Nina Compton / Compère Lapin

Prior to filming Top Chef: New Orleans, Nina Compton, the Saint Lucia native and former Chef de Cuisine of Scarpetta had never been (but always wanted to go) to NOLA. While her original honeymoon plan to visit the French Quarter fell through, a different kind of passion landed her as runner up on Top Chef Season 11 and in the city she’d always yearned for. Obviously the rest is history as it’s no secret that Compton packed her knives in February in search of a Creole cooking future, which brings us to her new venture and little unknown secret: Compère Lapin.

We’ve got an exclusive on what she’ll be serving at her frst solo endeavor at the new Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, and we’ve got an exclusive on what she’ll be serving up. Conch Croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce, Orecchiette with pork cheeks and arugula and Banana Zeppoles with salted rum caramel. As well as her final ode to Miami: Her pasta dumpling recipe from the queen of gnocchi herself. 

Mash 5 potatoes. Add 3 egg yolks. Season with a pinch full of salt and a hand full of flour. Work the dough but not too much. It just should come together and feel soft and not breaking apart. And work it while its hot so it doesn’t get gummy. Roll it out, chop it up and cook it right away.

We’re gonna go ahead and safely say an iteration will find its way onto Compère Lapin’s menu, so should you not want to make it at home there’s always road tripping to New Orleans for a taste of the real thing. 

Via Chat Chow TV

Dena Marino / MC Kitchen

Veritage Miami 2015 is just a few days away and Chat Chow TV got to sit down with one of the event’s marquee cooks, Dena Marino of Design District’s MC Kitchen to find out more about her restaurant, its popular dishes and what to expect at this year’s Interactive Dinner.

Marino got her training with acclaimed chef and restauranteur Michael C out in Napa Valley after a chance meeting with him. After working in his kitchen California kitchen for 6 years, he asked her to run his concept in Aspen where she stayed for the 13 years before coming to South Florida and opening MC Kitchen — and cheer on her beloved Miami Heat.

Since opening in 2012 the restaurant has received praise across the city and the U.S., most notably making the prestigious “Top 20 Best New Restaurants of 2013” list in Esquire Magazine.

For this year’s Veritage she will be cooking alongside four other notable South Florida female chefs in the interactive dinner on Friday night, April 17, teaching a crowd of 700 how to make a signature pasta dish that she serves in the restaurant.

Curious what Marino will be making at the dinner? Or what dishes are key to her menu? Find out that and more in the video above.

Via Chat Chow TV

Fabio Viviani / Siena Tavern Miami

Last Fall, Chicago’s popular Siena Tavern opened its doors on Miami Beach in the iconic China Grill building. At the helm of the restaurant is the ever-charming Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani, who sat down with Chat Chow TV to talk all about Siena Tavern Miami location and its menu.

Viviani has been working in kitchens since he was 11 years old in his native Italy. By the time he was 28 he was the owner of five different restaurants when he decided to sell them all and come to America. Since then he has opened several successful restaurants throughout the country and has become a well-recognized and well-liked chef.

When Viviani and his partners decided bring the Siena Tavern concept to Miami, the restaurant team partnered up with local vendors like Bar Lab and Wynwood Brewing to help create the bar program. As for the menu, Viviani tells Chat Chow that he enlists his friends, family and co-workers to help narrow down the menu from 300 dishes to 35 “cravers.”

As for what deems a dish as a “craver” he notes, “we like to have the ‘wow’ kind of dishes, because if I can’t get the reaction where you want to come back for more there is some more work to do on it.”

Some of the most popular “cravers” on the menu are the house-made pastas, octopus, pizza and a meatball that’s so beloved it has it’s own Twitter account.

Curious how Viviani feels about taking over the legendary space? Or why dining is different in Miami versus Chicago? Find out those things and more in the video above.

Via Chat Chow TV

Steve Santana / Taquiza

Taquiza has become the go-to spot for authentic tacos and late night eats on Miami Beach. Started by Eating House and Freehand Miami alum Steve Santana, it serves up tacos on house-made masa that has everyone buzzing. Chat Chow TV sat down with Santana to find out more about them and the concept behind them.

The fast casual restaurant, located on the first floor of the Eva Hotel, is a no-frills taqueria serving up seven different types of tacos to a standing-room only crowd. Santana emphasizes that everything in Taquiza is homemade right down to its masa corn tortillas, which uses corn grown in small heirloom farms sourced by Masienda. Other popular menu items include the guacamole with hand torn chips, dry rubbed beef jerky, and its take on the popular ice cream treat the choco taco.

But Santana hasn’t always been a chef — he actually began his career doing digital work, but always had a passion for food. After helping coordinate one of the first-ever Cobaya dinners, he met chef Jeremiah Bullfrog and began assisting him on his food truck. His passion grew from there and before long he left the digital world and became a chef full time.

Curious how Santana learned how to master the masa tortilla? Or what tacos are his favorite on the menu? Find out all that and more in video above.

Via Chat Chow TV

Corsair / Scott Conant

Chopped judge, TV personality and the man behind plenty of the country’s top restaurants, Scott Conant, is back in South Florida with his newest concept, Corsair, inside Aventura’s Turnberry Isle Hotel. Chat Chow TV sat down with the charming chef to learn more about Corsair, its inspiration and what rituals he has for his restaurants.

The welcoming restaurant located close to the property’s massive golf course plays off its maritime-inspired name with a warm palate and interior tones designed by popular designer Meyer Davis.

“It’s a celebration of sorts of this area,” Conant adds about the design.

The restaurant serves a blend of Mediterranean and local flavors to create its unique spins on dishes like a deconstructed lasagna, polenta waffles and porcini braised veal. For the beverage program he enlisted California’s Rob Floyd who has set up bar programs for the SLS in Hollywood, CA and several of Conant’s restaurants.

As for his other popular restaurant on Miami Beach, Scarpetta, that has produced some of Miami’s top chefs including Macchialina’s Mike Pirolo and Top Chef’s Nina Compton, he says they are all good friends still and enjoy getting in the kitchen together.

“It’s nice to know we can bring the band back together and play some cover songs,” Conant says with a slight laugh.

Want to know what Conant’s favorite indulgence is? Or what ritual he has at every restaurant of his? Watch the video above to find out.

Via Chat Chow TV

Threefold Cafe / Teresa Sharp

Threefold Cafe, Coral Gables’ newest all-day breakfast spot, serves up a unique combination of Australian dishes with a Florida twist. Opened this Summer by two Melbourne transplants, Teresa and Nick Sharp, they offers diners a taste of their native Australia dining philosophy with fresh local food. Chat Chow TV sat down Teresa to find out more about the restaurant, its extensive coffee offerings and some of the restaurant’s top dishes.

The pair relocated to Coral Gables after Nick was transferred for work. Missing Melbourne’s “off the charts” coffee the duo decided to open Threefold Cafe. All the coffee is sourced locally from Panther Coffee with all the baristas professional trained on-site by their coffee “Yoda” from Panther Coffee.

