Slow Food Miami is accepting nominations through Dec. 1 for its annual Snail of Approval awards, which honor local restaurants and shops that support the nonprofit’s mission of good, clean, fair food for all.
We asked Slow Food Miami’s volunteer leaders to tell us what they love about last year’s crop of Snail of Approval winners. To submit a nomination for this year’s awards, which will be announced in the spring, visit slowfoodmiami.org.
Capri: Each bite here takes me on a journey. The oyster mushroom wonton ravioli with tomato sauce and the baby arugula topped with the show-stopping parmesan tuile are the perfect bites for an awesome night. Everything from the presentation to the flavor and texture is simply dynamite.
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Natacha Payen, Slow Food Miami membership director
Chef Adrianne’s: From the moment you walk in, you know it’s going to be great. Chef Adrianne’s wine-country inspiration is felt in the atmosphere, and her use of local ingredients is what makes every bite full of pure flavor!
Traci-Leigh Curran, education director
The Cypress Room and Restaurant Michael Schwartz: One of my favorite Snail of Approval chefs is Michael Schwartz. His passion for locally sourced ingredients is apparent in every bite. You know if you go to one of his restaurants it’s going to be fresh and delicious.
Michele Benesch, president
Huahua’s Taqueria: This is the Slow Food answer to fast food: delicious and fresh food that just happens to be made quickly. I love that there’s a spot where my family can stop for a short meal or snack that includes fresh and local ingredients. Plus, grilled corn with spicy mayo — how can you go wrong?
Amy Stokes, vice president
Naoe: Chef Kevin Cory has a broad respect for “place.” In his gorgeous omakase meals, the dishes that shine the brightest feature local produce personally selected at Homestead’s Robert is Here and presented with pride.
Serena Berra, marketing director
Oak Tavern: Chef David Bracha’s Oak Tavern serves plates like suckling pig with creamy cheddar grits and mushroom-crusted NY strip steak with truffle butter, so you are bound for a delightful dining experience. The bar also offers a nice mix of handcrafted cocktails and local craft beers.
Nirka Burns, secretary
Ortanique: I have enjoyed Ortanique on the Mile for more than a decade. The ambiance inside is a reflection of the fun and eclectic menu, and the service is always stellar. My favorites are the hogfish, bread pudding and mango tres leches. Don’t leave without one of their famous mojitos!
Sean Reichert, member at large
Thea’s Pizzeria: A hidden gem nestled in the new Life & Sciences Building next to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Fresh, clean, made-from-scratch food. My favorites include the signature Thea Pizza with Gorgonzola, walnuts and truffle oil, and the housemade gelato. Simply the best, my friends.
Luis Robaina III, director of social events
Tongue & Cheek: Chef-owner Jamie DeRosa offers a killer ambiance, bottomless bloody marys and the perfect beef-cheek burger; one of my favorite Sunday brunch spots.
Michelle Chereque, director of fundraising events
JugoFresh: There are not many options for quick and healthy meals to grab on the go, so I felt fortunate when a JugoFresh opened just minutes from my house. Everything is so fresh and tasty, and I always leave feeling like I did my body a favor.
Melissa Dominguez, farm liaison director
Proper Sausages: The full butcher shop with sustainably sourced meats, poultry, local produce and artisanal products is my principle source for all things meat. My true love remains the lamb and harissa sausage. Proper also sources the best pork belly and rib-eye steaks you can find anywhere in Miami — guaranteed.
Carol López-Bethel, director of development
The Market: A gem in the heart of Coral Gables. It’s my one-stop shop where I can get a green juice, organic produce, farm-fresh eggs and a cold-brew Panther coffee. Each morning, I make sure to check Instagram to see their daily sandwich special, which almost always features local ingredients served on Zak the Baker bread.
JJ Snow Hansen, treasurer
Wolfe’s Wine Shop: Long before supporting small farmers came into fashion, Wolfe’s has been a trusted source for wines that are personal, not commercial. Their passion is contagious!
Cynthia Seaman, director of hidden kitchens
Chef David Schwadron: It is great that Slow Foods is made up of a larger culinary community than just restaurants, giving conscientious diners a variety of ways to support the movement. I have an extra special admiration for chef David since he helped raise money to put a garden at his kids’ school this year.
Julie Frans, farm-to-table director
Lasso the Moon: I always get excited when I find out that I am at an event that Lasso the Moon is catering. Their food, cocktails and decor always keep local and seasonal in mind.
Wendy Levitz, director of gardens
Lulo Pasta: Handmade asiago-stuffed gnocchi with caramelized onions and kale from Lulo’s was a hit at this year’s Snail of Approval event.
Lisa Newman, vice president
The Naked Bite: Creative, healthy and delectable food. Talented chef Amber Antonelli will delight you whether it be through her informative and fun interactive cooking classes, her catering or her private chef services. Ingredients are all local, organic and sustainable, and dishes can be prepared vegan or gluten-free.
JoEllen R. Strump, cookbook director