Over the past few years, Clay Conley has cemented himself as one of South Florida’s most acclaimed chefs. Fresh off his fourth James Beard Award nomination, Chef Clay has managed to keep the doors swinging off the hinges at his string of successful restaurants; Grato, Buccan, Imoto, and The Sandwich Shop. Somehow, Clay found time to answer a few of my questions. Read on:
Top Gun or Top Chef?
Top Gun. I’m all about Goose.
Truffle Fries or Cajun Fries?
Eggs… scrambled, fried, poached?
Favorite movie about cooking?
Eat Drink Man Woman
First food memory?
Back in Maine, racing lobsters across the kitchen floor before we cooked them.
What chef has influenced your cooking the most?
Chef Todd English
If you weren’t a chef what would you be?
Culinary trend that excites you?
Culinary trend that irritates you?
Favorite music to listen to in the kitchen?
Jazz, Classical, Phish, Jerry Band, Afternoon Delight Radio… all depends on the day.
Favorite meal to cook at home?
One pot seafood stews like Cioppino, Bouillabaisse, Moqueca….
Best meal you ever had? Where?
As I get older, its not as much about the food as it is about the company or the surrounding. I have been so blessed to travel the world and have amazing meals everywhere I’ve gone. It’s never the Michelin stars that get me.
Last meal on Earth… what is it?
That’s easy… a Cheeseburger.
Lamb and Easter go together like peas and carrots. This soulful dish hits all the right notes and pairs perfectly with any young cognac.
- 2 racks of lamb
- 4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4.tbsp. peanut oil *can substitute grape seed or canola oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups pearl couscous
- 3 cup chicken broth
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 garlic cloves; crushed
- 3 star anise pods
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1 cup chopped mint
- 1/2 cup chopped tarragon
- 1/4 cup chopped oregano
- 2 tbsp. sherry vineagar
- 2 tsp. red chile flakes
- 1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
The How To...
For the lamb…
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Cover the racks in balsamic vinegar and marinate for 30 minutes. Next, brush on oil and season racks with salt and pepper. Place both racks on a rimmed baking sheet, and insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the racks. Roast racks until meat thermometer reads 125 degrees and remove from the oven. Carryover cooking occurs outside of the oven and brings the lamb up another 10 degrees to about 135 (medium). Let meat rest for about 10 minutes, then sear each rack one at a time in a cast iron skillet with a little oil over medium high heat. Make sure to get a nice sear on all sides. Once both racks are seared, let them rest for about 10 minutes. Carve them into single or double chops when ready to serve.
For the couscous…
Add cinnamon sticks, garlic, star anise pods, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds to a spice bag.Add spice bag, broth, and 1 tbsp. of salt to a medium saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Spread couscous in one layer on a baking sheet or plate and cool 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the chimichurri…
Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until chopped. Add the mint, tarragon, oregano, and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped. Move mixture to a medium bowl, and add the vinegar, a pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until the salt has dissolved. Stir in the olive oil.
This wholesome dish is my ode to Spring. Asparagus and earthy Hen Of The Woods mushrooms, nestled in a bed of perfectly al dente pappardelle nd crackling prosciutto. Paired with cognac, it's the perfect way to elevate a meal.
- 12 oz. fresh pappardelle
- 1 bunch asparagus; trimmed
- 12 oz. medley of mushrooms (i.e. maitake, oyster, crimini, chanterelles, and/or shiitake)
- 1 medium shallot; diced
- 2 garlic cloves; grated
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme; chopped
- 1 tsp, fresh oregano; chopped
- 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese; grated
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
The How To…
Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Heat remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil in same pot over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms and asparagus, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, about 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Proceed to season with salt and pepper, be sure to stir often until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of the pot, give it about 5−7 minutes.
In the meantime, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3-4 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer pasta to the pot with veggie mixture and add 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Divide pasta among plates. Top with more thyme, grated parmesan, and crumbled prosciutto; season with pepper.
Citi Taste of Tennis kicks off 2018 with a proverbial culinary bang! James Beard nominated Chef Richard Blais, best known as the winner of Bravo’s Top Shelf All-Stars, is slated to be the headlining chef at our kickoff event in Indian Wells. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Blais went on to cook for a plethora of influential chefs, in some of the most hallowed kitchens in the culinary world; Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, Chef Daniel Boulud at Daniel, Chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, and Chef Ferran Adria at el Bulli.
