Art Brews Business at J. Wakefield and Wynwood Brewing

Art Brews Business at J. Wakefield and Wynwood Brewing
  • David Rodriguez and Adrian Castro of Little Havana's Union Beer Store take us to the most iconic Wynwood breweries.

  • Wynwood Brewing and J. Wakefield Brewery show us how the vibe of Miami's Wynwood art permeates the craft beer neighboorhood.

On this episode of Beer Artisan, were exploring Miami’s famed art neighborhood, Wynwood, and the craft beer businesses that have popped up out of its art scene.

The Union Beer Store was started by husband and wife duo, David and Cici Rodriguez. The pair had been close to the beer scene for years and one year ago decided to strike out on their own and create Union, a beer store/bar with a fun, super laid-back vibe. With more than 300 different beers in their cooler, they offer locals and tourists a wide range of tastes to explore. Adrian, David’s right-hand man, helms the bar at Union, helping visitors choose the right brew. So it only made sense to have David and Adrian show us around the Wynwood neighborhood.

First up, J. Wakefield. John Wakefield got started brewing with a $50 Mr. Beer homebrew kit gifted to him by his wife. Slowly but surely, the hobby transformed into a lifestyle and brewing beers on his stove evolved into a jam-packed production facility producing a number of unique brews. John tells us how he combined his life as a beer geek with his life as a Star Wars geek to create his incredibly designed, Star Wars themed tap room which highlights the work of a number of local artists and adds to the incredible vibe you can only find in Wynwood.

Next, it’s on to Wynwood Brewing, Wynwood’s first brewery. Started by Luis G. Brignoni, Wynwood also incorporates local artists’ work into the design of the space. Luis invited local artist Lola Blue to design bottles for the brewery, further cementing the relationship between Wynwood art and its businesses. Wynwood has won a number of Great American Beer Festival medals and is aiming to churn out 12,000 barrels of beer this year thanks to help from the Craft Beer Alliance.

 

Brignoni made a deal with the CBA in which they would have a 24.5% stake in the company (the threshold for still being defined as "craft" by the Brewers Association) and in return, help grows the production and distribution of Wynwood Brewing brews. This has opened up their tanks, allowing Wynwood to be more creative with their in-house production.

If you’ve never been to Wynwood, you should give it a visit ASAP. Just listen to our Wynwood Guide, Robert William de los Rios from The RAW Project. But if you can’t, watch this episode of Foodable’s Beer Artisan for a journey through the art-driven neighborhood to learn more about its history and vibe.

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Foodable Labs Releases Miami's Top 25 Restaurant List

Foodable Labs Releases Miami's Top 25 Restaurant List

Hey there Miami! Did you miss us?

Foodable Labs is back to share the updated Miami Top 25 list. This compilation is based on a large consumer sample set and it has provided us with an exciting restaurant list that features 17 new spots to check-out.

What is great about Miami is the fact that it has something for every palate.

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Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood

Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood
  • Miami's The Salty Donut shop pours Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee while serving up maple bacon desserts.

  • Hand-crafted, artisanal donuts fit in with the art scene found near Wynwood Walls.

The Salty Donut began as a mission to bring handcrafted, artisanal doughnuts to Miami. Owners Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro traveled across the country for these desserts and wondered why Miami didn’t have them.

“We realized that Miami is usually at the tail end of a lot of gastronomic trends and we just really wanted to do something that was for our city. Bring a little bit of culture that we didn’t have from other places around the country to our city...because I feel like Wynwood is part of the town, part of Miami that’s most accepting to kind of different things,” Rodriguez said.

Prior to having their storefront, “Salty,” as it is affectionately known, was trying to keep up with their customers' insatiable demands from a pop-up truck. Even now that they have been able to move into their storefront, The Salty Donut regularly has lines stretching down the street and often sells out of doughnuts before the business day is done — not surprising, due to its widely varied consumer base.

“I think we’ve got kids [who] are super trendy and kinda fashion-forward. I think we’ve got, you know, grandmas and grandpas that are 80 years old that come in and get our doughnuts,” Rodriguez added.

With quirky items like the pancetta, cheddar, and cornbread cake doughnuts and classics like the traditional glazed buttermilk, Salty offers a treat for every flavor profile. The menu is thanks in part to veteran pastry chef and The Salty Donut Executive Pastry Chef Max Santiago. With his 20 years of experience, Chef Santiago can change his menu regularly.

“Whenever anyone asks me, ‘You do just doughnuts?’ I don’t do just doughnuts, I do desserts,” he said.

And those desserts are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach. As customers walk in to satisfy their doughnut craving, many can’t help but stop to snap a shot for Instagram or Facebook.

Watch this episode of REACH Miami to see what all the fuss is about at The Salty Donut.

