It is five minutes before noon on a on a hot and humid Saturday and while storm clouds are looming to the west, Gace Della is standing at the entrance of the Wynnwood Walls talking to a tourist-looking gentleman. She is easy to spot, she is dressed all in black and wearing a Miami Culinary Tours sign. I tell her who I am and she tells me to wait by the elephant mural â€œâ€¦we will start exactly at 12:00â€¦almost everyone is hereâ€.
â€œEveryoneâ€ is an eclectic group of South Florida bloggers (from foodies to lifestyle, fashion, beauty and everything in between) gathered by Paola Mendez, creator of the South Florida Bloggers Meetup Group and invited to experience the WynwwodTour edition of Miami Culinary Tours.
At 12:00:49 P.M. Grace Della begins the tour. Her passion and depth of knowledge immediately come to the forefront. Her delivery is fast, articulate and enthusiastic. She prepares us for our first stop on the tour: Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar has outdoor seating but it is 92 degrees outside with like 90% humidity and on top of that it looks like a storm is coming. We opt to sit indoors. Wise choice, it is cool and comfortable, they have a large table set up for us and a great IPA beer at each spot waiting to be sampled. They read my mind.
Grace explains about Executive Chef Miguel Aguilarâ€™s Nuevo Cuisine philosophy and goes on to describe whatâ€™s in our plate: Chicken Empanada, Cheese TequeÃ±o and Sweet Plantains with Queso Fresco. Very well prepared and exquisitely interpreted Latin street food. An excellent appetizer, it gets me in the right mood. By this time I was ready to keep on eating but there is an art component to the Wynwood Tour and since the menacing storm has not fully materialized we head to the Walls.
I did mention Graceâ€™s knowledge about the art on the Wynwood Walls but it is her passionate delivery that makes it so exciting to hear about the artists and creators behind the art. I must confess that until that moment I had taken the art on the walls for granted. No more.
After a brief visit through the O. Asciano Art Gallery we are in route to our next stop: The R House.
The R House is either a cool restaurant with great art hanging on the walls or an art gallery with a restaurant inside, either way they serve an excellent red wine and Chef Rocco Carulliâ€™s Short Rib Slider and Tuna Tartare are simply off the charts.
The Tuna Tartare is lightly fried in sesame oil with black and white sesame seeds, a sweet chilli glaze and wasabi cream go on top and it all goes atop a fried wonton crisp. Each dish is great by itself but to taste them together is simply sublime. I could stay here but the tour must go on.
Two very long, humid and hot city blocks later we arrive at Pride and Joy, a barbecue joint.
Pulled Pork Texas Toast with Cole Slaw is served on a simple cardboard tray but as simple as it sounds, it is every bit as good as good can get, they have a variety of sauces to enhance the flavor and the pork is moist and soft. If you are on the mood for barbecue, this is the place.
From Pride and Joy we go across the street to SuViche a sushi, ceviche and pisco bar/restaurant.
At SuViche they serve us ceviche (of course), the traditional Peruvian dish. Each dish at SuViche is prepared individually so some patience is required but the freshness and awesome taste is evident on the plate. If you havenâ€™t had ceviche before this is a good place to try it.
I would advise to take the Wynwood Tour during the cooler months of November through April. If you consider yourself a foodie, the Wynwood Tour is a must but even if you donâ€™t, it is definitely worth it.
Staying at the Aria Hotel Prague was one of the highlights of my phenomenal trip. The hotel is sumptuous, cozy and ingrained with love and music. The staff is warm, the location is perfect, and the restaurant stimulated all of my senses. If you are looking for the best hotel to stay in Prague, the Aria Hotel will easily exceed your lofty expectations. Check out the Aria Hotel Prague video review below.
I have traveled the world and experienced countless euphoric wonders, but few of them have managed to even graze â€œjust the tipâ€ of the majesty of the Groove Cruise. Even when you strip away the electrifying DJs, non-stop 96-hour party, breathtaking Bahamas beach, unobstructed views of sunrises and sunsets along the amazing ship, there is still so much more to the Groove Cruise. There is a special magic sauce erupting like a geyser from the ship â€” Â it was flowing from the people, better known as the Groove Cruise Family, or #gcfam.
