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Sunday, June 20th, Fête de la Musique in Coconut Grove
FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE is a music festival that has been taking place in France since 1982 to celebrate the Summer solstice. Now in its 23rd year, the festival is celebrated annually and has expanded to over 100 countries. Some of the cities hosting the festival include Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Istanbul, Liverpool, Luxemburg, Rome, Naples, Prague, the French Community of Belgium, Santa Maria da Feira, San Francisco, New York, Manila and Rio. On SUNDAY, JUNE 20, from 4 p.m. till late, Downtown Coconut Grove - Fête De La Musique, will become the site of a giant block party and one of the largest street music festivals with over 65 bands -- Mantra, Sonida Batido, Protocol, Tony Madruga, Ballet Flamenco la Rossa, Wilfredo Cardoso, to name a few -- as well as singers and dancers performing all types of musical genres ranging from Jazz, Rock, Salsa to the more traditional, on 5 stages interspersed throughout the streets, sidewalks, cafes, bars and restaurants of downtown Coconut Grove, from Cocowalk and Mayfair to Commodore Plaza. 305-495-9655. Free to all

Last April 19, Ocean Reef Club's culinary team - Executive Chef Philippe Reynaud, Assistant Executive Chef Mark Gallaudet, Garde Manger Nelson Milan, Islander (Restaurant) Chef de Cuisine Kevin Cornaire, Lead Pastry Cook Jennifer Shafer, and Director of Catering Manda Aiken - participated in the James Beard Foundation's Hidden Chefs Series dinner.
The Beard Foundation's Hidden Chefs Series showcases the cuisine of chefs who cook in private clubs and other institutions that require special membership and/or dues. The Ocean Reef Team, headed by chefs Reynaud and Gallaudet, prepared a "Taste of the Tropics" menu: Caja China Roast Lechon Suckling Pig, Island Spiced Wahoo wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over coconut husk, Florida Yellowtail Ceviche, White Corn Arepa, Stone Crab Claws and Bermuda Onions Pissaladière on Crispy Boniato, Shaved Baby Conch Salad and Spiced Rum-Braised Pineapple with Coconut Gelato.
The James Beard Foundation is North America's foremost culinary center, a place where Foundation members, the press and the general public can savor the creations of both established and emerging chefs from around the country and the world. In addition the Foundation provides scholarships and educational opportunities, and serves as a resource for the industry.

Taking a dish that is emblematic of Bretagne, France, make it with organic ingredients and let creativity take over is something only a fine French chef could pull out. A newcomer to Miami, Chef Marie-Laure, aka Marilu, Bergeron from Lyon, opened the tiny 12-seat crêperie tastefully decorated in black and white called the French Box Café, five months ago, and she has already put it on the map. For lunch, panini and the traditional hot ham and cheese Croque Monsieurs ($5.50 - $8), vie for space with salads such as poire et bleu - pear and blue cheese -- ($3 - $ 8.50); buckwheat galettes and crêpes: savory crêpes with everything from cheese to shrimp and fresh salmon; pasta type crêpes such as the carbonara with a lush sauce of egg yolk bacon, cream, shite wine, onion and Parmesan; dessert crêpes with chocolate and almonds, chestnut paste and Tatin served with vanilla ice cream, etc... For dinner, Marilu is offering the classical French "formule"or prix fixe menu: your choice of salad, crêpe or galette and dessert, with a glass of wine for $19.99, and plans to open a Sunday Brunch with the same formula at $12.99, as well as à la carte choices. Marilu's French Box Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday till 11 p.m. with live jazz sessions. She will open on Sundays in a couple of weeks. 3622 NE Second Ave., Design District, Miami. 305-576-5755.

This summer, starting June 17 and every Thursday, from 6 to 9 p,m, at OLA, Chef Douglas Rodriguez will bring out his caja china and cook Cuban-style pork roast, which he will serve for free with half price mojitos ($5). This Thursday, he will launch his new signature Water Melon mojito ($5), to the sounds of the acoustic 5-member Latin music band, the Projects. OLA, 5061 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 305-758-9195.

A la Folie, the French crêperie which opened in Coconut Grove three months ago is closing "due to blotched negotiations,"said co-owner Dylan Morvan. However, the Miami Beach location he launched three years ago is doing fine, he reported. A French enclave on Española Way that hosts events and a cinemathèque showing French vintage films, A la Folie is named after La Folie, the village in Bretagne where owner Olivier Corre's Mother grew up. The menu is all about crêpes and galettes -- the buckwheat crêpes typical of the region, as well as salads, sandwiches from all corners of France, from Provence and Languedoc to Paris and Normandie. 516 Española Way, Miami Beach. 305-538-4484.

Raul Brik who owns the new Costamar Restaurant, has partnered with Chef Juan Adames, whose pedigree includes eight years as presidential chef in Venezuela - he served under three presidents: Carlos Andrés Pérez, Rafael Calderas, and left when Chávez came to power. The food is typically Spanish and their specialty is seafood paella ($24) and rices such as Black rice with squid ink ($17). The vast menu offers meats, chicken and fish dishes: Pierna de cordero or lamb shank ($25), veal stew (26); red snapper in saffron sauce ($26); cazuela de mariscos - seafood stew in a clay pot - ($26), and jumbo shrimp flambéed in Sambucca ($21). The list of Appetizers: raciones or small dishes such as Cabrales cheese, Spanish sausage links - chistorras ($8); piquillo peppers stuffed with cod fish ($11), and mixed grill, is followed by salads and soups. The elegant 71-seat restaurant has a VIP room and a terrace for cool evenings, ands offers live shows from Thursday through Saturday with Spanish flamenco, Venezuelan and international artists. The kitchen is open daily for lunch and dinner from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., but the restaurant may close later. 18250 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach. 305-933-5900.

Latin Gourmet, the brainchild of brothers Octavio and Miguel Martinez, has developed a line of frozen entrées with authentic Cuban recipes such as arroz con pollo and picadillo. Latin Gourmet was founded by the two brothers -- Miguel was born in Cuban, Octavio was born in the U.S. - who grew up eating their mother's Cuban food. "We decided to open a business with my mom's recipes, which were her mom's recipes… It's old fashioned cooking and we're trying to stay within the tradition. We're trying to streamline it, but we always use fresh ingredients and fresh onion, garlic and green pepper to make the sofrito. We're the cooks…" said Octavio, a Nova Law School graduate, and a lawyer for seven years who now works in the kitchen with Miguel, a former realtor for Keyes. "We should be in the stores in the next couple of weeks. Sedano's will be the first supermarket chain to carry our product." Next item to come out is Fricasée de pollo or chicken fricassee. "We've gotten a lot of response from Hispanics who have moved out of South Florida and miss the food here. So we'll be ready to ship to them in a few months." Latin Gourmet is located at 14361 S.W. 142nd Street, Miami. 305-259-5377.

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