Place Invaders in Miami: Zapata and Zacapa

PlaceInvaders in Miami

PlaceInvaders, a pop-up dining series that hosts events in interesting and remarkable private homes across the country is coming to Miami for three dinners: Friday, March 31st, Saturday April 1st and Sunday, April 2nd to be hosted at a luxurious waterfront house on the Miami River.

Tickets are $100 per person and available here

PlaceInvaders don't reveal their locations in advance, but have hosted dinners in cool lofts in NYC, private homes in the Hollywood Hills, a renovated barn in the Hudson Valley of New York State and at other unique and glamorous spots.

They partner with well-known local chefs across the country, and for Miami’s inaugural pop up they have partnered this time with Chef Cesar Zapata and Phuc Yea.

Phuc Yea Miami Place Invaders

Chef Cesar has crafted a 5-course menu that celebrates the cuisine of American immigrants. The dinner also features rum and cocktails from Zacapa Rum. All in all, it's an intimate gathering with delicious food and amazing drinks in a gorgeous setting! 

And MIAbites is giving away TWO tickets to the Sunday 7 pm dinner thru our Instagram page @MIAbites.  Just LIKE one of the Instagram images featured, TAG a friend and use hashtags #placeinvaders #MIAbites #Phucyea #Zacapa. Winner will be selected on WEDNESDAY March 29th.  


Saturday Sweets: Miami IS Kind

Whenever I have a quiet Saturday, I like to stop by the Coral Gables Farmers Market on the corner of Miracle Mile and LeJeune. It’s always home to some of my favorite vendors – Per’La Specialty Roasters, Babe Froman Sausages, and Cao Chocolates just to name a few.

But there’s something wonderful about knowing you’ll stumble upon new local businesses to fall in love with.

Last month, that is exactly what happened when I discovered Miami Is Kind and their macaroons.

Silvia Planas-Prats has created a business to employ young adults with autism that is inspired by her own autistic son. She left a decade-long career in Spain to come to Miami after hearing there were great schooling opportunities for her son in America. Marc is now an adorable 13-year-old boy that just happens to be autistic. He loves riding his bike, dancing to Michael Jackson and baking. He’s come a long way with the help of the Miami-Dade County Public School system, and Silvia is so grateful for the programs being offered to him.

However, Silvia realized there is an employment issue for autistic young adults. 1 in 68 kids in the US have autism, and as adults, the unemployment rates are 80-90%. Those are scary odds, so Silvia decided to take this employment challenge head on. She knew how much baking had helped her son and how well he excelled in the kitchen so she started Miami Is Kind, a non-profit industrial bakery determined to be the first food production facility for professionals with autism/disabilities in South Florida.

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Newcomer Centro Storico Offers an Authentic Italian Expedition

Giovanni di Palma is more than just passionate about pizza— it’s his life and seemingly his energy source. 

Honored for his pizza both nationally and back in Italy, Giovanni di Palma is bringing his pride and joy to South Beach with Antico Pizza. His pizza is literally award-winning: Best Pizza in the US by Zagat, Abasciatore il Mondo by Commune di Napoli, and an international “Top in Class” award at the Festa Della Pizza in Salerno, where he still imports his flour from today.

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Miami Weekly Nibble: Cochon555, Locales Festival, Oyster Day, Thai Brunch & Happy Hours

Weekly Nibble Miami Events March 2017

Spring Break is in full swing and Miami is hopping. The Weekly Nibble from MIAbites features some food-focused events, Brunch and new Happy Hours.  Details are subject to change so always check ahead to confirm specific prices, dates and times. 

Sunday March 26th- UPDATED:  Chef Paula DaSilva of Artisan Beach House was the winning Chef and now moves on to Grand Cochon in Chicago. Cochon 555 Miami Culinary event and Somm Smackdown at Ritz Carlton Miami Beach.  Five local chefs are each given one whole, heritage breed pig and one week to prepare the entire 200 pound animal. The winner is decided between a People's Vote and 24 Celebrity Judges, who then crown the winner, Miami's “Prince or Princess of Pork.” The winning chef advances to the year-end finale competition called Grand Cochon, to be held this year on October 1st in Chicago. $125 +. Tickets on Eventbrite link here. The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach 1 Lincoln Road Miami Beach, FL 33139.

Bulla Gastrobar Paella

Monday March 27th- National Paella Day- Bulla Gastrobar has created a unique menu filled with Spain’s most famous dish. Beginning on March 20th. Guests are invited to enjoy a variety of mouth-watering paellas created by Executive Chef Miguel Rebolledo and the Shattered Pineapple cocktail throughout the week. Menu highlights include the Paella Valenciana, Paella de la Huerta and the Paella Negra – combining traditional paella recipes with bold new ingredients and flavors. Guests can also enjoy complimentary paella tastings of the Paella Valenciana from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during happy hour on the patio at both locations. Additionally, happy hour specials include half off all beverages. Bulla Gastrobar Coral Gables 2500 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, FL 33134 Bulla Gastrobar Doral 5335 NW 87th Ave C102 Doral, FL 33178. 

