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“THIRSTY THURSDAYS” AT JAGUAR CEVICHE SPOON BAR & LATAM GRILL, COCONUT GROVE
Beginning July 7, and every Thursday , from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. "Thirsty Thursdays: Fresh Ceviches & Chilled Wines” will be held at Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & LatAm Grill, Coconut Grove, co-hosted by Lalo Durazo, owner of Jaguar, and wine educator Barry Alberts of Berries to Wine,Inc... Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & LatAm Grill, the lively Coconut Grove Restaurant with its menu of fine foods with Latin American flavors at neighborhood prices will offer a delicious sampling of Sushi Latin American style: a selection of six freshly-made ceviches (from classic ceviche Peruano to ceviche verde) paired with the wine selections of the evening. Thursday, July 7, 2005, ceviches will be paired with chilled White Wines of Argentina. Upcoming Tastings: July 14, 2005- Wines of Argentina (part 2); July 21, 2005- Wines of Chile. The cost: $15, no reservations required. A special discount will be applied to diners who’ve stayed at the tasting. Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & LatAm Grill. 3067 Grand Avenue, (Next to Cocowalk), Coconut Grove. 305 444-0216. www.jaguarspot.com


FLAVORS OF AN EMPIRE, THE ART OF PERUVIAN CUISINE: JULY 28 TO AUGUST 31, SONESTA HOTELS IN COCONUT GROVE AND SUNNY ISLES
This summer, starting July 28 through August 31, 2005, Sonesta Hotels of Florida in cooperation with the Sonesta Hotels Posadas de Inca of Peru, the Consulate General of Peru in Miami and Club de peruanos present "Flavors of an Empire." The culinary festival will feature menus of traditional and contemporary Peruvian specialties prepared by Chef Kurtis Jantz of Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, Chef Christopher Cramer and guest chef Rafael Piqueras-Bertie one Peru's star chefs and the Executive Chef of the Sonesta Hotels of Peru- Posadas del Inca. "Chef Piqueras is currently traveling around the world showcasing Peruvian food on behalf of the Peruvian government. He is currently in China with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo," said George Cozonis, General Manager of Sonesta Coconut Grove. In 2003, Chef Piqueras, who worked at "El Bulli " under the famed Ferran Adria, was named one of the Top Twelve Best Chefs of the World representing Latin America in the International Gastronomy Summit in Madrid. www.flavorsofanempire.com
"The cuisine of Perú is one of the most sophisticated of South American cuisines with its fusion of Spanish, native Indian, African, French, and Asian influences," said Chef Cramer who worked with Chef Piqueras-Bertie in Lima. The month-long menu will offer items such as Martini de ceviche ($10), a Seafood ceviche topped with yellow-pepper froth; Tiradito de lenguado Nikkei ($9) Thinly-sliced flounder in Peruvian-Japanese marinade, served with sweet potato, deep-fried cancha or Peruvian corn & yucca chips; Aji De Gallina ($17), a traditional Peruvian comfort food with shredded chicken in creamy yellow-pepper sauce, garnished with fresh cheese, olives, peanuts and hard-cooked egg; Lomo Saltado ($21), the most traditional of Peruvian dishes: a stir-fry of beef with tomatoes and onions, seasoned with soy sauce and flambéed with Pisco with a side of fried potato sticks and white rice. For desserts( $7): Suspiro a la limeña de lúcuma y chocolate bitter and Huevo Chimbo, a Pisco doused version of Baba au Rhum.
The Peruvian menus will be featured at: Panorama Restaurant, at the Sonesta Hotel & Suites Coconut Grove, 2889 McFarlane Road in the heart of Coconut Grove. . Reservations: 305-447-8256. Full menu is available for lunch and dinner. Neomi's Grill, at Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, 18001 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles. Reservations: 305-692-5600.


NEW SUMMER CEVICHE MENU AT JOIA, SOUTH BEACH
To celebrate summer Joia is spicing up its menu with ceviche, a refreshing dish of fish and seafood "cooked" in citrus. On the menu: Peruvian snapper ceviche; lobster salsa, sweet and spicy sea bass; tuna and avocado and Kobe beef with red bell peppers, onions and kimchi. Joai is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 7 to 11 p.m., and on weekends till after midnight.
For group reservations: 786.683.0045. Joia, 150 Ocean Drive, South Beach.305.674.8871.

