balans dadeland 61 of 113Owned and operated by entrepreneur Prady Balan since 1997, Balans has opened its fifth outpost, a 151-seat indoor and 65-seat outdoor brasserie with full bar (including beer on tap), TV’s, free Wi-Fi, on the second floor in the trendy new shopping wing of the Dadeland Mall, where it will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner , late-night entertainment at affordable prices.

The menu by Executive Head Chef, David Welch, winner of the South Beach Food and Wine Festival in 2013 for “Best Bite on the Beach”, features favorites such as the Indonesian Noodles, the Balans Burger, and the newly added braised short ribs as well as comfort foods like the truffle mac & cheese, healthy options like the Baja chicken/shrimp salad or steak and eggs. Additionally, Chef David crafted a special menu just for kid’s that offers health conscious dishes like hummus, pita bread & grapes and spaghetti with turkey meatballs, while side dishes range from steamed broccoli to a Caesar salad.

Balans Dadeland is located at the Dadeland Mall Fashion Wing, 7501 N. Kendall Drive - Unit 2570. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner served daily and at all times. Sunday – Wednesday, opened from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. – 11p.m. Friday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – midnight. Happy Hour, Everyday 3 – 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. - close. (305) 534-9191




Too busy or too lazy to go shopping?  Tired of the old order-in options in your neighborhood?

There’s an App for that too!

“Check and Cook” will help you whip up something  delicious with whatever you have in your refrigerator!

The “Check and Cook”   iPhone/iPad application – the brainchild of  Pierre Louis Sauvaige – launches on 20th June 2014 at the AppStore .

How it works? Just type in  your fridge’s contents (one egg, old cheese, half a tomato, a wilted carrot….)  the ingredients that you already have at hand, then shake your iPhone / iPad and see all the recipes you can cook !

Thanks to an elaborated algorithm, Check and Cook searches through more than 41 000 recipes for one you like and can make based on what you have in your fridge without having to spend another cent.

Not only does Check and Cook offer you a huge recipe directory, it reinvents the way you cook by adding your own recipes and share them with other Check and Cook’s users.  When you do your grocery list the app will also tell you what you can make with every new ingredient you add.



  • More than 41 000 recipes with pictures
  • Share your own recipes to the community
  • Enjoy other’s recipes and try it at home
  • No more wasting food : Cook with ingredient that you already have !
  • Take advantage of the Grocery List and forget to forget what to buy !
  • Share your recipes on Facebook, Twitter…
  • The application is available on all iPhone and iPad version


michael shikany

There's a new contender in Miami's gastronomic arena:  Executive Chef MichaelShikany has opened his eponymous eatery, SHIKANY Wynwood,  in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami. The 130-seats, 4,000 square-foot  indoor/outdoor space  serves as a restaurant, a cocktail/tapas lounge and bar and a creative culinary space where he will schedule morning and evening cooking classes open to the public.

A graduate with honors from the French Culinary Institute (New York City) and a BA in Business Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Shikany, who is a Miami native of Lebanese and Italian descent, credits his Italian granddad for his love of cuisine

Shikany, honed his skills at Le Bernardin, Babbo, Tao, Gramercy Tavern, and the James Beard House in New York city before coming to Miami to work at Ortanique for 6 years, and to open La Cofradia and Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road and their restaurants branches in Las Vegas.

Striking out on his own, he opened his own Event company and his own Consulting firm through which he opened a score of restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Shikany said that he is the sole owner of the restaurant and he will wear many if not all the hats, doing  everything from menu development to décor. An award-winning sommelier who won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007 for his boutique wine list at La Cofradia, Shikany also picks the wine and spirits list. “We have a great list from small batch vineyards from around the world and a wine-by-the-glass program which we plan to change every week,” he said.

The menu pulls from Shikany’s  training in some of the  country’s most prestigious dining institutions and lists  simple dishes like a Duck Fat Poached Black Cod with japachae, shimeji, nigori coconut milk jus, lotus root and yolk and a Kona Kampachi Sashimi/ Maple Foie prepared with black truffle caviar, shiso, cilantro, yuzu tobiko, lychee pearl, crispy daikon and clementine injection. Or a take on surf-&-Turf:   Scallop & Sweetbreads with cauliflower pain, Licor 43, lemon grass beurre blanc, vanilla cotton candy and ice plant.

Desserts by Pastry Chef  Jill Montinola play on ying-and-yang , sweet and savory with sweets like the Pineapple Crémeux with pistachio financier, garam masala crumble and Thai basil ice cream,  Textures of Chocolate Verrine, Caribe chocolate cream, cocoa nib powder, caramel chocolate rock, pretzel mousse and coco tuile.