The menu encompasses their love of breakfast featuring dishes made with plenty of free range eggs, Zak the Baker bread and lots of creativity. Some top sellers according to Teresa are the “Pope Benedict” served on top of hash browns instead of English muffins; the “Smashed Avocado” bread and the “Not So French Toast” — a savory take on a classic breakfast dish.

Curious what lunch offerings Threefold offers? Or where they source their products from? Find out all that and more in the video above.

Via Chat Chow TV

Ashley Danella / L’echon Brasserie / Provencal Sour

Provencal Sour
Contributed by Ashley Danella

• 2 oz Bulleit® Bourbon
• 1 oz Lavender Infused Honey Syrup
• ¾ oz of Fresh Lemon Juice

Add all ingredients, give it a good shake, strain over an old fashioned glass with ice and garnish with a fresh piece of lavender.

Via Chat Chow

Product / Neat Ice Kit

Studio Neat Ice Kit Do you have ice envy? Do you walk into your favorite watering hole and think, “wow, why doesn’t my ice at home look that clear and perfect?”

We certainly do. Along with 2,274 other backers on Kickstarter.

Luckily for us, we’ve found a solution to that problem with the Neat Ice Kit. The guys that created this kit figured out a way to freeze the ice in a special insulated silicon cube that allows the air and impurities to sink to the bottom and the clear water rise to the top. This way when the cube is made the upper half is perfectly clear — like you see in high-end bars and dining establishments — while the bottom holds all the impurities. You then split the ice with the provided ice chisel and mallet to break the clear off ice from the foggy side.

Don’t waste the “impure” ice however, it’s still perfectly good it is just better suited for drinks that are shaken.

The kit shows you how to create ice cubes for any drink your making. Use a the whole ice cube for a drink that requires slow melting like an Old Fashioned, cube the ice into quarters for a drink like a Tom Collins, or smash it with the provided canvas “Lewis” bag and make crushed ice. Not only is that a fun technique to show off to your friends, but it’s guaranteed to help you get some pent up anger out.

The Neat Ice Kits are sold online here for $55 for a one mold kit and $75 for a two mold kit.

Want to make some perfect clear ice for yourself? Enter our Neat Ice Kit giveaway below. One lucky reader will win a kit of their own courtesy of Studio Neat. Winner will be announced Monday, the 22nd.
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Via Chat Chow

Ben Potts / Blackbird Ordinary / Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Contributed by Ben Potts

• 1.5 oz Bulleit® Bourbon
• 3/4 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
• Dash of Lemongrass Tincture
• Dash of Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

Add all ingredients, stir over ice, strain over a rocks glass with a big ice cube and garnish with a lemon zest.

Via Chat Chow

Pub-Shaker / Miami Spice Pop-Up Dinner

Pub-Shaker Miami Spice Pop Up

Miami Spice Pop Up series are nothing new for the Pubbelly Boys. In years past, they have teamed up with guest chefs such as Giorgio Rapicavoli and Makoto Okuwa. These one night only events have been overwhelmingly successful with guests lining out the door. This year, the PB crew decided to take a different approach, one that will surely satisfy your cocktail craving.

Without further ado – Pub-Shaker. That’s right… A sharing style menu created by Jose Mendin and James Seyba The Broken Shaker along with a cocktail menu pairing flight created by Elad Zvi & Gabe Orta. Mark your calendars for August 27th and cancel any previous plans. Tickets go on sale Monday at More info below.


Via Chat Chow

Recap / June’s Miami Spice Mash-Up

The 13th Annual Miami Spice Restaurant program kicks off in just a few weeks on August 1. This year to celebrate, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) launched a series of special of monthly Miami Spice Mash-Ups, where chefs collaborate for a one-night only dinner and prepare dishes from their upcoming Spice menus.

On Wednesday, June 25, J&G Grill at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort kicked off the series with its Chef de Cusine Brad Kilgore and pastry chef Antonio Bachour creating a six-course menu with visiting Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly family of restaurants.

The intimate dinner showcased the creativity of these chefs with dishes such as Local Poussin, “Saucisson de Lyon,” Five Spice, Chard Walnut Emulsion from Kilgore, Pork Cheeks, Asparagus, Mushroom Dirt, Parmesan Cheese and Pickled Mushrooms from Mendin; and Salted Honey Yogurt, Candied Tomatoes, Greek Yogurt Custard, Strawberries, and Yogurt Sponge Cake from Bachour. Guests also enjoyed cocktails from Botran Rum and beers from Stella Artois.

Check out more highlights from the video above and make sure not to miss the next Miami Spice Mash-Up on Thursday, July 24 at 8 p.m., when chef Clayton Miller of 50 Eggs and Todd Erickson of HaVen Gastro-Lounge team up at Swine Southern Table & Bar. Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased here

Via Chat Chow

Philip McDaniel / St. Augustine Distiller

Florida is having a spirits renaissance thanks in part to the St. Augustine Distillery. Chat Chow TV sat down the distillery’s president and founding partner Philip McDaniel to found out more about the new craft distillery, its historic location and how it is stepping up St. Augustine’s “cool” factor.

The distillery is the brain child of McDaniel and his fellow founding partner Ryan Dettra who were looking for new projects to take on in their adopted hometown of St. Augustine. They were intrigued by the idea of bringing a distillery to the area and went around the country researching and discovering the best practices on how to do so.

They partnered up with Master Distiller David Pickerell, who has more than 30 years of experience in the distillery industry under his belt with brands like Maker’s Mark, and used some of Florida’s abundant produce like sugarcane, corn and wheat, to create their spirits. The first one created was vodka, followed by the recently released gin along with rum that will be coming in early 2015. Bourbon is also in production and once released will be Florida’s first bourbon.

The distillery is housed in the historic FP&L Ice Plant right in the heart of the historic St. Augustine beach area. It is easily accessible by trolley and tour buses and provides free tours daily where guests can learn more about the plant, its process, sample some product and purchase it if so desired.

Curious who Ella and Bessy are? Or what goes into the distillery’s signature Florida Mule? Find out all that and more in the video above.

Via Chat Chow TV

Josh Capon / Lure Fishbar

With ocean views, a celebrity chef and the freshest seafood available, Lure Fishbar inside the Loews Miami Beach Hotel has quickly gained a large following since its opening in December 2013. Chat Chow TV sat down with Josh Capon, the Executive Chef and partner, to learn more about Lure, how it stacks up to the NYC outpost and what he has in store for Miami.

Lure Fishbar has been an institution in NYC for more than 10 years — it’s so popular in fact that their was a social media outcry when rumors circulated that it may be closing. While the original outpost is still very much in business, the owner of the Lowes had been a big fan of the restaurant and convinced Capon and his team to come down to Miami.

“We thought the space, the timing and location was perfect,” notes Capon. “And I think we’ve created something really special here.”

While the restaurant’s menu has many similarities to its NYC sister location, such as fresh seafood towers, sushi and its famous Bash Burger, the menu also features unique dishes that showcase European and Latin flavors like Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Steamed Clams and Chorizo and Steamed Red Snapper with served Veracruz style.

Heading up the bar program is bartending veteran Robert Ferrara, who has created a menu featuring creative cocktails filled with fresh ingredients that are perfect for its Miami Beach setting. Capon himself is a big fan.

