Side Dish

Here's some advice for The Bachelor -- and all those seeking to emulate him: Instead of pretending to be a millionaire, learn how to cook. The Ritz-Carlton in Coconut Grove is happy to assist. For $55 per person on Wednesday, February 5, dudes have the opportunity to learn the art of gastronomic seduction directly from chefs Roberto Holz and Willis Loughhead. Bachelors will be taught how to make a three-course meal that includes fettuccine with Maine lobster and caviar cream, tenderloin of beef Wellington with porcini duxelle, and the most important component for romancing a female, chocolate fondue with long-stem strawberries. Throw a little champagne into the mix, boyz, and you're guaranteed a successful Valentine's Day. Or at least the "graduation" champagne reception, which is included with the price. Call 305-644-4670 for reservations.

How much raw fish can one city stand? Electric Blue, the neon-lit new sushi bar in the freshly renovated Roney Palace Beach Resort, just might be the litmus test. Located in a corner of the main lobby, the restaurant is installed in the area formerly occupied by the 900-gallon fish tank. But don't worry -- the erstwhile denizens of the tank, the tropical equivalent to goldfish, aren't on the menu.

Bargains do come in gourmet packages. The Gables Diner is presenting a five-course Niebaum-Coppola wine dinner on Tuesday, January 28. For a mere $40 -- less than what you'd spend on two courses and one glass of wine -- you'll be served five dishes paired with the winery's signature bottlings. Nor are we talking hamburgers here. The dinner begins with Taylor Bay scallop ceviche, continues with such dishes as micro-green salad with smoked chicken sausage and fried chèvre followed by grilled quail with "darker than night" ponzu, and concludes with a Damson plum and Clemson blue cheese clafouti. Reservations are the rule; call 305-567-0330.

Kvetch? Not at all. After all, I do so love a man with a sense of humor. Not that I'm going to harbor any illicit feelings toward the proprietor of The Harbor Grille in Dania Beach, Neil Zucker. But he thoroughly won my admiration with his response to a critical review I published in May of last year about his restaurant, during which I discussed the ramifications of having servers who wielded rusty corkscrews. Instead of weeping and moaning and writing to the editor, Zucker and his bartender immediately whipped up a new drink in our honor -- the "New Times Tetanus Shot," a blend of one half-ounce light rum, one half-ounce dark rum, one half-ounce Nassau Royale, equal parts pineapple and orange juice, and a splash of grenadine with a 151 float. Zucker assures me that not only is it a perfectly ugly rust color, but that it "will end whatever ails you." Indeed the Tetanus Shot, along with Zucker's willingness to spin a negative into a positive, has no doubt helped cure The Harbor Grille, if the success of Zucker's second venture, Forte Jazz Café in Fort Lauderdale, is anything to go by.

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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick

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