OpenTable names the hottest U.S. restaurants of 2017

March 16, 2017

The Bazaar by José Andrés South Beach
The Bazaar by José Andrés South Beach (Photo courtesy of SBE)

OpenTable, a PriceLine Group-owned website for restaurant reservations  and reviews, has released the results of a year-long analysis of customer reviews of restaurants in the United States. The 100 restaurants that received the highest reviews were named as the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America for 2017.

According to an OpenTable press release, the results reflect the combined opinions of more than 10 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 25,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, between February 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which “hot spot” was selected as a special feature.

Hottest Restaurant Cuisine

American cuisine is the most popular food served at the restaurants on the list, but eateries serving international  meals are well-represented. Restaurants with Asian, Brazilian, Italian, Latin, Mexican and Spanish cuisine also made it on the list.

Hottest Restaurant States

For non-chain restaurants, Florida had 17 on the list, followed by California (15); New York and Ohio (nine each); Arizona and Pennsylvania (seven each); Minnesota (five); Colorado and Tennessee (four each); and Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas (three each).

Video footage from some of these restaurants are at the end of this article.

Here are OpenTable’s Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America for 2017, in alphabetical order:

4 Bells – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Acorn – Denver, Colorado
The Avenue Steak Tavern – Columbus, Ohio
Barton G. The Restaurant – Multiple Locations
The Bayou – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
The Bazaar by José Andrés South Beach – Miami Beach, Florida
Beat Brasserie (Beat Hotel) – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Beauty & Essex – New York, New York
Besito Mexican – Huntington, New York
Bida Manda Restaurant and Bar – Raleigh, North Carolina
Bistro 821 – Naples, Florida
Blend on the Water – Long Island City, New York
BRAVO Cucina Italiana – Naples, Florida
Broadway by Amar Santana – Laguna Beach, California
Buccan – Palm Beach, Florida
Buddakan NY – New York, New York
Butcher & the Boar – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Café Tu Tu Tango – Orlando, Florida
Campiello – Naples, Florida
Capo Restaurant – South Boston, Massachusetts
Carnivale – Chicago, Illinois
Centro Restaurant – Des Moines, Iowa
Chino Latino – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Continental Naples – Naples, Florida
Culinary Dropout – Multiple Locations
Departure Restaurant and Lounge – Portland, Oregon
Don & Charlie’s – Scottsdale, Arizona
E+O Kitchen – Cincinnati, Ohio
Edmund’s Oast – Charleston, South Carolina
Eight4Nine – Palm Springs, California
El Camino Mexican Soul Food & Tequila Bar – Delray Beach, Florida
Fixe – Austin, Texas
Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar – Memphis, Tennessee
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Forno Kitchen and Bar – Columbus, Ohio
Girl & the Goat – Chicago, Illinois
Grato – West Palm Beach, Florida
The Greenhouse Tavern – Cleveland, Ohio
The Grey – Savannah, Georgia
.ink – West Hollywood, California
Ironside Fish & Oyster – San Diego, California
Juniper & Ivy – San Diego, California
Kaluz Restaurant – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
La Cuchara – Baltimore, Maryland
Lola-A Michael Symon Restaurant – Cleveland, Ohio
Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Mastro’s Ocean Club – Scottsdale, Arizona
Mateo – Durham, North Carolina
Mercantile dining & provision – Denver, Colorado
The Millworks – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
The Mission-Old Town – Scottsdale, Arizona
Mita’s – Cincinnati, Ohio
Morcilla – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nada – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Nest – Indian Wells, California
O-Ku – Atlanta, Georgia
Officine BRERA – Los Angeles, California
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox – Denver, Colorado
The Pearl – Columbus, Ohio
Perch LA – Los Angeles, California
Poros – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Prasino – St. Charles, Missouri
Puckett’s 5th & Church – Nashville, Tennessee
Pump – West Hollywood, California
Raglan Road Irish Pub – Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Red Rooster Harlem – New York, New York
Republic – Detroit, Michigan
Root Down – Denver, Colorado
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – Las Vegas, Nevada
Selva Grill – Sarasota, Florida
Shore Diner – Sarasota, Florida
The Southern – Nashville, Tennessee
Spoon and Stable – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Steak 44 – Phoenix, Arizona
STK – Multiple Locations
Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill – Germantown, Tennessee
Strip by Strega – Boston, Massachusetts
SumoMaya Mexican-Asian Kitchen – Scottsdale, Arizona
Tao – Multiple Locations
Texas de Brazil – Multiple Locations
Three Muses – New Orleans, Louisiana
Toca Madera – West Hollywood, California
Tony’s of Lexington – Lexington, Kentucky
Toutant – Buffalo, New York
Trio Restaurant – Palm Springs, California
The Tropicale – Palm Springs, California
The Twisted Olive – Green, Ohio
TWO urban licks – Atlanta, Georgia
Uchi – Austin, Texas
Uchiko – Austin, Texas
Ulele – Tampa, Florida
Union 50 – Indianapolis, Indiana
VACA – Costa Mesa, California
Vandal – New York, New York
Vida – Indianapolis, Indiana
Warmdaddy’s – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Whitfield – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
YOLO – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Yoshi’s – Oakland, California
Zahav – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

