Say what you want about sugar — it’s the Devil, it’s the reason Americans have the highest rate of obesity, it’s addictive. Fair enough, but for the sweets-loving percentage of the population, it's also the basis of the best part of every meal.
That's especially true of Miami Spice, the two-month restaurant promotion that kicks off Saturday, August 1, and gives diners the chance to eat three courses for a reduced cost at more than 180 of the city’s top restaurants.
What good is a three-course meal if the third course is a copout? For a scoop of “seasonal” ice-cream flavor or the overdone chocolate molten cake, you might as well take your $39 (or $23 for lunch) and buy yourself a nice appetizer and entrée without opting into the “deal.”
Some of Spice's participating restaurants, though, realize that dessert is their last chance to win diners over. Here are the best irresistible treats offered during this year's promotion.
If Icebox’s cakes are good enough for Oprah, they're good enough for you. There’s a reason the handcrafted cakes are the media mogul's favorite: They pack layers upon layers of the best ingredients. During Miami Spice, Icebox offers four of its killer desserts, including O’s ultimate fave, the chocolate delight. That cake features layers of dark chocolate between creamy cheesecake brownie and more chocolate. Not a fan of chocolate? Try the deep-dish key lime pie, which has a graham cracker crust filled with key lime custard. The other two options are coconut buttercream and carrot cake.
DB Bistro Moderne
True to French form, DB Bistro Moderne gives Miami Spicers a choice to end their meal on either a sweet or a cheesy note. The latter arrives as an assorted cheese plate with house-made fruit compote and walnut-raisin toast. And that’s just one of four offerings that pastry chef Saeko Nemito has whipped up for every palate. There's dark-chocolate pavé with peppermint-chocolate mousse and coffee-cardamom ice cream; a corn-and-caramel vacherin with blackcurrant gelée, cornbread, and popcorn chantilly; and key lime brûlée that packs blueberries, Italian meringue, and a ginger cake with blueberry and violet sorbet all into one. Though the next rotation isn't set yet (cross your fingers for macarons and madeleines), you can expect there will be absolutely no skimping on sugar at Daniel Boulud’s French bistro.
When Danny Serfer opened Mignonette just last summer, he was as excited about the pies as he was about the dozens of bivalves his restaurant serves every day. It’s no wonder, then, that for Miami Spice, Serfer is changing things up in the dessert section every seven to ten days with a new pie. To start, there's a roasted pecan butter mousse pie with house-made whipped cream. From there, it could be mango, blueberry, lemon — nothing is off-limits. One constant is Serfer's famed butterscotch and Heath Bar bread pudding topped with spicy whipped cream. If the spicy whipped cream has you thinking twice, remember it's Miami Spice after all.
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You know what makes the drive north to Turnberry Isle in Aventura worth it? Knowing that after a meal that begins with a trio of duck-fat fries as bread service, keeps it going with Maine lobster risotto, and climaxes with a butter-poached, barbecue-glazed Angus rib eye served with jalapeño cornbread, the final course is just as good. That's because it's a Cracker Jack sundae. Popcorn ice cream, salted caramel sauce, and candied peanuts make your childhood favorite all grown up. You can also go with a slice of Valrhona chocolate cake topped with olive oil gelato or a trio of seasonal sorbet pops. Think ginger tamarind and other exotic flavors, though why would you when there’s a Cracker Jack sundae.
Two words: Persian sundae. All right, more like 17 words: saffron and rosewater gelatos, shredded halava, roasted salted pistachios, medjool dates, Valrhona chocolate pearls, and pomegranate molasses. That’s what’s in Fooq’s Persian sundae, which just so happens to be be the number one new dessert in the city. And during Miami Spice, you can get it after enjoying chef Nicole Votano’s exceptional meatballs and parpadelle with fava and peas. If only bucatini had been an entrée, Fooq’s would have hit the Spice trifecta.