Leslie Iglesias says most guests describe Tira D. Toss, the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in a small strip mall in Doral that she co-owns with husband Flavio Trabano as a “hidden gem.”
After four years in business, the couple have found the moniker to be both a blessing and a curse — they suspect only 25 percent of locals know their restaurant exists.
“We’ve participated in a couple food festivals in Miami, PeruFest in Tamiami Park, the Coral Gables Food and Wine Festival … but there was nothing of the sort in our own community, our own backyard, so, naturally when we learned about the Doral Food and Wine Festival we instantly jumped at the opportunity,” said Trabano, 42, who was born in Iquitos, Peru, and has been living in Miami for more than two decades.
The Doral Food and Wine Festival, Nov. 5-6 in Downtown Doral Park, was organized by Events Marketing Network, a production and promotions company based in Miami, with the aim of providing a platform for local restaurants like Tira D. Toss to gain exposure and showcase their cuisine.
The event will feature about two dozen local restaurants from which ticket-holders can sample bite-sized servings of menu staples.
Iglesias, Trabano and the Tira D. Toss staff will serve their classic ceviche, rocotito roll — a sweet plantain, cream cheese and avocado roll topped with kani kama, sesame seeds, scallions, house rocotito and eel sauce — and Taquitos D’ Lomo.
“Our Taquitos D' Lomo are a small version of a lomo saltado, which is a traditional Peruvian dish ... all Peruvian restaurants have it,” said Iglesias, 32.
“And I think it’s very popular among people from other Spanish-speaking countries as well because it has meat, tomatoes, red onions, un guiso [stew], and a few other ingredients usually found in Latin American cuisine.” s
“But at Tira D. Toss, since we’re a fusion restaurant, we said ‘OK, let’s draw from our [Asian] influences and take a crispy wonton and then take something so traditionally Peruvian as lomo saltado, and mix the two.”
Trabano and Iglesias say events like the festival are great chances to interact one-on-one with the public, something they say can be lost in a more traditional and hectic restaurant environment.
“One of the things we enjoy the most is being able to stand back and watch as people take that first bite … being able to see that smile start to form on each person's face or hear their comments about the flavors right away, answer any questions about the ingredients they may have,” Trabano said.
“There are so many restaurants in Doral and it seems as if every day a new one opens, but what we want people to walk away with the most when they leave Tira D. Toss is that we’re a family. We strive to create a family environment. I made this restaurant with and for my family so that people can enjoy it with theirs.”
At Patacon Pisao, a Colombian restaurant in Doral for more than 20 years, it’s also a family affair. Andres Farid Patiño, 38, moved from Colombia three months ago to help his sister, who owns it, run the business as general manager. He’s looking to expand.
“My sister has done such a wonderful job of establishing the restaurant’s name and brand in South Florida and making it a favorite among Colombians and locals, but now it’s time to branch out and innovate,” he said.
Patacon Pisao’s participation in the Doral Food and Wine Festival will kick off Patiño’s plan to take the restaurant to a new level beyond their second location, in Kendall. He’s flying in top Colombia chef Rey Guerrero to create a special menu for the festival.
Guerrero, who was born in Cali but whose entire family is from the Pacific region city of Buenaventura, specializes in Colombia’s Pacific cuisine at his Rey Guerrero Pescaderia Gourmet restaurant in Bogota. A veteran of TV cooking competitions in his homeland, he is touted as celebrity chef.
Guerrero will be in Miami until Nov. 18 and will create a limited-time-only lunch and dinner menu at Patacon Pisao. He’ll be at the festival serving an assortment of “teasers” made from ingredients typical to Colombia’s Pacific Coast such as borojó, a small fruit native to Colombia’s Chocó province and Ecuador’s Esmeraldas province and chontaduro, an orange-colored palm fruit native to South and Central America, among others.
If You Go
The Doral Food and Wine Festival will feature chef showdowns, culinary celebrity appearances and live music. Local wine experts will host brief on-site educational 'wine and dine' workshops. An average of $7 per ticket sold will be donated to the Autism Speaks Foundation.
The event will take place in Downtown Doral Park, 8401 NW 53th Street, 6 to 11 p.m. Nov. 5 and 2-5 p.m. Nov. 6.
Tickets range from $75 to $200. doralfoodandwinefestival.com.