BRAVO Cucina Italiana and BRIO Tuscan Grille offering two-for-one deals on National Ravioli Day

March 15, 2017

On March 20, 2017, which is National Ravioli Day, BRAVO Cucina Italiana and BRIO Tuscan Grille (two restaurant chains owned by the BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group) are offering two-for-one deals on select ravioli dishes.

BRAVO Cucina Italiana's Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli
BRAVO Cucina Italiana’s Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli (Photo courtesy of BRAVO Cucina Italiana)

At BRAVO Cucina Italiana, the featured ravioli dishes for the buy one, take one home for free offer are:

  • Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli: Sangiovese braised beef-filled ravioli, roasted sweet potatoes, brown butter, sage ($14.99 at lunch and $16.99 at dinner)
  • Lobster Ravioli Alla Vodka: Sautéed shrimp, tomato cream sauce, pesto bread crumbs ($14.99 at lunch and $18.99 at dinner)
BRIO Tuscan Grille's Lobster & Black Pepper Shrimp Ravioli
BRIO Tuscan Grille’s Lobster & Black Pepper Shrimp Ravioli (Photo courtesy of BRIO Tuscan Grille)

At BRIO Tuscan Grille, the featured ravioli dishes for the buy one, take one home for free offer are:

  • Ravioli Di Bello: Portobello ravioli, crimini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, Parmesan, thyme, champagne brown butter sauce ($12.95 at lunch; $15.95 at dinner)
  • Lobster & Black Pepper Shrimp Ravioli: Spicy black pepper cream, spinach, grape tomatoes; ($19.95 at lunch; $22.95 at dinner)

 

2017 James Beard Awards: complete list of nominations

March 15, 2017

James Beard Awards

The 2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards will take place May 1 at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (of “Modern Family” fame) will host the show. Andrew Zimmern will host the 2017 James Beard Media Awards, which honor those in the media who cover the culinary industry, will take place April 25 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Here is the complete list of nominations for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards.

2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant (Presented by True Refrigeration®)
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

In Situ
San Francisco

Le Coucou
New York, NY

Olmsted
Brooklyn, NY

Pineapple and Pearls
Washington, D.C.

Tartine Manufactory
San Francisco

Outstanding Baker
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a baker or pastry chef for at least for five years.

Ken Forkish
Ken’s Artisan Bakery
Portland, OR

Mark Furstenberg
Bread Furst
Washington, D.C.

Zachary Golper
Bien Cuit
Brooklyn, NY

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas
B. Patisserie
San Francisco

Greg Wade
Publican Quality Bread
Chicago

Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
New Orleans

Bar Agricole
San Francisco

Clyde Common
Portland, OR

Cure
New Orleans

The Dead Rabbit
New York, NY

Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters)
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Gabrielle Hamilton
Prune
New York, NY

David Kinch
Manresa
Los Gatos, CA

Christopher Kostow
The Restaurant at Meadowood
St. Helena, CA

Donald Link
Herbsaint
New Orleans

Michael Solomonov
Zahav
Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef (Presented by Lavazza)
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence.  Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Kelly Fields
Willa Jean
New Orleans

Maura Kilpatrick
Oleana
Cambridge, MA

Margarita Manzke
République
Los Angeles

Dolester Miles
Highlands Bar & Grill
Birmingham, AL

Ghaya Oliveira
Daniel
New York, NY

Outstanding Restaurant (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard-bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Must have been in operation ten or more consecutive years.

