Flavors of Miami Review – Fine Dining For A Good Cause
Photos By Michelle Kroytor
Music brings people together, but so does food. Never underestimate the power of a good meal shared by great people who are always willing to support a good cause. The American Liver Foundation hosted it’s fourth annual Flavors of Miami gala at the stately Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This event opened with a cocktail reception with enough hors d’oeuvres to fill you up like a meal, but just the right amount of champagne and raffles to keep the room buzzing for more.
Dozens of participating top tier chefs prepared a selection of their best appetizers to open our palettes for the multiple course dinner to come. From Candied Bacon with a sweet kick (107 Steak and Bar) to herb marinated Lamb Skewers (Meraki Greek Bistro), I couldn’t pass up a single option that came my way. Corsair Kitchen and Bar served up a crisp Waldorf Salad consisting of apple, walnuts, blue cheese, sliced grape (yes, they actually sliced grapes and it was awesome), and cilantro. A tangy nectarous crunch that I couldn’t resist eating multiples of. Now let’s remember friends, this is Flavors of Miami, Corsair also offered a savory meat arepa and a Smoked Salmon Arepa. Chef IP‘s Edamame Dumplings didn’t fall short either, I could eat twenty of these! The truffled edamame puree was delectable with it’s sweet wine broth. Delicious Caterer upped the ceviche game in Miami by giving a traditional Tuna Tartare that same citric seared texture with soy sauce vinegar and sugar. Imagine my excitement when I entered the ballroom for the multiple course dinner to see that none other than Delicious Caterer would serve as our personal chef for the evening with one of the sponsors, AbbVie.
Chef Chris Bulgarin exceeded my expectations through his culinary craft. Luxurious Events went the whole nine yards on our table’s gorgeous and romantic floral center piece. It had a tuscan feel with real candles floating around extended branches. The welcome course provided a Spanish influenced Charcuterie Board complete with three types of cheese such as Manchego, Chorizo de Cantimpalo, pitted date, and fruit. Bulgarin served his personal rendition of a traditional Spanish plate, Chorizo Tortilla, a delicately layered omelette made with chorizo and potatoes, finished by cilantro creme fresh and micro greens. Next came his Granna and White Bean Soup; very homey, hearty and filling, yet still light at the same time. His team served the salad course at the perfect time as it prepped our appetite for the main course. The Manchego Apple Serrano Salad was a refreshing mix of arugula, apple slivers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, the best cured meat (prosciutto) I’ve ever eaten with greens, and a mighty addictive apple vinaigrette. I don’t drink wine often because the alcohol content is too strong for my taste, but Bulgarin’s red wine selection of this evening was the most unexpectedly perfect red blend to sip on! I was impressed.
How can I even begin to describe his absolutely bomb Deconstructed Paella? The rice was gooey and sticky, like a Spanish sushi rice I never wanted to end. The Mahi had been caught fresh this morning through the hands of Chef Chris Bulgarin himself and cooked to tender, flaky excellence. How did I get so lucky to end up in this chair! I’ve never had a shrimp so meaty as his colossal shrimp, a chorizo so smokey, and the chicken was slightly blackened to give a little kick to this entree’s saffron based broth. This Paella had everything you could dream of including mussels, clam, juicy scrumptious lobster tail, and thin strips of leeks to compliment.
So I have the most insatiable sweet-tooth known to human kind and was relishing in every bite of Delicious Caterer’s dessert. I had to tell my heart to be still because the Crema Catalana rang true to it’s name, it was so dangerously glazed by a layer of brown sugar crystals, and topped with fluffy chantilly. I thought dessert was over until I stepped out the ballroom only to be greeted with more sweets to amplify my sugar-rush thanks to Florida Milk‘s ice cream. Their Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor was deep and rich with a slight cayenne pepper kick at the end, complete with marshmallows mixed in. The Guava Cheesecake had little crystals of guava and small creamy chunks of cheesecake, so totally Miami! The most incredible end to this event was the amount of money donated to support the American Liver Foundation in continuing it’s efforts to provide care and research. I walked into Flavors of Miami expecting to dine well, and all the details in the efforts of every chef, sponsor, and coordinator of this event definitely did not disappoint.