Chumley’s in New York is the resurrection of an old speakeasy under Chef Victoria Blamey. The menu mixes American gastropub standards along with some bistro style favourites – the burger is medal worthy!
One of the owners of Bistro Mi Casa in San Miguel is world-renowned musician, Gil Gutierrez. He has performed at the Kennedy Center as well as Carnegie Hall, and on special nights, performs at the restaurant!
Finally, Miami has a worthy sushi counter with Tokyo trained chefs. Michelin starred in New York and with a location in Kuala Lumpur, the Azabu Miami offshoot has debuted, and it's a sublime and memorable experience. The sushi is traditional, of the freshest quality and was superb.
The food at Paon in Miami is cooked with depth and complexity by Chef Cassino. There are many options for carnivores, pescatarians, and vegetarians in a warm, friendly atmosphere, where the chef's talents are highlighted in every dish.
I may be away from Toronto this winter, but I am still keeping tabs on new restaurants. Look forward to you letting me know what you think about these about these as well as anything I should try on my return!
Zen Restaurant in Toronto aims to preserve the culture of Japanese cuisine, providing excellent service and beautifully prepared dishes using fresh, unique ingredients. It exceeded our expectations and lit up my umami sensors.
At Forte dei Marmi in Miami they go to great lengths to bring you the flavours of the Amalfi coast, using high-quality ingredients, exceptional regional specialties and inventive Italian cooking in a beautifully presented in a relaxed and vibrant setting.
The Norman Hotel is elegant and sophisticated and the staff is courteous, respectful and well-trained. It offers 24-hour concierge service, high-end interiors, and great personalized customer service. A stunning new addition to central Tel Aviv.
Chef Eyal is known for his flair at each of his restaurants but HaSalon epitomizes his philosophy of fresh food of the highest quality. The experience is a combination of texture, smell, taste and proper execution.
Everything about Popina in Tel Aviv is experience driven: from the ingredients to the immaculate plating and modernist methods. Choose a variety of dishes to taste all the flavours and cooking styles. It was definitely my best meal in Israel.
There's a buzz to La Petite Maison in Miami. The place exudes luxury, charm and style. They've really gone to great lengths in terms of hospitality, bringing in staff from the Dubai and London locations to assist the opening. If they can just refine the food, the discriminating clientele will return in droves.
Abraxas Tzafon is a unique, innovative and really fun spot. Everything we ate was absolutely given thought to in terms of flavour and presentation. Expect well-executed dishes, served in a relaxed atmosphere.
The first hotel from fashion designer Giorgio Armani resides in the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, in the heart of downtown Dubai. You couldn't ask for a better location with direct access to the world's largest shopping mall.
Bazaar Mar by Jose Andres at SLS Brickell offers a vibrant overwhelming mix of sophisticated and whimsical cuisine, in a playful, Mediterranean interior. The emphasis is on fresh fish from local and Caribbean waters. It is a meal to remember.
Miami's Toscana Divino offers a selection of traditional Tuscan and "moderna" fare. The dishes are unexpected and sophisticated. The chef believes in providing quality, flavour and freshness in the artisanal approach of "Fatto in Casa".
On a whim, I decided to try a new spot that I had heard nothing about. Located at 1099 NE 79th Street is a hidden gem you may not have heard of but you will be glad that you are now. Ferraro's Kitchen and Wine Bar is sure to impress.
I recently discovered Casa Gioia (which translates to "house of joy") in Miami – my new favourite bakery for 2016/2017. Everything is truly exceptional, artisanal and unique. It's a new local treasure for me, "sharing joy one bite at a time".
Shoushin Restaurant in Toronto only uses the best, purest and most authentic ingredients. The chef's methods are very exacting and you can taste the difference, with wild caught fish and handmade wasabi.
J&J BBQ in Toronto is dishing up some pretty amazing barbecue. Because of them, I might become a convert to this style of cooking, or even an addict! Their meats have light rubs, minimal sauce and lots of wood smoke flavour.