“He’s constantly coming up with new, inventive seasonal cocktails that blow people away,” adds Capon. “He’s a huge talent, an absolute pleasure, and we’re very lucky to have him.”

Capon has plenty of exciting projects in the works, most notably his new half hour food competition show titled “Frankenfood” which just began to air on Spike TV this month.

Want to learn the secret to Capon’s award-winning Bash Burger? Or find out how to get yourself a (possibly) complimentary drink? Watch the video above to find out all of that and more.

Father’s Day “Man’s Man” Giveaway

Father's Day Giveaway

Father’s Day is right around the corner and we want to celebrate the Man’s Man. So Chat Chow teamed up with Mandarine Napoléon for an Old Fashioned Gift Pack which includes a bottle of Mandarine Napoléon (750ml), a bottle of Wild Turkey Rye (750 ml), Stirrings Simple Syrup (12 oz), Angostura Bitters (4 oz), Cocktail Stirrer, Boston Shaker Set, Two Rocks Glasses and yes, even the citrus. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also throwing in a “Hot Shave Service” from our favorite barbershop, Junior & Hatter. All you have to do is follow/like us and our awesome buddies below and enter to win. Good Luck and cheers to fathers everywhere.


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#NegroniWeek 2014

Negroni WeekAt Chat Chow TV, we are big fans of the Negroni. We are even bigger fans of giving back to the community while drinking a Negroni — and during Negroni Week (June 2 – 8, 2014) everyone will have the opportunity to do both.

For Negroni Week, more than ten different restaurants and bars around Miami, and hundreds more around the country, will feature a Negroni Week special. A portion of the proceeds from each sale of the Negroni during that week will go to the charity of the venue’s choosing.

But the it doesn’t stop there. If you check in via social media using the hashtag #NegroniWeek, Campari will donate an additional $1 per mention, up to $10,000, to charity. Plus the bar or restaurant that has the most #NegroniWeek mentions at the end of the promotion will get another $10,000 donated to their designated charity.

We’ve highlighted some of the Negronis we are most looking forward to below, but if you want a cheat sheet of where to find special Negroni Week drinks around town make sure to print out the Negroni Passport and get it stamped knowing you’re drinking a delicious drink and giving back to a good cause!

Blackbird Ordinary
Negroni Variation (Campari, Plymouth Gin, Byrrh, Cranberry Bitters)
Charity: Lymphoma Society

Bocce Bar
Negroni Sbagliato (Prosecco, Campari, Sweet Vermouth)
Charity: Wade’s World

Broken Shaker
Garden Negroni (the classic with fresh herbs)
Charity: Humane Society of Miami

Lure Fishbar
White Negroni (London Dry Gin, Lillet Blanc, Suze)
Charity: American Diabetes Association

Classic (London Dry Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth)
Charity: ASPCA

Michaels Genuine Food & Drink
Berlioni (Cynar, Campano, Gin)
Charity: Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Radio Bar
The Smokey Silk (Campari, Cynar, Vida Mezcal, Lustau Sherry)
Charity – Jewish Federation

Heath Porter / Uvaggio

Tucked away on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile is the new wine bar and restaurant Uvaggio. The cozy spot has garnered a lot of buzz because of its unique approach to wine and dining. Chat Chow TV sat down with Uvaggio’s Head Wine-O Heath Porter to learn more about the restaurant and its interesting take on the wine scene.

Uvaggio is part dining experience and part wine bar, carrying around 700 different bottles of wine, by 120 different labels, and prides itself on carrying uncommon wine varieties.

“Seems like everybody else wants to carry a lot of the same things, and that’s awesome if people want to go there and drink that,” Porter notes. “But I’d rather come here and try something I don’t drink sitting on my couch every night.”

The extensive wine program also features high-end bottles poured by the glass using a Coravin, a members only wine club, and wine tastings for people of all different levels.

As for the cuisine, Executive Chef and Top Chef alum, Bret Pelaggi, goes the untraditional approach and pairs the food with the wine — not the other way around. Creating interesting dishes like Braised Beef Short Rib with black licorice tea consommé and Octopus “Naranja Agria” that pair perfectly with wines on the menu.

Unlike many other wine-centric restaurants, Uvaggio doesn’t take itself too seriously. Uvaggio’s fun irreverence can be found throughout the restaurant, like its wine list separated by witty titles such as “Full Bodied, Plus Sized Wines” and “Juice Only I Would Drink” and Metallica soundtrack often heard playing in the background.

“Let’s just have fun. At the end of the day there is no ambulance coming if we screw up whatever we’re doing.” Porter adds. “It’s food, it’s booze, it’s wine, isn’t that we like?”

Erica Guzman / Aragon 101

Aragon 101 is the home decor boutique and cooking school located in the heart of Coral Gables. Chat Chow TV sat down with owner Erica Guzman to learn more about the store and its popular cooking classes.

“The idea behind the store is merging the idea cuisine and home decor,” Guzman notes. “We focus a lot on table top and how you can have a great meal with the perfect ambiance.”

The cooking classes are held once a week for a group of 14 “students” of all varying levels. The classes are as interactive as attendees want them, with some people getting highly involved while others just want to watch and enjoy their meal.

“People come in here and can be part of it but not really be in the kitchen,” Guzman says. “And there is another set of people that come here and want to be involved and get their hands dirty. We welcome both.”

Aragon 101’s cooking classes showcase cuisine from all over the world using a variety of talent to conduct the classes including notable chefs, caterers, and chocolatier’s, depending on the class theme. Some popular recent themes have been recipes based out of the popular “Jerusalem” cookbook and a Moroccan dinner.

Find out more about the store and the classes, including how to sign up for one yourself, in the video above.

Kevin D’Antonio / Dolce Italian

Dolce Italian offers a contemporary take on Italian classics in the heart of Miami Beach. Located on Collins Avenue inside the Gale Hotel, the restaurant appeals to locals and visitors alike with its refined cuisine and approachable atmosphere. Chat Chow TV sat down with Dolce’s Director of Food and Beverage, Kevin D’Antonio, to learn more about the restaurant and its recent anniversary.

Dolce prides itself on preparing its cuisine in true Italian fashion complete with pastas made in-house, mozzarella that’s pulled to order and pizzas prepared in a wood burning oven.

“One of the best things about this restaurant is the moment you walk in you get a little smell of that wood burning oven,” says D’Antonio.

The year-old restaurant just added plenty of new items to its menu to celebrate its first anniversary including a new “grill” section, revamped appetizers, an expanded wine list, and a new family style Sunday dinner with dishes meant to share between four and six people.

D’Antonio feels that the Gale Hotel is a “one stop shop” and encourages guests to have a complete night at the hotel with drinks at The Regent, dinner at Dolce and then dance the night away downstairs at Rec Room.

Curious when brunch service will start at Dolce? Or what some of D’Antonio’s favorite dishes are? Check out the video above to find out that and more.

Daniel Boulud / db Bistro Moderne

Daniel Boulud needs little introduction. The legendary French chef has won every culinary accolade known to man and owns and operates some of the best restaurants in the world. Chat Chow TV recently had the opportunity to sit down with Boulud to learn more about his delicious cuisine and newly released cookbook.

