Juvia
Michael Stavaridis

Afternoon turns to dusk in South Beach. At Juvia, the penthouse restaurant at the Herzog & de Meuron-designed building at 1111 Lincoln Rd., golden rays brush against lush, vertical gardens. The foliage is a creation of French botanist Patrick Blanc. Amethyst-colored elements — cushions, cloth napkins, crystals — dot the glowing 10,000-square-foot eatery, which features a terrace covered by a trackless retractable roof and a rectangular fountain. Designed by Alejandro Barrios-Carrero, the setting fuses nature and open sky with urbanity and concrete. It pairs peerless architecture with landscape and design. The restaurant is a James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant Design, 76 Seats and Over. It's also a spectacular spot for cocktails and dinner at sunset.

Oh, hunger, you are an eternal beast. Always on the prowl. Always in search of the next meal. This could be why Palate Party has a giant mouth as its logo — teeth bared in a never-ending quest for interesting edibles. But while some food trucks exist only to feed your hunger, this truck, owned and operated by chef Robyn Almodovar, seeks to entertain the beast through comfort foods made from fresh ingredients such as local produce and sustainable seafood. No frozen Sysco stuff for Almodovar, who, by the way, might look waifish in her tight red pants and chef's coat but is tough as nails. She had a trial by fire at the hands of Gordon Ramsay himself. This lady can cook, sass, and break into a wild dance that resembles Snoopy's suppertime freestyle. After a few bites of her food, you and your mouth — finally free from hunger's shackles — will likely join in the celebration.

The Bazaar by José Andrés

If culinary icon José Andrés were an actor in a Hollywood flick, he'd probably be Tom Hanks in Big. Andrés, who's based in Washington, D.C., is as energetic at cooking as Josh Baskin is at playing "Chopsticks" on the piano at FAO Schwartz — only Andrés plays less with big instruments and a bit more with mozzarella and olives. Andrés would be like Chuck in Castaway — except Spanish tapas-style cuisine would be the unopened FedEx package. (The chef, after all, is credited with bringing Spain's cuisine to the United States.) Andrés, who owns nearly a dozen restaurants nationwide, is business-savvy like the band manager in That Thing You Do! and he perseveres like the FBI agent in Catch Me If You Can. So when José Andrés debuted the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in South Beach, the one thought on everybody's mind was: If I were Rita Wilson, would that mean I'd get Andrés' bagel and lox — an edible cone filled with salmon roe and dill cream cheese — for breakfast every day? Well, a fan can dream.

Naoe
Photo courtesy of Naoe

— Burt, we never go anywhere nice anymore. Remember when you would woo me with dinners at that great sushi restaurant, the one with eight seats and impeccable fish? Why don't we go there tonight?

— Martha, there's no way I can get us a table at Naoe. Chef Kevin Cory is booked weeks in advance.

— I'm tired of excuses. I want uni, and I want it now.

— But it's just not that simple. Kevin Cory isn't your run-of-the-mill chef. He's a five-star sushi master acclaimed by Forbes. The New York Post called Naoe one of the best restaurants in the nation. Folks travel from out of town to go to his omakase-style joint — even though it starts at $160 a person. Imagine that!

— Oh, I get it. You think a night out with me isn't worth that kind of expense.

— Well, dear, I probably won't ever win this argument, but I do know one thing for sure: Kevin Cory's cooking is — and always will be — absolutely priceless.

Vanilla ice cream atop warm apple pie? That's not Antonio Bachour's style. The executive pastry chef at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort pairs perfect quenelles of mango, raspberry, or passionfruit sorbet with treats such as piña colada mousseline and chocolate-hazelnut bars. What about whipped cream atop a chocolate tart? Nope. That's not his MO either. Bachour pipes precise lines of coconut or milk chocolate cremeux next to tropical fruit foams and yogurt snow. He combines creamy lychee-rose water panna cotta with ephemeral raspberry fizzy. He garnishes desserts with vibrant edible flowers, and his chocolate bonbons are spattered with the textures of a Jackson Pollock painting and the vivacious colors of a Mark Rothko piece. Is Antonio Bachour simply a pastry chef? Uh-uh. He's more like an artist of all things frozen, beautiful, and sweet.