The food is never boring – it's truly unforgettable. When people ask me, what is my favourite restaurant in Toronto, Buca Yorkville is always on the top of my list. I am seriously impressed with the level of food, the knowledgeable and friendly staff, the high-end crowd and the remarkable creativity of the menu. Rob's food is a modern approach to dining without being gimmicky. Long live the king.
I am always seeking out new restaurant spots and I forget to revisit some of my favourites. I am embarrassed to say that is has been years since I have been back to Carisma, but you would never know it from the warm greeting we received from owners, Margi and Michael Pagliaro..
We experienced a warm welcome from the minute we walked through the doors. Cindy's menu features a beautiful range of ethnically diverse and seasonally driven dishes that spotlight her culinary approach to global cuisine. Still, I could detect some of her signature Island flavours in many of the descriptions on the menu.
The crowd is mostly young and hip, and there is a boisterous and energetic feel to it. The night I dined there, actress Jodie Foster was in the house too. I had been a couple of times when it first opened but I admit I hadn't been back in quite a while. I have to say even though I enjoyed it then, I think the kitchen has improved even more.
James Beard nominated journalist turned baker, Amy Rosen, spent months on end testing and perfecting the perfect cinnamon bun. Unsurprisingly, she's created a truly excellent product. The spirals of sticky, yet light and fluffy brioche pastry dough have the perfect crust on the bottom and are topped with a light glaze. I had mine right out of the oven, and Amy was there personally glazing my order.
Glass and Vine in Coconut Grove was created by Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award nominee and winner of the Food Network's show, Chopped, and Grove Bay Hospitality Group. The indoor/outdoor 200 seat restaurant is located in the heart of Peacock Park.
D Liche doesn't cut corners and it shows, they have really hit a home run with their product. The triple chocolate was off the charts delicious. It was moist, dense, intense in flavour and incredibly rich. It was not your average cupcake, surpassing the many previous versions I have tried. The cupcake "bar" has been raised.
I have my friend Fenwick to thank for recommending I try a new spot at 17070 West Dixie Highway in North Miami.
I am often asked for suggestions for not-so-fine dining, reasonably priced neighborhood restaurants that also serve great good.
I think the newly opened Lettuce and Tomato Gourmet Gastrobar fits the bill.
Bachour Bakery and Bistro in Miami is great for breakfast, lunch or brunch. Be sure to leave room for one of Bachour's breathtaking creations. He was a 2016 James Beard Awards Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist.
Montreal has a rich food culture which we have enjoyed exploring on our short trip there. One of the toughest reservations to snag was at the iconic restaurant Joe Beef at 2491 Notre-Dame West. We actually had to use connections to get in. It didn't help that it was voted the #4 best restaurant in Canada in 2016.
This is truly a foodie experience. Everything is well executed. Not only is it a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the food is adventurous and creative, and the servers are professional and attentive. They really catered to us and made us feel special.
Dandylion Restaurant in Toronto has consistently been on top lists of places to dine in Toronto. The approach to the contemporary, yet eclectic menu seems simple, but there is a complexity to each dish. The food is truly thoughtful and creative.
Everything in the shop is made in house – you can view the kitchen through a glass window and see the work first hand. I was told it is a three-day process to make the bonbons. They are the most beautifully hand-painted chocolates I have ever seen. They are almost too pretty to eat ... notice I said, "almost" ...
Bal Harbour Unscripted Art Project gives you the chance to meet your neighbours over a glass of wine, while enjoying an educational evening together. Through Unscripted I've been able to visit exclusive, private art collections and hear fascinating talks from some of the world's leading art experts.
JK has one of the largest pools on the island, with clean, comfy chairs and shade if needed. We are pampered at the pool by Michele, who looks after all our needs. The crowd is a great mix of young and older, from celebrities to jet setters to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Our evening had so much attention to detail in a fun ambience where we really felt welcome. Every dish was creative, whimsical and unique. Tickets is a palette adventure with everything cooked to a toothsome delight. It was an unforgettable experience, and a must visit for anyone interested in food. My favourite meal in Barcelona!