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Miami's Best Bartenders Stir Up Competition With the 'Black Box Challenge'

On this episode of "Across the Bar," we did something a little bit different. We went down to Miami to round up some of the best bartenders in the business and had them show off their skills in a black box challenge. With an ever-changing beverage industry, we wanted to get into the minds of top mixologists to see what trends they’ve been seeing and how they keep up with customer demands.

For this challenge, we were lucky enough to have Byblos host us at their beautiful lounge in Miami’s South Beach. Here, host Paul Barron connects with Steve Minor of MO Bar, Isaac Grillo of Repour Bar, and Eddie Fuentes of Cocktail Cartel Co.

So, what is the black box challenge? Well, we filled up three black boxes with three different sets of mystery ingredients and asked our bartenders to make the tastiest cocktails they could. They did not let us down! Using fruits, pure cane syrups, fresh herbs, and the best spirits, Steve, Isaac and Eddie showed us what the best mixologists do to create the perfect cocktail for their guests.

Steve starts us off strong pulling out his iSi tank, which he uses for rapid infusions. Combining brandy, cinnamon sticks, cold brew concentrate, Grand Marnier, and bitters, Steve creates a powerful base to combine with his lemonade syrup.

Isaac impresses the crew with his flair. His mixology style uses a little less measuring and a little more eyeballing. With a high bar IQ, Isaac knows what it takes to make a polished beverage down to the last detail, like lemon essence on the rim of his glasses.

In the midst of their mixing, the bartenders talk trends like infusions and flavors.

“Another fruit-forward DaVinci Pomegranate syrup. Looks delectable. Made with pure cane sugar which is delicious,” Issac notes while examining his ingredients.

“Pomegranate...I see that in a lot of drinks now,” Paul replies.

As Eddie steps up to the bar, he gets a curveball with a blackberry blood orange cane sugar syrup, which he combines with a sweet and sour mix, orange juice, Aperol, and mint. Adding a splash of Prosecco pulls it all together.

Watch the full episode to learn how these top-quality bartender turn mystery ingredients into high end cocktails. 

Washington Report: Immigrants Make Up 23 Percent of Restaurant Workforce

Note: If you would like to learn more about the Sanctuary Restaurant movement, you can do so in the organization's website.


Twenty-three percent of 14 million restaurant workers are immigrants and so this industry depends on them. At this time, it feels more important than ever to stand with diverse communities and pledge to protect their liberties, dignities, and freedom[s],” says Della Heiman, who put up a sign at her Wynwood restaurant, Della Test Kitchen, that reads: "Sanctuary Restaurant: A place at the table for everyone."

“...We wanted to be a part of this legally compliant movement to support the safety and diversity of our employees. Some of the core values of Della Test Kitchen and The Wynwood Yard are community and diversity. The Wynwood Yard is a hub where we feel that many of Miami’s different communities overlap and come together,” explained Heiman.

Della Test Kitchen is the only restaurant in Miami-Dade County to publicly join the Sanctuary Restaurant movement. This happened after the county’s mayor, Carlos Giménez, was the first in the nation to demand its local officials to comply with President Donald Trump’s executive order to enhance public safety by hiring “10,000 additional immigration officers” to enforce federal immigration laws and target “sanctuary cities” by withholding funding.

To support this executive order, Trump has gone as far as creating a program he first announced on Feb. 28, in his first speech to Congress, called VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement — to provide “service to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims,” while the program’s office provides “quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.”

What is a Sanctuary City?

A Sanctuary City is a jurisdiction where local officials decline detainer requests of undocumented immigrants by the federal government.

While Giménez’s motives were economically founded to protect the county’s funding, other local leaders, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, San Francisco Mayor Ed Le,  and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, have taken a moral stance to protect their dense immigrant communities. The 10 largest sanctuary cities combined would be giving up $2.27 billion dollars in federal funding, according to a Reuters analysis, if they do not comply with Trump’s plans.

List of 10 Largest Sanctuary Cities

  1. New York City | $701.6 million funds at risk

  2. Chicago / Cook County | $526.4 million funds at risk

  3. Los Angeles / L.A. County | $466.2 million funds at risk

  4. Philadelphia | $199.5 million funds at risk

  5. Detroit / Wayne County | $104.7 million funds at risk

  6. Seattle / King County | $72.7 million funds at risk

  7. San Francisco | $70.9 million funds at risk

  8. Boston / Suffolk County | $65.5 million funds at risk

  9. Denver | $39.1 million funds at risk

  10. Washington D.C. | $20.4 million funds at risk

(Source: Reuters analysis of federal data)

Also, in response to Trump’s orders, the “Day Without Immigrants” protest took place Feb. 16, when restaurants sympathizing with the immigrant labor force decided to close shop to prove the importance of this minority group to the restaurant industry.

sweetgreen— a popular fast-casual brand, which ranks as high as No. 11 in Foodable's Top 100 Most Loved Brands report— joined the protest by closing all 18 D.C. locations and stated: “Without the hard work and grit of our team, our stores do not run, and that means we can’t make good on our promise to you, our guest. Our team members are the face of the brand, from the front lines to our kitchen — they’re the backbone of this company and what makes sweetgreen special. And that’s exactly why we stand with them, today and every day...”