Picture over 2,700 people more amped up for this trip than they have been for anything else all year. This family is here to smile, hug, love, party and have the most epic time of their lives.Â With an 80% retention rate, these people are more than friends, they are family â€” and they likely have been grooving and cruising together for many years. Â We were virgins, yet instantly felt like part of the famâ€™. Â There are no cliques on board, just open arms. People have such a phenomenal time that they book next yearâ€™s Groove Cruise before they have even gotten off this yearâ€™s cruise!
I have been to many festivals and raves (Ultras, EDC, Life In Color, Bonnaroo, Phish Festivalsâ€¦.), yet the intoxicating vortex of energy swirling around the ship from the attendees was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Â Not only were the people fun, adventurous, sweet and loving, but they were also good-hearted. Â This is a trip where five iPhones and a diamond cartier watch were lost and instead of being pocketed by attendees, they were turned in to the shipâ€™s Lost and Found.
Besides the people, the costumes were our favorite part of the Groove Cruise. The costumes were as prolific as an end-of-the-world gay party. People really GET INTO THEIR COSTUMES that range from the hilarious and debaucherous to the interactive and nostalgic. There are six different theme parties during the journey….
Picture this: the sounds of Latin music permeating the entryways as you approach a massive 855-foot long vessel. Light-footed aficionados swirl in tandem with international flags whirling in the wind. As you stroll along starboard and gaze upon the expanse of sea, you feel an unbridled excitement bubbling inside and all around you. At this moment, you feel the keen awareness that itâ€™s going to be an epic time. Don’t believe us? Just click the video below.>
After a few hours,Â however, you realize what an understatement that truly was, Â because we had a freaking blast on this years edition of theÂ Aventura Dance Cruise (ADC). The 7th annual Aventura Dance Cruise chartered the entire Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship, so every person on board was there for the same reason â€” a love for Latin dance, its music and its culture. Each person on board signed up to be utterly immersed in salsa, bachata, kizomba, merengue and any other latin dance you can dream of. Â No matter you interest or skill-level, what resulted was a sort of kinship that had over 2,400 people dancing, drinking and singing on every inch of the ship until the wee hours of the night.
I arrived to this quaint restaurant in North Miami which I have only heard about, Lique. This waterfront dining spot is owned by restauranteurs Peter Cumplido and Alex Podolhy who are also behind Fort Lauderdale’s Sweet Nectar. This soon-to-be hot spot has Executive Chef Renalto Medeiros at the helm and I was about to embark on a never-before breathtaking dining experience in a chilly night but that did not stop me.
When I entered the restaurant I realized that I have been here before when it was Rouge Waterfront Dining where everything was red. But this time around, the restaurant is transformed into what it seems an enchanted garden with luxurious white decor furniture, greenery all over, the contemporary pieces that was all over. The decor is truly spectacularly very fresh and inviting. We sat down to our table to begin our journey.
Our dining experience was by candlelight. A nice touch for a romantic experience if you are dining with a loved one. In my case, I was dining with one of my best friends so that did not happen. LOL! I ordered a nice Pinot Grigio and she ordered a nice fruity tall glass drink that our waiter recommended. I was jealous as her glass was bigger than mine! When we were hended our menu it was unique as it was a wood platform wit the menu attached and the logo of the restaurant on the back. It was great as everything was on one page.
Appetizers and small plates is what we suggested therefore it did not disappoint. First serving was the Truffle Big Eye Tuna Carpaccio. I wanted something healthy but nice to start therefore the Tuna was a nice healthy alternative. What a delight! The truffle made the Tuna stand out as all my taste buds sky-rockted. It gave it a distinct flavor. Then came the Bone Marrow-a plate of 4 big oxtail bones filled with shredded beef with toasted bread besides each bone. A true delight to savor.
If the Bone Marrow is too much for you, the Beef Cheek Toast would be more appropriate as it has the same shredded beef on top of a toasted bread. Another real treat is the Escargot Tortellini. A plate of 4 tortellini smothered with creamy sauce with bits of bacon was the utmost satisfaction that we got. It was my first time in a long time that I tried escargot but it actually tasted like beef. Tasty and delicious!
Lastly, we just had to have dessert therefore our waiter suggested the apple pie but this was not any ordinary apple pie. This was a Desconstructed Apple Pie. The pie was served with 4 fluffy pastries on one side, cinnamon ice cream in one jar and the apple filling in another jar. One had to place all of these items in the plate. It was delish and proved that by this time we were completely full.
