Miami Culinary Institute presents Chef Adrianne and Zonin

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chef Adrianne Calvo

Never a dull moment in Miami including this hot summer June day when tourism slows down, the locals still come out to play and eat!

On this Tuesday evening, the Miami Culinary Institute presented cuisine by Chef Adrianne, a celebrated local chef in Kendall, and wine from Zonin, the largest private wine label in Italy, from the Piedmont region.

We learned about Chef Adrianne's background (raised as Cuban American in Miami) and her early start at the tender age of 12, what three items we can find in her fridge, and a cooking contest she won that helped fund the opening of her restaurant.  

The menu varied from a tuna starter, to a southwestern sweet potato soup, to a goat cheese with fig marmalade and 24 hour braised prime beef short rib and dessert.  Each course perfectly paired with wine--a romantic tango between food and wine. Will the marriage prevail? Read on!

Chef Adrianne's cookbook "Maximum Flavor" is an understatement for the explosion of flavors that tantalized the palate.  Each course was a tease and progressively exceeded expectations in terms of aroma, texture and taste.  Our favorite? Well...

Tuna, Ponzu Aioli, Truffle, Shaved radish and Jalapeno

The surprise spicy taste in the tuna left us wondering which ingredient fulminated in this unexpected burst of hotness. The sauce or the aioli with the jalapeno?

Whipped Southwester Sweet Potato Bisque, Crispy Chorizo, Blue & Gold Tortilla

The preparation for the antipasto (appetizer) held new trade techniques.  We learned about the "smoking gun" literally.  The tortilla strips are "smoked" with real hickory wood thus lending to a trifecta of southwestern aroma, taste and visual--the tortilla strips.

Closeup of smoking gun

The dinner progressed to another one of my favorite gastronomical delights--goat cheese.  Coated balls of goat cheese were flash fried and placed atop a bed of fig marmalade and jamon Serrano--another culinary highlight in marrying the sweet, the salty and creamy.  The red wine paired with this first course was the Barbera d' Asti--absolutely divine The color is ruby-red with pale purplish highlights. The bouquet is full and intense, with scents of cherries and emerging spicy hints. The flavor is fresh and fruity, full-flavored and appealing, with a persistent finish. A great discovery and one that we will search for locally or order online.

And the drum roll continued...the second course was climatic --braise short rib that melted like butter in the mouth. The boniato puree we learned is a white but slightly sweet potato from the Caribbean that  I never tasted before. As one who has avoided the starchy potato, this creamy, fluffy slice of heaven was to be exalted and then the crispy kale for a crunchy texture to finish reminded me of an earlier comment made by the chef-- "You know you got it right when patrons liken your dish to sex.  It's exhilarating, sometimes pleasantly unexpected flavors explode..." I quietly begged the chef for a second serving since I happened to be seated front and center. She granted my wish.

24 Hour Braised Prime Beef Short Rib, Whipped Boniato Puree, and Crispy Kale

As I mentally prepared myself for the likelihood of the "law of diminishing return", the dessert was equally enticing, indulgent and memorable. This bread pudding was not your ordinary household bread. No this bread pudding was prepared with the exquisite ingredient--the croissant and drizzled with a rich, dark chocolate Nutella, and vanilla bean gelato.  A sweet Brachetto light and sweet wine topped off the marriage of sweet flavors. 

Indeed the dishes seamlessly progressed in complexity and flavor and maintained harmony along with the wine--the perfect marriage between ingredients, food and wine.

South Beach, downtown Miami and Coral Gables are more often associated with gourmet restaurants--the glamorous east side. Kendall, the location of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, is a far cry from restaurant mecca. Located in Southwest Miami, Kendall is mostly known as Suburbia-land meets Everglades. Chef Adrianne explained Kendall is where she lives and running a restaurant requires many long hours. Opening a restaurant close to where she lived seemed logical. Smart girl. Not only is she a talented chef, but she has intuitive business sense.

It's time for a field trip to Kendall for the full dining experience.


11510 SW 147 Avenue
Miami, Fl 33196

(305) 408-8386  |  (305) 408-8388

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