The same day of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, President Trump announced his new Secretary of Labor pick, R. Alexander Acosta, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination amid controversy.

Acosta is currently the Dean of Florida International University’s law school and was formerly the assistant attorney general under the Bush administration. If confirmed, he would be the first Hispanic in Trump’s cabinet.

Last Update - March 3: At publishing time, two more restaurants have registered as sanctuary restaurants in Miami-Dade County. These restaurants are Choices Cafe and Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream.

Miami Chefs Do What the F**K They Want

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

Miami is a city with its own flair. On this first episode of "Chef's Alliance Round Table", Paul Barron talks to some of Miami’s best chefs who are making names for themselves without trying to be like anybody else.

Giorgio Rapicavoli said it best, “I don’t think anybody in Miami really cares about being on that level. I mean honestly, I don’t want to be New York. I don’t want to be San Francisco. We are Miami. We made this city, the city made us. And I think a lot of what we do has to do with making the city better.”

Paula DaSilva adds, “Whether or not we ever reach the level of New York or San Francisco, what does it matter? ...I think we're there.”

Many of these chefs have been grinding in Miami for years, building their businesses within the constraints of the growing city. These great chefs came together around the South Beach Wine and Food Festival to discuss some of the trends we’re seeing today.

Shannon Allen, creator of the organic fast-food drive-thru Grown said, “I think if you're not going farm to table, if you’re not sourcing local ingredients, you’re going to have to answer the questions of a customer [who's] very smart, has dealt with health problems, has food allergies, is very aware of what they're putting in their mouth...”

Foodable’s Chef's Alliance is your guide to the top 1,000 chefs around the country. Ranked by a 300-point system, Foodable Labs uses engagement, sentiment, and influence as metrics.

Want to see how the industry’s favorite chefs and artisans scored? Dive into the Chef's Alliance and the Top 100 Social Chefs here.

And keep an eye out for the full version of this Chefs Alliance Roundtable on Vimeo in the next few days!

Clove Fills Mediterranean Gap in Fast Casual

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

Clove Mediterranean Kitchen was inspired by two partners with different experiences in the foodservice industry. Alex Revynthis has an extensive background in the food and beverage industry, most recently at Costa Coffee as their chief financial officer. Spiro Naos opened a number of Miami Subs sandwich shops before getting involved in other ventures. After meeting in New York, the duo decided to partner up on a Mediterranean fast casual concept.

While fast casual is the fastest-growing segment of the industry, the Clove team noticed the lack of Mediterranean options in the space — especially Mediterranean cuisine that focused on the simple, clean ingredients important to traditional cuisine. After being introduced to Greek Celebrity Chef Andreas Lagos, the pair knew he was the right guy to develop their menu.

Lagos studied cooking and pastry in Athens, Greece. He won a gold medal for Mediterranean cooking in Crete and was the head chef of Tomato in Santorini. With five books, Lagos is an authority on Mediterranean cuisine. That’s why it was important to him to import ingredients like honey and olive oil from Greece while also getting fresh produce from local vendors.

“The most important thing is ingredient, ingredient, ingredient. Fresh ingredient. We use a lot of olive oil, greek yogurt, greek honey, greek feta cheese,” said Lagos.

The consumer base in the business sector of Miami Beach is mostly executives with little time to spare for lunch. Executive chef and general manager at Clove, Daniel Becker, says that knowing their customers is critical in getting them through the door.

“Their dining or lunch choices are predicated on how fast can they have it, how healthy is it and what the quality and taste is,” he said.

In addition to clean ingredients, craft beer and sodas have been a major trend in fast casuals. While Clove offers local craft brews and cane sugar sodas, they also produce their own line of natural juices like Cardamom Apple Basil and Pomegranate Apple Mint.

Learn more about how Clove is going the extra mile on this episode of "Fast Casual Nation."

Plating: The 'New' Art Form

Plating: The 'New' Art Form

By Ryan Ross, Foodable Contributing Editor

In the past ten or fifteen years, we’ve seen the culinary world undergo a massive evolution. From the rise of the “celebrity chef” to molecular gastronomy to food trucks, the culinary scene is constantly evolving; in fact, sometimes it’s difficult just to keep track of all the changes. But if you’ve followed the culinary industry for a while, you know there’s another major contributor to a chef's creations: the art of plating.