Other than the plates we tried, the mediterranean-style cuisine also had more selections of tapas, raw seafood, and a sushi bar. One can sit at the dock area gazing as the marine boats pass by and enjoying a nice night out under the stars. A suitable place to dine with a loved one and/or with friends. A true gem!
The epic Grovetoberfest,Â the “most scenic beer festival in the world”, returned for the fourth time to Coconut Grove and served over 300 great beers from across the world. Â Over 7,000 beer enthusiasts showed up to pound some brewskis, eat some food, dance, smile and laugh. Grovetoberfest is all about the craft beer and has a strong focus on the local craft beer scene. Some of Miami’s top chefs like Chef Todd Haven andÂ Chef Giorgio RapacavoliÂ rocked the Kitchen Lab, where they demonstrated gourmet cooking with craft beer.Â Beer Tasting 101 was hosted by FIU’s Beer Academy and taught newbies the basics of craft beer tasting. People were also dancing to the live music all day long. Grovetoberfest is always a blast and if you missed it we feel sorry for you. Fear not though, because Sprung Beer FestivalÂ is right around the corner in March!
His musical talents and sexy persona inspire adulation, lust, love and respect across music fans of both sexes. Yes,Â Lenny Kravitz is quite a beloved man in Miami. Our hometown rockstar just released his new album “Strut”Â and came home to Miami to celebrate it with a very intimate performance. We were blessed to be invited and were absolutely blown away. We have been to many concerts, but being so close to a rockstar like Lenny, toÂ feel his intense energy in a room with less than 100 fans in it, was simply amazeballs. Â He absolutely killed it, playing his famous hits as well as songs from his new album. Even when he was playing with over 12 band members, one could really feel the depth of his sound. It was a unique and unforgettable experience.
We know you are craving to get your hands on that new Lenny album. If you purchase Strut from Walmart (Only $10) you will also receive anÂ exclusive digital copy of the Lenny Kravitz Live in Miami 6-song soundcheck performance as well as the full digital album download.Â You can view the Lenny Kravtiz interview and music videos from the MiamiÂ performanceÂ here.Â
His musical talents and sexy persona inspire adulation, lust, love and respect across music fans of both sexes. Yes,Ã‚Â Lenny Kravitz is quite a beloved man in Miami. Our hometown rockstar just released his new album “Strut”Ã‚Â and came home to Miami to celebrate it with a very intimate performance. We were blessed to be invited and were absolutely blown away. We have been to many concerts, but being so close to a rockstar like Lenny, toÃ‚Â feel his intense energy in a room with less than 100 fans in it, was simply amazeballs. Ã‚Â He absolutely killed it, playing his famous hits as well as songs from his new album. Even when he was playing with over 12 band members, one could really feel the depth of his sound. It was a unique and unforgettable experience.
We know you are craving to get your hands on that new Lenny album. If you purchase Strut from Walmart (Only $10) you will also receive anÃ‚Â exclusive digital copy of the Lenny Kravitz Live in Miami 6-song soundcheck performance as well as the full digital album download.Ã‚Â You can view the Lenny Kravtiz interview and music videos from the MiamiÃ‚Â performanceÃ‚Â here.Ã‚Â
We all could use a lil more French in our lives, be it kisses, toast, fries or if we are very blessed, the renown 3 star Michelin French LaundryÂ haven. Downtown Bistro Miami is now open for dinner Wednesday through Friday to assist us in our quest for masÂ French. We were invited to a media dinner full of adventurous bloggers to taste their menu. We shall highlight our favorites of the evening.
Le Steak Tartare au Couteau-Â raw filet mignon cut by hand, capers, onions. anchovies, dijon mustard & quail egg. It was a very French way to consume filet. The bread was crunchy enough to be included with the Rice Krispy brothers and the quail egg you dumped into the shimmering slimy filet was fun and quite tasty.
Lost my snailginity with thisÂ Escargots Ã la crÃ¨me-Â Snails in a heavenly creamy Sauce and now hunting for these glorious creatures in my backyard. The texture was a cross between an artichoke and mushroom. The sauce had a zesty kick and complimented the escargot marvelously. The American in me kinda wished they were deep fried though.
