Owner Ivette Naranjo opened Cafeina during Art Basel 2009, which in Miami time, makes her an Arts District pioneer. It was the only venue at the time to even hold a proper liquor license allowing for a full bar. She is celebrating the lounge's second anniversary in Wynwood by throwing a big party this weekend, and you're actually invited. Doors open to the public at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, when the neighborhood will welcome a bigger and better Cafeina. There is an entirely new area designated as the "Rouge Garden," named as such because of the bright "raspberry truffled" colored south wall surrounding the 1,200-square-foot space.
The outdoor addition is adjacent to the main garden we all know and love. Handmade cast-iron windows among tall hedges are meant to evoke a country manor courtyard, which includes lots of trimmed up shrubbery and Japanese Blueberry trees (guess raspberry bushes would have been overkill) to pretty up the place. Cafeina's plans are to use the enclosed expanse to host live performances and serve as an event production space; it also allows for more intimate private parties at Cafeina.
Executive Chef Luis Vargas has been working on an expansion of the current small plate menu, and you can look for an update on cocktails as well.
($12) are served with a choice of beef, chicken or shrimp, and a "Hogao" sauce, made from a combo of tomatoes, shallots, cilantro and spices. Pork tenderloin medallions ($12), are drizzled with a cheesy gorgonzola sauce, and topped with balsamic reduced onions. Shrimp kabobs ($11), get a fresh dip of cilantro ginger, whereas the chicken version gets a spicy "Suero" sauce, prepared with yellow and red
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New drinks are big on fresh squeezed juice, the Red
Rita ($12), starts with a base of homemade red pepper juice, and mixes in tequila, orange liqueur, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime, while the Sabila ($10), keeps it almost healthy, simple ... vodka, fresh lemon and aloe vera juice.