January food events: Pitbull’s iLov305 opens, ice cream festival, Chili Cook-Off
Welcome to the latest edition of Hot Plates, your monthly guide to food events and dining promotions around South Florida. Peak tourist season means a crowded calendar and celebrities galore, many of whom are opening restaurants. Following the Miami debuts of Swan from musician/singer Pharrell Williams and La Placita from actor Julian Gil, hometown sensation Pitbull joins the fun this month with iLov305 in Miami Beach, a multilevel party where the grand opening will be celebrated in conjunction with the rapper’s 38th birthday Jan. 15. Pitbull is scheduled to attend. Dale!
And a reminder: The South Beach Wine and Food Festival, South Florida’s annual food bacchanal with events in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, is approaching (Feb. 20-24). Tickets are going fast, and organizers have introduced an installment payment plan to ease the sting.
Jan. 5: Brimstone Woodfire Grill in Pembroke Pines, 14575 SW Fifth St., gets in a New Year’s resolution frame of mind with its Yoga on the Patio series at 10 a.m., a free one-hour class in partnership with local studio Yoga Connection. Guests will be guided through deep stretches and meditation. Complimentary Volcan De Mi Tierra tequila cocktails will be available after the session, along with the restaurant’s brunch menu. Call 954-430-2333 for information.
Jan. 5: Smoothie King celebrates the opening of its new Deerfield Beach location, 3632 W. Hillsboro Blvd., with free 12-ounce smoothies (apple-kiwi kale or strawberry banana) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Also, the first 50 guests in line will receive one free 20-ounce smoothie a week for a year.
Jan. 8: Arc Broward, an organization that provides job skills and culinary training to special needs youth, continues its Traveling Plate pop-up series with chef Michael Smith at a 7 p.m. dinner at Fort Lauderdale Country Club, 415 E. Country Club Circle. Tickets are $75 and are available at ArcBroward.org.
Jan. 12: Riverwalk Stone Crab and Seafood Festival, Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd St., Fort Lauderdale. Family-friendly food and fun will be served up 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at this free festival featuring seafood from numerous restaurants and vendors, with food options starting at $5. The event, open to all ages, also features hermit crab races and music.
Jan. 12: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Festival, Funky Buddha Brewery, 1201 NE 38th St., Oakland Park. The acclaimed local brewery celebrates the release of its Maple Bacon Coffee Porter with a party also featuring limited-release beers from 50 other guest breweries, along with games, music and food trucks. The 21-and-older event takes place 1-5 p.m. Tickets cost $55-$225 and are available at maplebaconcoffeeporter.com
Jan. 12-13: It’s the dead of winter, and South Florida gets to rub its tropical warmth into the rest of the shivering country’s face with an ice cream festival. Scoops from more than 20 local and national shops will be featured at the second annual Ice Cream We Love festival at the Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. Scheduled participants include Dasher & Crank, dō, Wynwood Parlor, hipPops, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and Izzy’s Cream of Minnesota. The event will be held 1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, and benefits Holtz Children’s Hospital of Miami. Tickets are $40 for adults ($15 children). Go to IceCreamWeLove.com or call 305-585-4483.
Jan. 15: Ocean Drive, celebrities, South Beach. Is anyone expecting a sedate, understated affair for the grand opening of Pitbull’s iLov305 restaurant and nightclub, a party that will also mark Mr. 305’s 38th birthday? I didn’t think so. The restaurant is located at 1060 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. For reservations and information, call 305-535-9771.
Jan. 20: Boca Raton holds a jazz brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, with food, music, lawn games and more. Additional jazz brunches are scheduled for Feb. 24 and March 31. The city also holds Lunch on the Lawn 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Jan. 4 and Feb. 1, with food trucks and entertainment. For more information call 561-393-7890, or visit MiznerAmp.com.
Jan. 26: Country music and a chili competition highlight the annual Kiss Country 99.9 Chili Cook-Off at C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines. Brooks & Dunn are the headliners and the festival runs 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets cost $65 (general admission) to $329 (VIP), with parking passes $25.
