Q&A with Chef Alex Lotero

Confession: I’m typically not into restaurant collaboration dinners, although I often find myself attending this one and that one. Most seem to overpromise and underdeliver. Naturally, I’ve become skeptical of them all. It makes total sense, of course, that I then surprised myself by booking one midweek, at a place I’d never been, featuring a chef I’d never heard of nor met. And I loved it. The courses were executed with the utmost precision, and delivered surprising flavor profiles unlike any I’ve found in Miami. Color me impressed.

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Top 30 Bites: Miami 2019

Scroll at your own risk. Serious Miami foodporn ahead.

How to even begin to choose only 30 bites from the many dishes I had throughout the year? I love that it wasn’t easy, and that each photo brought back memories of each one. This means Miami continued making this exercise tough on me by once again upping the game. I researched, chose, changed my mind, chose again, and finally committed to a solid 30.

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Cafe La Trova: Que Rico Vacilón

Who knew we needed yet another Cuban spot in Miami? I mean, aren’t we already synonymous with everything Cuba? Pero, parece que sí, and I’m drinking the Kool-Aid guarapo, señores y señoras!

Stationed perfectly en la Calle Ocho, Cafe La Trova brings sazón and a little refresher on the traditional Cuban fare. The reason? James Beard Award-winner Chef Michelle Bernstein. Unless you’ve been living under la saya de tu abuela, you already KNOW she’s South Florida royalty: Bernstein, not tu abuela. Google her si no sabes, porque I don’t have time to recap.

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Star Power at Fiola Miami

What’s that? Another restaurant has opened in Miami? Prices are high? Prime hours are blocked on OpenTable? Packed at all hours?  So? What else is new? Sounds just like another day in South Florida. Restaurateurs, chefs, investors and everyone in between continue flocking south, trying to sway their way into our hearts and stay for the long-haul. Ha! If it was only that simple. Curious and hungry (as usual), I made a reservation and have visited several times. Spoiler alert: I can now say I am swayed and impressed.

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California Dreamin’ at Silverlake Bistro Miami

Going back to Cali? Hmm, I don’t think so.

The talented team behind cult-favorite La Fresa Francesa, chef Benoit Rablat and Sandy Sanchez, gifts South Florida another gem: Silverlake Bistro. Knowing their history, I knew I’d probably be in for a treat. Several visits later I confirmed this restaurant also demands our full attention. 

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Top 12 Miami Restaurants of 2018

And exhale.

What a year of exceptional culinary growth and panache for our feisty Magic City! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much enthusiasm by local diners, tourists, and the industry alike. I’m not saying it was a smooth ride, but even the heated discussions arrived fueled by passion and pride. Ahora si! Full steam ahead, Miami!

Before we kick off 2019 with tremendas ganas, I’d like to list my Top 12 Restaurants for 2018.

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El Cielo Miami

Occupying the ground level of a Brickell high-rise, El Cielo is currently celebrating a three-year anniversary. Three. Years. In Miami? Bravo! Needless to say, it took me a while to visit this Colombian restaurant chain by chef Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia.

Unless we are talking about Chicago’s Alinea (and the reason you won’t find me at Barton G. or Nusr-Et), I’m not really into overly gimmicky dinners. From all the advertising and social media posts (and there are many), I figured I’d have to navigate through smoke and fluff just to get to the food. By the time dinner ended, with a full-on smoke show, of course, I pondered just how many times I would want to relive that experience now that I knew what it entailed.

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Órale, Tacology!

As if I needed another reason to love Miami’s newest star, Brickell Centre. Executive Chef Santiago Gomez (Cantina La Veinte, Nobu, and NYC’s Michelin-starred Daniel) is currently celebrating the one-year anniversary of his saucy hot spot. And let me tell you, when it comes to Mexican food, la fiesta no termina en Tacology. The larger than life space drew […]

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Shhh, it’s Hiden

IMPORTANT UPDATE As of February 9th, 2019 chef Tadashi is NO longer at Hiden. Therefore, the following review I wrote in April 2018 does NOT apply to the current restaurant staff and operations. Dine at your own risk.  I remain hopeful Miami can one day continue to experience the magic of chef Tadashi Shiraishi, as […]

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