With a pedigree like this, it’s no wonder that Chef Blais has parlayed his ubiquitous success as a chef, into becoming an acclaimed restauranteur, cookbook author, culinary lifestyle influencer, and sought after TV personality. Not bad for a guy who’s cooking career started at McDonalds. With the help of his favorite cookbook, “Nose To Tail” by Fergus Henderson, Richard’s palate has evolved quite nicely since his days as Poissonier In Chief. Whether it’s grubbing on stuffed clams with lemon juice, scarfing down a Japanese omurice omelette, or grilling nice big steaks in the backyard of his San Diego abode, Chef Blais knows a little something about tending to needy appetites. Lucky for those who’ll be visiting Indian Wells to get the full Richard Blais experience.
Citi Taste of Tennis is an event series that kicks off major tennis tournaments throughout North America, and features food prepared by leading chefs and appearances by the world’s top tennis players!
With 115 tournament titles, 16 Grand Slams Doubles titles, and 2 Olympic medals (1 gold, 1 bronze), SoCal natives Bob and Mike Bryan are undisputedly the most successful tennis duo of all time. As if their on-court exploits weren’t enough on their own, the fact that they’re twins makes all that they’ve accomplished even more remarkable. Their good works extend far beyond the tennis court as well as the brothers are recognized for their generous charity work through their non-profit organization, the Bryan Bros. Foundation, which aims to support at-risk youth. The brothers are slated to play at this year’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, and so we wanted to give you a glimpse into the minds of this dynamic duo.
The level of success the Bryan Brothers’ have achieved over the course of their career is due in no small part to their fierce competitive streak. However, their competitiveness isn’t just reserved for their opponents. On who would win between the two, Bob gives his rather diplomatic assessment. “Depends on who you ask. We are both fiercely competitive and play sets against each other all the time.” Mike though was a bit more forthcoming. “2017 was Bob’s year. But, in 2018 there is a new sheriff in town.” Even though there may be some discrepancy when it comes to their head to head matches, the vote is unanimous when it comes to who their partner would be, if it weren’t each other. “John Isner definitely. That way we would never have to play the ball back against him ever again.”
After 20 years on the pro tour, the Bryan Brothers have had some tremendous successes on the court. When asking them to reflect on their storied career, the duo recalled the moments that were particularly meaningful. “The Olympic Games were spectacular! Standing on that podium with the National Anthem playing was a surreal moment. Also, the 2007 Davis Cup win will always mean a lot to us. The US fans were amazing and being able to share that win with our teammates, James Blake and Andy Roddick were very special.” Let the brothers tell it, their pre-match rituals also played a role in their success as well. Says Bob, “We’re both just a tad superstitious. During tournaments, we eat the same meals at the same restaurants, use the same showers in the locker room, and play the same songs all week long. Upbeat, up-tempo music, sometimes we like to mix in a little rap, like Jay Z, Tupac, Biggie is always good." Mike adds, “We even have preferences on where we sit during the matches. I always sit on the far side of the umpire while Bob sits closer to the umpire. “
In addition to their foundation, off the court, the Bryans have many interests, but their love for music is paramount. “If we weren’t tennis players we would 100%, be rock star musicians. Next to tennis, our passion is music. Our good friends, James Valentine and Jim Bogios live the best life. They perform great music, never lose a match, and always walk off the stage with a smile on their face.”Running a close second to their love of music is their passion for food.
As you can imagine the Bryans have had some amazing dining experiences during their years globetrotting all over the world while on tour. When talking about their favorites they waste no time. “Nobu at Indian Wells. The food is fresh, delicious AND you can watch great tennis while eating. Our other go-to is L’Entrecote in Paris, France. We eat there every night during the French Open and never get tired of it. So simple but so delicious: steak, fries and their sauce is to die for.” When it comes to local SoCal cuisine, Bob goes simple, “In & Out, all the way! I always order, a Double Double and French Fries. Animal Style, of course! Also, this hole in the wall Mexican food spot in Camarillo, CA. Hands down the best wet chili verde burrito ever.” Now if Mike had it his way, he’d load up on gluten. “I’ve been gluten-free for 15 years now. I would eat all the pasta, and all the pizza I could get my hands on.” One more thing they agree on, “The margaritas from Adobe Grill in La Quinta!” They are twins after all.
