Is Home-Cooked Food Better For Dogs? Dishes For Dogs Thinks So!

Did you know there is a kitchen tucked inside Miami's Wynwood neighborhood that is solely dedicated to making food for your furry friends? It’s called Dishes For Dogs, or DFD, for short. But don’t get it twisted! This is not a dog restaurant.

“We’re a kitchen that, you know, cooks and manufactures...dog food using USDA certified human-grade ingredients,” says Mason Fox, co-owner of DFD. “We are just making food so that people can come in and buy it and increase the quality of their dog’s food.”

The idea for DFD was inspired by a toy-sized, playful Pomeranian named Ripley, who had a few health issues. After some research by Michael O’Rourke, founder of Dishes For Dogs and Ripley’s owner, he knew that home-cooked meals would be the best option for his canine friend. O'Rourke turned out to be right and Ripley is currently healthy and happy as DFD's mascot.

Consequently, after identifying this specific need in the dog food market for home-cooked meals, he decided to build a business around this concept and partnered up with Dr. Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to perfect the recipes.

“Regarding the creation of the menu, ...the nutrition guided everything,” Fox adds. “We gave Dr. Shmalberg full freedom to create just the most appropriate and balanced meal that he could make, using different proteins.”

Dishes For Dogs currently offers six balanced meal varieties made with only USDA certified ingredients, avoiding all preservatives and fillers. The recipes include different vegetables mixed with one of the following proteins: beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, salmon, and wild venison. The recipes are formulated to provide specific benefits, such as: supporting a healthy immune system, digestion, and maintaining current health, which includes brain function, skin/coat health. There are gluten-free and grain-free options available, as well. Finally, they also provide two meals formulated for dogs with skin problems made with braised buffalo and coconut cod.

The food is sold in individual frozen packages that can be thawed at home and portioned according to your dog’s size.

DFD is also the first dog food company in the country to partner up with UberEATS to provide fresh home-cooked, ready-to-eat meals for dogs. And if a customer wants to stock up on meals for the week or month, they can order the frozen packages and have them delivered through the app.

"We're hoping to convince people that we are capable of helping, because we really do believe that," Fox affirms.

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

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.

South Florida's Kapow! Noodle Bar Welcomes Leading Chef Tim Nickey

CHEF TIM NICKEY | PHOTO COURTESY OF SUB-CULTURE RESTAURANT GROUP.

Kapow! is a fitting name for this Boca Raton noodle bar because it's been a big hit in South Florida. With its small plates, creative cocktails, and artistic space, guests enjoyed this pan-Asian fusion gastropub so much so that co-creator Vaughan Dugan announced, as a part of Sub-Culture Restaurant Group, they would be working with Nightclub Group to open their second location in West Palm Beach. But what news packs even more of a punch? Joining the team to lead the kitchen as Corporate Executive Chef is Tim Nickey.

The Philadelphia-born culinary genius began his career when he was 14. After working up to a banquet cook at the Philmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, he pursued his formal education at Johnson & Wales University in Miami. Since calling South Florida home, he has become the youngest Executive Chef in Morton Steakhouse's chain and the Executive Sous Chef for Abe & Louie's Steakhouse, both at Boca Raton. After fine-tuning his expertise, he joined the China Grill Management team, where he was promoted Executive Sous Chef of China Grill, Dragon Sushi, and Kobe Club Miami.

“I’m very excited about this position with Kapow and am looking forward to rolling out the new menu for our guests,” Nickey said in a release. “We’ve been working diligently on creating even more of an experience for our guests, a fun dining and social vibe that they will remember and want to share with their family and friends.”

Kapow's new food program launched in early January, Nickey noting that he pulled his inspiration from Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine. He aimed to present a "fun, energetic, and friendly" menu with vibrant flavors.

“Utilizing Chef Nickey’s recently hosted tastings as a barometer for this statement, I can honestly say that we are blown away by his creativity, innovation, and mindfulness when it comes to delivering interesting, unique, and impressive dishes that represent Kapow’s exploration into the evolution of dining and its commitment to culinary prowess,” Dugan said.

The co-owners of Kapow, Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich — who are both respected restaurateurs behind some of South Florida's hottest concepts, such as Longboards and The Vagabond — agree that their new Corporate Executive Chef will amp up the brand.

“Having Chef Nickey on board as Corporate Executive Chef will ensure that our ‘People First’ culture is fostered and that our guests are genuinely thrilled with each visit to Kapow,” Frielich said.

Why South Florida Is Set to Be the Next Hot Food Scene

Why South Florida Is Set to Be the Next Hot Food Scene

By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor

South Florida is on fire, and not just because of its sunny temperatures. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are heating up the restaurant industry and making moves as culinary cities. While Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco are heralded for their distinct foodie personalities, diverse offerings, and as the homes of James Beard Award winners, South Florida has been going through major transformations.