For his Miami outpost, db Bistro Moderne, Boulud envisioned a classic French bistro that guests could frequent often with light, approachable fare. Along with the delectable food, Boulud notes that service is a very important element at all his restaurants and he and his team spend a lot of time training the wait staff so guest’s experience goes smoothly.

While DB Bistro Moderne has only been open a few years, his famous three-starred Michelin restaurant Daniel just turned 20. To celebrate the anniversary Boulud released his newest cookbook DANIEL: My French Cuisine. The book features unaltered recipes from the restaurant along with essays, beautiful photography of his classic dishes, and his favorite items to cook at home.

Curious what Boulud thinks of people photographing their food at restaurants? Or what his favorite candy is? Find out all that and more in the video.

As an added bonus one lucky Chat Chow TV viewer will win a signed copy of DANIEL: My French Cuisine so they can try out the recipes for themselves. Register below for your chance to win. Winner will be chosen randomly on March 21st.

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Jim Heins / Latin Burger And Taco

The food truck that started the craze in Miami, Latin Burger and Taco, recently opened the doors on its first ever brick and mortar location in the heart of Coral Gables. Chat Chow TV sat down with owner Jim Heins to find out more about his new restaurant, its menu and its famous burgers.

Guests can find the iconic look of the truck throughout the restaurant with the bright pink walls and black detailing. Decorating the walls is custom pop art of Heins’ favorite artists eating burgers, which is a nod to the restaurant and to Heins love of art.

The restaurant’s menu stays true the cuisine found in the Latin Burger and Taco trucks but serves a larger variety of offerings including more upscale tacos, and according to the Heins the burgers still remain king.

“Being from Texas and loving the taco tradition, I said we’re going to do an upper-end taco,” notes Heins. “We hired chefs and everything and our hamburgers are still outselling our tacos.”

There’s good reason for that as his Latin Macho burger has won many accolades including recently being named the “Best Dade County Burger” at the 2014 Burgie Awards. The burger is made with an Angus patty mixed with Argentine chorizo and special spices, and then topped with caramelized onions, Oaxaca cheese and a special red pepper mayo.

The burger is so good in fact that it landed on the Joe’s Takeaway menu — the first item from an outside vendor to do so in more than 100 years.

Curious what inspired Heins to get into the food truck business to begin with? Or why he chose Coral Gables for his first location? Find out all that and more in the video above.

Carlos Miranda / Seasalt And Pepper

Seasalt and Pepper is the hot new Mediterranean seafood restaurant garnering buzz around Miami for its delicious cuisine and star clientele. Chat Chow TV sat down with co-owner Carlos Miranda to learn more about the inspiration for the space and its unique vibe.

The restaurant is prominently located on the Miami River inside of Howard Hughes’ former seaplane hanger. Miranda explains that it’s actually two concepts in one with Seasalt Brasserie serving as the restaurant and soon-to-be opened Pepper that will house a bar, lounge and members club.

Throughout the elegant industrial space, patrons can not only soak up beautiful waterfront views but also admire unique pieces of art work made just for the restaurant. The show stopping installation hanging in the main dining room was created by Miami artist Carlos Bentacourt and features more than 1,000 items that can be found on the Miami River.

Seafood is the star of the menu, which was created by seasoned Executive Chef Alfredo Alvarez. Featuring seafood casseroles cooked in 900 degree wood-burning ovens, a fresh raw bar, homemade pastas and pizzas, the cuisine highlights flavors found throughout the Mediterranean.

Curious what Miranda’s favorite dish is? Or which celebrities have already been spotted at the restaurant? Find out those things and more in the video above.

Jeffrey Wolfe / Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe

Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe, located in the heart of Coral Gables on Miracle Mile, has made a name for itself by carrying hard-to-find, hand selected wines chosen by owner Jeffery Wolfe. Chat Chow TV sat down with Wolfe to find out more about the store, its selections and the great promotions the store offers locals.

When people arrive at Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe, the first conversation they have with Wolfe is paramount. Since the store only carries small batch wines that you can’t find everywhere, Wolfe makes it a point to find out what the customer likes so he can guide them in the right direction for their purchase.

“There aren’t any rules in wine,” Wolfe states. “Whatever you like, whatever you’re enjoying, if you want to have it something and you think it works – then it works.”

The store hosts plenty of events and in-store promotions throughout the year for its loyal customers. Every Friday the store hosts a wine tasting, it sends out weekly emails to its ‘Wolfpacker List’ filled with specials and deals, it participates in cross promotions with local restaurants, and it even hosts an annual Christmas party for its guests.

For the holidays, the store makes it easy for patrons to shop at any budget. The Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe releases its annual “Top 10’ list filled with its favorite wines of the year. The store also offers customizable gift boxes, gift wrapping and case deals for everyone on your Christmas list.

Wonder why they call their email list the ‘Wet Noses Group’? Or what Wolfe recommends to buy for your boss or someone you’re trying to impress? Find out all of that and more in the video above.

Julian Baker / Toscana Divino

Located in the middle square of Mary Brickell Village, Toscana Divino unites all things Tuscan. The gorgeous restaurant features classic dishes found throughout Tuscany along with seasonal ingredients and items directly imported from the region. Chat Chow TV sat down with Executive Chef Julian Baker to learn more about the menu and the restaurant’s unique Italian heritage.

Toscana Divino was built from the ground up in partnership with the Italian consortium of leading Italian businesses of Wine and Fashion in Florence. Because of this partnership, the restaurant showcases Italian producers throughout the space with the art work, leather handbags, olive oils, wines and even their glassware, all coming from Tuscan purveyors.

Baker tells Chat Chow TV that he worked in Italy by chance and while being there really began to enjoy what Italy and its cuisine had to offer. Those classic Tuscan dishes and techniques can be found throughout the menu in items like the Ribollita, a twice cooked Tuscan vegetable soup, the ‘Fiorentina’ steak cooked standing on the grill, and the house made pastas and decadent desserts.

Toscana Divino offers guests an array of special events and discounts, in addition to its popular daily happy hour, it hosts wine seminars once a month, a discounted ‘Dinner at Dusk’ menu, and a weekend brunch.

Curious about the restaurant’s decadent truffle offerings? Or its expansive wine list? Learn all of that and more in the video above.

Julio Cabrera / Regent Cocktail Club / Pilar Alexander

Pilar Alexander
Contributed by Julio Cabrera

• 2oz Papa’s Pilar dark rum
• 1oz White crème de cacao
• 1oz Heavy cream
• Fresh nutmeg

Combine ingredients into shaker with ice, then strain into a coupe glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top.

Fernanda Salinas / Pasion del Cielo

Pasion del Cielo, located in the heart of Coral Gables, is on a mission to provide its customers with a completely unique coffee experience. Chat Chow TV met with the Pasion del Cielo’s operations director Fernanada Salinas to learn about the shop and its interesting selections.

What sets this four-year-old coffee shop apart from others is its diverse amount of coffee choices. Pasion del Cielo carries 11 different varieties of organic coffee beans, which are carefully selected from some of the world’s most exotic countries. When ordering guests can also see a comparative chart that describes the levels of aroma, flavor, body and acidity in each coffee. In addition to the wide range of coffee choices the shop also serves up pastries, sandwiches, wraps, salads and different sweets.

