Saturday Sweets: The Betsy Hotel Serves Up Sweets to Beat the Miami Heat

the alley the betsy hotel

The Betsy Hotel on Ocean Drive has easily become one of my favorite South Beach escapes. This boutique family owned hotel is nothing like what you’d expect while strolling down Ocean Drive. It’s home to a cozy coffee shop that serves Panther Coffee (and plenty of pastries), LT Steak & Seafood, The Alley, and The Ventanita. Each is filled with their own share of delicious desserts, making it not only a great hotel on South Beach but a perfect spot for a Saturday sweet or two.

All of The Betsy Hotel’s desserts have been created by the property’s Chef-Partner Laurent Tourondel and are made fresh on-property by pastry chef Gabriela Amelunge.

LT Steak & Seafood serves up a variety of desserts from traditional warm chocolate cake to Cuban Flan, Tres Leches, and more exquisite offerings like the Guava Torticas de Moron. “At LT Steak & Seafood we push the fine-dining bar in Miami. The desserts are composed with a lot of finesse and flavors that push the boundaries that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Executive Chef Danny Ganem.

lt steak and seafood the betsy hotel

While LT Steak & Seafood is busy serving fancier desserts, the gelato is the real star at The Betsy Hotel. All of the gelatos are made in-house using the freshest and highest quality ingredients in the market. Each spot on the property is home to its own special flavors of gelato.

“At LT Steak & Seafood we serve our Banana-Passionfruit gelato, which can be found on the Ananas Gildas dessert. Over at The Alley we have our Frozen Orange dessert, which is a really cool, eye-catching dessert with a delicious orange creamsicle flavor,” says Executive Chef Danny Ganem.

the betsy hotel

Over at The Alley, the focus is on traditional Italian offerings, including homemade gelatos and traditional Italian tiramisu. The orange creamsicle gelato is served inside a hollowed orange making for a presentation that’s just as pretty as it is delicious. There’s also chocolate gianduja, rum raisin, biscotto, amaretto black cherry, salted caramel, lemon ricotta, pistachio-orange. The biscotto made with biscotti cookies tastes like cake batter and I’m guilty of eating way more of it than one person should.

Outside in the alley that leads from Ocean Drive to Collins Avenue you’ll find The Ventanita, a grab and go window. Here they are serving unique gelato flavors in homemade waffle cones, and fresh, made to order crepes. Guests have the freedom to mix it up a bit and make their own gelato cones with a variety of toppings.

the betsy hotel

If you’re craving something sweet and you’re on South Beach stop in for a scoop of gelato (or two or three). In our Miami heat, there’s not much that can beat fresh gelato. It’s the perfect refreshing treat that will keep you cool and satisfy your sweet tooth!

The Betsy Hotel

1440 Ocean Drive

Miami Beach, FL 33139

Shop Local at Urban Oasis Projects Farmers Markets

Urban Oasis Project Farmers Markets

Celebrate the best time of year for fresh produce in South Florida! On a recent Saturday, the fresh vegetable enthusiast that I am, ventured down to the Southwest Farmers Market at Tropical Park (open year-round, Saturdays from 9 am - 3 pm) to experience what they had to offer.  The Urban Oasis Project local produce farm stand was the main draw for me but there were other vendors to see as well.

Miami has many Farmers Markets to choose from but most provide produce that is bought from the same distributors that sell to Whole Foods, Publix and Fresh Market and may even be imported from outside of the US. The Urban Oasis Project three markets at The Arsht on Mondays, the Upper East Side and Southwest Market at Tropical Park on Saturdays offer only locally grown produce, grass-fed beef and pork, free-range organically fed eggs and more.

The farms in South Florida were hit hard by Hurricane Irma, so it is even more important to support our local farmers and their farms even if the produce may not as plentiful as in past years.  But, right now is high season for fresh produce and fruit and those gorgeous juicy fresh tomatoes should be reason enough to visit. 

Urban Oasis Project Fresh Produce

Do you know what time they have to be up to pick the produce? The answer is 2 am, because of the heat as the day progresses.  Now, that is dedication and hard work. It is the least we can do to “shop local” besides eating organic and fresh food.

Urban Oasis Project Farmers Markets Miami

The Urban Oasis Project, a non-profit that believes “good, clean, healthy food should be accessible to all” is run by Art Friedrich and a slew of committed volunteers. In fact, for the past few years, Urban Oasis has accepted EBT/SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Urban Oasis offers double the value up to $20 of SNAP and that can make a difference in nutrition and eating habits for those who are on a limited income.