The first time Iâ€™ve been to Batch Gastropub was to celebrate my friendâ€™s birthday party. When I first went in, I was amazed about how casual but comfortable the restaurant is. Itâ€™s a gastropub where the menu was approachable and there was an expansive drink list. We celebrated during their happy hour and the placed got packed as soon as I got there. My girlfriends and I indulged in their wonderful happy hour menu and their regular menu. A memorable time for all!
This time around, I got the opportunity to preview their Autumn menu which I was excited to taste. I could not wait for the delectable surprises that this place that had brought my tastebuds into action.
First of all, I was greeted with a cornucopia of cocktail samplings. The one that stood out is the Green Pepper Mojito as I thought it was going to be super sweet but to my surprise it wasnâ€™t. I could taste the green pepper flavor in my mouth but it was not overwhelming to sour my taste of the food that I was about to sample.
Batch gave us two types of menus to choose from for our tasting one that had the house made meatballs or the General Tsoâ€™s Cauliflower dish as the starter.
We began with a snack: Salmon Crudo comprised with the House Cured Faroe Island Salmon on top of Florida peaches with Truffled vinaigrette and maldon salt. This small snack was a different experience as I never tasted a salmon on top of a slice of peach before. The salmon taste came to my tastebuds first and then complimented it with the sweet peach infusing both into a nice sweet and delectable light bite.
Then came the starters, the house made meatballs of duck, short rib and pork belly on a sweet potato puree and Serrano ham gave me great delight. The meatballs were warm, soft to chew and the sweet potato puree gave it a good additive to my palate.
The next starter was the Tuna Poke-Peanut Butter â€œCrumbleâ€, wonton, scallion, and crispy ginger. Although I did not taste the peanut butter but the scallion and the crispy ginger is what stood out of my mind. It was delicious.
For the veggies part, a Batch Kale Salad was served. Now I never had Kale in my life so I was delighted and nervous at the same time in trying this salad comprised of raw kale, hearts of palm, peanuts, strawberry vinaigrette, and parmesan. To my surprise, I loved it. The kale was not overpowering and the vinaigrette made everything come together. Definitely will have to try that salad again next time I go to Batch Gastropub.
Now the main course: The Drunken Short Rib which is a whiskey braised short rib with Vanilla and Sour Mash, Creamy polenta and Cinammon roasted carrots on the side. The meat was so tender that it was falling out of the bone. I could taste the whisky a bit but my memory was the warm, soft, juicy meat that these ribs had. Other than the cinnamon that covered the carrots it was also mixed with a coffee flavored sauce which had a distinctive taste.
The sweets that culminated our experience is the Carnival Donuts-fried dough, powdered sugar, with a warm chocolate ganache and Kahlua syrup. Now these round donuts were the best and my favorite was dumping it in the Kahlua syrup rather than the chocolate ganache. It was so taste was so much richer to my palate.
A very sweet experience to end this preview tasting.
All in all, I canâ€™t wait for this autumn menu to be announced to the general public as Batch Gastropub wants to exemplify the farm to table concept as it is healthier option for everyone but with full of taste. Kudos to Batch Gastropub!
H2ombre is a groundbreaking and exhilarating show that intertwines EDM, acrobatics, creative graphics, street art and good ole fashioned water into quite a majestic feast for the eyes. The performers are determined to whip the crowd up into a frenzy and unleash a boisterous, soaking wet dance party. We do not want to spoil the show so we shall keep our review short, but there are spoiler pics and videos below. If you can’t help yourself, feel free to click away.
We would recommend getting nice and “influenced” before you go to amplify your experience. H2ombre is only an hour long, but well worth the price of admission. We urge you purchase the front “seats” in the immersive stage area and wear attire that embraces the water and allows you to fully participate. You most likely will get soaked if you get close to either stages, but that is part of the fun! After the show there is an ample lounge/club/bar area to keep the party going. The herb infused alcoholic slushies were quite tasty. This show only runs through August, Â so make sure you do not miss it. It is a sensationally fun and creative date idea too.
South Florida (the non-confederate flag waving part of our paradise state) has been elevated into a serious “Foodie” region. While we are still anxiously awaiting our first Michelin Star, we do possess exquisite food, sexy chefs and a deeply diverse restaurant scene with an eclectic compilation of stellar dishes.