Citi Taste of Tennis is an event series that kicks off major tennis tournaments throughout North America, and features food prepared by leading chefs and appearances by the world’s top tennis players!
From music industry exec, to wine harvest inter, and all the pitstops in between.
I really enjoyed the experience of getting to tell my story this way. My life has been kind of a wild, and unpredictable ride and I wouldn't have it any other way. Hopefully you enjoy the listen. Thank you to Suzanne Yeagley of You Got Jobbed for the opportunity. Link to interview below;
Interview Link: goo.gl/XNUZC7
“First week of harvest in the books, so let’s assess the situation. My hands… mangled. My back… feels like it switched places with Benjamin Button’s. My feet… excruciating, totally jacked up… and where the hell are my damn work boots?! Thanks Irma!” … journal entry, 9/28/17
I’ve always had a penchant for wine, but my fascination with winemaking was piqued by movies like “Bottle Shock”, “Sideways”, and “Walk In The Clouds” which all tend to present wine and world associated with it through rose’ colored glasses. This past Fall, I decided to go on a viticultural crusade, with the hopes of landing a position as a wine harvest intern for the coming season. However, given the fact that I had no wine making experience whatsoever, I tried to maintain a cautiously optimistic vibe about my prospects. Undeterred, I sent out slews of emails to all the vineyards I could think of in the hopes of hearing back. After a few weeks, I finally got an invite from Wynne Peterson-Nerdy, the head winemaker at Chehalem Wines, a family owned winery based in Newberg, Oregon famed for their Pinot Noirs.
It’s taken me up till now to decompress and fully reflect on my harvest experience at Chehalem. In a nutshell, working a harvest was one of the most intense, yet rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in my life. During harvest, days start long before dawn and are filled to the brim with a myriad of arduous tasks. Whether you’re sorting grapes, scaling ladders and catwalks to do punch-downs and pump-overs, washing barrels, excavating tons of pomace (grape skins, and seeds) out of fermentation tanks, barreling down (moving young wine into barrels), or prepping the winery for the arrival of new fruit from the vineyard, idle moments are pretty non-existent. As you can imagine coffee is a cherished commodity during harvest.
The daily life of a harvest intern involves many chores, but the one that monopolizes the most time by far is cleaning. Whether it’s getting fermentation tanks ready for new grapes, hosing down the conveyer, washing out bins, cleaning out the fruit presses, or spraying down the cellar floor, cleaning is continuous throughout the day. Now let’s talk about punch-downs and pump-overs… the bane of a harvest intern’s existence. For punch-downs, it requires climbing on top of fermentation tanks, some measuring as much as 12 feet off the ground, armed with nothing but your courage and a tool reminiscent of an extra long, toilet plunger. Using this tool, requires you to physically push down with your entire body weight to break up and immerse the cap which is made up of the grape seeds and skins that have floated to the top. Some of these caps can be a half a foot thick or more which can make it really tough to break up, and the fact that we were doing about 20 -25 punch-downs a day, easily makes this one of the most physically taxing jobs during harvest. Then there are the pump-overs, where the fermenting juice from the bottom of the tank is pumped back over the top, in order to recirculate the mixture. This is done with the help of Medusa, a cumbersome hydraulic pump equipped with long heavy hoses.
Simply put, harvest is a total grind, 10- to 12-hour days with only one day off a week. This crucible of a schedule coupled with all physicality harvest work entails, takes an exacting toll on your entire body. Speaking for myself, after the first week of harvest I was a total wreck physically. My hands were blistered, severely chapped, and I developed joint pain in my fingers. I suffered from severe lower back pain, and then there were my feet. As I alluded to in my journal entry, due to Hurricane Irma I didn’t get my work boots in time for harvest, so for the first week I had to wear a pair of unforgiving rubber boots that offered no support for my arch-less feet. Needless to say, I could barely walk after the work day was over because my feet were in so much pain. The flipside to all this work is that I was in much better shape at the end, than when I started.