Jan. 27: Chinese New Year is Feb. 5, but Swank Farms in Loxahatchee celebrates the arrival of the Year of the Pig early with a family-style dinner that will feature all things porcine and Miami chefs Jose Mendin (Pubbelly, La Placita) and Raheem Sealy (KYU). With bacon, pork belly and ribs, it’s shaping up to be a delicious Chinese New Year. Tickets cost $160 for the 4-8 p.m. event, which is restricted to those 21 and older. 14311 N. Road, Loxahatchee, 561-202-5648 or go to SwankSpecialtyProduce.com.
Jan. 30: Chef Angelo Elia hosts a wine dinner featuring Vega Sicilia winery owner Pablo Alvarez at Casa D’Angelo restaurant, 1201 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. The 6:30 p.m. event will feature a multicourse dinner and wines from Spain and Hungary. Cost is $325 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 954-564-1234 to reserve.
Three and a half stars for Good Spirits Fifth & Fed in Fort Lauderdale, a stylish restaurant and lounge that opened in 2018 in a new building tucked away off North Federal Highway. It is from the same owners as the Quarterdeck chain. Read the full review.(Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)
Four stars for Valentino Cucina Italiana in Fort Lauderdale. Chef-owner Giovanni Rocchio is a homegrown talent who brings creativity to modern Italian cuisine, a magical touch to housemade pastas and a singular focus to what our dining critic calls the best restaurant in Broward. Read the full review.(Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel)
Escargot Bistro in Oakland Park offers many comforting classics, such as baked brie, onion soup blanketed with melted Gruyere, mussels in white wine and a fine beef Bourguignon with spinach fettucine. Read the full review.(Amy Beth Bennett / Sun Sentinel)
This charming and cozy, family-run Italian restaurant serves housemade pastas, decadent risottos and very good Northern Italian dishes featuring wild boar, lamb, veal and tripe.(Taimy Alvarez / South Florida Sun Sentinel)
That such an authentic taste of Japan is now found in a strip mall in western Broward County is an amazing story, one that shows how small the world has become in the 21st century. Read the review.(Carline Jean / South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Beach House Pompano is no tourist trap. It has the makings of a South Florida treasure, a place with a casual vibe, smart decor and simple yet tasty food where locals and visitors should surely flock for years to come. Read the review.(John McCall / South Florida Sun Sentinel)
At this small, family-run restaurant, seasoned chef Malcolm Prude (Bourbon Steak, Proof Pizza and Pasta, Jazziz) elevates down-home Southern cooking to something special with well-sourced ingredients and sophisticated technique. Read the review.(Mike Stocker / Sun Sentinel)
This hole in the wall with a deliberate misspelling and delicious Indian food is not fancy, but its spices and flavors are refined. Read the review.(Mike Stocker / Sun Sentinel)
At this Hallandale Beach restaurant, the food is very good, the service is fine, and you can’t beat the location, a second-floor dining room and terrace that overlooks the Atlantic. Read the review.(Carline Jean / Sun Sentinel)
Jackson’s Prime steakhouse is stylish and mostly delicious, a place that seems more Manhattan than Fort Lauderdale storefront. Read the review.(Mike Stocker / Sun Sentinel)
It is easy to see why this family-run restaurant serves nearly 120,000 people annually. The food is tasty, the service is efficient and friendly, and the value is unbeatable. Read the review.(Tropical Acres / Courtesy)
A Persian restaurant with good food, gracious service and weekend belly-dancing and karaoke shows. Read the review.(Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)
Tasty food served by the affable Eddie Watana, who ran Sukhothai in Fort Lauderdale. Click here for the review.(Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)
It may be a one-note place — chicken is featured in sandwiches, salads, bowls and platters — but it hits all the right notes. Click here for the review.(Spatch/Courtesy)
The simple and delicious food, polished service and relaxed resort casual setting — solid oak tables instead of white linen, hardwood floors, ceiling layered with teak wood and black soundproofing — will bring positive changes in latitude and attitude. Click here for the review.(Mike Stocker)
(Thasos / Courtesy )
One Door East is culinarily exciting, and with more than 30 items on its constantly rotating menu, the restaurant can also be a minefield. Click here to read the review.(Benjamin Rusnak / Courtesy)
It’s inexpensive, friendly, fast and delicious. Click here for the review.(John Tanasychuk / SouthFlorida.com)
Gabose Korean and Japanese Restaurant in Lauderhill is still burning bright after 15 years, a fun and adventurous place to grill your own dinner at tableside charcoal grills, dining critic Mike Mayo writes. Here’s the review.(Michelle Rowe Mayo/Courtesy)
Kids eat free with adult entrée purchase on Thursdays. Locations in Boca Raton, Coral Springs and two stores in Pembroke Pines. lostacos.com(Los Tacos by Chef Omar / Courtesy)
This is perfect cocktails-after-work food. Read the rest of the review here.(SuViche / Courtesy)
Eating at this tiny — just 20 seats — cafe is like walking into a chef’s kitchen. Click here for the review.(John Tanasychuk / SouthFlorida.com)
Sea Watch on the Ocean has this “we totally got this” vibe going on. It’s a cool-efficiency feel rather than a hoity-toity-swagger thing.