LEGAL SEA FOODS OFFERS GLUTEN-FREE MENUS FOR CELIAC DISEASE
Legal Sea Food Inc., a fresh fish market that evolved into a chain of over 30 restaurants throughout the country, has introduced a special menu for those afflicted by Celiac Disease -- an autoimmune disorder, caused by an allergy to gluten in wheat and grains, that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. Nearly one person in every 133 healthy, average Americans suffers from celiac disease. 97% of these people are undiagnosed and are unaware that if untreated, the disease can lead to other disorders. Therefore, paying close attention to a celiac's diet is critical, and Legal Sea Foods has introduced a new wheat and gluten free menu that allows diners to enjoy its dishes in confidence. Legal Sea Foods are open for lunch and dinner: Town Center, 6000 West Glades Road, Boca Raton, (561) 447-2112; Palladium City Place, 550 South Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, (561) 838-9000.

THE FORGE TO OFFER 50% OFF CELEBRATED WINE LIST ON WINE SUNDAYS
Wine Sunday's at The Forge, beginning June 26, 2005 and throughout the summer, will offer foodies a special opportunity to sample some of the best wines on Forge Sommelier Gino Santagelo's special list at half the price, as well as Executive Chef Andrew Swersky's new menu items. The Forge Restaurant is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight, and to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. 432 Forty-First St., Miami Beach Reservations: 305.538.8533





A SUMMER IN ITALY AT RINO BALZANO'S TUSCAN GRILL, FORT LAUDERDALE
Every last Monday of every month through September 2005, A Summer In Italy - a series of dinners celebrating some of Italy's most celebrated regions and paired with regional wines-- is chef Rino Balzano's way to show off his country's multitude of flavors, cooking styles and wines. The series kicks of on Monday, June 27 with a jaunt to Campania, known for its robust cuisine and gorgeous Amalfi coast. The five-course dinner, with limited one-time seating at 7:30 p.m. and priced at $65 per person (excluding gratuity), will be accompanied by music representative of the region. Known for serenading his customers, diners shouldn't be surprised if Balzano breaks into song during the evening. The line-up includes Monday, July 25 (Emilia-Romagna), Monday, August 29 (Venice) and Monday, September 26 (Piemonte). Rino's Tuscan Grill, 1105 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. (954) 766-8700. Complimentary parking behind the restaurant.

DISTRICT RESTAURANT LOUNGE PRESENTS WINE DOWN WEDNESDAYS
Wine and Live Jazz Fusion with The District's Temptation Platter and Blue Berry Spring Roll Dessert will be served on Wednesdays with half price and $15 bottles of wines. This week's wines are Mark West, Pinot Noir, Willamette, Pinot Gris, Jewel Chardonnay and Merlot. The District Restaurant Lounge, 35 NE 40th Street, Miami Design District, Reservations (305) 576-7242

"NEW Q" SUMMER LUNCH MENU AT JOHNNY V, FORT LAUDERDALE
Chef Johnny Vinczencz has launched "The New Q" - a special New Florida BBQ addition to his lunch menu from items he presented at the James Beard House dinner in New York and the BBQ-themed cooking segment on NBC's The Today Show. "Though I've always used barbeque techniques in my food, summer is the season for barbecue," said chef Vinczencz. Selections include: barbequed duck breast "meatloaf" with smoked apple bacon; mango barbequed braised beef short ribs; chipotle barbequed pulled chicken and Jamaica jerk spiced seared tuna (11 to $16), with a choice of two sides: macaroni and goat cheese, mango cole slaw, smoked shrimp potato salad, baby green beans with molasses apple bacon, BBQ French fries and baby corn with BBQ butter. Lunch is served seven days a week, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner is served nightly, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5:00 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays. Johnny V , 625 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, (954) 761-7920. Municipal parking available.

FRANCY DESKIN OF MARK'S LAS OLAS WINS JEAN-LOUIS PALLADIN AWARD
The sous chef at Mark's Las Olas, Francy Deskin, 32, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at Chef Mark Militello's side for the past nine years, is the recipient of the prestigious Jean-Louis Palladin Award, a coveted $5,000 trade internship designed to allow talented food professionals the opportunity to spend 10 days to six weeks visiting food at its source. Honoring the legacy of Jean Louis Palladin, a teacher as well as a revolutionary chef, the Foundation's prize can be used to spend time exploriong from a lamb farm in Pennsylvania to traveling to France to study wine. "The possibilities are thrilling - I might spend some time on a pig farm in Mississippi or in California exploring cheese and the Slow Food movement," said Deskin. Mark's Las Olas is located at 1032 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale (954) 463-1000. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until 11:00 p.m.

To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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