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The sound and fury that swept New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina had brought to Miami Chef Alex Patout and Christabelle’s Quarters, an amazing replica of a New Orleans French Quarter building that still contains the door of his award winning Alex Patout’s Louisiana Restaurant in the French Quarter. While Chef Alex Patout is no longer at Christabelle’s Quarters the door is still there.

ZABOR, now occupying the space vacated by Max's Grill, is slated to open this October. The menu promises to be contemporary French/Asian. Zabor, 2 Aragon, Coral Gables. 305-569-6141.


Hailing from San Diego County in Southern California, Chuao Chocolatier - named after the cacao-producing region of Chuao in central Venezuela - has just opened in Coral Gables. It is a tasting room and a boutique offering handmade artisan products using real Venezuelan chocolate with a cornucopia of bonbons, bars, snacks, hot chocolate, and even Weight Watchers approved Chocopods. Chuao’s founders and owners, Chocolatier Michael Antonorsi and entrepreneur Richard Antonorsi, are also offers catering, favors and corporate gifts made with only natural ingredients and no preservatives.. Chuao Chocolatier, 70 Miracle Mile, 305-448-2335,

Chef Norman Van Aken, formerly of Norman’s in Coral Gables, has returned to the stoves in Key West where he began his career. This time he is opening Tavern N Town and the poolside Blue Bar both slated to open along with the Beachside Resort & Conference Center on October 15, 2007 in Key West.
The two-story restaurant with a dark mahogany bar, a private 25-seat dining area and upholstered seats faces an open “Theater Kitchen.” Tapas and small plates, sushi style dishes prepared by Japanese chef Saturo "Sato" Honda will be served as well as fine dining with a menu including Chef Van Aken’s signature dishes. Starters list yuca stuffed crispy shrimp with habanero tartar salsa and Nicaraguan beet salad, and picadillo empanadas with pimento and tomato compote and cumin-lime crema. Main plates, served chef style, include pan-cooked Key West yellowtail on a belly of garlicky mashed potatoes with hearts of palm slaw, tiny tomatoes and citrus butter and bone-in “Chicago style” rib steak with onion rings, “A-1 my way” and sauce Béarnaise. A la carte dishes list fish and steak house fare, paella of sweet corn, black truffle and wild mushrooms and pork belly “BLT” with toasted brioche, tomato compote and baby lettuces, among others.
The poolside Blue Bar offers tropical drinks and casual fare such as of conch, bacalao and black bean fritters; oysters on the half shell; snapper escabeche; vaca frita quesadilla; fish tacos along with pizzas and paninis from the wood burning oven.
Located at the entrance to Key West, Beachside Resort & Conference Center is a four-story, 222-room resort with conference and banquet facilities and services, a private beach and heated pool. Tavern is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Town is open nightly for dinner only and Blue Bar is open daily from 11-7. For reservations, call 305-296-8100; Toll-Free: 800-546-0885.

The glam’ South Beach hot spot, Touch Restaurant & Lounge and its division Touch Catering are now wooing the kosher market with the launching of Glatt Kosher Touch Catering. The new branch meets the complex and detailed requirements of Jewish law under a rabbi's supervision. "Up until now, if you needed a Kosher caterer, the choices were limited and the menu options were boring," said owner David Tornek, who brings more than 25 years of restaurant and catering experience to Glatt Kosher Touch. Catering Executive Chef and co-owner, Sean Brasel added , "There is a huge demand for this level of catering in the Glatt kosher market and we want to be able to offer excellent and unique meals while still being able to maintain the integrity of kosher dietary laws." “ Our goal is to apply our standard of excellence and creativity to special events, corporate functions, Bar Mitzvahs, and of course, weddings," continued Lisa Flashenburg, Director of Event Planning.
Glatt Kosher Touch Catering is located at 730 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard, Space R, Hallandale. 305 754-9701.