Frasca Food and Wine
Boulder, CO

Highlands Bar and Grill
Birmingham, AL

Momofuku Noodle Bar
New York, NY

Quince
San Francisco

The Spotted Pig
New York, NY

Topolobampo
Chicago

Outstanding Restaurateur
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least ten years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz
Boka Restaurant Group (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and others)
Chicago

JoAnn Clevenger
Upperline
New Orleans

Ken Oringer
Uni, Toro, Coppa, and others
Boston

Stephen Starr
Starr Restaurants (Le Coucou, Serpico, Upland, and others)
Philadelphia

Caroline Styne
The Lucques Group (Lucques, a.o.c., Tavern, and others)
Los Angeles

Outstanding Service
A restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, NY

Galatoire’s Restaurant
New Orleans

Marea
New York, NY

Terra
St. Helena, CA

Zahav
Philadelphia

Outstanding Wine Program (Presented by Robert Mondavi Winery)
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard-bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.

Benu
San Francisco

Canlis
Seattle

Emeril’s New Orleans

Fig
Charleston, SC

Miller Union
Atlanta

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
A beer, wine, or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Sam Calagione
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE

Diane Flynt
Foggy Ridge Cider
Dugspur, VA

Miljenko Grgich
Grgich Hills Estate
Rutherford, CA

Aldo Sohm
Zalto Glass
New York, NY

Rob Tod
Allagash Brewing Company
Portland, ME

Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Camille Cogswell
Zahav
Philadelphia

Zachary Engel
Shaya
New Orleans

Matt Rudofker
Momofuku Ssäm Bar
New York, NY

Jenner Tomaska
Next
Chicago

Brady Williams
Canlis
Seattle

Best Chefs in America
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Abraham Conlon
Fat Rice
Chicago

Sarah Grueneberg
Monteverde
Chicago

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark
Parachute
Chicago

Lee Wolen
Boka
Chicago

Erling Wu-Bower
Nico Osteria
Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Amy Brandwein
Centrolina
Washington, D.C.

Tom Cunanan
Bad Saint
Washington, D.C.

Rich Landau
Vedge
Philadelphia

Greg Vernick
Vernick Food & Drink
Philadelphia

Cindy Wolf
Charleston
Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Steven Brown
Tilia
Minneapolis

Justin Carlisle
Ardent
Milwaukee

Jorge Guzman
Brewer’s Table at Surly Brewing Co.
Minneapolis

Kevin Nashan
Sidney Street Cafe
St. Louis

Kevin Willmann
Farmhaus
St. Louis

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Marco Canora
Hearth

Anita Lo
Annisa

Ignacio Mattos
Estela

Missy Robbins
Lilia
Brooklyn, NY

Jody Williams
Buvette Gastrothèque

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY State, RI, VT)
Karen Akunowicz
Myers + Chang
Boston

Cassie Piuma
Sarma
Somerville, MA

Susan Regis
Shepard
Cambridge, MA

Benjamin Sukle
Birch
Providence, RI

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley
Eventide Oyster Co.
Portland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
Ox
Portland, OR

Edouardo Jordan
Salare
Seattle

Katy Millard
Coquine
Portland, OR

Justin Woodward
Castagna
Portland, OR

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi
Joule
Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)
Vishwesh Bhatt
Snackbar
Oxford, MS

Nina Compton
Compère Lapin
New Orleans

Jose Enrique
Jose Enrique
San Juan, PR

Slade Rushing
Brennan’s
New Orleans

Rebecca Wilcomb
Herbsaint
New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
John Fleer
Rhubarb
Asheville, NC

