As rum collector and enthusiast Robert Burr sensed what he termed the "awakening of rum" in 2005, he decided to direct his passion toward educating the community. Drawing from an earlier career in magazine publishing, he compiled a list of 100 of his favorite rums each year into a free guide, which he gave to local liquor stores. As he developed connections with other enthusiasts and tasting judges, he formed the International Rum Expert Panel, an organization of 36 cane-spirit lovers from around the world. He gathers the majority of these experts in Miami Beach each year for the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, a celebration of the libation's international varieties. Through the festival's schedule of events, Robert aims to honor iconic spirits while also featuring lesser-known rum makers that guests might not otherwise find without finding and deciphering Blackbeard's long-lost treasure-map pajamas.
Held at the opulent DoubleTree by Hilton, the annual event has grown to include hundreds of rums hailing from countries such as Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. As they mingle in spacious convention halls, visitors navigate a labyrinth of bartenders and brand ambassadors proffering island apparel, art, and books. Industry experts expound on the history, origins, and childhood fears of the libation during weekend seminars and bartender competitions. Attendees also revel at a two-day tasting exhibition, late-night parties, and VIP events at various Miami venues.
At Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana, chef Alessandro DiMaggio takes a farm-to-table approach to his menu, creating dishes that pop with the flavors of fresh mozzarella, organic greens and vegetables, and wild porcini mushrooms. The restaurant blends fine Italian cuisine with a festive Caribbean motif, like a macaroni map of the Lesser Antilles. The cooks augment the culinary beauty of plates of thin-sliced carpaccio and creamy risotto with the aesthetic beauty of terracotta tiles, white-leather barstools, and a hint of a pink-neon glow. The open air of the high-ceilinged dining room hosts meals of homestyle lasagna or grilled swordfish, and the full-service bar doles out 14-ounce pours of cold Peroni beer as well as glasses of Italian wines.
Aspiring to delight each of the five senses, Doré colorful atmosphere serves as both a hip lounge and dining destination for contemporary cuisine with an international flare. Beneath glittering chandeliers and glowing lights, diners sip on wine while browsing a menu of small plates of lobster crab cakes and entrees of aromatic, tandoori-spiced duck breast or six-hour braised lamb shank. Each night, live DJs weave a soundtrack that blankets the chic interior, providing a beat to chew each bite of tuna carpaccio to.
The Flavor of Broward showcases complex bouquets of wines from around the world—and their interplay with plates from upscale South Florida restaurants. Top chefs and eateries serve gourmet samples at festival booths, and visitors wash down their food with wine, rather than with a wine glass full of more food. Entertainment for the other senses, such as live music and a car show, rounds out the event.
The breadth of the Atlantic Ocean doesn't impact the reach of Alfredo Patino. As the chef and owner of Bin No. 18, the Miami-based chef draws inspiration from the casual cuisine of European bistros while using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and contemporary technique to lend a bit of New World flair to the ever-changing menus. French, Italian, and Latin American flavors appear throughout Chef Patino's cuisine, adding a global scope to the regionally rooted dishes.
Shareable platters of imported European cheeses and cured meats are served alongside Latin staples, including octopus salad, as well as classic Italian entrees made with homemade pastas. But recreating time-honored classics isn't the only thing that Chef Patino does. He also demonstrates a willingness to experiment by fusing New and Old World influences. This culinary whimsy is evident in the kitchen's modern interpretation of a Cuban sandwich—complete with slow-roasted pork, brie, and fig sauce—which earned a spot on Food & Wine magazine's list of the Best Sandwiches in the U.S.
And much like the European bistros that originally inspired Chef Patino, Bin No. 18 features an extensive wine list. Like his menu, the wine list takes a global approach by including bottles from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, and Austria, as well as Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Washington State, California, and Oregon. This variety of options ensures that numerous pairing options are available for diners looking to enjoy a glass with their meal or collection of small plates. CBS Miami was also impressed by the selection, placing Bin No. 18 on its 2011 list of the Best Wine Bars In South Florida.
The Old World inspiration shines through a bit more clearly in the restaurant's décor, which skews more toward a rustic, yet refined ambiance as opposed to a nouveau vibe. Wooden wine barrels sit beside tables with avocado-green chairs, occasionally doubling as small side tables. At the same time, the collection of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling adds a bit of classical elegance to the space.
C By Me Creative Clothing & Art Studio invites customers of all ages to make bold statements with their outfits by helping them turn everyday articles into vibrant, eye-catching pieces. Amid the studio's pristine white decor and stainless-steel tables, fashion experts help visitors design their own threads by starting with a blank clothing canvas and adding rhinestones, ribbon, and colorful paint. With the kaleidoscopic arsenal of colorful adornments, customers turn anything from shirts and shoes to wallets and tote bags into wearable works of art akin to Michelangelo's fashionable attempt to cut a head hole in the Mona Lisa.