Even though Miami Spice doesn't technically begin for another month, culinary enthusiasts in the 305 are already perusing the website, which recently went live, to see if their favorite restaurants made the list of nearly 200 dining options.
To kick off the celebratory vibe, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted this year's first Miami Spice Mash-Up. These collaborative dinners bring our city's best chefs together to showcase items that will appear on their restaurants' Miami Spice menus. For the first pairing, Michelle Bernstein hosted Macchialina's Michael Pirolo at Cena by Michy. For the sold-out dinner, each chef prepared a three-course meal (which, essentially, meant diners were treated to a six-course feast), with wine pairings by Terrazas de Los Andes and beer by Stella Artois.
Macchialina's Michael Pirolo, assisted by Brett Collier at the soon-to-open BaZi, presented an ethereal tuna crudo with avocado, tomato, and aged balsamic for his first course. Chef Michelle Bernstein, along with Cena by Michy chef de cuisine Mike Mayta, served duck confit croquetas with fig jam, family style.
Chef Bernstein's snapper moqueca with toasted garlic was a wonderful trip to the tropics in a dish. The traditional Brazilian fish stew stayed close to its roots with generous amounts of seafood in a coconut broth.
Macchialina's Pirolo had to break out the big guns. And by that, we mean pasta. His maccheroni with sausage, broccoli rabe, and caciocavallo cheese from Southern Italy, was a steaming plate of comfort.
For dessert, both chefs finally shared a plate. Bernstein's fennel panna cotta with rhubarb paired nicely with a light-as-air zeppola from Pirolo.
Another Spice-related celebration took place at the Eat Me, Drink Me Iron Fork pop-up last evening. The party, held at the Adrienne Arsht Center was hosted by chef Allen Susser. Guests got in the mood for Iron Fork, the official Miami Spice kickoff party with wine from Terrazas de los Andes and Stella Artois beer and chomped on bites from the Cafe at Books & Books (which happens to be an Iron Fork participating restaurant). Special guests included characters from the play, Lookingglass Alice, which opens at the Arsht Center on July 8 and sipped on special "Down the Rabbit Hole" cocktails.
The next Miami Spice Mash-Up will pit chefs featured on the Bravo Series Best New Restaurant against each other once again. On Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m., Best New Restaurant winner Dolce Italian will host this culinary throwdown with Tongue & Cheek's Jamie DeRosa, the Federal's Cesar Zapata, and Dolce's own Paolo Dorigato cooking up a storm. The dinner costs $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuities, and reservations can be made by calling 786-975-2250.
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Other Miami Spice-related events include New Times' Iron Fork, the official Miami Spice kickoff event presented by the Miami Downtown Development Authority on Thursday, July 30 at the Hyatt Regency Miami/James L. Knight Center. Dozens of Miami Spice participating restaurants will offer up their best bites and MC Kitchen's Dena Marino will take on Finka Table & Tap's Eileen Andrade in the ultimate battle of skills and determination. Advance purchase, general-admission tickets are $50 through July 29; $65 at the door (while supplies last). GA tickets allow entry to Iron Fork from 7 to 10 p.m. and include unlimited samplings of food from dozens of Miami's finest establishments. VIPs get into Iron Fork at 6 p.m. for an extra hour of fun and have access to the exclusive VIP lounge. Advance-purchase VIP tickets are $85 July 29; VIP tickets at the door cost $100 (while supplies last).
New Times readers can take $20 off tickets to Iron Fork today only! Just use code EATMEDRINKME before midnight tonight (July 2) to take advantage of this deal. To purchase tickets, visit newtimesironfork.com.
South of Spice is a new event that gives attendees a look at participating Miami Spice restaurants in the SoFi neighborhood on Tuesday, July 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. This dine-around event will take guests on a tour of South of Fifth's best restaurants including Red the Steakhouse, Red Ginger, and Tongue & Cheek to sample some great food and drink. For more information and to purchase tickets ($45 per person; $35 to South of Fifth residents), visit southofspice.com.