Edward Lee
610 Magnolia
Louisville, KY

Steven Satterfield
Miller Union
Atlanta

Ryan Smith
Staplehouse
Atlanta

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
Memphis

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Bryce Gilmore
Barley Swine
Austin

Steve McHugh
Cured
San Antonio

Hugo Ortega
Hugo’s
Houston

Steve Redzikowski
Acorn
Denver

Martín Rios
Restaurant Martín
Santa Fe

Jianyun Ye
Mala Sichuan Bistro
Houston

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Michael Cimarusti
Providence
Los Angeles

Dominique Crenn
Atelier Crenn
San Francisco

Jeremy Fox
Rustic Canyon
Santa Monica, CA

Corey Lee
Benu
San Francisco

Ludo Lefebvre
Trois Mec
Los Angeles

Travis Lett
Gjelina
Venice, CA

The James Beard Foundation is also pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of the Who’s Who award:
Suzanne Goin
Multiple James Beard Award–Winning Chef and Restaurateur, A.O.C., Lucques, and Tavern
Los Angeles

Evan Kleiman
Culinarian; Host of KCRW’s Good Food
Santa Monica, CA

Roger Berkowitz
President and CEO, Legal Sea Foods
Boston

Michel Nischan
Multiple James Beard Award–Winning Chef; Founder, President,
and CEO, Wholesome Wave
Bridgeport, CT

Rajat Parr
Domaine de la Cote
Lompoc, California

The 2017 America’s Classics Award Winners (announced in advance of the show)
Bertha’s Kitchen
Charleston, SC
Owners: Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley

Gioia’s Deli
St. Louis
Owner: Alex Donley

La Taqueria
San Francisco
Owner: Miguel Jara

Sahadi’s
Brooklyn, NY
Owners: Christina Sahadi Whelan, and Ron Sahadi

Schultz’s Crab House
Essex, MD
Owners: Karen and Bob McKinney

2017 JBF Humanitarian of the Year
Denise Cerreta
One World Everybody Eats
Salt Lake City

2017 JBF Lifetime Achievement Award
Nora Pouillon
Restaurant Nora
Washington, D.C.

 

Millennial food trends: mashups, munchies and more

March 8, 2017

There are about 69 million Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), also known as Generation Y, in the United States.  According to Simmons data, Millennials are significantly more likely than those over the age of 35 to express their individuality.  ReportLinker has released its latest Culinary Trend Tracking Series report, which explores how to cultivate the demanding but trend-setting Millennial generation as consumers by focusing on the following strategies and product categories:

Customization

Salad bar

Salad bars and self-service hot food stations set the stage in both food service and retail for a full-fledged customized dining lifestyle. Once customers get a taste of customization, they won’t look back.

Mashups

food

Taking up where fusion left off, the sky is the limit for the mashup trend, including a growing opportunity for consumers to get involved in the creation of the newest crazy-mixed-up food or beverage.

Munchies

Munchies

Ditching the three-meals-a-day standard, Millennials are reshaping how Americans eat, often opting for several snacks or small meals throughout the day. With 35 percent of Millennials trending toward snacks as meal replacements, munchies are now expected to be healthful, flavorful and portable.

Bowls

Food bowls

Burgers may still be king, but bowls are fast becoming the preferred vessel for everything from rice, noodles and salad to quinoa, acai and pok . Whether the ingredients are customized or pre-set, bowls allow for creative expression and plenty of room for healthy ingredients, all within a familiar format.

Shrubs and Digestives

Fruit shrub food

As consumers become more interested in probiotics, shrubs and digestive have taken on new life in the market as beverages, mixers, and flavoring agents.

SeaWorld Orlando launches Seven Seas Food Festival and partners with select Marriott brand hotels for discounts

March 7, 2017

SeaWordl has a 2017 promotion with select Marriott brand hotels.
(Photos courtesy of Marriott International)

SeaWorld Orlando has launched the inaugural Seven Seas Food Festival and has partnered with four Marriott brand hotels in Orlando to give special SeaWorld discounts and privileges to the hotels’ guests. The participating hotels are Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Residence Inn Orlando at SeaWorld, SpringHill Suites Orlando at SeaWorld and Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld.

