After journeying through France and studying at Paris's Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, Gerardo Barrera returned to the United States still pining for French culture and cuisine. Rather than pass the time by reciting his favorite Camus passages in an empty kitchen, Gerardo pays homage to the country as the executive chef of Dominique Bistro. His authentic dishes include terrine, roasted duck breast in a honey-and-balsamic reduction, and an original crème brûlée recipe with vanilla seeds. Barkeepers complement Gerardo's edibles with craft cocktails and wines imported from France, Spain, and Italy. Late into the night, the bistro's romantic ambiance transforms into a lounge atmosphere as guests groove to European electro music.
Pasha's Healthy Mediterranean Cuisine has expanded to seven locations throughout the Miami area, each characterized by eye-catching, contemporary decor. Bright-blue umbrellas and swaying palm trees pop up in sunny outdoor patios while soothing music filters through dining rooms of arched columns and white-leather seats. The elegant surroundings provide a suitable backdrop for fine Mediterranean dishes—fresh, wholesome wraps, kebabs, and spreads that won accolades from an abundance of newspaper and magazine publications. Backed by a team of fitness specialists and nutritionists, Pasha chefs take healthy approaches to cooking, using fresh produce, measuring proper portion sizes, and lecturing all their cows on the importance of routine exercise.
When the first 100 Montaditos opened in the Spanish seaside town of Islantilla in 2000, the owners had in mind a vision of recreating the classical comfort of old-fashioned Spanish taverns. What they didn't realize was that they were about to start a worldwide phenomenon. Today, more than 300 outposts of 100 Montaditos have opened on three continents, and it's all thanks to their titular menu item?and its 100 variations.
A montadito is a tiny piece of bread, about as long as a finger and as wide as a giant's finger, stuffed with fresh, Spanish-tapas-inspired ingredients. Diners build their meal from a selection of the bite-sized sandwiches off a menu that includes meat-and-cheese combos, all-vegetable nibbles, and even a few dessert sandwiches. Sampler plates let you taste a few popular montaditos in one easy order: the Meat Lover's Collection, for one, includes the chorizo sandwich, the meatballs sandwich with marinara, and four others. Everything goes down all that much smoother with a crisp glass of beer, a Spanish wine, or fresh and fruity white sangria.
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.
Be careful?stepping into Atelier Monnier may become a habit-forming activity. Best of Voice Places bestowed the Best Croissant title upon the French bakery in 2012, adding that the chocolate-almond variety "will make an addict of you." Miami New Times blogger Trina Sargalski praised Atelier's parisian macaron, a gluten-free cookie comprised of a light crust, moist almond meringue, and a natural ganache filling in such flavors as pistachio, coffee, and raspberry cassis. The shop's glass cases also brim with European-style ice cream (cr?me glac?e), profiteroles and pastries, and handmade chocolates along with freshly baked bread and sandwiches.
The store owes its success to the gourmet passions of owner and Belgium native Patrick Feyten and the artisanal creativity of French pastry chef Franck Monnier. The minimalistic decor allows guests to focus on the vibrant colors of their sweet treats, which range from a sunny lemon yellow to a rouge as deeply crimson as ?dith Piaf's lips.
Although it has a more limited flavor selection that other do-it-yourself frozen yogurt bars across Miami, YUZU Frozen Yogurt is still ready to satisfy your sugar cravings. The focused range provides for some ten flavors – six that it rotates every few days or weeks, and four staples: chocolate, strawberry, espresso and vanilla. The specialty flavors include cookies ‘n’ cream, red velvet, nutella, green apple, cake batter, lychee and peach mango tart, and there are always seasonal flavors to enjoy. The spare wooden interior is tucked away inside a strip mall, and offers wood flooring, pendant lights and lots of colorful pop, alongside a hefty run of toppings options that keep the locals coming to YUZU until midnight.