From food trucks to haute cusine, from celebrity chefs migrating to the Magic City to potential food halls, this area has come far from its days being branded as the capital of Cuban restaurants and nightclubs. In fact, the Sun Sentinel reported that 800 new restaurants have cropped up across Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County since 2006. Only more are on the way.

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Coconut Grove Fashion + Art + Music: First Saturdays Each Month Until April 2017!

Get into the groove, Coconut Grove. On the first Saturday of each month until April, the worlds of fashion, art, and music collide for one dynamic, cultural celebration! Fashion + Art + Music Nights, sponsored by the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, are free community art walks throughout  Miami-Dade County's historic, oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood and an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to get to know the local businesses that anchor the community. 

Participating restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and businesses host thought-provoking artists, live musical talent, visionary designers, passionate authors, and offer exclusive promotions for the event's extended hours. The lineup this Saturday, Jan. 7, includes featured destinations such as the Galleries at The Coconut Grove Arts Festival — highlighting the works of R.C. Bailey and the FrameWorks Pop Art Show — the strummings of Mario Vuksanovic Spanish Guitar at the Mayfair, and many others.

Come enjoy Coconut Grove F.A.M. nights from 6 to 9 P.M. on Jan. 7, Feb. 4, March 4, and April 1.

The Four Hotels Dominating the South Florida Scene

The Four Hotels Dominating the South Florida Scene

By Ryan Ross, Foodable Contributing Editor

As we all know, South Florida is among an elite group of America’s premier destinations for travel, entertainment, and great cuisine. In fact, after New York City and Los Angeles, Miami ranks near the top of everyone’s “must-visit” lists. South Florida’s popularity is due to more than just the great weather (although that’s definitely a consideration)- Miami and the surrounding areas offer a wide variety of activities that make it an attractive destination for almost any kind of traveler.

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Haute Happy Hours Kicking Off in 2017

Haute Happy Hours Kicking Off in 2017

By Ryan Ross, Foodable Contributing Writer

For as long as it's been in existence, the concept of happy hour has focused on quick, cheap and no-frills food and drink options...but not anymore. These four Miami restaurants are leading the way in redefining the happy hour experience in 2017 and beyond.

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Celebrate the New Year With Nikki Beach's Signature, One-Night-Only $10,000 Cocktail

French record producer and DJ Bob Sinclair. Photo courtesy of Nikki Beach.

French record producer and DJ Bob Sinclair. Photo courtesy of Nikki Beach.

Say cheers, Miami! And ring in the New Year in style — that is, if you can ring up $10,000 on your tab. Nikki Beach Miami's signature $10,000 Dom Pérignon Rosé Strawberry Mojito is available — for one night only — this New Year's Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31. With a luxury cocktail menu as renowned as this music-meets-entertainment beach club concept, it's no surprise guests can enjoy a larger-than-life kickoff to 2017 with a supersized, 3-foot-tall glass.

Not planning to down a decadent, refreshing jeroboam of rosé and rum with a mix of strawberries, mint leaves, sugarcane, and lemon lime soda? (And looking for something a little more on the budget?) No worries, there are other ways to celebrate. Join Nikki Beach Miami for their Magical Garden Under the Stars event.

Guests will not only enjoy a three-course dinner complete with live musicians and theatrical dancers, other dazzling performances, and a midnight, private fireworks display by the water, but you'll get lost in an enchanted world of "lush greenery, butterflies and blossoming flowers, life-sized antique bird cages and crystal-adorned oversized gazebos."

Attendees will be treated with a complementary Champagne toast and party favors. On the menu, you can bite into appetizers such as carpaccio and lobster soup, entrées like pan-seared cod and beef tenderloin, and a mix of sushi selections, grilled skewers, prosciutto platters, and divine desserts and confections.

Want to learn more about this South Beach landmark and Miami's most popular New Year's Eve party? Email reservations.miami@nikkibeach.com for inquiries on VIP Table Packages, Dinner Packages, an General Admission Tickets.

Rubio’s Expands to the East Coast with Eight New Locations

Rubio’s Expands to the East Coast with Eight New Locations

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Rubio’s Restaurants has officially acquired eight locations in south Florida. The stores were previously Lime Fresh Mexican Grills, but soon they will be converted to the first ever east coast Rubio’s Coastal Grills. 

Before this expansion, Rubio’s had 200 stores on the west coast in California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. 

Last fall, Rubio’s announced that the brand planned to venture to the east coast. Since then, Rubio’s and Florida Lime Fresh Mexican Grill’s parent company, Ruby Tuesday have been finalizing the deal. 

The coastal grill’s newly acquired stores are projected to open in the fall of 2016 and are located in the Miami, Tampa Bay, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg and Winter Park areas of south Florida. 

“The acquisition of these eight Florida locations is a huge milestone for our company as it marks our first expansion to the East Coast,” said Ralph Rubio, founder of Rubio’s Coastal Grill. “We’re incredibly excited to start transitioning the restaurants to Rubio’s Coastal Grill and look forward to opening the first location this fall.”

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