Judging from my account, you may think that I may have regretted ever having decided to work a wine harvest. The fact is nothing could be further from the truth. As difficult as harvest season was, I’m so glad to have been able to experience it. My main takeaways… there is something to be said about working with your hands, and creating something that people will eventually get to experience is truly a rewarding feeling. Being so closely connected to nature, and not to mention waking up everyday and being surrounded by the beautiful topography of the vineyard, is something that I miss more than I had expected to. And last but not least, the relationships I was able to build with the other harvest interns and the crew at the winery. Once you make it through harvest, there’s a bond that’s forged by this common experience you’ve completed together, and it’s one that I won't soon forget.
Occupying the space vacated by Tom Collicchio’s Beachcraft, Habitat is housed inside the uber swanky 1Hotel South Beach. Habitat’s subtlety exquisite aesthetic features a gracefully intimate neutral-colored space, with natural wooden planks, ocean driftwood, and forest greenery accents throughout. Habitat’s aesthetic refinement continues to the plate with clean, thoughtful, flavor-forward dishes that draw inspiration from the elements.
From the Sea; Hamachi Aguachiles, a bright and flavorful dish with watermelon juice, guajillo chili pepper oil, radishes, and cilantro. Stone Crab Fettuccini tossed in miso citrus butter, jalapeño, and bok choy leaf. Japanese Amberjack with lemongrass romesco, garlic chips, and hazelnuts.
From the Land; Black Truffle Bomba Rice with dry shiitake, and cultivated mushrooms. Baked Burrata with pumpkin romesco, almond brown butter, and country toast.
Forged in Fire; Iberico Pork Ribs sauced with bulgogi bbq, gochujang, and topped with kimchee apples. Wood Grilled Spanish Octopus with miso rouge, piquillo pepper, baba ganoush, and pine nuts.
From the Air; Key Lime Tequila Pie with a brown butter blondie crust, yuzu lime cremeux, and tequila “ice cubes”.
Habitat is located inside the 1 Hotel South Beach, 2341 Collins Avenue on South Beach. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 12PM to 4PM and dinner service, from 6PM to 11:30PM. Phone: 305-604-6700.
Photo Credit (interior photos) - Juan Fernando Ayora
After completing a 3-week wine harvest internship at Chehalem Winery I was ready for some much needed downtime, and Portland happened to be only 40 minutes away. The City Of Roses is a city known far and wide for it's craft beer scene, however it's gastronomic vibes are nothing to scoff at either. I had 48 hours to soak in as much as I could and I did just that. Click HERE for a link to my piece featured by Hop Culture.
Back by popular demand, I've put together a playlist just in time for the weekend. These vibes are inspired by Issa Rae and her groundbreaking show Insecure. This show features great sonics and I wanted to pay homage to it with this set. Click HERE to listen. Enjoy!
This dish has got it all going on in the flavor department and it's a breeze to prepare. The perfect meal when you're trying to impress in a pinch. This recipe serves 4.
- 2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 garlic cloves; minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 8-10 uncooked large shrimp; peeled & deveined
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. small fresh mint leaves
- Fine sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
The How To
For the pea puree, cook peas in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 4 minutes. Drain peas and keep about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Set two spoon fulls of the peas aside for the garnish when plating the dish.
Place remaining peas in a food processor along with the cheese, 1 tbsp. of the mint leaves, butter, and garlic. Puree pea mixture, adding pea cooking liquid little at a time in order to achieve a light and creamy texture. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer to a bowl, cover and let stand at room temperature.
Wash shrimp with cold water then season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Dice bacon and cook in skillet over medium high heat until golden brown and a touch crispy. Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
When ready to plate, spoon puree into center of plates. Place 2 - 3 shrimp onto each plate, arranging atop puree. Sprinkle with reserved peas from pea puree, bacon, lemon zest, roughly chopped mint leaves, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle each serving with extra- virgin olive oil and serve.
Summertime is around the corner, and there’s nothing better than throwing back some bivalves, paired with a great vino. For the newbie, deciding on which oysters to try, and how to actually go about eating them can be a little daunting. Admittedly it was for me, so I figured I’d put together a mini dossier on all things oyster to help you latecomers out.
How To Order: Keep It Simple
The best way to eat oysters is nice and chilled on the half shell. Nothing wrong with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a dash of cocktail sauce. However let’s not forget that the whole point to eating oysters is to experience the actual oyster without all the extra noise.
Which Is Which???