If guests enjoy the coffee, they can buy the coffee beans in-store to use at home or order them online at the Pasion del Cielo website. Syrups, mugs, and even artwork can also be purchased on their site and shipped throughout the country.

Decorating the shop’s walls is a rotating collection of artwork. Pasion del Cielo enjoys supporting the local art community by hosting an “artist of the month,” where each month they choose a different South Florida based artist to exhibit their artwork on the walls of the store in order to help them gain exposure in the area.

Wonder what Salinas favorite coffee bean is? Or how Pasion del Cielo’s coffee can be compared to wine? Find out all that and more in the video above.

Nedal Ahmad / Pincho Factory

Local favorite Pincho Factory recently opened its second location in the heart of Coral Gables. With chalkboard painted walls, reclaimed wood tables and an inviting atmosphere, the restaurant has quickly been embraced by its new neighborhood. Chat Chow TV sat down with Pincho Factory owner Nedal Ahmad and learned more about the restaurant specialities and the inspirations for the menu.

The restaurant gets its name from the skewers – or “pinchos” – that are prominently featured on the menu. Guests can customize them to their liking opting for steak, chicken or shrimp, served in either a salad, rice bowl or pita, with an assortment of sauces and toppings.

While pinchos are the namesake, what has really made the restaurant a dining destination is its over-the-top burgers such as its Toston Burger, which was recently featured on Travel Channel’s “Burgerland,” and its Pastelito Burger. The menu also features a selection of weekly food special depending on Ahmed’s mood.

“The chalkboard specials usually reflect what I’m craving that week,” said Ahmad with a laugh. “Occasionally it’ll have something to do with the season, but usually its revolving around my cravings.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily, until 1am on Friday and Saturday, and even features a decadent brunch on Sundays serving up items such as Red Velvet Pancakes and Banana Bread French Toast.

Hungry yet? Find out all about these drool-worthy dishes and more in the video above.

Ryan Goodspeed / Michael’s Genuine / Makers Heart

Makers Heart
Contributed by Ryan Goodspeed

• 3 Blackberries
• 1 oz POM 100% Pomegranate Juice
• ¼ oz Lemon Juice
• 2 oz Bulleit Rye
• ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)
• 1 oz Simple Syrup
• Dash of Orange Bitters

In a mixing glass, combine first 3 ingredients. Muddle the ingredients, then fill mixing glass with ice. Add next three ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a sugar rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with dash of orange bitters, orange peel and a blackberry.

Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg / Zuma

Located inside the EPIC Hotel in the heart of Downtown Miami, Zuma is one of the most celebrated restaurants in the city. Known for its innovative Japanese cuisine, the restaurant also has one of the best bar programs in town. In this week’s episode, Chat Chow TV sat down with the man behind the bar, Beverage Manager Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg.

The bar program at Zuma, notes Von Ungern-Sternberg, not only utilizes authentic Japanese equipment to prepare the drinks, but also uses influences from the restaurant’s kitchen to come up with their creative cocktails.

“A lot of the techniques were perfected in the kitchen and spread into the bar,” says Von Ungern-Sternberg. “For instance, the foam that we’re using here was born in the pastry kitchen.”

The restaurant also boats an on-site lab where they perfect their cocktails, an impressive assortment of shochu – an authentic distilled spirit from Japan – and a licensed sake sommelier on staff.

“In fact, all the assistant managers and above you find at the restaurant at the moment are licensed sake navigators.” Von Ungern-Sternberg adds.

Curious where Von Ungern-Sternberg likes to drink on his days off? What he thinks of Miami’s growing cocktail culture? Or whether he views himself as a bartender or a mixologist? Watch the video above to find out.

Bulleit Bourbon Dinner at Swine Southern Table & Bar 9/23/13

Bulleit Bourbon Dinner
bulleitMonday, September 23rd at 7pm
Swine Southern Table & Bar
2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd
Coral Gables, FL 33134

4 Courses and Bourbon Pairing
$100 Person
For Reservations, Call 786.360,6433

Robert Ferrara / Swine Southern Table & Bar / Vieux Carre

Vieux Carre
Contributed by Robert Ferrara

• 1 oz Bulleit Rye
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1 oz VSOP Cognac
• 1/4 oz Benedictine
• Dash of Angostura Bitters
• Dash of Peychaud Bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir for 20-25 seconds. Strain it into a glass and top with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist to make it pop.

Thomas Merolla / The Hoxton / Honey Ryder

Honey Ryder
Contributed by Thomas Merolla

• 2 oz Bulleit Rye
• 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
• 3/4 oz Cinnamon Honey Syrup
• 1 Rosemary Sprig
• 3 Blackberries
• 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Muddle blackberries in the bottom of a mixing glass, add remaining ingredients, add ice and shake for 10-seconds, double strain into a double rocks glass over one large 2X2 inch ice cube. Garnish with 1 skewered blackberry and rest a few small pieces of rosemary on top of the ice cube.

Isaac Grillo / HaVen / AdVise

Contributed by Isaac Grillo

• 1.25 oz Bulleit Bourbon
• 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
• 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
• 1.25 oz Fresh Apricot Purée

Add all ingredients, shake, strain over crushed ice and garnish with pink peppercorns.

Chat Chow Celebrates Bourbon Month

Bourbon Month

It’s no secret that at Chat Chow TV we like our bourbon. A lot. So much so that we have decided to dedicate the entire month of September, which also happens to be national bourbon month, to our favorite beverage.

We have teamed up with the fine folks over at Bulleit® Bourbon to bring you month filled with bourbon. We are rounding up the tastiest cocktails in the city, finding you the best happy hours around, featuring some of the top mixologists in Miami making their favorite bourbon concoction, partnering up with Swine Southern for a bourbon themed dinner, and even throwing some Bulleit® Bourbon giveaways into the mix.

So make sure to stop by every week throughout September for your bourbon fix and enjoy celebrating this spirit with us as much as we like to drink it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Todd Erickson / Huahua’s Taqueria

From the creative minds that brought us Haven Lounge, comes South Beach’s new must-go-to taco restaurant, Huahua’s Taqueria. Located a few doors down from Haven, the taqueria boasts a menu filled with traditional and contemporary tacos, unique sides and enough hot sauce choices to make your head spin.

Chat Chow TV sat down with Huahua’s Executive Chef Todd Erickson to learn more about the new concept and some of the exciting dishes guests can find on the menu.

The idea for a taqueria was inspired by the concept of a ‘stationary’ food truck from one of the restaurant’s partners Mike Boels, says Erickson.

“And what goes great in food truck? Tacos.” Erickson notes. “There weren’t a lot of tacos being done on the beach at the time and we thought it would be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

Huahua’s serves up ten different types of tacos on their menu, ranging from the traditional favorites to the more unique variety, such as tacos filled with fried chicken or BBQ short ribs – and even Vegan options. Rounding out the restaurant’s whimsical menu is build-your-own nachos, grilled corn, popsicles and Mexican sodas.