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Quick Six With...Executive Chef Julia Doyne and How She Forges the Way in Miami's Food Scene

Quick Six With...Executive Chef Julia Doyne and How She Forges the Way in Miami's Food Scene

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

Executive Chef Julia Doyne is a powerhouse in the culinary world — and not just because she is the first female executive chef of The Forge, an iconic steakhouse in Miami that has made its name since the 1930s. (Fun fact: Talk about historic! The actual building was originally a blacksmith's forge used to create iron gates and sculptures for affluent locals.)

We saw how The Forge has merged its past with modern techniques and flavors under Doyne's leadership in this episode of Table 42, but how did she get to where she is today? Raised in Cleveland, she remembered the moment she fell in love with cooking: she was 5 years old, peeking over at a batch of perfectly-made chocolate chip cookies, under her mother's watchful eye. While she considers working as a dishwasher at 13 her first real experience in the kitchen, she answered her calling of gourmet dreams during her years at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Pastry Chef at Michael’s Genuine Talks Desserts and Incorporating the Seasons

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Dessert remains a favorite even for grownups. Roughly one third of guests order dessert when dining out. So it’s safe to say that many consumers can’t resist a sweet after dinner treat, especially when it’s in a mini portioned dessert.

Like appetizers and entrees, desserts are (and have always been) often dependent on the seasons. More restaurants are determining their menu solely based on the ingredients in season. Fall favorites like pumpkin and apple have already started to appear all over menus.

A restaurant known for its cuisine that is “homemade, unpretentious, delectable, with an emphasis on great local ingredients” is Michael’s Genuine. This Miami gem is repeatedly on the Foodable Top 25 restaurants.

We decided to get in the kitchen with Maria Jose (MJ) Garcia, the executive pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine to find out what ingredients she enjoys to work with, fan-favorites at MG, and what advice she has for aspiring pastry chefs.  

Foodable: What do you love the most about being a pastry chef?

Chef MJ: There’s a few things. I love working with my team, teaching and grooming. Watching them grow as individuals, I enjoy that the most. Challenging ourselves. Learning how to use our different backgrounds and having fun.

🍎🍎🍎 apple pie with salted caramel gelato 😋😋 #mgfdpastry #mgfddessert #applepie #yummy

A photo posted by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

Then also, getting to see people eat something and love it.

Foodable: What are your favorite ingredients to work with?

Chef MJ: I like licorice. I also like to work with things that remind me of my childhood or places I have been. When I am cooking, I like to reminisce the things of my childhood. At the end of the day, when people eat they want to reminisce the things they used to enjoy when they were little.

On a seasonal level, winter would be strawberries, oranges or anything citrus. In the summer, I love to work with stone fruit. In the fall, obviously apple. But, I also love quince (membrillo in Spanish) because the region where I am from, quince is a prominent fruit we see often with cheese platters. In a week or two weeks from now, we will be able to get quince.

Foodable: What are your favorite fall season desserts to prepare? 

Chef MJ: Apple is that versatile ingredient that you can go extremely homey with, like homemade apple pies. But, quince is something I would love to work with more. It’s different for everyone. One of my assistants, loves persimmons and the other one loves pomegranate. 

Foodable: What are the most popular desserts at Michael’s Genuine?

Chef MJ: It varies. Obviously, you have your chocolate-holics that will always go for the chocolate dessert. Chefs Brad’s favorite is the Rosemary Pine Nut Tarte, it’s elegant, mild and very much an adult dessert. Then you have the Apple Fritters, which is my favorite. It’s that fried item that just reminds me of my childhood.

Foodable: If you could only pick five ingredients to make a dessert, what would they be?

Chef MJ: Orange, strawberry, olive oil, almonds and vanilla. Nuts, in particular, always enhance, give flavor and give texture.

Vanilla Pound Cake 🍫🍫🍫 chocolate glaze #thisismgfd #mgfdbrunch

A photo posted by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

Foodable: What advice do you have for amateur pastry chefs just starting out?

Chef MJ: You’re going to burn a lot of cake and that’s okay! Keep being persistent. This industry requires a lot of work, work on yourself. Have the strength to be humble and keep working. Just make sure everything that you do is up to your standards and never compromising.

Someone becomes really good at something when they do it a lot of times. I have burnt a hundred cakes in order to make a really good cake. That’s how you make yourself better, if you keep challenging yourself every day.

Foodable: What are some of the dessert trends you are seeing emerge?

Chef MJ: We follow seasonality. American cuisine gives you a big spectrum to work with, you could go Italian, American, French. In terms of trends, I am seeing these California-style bakeries where it is all about method and well-executed desserts, even if it is just a pie. California/ the west coast has set a standard and there are a lot of restaurants that are seasonal now.

It’s interesting to see all these bakeries rising, especially in Florida, like True Loaf with the best bread ever. You see these bakeries that follow that seasonality and that method of doing things perfectly. But, the trend I see the most is sourcing out the best ingredients.