According to a press release from Marriott International, the hotels’ guests will receive:

  • Complimentary front-of-the-line access at SeaWorld
  • Free scheduled transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Universal Orlando and Pointe Orlando
  • Complimentary access to the SeaWorld Rescue World Tour
  • 10 percent off dining at SeaWorld and Aquatica
  • 10 percent off merchandise purchases of $50 or more at SeaWorld and Aquatica
  • Early entry into SeaWorld on select days all summer.

Every Saturday from February 11 to May 13, 2017, SeaWorld Orlando will host the first Seven Seas Food Festival. Guests are invited to sample and savor cuisine from all over the world, as well as local craft beers. In addition, the park will showcase live performances from musical acts such as Grupo Mania and ZZ Top.

Ciao Bella increases container size without raising price

March 7, 2017

Ciao Bella
(Photo courtesy of Ciao Bella)

Ciao Bella, maker of premium, artisan gelato and sorbetto, announced a packaging overhaul aiming to evolve the brand to be more on trend, competitive, and “approachable.”  According to a Ciao Bella press release, while the new brand design maintains some familiarity, it also brings back its iconic “C” swirl reminiscent of its early days.  Clean, clear packaging depicts instantly recognizable ingredients that tie to the frozen treats’ natural colors. Along with the new logo, Ciao Bella, in an unprecedented move, is replacing its current 14-ounce jar with a larger, cylindrical shaped 16-ounce container without raising prices. The new Ciao Bella 16-ounce pints hits retail shelves nationwide in March 2017, and will maintain its $4.99 suggested retail price.

2017 South Beach Wine and Food Festival

February 26, 2017

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

José Andrés speaking at the Tribute Dinner honoring José Andrés and Louis Roederer owners Jean-Claude Rouzaud and Frédéric Rouzaud with Master of Ceremonies Anthony Bourdain presented by Bank of America, Part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series at Loews Miami Beach Hotel during the 2017 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival on February 25, 2017. (Nathan Valentine/WorldRedEye.com) (Photo courtesy of Food Network & Cooking Channel)

The 16th Annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) took place in Miami from February 22 to 26, 2017. Here is a rundown of the event’s highlights, according to a SOBEWFF press release:

February 23: Australian pop/rock group Little River Band performed at an event that was presented by Magic City Casino at Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach, sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company, and hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Alex Guarnaschelli.

February 24: Jr’s Gourmet Burgers in Miami Springs took home the ultimate crown as winner of the Heineken Light People’s Choice Award at the Heineken Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray.  Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox in Deerfield Beach won the judges over as winner of Red Robin’s Best of the Bash Contest, and David Bromstad, Ayesha Curry, Emilio Estefan, Jill Martin, Rev Run and Adam Richman chose Little Jack’s Tavern from Charleston, S.C. as winner of the Schweid & Sons Very Best Burger Award.  That same night, Miami hotspot Beaker & Gray took People’s Choice top honors at The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown hosted by Robert Irvine.

February 25: Internationally-acclaimed chef, restaurateur and recognized humanitarian José Andrés and Louis Roederer group owners Jean-Claude Rouzaud and Frédéric Rouzaud were honored at the Festival’s annual Tribute Dinner presented by Bank of America part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series on at Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Tanqueray brand ambassador Snoop Dogg played DJ after his KitchenAid Culinary Demonstration with Guy Fieri for a short spin to close out the day at the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village featuring Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents.  The party continued that night in the festival’s signature white tent in the sand beachside at Delano during Bacardi on the Beach.  Rev Run and DJ Ruckus entertained guests who feasted on food and drinks from about 20 of South Florida’s favorite spots. Bacardi on the Beach with Rev Run and DJ Ruckus kept attendees dancing late into the evening while they sipped on signature libations and late-night bites from 20 of South Florida’s favorite spots.

February 26: New for 2017, the festival partnered with nightlife visionary David Grutman to present an experience at the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village.  Grutman transformed the courtyard into a custom all-day experience that included a performance from electronic-dance artist Ingrosso in the afternoon. Menin Hospitality teamed up with the festival to bring live entertainment at Lucky Chopsticks: An Asian Night Market, hosted by Andrew Zimmern. The event featured more than 30 chefs, as well as interactive games from Ricky’s.