And that cute mascot that is pictured throughout the restaurant? That’s Jalapeña, Boels’ chihuahua, making it only fitting that Huahuas is also very pet friendly, offering treats and water bowls for their four legged patrons.

Curious what Erickson’s favorite taco is? Or whether he prefers corn or flour tortillas? Check out the video above to find out all those details and more.

Mark Iacono / Lucali

Located in the hip new South Beach neighborhood, Sunset Harbor, the Brooklyn import Lucali is serving up delicious, classic, paper-thin-crust pizzas that have quickly gained a cult following throughout the city.

Sitting down with owner Marc Iacono, Chat Chow TV learned the some of the secrets to his famous pies, why he started in the pizza making business, and some of the challenges he faced bringing the popular restaurant to South Florida.

“Everybody was talking the water, the water, the water, and you know, I’ve had some good pizzas down here,” says Iacono, addressing some of the hesitations he faced. “I was like it’s not the water, it’s the humidity, so we just had to make a few adjustments to the dough.”

Unlike many traditional pizzerias, the pizza at Lucali is made by candlelight, with the dough rolled out by empty wine bottles, and cooked one at a time in a wood-burning oven. The extra-large pies are hailed for their simplicity, using only the best ingredients such as imported Italian cheeses and a tomato sauce worthy of writing home about.

While Iacono wouldn’t divulge his famous pizza sauce recipe, he did share one tip – cooking the sauce, which gives it a different flavor profile than its raw counterparts seen at most establishments.

Pizzas aren’t the only thing that you can find on the Lucali menu. One hidden gem guests can enjoy is the calzone, filled with five different cheeses and served with mounds of fresh basil and a large bowl of his pizza sauce for dipping.

Curious what inspired Iacono to get into the pizza making business? Hint: it has to do with English muffins. Or wonder what his favorite pizza toppings are? Find out all that in more in the video above.

Antonio Bachour / St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Antonio Bachour grew up in Puerto Rico and was hooked on pastry from a young age, thanks to a childhood spent in his family’s bakery. He went on to graduate from Johnson & Wales, and then spent his first few years honing his trade in Puerto Rico as a pastry cook at Sand Hotel and Casino and Westin Rio Mar before moving on to the Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, where he was pastry sous chef for two years. 2001 found Bachour States-bound, in Miami Beach, as pastry chef at Talula. And soon he was trying his hand at Italian delicacies at both Devito South Beach and Scarpetta in New York and Miami.

In 2009, Bachour was asked by KNR Food Concepts to be a part of the opening team at the W South Beach Hotel, and particularly Solea. Shortly after, he took over responsibility for all pastries for The Trump Soho hotel and its restaurants. Dessert Professional Magazine selected Bachour as one of their “Top 10 Pastry Chefs” for 2011. Now, we’re fortunate enough to have Bachour as the executive pastry chef at the new St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort creating desserts for the restaurants Atlantico and J&G Grill, and also for hotel events.

Jamie DeRosa / Tongue & Cheek

South Beach just got even cheekier. Over in the South of Fifth neighborhood, collaborators Jamie DeRosa and Michael Reginbogin are reconstructing our notions of what constitutes a contemporary American dish.

“Tongue & Cheek to me is whimsical, it’s fun,” explains DeRosa. “We have a play on words on a lot of things. We have a pudding pop on the menu that’s a popsicle. It started out as a chocolate popsicle and someone said, ‘This is better than a Bill Cosby pudding pop.’ And that became the name.”

Other mouthfuls on the menu include a Beef Cheek burger that arrives sans the usual trappings (no lettuce, no tomato). “No frills, no thrills,” as DeRosa says. Of course, DeRosa and his team are serving up plenty of cheek and tongue variations, including a poutine.

Even the cocktail names are creative. Try a Bourbon for Apples, with bourbon-soaked apple ice cubes floating in a cooling concoction, or the strawberry-and-gin-based Walking Dead (DeRosa is a fan of the AMC television hit). Like any good South Beach establishment, Tongue & Cheek also features a molecular margarita with an overflowing liquid nitrogen preparation.

“I think the name and the ambiance and the more welcoming vibe that you get when you come into Tongue & Cheek matches the food,” DeRosa explains. “For us it was important to have art and music and food and service be one.” It’s all in an effort to keep Tongue & Cheek a neighborhood hangout that appeals to locals. For instance, every day at 5pm, guests can sit down for a family-style meal of comfort-food morsels like grilled cheese and hoagies. It’s Tongue & Cheek’s way of giving back to the community.

Check out the video above to get a glimpse of the restaurant’s witty art by local Miamian Claudio Picasso and hear what’s on the daily-rotating family meal menu. Then stop in and grab a seat at the snack bar serving nostalgic bottled sodas and made-to-order small plates presented in old-school cafeteria trays. They have tongues wagging.

Hung Huynh / Catch Miami

Here in Miami, we get a lot of spillover from New York. Catch Miami, a new addition to Collins Avenue located in The James Royal Palm, can be included in that category—the restaurant’s flagship is in Manhattan. One meal, however, and it’s hard not to get a taste for this location’s noticeably distinct South Floridian flair.

Chat Chow TV sat down with Hung Huynh, Top Chef Season Three winner and executive chef of Catch Miami, to discuss what, exactly, makes this version uniquely Miami.

“Catch Miami is located in an Art Deco building which is landmarked in the Shorecrest building,” for starters, he explains.

Downstairs guests are welcomed by a calming sea-foam-green ambiance, the raw bar and a cocktail bar featuring creative concoctions like the Iris (Grey Goose, lime juice, and a champagne topper) and the Dirty Bastard, a Jameson-based beverage served in a copper mug. For dinner, venture upstairs into an exposed-brick-lined room with oversized sienna globes descending from warehouse-tall ceilings.

“It kind of resembles New York but in a smaller, more intimate space. But yet, it’s still very relaxed and the colors are a little Miami,” he notes of the South Beach venue.

The menu is where diners will notice the big, fresh-Florida-flavored difference. Locally inspired dishes include the Rich Little Po’boy, a Southern fried oyster topped with caviar; the short crust roll packed with spicy tuna, avocados and pico de gallo; tater tots of yucca and plantains; and the key lime doughnut (watch the video above to see why you should definitely save room for this dessert).

Beyond Florida, chef Huynh prepares plates with a global seafood influence, taking inspiration from classic American and Asian dishes and making each innovation approachable. Miami sure is lucky to have him—he’s a real catch.

Robert Ferrara / Swine Southern Table & Bar

It seems 50 Eggs Restaurant Group can do no wrong. The gustatory geniuses behind South Beach successes Yardbird and Khong River House have taken their winning recipe to Coral Gables. Enter Swine Southern Table & Bar, your next downhome dining favorite.

Chat Chow TV talked bacon and bourbon with Swine bar manager, Robert Ferrera.

Swine’s cocktail program focuses heavily on its own on-site barrel-aged rums and ryes.

“We’re actually creating our own original cocktails here,” explains Ferrera. “We have a full-sized Buffalo Trace barrel and right now we’ve got Cabajisco, a nice, beautiful, white spirit; Dolin Blanc Vermouth, so as that changes, it’s going to fortify and change; and Mandarine Napoleon, an orange based cognac liqueur.”

