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TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT… SPINACH?
Healthy meals that can kill you
Isn’t it about time we revise our consumers’ habits?


We always try to upstage ourselves. Canned spinach worked for Popeye, so we thought we’d be getting more by eating fresh spinach. Iron, potassium, low cal in fashionable salads became a mark of good taste. And for convenience sake what could be better than packaged spinach? We didn’t even have to wash them! We had a healthy meal in a jiffy.
Of course few of us ever bothered to find out how long the bag had been on the shelf, or if the leaves were treated or were organically grown. Those who cared picked the bag with the greenest leaves and the organic stamp on it. We know learn that one of the sources of the recent E. coli outbreak that spread to 19 states, killed one person and sickened nearly 100 is spinach grown next to the Natural Selection Foods plant in San Juan Bautista, California. Its products are sold as Rave Spinach, Natural Selection Foods, Dole, Earthbound Farm, Trader Joe's, Ready Pac and Green Harvest, among other brand names. Other brands may yet be implicated.
As a result, all bagged fresh spinach has been removed from supermarket shelves, and consumers shun the leafy green no matter where it comes from.

Raising questions about food, and consumers’ habits

Diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth and E.coli are cropping up too often these days. So, isn’t it high time to raise the questions of foods designed to have a long-lasting shelf life and globalization in food? We’ve been used to eat peaches and cherries in winter, fresh spinach and asparagus at all times even if these come from far away. Few of us are asking themselves where they come from and what it takes to get them to our table 12 months of the year. We’re told they’re good for us, and we buy them. In addition, and this will not sit well with developers, with real estate invading what used to be agricultural land, there are more people to feed than land to produce enough fruit and vegetable. But since supply never runs dry, this must mean big bucks to play with. The outbreak of E.coli is telling us in a devastating way to think and revise the way we consume and eat, to give a chance to local farmers, wherever they are, to grow what every season and soil dictates. Popeye never imagined that the spinach he gobbled up to beat the Bad Guy would, one day, be that Bad Guy
By Simone Zarmati Diament

CHEF GOVIND ARMSTRONG’S TABLE 8 SOUTH BEACH SLATED TO OPEN IN OCTOBER
With equal parts L.A. glam and South Beach chic, the 255-seat indoor/outdoor Table 8 South Beach is slated to open in October 2006, beachside, at the new Regent South Beach Hotel at 1458 Ocean Drive with entrances from both Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
Celebrity chef Govind Armstrong, who launched his career with Wolfgang Puck at L.A.’s legendary Spago, will serve sophisticated yet straightforward, simple food (like salt roasted porterhouse: a carnivore’s delight for two, which Robb Report cited for excellence in their 2004 “The Best of the Best” issue) created with the freshest, natural products and local ingredients. GM Nick Fielding, formerly of Spago in Beverly Hills and Turnberry Resort in Aventura, Florida is in charge of Table 8 and its main dining room (seating 160), private dining room (seating 40) and a 15- seat wine room, in addition to a 40-seat lounge, right under the Regent’s glass-bottom pool. Open since August 2003, Table 8 Los Angeles has remained one of the country’s hottest restaurants by virtue of its acclaimed cuisine and Armstrong’s unabashed charisma. Table 8 South Beach is owned and operated by Meridian Entertainment Group, in partnership with Levy Restaurants.
Table 8 South Beach is located at the Regent Hotel, 1458 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida. (305) 695-4114. www.table8southbeach.com.

MIAMI BEACH LANDMARK FU MANCHU RESTAURANT CLOSES ITS DOORS AFTER 71 YEARS, MIAMI BEACH
After 71 years, Fu Manchu, open since 1935, and the second oldest restaurant in Miami Beach after Joe’s Stone Crab (open since 1913), is closing its doors. Owners Julius and Lucy Yee and Jesus and Vicky Li had purchased the restaurant 35 years ago and had kept the signatures of celebrities – Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Lucile Ball among them - who wrote their names in gold paint on the back of chairs they sat in. Fu Manchu, 325 71st St., Miami Beach

VIAGGI CAFÉ-BOUTIQUE OPENS AT HOTEL VICTOR IN SOUTH BEACH
In addition to serving light fare such as pear and gorgonzola salad, pepper chicken panini, and chevre vegetable panini, and a dessert menu with toffee cream cheese chew and rich chocolate raspberry tangos, the 1200 square feet Viaggi at Hotel Victor is a combination of retail and gift shop. Items run the gamut from elegant jewelry pieces and sophisticated leather handbags to designer candles, beauty products and a humidor with an impressive collection of cigars. Viaggi at Hotel Victor is open seven days: Sunday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 10 o.m. and Thrusday through Saturday till 12 a.m.. 1140 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 305.674.9170
Miami - VIAGGI is a one-of-a-kind European café-boutique establishment located in Hotel Victor at 1140 Ocean Drive. Combining the and coffee shop concept, VIAGGI is the next-generation gift shop. The boutique is the ultimate resource for finding a variety of gifts from