Urban Oasis Project Fresh produce

What did I score on this visit: arugula, mushrooms, strawberries, corn and tomatoes. I arrived at this market on Saturday early afternoon and by then they were almost wiped out. So get there early if you want the best selection!

What to do with those yummy tomatoes?

RECIPE: Lentils with Tomatoes

1 quart water, 1 cup dry lentils, 3 tablespoons EVOO olive oil, 1 green pepper, chopped, 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a pot, bring the water to a boil and stir in lentils. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain water.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the green pepper and onion until tender.

3.  Mix in the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Stir in the lentils.

And Voila! you have a hearty salad that can be served warm or cold over a tasty bed of greens. Perhaps my arugula!! Buen Provecho!

Visit your local market and support local farms and farmers!

Urban Oasis Project  

Every Saturday: Markets at Tropical Park 9-3PM, 7900 SW 40th St, Miami, FL 33155  Bus lines 40 and 82. 
Upper Eastside Farmers Market at Legion Park, 9-2PM,  6601 Biscayne Blvd.  Bus lines 3, 51 and 62.

Every Monday: Market Mondays at Arsht Center, 4-8:30 PM, NW 13th St and Biscayne Blvd. Free parking south of market. 

MIAbites Guide to Unofficial SOBEWFF Happenings

the betsy hotel

We're just a week away from the biggest food event in Miami. This time next week the tents will be built, the celebrities will be in town, and the food and fun will be flowing. While SOBEWFF is home to almost 100 events, there's always something a little extra going on for those who don't want to be fully immersed in the craziness. If you're looking to get in on the action without breaking the bank, we've got some suggestions for you -- including a free event hosted by us!

If you're looking for a party with great views:

MIAbites x The Betsy Host Unofficial SOBEWFF Kick Off Party

Get your taste buds ready for the 17th South Beach Wine and Food Festival with a kickoff cocktail party on February 20th from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm hosted by MIAbites and The Betsy Hotel on the ocean deck at the classic hotel on Ocean Drive.

Admission is free with RSVP on Eventbrite.

Admission includes complimentary beer provided by Nightlife Brewery and bites from The Betsy Hotel's restaurants, LT Steak and The Alley. Cash bar also available. Guests must be over 21.



If you're looking for a delicious dinner with friends:

Wok Star Supper Club Chinese New Year at Gaijin Izakaya

Eleanor Hoh’s Wok Star Supper Club will be celebrating upcoming Chinese New Year of the Dog at Chef Cake’s  Japanese gastropub,  Gaijin Izakaya in Midtown, Sunday, February 25, 5:30pm-8:30pm.

A $50 per person scrumptious 5 course menu starts with a welcome cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvre of spicy tuna rice roll that’ll set the New Year off with a bang.  Hoh requests guests to purchase tickets for this popular and fun gathering early to avoid getting disappointed they can’t get in, it has happened. Hoh’s Wok Star Supper Club, an event held periodically throughout the year, is about celebrating Asian culture and cuisine in South Florida. Her main goal in these gatherings is to support and showcase mostly chef owned restaurants and introduce her audience to good Asian inspired food. All ticket sales go to Gaijin Izakaya.

Some fun rules you should know…

  • Get cozy - EVERYONE will mix and mingle at the bar as they enter and meet new friends.  
  • Get even more cozy - seats and dish portions will be arranged in 2 and 4, so guests will be sitting with new friends and sharing dishes family style.

To view full menu and to purchase your ticket click here.


If you're looking for a sweet brunch:

The Ladies of Liberty Host Brunch at a Bar

On February 24th, Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co., will be teaming up with the “Ladies of Liberty,” James Beard Award Winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, Top Chef Alumni Lindsay Autry, and mastermind Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith, to host the ultimate brunch event of the season. For ONE day only, these female culinary powerhouses will take over Sweet Liberty’s kitchen and partner with Sweet Liberty’s beloved resident and guest bartenders to curate a 4-course food and cocktail pairing brunch menu.

To start, guests will be greeted with a welcome cocktail and oysters on the half shell. Then, Michelle Bernstein, one of the most influential and iconic chefs in South Florida. Bernstein’s protégé and southern darling Chef Lindsay Autry, and Hedy Goldsmith, the pastry chef who sweetened Miami’s culinary scene with her signature retro-modern treats at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink will be providing first and second courses featuring a family-style savory and sweet brunch feast. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any sweeter ~ pun intended ~ Goldsmith will finish off brunch treating guests to some of her nostalgia-inducing cookies.

