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  1. For the second installment of the Summertime Miami Spice Mash-Up Series, presented by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), was an ode to good ol’ Southern cooking when Clayton Miller of 50 Eggs and Todd Erickson of HaVen Gastro-Lounge teamed up for a one-night only meal.

    Just days before the Miami Spice kick off on July 24, Miller and Erickson took over the kitchen of Swine Southern Kitchen & Bar to create a five-course menu for hungry guests. Starting the meal off was the chef’s take on deviled eggs. Miller’s deviled egg was a combination of pickled mustard, bacon and and chive while Erickson created two variations of the deviled egg one filled with Serrano ham and the other made with salmon gravlox, cream cheese, dill, and capers.

    For the first entree, the chefs created dishes that were served side-by-side on the same plate. Miller plated a Crisp Cajun Boudin with creamed leeks and a pickled onion marmalade while Erickson served a “Country” Quail with Indigo potato salad and a Ranch brussel sprout slaw.

    Next up was each chefs solo entrée, Erickson created a Pan Seared Snapper with patatas bravas, romanesco and charred scallions while Miller made a Slow Smoked Brisket, that was wood grilled and charred, served with a molasses glaze, stone grits, aged cheddar, pickled corn relish.

    Last, but certainly not least, was everyone’s favorite course — dessert. Miller made a twist on a Southern favorite with his Chocolate Texas Toast Bread Pudding with chocolate “dirt,” smoked citrus and coffee ice cream while Erickson served a Fruit Cobbler a la mode with macadamia nut cookie crumble and vanilla whipped cream. To wash all of these courses down, each guest got to enjoy a complimentary Botran Rum Old Fashioned and Stella Artois.

    Make sure not to miss the final Miami Spice Mash-Up dinner this Thursday, September 4, when chefs John Iatrellis of Lure Fishbar, Wolfgang Birk of Area 31, and David Bracha of Oak Tavern team up at Lure Fishbar to create a special menu filled with over-the-top seafood dishes and preview each others September Miami Spice menus.

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  2. OTC is the popular Brickell restaurant known for its extensive craft beer selection, artisanal American eats, and ever-popular brunch. Chat Chow TV sat down with owner Michael Sullivan to find out more about the restaurant, its new and improved menu and it’s take-away growler beer program.

    Sullivan got his start in the restaurant industry in New York City, working his way up through some of the city’s most popular spots. Being from Miami, Sullivan returned to his hometown with a desire to bring what he saw and experienced in the NYC dining scene to South Florida and that’s when OTC was born.

    OTC opened up originally as a fast casual concept but changed to table service restaurant in late 2013 so it could fully educate diners on the menu without being rushed. With a new way of serving diners also came a new chef, Jacob Anaya formerly of Azul at the neighboring Mandarin Oriental Hotel, who brought his high-end cooking techniques to the casual menu.

    “He brings the same mentality and focus,” notes Sullivan. “Just with a playful neighborhood vibe.”

    Everything on Anaya’s revamped menu is homemade, right down even to the mayonnaise and pastas. He also added a new healthy lunch menu filled with dishes like Tuna Poke and Grilled Chicken with Quinoa.

    Utilizing its extensive craft beer selection, seven varieties on draft and seven by the bottle at any given time, OTC recently introduced its to-go growlers. For just $10, guests can get a growler filled with a beer of their choice to then enjoy at home — giving them access to brews typically reserved for restaurant and bar consumption.

    Curious what Sullivan’s favorite dish is on the OTC menu? Or what makes the restaurant’s brunch so popular? Get all the details in the video up top.

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  3. NIU is the small restaurant making a big buzz in Downtown Miami because of its inventive Catalan-cuisine and electric offerings. Chat Chow TV met with Executive Chef and partner Deme Lomas to hear about the new menu, its authentic inspiration and what makes its menu unique.

    Lomas hails from Barcelona, where he cooked as an executive chef for a large restaurant group for many years. He came to the U.S. three years ago and worked appropriately enough at Barconleta, the popular Spanish restaurant in Miami Beach, before branching out on his own with partner Karina Iglesias earlier this year.

    What makes NIU unique from the large array of Spanish restaurants in South Florida is that it focuses on the cuisine of of Lomas’ hometown of Barcelona where the emphasis is more on seafood dishes that are lightly cooked and grilled.

    The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner using a concise but eclectic menu that features 10-15 items at any given point with unique spins on traditional tapas like gazpacho and tartare along with specials rotating every few days.

    Curious what makes NIU’s gazpacho so different? Or what NIU means in Catalan? Discover all of this and more in the video above.

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  4. A place creating quite the buzz in the bar scene both locally and nationally is the newly opened The Ice Plant in St. Augustine, FL. The craft cocktail bar and restaurant is serving up creative drinks using homemade ingredients in a warehouse that once housed an actual ice plant. Chat Chow TV sat down with Head Barkeep Zach Lynch to find out more about the drinks, what’s make its ice so special and all about the historic space.

    As the title of the restaurant suggests — ice plays a key roll in every drink. The Ice Plant uses several different shapes of ice for its drinks, all hand carved from 150 pound blocks of ice that are made daily in-house. The ice is made with water that is filtered four to five times to achieve optimal purity and therefore clarity in color.

    The cocktail menu rotates often, but is filled with drinks made of recipes from each bartender in the staff. Drinks that are an ode to its surroundings and Florida highlight the menu like a “Hemingway Daquiri” and a “Florida Mule” made with vodka made at the distillery next door. Even the tonics, sodas and 14 different type of syrups are all created on site.

    However, food isn’t an after thought at this bar. The kitchen makes everything fresh from scratch, down to the ketchup it serves on its hand cut french fries. Dishes run the gamut from small, bite-sized plates like fresh pretzels served with a warm cheese dipping sauce to larger dishes such as pork chops and burgers.

    Curious what Lynch’s favorite dish is? Or how much ice it goes through in a week? (Hint — it’s a LOT) Find out those things and more in the video above.

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  5. The 13th Annual Miami Spice Restaurant program kicks off in just a few weeks on August 1. This year to celebrate, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) launched a series of special of monthly Miami Spice Mash-Ups, where chefs collaborate for a one-night only dinner and prepare dishes from their upcoming Spice menus.

    On Wednesday, June 25, J&G Grill at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort kicked off the series with its Chef de Cusine Brad Kilgore and pastry chef Antonio Bachour creating a six-course menu with visiting Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubbelly family of restaurants.

    The intimate dinner showcased the creativity of these chefs with dishes such as Local Poussin, “Saucisson de Lyon,” Five Spice, Chard Walnut Emulsion from Kilgore, Pork Cheeks, Asparagus, Mushroom Dirt, Parmesan Cheese and Pickled Mushrooms from Mendin; and Salted Honey Yogurt, Candied Tomatoes, Greek Yogurt Custard, Strawberries, and Yogurt Sponge Cake from Bachour. Guests also enjoyed cocktails from Botran Rum and beers from Stella Artois.

    Check out more highlights from the video above and make sure not to miss the next Miami Spice Mash-Up on Thursday, July 24 at 8 p.m., when chef Clayton Miller of 50 Eggs and Todd Erickson of HaVen Gastro-Lounge team up at Swine Southern Table & Bar. Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased here

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