Miami, a truly extraordinary food and wine experience for people like us

baccala croquettes recipeLet me put it this way: as soon as I walked in the door, back home from my trip to Miami to lead a Franciacorta Real Story tasting there last week, I told Tracie P that I need to take her there. The food and wine experience was that good.

Those are the baccalà croquettes (above) at Heath Porter’s Uvaggio wine bar and restaurant.

My recommendation? Run don’t walk. Really, superb…

roussanne from savoie savoyHeath blew me away with the wines “he just happened to have open by the glass,” from the esoteric and geeky (Japan’s native grape variety!) to classic and homey (my night ended with COS Ramì).

That’s a Roussanne (above), known as Bergeron in Savoie, France, where Domaine Jean Vullien produces this excellent wine.

The only thing I liked more than the food at Uvaggio was Heath’s chill attitude and the way he expanded my wine knowledge exponentially and thoughtfully with a single flight of by-the-glasses. I can’t wait to take Tracie P there…

wolfe wine shop wolfes miami coral gablesAnother stellar discovery for me was Jeffrey Wolfe and his Wolfe’s Wine Shop. He had been recommended to me by our mutual and semi-virtual friend Jaime Smith of Vegas (who never misses a beat when it comes to connecting the right people, btw).

When I walked in to get ready for our Thursday night Franciacorta tasting, they were sipping Foradori and chewing the wine fat.

Wolfe’s is one of those wine shops where people like you and me immediately feel at home. If you like Lou and Domaine LA in Los Angeles, if you like Chambers St. Wines in NYC or Boulder Wine Merchant, this is your and my kind of place.

And the coolest thing was the general level of wine culture shared by both the staff and the guests at Wolfe’s. Nearly everyone grilled me with questions about Franciacorta and the individual wines we poured. There didn’t seem to be anyone who was just there to get their drink on for free on a Thursday early evening.

Jeffrey, I can’t thank you enough. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

best cuban sandwich miamiMany of the people I interacted with conceded that this little strip on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile is an anomaly in Miami and that it’s not reflective of the overarching wine scene there.

But add the local cuisine and party scene to the mix and you have a wine and food destination that really can’t be beat, at least in my book.

That’s the Cubano that I ordered at the bar at my hotel (above). When I arrived, I needed to get online right away to finish a rush translation job and I was bummed that I didn’t have time to go to Calle Ocho for something a little more groovy.

But, man, this sandwich fired on every cylinder. From the classic Cuban bread (that you just can’t seem to get unless you’re in this part of the world) to the quality of the ham and the assembly.

versailles little havana miami best bakeryThe next morning, I had an early breakfast at the famous Versailles (above), where everyone speaks English fluently but Spanish is the language de rigueur. I love the sweet cadence of Cuban Spanish, so much more genteel than my Poblano- and So. Cal-inflected and extremely modest command of the language.

Jugo de naranja just sounds so sexy in Cubano!

seared wahoo recipeLastly, as I was looking for good wifi in the vicinitly of the Ft. Lauderdale airport (where I flew in and out of), I literally stumbled on to this awesome fresh fish market and deli called Finster Murphy’s.

Reminiscent of one of my favorite places in my hometown of La Jolla, El Pescador, I had to go for the seared Wahoo. Gorgeous and super tasty.

I can’t think of better way to end the trip before heading to the airport, which is literally around the corner.

That’s a mouthful of a post and all I have time for today: I just landed in Italy where I’ll be visiting a handful of estates in northern and central regions and attending the Amarone vintage debut in Verona. Stay tuned… It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

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