Planet Kitchen celebrated itsÂ maiden voyage of itsÂ Planet Kitchen Healthy Organic Food, Drink and Wellness Tour,Â highlighting aÂ growing trend towards healthy and sustainable living in South Florida. It also showcased local farms, markets, restaurants and businesses who makeÂ real food and drinks to heal us naturally from the inside out.Â
We started our tour atÂ Trio Studio,Â located in between Wynwood & the Design District (Midtown) in Miami. There we had a wonderful grounding meditation to start our journey followed byÂ Â an awesome demonstration ofÂ Budokon Yoga, AcroYoga, and Aerial Yoga. Â Tour participants had an opportunity to get in on the action and try out AcroYoga for themselves. Â It was really beautiful to participate and watch.
Afterwards, the folks atÂ SambazonÂ sharedÂ a refreshing fruit, mint and frozen acai concoction called an “acai bowl.” Â This superfood charged treatÂ is also non-GMO, Fair Trade and b-certified.Â We enjoyed it so much, we purchased a bottle that same week. Â I’m sure it will be a permanent part of ourÂ refrigerator as we support conscious companies and healthy nutrition.Â Continue reading “Planet Kitchen Food and Wellness Tour”→
You only get one chance to make a first impression andÂ Toro ToroÂ at theÂ Intercontinental HotelÂ floored us in all respects.Â We were joined byÂ Maria the FoodaholicÂ for a remarkable dining experience at this stunning locale. She co-authored this review with us.
Wynwood Kitchen and BarÂ has launched a European summer tasting menu. We swung by to try the Spanish menu last month. Currently, they are serving German dishes, and will serve Portugal treats in August.
TheÂ Duck ProsciuttoÂ was a brand new flavor for us. Â When the salty, bacon like duck meat was combined with the San Simon and Tetilla cheese and the crunchy toast it was delightful. The Quince paste jam (similar to guava) tied everything together splendidly. The sweet sauce was a nice contrast to the savory duck and cheeses.
TheÂ Stuffed Piquillo PeppersÂ were a tasty beautiful plate. Â It was comprised of crabmeat, Manchego cheese with a aji amarillo sauce.The Manchego melded with the crab giving it a creamy consistency. The aji amarillo sauce had some heat, so don’t douse the pepper in it if you are spice adverse.Continue reading “Summer Dining Series at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar”→
San GimignanoÂ (orÂ SangiinÂ local parlance) is an ancient walled city with impressiveÂ Game of ThronesÂ like towers spanning up to the heavens. The town is located atop a mountain overlooking a 360 degree view of serene picturesque landscapes, which amplifies its gravitas and sheer elegance. Although most of the original 72 towers have not withstood the test of time, the city is still very much intact and a handful of towers still reign over the city in a majestic regal fashion.
We stumbled upon thisÂ castle onlineÂ and were instantly drawn to it. Since we were travelling to a fable-like city, we felt compelled to stay at a castle that is over 1,000 years old. One of our favorite facets of Europe is the venerable spirit that permeates throughout the historic cities. One can intensely feel the energy of a city and the structures that have absorbed so much history over thousands of years. We thought a castle of this timeworn magnitude would be cool, unique and overflowing with these vibes. Continue reading “A Stay in a Historic Castle in San Gimignano, Italy”→
Celebrity Domino Night was a sensational party that had the guests eating, drinking, playing and dancing the night away. Almost 2,000 guests partied to support an amazing charitable cause on June 14th atÂ Jungle Island.Â Voya Miami Celebrity Domino Night is an annual fundraising celebration that supportsÂ Amigos For Kids, a benevolent charity that helps children who are abused and neglected.Â The event was filled with Latin heart throbs and sexy Novella stars, heaps of great food and an open bar sponsoredÂ byÂ BacardÃ USA. Â Willy ChirinoÂ a SalsaÂ Grammy winning musician performed and was followed by one of our favorite’sÂ DJ IrieÂ who lit up the room.
It was a joyous event with intense domino matches, a stellar silent auction and seductive salsa and regular dancing. Our favorite bites was the incredible aged steak from Shulaâ€™s Steakhouse, the delectable alfajores from Catalina’s Bake Shop and the magnificent Cuban buffet spread from the famous Versailles Restaurant. There were also a plethora of celebrities in attendance which included 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado, Maripily Rivera, Carolina Tejera, Louis Aguirre, Jackie Nespral andÂ Laura Flores. We had an amazing time and can not wait for next year.