Friday March 31-  Celebrate National Oysters on the Half Shell Day at:

Izzy's Fish & Oyster Miami Beach

Izzy’s Fish & OysterEnjoy Happy Hour from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., with bottomless oysters and Narragansett beer for $28. If you can’t make the regular happy hour, head to Izzy’s for their special late night happy hour from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. for $2 Oysters or $4 Oyster Sliders. Izzys 423 Washington Ave. Miam Beach FL.

Le Zoo - Le Zoo features seasonal east coast oysters or kumamoto oysters by the ½ dozen or as a selection in one of the seafood Plateaus. During L’Apero (Le Zoo’s cocktail hour) you can indulge in $1 oysters or for $28 All You Can Eat Oysters plus glass of beer or Simonet!  Le Zoo Bal Harbour Shoppes, Bal Harbour, FL. 

Friday March 31st-Sunday April 2- PlaceInvaders, a pop-up dining series that hosts events in interesting and remarkable private homes across the country is coming to Miami for three dinners, to be hosted at a luxurious waterfront house on the Miami River and featuring the cuisine of Chef Cesar Zapata of Phuc Yea and cocktails from Zacapa Rum. Enter MIAbites contest to win 2 tickets on Instagram. Tickets are $100 per person and available here

Villa Azur 5th Anniversary White Party

Saturday, April 1-  Villa Azur on Miami Beach celebrates their 5th Year Anniversary. Join the all-white affair featuring live entertainment, complimentary craft cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Reservations for dinner are also available.  Villa Azur 309 23rd St. Miami Beach, FL305 763.8688.

Saturday April 1-  A Patch of Heaven Farm in The Redlands hosts a special chocolate tasting from 4-8 pm. Come and taste different chocolates by Miami’s very own chocolatier Ricardo “Cao” Trillos. This event will include a tour of Patch of Heaven Gardens followed by a sweet and savory 5 course meal paired with wines. Proceeds of this event will benefit the creation and expansion of the existing forest and cacao trees. $100. Tickets on Evenbrite link here Patch of Heaven 21900 Southwest 157th Avenue Miami, FL 33170

Locales Festival Bayside Park Miami

Sunday April 2nd- The first annual Locales Festival by Chef James is a one-day celebration of the Latin American community and Miami’s diverse culture, debuting in South Florida at Bayside Marketplace on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Hosted by Chef James Tahhan and produced by Premier Tourist and Landmark Association, the festival will also celebrate Bayside’s 30th birthday and shine the spotlight on community accomplishment through the Miami Bayside Foundation (MBF). Families are invited to check out cultural highlights including the arts, vibrant culinary scene with celebrity chefs from Miami’s top restaurants, live musical performances by Latin Grammy® nominated artists, film competitions, interactive sports activities and much more! Bayside Marketplace 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

New and Ongoing:  Brunch and Happy Hours!

NaiYaRa Sunday Brunch

NaiYaRa, Sunset Harbour’s neighborhood hotspot is bringing the first ever Thai inspired brunch to the neighborhood. Starting Sunday, March 12th , NaiYaRa will begin serving Sunday brunch. Guests will be able to enjoy an array of Chef Bee's ALL NEW brunch items starting at 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Brunch menu highlights include: Yam Kai Dao, a traditional Thai fried egg salad; Chiang Rai Fried Chicken and Biscuits; Udon Pad Thai; Korean Steak & Eggs; Banh Mi Sandwich, a Vietnamese sandwich filled with pork belly and pickled vegetables; and Rottii, a customary Indian style sweet pancake served with coconut ice cream coffee to name a few of the newly created Brunch items.  NaiYaRa 1854 Bay Rd. Miami FL 

Ariete launches its new Happy Hour menu, available Tuesday – Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Ariete is the perfect spot to enjoy after work cocktails including the Cocktail Float (house-made ice cream, Now Your Father’s Root Beer, Fernet and Luxardo), French 75 (Flor de Caña, lemon juice and Proseco) and The Girl from Ipanema (Cachaca, ginger beer, lime & basil), among others. Restaurateur Jason Odio and Executive Chef Michael Beltran, have carefully curated the perfect lite bites menu to accompany the decadent cocktail offerings. Menu items include Fritas with chorizo and potato sticks on a potato roll, Grilled Oysters, Ariete Oxtail Nuggets, Smoked Salmon Sliders and the restaurant’s signature Chug Burger. Ariete  3540 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Lolo’s Surf Cantina, Miami Beach's newest Baja-inspired Mexican restaurant with flavor-forward menu, will be offering happy hour specials starting on Monday, March 20th. Friends, families and coworkers are invited to keep the fiesta going at their vibrant bar with Lolo’s new happy hour series from Sunday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m. Enjoy cocktails and savory treats for $6 or less available at bar only.  Lolo’s Surf Cantina through the park-side entrance of Stanton South Beach, 161 Ocean Drive.  (305) 735-6973.