Prefer your spirits a little lighter? Not to fret, there’s something for everyone on this drink menu. Expect local, just-ripe ingredients from Homestead and creative applications (a glass misted with Mezcal for a hint of smokiness, in-house Swine bitters). And of course it all complements the sink-your-teeth-into-it fare.

Although Swine shares some food inspiration from Yardbird (you’ll find the succulent Shrimp & Grits on both menus), Ferrera describes Swine as Yardbird’s tougher, younger brother. Chalk that up to Swine’s competition-winning rib rub, massive smoker in the kitchen, and wood-burning grill. Try the fall-off-the-bone Memphis Smoked Ribs, or gather a group and go to town on a whole hog, communal-table style.

Now, while your mouth waters, watch the video above to figure out why fat washing makes rye tipples tastier (it’s a good thing, we swear) and find a new reason to drink rum (as if you needed one).

Joshua Wagner / Regent Cocktail Club

Newest to sprout in South Beach is the Regent Cocktail Club, a classic cocktail bar located at the back of the revamped Gale Hotel.

Interested to hear about this new concept, Chat Chow TV schmoozed with Joshua Wagner, Miami’s after-hours aficionado and managing partner of Regent Cocktail Club, over Manhattans and Mint Juleps.

“Everyone is jazzed up about new trends, food and beverage, everything along those lines,” Wagner observes. “But I think we also need to make the standards of what our basics are, what our pars are, what our standards are as a city. So classics, back to the core, create the standard of what it should be and just really get back to the basics.”

And the locals are loving it. Regent draws a mixed crowd, attracted to the venue for its unique recipe of curated cocktails and vintage vibe.

“It’s all about approachability,” Wagner says of the atmosphere. “We don’t want this to be pretentious. You walk in here, it’s Fats Waller, it’s Ella Fitzgerald, it’s John Coltrane. It’s a conversation and a cocktail. […] We have got 25-year-old young people inhere to 60-year-old couples that are coming to enjoy great music, great conversation and fundamentally great cocktails.”

Club-goers can expect the libation basics to be perfect, with nightly shake-ups in its live music lineup (think Havana Nights or live jazz singers). Daily drink menus shift as well, with six new specialty cocktails to try each evening. Don’t like what’s on-menu? Wagner highly suggests engaging with your barkeep about your spirit preferences—it’s part of the experience. Serious sippers can keep tabs on their favorite tried tipples with Regent’s passport, a VIP amenity for the bibulous barfly that also grants access to exclusive member-only events.

Check out the video above to see why Regent exudes a cool-kid Al Capone quality. Then stop in and get your passport stamped.

Albert Cabrera / Bread + Butter

Yes, South Florida does need another Cuban joint. That is, if it’s delivered by chef and owner Albert Cabrera. Luckily, Cabrera is cooking up a new twist on Miami’s most ubiquitous recipes at Bread & Butter in Coral Gables.

Chat Chow TV saddled up to Bread & Butter’s counter with the culinary genius for a second time (because he’s just that good) to discuss what he’s up to.

Having coined the phrase “gastro counter” (a homey hybrid of a gastro pub and a Cuban cafeteria), Cabrera thinks Miami’s ready for a new take on Cuban food.

“Cubans, you know, we’re very traditional when it comes to our food,” he reflects. “But what I think I set out to do was create something that had a base of the traditional in it. Everything that we create—for instance, our flan mágico de queso, we use harina tierna, and we make sure that we use a very authentic recipe. We just give it a different look, a different take, by using things like oxtail instead of pork in it—things like that. So, we’re trying to keep the foundation there, so we can bring both the old and the new together, in peace, love, and harmony, at Bread and Butter.”

Watch the video above to see why you should order the pan con lechón (and why it can easily be described as funkadelic).

As if the dinner dishes didn’t blow your mind, lunch is revolutionary. “The idea here is that lunch is more of a sandwich shop,” explains Cabrera. “When I hired my kitchen staff, I tell them, this is a think tank. It’s not about me, it’s about coming in and being creative as a team. Everybody has a little bit of say in what we’re doing.”

Join in the fun. Shake it up with a nitrogen-infused cortadito (Cuban coffee) concoction topped with sea salt, or choose from other sweet treats like the deliciously dulce merenguitos. You’ll be adicto in no time.

via ChatChowTV

Thomas Connell / Fontainebleau Executive Chef / SOBEWFF

Each year come February, the food and beverage industry’s best and brightest convene in Miami Beach for The Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Foodies from every corner flock to join them for four days of guzzling, gastronomy and pants-loosening.

One of the weekend’s, well, best event, is the SOBEWFF’s Best of the Best held at the iconic Fontainebleau hotel, where 47 of the nation’s best restaurants serve up samples of their signature dishes.

Fontainebleau Executive Chef Thomas Connell let Chat Chow TV in on his managerial style, and explained just how major this mouthwatering SOBEWFF experience is and what exactly those fortunate event attendees are in for.

“We’re very lucky to be able to host [this event] because truly, to me, this is one of the, you know, not to use the pun, it’s the best of the best,” Connell gushes. “It’s really the best of the Food and Wine Festival in my opinion.”

“We bring together 82 wineries and 47 chefs from all around the world that all come together. […] We partner up every chef with two wineries so we have a couple of different wines to balance with the product that they are serving, and it’s a great flow throughout the night. People go around and get interaction with the chefs, the chefs are all there cooking and it’s really a very poised and educated group.”

It makes sense that powerhouse Fontainebleau plays host for an event of this caliber. The famous hotel contains some of Miami’s most notable restaurants, including the four-diamond-rated Hakkasan, Gotham Steak and Scarpetta.

Check out the video above to see how this award-winning, mega meal-making venue pumps out the perfect plate every time (hint: there are 4 miles of underground food and spirit storage involved, including a chocolate room). Then, if you’ve got tix, find us at the event — we’ll be the ones stuffing our faces.

Yannis Janssens / Lee & Marie’s Cakery Company

This Valentine’s Day, trade in the box of chocolates for chocolate paint. Pastry chef Yannis Janssens at Lee & Marie’s Cakery Company highly recommends it with strawberries.

Named for owner Andy Travaglia’s daughter’s grandmothers, Lee & Marie’s Cakery is a bakery-café hybrid that’s serving up a sweeter side in South Beach. Chat Chow TV shared an éclair with chef Janssens and talked sugar and spice, and everything nice.

“Lee & Marie, both of them were famous for baking, of course,” explains Janssens. “Lee is famous for cheesecake and Marie is famous for the German chocolate cake. We still sell those. They’re actually our top-seller cakes. You can buy the whole cake or you can buy by the slice.”

Pair your pastry (try the Heath-Bar fudge éclair) with Panther Coffee served in antique cups and saucers, a nod to the quaint shop’s comfy-chic charm. While Lee & Marie’s main masterpiece is the sweet, they offer a savory menu as well.

“We do have lunch and a breakfast menu,” Janssens admits. “It’s not super large, it’s whatever’s available at the farm. These are the ingredients that we use and then we make salad, sandwiches with [them] and in the mornings we make croissants with [them] and croissant sandwiches.”

