After nearly 20 years under the command of Top Chef star Chef Carlos Fernandez, Hi-Life Café has recently ascended into a new realm under the rule of Chef Virgil Woodard, a master of new-wave American cuisine. According to a feature in the Sun Sentinel Woodard's training in architecture and keen eye for art and symmetry become apparent upon first glimpse of his dishes, each embellished with his signature hand-carved vegetable garnishes. Yet the ornate frills are only the start of the meal’s elegance. Fresh jalapeños packed with shrimp and wrapped in bacon—Cajun Kisses—prelude a full menu of classic American fare with an upscale twist. He transforms pastas with unique sauces, such as a southwestern spin on bolognese and a classic mushroom and madeira wine sauce infused with brie, and he pairs high-end strip steak, pork loin, and seafood with fresh, internationally inspired accoutrements.
The interior of Hi-Life Café mirrors the chic style of the entrees. Candlelight flickers across tasteful urban art photography from John Fifield and Streetmurals.net, creating the ideal ambiance for a dinner date or impromptu murder-mystery game. A granite-topped wine bar hosts a selection of sips, as well as fresh flower arrangements rivaled only by the elegant roses adorning each and every table.
Asia Bay serves the "best sushi in this town," according to actor Alec Baldwin, who tweeted his recommendation while in Fort Lauderdale to film Rock of Ages, according to pbpulse. The man behind this A-list-worthy cuisine is executive chef and co-owner Peter Hepp, who according to Miami New Times "is hip to the aesthetic of clean lines, vivid colors, and brightly delineated flavors." Hepp's chefs drizzle the menu's more than 60 sushi and sashimi plates with colorful sauces as carefully as painters adorn canvas, yielding dishes that are as nice to look at as they are to eat. The 50-seat dining room operates under a similarly modern theme, with large picture windows, white leather chairs, and curved-back banquettes which Social Miami calls "minimalist-chic."
Outside, a patio held up by stilts lifts diners above the rippling waves of the Tarpon River, helping garner Asia Bay an OpenTable Diners' Choice Award for Best Outdoor Dining. Here the decor invites relaxation with large parasols, old-fashioned street lamps, and seagulls who will give backrubs for fresh-cut sashimi.
Anthony DeMaio and Domenick Falcione's culinary venture, Mojo, reflects the partners' shared ideology of providing a feast for all the senses. When Falcione isn't busy festooning the dining room's walls with his abstract mixed-media artwork, he dons an executive-chef hat and concocts the restaurant's menu of inventive international cuisine. In an interview with the Sun Sentinel, he describes his approach to art and cooking: "I believe food is a feast for your senses, eyes, nose, taste buds and your soul. For plate presentation, I use the colors and positioning of the food, which is similar to when I paint on the canvas."
Falcione creates these aesthetically pleasing dishes with organic grains and vegetables, Lock Duart salmon, free-range chicken, and local, seasonal ingredients. His entrees blend French, Italian, and Asian flavors and preparations, and his housemade desserts include the popular flourless chocolate-espresso torte.
His passion for beauty is also apparent when examining Mojo's sleek, ultramodern décor. Once guests enter the restaurant's stainless-steel doors, they're surrounded by crisp, white tables and chairs, striped teal banquettes, white orchids, and chandeliers adorned with rows of peacock feathers.
Dapur’s chef and designer, Edi Mulyanto, draws on culinary traditions from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan while chopping, sautéing, and simmering Pan Asian tapas and entrees. A reviewer for the Miami Herald praises the elaborate sushi rolls, which include lobster and rock shrimp, as “crowd-pleasing” and predicts that the 7,000-square-foot venue will enjoy “sweet success.” Many of the menu’s ingredients, according to Edge, spring from Mulyanto’s own garden or sorcerer nephew before ending up in small plates flavored with lime juice and garlic ponzu jelly.
A giant golden Buddha statue surrounds diners lounging on the bar’s cherry-red couches or practicing casual heists with the modern art hung on the dining room’s purple walls. High ceilings support dangling chandeliers, and soft lighting spotlights artistically arranged plants and baskets. In addition to delighting eyes during dinner and drinks, this elegant interior also hosts Dapur's nightly events and theme nights. Stop in on Wine Down Wednesday and lift a glass to an all-you-can-drink wine special or fight off the impending work week on Sake To Me Sunday with cups of half-price sake.
Rochelle Koff of The Miami Herald wrote that Trata Greek Taverna "isn't the typical belly-dancing, confetti-tossing, plate-breaking Mediterranean restaurant. Its spell is more subtle, cast by a charming staff led by co-owner Dimitrios 'Jimmy the Greek' Tsiakanikas, who warmly greets patrons with a 'welcome home.'" His hearty salutations drift from a building the color of fresh artichoke leaves out onto a covered patio with flower boxes and twinkling string lights.
In the dining room, lights like glowing tulips hang over the fully stocked bar, casting a buttery glow on flame-kissed kabobs, gyros, spanakopita, and lamb chops soaked in olive oil and fresh herbs for 24 hours. Lilac napkins cover diners' laps as servers arrive with flaming cheese saganaki, the crackling flame punctuated by shouts of “opa.” Photographs of ocean-side Greek villages and stone statues on the wall give one the feeling of having landed in the sun-soaked country without constantly getting hit in the head by college kids throwing discuses.
Zaggora's founder Dessi was scrambling. She needed to lose a little weight before her wedding, but none of the weight loss products she used seem to move the needle. Eventually, she took matters into her own hands, inventing her own effective method for slimming down. Zaggora's multi-layer capris, tops, shorts, and blazers put the heat naturally emitted by the body during exercise to work burning more calories. A 2012?2013 study conducted by ETScience at University of Southern California showed users wearing Zaggora used less energy to achieve high cardio levels and burned anywhere from 6?18% more calories and than those wearing standard exercise clothing.
Made from a comfortable bioceramic material, the shorts' ThermoFit technology smoothes thighs and other dimple-prone areas by warming body tissues and increasing their metabolic rate. This process boosts energy expenditure before and after exercise, and aids in eliminating cellulite-causing toxins.