Shikany plans to change the à la carte menu every month and will offer a daily 8 - 20 course degustation or tasting menu of 8 and 20-course with a set price menu ranging from $110 to $160 per person at the 24-seats communal chef’s table Thursday through Saturday. There will be  two 24-person sittings per night. He also plans to pamper vegetarian with special dishes and tasting menus with 48-hour advance notice.

SHIKANY Wynwood, is  open for dinner in main dining room Tuesday through Thursday, 6:00pm to 11:00pm; and Friday and Saturday, 6:00pm to 1:00am.,  Cocktail/Tapas Lounge and Bar open 5:30 pm -11pm and till 1 a.m. on weekends; for scheduled cooking and mixology classes  Tuesday & Wednesday (morning + evening sessions), in addition to offering Catering, Private and Corporate Events + Team Building. 251 NW 25 St, Miami, FL 33127, (305) 979-8052

Chef Philippe Ruiz is no longer the chef at Lippi on Brickell. The executive chef who had reached international kudos at the Palme d’Or and as executive chef at The Bilmore in Coral Gables, had opened Lippi seven months ago.  The cited reason:  fundamental misunderstandings have strained relationships with the owners – Mr Puri is also a co-owner of Zuma, explained Mr. Ruiz.  

Management gave bonuses to all the sous-chefs and plans to redecorate the recently opened restaurant.



soba tuna salad

fish 2



When a new venue such as the Traymore Restaurant and Bar at Metropolitan by COMO hires Sergio Caceres, the former F&B manager at db Bistro Moderne in downtown Miami,  as the hotel’s restaurant and bar manager, they mean business.

barThe newly opened Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, the Singapore-based hotel group’s first venture in the United States only aims for the best for their quaint 78-room hotel with a state-of-the-art spa  and a seafood restaurant.  

The Executive Chef is Jonathan Lane, formerly Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas and New York and at  Benny’s Chop House in Chicago, the Executive Pastry Chef is Portuguese-French born, Emmanuel Alves, and the company lured Spanish-born Javier Beneytos from the five-star Grand Luxe Villa Magna Hotel – a member of Leading Hotels of the World – to become the Hotel general manager.

The seashore property, once a hospital during WWII, had remained empty for decades  but is now alive with modern design,  good food and a center stage bar.  This is Miami’s first  ‘Gin Bar,’ I was told. It not only offers  up to 40 different brands of domestic and international premium gin, but a vast selection of  seasonal cocktails,  non-alcoholic fruit cocktails and low-calorie cocktails, along with spirits, wines and a signature menu selection of small bites prepared by Executive Chef Jonathan Lane.

While the wine list presents no quandaries, the menu is enticing  with offerings of fresh raw seafood platters  groaning with oysters, crabs, shrimp and lobster, grilled seafood dishes like the fork-tender and typically Mediterranean Grilled jumbo octopus with potatoes, olives and salsa verde ($16) or beautifully seasoned and well-balanced salads  such as the Salad of buttery Maine Lobster with blood orange, watermelon radish and  treviso ($20), as well as a good selection of entrees.

From the tempting offering of seafood stew and Garganelli with Peekytoe Crab, zucchini, mint and chili pasta ($24) or Olive oil poached Halibut with sunchokes, broad bean, olives and lemon ($28) , I picked a perfectly cooked, succulent Whole Roast Lemon Grouper ( $40 for two) with a side of broccoli rabe and another of Brussels sprouts sprinkled with roasted and crunchy slivered almonds. While there are plenty of vegetarian choices and for the meat lovers  a Char grilled dried aged New York Striploin with bone marrow butter, roast shallots and red wine butter sauce ($38), I opted for an item on the COMO Shambhala Cuisine menu – the refreshing and zesty Asian-inspired  Chilled Soba Noodles with raw Yellowfin tuna, seaweed and avocado  ($16).

The Shambhala menu developed by the COMO Group’s Executive Chef, Amanda Gale, uses organic and locally sourced ingredients, natural sweeteners and  no dairy,  to boost concentration and energy, and balance blood-sugar levels. So the food is delicious and good for you too!

It would definitely be sinful to leave without a couple of fruit-based desserts by master chocolatier and Executive pastry chef Emmanuel Alves: i.e. the sesame crusted crunchy cannoli with passion fruit cream and mango salad or the fruit paste stuffed macaroons with berry salad, or  citrus-flavored ice creams and  sorbets.

Guests can also enjoy an outdoor bar menu –  a selection of seafood bites, salads, pastas and brick oven Pizzetta  or the COMO Shambhala Wellness Juices ($9 each) , an exclusive menu of more than a dozen cold-pressed natural juices designed to replenish and rejuvenate – served throughout the day at the hotel’s poolside cabanas.

Traymore Restaurant and Bar at the Metropolitan by COMO, is open daily for breakfast, l;unch and dinner  Miami Beach,2445 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach,   305.695.3555


Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa


Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta


Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor


Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  


James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine


Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue


Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 






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