|DON’T TREAD ON MY CHOCOLATE!|
|Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor|
Food news we know you can use
Last month the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a 54-page petition with the Food and Drug Administration, citing many evil health problems linked to sugars, and asking the FDA to establish certain safe limits regarding sweeteners.
Perhaps coincidentally, three out of the five restaurants opening last month in BT territory were sweets shops. Or perhaps it was just Miami’s way of saying, as we say to every attempt at regulation, from building codes to traffic lights: “Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!”
So take that, you sour-pussed meddlers. And pass me another triple-chocolate cupcake.
Quarterman’s Ice Cream Parlor (4 S. Miami Ave., 305-375-9595). This family-owned mom-and-pop shop looks like it was transported via time machine from a century ago, and makes its ice cream the old-fashioned way, too: using mostly locally sourced ingredients. Flavors change, but number nearly 30. Especially recommended flavor for any FDA honchos who happen to be visiting Miami: Garbage Can (vanilla ice cream packed with chunks from seven brand-name candy bars).
Sweet Saloon (7100 Biscayne Blvd., 305-244-8331). It’s 1:30 a.m. and Jacques Ardisson from long-lived Upper Eastside Asian eatery Moonchine knows just what you need to keep being the life of the party: a sugar rush. That’s why he just opened this hidden “dessert bar & lounge” on the building’s second floor, accessible only via a back stairway. A Café Liegeois (chocolate and vanilla ice cream sundae, heaped with whipped cream and chocolate coffee beans) should perk you right up, especially since it comes with a shot of espresso, too. The Anytime Sweet & Salty menu also has savory snacks that sound like eye-openers, such as Thai cheese burgers.
Bunnie Cakes (2322 NE 2nd Ave., 786-268-9790). Before opening her Wynwood bakery last month, Mari Cortez baked for numerous fancy parties, upscale restaurants, and local shops. So it’s possible you’ve enjoyed her cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and doughnuts, and other sinful-tasting sweet treats without ever knowing that they’re healthy -- all totally vegan, sweetened mainly with agave cactus extract, and sometimes gluten-free, too. No butter, no eggs, no milk/cream, no refined sugar, no wheat flour, yet no sense of deprivation? Drop in and decide for yourself.
Ceviche Piano (140 SE 1st Ave., 305-577-4414). This is less a new opening and more a slight relocation (in the same downtown plaza) of Martini 28, and what owners Martin and Charo Villacorta, a married chef/pastry chef team, call a “refreshed concept.” Most dramatic changes: an upscale in size and, as the focal white piano signals, an upgrade in elegance. The menu has also been altered to be less all-over-the-globe; it’s now more strongly focused on Peruvian cuisine. But some old favorite dishes remain (albeit slightly renamed), including a few inspired by Asia, and even one foray to the Deep South: a grilled double pork chop with Louisiana BBQ sauce.
Biscayne Diner (8601 Biscayne Blvd., 305-756-9910). Just opened (and open all day, from early morning to late night -- thank you), this cool space serves All-American diner classics like meatloaf, plus a few international surprises, including a variety of Italian entrées. Featured are classic and alternative burgers (including a veg model); salads from a retro-American Chef’s to a contemporary Caprese; hot and cold hoagies, some comforting (meatball, tuna melt), some refined (smoked turkey and brie); and big breakfasts for small prices.
Zen Sushi Lounge (1250 S. Miami Ave. #5) folded late in January. Soon to come in the Japanese spot’s vacated space: Temaris, a Japanese/Latin fusion restaurant.
February’s annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival is over, but don’t fret if you’re not feeling sufficiently full and fested.
The annual Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival is still to come. When: March 23-24, noon to 10:00 p.m. Where: the Miami Circle (401 Brickell Ave.).
Admittedly, the pig-out on our side of the pond isn’t quite as swine-sized as the SBWFF’s Grand Tasting, but it’s growing. A one-day snack (with 16 participating restaurants and a crowd of 7000) in its inaugural year, 2011, the fest expanded to a two-day feast (with more than 50 restaurants and 12,000 visitors) in 2012.
This year’s event is expected to attract 15,000. No TV-star chefs, but there’s an exotic car show, live music, and other entertainment. And tickets are only $10 (general admission) to $125 and $200 (one- and two-day VIP passes, including much free food and drink). Plus kids are welcome everywhere but the booze booths.
Volume 14, Issue 2, April 2016
Downtown Miami’s Cultural Center keeps its eye on the arts