If you’re feeling guilty about the caloric intake, know that your purchase is going towards a good cause. Lee & Marie’s actively supports those affected by autism by employing and providing housing for autistic adults.
Check out the video above to see why Janssens’ Belgian roots make for one extra-decadent cupcake, why pop-cones are heavenly, and what other Valentine’s Day gifts are available.

Carlos Larcada / Pao Town

Carlos Larcada of Pao Town, an increasingly popular Asian fusion joint in Coral Gables, has some solid suggestions about how to scrumptiously wok-toss Brussels sprouts and why dry chicken wings are just better. And who doesn’t take the advice of a gentleman in a bowtie? Chat Chow TV pulled up a seat next to Larcada to discuss.

“Pao Town really came out of food that everyone loves to eat,” Larcada explains. “We like to joke here that it’s the kind of food that you need to take into a corner, take your shirt off and eat every privately.”

And yet, there’s nothing exclusive about Pao Town’s exotically familiar feel. Pao Town takes a cheeky tone, from its kitschy name to Korean video girls looping on flat-screens throughout. Couple that with communal tables, lived-in reclaimed décor, and dishes that Larcada refers to as “’Noms” (because you just wanna munch ‘em all up), and you have an experience that’s anything but taboo.

Larcada explains what he was going for: “It goes back to that kind of food you love to eat. We really wanted items that you can come [eat] for lunch with coworkers, but you can also bring your lady on a Saturday night and not make her feel like you’re taking her to grab-n-go chicken.”
Complementing the food menu is Pao Town’s well-edited list of libations, from curated craft beers to complex cocktails, like the Sake Sangria (junmai sake, pomegranate and lychee juice, and green and oolong teas blended with fig, lychees, mango, and pineapple).

Watch the video above to get a sense of Pao Town’s laid-back vibe, Larcada’s favorite menu item (there’s wasabi ranch involved), and when you can show up for $1 drafts.

Jose Mendin / PB Steak

The Pubbelly boys are back at it again. In this episode of Chat Chow, we sit with PB Steak Executive Chef, Jose Mendin.

This time they are branching out to include beef to their empire. A steakhouse with a difference. “PB Steak is a small-plate joint where you come in with your friends and have a variety of dishes. It’s not going be your steakhouse with bibb lettuce, new york strip and Creme brûlée. Steaks are meant to be shared. And we have extensive raw bar w/ different oysters, crudos, lobster, king crab, stone crab and more. We want you go to home and wonder ‘What happened to me’?”

PB Steak is their 5th concept was built together as a team for the locals in the area. Joining Mendin are two female leads – Ashley Dean shaking up some killer cocktails. Mendin’s favorites are The Roquette and Chef’s Old Fashioned. And Maria Orantes, pastry chef who has been baking it up for all Pubbelly restaurants with desserts such as the PB&J Panna Cotta, Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding and Jose’s favorite – Apple Pie.

And they aren’t’ stopping there, they already have a another project in the works. Watch the video above to learn more about PB Steak and what’s to come.

Jose Mendin / PB Steak from Chat Chow TV on Vimeo.

Chef Bee / Khong River House

Chef Bee / Khong River House from Chat Chow TV on Vimeo.

From the owners of Miami Beach’s southern-style eatery Yardbird comes Khong River House in Miami Beach.

The inspiration for Khong River House emanates from founder John Kunkel’s passion for the celebrated foods prepared in the rural villages and city markets of Thailand, which he became enamored with while living and traveling extensively through its northern provinces.

Chat Chow talks to Executive Chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn (known as Chef Bee) who hails from the small town of Ban Sankhohiang in the Chiang Rai region. The cultures from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and other surrounding countries are the influence behind Khong River House’s Northern Thai cuisine.

“Everybody has sticky rice,” says Chef Bee. “But we serve Burmese Sticky Rise that is soaked overnight with turmeric and salt. So its nice and yellow. The next day it is steamed with flash-fried garlic. The smell and aroma is beautiful.”

A Thai temple in Homestead, Florida is importing all the produce, giving a new meaning to farm-to-table. Even the decor at Khong River House is authentic with license plates and a tin roof. The restaurant was even blessed by Thai Monks. “Traditional Thai people want somebody with a beautiful mind, beautiful heart, someone superior to give you a blessing.”

Watch the video to learn about Chef Bee’s favorite dishes including Curry Boat Noodles, Pork Belly Curry and the eponymous “Killer Bee” cocktail.

Alejandro Ortiz / Acme Bakery Coffee

Combining a Rockwellian aesthetic and a “Leave it to Beaver” charm and sensibility, Acme Bakery & Coffee’s “farmstead Americana” essence hearkens back to a wholesome era with an irresistible homey charm that is at once inviting and comfortable.

Acme Bakery & Coffee is an artisanal bakery and café catering to Miami’s Biscayne/Mid-town/Design-District residents with a selection of fresh, artisan breads, handmade pastries, cakes, tarts and home-made candies combined with a limited-menu served in a casual sit-down environment.

Andrew Carmellini / The Dutch

Andrew Carmellini is a two-time James Beard Award winner from New York City with a string of roaring hit restaurants including Locanda Verde inside Robert DeNiro’s Greenwich Hotel. You might even remember his Grandpa Carmellini if you were hanging out at Miami Beach’s Surf Club in the 40′s and 50′s. Andrew is also the author of two cookbooks, Urban Italian and American Flavor.

About The Dutch

The Dutch is an American restaurant that serves nice food, wine and spirits. We cook things that make us happy, like a seasonal green market salad; a deluxe steak with a tower of shellfish; tasty sandwiches; flavorful curry or chili; homey roasted chicken and fresh pie or something altogether surprising and new.

The Grinder 02 / Lee Schrager

The Grinder originally started as a written Q&A with folks who were involved with Burgers. This new version is produced by Chat Chow TV and is part interview, part roast and 100% fun. All guests do not know what exactly they are going be asked or be put through. But, hey those are the breaks if you’re gonna be on The Grinder.

About Lee Shrager

Lee Brian Schrager, one of the nation’s preeminent event planners and media relations experts, serves as the Vice President of Corporate Communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. He joined the company in 2000 and oversees projects in all 35 states in which it does business. Schrager is known for his creation of both the Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals.

Hedy Goldsmith / Baking Out Loud

When speaking about can’t miss desserts, no other name in the region elicits a more passionate response than that of Hedy Goldsmith. Recently awarded a James Beard nomination (Outstanding Pastry Chef 2012), the Executive Pastry Chef of The Genuine Hospitality Group of restaurants (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Grand Cayman, Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami) remains one of the most respected professionals in the country.

With the October 2, 2012 release of her debut cookbook, BAKING OUT LOUD: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors (Clarkson Potter), Goldsmith is busier than ever. Now in her 3rd season of Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets, she has appeared on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Iron Chef America and Food(ography). Hedy and her recipes have been featured in People, The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, The New York Times, Bon Appétit, The New York Post, Wine Spectator, Huffington Post and MSNBC. Hedy is a regular contributor on and her seasonal recipes can be found on