As you savor our special Food & Wine issue of INDULGE, imagine you are the guest of honor at a fabulous dinner party hosted by one of your closest friends. Our team considers each of our readers a dear friend, and — for you — we select every word and photograph as if they were ingredients in a treasured recipe. Only then do we ponder the plating, lovingly presenting every page.
We hope you enjoy getting to know our featured chefs and restaurateurs, each of whom creates in the name of quality, uniqueness and love. Yes, love — beginning with our cover stars, chef-partner-couple Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis of Stiltsville Fish Bar. My first visit to their classy yet laid-back bayside spot in Sunset Harbour lingers in my memory. Was it the mouthwatering Lobster Mac ’N’ Mushrooms or the fun Buffalo Fish Wings with their salty, lemony crunch? Maybe it’s the clever way they showcase the day’s fresh catch in ice-filled clawfoot tubs. Whatever it is, you’ll leave satisfied and eager to return for more.
And it’s just the same with one of my all-time favorite Argentine restaurants. Raised in Miami, I grew up on Graziano’s Provoleta Parrillera. Our family would place an order before perusing the rest of the menu, every time. The restaurant’s patriarch, Mario Graziano, instills the virtues of every immigrant family – work, work, work. After 25 years, Mario is still using his meat-cutting skills at their Coral Gables location. What an inspiration! Learn more about this month’s Rainmakers, Mario and Leo Graziano, and enjoy the tastes of Argentina without ever packing a suitcase.
Or perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the City of Light? Blend quirky with delightful, add a dash of amour, and you get La Fresa Francesa Petit Café and Gourmet Market. You can’t help but feel personally welcomed by owner Sandy Sanchez’s beaming smile. Pre- and post-dinner, the market entertains by showcasing chocolates, cheeses and wines while French music plays in the background. The café is designed to give you the sense you’re in the middle of Paris, and it’s so authentic that on a recent visit I found myself looking outside to confirm that yes, I was still in Hialeah!
If you’re in search of the next must-have kitchen gadget or entertaining tabletop piece, check out Claudia Miyar’s picks in The Local. For the kid at heart this Valentine’s Day, surprise them with a Tiffany twisty straw – everything sipped through it will taste utterly decadent. And speaking of decadence, designer José Levy’s unique art of fusing glasses to create a colorful and multipurpose menagerie is brilliant. I’ve often used wine glasses as tea-light vessels, so I am adding these exquisite pieces to my Valentine’s wish list.
And because February is the time of year in South Florida when we all want to be outdoors, grab yourself an Uber and spend an exhilarating day watching Olympic volleyball professionals make our Fort Lauderdale sand their own at the Beach Volleyball Major Series. The VIP experience delivers on ambiance, culinary delights and an opportunity to engage with these world-class athletes. I enjoyed it all at last year’s event and can’t wait for February 27 – don’t miss it! As CEO Hannes Jagerhofer says: “Goosebumps don’t lie.”
We want this issue to introduce you to a new restaurant, inspire you to experience one of our many fantastic events and encourage you to learn more about the Slow Food movement from ambassador Julie Frans. I love her passion for promoting food that is sustainably grown, healthful and full of flavor. I think you will too.
Hungry for more? Dig in, and enjoy the feast!