My Ceviche
billwisserphoto.com

Ma! Pa! I've got some big news. Sit down, sit down. No, Mom, relax. It's not what you think. Listen, you remember my friend Roger Duarte?

Claro, the one who sells stone crabs?

Yup, that's the one. Well, I've decided to quit my job as executive chef of the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. Roger and I are going to open a take-away seafood shack next to a hostel in SoFi. Isn't that an amazing idea?

Papi, you handle this one.

Son, are you saying that after moving to Miami from Colombia, graduating from Johnson & Wales University, working under famous chefs such as Laurent Tourondel in New York and Michael Schwartz in Miami, making Forbes' "30 Under 30" list, and receiving a nomination as Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, you're going to give it all up to sell ceviche and taquitos next to some hostel?

That's right, Pop. Forget haute cuisine. I'm almost 30 years old. Now is the time to do what I love: approachable, ultra-fresh seafood at a place we'll call My Ceviche. Don't you see? I'm more than just talent. I'm a trailblazer. I'm going to bring delicious and affordable fish to all of Miami.

Ay dios mio. I need to sit down.

Robert Is Here
Robert Is Here

Expand your horizons and your definition of "gourmet" at the Homestead staple Robert Is Here. No frills and no fuss, just excellent produce, freshly canned goods, and some of the best flavors South Florida and its farmers can offer. The fruit milkshakes ($5 to $5.50) are legendary, so grab one while you browse the unique sweet and savory dips, salsas, jams, and hot sauces. Oh, and out back there's a petting zoo and kids' splash area that transform this market into an attraction worthy of a day trip. The market is open daily except September and October, when the place is refurbished and prepared for winter produce. The motto here is "Come taste the unusual!" It's highly recommended you taste the unusual, unique, and absolutely delicious.

The Crab House

It's Friday and you're in no mood to cook, much less walk the dog. Grab Bruno by the leash and stroll over the causeway to the Crab House's parking lot — you'll be glad you did. First make the rounds and sample the goods, everything from pâté to the best homemade pickles you've ever wrapped your lips around. After you've whetted your appetite, head back to the pickle lady for some garlic pickles, marinated olives, or cucumber salad ($3 to $6); then return to the ceviche guy and hand over the dough for some of his mayo-free (how is it so good?) chicken salad. Check if the produce tent has any brown tomatoes (so good you might dream about them later) and toss a couple in your bag. Next, pick up some fresh pineapple juice for $3, and on your way to one of the plastic tables right by the bay, visit the tent that offers fresh, locally made, to-die-for burrata cheese. Once you and Bruno have finished off your waterfront meal, tie him to a table leg and enjoy a professional massage. How ya feeling now? The market is closed for the summer but reopens in the fall.

Hani Khouri's name is splashed on menus across town — at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, the Forge, Lee & Marie's Cakery, and other notable eateries. These restaurants all cook with his farmstead cheeses, which are made with goat's milk and prepared at his farm in the Redland. Khouri's most popular product is Hani's cheese, a fromage blanc-like goat's milk creation. But the goat herder also makes labneh by mixing milk with bacteria and then hanging it to drain. He prepares halloumi, feta, and goat's milk cheddar too. His cheeses, priced $22 to $24 a pound, can be purchased at farmers' markets and shops around the Magic City. Khouri, on the other hand, can be found on his farm, where he tends to his 17 goats.

Pattypan squash looks like a small flying saucer, has scalloped edges, and grows in colors such as white, green, and yellow. It's not the kind of squash you find in supermarkets, which is why the community supported agriculture (CSA) program at Redland Organics is much better than shopping in stores. Margie Pikarsky, the farmer behind Bee Heaven Farm, coordinates this CSA. It works a little like this: In the summer, you sign up for five months of produce ($33.50 a week for family shares, $20 for small shares). The season runs from mid-November through mid-April. Each week, you pick up a box full of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, such as caimitos, red mizuna, romanesco, watermelon radishes, beets, and strawberries. Everything is organic. Choices are determined entirely by nature, which means pattypan squash is only the start.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®