As you may know by now, I am always looking for new, unique discoveries – especially the delicious kind. Well, I believe I found another to share with you. Let me introduce you to Seed & Mill in the Chelsea Market.
If you are tired of large group, canned itinerary trips, and instead seek a smaller group with a more attentive host, and a slower pace where you can savour local tastes – this may be just the thing for you.
Just about everything was memorable, but one dish in particular that I loved was the roasted lamb loin over a nut and Armagnac spread accompanied by yucca and “guitar” shavings which envelop the whole dish in a light cypress aroma. This was placed on a video screen tablet that had flames shooting out. The roast pigeon with potato feathers was quite a standout too. Every mouthful brought joy to me. Food as art, just pure bliss.
It was cooking in its purest form and a dining experience I will never forget. The food was accessible and uncomplicated, yet cooked with precision, and a kiss of smoke. Truly a dining experience I will never forget.
Everything we tried was a home run at newly opened Ufficio Restaurant in Toronto. It was fresh, tasty, and seasonal. The cooking was quite sophisticated and well-executed. You have got to try their grilled homemade focaccia bread!
The food here is quite simply the reason I chose to visit in and of itself. I could spend a week here sampling the food and not get bored. However, I only had four days and I had to figure out how to pace myself. The pinxtos culture of grazing as one walks from bar to bar, lends itself perfectly for this.
The 7-month exhibition features some of his most impressive pieces, providing an opportunity to see and explore the full range of his artistic achievements by immersing visitors in the beautiful environments created through his extraordinary vision and talent. This show is not to be missed.
This may be a Jewish inspired restaurant but you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it, as witnessed by the crowds lining up to get in on the weekend. Make sure you reserve well in advance as this is probably one of the hottest brunch tickets in New York right now. It has a trendy vibe, with a young handsome crowd and solid food offerings.
It is Scott Conant's pastas that remind you of why he became famous in the first place. His Pasta Pomodoro is a signature dish. Such simple ingredients but it is the best tomato pasta you might ever have.
There wasn't an empty seat in the house at Beaker and Gray Miami. The place was hopping, the food was excellent and the bar was busy pouring its famous craft cocktails all night. This has definitely become one of Miami's best and busiest new restaurants this year.
The chef has a passion for what he does and you can see and feel it in the attention to detail. How he can create such wonderful food in such a tiny kitchen is a wonder to me. This place lives up to its reputation with great quality food and service in a romantic setting.
It was an honour to be interviewed by It's Droolyworthy! Here's a tease:
ID: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far with the blog?
SS: Doing a blog is a lot of work, long hours and way too much eating. It is also rewarding to get instant feedback and watching your followers grow. Seeing so many talented chefs, artists, and business people in various fields who are so creative. I have seen thousands of other people who share my interests and passion through social media. I have learned there is a growing interest in elevated food experiences. People want to be engaged and more educated about food than ever before.
My last night in Arizona I saved Chef Branden Levine's brand new restaurant Sel. Each plate we tasted was carefully executed and boasted sophisticated and bold flavours. This restaurant is a welcome change from the casual eateries in Arizona. The Chef's mission is to change the way people dine here, and he is doing an excellent job of it.
When I return I want to try some wood fired pizza, but it did look a little too charred for my taste. Our neighbours seemed to be enjoying their veal parmesan. There is even a cheeseburger on the menu and I presume that it must be good as well.
Sip, taste and laugh the day or night away – Toronto needs more unique places like Bar Raval! The intimate space can hold about 40 persons. It's tight, crowded and fun. You eat with your hands or toothpicks. The dishes are small so you can try a lot of things, and the menu is weighted heavily on seafood. We tried a lot of delicious dishes including the canned scallops, razor clams and serrano ham with manchego cheese. Things were fresh, flavourful and well seasoned.