The charming 145-seat indoor/ and mostly outdoor Ishq ( translated as love) is the concept of co-owners Sham and Kavita Kamlani with consultant of cookbook author and former owner of the famous Bombay Café in L.A., Neela Paniz. The menu is a journey through India’s gastronomy, with influences from countries which have had a cultural and political role in India: France, England, Portugal and Persia.
Kavita is in charge of the open kitchen – designed by John Marenic of Marenic Food Service Consulting, Inc – and of the kitchen team. Together, they combine Indian cooking techniques, ingredients and spices to produce the traditional Samosas ($8.95); Chicken Tikka Masala ($15.95); Palak Paneer ($8.95), Lahore Tiger praws, and all manners of exotic curry and vegetarian dishes dishes, tapas style dishes and less traditional fare like Bombay baby back ribs ($23.95) and Grilled Portobello Naanini sandwich ($9.95).
Cocktails are worth exploring at the mother-of-pearl inlaid bar, while the open kitchen shows a tandoori cook busy at two tandoors - open ovens that cook meats, chicken, lamb, fish and seafood and bread at temperatures as high as 650 to 800 degrees. Naan a soft flatbread and chapatti, a crisp lentil bread, are served at every table and diners are greeted with bowls of crisp threads of deliciously spiced fried okra. Desserts are a take on Indian sweets with touches of European fine patisserie such as the mango custard studded with dices of fresh mango; kheer, a rice pudding laced with Grand Marnier liquor and flavored with orange zest, and Gulab Guam, the traditional Indian fried doughnut hole in a slight syrup flavored with cardamom.
Architect Charles Benson & Associates and interior design team Mcbride Co have designed an arresting dining area with carved marble slabs from India, semi-precious stone inlays of lapis, malachite and power shell at the bar, warm colors and a 14 person community sharing table sits center stage in the dining room.
Ishq, is open daily for continental breakfast, lunch, tapas, cocktails, dinner and brunch on weekends. 530 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach 305.532.4747.


Whole Foods Market’s newest location, the 47,700-square-foot-store on Red Road between Venera and San Remo Avenues in Coral Gables, will generate 250 new jobs. When asked how it would affect the nearby Publix supermarket on Monza St., Russ Benblatt, Whole Foods Market Regional Marketing Coordinator for Florida said: “it’s like comparing apples and oranges. All our food is natural – that is minimally processed – or organic,” he said. The store’s policy is to give preference to local produce: “we buy what we can locally, but apples don’t grow in South Florida,” added Regional Produce Coordinator James Bible. To mark the difference, every product has a tag with its provenance. Whole Foods’ policy is to buy and sell quality products and to minimize the amount of time produce travels, explained Mr. Benblatt as he swerved towards the seafood and fish section. The meat section shelves offer natural chickens and meats, and beef is dry-aged on premises. All eggs sold or used in food preparations and bakery are cage free, assures Mr. Benblatt, and wheels of specialty cheeses, local and from all over the world are hand cut and wrapped, on order.
The sushi station manned by local Sushi Maki offered a wide array of ready-made trays as well as customized sushi. At the coffee station, one can try the coffee before buying one of the 21 types of coffees roasted daily and ground upon request. Restaurant quality prepared foods – international cuisine, hot bar and salad and soup bar - are available for take-out or eating in at the adjacent cafeteria with free-Internet, or at the outdoor café, and a Concierge desk will handle Catering and Yatch provisioning.
Juice bar, grind-your-own-nut-butter station, shelves of gluten free products share isle space with specialty olive oils and vinegars, pastas and rices. Next, the Whole Body department includes a line of Whole Baby products. The wine department, with three certified sommeliers on the floor, offers over 900 labels, and starting at the end of October, the Cooking School with state-of-the art equipment and seating for 30 students, will also offer wine tastings as well as food demonstrations. The second floor garage offers free parking and special carts are offered for carrying groceries in escalators. Whole Foods is open daily. Red Road between Venera and San Remo Avenues in Coral Gables,For more information:

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