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An interview with  Chef Tim Andriola, Basil Park and Timo in Sunny Isles, FL - The magic of good food for health and cheer enjoyment


More and more restaurants are focusing on health these days.  It may sound stern and a tad bleak but at Basil Park, the newest endeavor from restaurateurs Tim Andriola and Rodrigo Martinez, next door to the immensely popular Timo in Sunny Isles, every item of the healthy, nutrient rich “intact cuisine”, is a treat: from drinks to desserts, you won’t find flour, sugar, milk or any adulterated ingredients.

Chef Andriola makes good-for-you food come alive with flavor influences from the Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America and with  clever touches like cashew-based "cream."

Every aspect of health and well being were thought of, from the design of the kitchen to the local organic produce, micro greens and other farm ingredients which Farmer/partner Tamer Harpke of Harpke’s Family Farm in Hollywood  provides daily. The menu which features rotisserie pasture raised natural chicken, grass-fed meats a la plancha, sustainable seafood and a vast array of vegetarian dishes, also features  raw organic cold pressed juices from the juice bar, organic almond milk, cashew cream and cheese , organic wines, organic beer and sake.

Basil Park is located at 17608 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 


andrew gilbert photo credit_ alfredo anezThe Seven Dials, a Modern American cuisine with a British twist, by London-born chef/owner Andrew
fish chips photo credit_ alfredo anez Gilbert
, is now open for business on a quiet side street in Coral Gables,.

Currently serving lunch and dinner, The Seven Dials, named after a historic area of London, features a casual yet sophisticated menu showcasing organic and local ingredients and producers whenever possible, including Wynwood Brewery beers, Zak the Baker bread and Proper Sausages, paired with a carefully curated craft beer and wine list, in an inviting décor with a vintage mahogany bar.

The seasonally-driven menu of modern American cooking with a British twist, courtesy of London-born chef/owner Andrew Gilbert, includes a specials board that follows market availability and seasonality.

Menu items include Fried Kalamata Olives, served with yogurt and chili oil ($6), Miami Clam Chowder with Gulf shrimp, mussels and Florida clams ($12), Duck Confit with horseradish mash and grapes ($15), Fish & Chips, served with tartar sauce and mushy peas ($15), Proper Sausages with celery root gratin, apple and onion gravy ($18), a traditional Ploughman’s Salad ($14) and Chocolate Ale Cake, made with Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale ($9). The Seven Dials also offers an extensive charcuterie and cheese list.

Originally from London, chef Andrew Gilbert honed his skills in New York City’s famous gastopubs before moving to Miami where he worked at Design District favorite Sra. Martinez as executive chef Michelle Bernstein’s sous chef.  Andrew was on the opening team of CATCH Miami, and most recently, was executive chef at Gables favorite The Local Craft Food & Drink.

The Seven Dials is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday 11AM-10PM, Friday 11AM-11PM, Saturday 5PM-11PM. Located just a few blocks north of Miracle Mile, in The Minorca condominium at Douglas Rd. and Minorca Ave. (2030 S. Douglas Rd., #102) in Coral Gables, FL.   786-542-1603









Kris Wessel, Chef/Owner of Oolite Restaurant and Bar - Miami Beach - sophisticated yet healthy, gluten free dishes with unprocessed ingredients

Chef Kris Wessel, a 3rd generation Floridian raised in New Orleans, and a renowned  restaurateur in Miami, recently opened Oolite on Miami Beach, off Lincoln Road, next to the Fillmore Theater, and across the street from the Miami Convention Center.  The James Beard nominated chef and his partners have housed  the 284-seat healthy dining restaurant  – Oolite received 3.5 stars in the Miami Herald and raves from – in a Frank Gehry building with an Urban Chic atmosphere,  warm woods, sleek design, a large bar and an adjacent Jazz club.

The focus of the sophisticated global menu is healthy, gluten free, dishes using local and unprocessed ingredients, prepared with time tested-approaches to production including slow cooking, poaching, steaming, smoking, grilling, dehydrating and preserving.

From sandwiches to desserts, nothing on the menu contains gluten--not even the spaghetti or the flat breads.

Listen as chef Kris Wessel describes the philosophy behind his menu.

chef josh elliott


croque madame 















 lechon 2What’s a L’Echon? Is it French? Is it Spanish? (un lechón is a suckling pig).  It really is the invention of the trio behind Pubbelly Restaurant GroupAndreas Schreiner, Sergio Navarro and Jose Mendin – a 150-seat, 2,500-square-foot indoor, outdoor  Pubbelly-style,  seaside bistro with French Miami flair in the newly renovated Hilton Cabana Miami Beach hotel at 6261 Collins Avenue.

open kitchenExecutive Chef Josh Elliott, who began as a sous-chef at Pubbelly in 2012, co-runs L'Echon’s open kitchen with Mendin, and executes an eclectic brasserie-type menu of shareable plates alongside craft beers, wines and cocktails, cool music a friendly staff and a welcoming décor. “We have always talked about a little place where we could nod to modern interpretations of classic French dishes,” explains Schreiner.

The vast menu begins with the raw bar or Fruits de Mer, ($3.50-$70) with Huîtres du Jour – day-fresh east and west coast oysters, a selection of crudo dishes along with the Cabana Plateau – one dozen oysters, half a Maine lobster, ceviche, mussels and poached shrimp. Tartines ($4-$14) or open faced sandwiches, list selections of Foie Nutella – duck liver mousse, candied hazelnut and ciabatta toast; Pan con L’echon – cochinillo, pickled shallots, mojo aioli; and Croque-Monsieur– cox farms ham, gruyère, béchamel, or Croque-Madame topped with a fried egg.