For two years now my nose has led me into Baker and Scone at 693 St. Clair Avenue West. The fresh baked aromas wafting out of this pretty little shop are unbelievable. In fact, I think this bakery is the best thing to happen to this area of St. Clair (I know some will say it is the Stockyard Restaurant).
I am a huge Mario Batali fan and I was very excited to try his new venture with his partner Joe Bastianich. I loved the menu.
There has been lots of buzz about this mighty duo, and for good reason. They are already packing them in here – I can't wait to return.
Zuma, for years, has been a favourite restaurant of mine. They serve weekend brunch from 12-3, at a cost of $95, $135 and $350. We tried the first two options and quite frankly the $95 option is the way to go. The buffet is HUGE. Please come hungry.
20 Most Delish Dishes in Miami – El Cielo, Beachcraft, Pubbelly, Myumi Food Truck, Pinch Kitchen, Le Zoo and More. I tried to do a top 10 list, but I just couldn’t narrow it down! The truth is, I have dined out every night for 3 ½ months ... I've tried a lot of dishes, to say the least!! Here's some of my favourites (including honourable mentions (I know, I'm bad ...)).
Antonio Bachour, James Beard award nominee and one of the city's most acclaimed pastry chefs (from Bal Harbour St. Regis) has teamed up with Henry Hare, the former chef of Eating House (a favourite restaurant of mine) to launch this delicious new spot. One of the perks of my job is having a little extra pull. Chef Antonio came outside to greet us and warmly invited us inside.
Alinea has been on my list for years. More than just a dinner, it's performance art. Innovation at the highest level, and a science project all rolled into one. For me, personally, it was a phenomenal food experience. A well conceived and show-stopping menu, the dishes are beautiful, yet experimental, complex and labour intensive, each executed with precision.
We were told we were standing in the middle of the largest private gallery space in the world.
Gary Nader Fine Arts specializes in Latin American Art, but the collection includes Modern and Contemporary Masters. For me, I was most impressed by his HUGE collection of Botero sculptures, paintings and drawings. The manager said it was the most extensive, privately-owned collection of Botero in the world! It was mind blowing.
Hidden in a dingy market where the staff is not so friendly and the place has lots of rules – no phones, no takeaway, no second orders – the Chef works sushi wonders.
The best rolls for me weren't even on the menu but thanks to an insider I knew what to order. Now I can share this information with you ...
We only went for lunch but I can't wait to go back for dinner later next week to try the American Southern barbecue technique of slow cooking, and smoking. We saw the chef select some wood that was piled on the side so he can start smoking some meat – he said takes up to 14 hours.
Bal Harbour, home to some of Miami's most high end boutiques has now added the French luxury leather goods brand of Goyard to its roster. This store is only one of a handful of stores outside Paris. This is the first free standing boutique in the Southeastern United States.
Our FAVOURITE thing to do is rent a private boat and driver (through the concierge), he will take you around the entire island and drop you off for lunch at La Fontelina beach club if you do a half day, or if you do a full day try Recommone(near Narrano on the mainland) restaurant La Conca del Sogno -waiter Alfonso, and after return to Marina Grande…always the BEST day of the trip!
I decided to write a review of an oldie but a goodie. Scaramouche has been a consistently good restaurant for over 3 decades. It is one of the truly classic iconic restaurants of Toronto. When you have a special occasion to celebrate there are not a lot of restaurants that come to mind.
A 30 minute ride to Etobicoke to a little strip plaza to visit a gastronomic temple of Japanese delights was a highlight of summer dining thus far for 2015. Sushi Kaji is by far the best Japanese meal I have had in Toronto. However I have not dined at the Japanese cultural Center yet.
Varq restaurant has been voted in the top 50 restaurants in Asia. It is located in the lower lobby of the Taj Mahal New Delhi, India.
Varq was my favorite Indian cuisine restaurant in India during our three week trip there.
We have stayed at the J.K. Place Capri since the second year it has been opened. The hotel is still exquisite. It is like Ralph Lauren does Italy. We feel like we are staying at someone's private Palazzo on the sea. The views are magnificent.