More than 65,000 people attended the event, according to SOBEWFF.

April 16, 2017 UPDATE:

The following is an excerpt from a SOBEWFF pres release:

The 16th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®), raising more than $2 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).  Attendees enjoyed more than 90 events taking place throughout two counties with the continued growth of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series, featuring more than 400 chefs, winemakers, spirits producers, and culinary personalities who joined them to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. during the five-day Festival. To date, the Festival has raised more than $26 million for the School.

Jose Garces opens three new restaurants at Tropicana Atlantic City

February 17, 2017

Celebrity chef/restaurateur Jose Garces has opened three new restaurants at Tropicana Atlantic City in New Jersey. Here are the details from a Tropicana press release:

Olón
Inspired by the tranquil beach town of Olón, Ecuador and the vibrancy of coastal culture, Olón (pronounced Ō-lon) provides Tropicana guests with a classically alluring, laid-back experience centered around Chef Jose Garces’ vision of fresh seafood. Guests enter through custom-crafted Ecuadorian gates and first encounter a 43-seat ceviche bar and lounge, where they can watch chefs prepare ceviche and other raw seafood specialties.

In the 128-seat dining area, every seat has sweeping ocean and boardwalk views. Beach-like cabanas with soft draperies create intimate nooks within the space while touches of natural light and fresh salt air create an inviting yet alluring atmosphere. In addition, wood shutters unfold to create two private dining areas for groupings of up to 60 people.  Weather permitting, seating for 40 will be available on a deck overlooking the beach.

The menu at Olón features Chef Garces’ family recipes, with a modern twist, as well as unique takes on time-honored favorites.  Traditional features include steamed clams, crab cakes, jumbo fried shrimp, and surf & turf.  More contemporary options include wood-fired Wagyu skirt steak, roasted chicken, jumbo gulf prawns, black bass, two-pound lobster, and king crab.

Olón will be open seven days a week with a lunch menu starting at 11:30 a.m. and dinner 5 – 11 p.m., midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations can be made on OpenTable or by calling 800-345-8767 . For Olón’s Atlantic City Restaurant Week specials, visit www.acrestaurantweek.com.

Okatshe
Okatshe (pronounced Ō- kaht-she) is Chef Jose Garces’ playful, modernized take on a traditional Japanese izakaya. Okatshe visually transports guests to the streets of Tokyo and provides a sense of discovery by taking guests through a small Japanese candy (okashi) storefront before entering the restaurant.

The full-service, 80-seat sit-down restaurant will serve a selection of small plates, yakitori, ramen, sushi and sashimi. Yakitori skewers include chicken, beef, pork, vegetable or seafood. Ramen noodles are served in three unique styles: Tokyo, light chicken and Dashi broth; Tonkastu, rich pork broth; and Okatshe, lobster dashi. Sushi, sashimi, and maki offerings include everything from scallop and wasabi tobiko to spicy rolls, black jack eel rolls, and the signature Tropicana roll.

The bar at Okatshe will include a curated selection of Japanese whiskeys, 50 sakes, beers, and specialty cocktails.

Okatshe will be open from 4 p.m.2 a.m. seven days a week. Reservations are not required.

Bar Olón
Bar Olón is the interactive, 60-seat double-sided bar and lounge located between the two restaurants. Featuring a large, walk-around bar, the setting includes a modernized beach vibe with a combination of varying seating types to accommodate individuals and small groups. Vintage looking fans provide a cool, “ocean” breeze with whimsical bongos and neon signage completing the nostalgic vibe.  An elevated platform with tropical mural wall-hanging backdrop will serve as a stage for live entertainment.

Bar Olón serves as the foundation of Olón’s extensive beverage programming, including: a custom, double-sided tap with 16 draft beer selections; 35 beers by-the-bottle; 20 wines by-the-glass; 75+ wines by the bottle and 8 hand-crafted specialty cocktails.  A light food menu will also be available featuring ceviche, sandwiches, and shareable small plates.