Essentially there are five different types of oysters so here goes:
For all you salt lovers out there, these varieties naturally occur from Canada all the way down the East Coast, and across the Gulf. Think Bluepoints, Wellfleets, Malpeques, and Beausolais. They maintain a tear-drop shape, and have smooth shell ridges. Flavor wise they generally have a crisper, brinier, savory finish.
Most farm-raised oysters in the Pacific Northwest are Pacific oysters. Common varieties include Penn Cove Select, Fanny Bay, and Kusshi. They've got pointed shells that are usually rough and jagged. They're creamy in texture and posses fruit and vegetal flavors.
For those with a sweet tooth these babies are the ones for you! These oysters used to be lumped in with Pacifics, but it was discovered that they are their own species. They are small and deep, like a little cup. Pair these with a nice Sauvignon Blanc and you’re golden! The melon notes in the wine will bring out the natural fruitiness of these oysters.
The only oyster species native to the Pacific Northwest, they were almost wiped out during the Gold Rush in San Francisco. They’re tiny, even smaller than Kumamotos and more shallow, with more intense, coppery flavor.
Although many European Flats are frequently called Belons, they technically can only be called Belons if they are from the Brittany region of France near the Belon River. They have a meaty, almost crunchy texture, and impart an intense, metallic, almost anchovy like flavor that likes to hang around your palate for a while. These can be hard to find.
These varieties are the Holy Grail of oysters so count yourself lucky if you come across them;
These prized varieties have a springy texture with a sweet, briny, clean flavor and a mineral finish. They are also notoriously hard to grow.
Glidden Point Oysters
One woman oversees every single one of these and is a perfectionist about growing them slowly in very cold water. Glidden Points are grown forty feet deep in the Damariscotta River Estuary, in Maine making them perhaps the deepest and coldest-grown oysters on the East Coast. They have deep cups, firm plump meats, and a crisp, complex flavor which is both briny and sweet.
Apalachicola Bay Oysters
Food critics and restaurant owners swear by these oysters declaring them to be among the finest, if not the finest in the world. Apalachicola, which is located in the Florida panhandle. These oysters, are less salty than typical, their meaty textured flesh is clean and dense, and imparts a deliciously mellow flavor.
Know The Lingo
"Sweet" - when the oyster is kind of mild and sweet instead of salty, and often these come from the Pacific Northwest. Kumamotos are super sweet.
"Melon" - associated with Washington state oysters most often. Fruity notes.
“Creamy” - when the oyster is buttery and not as firm. Kusshis are super creamy.
"Fresh Biscuit” - beginners oysters that don't have a super-strong briny flavor, like Beausolais.
“Cucumber" - Fanny Bays oysters often carry a cucumber like finish.
“Plump" - usually due to slow growth in nutrient, algae-rich water.
“Springy" - usually due to cold, deep water like you find on the East Coast.
“Copper" - when oysters have a very strong, acidic or rusty flavor.
If you happened to attend high school in the 90's like I did and were a fan of Chris Cornell and the bands he was a part of, I think we all feel like we lost a little bit of ourselves upon hearing the news of his tragic passing. His voice defined my high school years. This playlist I put together is my way of paying tribute to the legacy of Chris Cornell... #RIPChrisCornell
Spotify Playlist Link
I liken Jardin to that person you just happen to notice by chance in a crowded bar. Not clamoring for attention, but there’s just something about them that compels you to walk over and say hello. Conversation ensues, and you find yourself becoming more and more enthralled by them. As the moments pass, their subtle beauty becomes apparent, and you begin to wonder how you didn’t notice them sooner.
At the beginning of “Restaurant Row” on Clematis, Jardin lies tucked away with only a small sign hanging overhead announcing it’s presence. The 3,300 square foot space is unpretentious. However when talking about the food coming out of this kitchen, that’s quite a different matter. Jardin is the opus of executive chefs Jordan Lerman and his wife Stephanie Cohen, both alumni of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. Powerhouses in their own right, each honed their skills in some of New York’s most illustrious restaurants and bakeries, including Michelin standard bearers like Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Ai Fiori, and Dominique Ansel Bakery.
