A sprinkling of mediterranean spices makes its way into many of the dishes at Venicia Cafe & Grill. Chefs toss flavorful handfuls atop filets mignons, hide them inside falafel patties, and allow them to seep inside salmon with a wine-and-lemon marinade. Other staple Mediterranean dishes that leave the kitchen include creamy hummus with gyro, stuffed grape leaves, and spinach pie. After meals, puffs of scented smoke float around hookahs and a disco ball lights up the dance floor as patrons sway their hips, stomp their feet, and toss one another in the air.
The Seminole Hard Rock Wine & Food Festival is a new tradition—it started in 2010—but its creators hope to make it a lasting part of South Florida foodie culture. Amidst cuisine from renowned local eateries such as Tatu and Council Oak, guests can relax in several different lounges, from a spa area for women to a men's lounge with a big screen TV. The Caribbean lounge surrounds festival goers with assorted rums and tropical rubs, all cooked up by Chef Creole. Sponsors include NBC 6, Lite-FM, and the Miami Herald, and a portion of the profits will benefit the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation.
Cuenca Cigars houses 80 varieties of factory and hand-rolled cigars within its forest-green and yellow walls, offering single and box smokes, humidors, and parcels of tobacco. On temperate days, rings of flavored smoke drift skyward from Cuenca's outdoor lounge while indoor patrons pick out cigars such as the H-Upmann ($7.35 each) and the Montecristo 75th Anniversary ($18). Accessories such as Craftsman double-blade cigar cutters ($3.50) help smokers to cut cigars down to size without the hassle of using a saber or unconstructive criticism. Enjoy pleasing puffs of session cigars such as the Romeo y Julieta Cedro Deluxe No. 2 (5.70 each), or inhale sips of complimentary cappuccino and espresso in Cuenca’s indoor lounge while checking emails on the complimentary WiFi.
In a dining room decorated with Egyptian-inspired artwork, visitors to Exotic Bites enjoy a tableau of Mediterranean dishes that range from tender gyros to rich and creamy hummus. Warm pita wraps around sizzling shawarma, lamb kebabs, or kebah, a combination of minced beef, pine nuts, and ground lamb, and stuffed falafels are comprised of a crunchy chickpea patty filled with minced beef, chicken, or sautéed vegetables. The occasional tendrils of hookah smoke spiral into the air, spun from the lips of friends chatting at a table or reclining in a cushioned corner decorated with a vivid wall hanging. More hookah pipes line up against a wall shelf, spaced between the chalkboard menu of daily specials and framed pictures.