Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cafe Bites from New Times

No, Area 31 is not a supersecret government lab. It’s actually a Mediterranean-inspired seafood restaurant that debuts next week on the 16th floor of the oh-so-posh Epic Hotel, at 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way. The name is a play on Fishing Area 31, a region of the western central Atlantic that includes the Florida coast. Which means the raw bar features stone crab, yellowfin tuna, and Key West shrimp. The place also serves grilled local fish served with a variety of sauces, and side dishes range from lemon Swiss chard to English pea risotto. There’s valet parking for your car but not, unfortunately, for your black helicopter.
Ticket prices for February’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival can be as rich as cream of foie gras soup. But for the rest of this week (until Friday, December 19), they’ll go at least a little light with a 10 percent discount on passes to all the four-day food party’s multitudinous events. And if you just can’t live without chowing down a burger with the unspeakably annoying Rachael Ray, the festival folks are also offering “SoBe Bucks,” which will allow you to get into even sold-out events such as Little Miss EVOO’s Burger Bash. How cool is that?


Hard up for something to do with your honey this weekend? Check out Do I Make You Horny?, billed as “America’s naughtiest improv comedy game show,” put on at 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through December 27 by comedy troupe Just the Funny. At $10 a pop, ticket prices are hardly stiff, and all of those naughty double entendres will make you want to come and come again. Really. Of course, you’ll want to eat out first, and what restaurant could be better than the nearby El Carajo, Miami’s (and maybe the world’s) only gas station tapas bar, whose name is Spanish slang for a particular part of the male anatomy. (Hint: Vice President ____ Cheney.)
“Yo-ho-ho and 52 rums, cachaças, and piscos from 18 countries.” Today’s pirates wear Brioni suits and carry Vuitton briefcases instead of clenching swords in their teeth, but that’s no reason not to yo-ho-ho a bit at Rumbar, the “vintage Havana/Hemingway-style bar” at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Along with enough high-octane hooch to shiver your timbers, including a tasting flight of five rums, there’s a humidor full of fine cigars, munchies such as sugar-cane prawns and short-rib sliders, and Nostalgia, a four-piece Latin band that jams Thursday through Saturday. Go and give it your best Johnny Depp imitation.
Lee Klein finds a tiny Thai gem downtown, and Short Order, our food blog, explores behind the scenes at your favorite eatery.

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