Tasting & Toasting

Gourmet Food and Wine Pairings, August 2008

Crown Online has re-launched! Crown Wine and Spirits, the leading wine merchant in South Florida for more than 50 years, has re-launched its website and is now even better suited to bring the gourmet experience right to your door! The powerhouse Miami gourmet, wine and liquor retailer has teamed with SocialMiami.com to present Tasting & Toasting – a South Florida guide for connoisseurs. This monthly newsletter brings together the finest Miami restaurants with Crown’s experts who suggest wines to complement the cuisine. If the wine selection intrigues you, click through to Crown Online and make the purchase. Crown is the fastest and easiest way to shop for wine, liquor and gourmet foods online. And be sure to make a reservation at one of these featured restaurants and enjoy a feast fit for royalty.

Vix at Hotel Victor

Influenced by the exotic flavors of the world’s spice route, Vix at Hotel Victor isn’t just another South Beach restaurant -– it’s an experience. Executive Chef Vincent Muraco is constantly updating favorite menu items by using seasonal and local ingredients and purveyors. He has also been known to experiment with new flavors, styles, and traditions in cuisine. Vincent’s dish choices are: Duo of Mango and Mint Lassi — Punjabi samosa, Indian aromatic potato filling and tamarind chutney (Crown suggests Veuve Clicquot Rose Vintage); Grilled Karabuta Pork Chop — Spanish chorizo, chick peas, asparagus, tomato, feta cheese and balsamic glaze (Crown suggests Allende Estate Rioja); Key Lime Tasting — white chocolate key lime tart, key lime pound cake, apricot pate de fruit and raspberry sorbet (Crown suggests Selaks Ice Wine). To find out for yourself why Vix is known as “The Spiciest South Beach Restaurant on the Market,” call 305-428-1234.


Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant is located in Miami’s flourishing Design District. This casual but elegant restaurant is peaceful with its soft earth tones and dark wood. Executive chef Zenaye Gutema was brought up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she learned how to cook from her mother. From there she cooked in several Ethiopian restaurants before coming to America. Three of her fabulous dishes are: Shrimp M’Charmel — Garlic shrimp sautéed in olive oil infused with traditional Moroccan herbs, garnished with sliced carrot and parsley (Crown recommends Longboard Sauvingnon Blanc); Special Tibs — Chunks of filet mignon sautéed with diced onion, tomatoes and green peppers, in a clarified Ethiopian herb sauce. Hot or Mild. (Crown recommends Axios Cabernet Sauvignon); and Atakilt Wat — Fresh string beans, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions sautéed with garlic, ginger, and tomatoes (Crown recommends Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinet). Sheba has live bands on Friday and Saturday: Jazz, Reggae, Brazilian, African, Haitian and Afro Cuban. It is located at 4029 N. Miami Ave. For reservations, call 305-573-1819.


Offering beautiful views of Biscayne Bay, stunning Asian inspired interiors and an unparalleled level of service, Azul at Mandarin Oriental, Miami, has been a crown jewel of South Florida’s dining scene since it opened its doors December 2000. Designed by world-class restaurant designer Tony Chi, the 120-seat restaurant offers breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. Azul’s featured dishes include: Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Shrimp Toast (Crown recommends Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve); Cornmeal Crusted Flounder with Andouille & White Bean Ragu and Shrimp Remoulade (Crown recommends Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape); and Bittersweet “Caraibe” Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Caramel Ice cream and Caribbean sauce (Crown recommends Croft Vintage Port 2003). Guests are drawn to the amazing wine selections hand-crafted by talented young sommelier Cynthia Betancourt. Mandarin Oriental, Miami, is located on Brickell Key. Reservations: 305-913-8358


A favorite spot to wine and dine, the Pelican Café has become a kind of “classic” restaurant in Miami Beach, awarded by Wine Spectator Magazine since 2003, for the outstanding Wine List. Visually striking, the Pelican Restaurant is headed by Executive Chef Rosario Corrao and offers Mediterranean cuisine (with a Marco Polo twist) and a strong Italian accent! Their three featured dishes include: Grilled Citrus Shrimp — 8 tiger shrimp, marinated with lemon, lime and orange, grilled to perfection and served over a bed of baby spinach in a citrus dressing. Crown recommends Jermann Pinot Grigio); Tortelloni di Mozzarella — homemade large tortelli filled with buffalo mozzarella with a warm sautéed cherry tomato, shaved grana padano and extra virgin basil olive oil sauce (Crown recommends Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Riserva); Pelican Yellowfin Tuna — pan-seared sesame crusted tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes, sliced hass avocado and garnished with raspberry sauce (Crown recommends Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir). The Pelican Hotel is located at 826 Ocean Drive in South Beach. For reservations: 305-673-3373.

1 Bleu

Discriminating palates will delight in 1 Bleu’s unique partnership with the legendary Le Cordon Bleu. As the signature restaurant of The Regent Bal Harbour and with rising star executive chef Gerdy Rodriguez at the helm, 1 Bleu and The View Bar deliver world-class service, style and sophistication for which Regent is known. The cuisine takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean, indulging diners with a menu overflowing with gloriously fresh seafood, organic and locally-sourced produce and the finest cuts of meat available worldwide including Kobe and Wagyu beef. The dinner menu includes tempting starters such as Spring Garlic Soup made with Escargot, Black Trumpets, Mini Croutons and Spinach. Or from the Daily Seafood Bar, try Duo of Local Grouper and Wild Salmon Seviche, Citrus Marinated, with Cilantro, Truffle Scented White Corn (Crown recommends Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc). Main courses tantalize taste buds with dishes such as Red Wine Braised Short Rib, served with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Baby Carrots, English Peas and Horseradish Froth (Crown recommends Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon). 1 Bleu, open for dinner daily, and The View Bar are located at The Regent Bal Harbour, 10295 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour. For reservations: 305-455-5400.

Interested in having your restaurant featured in Tasting & Toasting? Please contact Allison McCormick at allison@socialmiami.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email