(Pictured: Crispy fried colossal shrimp at Sea Watch on the Ocean in Fort Lauderdale.)(Sea Watch on the Ocean / Courtesy)
Very little at Top Hat is commercially prepared. If they don’t make it, they certainly considered making it before finding just the right supplier. Read the review.(Top Hat Delicatessen/Courtesy)
Il Posto in Hollywood is a very good restaurant with refined Italian cuisine and service, run by a charming Italian couple, but has a tricky parking lot, dining critic Mike Mayo writes. Read the rest of the review.(Mike Mayo / SouthFlorida.com )
At Louie Bossi’s, they’re making 14 different shapes of pasta. They’re making their own bread and pizza dough. They’re making the spicy giardiniera and rosemary potato chips that accompany sandwiches at lunch. They’re making gelato and cannoli shells. They’re even making the little sugar cookies that sit on the edge of your coffee saucer after dinner.(Lila Photography/Courtesy)
The former tourist trap in Fort Lauderdale has become a restaurant everyone can appreciate. Read the review.(Alissa Dragun / Courtesy)
“Balance” is the word we kept using to describe our dinner at Mikan Japanese Restaurant in Pembroke Pines. Whether it was from the sushi bar or the kitchen, an appetizer or an entrée, the food from this fairly new (well, new to Broward County) restaurant is made with sure and experienced hands. Read the rest of the review.
(Pictured: the fried oyster roll, which includes asparagus, scallion and mayonnaise topped with masago)(Rod Stafford Hagwood / Courtesy)
If you don’t know a thing about Peruvian food, this is the place to come. Read the review.(J28 Sandwich Bar / Courtesy)
Pastries rule at this Seattle-style coffee shop in Fort Lauderdale. <a href="http://www.southflorida.com/restaurants-and-bars/sf-lauderdale-warsaw-050815-20150506-story.html"target="_blank">Read the review.</a>(Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel)
Each of the eight $8.25 sandwiches is named after a newspaper. Among them are the Post (ground sirloin, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, crispy onions and spicy mayo) and the Times (meatballs, mozzarella, herb whipped ricotta, marinara and Pecorino Romano).(Press Gourmet Sandwiches/Courtesy)
Add Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock to the list of South Florida’s best Asian restaurants. Like Nobu in Miami Beach and Zuma in Miami, executive chef Alex Becker has created a contemporary Japanese restaurant that surprises and delights at every turn. Here’s a link to the rest of the review.(Michael Pisarri/Courtesy)
Read the review (Robert Duyos / Sun Sentinel)
While not exactly a restaurant, New River Groves makes incredible fruit smoothies ($4.50) and chocolate-covered Key lime tarts on a stick ($3.95) in its open-air market. Read the review. (New River Groves/ Courtesy)
Blue Moon Fish Company on the Intracoastal in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea offers far more than a great view. Its Sunday brunch features a buffet, premium seafood and hot dishes made to order from the kitchen.(Blue Moon Fish Co. / Courtesy)
Oversized, crispy and moist, PDQ’s chicken tenders are the restaurant’s top seller among every age group. Read the review(PDQ / Courtesy)
firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-356-4508. Follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats. Sign up for my weekly dining newsletter at SouthFlorida.com/EatBeatMail. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/LetsEatSouthFlorida.
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