The bar will be open from 11:30 a.m.11 p.m. daily. Seasonal live, entertainment will be offered from 9 p.m. – midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and holiday weekends.

Management
Chef Jose Garces has tapped two Garces veterans to helm the Tropicana restaurants.

Chef de Cuisine Maria Schmidt is a Garces alumna. Her career in Garces’ kitchens has taken her from Philadelphia to Palm Springs and back again. In her 9 years with Chef Garces, Maria has served as Chef de Cuisine at Amada, Distrito, Tinto and 24.

Executive Director of Fine Dining Patrick Sterr is a South Jersey native who began his management experience in Atlantic City. He went on to manage and oversee several Chef Garces’ restaurants in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Chicago, and New York.

Designer
Dash Design of New York City was responsible for the interior and architectural design, in collaboration with SOSH Architects, for all three restaurants. This is Dash Design’s fourth collaboration with Chef Jose Garces.

Ben & Jerry’s launches six new frozen treats

February 15, 2017

Ben & Jerry’s has introduced six new frozen treats—three traditional dairy products and three non-dairy products

Dairy

Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s Truffle Kerfuffle, Oat of This Swirled and Urban Bourbon (Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s)

Urban Bourbon:  burnt caramel ice cream with almonds, fudge flakes, and a bourbon caramel swirl.

Truffle Kerfuffle: vanilla ice cream with roasted pecans, fudge chips and a salted chocolate ganache swirl.

Oat of this Swirled: buttery brown sugar ice cream with fudge flakes and oatmeal cinnamon cookie swirls.

Non-Dairy

Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Almond Brittle (Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s)

Caramel Almond Brittle: almond with salted caramel swirls and pieces of almond brittle

Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia (Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s)

Cherry Garcia: cherry with cherries and fudge flakes

Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s Coconut Seven Layer Bar (Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s)

Coconut Seven Layer Bar: coconut with fudge chunks, walnuts and swirls of graham cracker and caramel

Ben & Jerry’s has a reputation for not only providing creatively named, delicious treats but for also being socially responsible. In 2015, the company completed its transition to using entirely non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients by source as well as to fully source Fairtrade-certified ingredients wherever possible, which benefits farmers in developing countries.

Ben & Jerry’s fans can find the new pints in grocery stores nationwide in mid-February 2017.  Truffle Kerfuffle and Non-Dairy Caramel Almond Brittle will also be available in Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops.  To find the one nearest to you, click here.

Skinny Cow adds two new flavors to Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars

February 8, 2017

Skinny Cow has debuted a new look, updated recipes and two new flavors for its Skinny Cow Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars. The new flavors are Salt-Kissed Caramel and Chocolate Fudgetastic Swirl.

Here are more details from a Skinny Cow press release:

  • UPDATED SKINNY COW RECIPES: Skinny Cow has updated the recipes across its portfolio of frozen treats to shorten the ingredient list and remove unfamiliar ingredients. The updated recipes source milk from cows not treated with rBST*. While the recipes and ingredients have changed, the rich, indulgent flavors Skinny Cow fans have come to love remain the same.
  • SKINNY COW GREEK FROZEN YOGURT BARS: Skinny Cow has added Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars to its selection of indulgent frozen treats. The Skinny Cow Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars feature two decadent flavors – Salt-Kissed Caramel and Chocolate Fudgetastic Swirl – both with five grams of protein, and 100 and 110 calories respectively. Salted caramel whirls and swirls its way through sweet caramel Greek frozen yogurt in the Salt-Kissed Caramel bars, while the Chocolate Fudgetastic Swirl bar starts with creamy chocolate Greek frozen yogurt and adds in ripples of chocolate fudgey goodness. These new Skinny Cow Greek frozen yogurt products will soon be available in the frozen section at participating retail stores nationwide with a suggested retail price of $5.49.
  • SKINNY COW PACKAGING MAKEOVER: With the Skinny Cow brand’s new recipes comes new packaging that puts the spotlight on both the deliciously indulgent product and its quality ingredients. The new packaging also brings bright and bold energy to the brand and can be found in frozen sections of stores nationwide in the coming months.

*No significant difference has been shown between milk from rBST treated and non-rBST treated cows.