Each course will be paired with cocktails helmed by Sweet Liberty Bartenders Sol Saa, Tatiana Moreno, Sarah Lawrence and special guest bartender Jenn Kalil. All locals and visitors alike are invited to partake in this one-of-a-kind dining experience beginning at 11:30am. *One seating only. Seating is family style, including bar seats, and first come first served.

Tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased by visiting: here. Seating is limited so don’t miss out on this grand gourmet occasion!

sweet liberty south beach


If you're looking for cocktails:

Repour Bar Hosts Various Cocktail Specials and Events

Your search is over because Repour Bar is your unofficial SOBEWFF headquarters with unofficial parties scheduled all weekend long. 

The fun kicks off on Thursday, February 22nd at 10pm with a special SOBEWFF edition of Repour’s weekly party, Rhythm & Remedies. Enjoy a live DJ and cocktail specials all night long. 

On Friday, February 23rd Repour Bar will once again be hosting the annual SOBEWFF Beam Suntory party. The fun starts immediately following the conclusion of Day 1 of the Grand Tasting Village and runs until 8pm. Enjoy bourbon cocktails while Isaac Grillo cooks up a pig on the Caja China. 

Saturday and Sunday stop by in between your day and evening parties and enjoy an extended weekend happy hour. Repour Bar will also be offering late night industry specials throughout the week for those working SOBEWFF. 



If you're looking for a killer lunch:

Dizengoff Teams Up with SOBEWFF Chefs

The team at Dizengoff invites you to come for lunch with Chef Val Chang's favorite SOBEWFF chefs, swooshing (an official word) their hummus toppings all weekend with a super special menu. The special menu will run through the weekend, Friday 2/23 – Sunday 2/25. Wine spritzers provided by RAMONA.

Dizengoff Hummus Party.jpg

Pasta Pasta and more at Macchialina

Macchialina Cavatelli with mini meatballs, porcetta and pecorino. Photo Credit: Andrew Giambarba @andymiami

Macchialina Cavatelli with mini meatballs, porcetta and pecorino. Photo Credit: Andrew Giambarba @andymiami

After Hurricane Irma, Chef Michael Pirolo took to social media to update us on his reopening of Miami Beach favorite, Macchialina.  Fortunate to regain power quickly, once he was able to obtain fresh eggs, he began by offering $10 pasta every night knowing that for many this was the only hot meal they could get.

Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, and Chef Pirolo’s fresh and delicious pasta options were a welcome option for the Miami Beach community, many who were without electricity or had been evacuated from their homes.

Every night, the pasta dishes came hot from the kitchen and many of us will never forget the feeling of a community coming together in the cozy brick-walled Italian taverna on Alton Road.

$10 Thursday Pasta Night continues and is one of the more coveted reservations you can get.  But, you don’t have to wait for Thursdays, as Chef Pirolo’s fresh pastas are a regular menu item. On a recent evening, a group of six of us when for dinner and ordered different pasta dishes.

You can’t ever go wrong with the signature pasta dish, Cavatelli with mini meatballs, porcetta and pecorino( pictured above).  The pasta is perfectly cooked, the sauce gutsy and those mini meatballs are so good.

Macchialina Miami Beet Mezzaluna pasta

We also loved the colorful and unique Beet Mezzaluna, a creamy beet stuffed pasta in a brown butter sage sauce, ricotta salata and topped with fresh diced beets.

Tagliolini with Funghi, was a wide noodle dish with large abalone mushrooms, parmesan and also delicious.

Macchialina Miami Spaghetti Caccio de pepe

The classic Spaghetti Caccio e pepe with shallots, pecorino and black pepper was also a favorite and fulfilled our goal for authentic comfort food.

The pasta menu is extensive and boasts seven different pasta dishes, each one featuring local ingredients.

Macchialina Miami Beach Pasta Thursdays

But don’t stop at pasta, as we also enjoyed the Creamy Polenta with "Proper Sausage" ragu and for a main course, the Mediterranean Branzino with Yukon Gold potatoes, brown butter and capers.

Miami is very lucky to have Chef Michael Pirolo and Macchialina in our community. And if you find yourself in the New York area make sure you check out the Pirolo family’s restaurant in Brooklyn, The Saint Austere.  


