES FROKE! The elegant Four Seasons also serves on the lush pool terrace and their Sunday Brunch is $70. On Holidays, it will cost you another $20, but the added amenities make it a good value. And, the Valet is Complimentary! Call 305-381-3190 | 1435 Brickell Avenue | Miami | www.FourSearsons.com.
In Coral Gables, LA PALMA RISTORANTE -- Celebrating 15 years -- serves Brunch every Sunday between 10:30 & 3:30 pm. Its beautiful tree-covered courtyard serves as a most memorable setting while you sip your mimosa. The brunch items are quite numerous, but Chef Vittori distinguishes himself on the pastas and antipastos and the seafood and omelet stations. You can go ANY Sunday for $28 -- Mother's Day & other Holidays is $38. Children under 12: $17. A la Carte Dinner menu begins at 5:30 pm. Call 305-445-8777 | 116 Alhambra Circle | Coral Gables | www.LaPalmaRistorante.com.
Boasting one of South Florida's most unique waterfront settings -- and a spectacular view of the Miami skyline, the RUSTY PELICAN has been serving great food and happy times for 37 years. Their All-you-can-eat Champagne Brunch is therefore priced also at $37 and combines both breakfast and lunch between 10 am and 8 pm. Sushi - everyone's favorite - is featured as well as pastas - salads - beef - chicken - turkey - eggs Benedict & omelets - and a wide variety of desserts. Children under 10 are FREE. They also have their own parking. Call 305-361-3818 | 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway | Key Biscayne | www.theRustyPelican.com.
Celebrate Mother's Day in Miami at the DEERING ESTATE from 10:30 am to 1 pm with Mimosas - made-to-order omelets - pancakes and French toast - turkey sausage - salads - pastas - veggies - potatoes and rice all created by BILL HANSEN Catering. Tour the grand Stone House and historic Richmond Cottage. Take in the lush natural beauty and dream of the days of grandeur of the Estate. $70 for adults and $45 for children 5 to 12. Call 305-235-1668 | 16701 SW 72 Avenue | Miami | www.DeeringEstate.com.
Mother's Day 2009 with an Icon at the FONTAINEBLEAU Miami Beach has 5 options for your family and friends: (1) their Fleur de Lys Ballroom - 11 am to 23 pm -- epic and imaginative food displays - a haute brunch of champagne - Beef Wellington drizzled in Perigord Truffle sauce - cracked Alaskan King Crab - Charcuterie - the ever-favorite Sushi - white chocolate mousse cakes and baked apple tarts created by their French Pastry Chef. Mini pizzas and other goodies for the kids, such as creating chocolate lollipops. $75 for Adults. Children 4 - 12 $37.50. Scarpetta - from 11 am to 2:30 pm -- will be serving unlimited Bellinis and an assortment of their very distinctive dishes. The just-opened La Cote is their newest eatery, open every day from 11 to 7 at the pool and beach, serving burgers, sandwiches, seafood, salads, sweets and beverages of every description. Here is a secret: HAKKASAN, the Chinese notable from London, should be open by the time you are reading this column ! FOR ALL RESERVATIONS: CALL 877-326-7412 | www.Fontainebleau.com.
The internationally known EMERIL'S at the LOEWS Hotel is serving a 3-course prix fixe $32 Brunch every Sunday from 11 am to 3:30 pm. Enjoy some of the most celebrated brunch appetizers, entrees and desserts in the world. For Mother's Day, "They will kick it up a notch," as Emeril would say. In between courses, you can romp in the sand. Call 305-695-4550 | 1601 Collins Avenue \ Miami Beach | www.emerils.com.
A little gem on South Beach is the elegant ANGLER'S Boutique Resort and its 660 Mediterranean Kitchen. Their setting is most serene and at this price, so is your bank account! In addition to their distinctive a la carte menu, they will be serving a 3-course Brunch from 10 am to 5 pm. Priced at $29, plus tax and gratuity, of course. Call 786-594-5811 | 660 Washington Avenue | Miami Beach | www.theAnglerResort.com.
You can diet the week of May 3 -- you can diet Monday May 11, but for some dramatic "ESCAPE" Entertainment, indulge in any one of these gastronomic fantasies for 1 great day on Sunday May 10. Join The Foodie Gurus TM for your weekly dose of "Carefully Priced" SUNSHINE. Read www.theFOODIEGuru.com and click "Calendar" for weekly updates -- cooking classes and demos -- the BEST deals ever on Food & Wine cruises -- the latest Events -- the best placed to celebrate those SPECIAL occasions -- and don't forget to tell them "The FOODIE GURUS sent us!"
NEW -- Cool -- And HOT !
Laurence Tournedel from New York opened at the Betsy Ross on South Beach: BLT -- another legendary Steakhouse. Neal Cooper of Il Migliore has opened a 40-seat French Bistro Le Petit Rouge on 126th and Biscayne Boulevard. Govind Armstrong and his Table 8 partner are opening at the 144-room Cooper Square Hotel in New York. They have also opened 8-oz Burger Bar on AltonRoad with Daily 2-4-1 Happy Hour from 4 to 7 pm and 11 to Closing. Watch for W Fort Lauderdale, opening mid-May with 954 Steakhouse out of Philadelphia -- and W South Beach opening June 1 with Mr. CHOW out of Los Angeles.
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