Fernanda's International Market, a treasure trove of rare ingredients and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches, bakes robust breads and fine pastries. Among a troop of hearty sandwiches, the Martorano ($8.99) stands out for its spicy temper and muscular blend of sopressata and cappacola meats. The Churchill ($8.99) loads its taste gun with Branston pickle relish and fights hunger pangs on ham-coated beaches, cheddar cheese fields, and hot mustard streets. Fernanda's also sells prepared food by the pound and hard-to-find international groceries like Thai lemon grass.
Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
The Florida Keys have many claims to fame: crystalline waters, endless summer weather, and mermaids that listen exclusively to Jimmy Buffett. But for those with a penchant for the culinary pleasures in life, the best part of the Keys can be found in the scenic resort villages of Key Largo and Islamorada, where food and drink steal the spotlight during the Key Largo Food and Wine Festival.
Across 10 indulgent days, the region's top sommeliers and culinary experts present their best work in the form of wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, wine-pairing classes, and dinners featuring a fisherman's dream of stone crabs, lobsters, and more. Live music accentuates the sampling and sipping, as do art shows and appearances by celebrity chefs.
The chefs at Del Sur Market aren’t trying to come up with new and crazy toppings for their dishes; they’re trying to enhance the dishes’ natural flavors with simple, complementary sauces and sides. The result is a fresh-tasting menu of artisanal dishes, ranging from the nuanced flavors of the cheeses on the house mozzarella bar to the grilled rib eye rubbed with rosemary sea salt and topped with kalamata olives and red potatoes. The chefs aren’t afraid to make unique choices when pursuing a dish’s natural flavor, however, and so they wrap grilled filet mignon in pancetta and serve it over cremini mushroom risotto and incorporate pears and gorgonzola into ravioli nestled in a marsala wine sauce. They can also recommend boutique vintages of wine that pair well with the dishes' natural flavors, creating well-rounded gourmet meals for both lunch and dinner.
Since 1938, the keepers of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden have cultivated more than 85 acres of floral displays with a mixture of science and art. The gardens are lush with plants valuable to scientists and educators, and the tropical landscapes designed by William Lyman Phillips are like ever-evolving canvases, blooming and fading as the seasons change. Most of the palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines were collected from the wild, but the grounds also harbor endangered plant species.
Guides give English and Spanish tram tours as well as walking tours through specific parts of the gardens, or visitors can explore the displays at their leisure, wandering through the 16,428-square foot two-level Tropical Plant Conservatory exhibit, which blooms with orchids, fruit trees, and rare palms. Cascading waterfalls punctuate the stream flowing through the 2-acre Richard H. Simons Rainforest, where visitors admire the diverse plant life and reflect on the worldwide threat of rapidly vanishing rainforests. The Wings of the Tropics exhibit features thousands of exotic butterflies with tropical fish and rare plant life. Butterflies are released twice daily and the Butterfly Metamorphosis Lab lets kids experience them up close. The water gardens combine tranquility pools with waterfalls, sculpture, and lily pads to evoke a sense of calm.
Founded in 1912, Gardner's Market brought fine foods, gourmet groceries, and the services of skilled chefs to the public for over a century. While the grocer's store recently changed ownership, the mission and much of the market's renowned staff has endured. Executive Pastry Chef Luis Dorado still creates the same sinfully delicious sweet treats that have graced the cases during his 19-year tenure, whipping up everything from flourless chocolate tortes to crème brûlée. Other culinary artists spend their days crafting hot carrot bisque, Maryland mini crab cakes, and tres leches cake, cooked fresh and packed to go. They also whip up hot lunches, which vary in price from day to day due to the incorporation of market-price seafood and garnishes of freshly minted dollar bills. In the meat department, the team serves up certified angus beef, hormone-free chicken, naturally-raised lamb, and more.