820 Alton Road

Miami Beach, FL 33139

305 534 2124

Photo Credit:  Andrew Giambarba @andymiami


Saturday Sweets: Miami Desserts Waiting to be Delivered to Your Sweetheart for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and even though many consider it to be a Hallmark holiday — there’s still plenty of gift giving to be done. Whether you’re single or taken, we bet there’s someone sweet in your life that deserves a little something special.

This year we’re making it easy for you by sharing five of our favorite sweet spots that deliver. These local businesses not only make delicious sweets that will make your significant other (or bff) feel special, they will also deliver them right to their door saving you time shopping and wrapping and decorating. It can’t get much easier than that!

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Right On Target Cooking Classes at The Wynwood Yard

The Wynwood Yard is one of our favorite concepts in Miami. There’s always a cool calendar of activities to fit all ages and occasions. Recently The Wynwood Yard partnered with the local chapter of non-profit, Wellness in the Schools, to host a series of twelve hands-on Right On Target® Cooking Classes at The Yard.

Partially funded by Target and in partnership with the local chapter of non-profit Wellness in the Schools, the new cooking class series focuses on healthy, wholesome meals anyone can make at home, no matter their cooking level. They'll be held twice per month for a total of 12 sessions led by some of Miami's favorite chefs like Matthew Sherman of jugofresh, Pamela Wasabi of Pamela Wasabi cookies and Nicole Votano, culinary director of CHARCOAL, among others.

Each class begins at 6pm and lasts for about two hours. All of the fresh ingredients are provided and guests even get to take home their own copy of the delicious recipes. During the class guests are put into groups of four with their own kitchen setup complete with all of the tools and appliances needed to create the meal. It’s perfect to do with a group of friends or a great way to meet new friends.

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Revisiting MC Kitchen in the Design District

Sometimes in our frenzy to visit the newest and most buzzed about restaurant in Miami, we forget about the places that have stood the test of time and still offer good food, good service, a reasonably priced wine list and a civilized evening out.

A recent visit to MC Kitchen in the Design District reminded me that after all these years, a relaxing dinner with friends can still be had without the Instagram chef flicking salt on every dish.

MC Kitchen has been one of the two anchor restaurants (the other being Michael’s Genuine) in the Design District now for over 8 years.  It has seen the Design District morph from interior decorator design showrooms to luxury designer apparel and accessory retailers and through all the changes the clean, crisp décor and modern Italian food has stayed the course.

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Weekly Nibble: Out of the Ordinary Valentine's Day Plans

We're a week away from Valentine's Day and there's no doubt in our mind that some of you are scrambling to figure out what your game plan is. We've decided that there's enough of the fancy 3-course meals out there for you to pick from -- we're focusing our sights on something a little different this year. We've put together a list of out of the ordinary Valentine's Day options we could find. Drag queens wrestling in milk? We've got it! Fancy dinners inside pools? Done! Cooking classes with lust inducing foods? We know where those are! Looking to throw darts at your ex's face for free shots? It's all possible in Miami this Valentine's Day!

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South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2018: MIAbites Picks

Countdown to #SOBEWFF!  We are just a couple weeks away from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival and it’s over 65, 000 guests, who take over Miami Beach and surrounding Miami venues from February 22-25 for 4+ days of Food, Wine, Fun and maybe even a little sun in between all of the over 85 different events and seminars.

Now in its 17th year and hosted by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Florida International University (FIU), the Festival benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised more than $25 million for the school.

So, where to begin?  Here are MIAbites picks for best 12 SOBEWFF events with a focus on some of the amazing local chef talent and local venues featured this year in collaboration with many of your favorite Food Network stars. Many events are already sold out, so check availability and buy your tickets online at

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Saturday Sweets: Nutella Rice Krispies RECIPE

RECIPE: Nutella Rice Krispies

I am pretty sure it’s been established that I am a busy baker with an even bigger sweet tooth.  But if you know me, then you know Nutella is the greatest thing ever invented in my eyes.  I may or may not (I definitely do) have two jars of Nutella in my house at all times – one to bake with, as I have almost a cult following when it comes to my Nutella Swirl cake and one for me to eat out of over and over with a spoon whenever I’m craving that chocolaty goodness! 

I can find an excuse to add Nutella to almost anything and that’s exactly what I did here.  I love Rice Krispies!  The snap, crackle, and pop crunch of the cereal engulfed in gooey marshmallow happiness of the iconic Rice Krispie Treat is enough to make me weak in the knees, but when you go and add TWO cups of Nutella into the mix – forget it, all bets are off!  Keep these babies far far away from me or else they will be gone in a day.  I hope you enjoy these just as much as I do!

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