The Biscayne Times

Tuesday
Dec 11th
Hot Sauce, Caviar, Pickles, and Cookies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor   
December 2013

Food news we know you can use

Hbigstock-Christmas-Magic--Holiday-stil-45637363appy holidays! Got all your gift shopping polished off? Yeah. We thought not.

Fortunately, though, there are locally produced and sold food-related items that fit the bill for all holiday occasions, from dinner parties (when you want a “hostess gift” that makes more of an impression than the usual bottle of nine-buck plonk) to serious presents for family and good friends, that say, “You’ve been on my mind for months,” rather than, “I found this at the drugstore last night.”

As promised last issue, I’ve been keeping track all year of unique items that recipients won’t have to pretend to like.

First, though, let’s round up recent restaurant openings/closings -- which won’t take long. Given the arrival of Art Basel, it’s surprising that openings this past month were few, and not so much new restaurants as replays -- good ones, but still.

 

OPENINGS

Most welcome for the oncoming artsy hordes is Wynwood’s new SuViche (2751 N. Miami Ave., 305-501-5010), third and best of the popular Japanese/Peruvian hotspot, for three reasons: location, location, location. While the original Brickell place and a South Beach successor are both tiny, the new space, formerly occupied by Bloom, allows for an expansive outdoor patio, and Miami’s first and only pisco bar.

Always welcome is a new downtown indoor/outdoor location of Florida-based chain The Cheese Course, in the Southeast Financial Center (200 S. Biscayne Blvd.). Three older market/cafés in BT territory are in Midtown (see Dining Guide for descriptions), Aventura, and Hallandale.

Additionally, one of Miami’s many annual “temporary” summer closings for renovations became permanent: The atmospheric speakeasy space (featuring an underground former bomb shelter) that was formerly Kork Wine & Cheese, is now Le Chat Noir (2 S. Miami Ave., 305-377-8899). But both musical and menu offerings remain similar to Kork’s -- quality live jazz, plus artisan cheese/charcuterie platters and an extensive wine selection.

 

SIDE DISH

First, a gift that’ll put serious spark in any dish: artisan, preservative-free Cuban sriracha from the PepperJelly Company, started on a shoestring budget earlier this year. Homeboy Michael Diaz incorporates his Cuban grandfather’s mojo plus multiple chilis and other locally sourced natural produce into an astonishingly fresh, complex-tasting version of supermarket sriracha (which is basically just one chili, sugar, salt, garlic, vinegar, and multiple preservatives), and bottles it stylishly with wine corks.

A sampler set pairs the original with “The Cuban Ghost,” which kicks up the heat with ghost peppers, one of the world’s most fiery chilis. Buy it online at pepperjellyco.com, or better yet, when you’re picking up your traditional Xmas Eve takeout Chinese food at Soi Chinese Kitchen (645 NW 20th St., 305-482-0238).

At recently opened Preservation in Sunny Isles Beach (18250 Collins Ave., 305-974-0273), the menu features ingredients that are cured, pickled, or smoked in-house -- and a few market shelves are packed with beautiful jars of the restaurant’s preserves and pickles. Brighten up someone’s holiday table with spicy pickled haricots vert, escabeche jardinière, Georgia peach pie butter, pear fig jam, or festive candy-striped beets and turnips.

For a luxuriantly romantic gift, surprise someone special with a caviar taste test. With genuine Caspian sturgeon caviar going for $150-$300 per ounce, you’ll have to arrange a second mortgage first, but fortunately Marky’s Caviar & Gourmet Food Store (687 NE 79th St., 305-758-9288) has several remarkable ringers: hackleback roe (buttery/nutty, like osetra) from North American shovelnose sturgeon, paddlefish roe (buttery/briny, like sevruga) from a sturgeon relative, and mildly tangy bowfin roe (sometimes called “Cajun caviar”). Price: $11-$19 per ounce. All are award-winning fresh caviars, prepared by Marky’s according to traditional Russian guidelines. Add a few $4-$6 jars of poppy-textured salmon and trout roes for pure sensual overload, and one of Marky’s mother-of-pearl caviar spoons for remembrance.

Candy canes have been on the shelves since Halloween, but you can do better. Surprise someone on Xmas Eve with candy-cane crunch chocolate mint cookies from Night Owl Cookie Company (786-282-7864, www.nightowlcookieco.com). Since fall, the new company has been baking up 25 varieties of of cookies (plus nationally trendy but still rare in Miami, homemade doughnuts), and delivering them, still warm, from noon to -- wait for it -- 2:00 a.m. Oh, and do remember to order a few extra cookies to leave by the chimney. Santa needs treats, too.

 

Hungry for more food news? See “BizBuzz.” Send me your tips and alerts: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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