(Information provided by various sources and subject to change. Please confirm all details ahead of time)



PINCH Adds Happy Hour & Jazzy Ladies Night

Pinch Kitchen located on border of Little River and Miami Shores has been a long time favorite of the MIAbites team. From their weekly brunch to their Oktoberfest menu, we’ve spent our fair share of time at the cozy neighborhood spot. Even though we don’t need another reason to obsess over the Pinch duo, John Gallo and Rene Reyes, they’ve gone ahead and given us one. Pinch has added a Happy Hour and a once a week Jazzy Ladies Night to the menu.

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A Visit to Coconut Grove: Ariete

It is Spring Break, and I happen to live on the beach, so imagine my initial hesitation when Andy Giambarba chose Ariete in Coconut Grove as our next collaborative review.  Uber was 2.5 surge, so I decided to drive. Waze took me on a lot of back roads, but Ariete is worth sitting in any traffic, as once you settle into the intimate and cozy restaurant you feel a million miles away from the South Beach craziness.

Coconut Grove has changed a lot in the past few years. New condo towers continue to rise.  More couples and young families are populating neighboring areas.  And Harry’s Pizzeria and Panther Coffee have opened in an area mostly known for Monty’s and Cheesecake Factory.

Tucked away between two other non-descript restaurants is Ariete, the joint venture of Chef Michael Beltran (formerly at Cypress Room) and Jason Odio.  They have created a creative and delicious menu that is both surprising and unique for the Grove…or for that matter most of Miami.

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Saturday Sweets: Dough Miami Presents Edible Cookie Dough

I don’t know about you, but nothing has ever stopped me from eating raw cookie dough every time I made cookies. We’ve always been told that it’s not safe to eat because of the raw eggs, which makes sense but that’s never been enough to stop me – it’s just so good.

Dough Miami has arrived and they are making it safe for us to devour cookie dough. By omitting the eggs and using a heat-treated flour, they are Miami’s first edible safe to eat raw cookie dough “shop”. The budding business is only three months old and is currently just doing weekend deliveries to select parts of town. With dough as delicious as theirs, I’m pretty sure we will see them in a storefront before we know it.

Tiago and Melissa, a sibling duo, are the ones behind the operation that features six staple flavors and two to three limited edition flavors each week.

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Another Farmer’s Market Find: Sapote!

My husband and I found our way last Sunday to the Pinecrest Farmers Market.  I love the vibe, the food and naturally the produce.  While I was walking along and stuffing my bag with greens and vegetables from Bee Haven Farms, my eyes glanced along the tables of options, I looked down at what looked like a couple of dark brown blobs and I asked aloud “what is that?” 

A couple next to us said “It’s Sapote!”  “It’s soo good and it tastes like chocolate.” The couple indicated that the browner and blacker the fruit becomes (this type of Sapote starts out green) the better the taste.  “It is great with ice cream and many other uses, particularly in baked goods.” Really?

SO...What is Sapote?

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Happy Wine In The Grove: The Perfect Lunch Break

No one wants to be stuck in an office for the entire day. I’m a big encourager of actually taking a lunch break, I think it helps you refresh and restart for the second part of your day (unless you completely overeat and desperately need a nap - not recommended).  

If you happen to work in or around the Coconut Grove area - then I’ve got the perfect quick lunch spot in a wine bar - no drinking required unless of course you are of the “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” lifestyle, we won’t judge!

Happy Wine in the Grove is offering a new lunch special: a three-course lunch Monday-Friday from 11:45 AM to 3:30 PM that can get you in and out in about 30 minutes, making it perfect for a quick escape from the office. Guests can choose from three of seven items served tapas style for $14.99.

Your delicious lunch options are:

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A shift in healthy eating at Paradigm Kitchen

One of the definitions of paradigm is “an example serving as a model or standard”.  Setting a standard for fresh, healthy food is what JugoFresh founder; Matthew Sherman strives to do at Sunset Harbour’s Paradigm Kitchen (or fondly referred to PK by those in the know).

On a sunny day, Andy Giambarba and I chose PK as our MIAbites meet up and at first glance, I was overwhelmed by the variety of healthy, colorful and creative dishes.  The menu, which is mostly locally sourced, features breakfast and lunch items, and offers organic, farm-raised chicken and meats, or local fish in a variety of wraps, bowls and salads.  There are also vegan and gluten-free options. And fresh juices, Per'la coffee and cold brew and a large variety of Orteas teas.  They are also exploring adding sustainable/organic beer and wine to their beverage menu. 

It shifts the way one thinks of clean eating without hitting you over the head with too much of a “far out hippie” mentality.  In the open kitchen is Val Chang, who comes to PK with know-how from her Dad's kosher sushi spot, 26 in Surfside.

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