Hors d’oeuvres ($12-$16) include Dates Avec L’echon - bacon, cochinillo, tomato, pork jus, arugula salad along with more adventurous offerings like Cervelle de Veau Meunière – pan roasted veal brains, caper, brown butter, blue crab tartar and Moëlle Rôtie en Croûte – roasted bone marrow, mushroom duxelle, leek fondue and puff pastry.  Les Pâtes & Riz ($17-$25), offers a selection of three pastas and rice dishes, including a Riz aux Fruits de Mer – lobster, scallops, shrimp, crawfish, coconut milk, lobster nage and cashews and Tagliatelle à la Truffe Noire with roasted wild mushrooms, truffle-soy butter and parmigiano reggiano.

Les Plats Principaux ($19-$35) include the filling Navarin d’Agneau – braised lamb shank, flageolet fricassée, charred onions, rosemary lamb jus; Cochon de Lait – suckling pig, céleriac rémoulade, house mustard-sherry jus and Confit de Canard – duck leg confit, charred carrots, carrot puree and ginger.  The wood fire Le Grill ($8-$110) utilizes a mixture of Alder, Grapevine, Hickory and Mesquite woods to make  smoked veggies and proteins including a Whole Branzino, a 21oz Côte de L’echon and the 34oz Côte de Boeuf.

Desserts ($9) - from the young and talented pastry chef Maria Orantes - include twists on French classics such as Crème Brûlée with blueberry preserves, crème brûlée foam and seasonal berries; Brown Butter Tart Tatin with Granny Smith apples, puff pastry, ricotta cream and house made brown butter ice cream; Tiramisù Aux Fraise featuring ladyfingers, fresh strawberries, strawberry cremeux, dulce de leche mousse, strawberry dust and chocolate croquant; and a warm Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding  with flaky chocolate croissant, milk chocolate custard, salty caramel ice cream and peanut shortbread.

 At the helm of the restaurant is GM Simeon Humphreys, formerly of PB steak and The Genuine Group;  and chef and mixology maven Ashley Danella manages the beverage program.

L’echon Brasserie,  the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach hotel at 6261 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach serves breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight. The pool and beach are open from sunrise to sunset, with food and beverage service from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pool bar  opens until 10 p.m. on most evenings. Valet parking is available at the hotel. Phone: 786.483.1611. .




pork belly





 Azul, at Mandarin Oriental, Miami has appointed William Crandall as chef de cuisine.  Prior to joining Azul where he worked with the previous chefs, Chef Crandall worked at the acclaimed NoMi restaurant in Chicago under Michelin-starred Chef Andrew Zimmerman.

The dinner menu opens with an “On The Rocks” section offering of assorted shellfish and caviars; a fitting nod to the restaurant’s  waterfront setting on Biscayne Bay.  “Beginnings,” ranging from $16 to $30 include items such as  Crispy Sweetbreads  with nuac cham, radish, mustard seed and Asian pear ($21) and  Steak & Eggs’ Tartare  with wild mushroom, Comté cheese, parsley, garlic bread and 63 degree quail eggs ($24).

Main courses ranging from $39 to $65 reflect Crandall’s approach to marrying Asian and French cuisine. On the menu  Truffled Salmon  with beurre rouge, beluga lentils and burgundy mustard ($44),  Kurobuta Pork Belly with tenderloin, pumpernickel, braised cabbage and  rainbow carrot ($47); 62° Maine Lobster  with peas, truffle, radish, sal de gusano and country ham ($60), and  Cheeks  Bourguignon  with veal, black grouper, ras el hanout and roots ($47). 

dessertSweet Endings ranging from $12 to a shared sampler for $25 are desserts by Executive Pastry Chef Frederic Monnet, and  include  Rocky Road  with toasted marshmallow, creamy chocolate, almond and guanaja chocolate sorbet ($14) and  Cherry Bomb  with Meyer lemon cake, sour cherry, Opalys white chocolate gelato ($12).  For the table, enjoy a “Dessert Sampler,” which includes the Cherry Bomb, Irish Coffee Cube, Key Lime Clouds, gelato and sorbet ($25).

The wine list by Wine Director Todd Phillips who has also worked with previous chefs at Azul includes an amazing selection of renowned wines and wines from boutique wineries worldwide.

At a recent tasting  an Applewood smoked lettuce was paired with an aromatic and crisp Domaine Ciringa Sauvignon Blanc from Slovenia;  the Terrine of Hudson Valley Foie Gras with a Jorge Ordoñez & Co. Moscatel from Malaga, Spain;  the 62° Maine Lobster  with peas, truffle, radish, sal de gusano and country ham paired well with an Angelo Negro Roero Arneis from  Piedmont Italy; and the Kurobuta Pork Belly with a Domaine Conte Abbatucci Faustine from Corsica.  Dessert: The Rocky Road with toasted marshmallow, creamy chocolate, almond and guanaja chocolate sorbet was paired with a Braida Brachetto d’Acqui from Piemont Italy.

The restaurant’s new decor is comprised of  a private chef’s table overlooking the restaurant’s open white marble kitchen, accommodating parties up to 12.

Azul is located at Mandarin Oriental, Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive.  It is opened for dinner only from 7pm – 11pm (Tuesday through Saturday) and the bar is open from 6:30pm – 11pm (Tuesday through Saturday). Reservations:   (305) 913 8358 or .  Valet parking; all major credit cards accepted.

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