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 http://www.studioneat.com/products/neaticekit#product-hero 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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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