The menu offers reasonably priced dishes that boast seasonal local ingredients, presented in a markedly elevated yet approachable style. Chefs Jordan and Stephanie each bring their own distinct inspirational reference points to party. Chef Jordan’s inspiration was forged from his time spent in Israel melded with his local Florida roots, while Chef Stephanie's is derived from her South American background buoyed by classic French techniques. Their take on flavor forward casual fine dining is accentuated by robust handcrafted cocktails, local craft brews, and desserts abound with decadent innovation and creativity. From a culinary perspective, Jardin is that wallflower in a crowded room that I’m glad I got to know.
Jardin is located at 330 Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. The restaurant features Happy Hour from 4 - 7PM, 6PM on Saturdays. Dinner is served Tuesday - Saturday from 5 - 10PM. Sundays beginning May 21st will feature their Caja China Sunday Brunch. The restaurant is closed Monday.
For Reservations: 561-440-5273
Nestled amongst the towering high-rises in downtown Miami’s bustling Financial District, Pawn Broker sits perched inconspicuously atop the historic Langford Hotel. To describe this stylish Prohibition Era-esque cocktail bar in a nutshell… imagine if Boardwalk Empire and SoHo House had a baby, Pawn Broker would be the prodigious result. The brainchild of James Beard nominated chef and Pubbelly Group (Pubbelly Station, Pubbelly Sushi, Pubbelly Noodle Bar) founder Jose Mendin, Pawn Broker offers that ever-awesome mix of imaginative cocktails, delectable bar bites, and thoughtfully curated music vibes.
First and foremost, Pawn Broker’s cocktail menu is beyond reproach. Reimagined old school classics, served in vintage styled glassware, Pawn Broker’s whimsical cocktails transport you to a bygone era. Their signature creation, Giggle Water is a gin cocktail served in a miniature Victorian style bathtub topped with lavender foam perfectly embodies what makes Pawn Broker unique. The menu, inspired by chef Jose’s “Puerto-Miami” heritage and countless food travels, features small plates seething with rich, bold flavors. Plates like their Grilled Lamb Ribs with black pepper honey & harrisa yogurt, or their Yellowtail Taquitos with ginger-sesame soy & miso caramel are prime examples of chef Jose’s flavor forward menu offerings.
On Sundays, Pawn Broker serves up a mad delicious Boozy Bar Brunch, offering a succulent assortment of Bloody Mary cocktails, fresh Raw Bar, brunch eats, and Rose wine specials. In addition, Tea Time, the latest inspired concept at Pawn Broker, features three punch concoctions paired with your choice of liquor: Pawn Commix (Passion Fruit, Mango Puree, Grapefruit, Sage), Grown Up Tea (Chai Tea, Ginger, Tarragon) and Smoked Up (Smoked Pineapple, Xocolate Bitters, Habanero Agave) all exclusively served up 5PM - 8PM & 11PM - close, Sunday thru Thursday.
Pawn Broker is located at 121 SE 1st Street Miami, FL 33131. Call for reservations and hours of operation; (305) 420-2200.
Conventional wisdom would suggest, given that Miami is considered part of the South, that hefty plates of Southern comfort wouldn’t be hard to find. Well you would be wrong. This fact wasn’t lost on restauranteur John Kunkel who opened Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in 2011, and hence filled a gaping void in the market.
Yardbird is a 170-seat rustic yet aesthetically refined space. Imagine a farmhouse touched by Ralph Lauren; distressed wood flooring, reclaimed barn wood wall accents, mason jar ceiling lamps, and tufted cream leather bench seating. Propped up by the Holy Trinity of Southern cuisine; Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken (brined for 27 hours, dredged in cayenne-spiced flour), Buttermilk Biscuits (baked fresh daily), and Mac & Cheese (featuring five artisanal cheeses), Yardbird’s menu is rounded out by a bevy of other Southern mainstays. Skiller Cornbread, Mama’s Chicken Biscuit, Shrimp & Grits, and Watermelon & Farmer’s Cheese to just name a few. Yardbird also boasts a robust bar menu, which features over 75 craft bourbons. Crowd favorites include the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade, and their signature Bloody Mary made with bacon washed bourbon.
Yardbird remains a favorite haunt for locals and tourists alike so reservations are highly recommended, especially weekend nights and of course for their ever-popular Sunday Brunch.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, 1600 Lenox Avenue; (305) 538-5220; www.runchickenrun.com