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LAST TWO FRIDAYS AT BAREFOOT AT OASIS AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL MIAMI
The next two Fridays are the last occasion to enjoy Barefoot at Oasis season with complimentary “Mandarin Bliss” cocktails from 7 to 8 p.m. and a hedonistic evening at the beach club with a spectacular view of Downtown Miami. Mandarain Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive

THE BILTMORE INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE WEEKEND RAISES OVER $250,000
Over $250,000 was raised at The Biltmore International Food & Wine Weekend presented by The Cellar Club at The Biltmore in support of the UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The three-day celebration attended by over 2,000 people featured over 100 all reserve, single vineyard & upper tier wines; entertainment by Albita, Joy Behar and DJ Pierre Zonzon, and showcased more than 20 of South Florida’s top restaurants and internationally acclaimed chefs. A favorite for wine collectors and connoisseurs, the 10th annual extravaganza has raised more than $6 million in support of South Florida charities in the last decade. Next year’s Biltmore International Food & Wine Weekend is scheduled for May 4-6, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE SOS “TASTE OF THE NATION” STIRS UP $ 135,000 TO FIGHT HUNGER
This year’s Fort Lauderdale Share Our Strength (SOS) Taste of the Nation raised $135,000 through ticket sales, donations ,auctions and a matching grant by the Sun-Sentinel WB39 Children’s Fund, according to the organizers. Approximately 1,500 participants filled the Broward Convention Center to sample foods presented by over 60 chefs, paired with scores of fine wines and premium spirits and a dynamic live auction. Among the highlights of the evening was a Hurricane Cook-off pitching chef Johnny Vinczencz against chef Oliver Saucy (“We wanted to show what it would be like in the aftermath of a hurricane when you have no power and have to cook with whatever you have on hand in the freezer.” said Saucy); a Marketplace with products for sale, and a post-auction celebration with dancing and music

CHEF DOUG RODRIGUEZ LAUNCHES OLA STEAK & TAPAS IN CORAL GABLES
Douglas Rodriguez’s new taparia and wine bar concept it kicking in new life at OLA Steak & Tapas, The regular menu offers many new categories including traditional Spanish rice dishes like paellas, as well as Doug Rodriguez’s signature dishes. A tapas menu of Hot and Cold Tapas, Ensaladas, Ceviches, Soups and Cocas lists Piggy Back Dates-stuffed with almonds and wrapped in Bacon, served in endive and Cabrales cheese vinaigrette, Boquerones-marinated Spanish Anchovies served in a roasted Yukon Gold Potato and Gambas al Ajillo –shrimp with garlic, olive oil, smoked paprika and olives served with sliced grilled bread. Cocas, a pizza-style flatbread are topped with variety of ingredients: Foie Gras –with figs and Serrano ham, Porcini mushrooms flavored with herbs and a spritz of truffle oil. One signature salad is White Salad of frisee, toasted almond, white grapes, asparagus, feta and Amaretto gelee. Ola Steak & Tapas id open for lunch Monday - Saturday: 11:00am - 5:30pm, Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm, and dinner Sunday - Wednesday: 6:00pm - 11:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 6:00pm - 12:00am. Merrick Village, 320 San Lorenzo Avenue, #1320 in Coral Gables, at Ponce de Leon; (305) 461-4442.

THE RIVER HOUSE RESTAURANT IN FORT LAUDERDALE WINS WINE SPECTATOR AWARD
Wine Spectator magazine has given The River House in Fort Lauderdale a Wine Spectator Award to for the restaurants wine program and the restaurant will be featured in the magazine’s August2006 Dining Guide issue. “We are thrilled with the recognition this brings to our wine program at The River House,” according to Tim Petrillo, president of The Restaurant People which owns the historic establishment. The criteria for selection is how the wine list complements its entrees, how balanced the list is for every style of wine drinker, storage, educating diners about pairings of wine and food, how wines are selected, and price value. 954-525-7661

CHIC NOIR BAR RE-OPENS ON A HIGH NOTE NEXT TO ATRIO RESTAURANT AT HOTEL CONRAD MIAMI
From the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel Tower The Miami skyline looks stunning. Add to this Noir Bar with chef de cuisine Michael Gilligan’s menu selections such as ginger fried calamari, duck confit & vegetable spring roll, and fried spicy chicken wontons, and, coming this summer, the hotel’s newly refurbished pool bar with a light fare grill menu and a full bar, and you’re in 25th floor heaven. Next door, the new “La-Sian” menu at Atrio Restaurant offers Latin American and Asian dishes (Starters $10-15; Entrees $22 - $34; desserts: $10) such as baby octopus and Chilean sea bass ceviche served martini style with fried plantain chips and wasabi tobiko caviar; nori-wrapped tuna tataki with yuzu-miso dressing, crispy wonton skins and jicama-mint salad; oven roasted Chilean sea bass over jasmine rice with tomato ceviche and wasabi pepper sauce; broiled miso marinated black cod; chicken breast stuffed with plantains and foie gras; or Australian lamb shanks with piquillo pepper sofrito, boniato mash and minted gremolata; rum and black pepper glazed 10 oz. filet mignon with Peruvian potato and chorizo sausage salad; and a Churrasco Platter: an assortment of skirt steak, pork loin and rack of lamb served with garlic-cilantro chimichurri, tangerine-Serrano mojo and mint mojo.
Noir Bar at Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Avenue, is open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to midnight; Fridays and Saturdays until 2:00 a.m. Rey Rivero plays international jazz piano every Thursday, from 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. 305-530-6529.
Atrio at Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Avenue, is open daily for breakfast t6:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m, lunch 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and dinner from 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. 305-503-6529.

To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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