Miami Spice…What is it?

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Bourbon Steak in Aventura

Second only to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Miami Spice is my favorite time of the year in South Florida. There’s so much to choose from and never enough time to try everything. Oh, you don’t know what Miami Spice is? Really? Here’s a quick tutorial.

Miami Spice is held during the months of August and September. Miami restaurants offer three course meals (Lunches $19 or $23 AND Dinners $33 or $39). Last year, I fell in love with Bourbon Steak’s offerings so much that I went 5 times. I already loved Bourbon Steak before the Miami Spice menu. Chef Fenton made sure his menu for Spice was diverse and memorable. I fell in love with it all over again. In fact, my friends and I are still in mourning his decision to not bring back the corn ravioli and butterscotch dessert for this year’s menu. But I digress…

Other gems last year were Caffe Vialetto, The Dutch and The Federal. Each one was different, but just as wonderful. For the most part, restaurants take great care when selecting the menu items and portions are plentiful.

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Complimentary fries at Bourbon Steak

I kicked off my 2013 adventure last week with Edge Steak & Bar which is nestled inside the Four Seasons Hotel on Brickell. This gorgeous restaurant oozes casual elegance. Muted grays and beautiful accent lighting set the tone the second you take your first step inside. You can request to sit on a booth (my favorite), a regular table, or on their equally charming terrace. Service was on point. Our waitress was attentive and knowledgeable. Corkage fee is $25.00 if you choose to bring your wine. Valet parking is $10 with restaurant validation.

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Edge Steak & Bar

Before you can even decide what to order for dinner, they bring out homemade potato chips and bread. For dinner, we tried the red salad, chicken croquetas, mahi mahi, green gnocchi, cherry bomb,  and peanut butter & jelly mousse. These were all part of their $33.00 Miami Spice menu. The standouts for me were the croquetas, green gnocchi, and the PB&J mousse. The croquetas were a mix of chicken and truffle served with a carrot puree and a parsley salad. They were hot and addicting. They are not kidding with the added “GREEN” to the “Green Gnocchi” title. It is all green and not just in color. While a little unidimensional, it delivered in a big way! The gnocchi is composed of five different vegetables, crunchy breadcrumbs and served over a parmesan cream. Because I absolutely love cheese, I asked for some on the side. Shaved parm on hand and I was one happy camper. The peanut butter mousse had a jelly drizzle over it and some surprise droplets inside once you cut through it. All of it was very good.

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Red Salad

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Croquetas

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Mahi Mahi

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Green Gnocchi

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Cherry Bomb

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Peanut Butter & Jelly mousse

Not a shabby way to begin Miami Spice huh? You can visit their restaurant list here and browse the menus. Note that not all restaurants offer Miami Spice for dinner or weekends so read the fine print. Their individual schedules are listed on each page. After studying the menus, these are the restaurants that I think stand out right now and those I plan on visiting very soon:

Anacapri

BLT

Bourbon (yes, again!)

Caffe Vialetto

DB Bistro

The Dutch

J&G Grill

Jean Paul’s House

Khong River House

Meat Market

Mister Collins

The Bazaar

The Federal

Tosca

Toscana Divino

Tuyo

Ambitious? Absolutely. There is only so much time to do so, but Miami Spice only comes once a year. I have dined at the majority of these restaurants already from their regular menus. I can tell you that if you have ever wanted to try them out, this is the perfect way to do it. When you do, I want to know all the details so check back with me. Do tell please! For now, I leave you to browse the menus and compose your own list.

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Doughnuts at the Dutch