CHEF JOHNNY VINCZENCZ’S RETURN TO HOTEL ASTOR WITH JOHNNY V SOUTH BEACH SLATED IN NOVEMBER 2006

Chef Johnny Vinczencz, chef/owner of Johnny V Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale is planning his return to Hotel Astor, South Beach, where he was discovered in the mid-1990s and earned the title of “Caribbean Cowboy.” Johnny V South Beach, currently being refurbished by award-wining designer Ady Artime of Southern Interiors (Sundy House – Delray Beach, El Monte Sagrado, Taos Mexico), is scheduled to open November 2006. “Fort Lauderdale has been very good to me,” says Vinczencz, who will continue to own and operate his restaurant there, “but I miss South Beach. My partners and I had been searching for the right Miami location for some time. When the chance arrived to own the restaurant where I made my name as a chef, I couldn’t pass it up.” At Johnny V South Beach the Nuevo American menu -- regional American fare with South Florida’s Latin and Afro-Caribbean accents -- will feature sections like El Mar, with dishes like seared local black grouper with three citrus dulce de leche; Key West shrimp and plantain mofongo with stone crab salad, and spicy spiny lobster with yellow tomato gazpacho. Tres Maneras will feature threesomes like “beef short rib” vaca frita, empanada and ensalada, and “Tomate” – tomato soup, salad and sorbet. Carnes de Primera, includes cuts of prime stockyard steak infused with Caribbean and Latin twists like chimichurri prime sirloin or Wagyu rib eye with mojo. Dessertsrange from sweet plantain cream pie to grilled papaya “pizza” with aged balsamic. The chef de cuisine will be Kelly Sheehan, recently with Ouest in New York; Pastry chef Malka Espinel will continue to create desserts at both locations and ,Dwayne Adams will oversee day-to-day operations at both Johnny V Las Olas and Johnny V South Beach. Johnny V South Beach, Hotel Astor will serve dinner nightly. 956 Washington Avenue on South Beach.

BLUE OYSTER GRILL TO OPEN ON BISCAYNE CORRIDOR, MIAMI

Blue Oyster Grill - a seafood restaurant located in the former Mark’s Place location on 123rd and Biscayne Blvd is slated to open in October. It is partners Alex Portela and Eloy Roy’s third restaurant after Oggi Caffe in North Bay Village – open since1989 - and Caffe Da Vinci in Bay Harbour - both Italian eateries. The chef at the 150-seat indoor and 50-seat outdoor restaurant is Minor G. Vargas, a San Jose, Costa Rica Culinary Arts graduate who previously worked at Joe Allen’s in South Beach and at Hotel Costa Verde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The menu will feature mainly seafood with dishes such as seaweed spaghettini served with Maine lobster chunks, fennel, Pernod liqueur and lobster sauce. (market price), but will offer a variety of meat and other fare. Blue Oyster Grill will be open for lunch : Monday - Friday from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, and dinner seven nights a week 5:30 – 11:30 pm. 2286 NE 123 Street at Biscayne Blvd.,, North Miami

SOUTHWEST NY MIAMI SLATED TO OPEN AT DOLPHIN MALL, DORAL, MIAMI
SouthWest NY Miami, a 8,600 sq. ft., indoor/outdoor restaurant originating in New York owned by Merchants Hospitality Inc. , and offering contemporary southwestern cuisine is slated to open its doors September - October 2006, at Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 Street, Doral. The company plans to develop additional restaurants in South Florida and New York City within the next two years.
Drawing inspiration from colorful traditional Southwestern, Latin and Caribbean themes, the 170-seat indoor dining room with retail take-out reminiscent of a bustling marketplace is designed by Wid Chapman Architects. A 75-seat outdoor café area includes domino and chess tables, an outdoor bar and a fountain. Open since August 1999, SouthWest NY was among the first restaurants to re-open after the World Trade Center attacks and has remained one of the area’s most popular restaurants. “Miami, like New York City, is truly international, and given the success we have enjoyed in New York, it was a natural to expand here,” says co-owner Abraham Merchant, president of Merchants Hospitality Inc. Executive Chef is Wade Burch, who worked with Larry Forgione at Manhattan Prime in New York City and has been with Merchant since 2003, will oversee the restaurant’s kitchen staff and training program and will cede the baton to Executive Chef Michael Jamison, formerly with Marriott Corporation and currently at SouthWest NY. The menu: Spanish, Mexican and Native American influenced dishes. The drinks: icy cocktails with more than 50 types of frozen margaritas. SouthWest NY Miami, Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 Street, Doral, Miami. (305) 640-0500 www.southwestny.com


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