LUX Pizza might be in Miami, but the pizza chefs follow the lead of artisan Italian pizza makers. That means all pizzas come in one size, available for lunch or diner. Housemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella are the beginnings of most of the specialty pies here, which include a traditional margherita or prosciutto as well as some inventive creations. Along with pizzas, the eatery offers paninis, calzones, stromboli, salads, and Nutella-inspired homemade desserts.
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 son of Cuban immigrants, James Beard Award–winning Chef Douglas Rodriguez crafted a menu that blurs the line between Latin American comfort food and American fine dining. Diversely delicious tapas selections, such as as ham croquetas ($8), pulpo a la gallega (seared octopus, $13), and plantain-encrusted mahi mahi ($12), can fill even the most discerning appetite bucket to the brim. Sup on the savory crispy-skin Cuban pork ($26) or the Fire and Ice ceviche ($15), which combines salmon, lemon juice, chives, jalapenos, and dill over yogurt and cucumber granita to create a mind-bending flavor duality capable of melting the taster into a puddle of biodegradable paper-mâché. The duck and foie gras cassabe flatbread ($17) is like your favorite Italian pizza married a beautiful duck and moved to Cuba.
Most pizza makers launch their careers out of a love of the pie, not a love of candy. Consider Lucali’s owner Mark Iacono an exception. As a child, the Carroll Gardens native would visit Louie’s Candy Shop with his father, browsing the sweets and indulging in egg creams from the soda fountain. When the candy shop closed its doors for good, Mark moved in with a plan to preserve the neighborhood space but little idea of how he would go about it. A visit to another pizzeria evoked memories of his grandmother laboring over her saucepot and, suddenly, the idea rose like a mound of dough on the sun: pizza.
Two years later, Iacono was the one laboring in the kitchen, simmering his San Marzano tomato sauce for five hours–-according to his grandmother's recipe––before ladling it onto thin crusts, topping it with a mix of cheeses that includes bufala mozarrella, and popping the whole thing into a wood-fired oven he built himself. The result is a pie that [_Time Out New York¬_](www.timeout.com/newyork/the-feed-blog/gqs-richman-rips-www.-a-new-one-anoints-brooklyns-lucali) calls, "a thing of beauty" and that earned second place on [_GQ's_](http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/200905/pizza-american-pie-25-best?currentPage=3) list of the "25 Best Pizzas You'll Ever Eat". To ensure quality, Iacono keeps things simple by only serving pizzas and calzones, and limiting the topping list to a mere eight choices, among them pepperoni and fresh snipped basil. The simplicity allows him to concentrate on making his pizzas better and better, telling [_The New York Times¬_](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/29/dining/reviews/29unde.html) that despite the long lines of customers, he's never satisfied with his pies. The _Times_' verdict? "He could just relax".
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.