At last year's Grovetoberfest, more than 6,500 beer enthusiasts descended on Peacock Park for a celebration of seasonal beer, delicious food, and live music. This time around, the festival ratchets up the good times with an even bigger selection of beers to sample—more than 200, to be exact. Like the festival's guests, they come from all over the world, along with plenty of domestic craft brews as well. And besides sampling a world's worth of autumnal potions, attendees can ply their own wares in the Best Homebrew Contest, and learn to incorporate beer into their cooking routine in Milam's Kitchen Lab.
Grass-green walls and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee greet diners at Caffe 33 before its chefs satisfy insides with warm sandwiches and breakfast dishes. Hot sandwiches, including an avocado BLT, warm bellies like internal hot-water bottles, and cold sandwiches refresh with options such as Mediterranean salmon with olives or a chicken caesar wrap. Earlier in the day, breakfast fare that includes ham, egg and cheese paninis and house-made empanadas transforms sleeping caps into thinking caps. The café also serves freshly squeezed juices, using fruits and veggies such as beets, pineapple, and ginger to craft elixirs even more refreshing than unicorn milk. As patrons nosh, they can connect to the Internet beneath walls with vivid and expressive paintings or pepper their meals with fresh air at a smattering of sidewalk tables.
Despite being separated from the Mediterranean by an entire ocean, 345 Caffe Italiano manages to bring an authentic taste of Italy to southern Florida. Its chefs embrace tradition by importing specialty meats and cheeses directly from the Old World, and pair these distinctive flavors with locally sourced produce to better capture the inherent freshness of true Italian bistro cooking. This is most evident in the eatery's panini sandwiches, which can feature everything from bresaola della valtellina (cured beef) and Italian goat cheese to grilled eggplant and basil between two pieces of gently crisped bread. As a sweet counterpoint to the savory panini, the cafe also offers a variety of sweet and savory crepes, classic espresso drinks, and gelato that is made fresh daily using shavings from Italy's famous icebergs.
With the deft hands of a veteran baker, Vincent Benoliel keenly measures almonds, eggs, and sugar, because accuracy is essential when making macarons. The ephemeral sweets come in a rainbow of colors and might taste of chocolate, rose petal, or lemon, but every single one has that je ne sais quoi of a macaron made by a native Frenchman. Vincent grew up in France's ubiquitous restaurant industry, ascending to the rank of sous chef in a Parisian brasserie when he was only 18. In 2005, he brought the richness of French cuisine to South Florida by importing the Eiffel Tower in 3-pound chunks and by opening Le Boudoir in Miami. His handiwork includes delicacies such as escargot, steak tartare, and fresh pastries.
Executive Chef Massimo Giannattasio's career has taken him all over the world, cooking meals in Los Angeles, Northern Italy, and Miami, but perhaps the most important kitchen in which he worked is his mother's. At a young age, she taught him that a chef's intuition is as important as any measurement and that if a chef wears another chef's apron, he withers and dies. Chef Giannattasio and his staff rely on those early lessons in the kitchen of Cibo Wine Bar, where they've curated a menu of both traditional and modern Italian dishes.
Surrounded by columns of neatly stacked Chicago bricks, diners take their seats at tables made of sealed butcher block. Servers produce a wine list to rival a French baron's, and waiters bring out appetizers such as polenta fries or carpaccio. Pastas such as ravioli and gnocchi are hallmark dishes, and the chef prepares seasonal risottos year round. Tender cuts of veal and braised beef short ribs are served second. In addition, the kitchen can bake one of 15 gourmet pizzas for the table, with whole wheat options available.
Cibo Wine Bar won the Miami New Times' Best Wine Selection award in 2012. And once you step inside, it's easy to see why. A huge wine rack soars to the top of the restaurant's vaulted ceiling along one wall—it's so tall that Cibo's wine girl uses a harness and rope to reach the top. A vast, full-service bar pours wines and mixed drinks in the front. In the open kitchen, which is framed by exposed brick walls, chefs scurry to prepare meals, and curing meats hang in full sight of the diners.
Vegan quinoa and apple salads, tuna with olive tapenade and tomato sandwiches, and mango-basil smoothies. These are only a few of the healthy options you can get at Pete's Authentic Cooking. The restaurant prepares a whole menu of nutritious meals using fresh produce and wholesome ingredients. Pete's homemade jams top a number of the breakfast toasts and sandwiches, adding a sweet fruit flavor to brioche or roast beef. You can get these tantalizing tastes in the store for breakfast or lunch or delivered across Coral Gables.