Lots to tell in Eating News for December including a new Mexican restaurant in Wynwood from the former chef of Cantina La Veinte, return of Celebrity Taste Event, restaurant and bar reopenings, terrific brunch deal from a Japanese fave, picks for holiday food shopping and more!
New Mexican Cantina and Bar For Your List
It’s tough to say which cuisines in Miami are hotter now, Japanese or Mexican. How to stand out? The 10,000 square foot Mayami Mexicantina, (a combo of the words Maya and Miami) in Wynwood is setting itself apart on several fronts. Led by Executive Chef Juan Carlos Flores, formerly at Brickell’s Cantina La Veinte, it’s a combo restaurant in the style of a casual cantina, a bar with dancing, and also has clever wrought iron enclosed balconies offering some privacy for private celebrations.
The clever design has the areas tiered and overlooking the main restaurant, so no fear of missing seeing any of the main action. We went there recently before a NIcky Jam concert (love reggaeton) and had the perfect- for -the- occasion delicious meal — queso fundido with truffles (melted cheese); the mother of all chicarrones combined with guacalote—a combo of avocado, queso fresco (fresh cheese) and corn; and filet mignon tacos. Passing on the insect-infused Mezcal shots, we each had the special Mexican inspired beer by local Biscayne Brewing Company.
The extensive menu offers antojitos, ceviches, tacos, a selection of entrees and signature dishes including carnitas de salmon, branzino a la talla and pozole. With its festive atmosphere and fun Maya inspired decor, we had a great time! Mayami is open for dinner and happy hour Wednesday-Friday from 5 p.m. – midnight and Saturday-Sunday from 4 p.m. – midnight. It’s located at 127 NW 23rd Street.
Celebrity Taste Returns This Thursday
The fifth edition of Celebrity Taste is taking place this Thursday, Dec. 17th, at SLS South Beach. The culinary event will feature stations hosted by top chefs from Katsuya, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Fi’lia, Pubbelly, Lucali and Tanuki. Situated poolside by the iconic Hyde Beach, the event will also offer cocktails, beer, wine and champagne provided by vintage cocktail bar SAAM Lounge as well as spirits like Don Julio Tequila, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy Cognac. All tastings will be socially distanced and masks will be required at all times unless seated.Tickets are available here, priced at $75 per person including access to the event and open bar.
Restaurant and Bar Reopenings
- Itamae, which used to be in the St.Roch Market (now called Mia Market) in the Design District, now has a stand alone location to dish up its Nikkei cuisine. Dishes include tiraditos, poke bowls and sushi rolls. Outdoor dining and takeout.
- Sweet Liberty in South Beach, one of my go-to bars, has reopened. It’s a casual, unpretentious, fun place and in fact, was the site of a birthday cocktail party I had one year. Reservations are suggested. Click here to reserve reservation online.
- El Tucan has reopened, upping the party quotient, with a dinner party atmosphere, la carte dining featuring contemporary Asian dishes from Japan and Thailand and tableside dancing. El Tucán has also relaunched its playful weekly ladies’ night Passionata on Wednesday, which features a rotating lineup of live entertainment and complimentary Passionata cocktails for the ladies from 8 pm to 11 pm. Dinner patrons can choose from signature favorites, including the Imperial Wagyu Beef Sliders with caramelized onions, aged manchego cheese, and quail eggs; Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna; Tuna Pizzetta with truffle aioli; the Teppanyaki Bone Marrow Ribeye (12oz) with truffle sauce and spring onions; Risotto Hot Pot with acquerello rice, shimeshi, shiitake mushrooms, porcini broth, cremini, and enoki; and Truffle Mac and Cheese with shaved black truffle. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to late. 1111 SW 1st Street.
- Thursday night is late night for the Perez Art Museum of Miami so it’s welcome news that Verde restaurant has reopened for evening dining until 9 p.m.. Miami’s beloved pastry queen, Hedy Goldsmith is back with a new menu along with weekly dinner specials. Menu highlights include the Mediterranean Sampler, homemade hummus, eggplant, tzatziki, tomato-mint salad, tahini vinaigrette and za’atar flatbread;Tortilla España, potatoes, onions, shaved manchego, Lolla Rosa salad and piquillo-chorizo vinaigrette; and Grilled Salmon, green goddess fennel slaw, roasted beet emulsion and potato latkes. With Chef Hedy in the kitchen, room for dessert is a must, especially with items like the Verde Cookie Plate, an assortment of nostalgic-flavored cookies; and the Seasonal Bread Pudding, a rotating brilliant dessert masterpiece (current flavor: Granny Smith Apple).
Tanuki in South Beach has brought back its terrific Weekend Brunch Feast every Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. so you better believe you’ll see me there this coming weekend! For $48 per person plus tax and tip you get six snacks and cold appetizers, 6 hot appetizers, a choice of one entrée from an appealing list, and chef’s dessert selection. Free flow beverage, a choice of wine, mimosa or bloody mary, beer, or prosecco (or all of the above) is a $20 supplement or $38 with champagne upgrade. 1080 Alton Road, South Beach.
Holiday Food Shopping
Looking to splurge on the best of the best foods around the US and Europe for the holidays? In case you missed my earlier posts, here are the places to go. Do yourself a favor or send the items to friends, especially if they’re foodies and you don’t know what to get them.
Heading up the list is Goldbelly featuring some of the best and most famous foods from chefs, small shops and restaurants across the USA. Some of these specialties from Goldbelly range from pastrami (Langer’s in LA) and barbecue (Joe’s KC in Kansas City) to crab cakes (Jerry’s seafood in Maryland, described by the Washington Post as close to perfection as crab meat can get), bagels (H & H, New York) and Levee High Caramel pecan apple pie (Blue Owl bakery, Missouri). They feature foods in eight categories — sweets, bread and bagels, deli, pizza, meats, BBQ, seafood and sides.
Locally there’s prime gourmet purveyor Laubry’s. It has hard to find coveted food products ranging from French cheeses (e.g.Reblochon, Tomme de Savoie, Epoisse),breads and pastries to caviar, foie gras, flavor pearls, condiments and much more. Order online and then pickup.
Every time I read the email from La Tienda which specializes in Spanish delicacies I drool. No bargains here, but excellent quality in different varieties of Jamon (ham), cheeses, breads, paella, seafood, condiments, tableware, traditional regional desserts and more. The ultimate gift for the Spanish food lover is one of their gift baskets.
A Statement Candle for Your Festive Table
And once you set your fabulous holiday table, you need a statement candle which brings me to a recent find: the Hotel Collection. Its scents are those of top luxury hotels around the world along with holiday favorites like fir. Get the collection or my favorite, the mega 11 ounce candle (burns for 70 hours) with a scent from the Paris hotel to celebrities, the Hotel Costes. There are also candles with the signature fragrance from Miami luxury hotels including the Edition and 1 Hotel. And best yet, it’s only $39.95. Prefer a seasonal fragrance oil or room spray? How about pinecones and holly, autumn leaves and more.