Wine Dine

Here's a puzzler: What was the only thing wetter than Christie Wolfe's joyous tearstained face at the opening of her and husband Jeffrey's boutique wine store, Wolfe's Wine Shoppe on Miracle Mile? Why, the wine that was being poured, of course, including the Bott-Geyl Pinot D'Alsace 1999, the Adami Prosecco Valdobbiadene NV, the Hacienda Monasterio Crianza 1997, and the St. Antonin Faugeres Magnoux 1998. What's that, you say? Where's the Kendall-Jackson? Fact of the matter is, the Wolfes are stocking some of the more unusual or hard-to-find wines. But that doesn't mean they're targeting collectors. Lots of the vintages are reasonably priced, and a computer kiosk in the corner has Internet access and CD-burner capabilities, allowing novice alcoholics to sound like they know what they're drinking.

• Speaking of fermented fruit, Ortanique on the Mile recently introduced its proprietary wine called "The Heart Has Its Rieslings." No, I'm not kidding. Created specifically for the restaurant by Bonny Doon Winemakers, the wine will be sold exclusively at Ortanique. Chef-owner Cindy Hutson recommends pairing it with citrusy, spicy fare like her farm-raised Caicos Island conch ceviche with lobster oil and Scotch bonnet peppers, a match that's so successful you're likely to consume an entire bottle of the "Heart" along with the dish. Which means you'll have to indulge the following morning in a bottle of a certain restaurant critic's favorite hair-of-the-dog vintage called "The Head Has Its Aches." Dunno where to get some? Talk to the Wolfes.

• Old food critics never die, they just go to Bloomie's. Not that I'm calling her old or anything, but former Herald restaurant critic Viviana Carballo has a new gig. She's teaching cooking classes in the housewares department of Bloomingdale's at The Falls on Fridays and Sundays, with additional special-occasion courses like "Sephardic Passover" on March 22. Thanks, Viv! By putting that Grand Diplome from the Paris Cordon Bleu culinary institute to work, you're sticking the lie to the credo that those who can't do, criticize -- which sheds a terrific light on the rest of us critics who actually, um, don't have Cordon Bleu papers. (To register for classes call 305-252-6230.)

• Forget appellations like restaurant, eatery, or trattoria. Now there's a new one to ply the palate, thanks to Angelo's Pizzarante & Café. The month-old restaurant, located next to Outback Steakhouse on Sunny Isles Boulevard in North Miami Beach, has the nerve to be, well, kinda cute. But not just for the sake of it. "Pizzarante" actually sums things up pretty efficiently: Not only can you get thin-crust pizzas topped with everything from gorgonzola cheese to figs marinated in balsamic vinegar, an extensive menu provides a heap o' well-prepared pastas, salads, and subs. This particular Outback outpost better watch its back -- Angelo's may go from handling steak house-patron overflow to taking the bloom off that onion.

• A couple of months ago we posed the question, Where have all the models gone? Apparently to Wish. At the recent garden party introducing spankin' new seating arrangements and relatively new executive chef E. Michael Reidt, I was more dwarfed than I've been in a long time at the champagne table. If the Amazonian gaggle of cosmetically tanned, surgically improved, and salon-tempered boys and girls is any indication, we normal folks can look forward to feeling really insecure again soon. I'm off to my stylist.


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