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Notes from the Road – Miami, September 2008

On Wednesday, September 17th I had been invited to host/chair a panel at the HD Boutique Convention down in Miami.  The panel was titled, “Finding the Core: Essentials for Launching a Successful Restaurant Concept.   The members of my panel who I had invited to join me were – Peter Kasperski, founder of Spaghetti Western Productions (, Payton Curry Executive Chef, Digestif Restaurant ( and Ron Ackerlund of Desert Designs ( 


To even be invited to participate in such a prestigious experience would have been enough, but to chair a panel was a complete honor.  The discussion went extremely smooth and far exceeded my expectations from attendance to fantastic discussion over to overall reception! We had a great roundtable discussion about restaurants, operations, design elements, comedy relief from Payton and outstanding guest feedback and questions.  The panel was scheduled for one hour and it felt after we started like it lasted for 15 minutes – a wonderful experience overall.


Some of my Miami highlights are listed below…


  • Café Versailles – amazing Cuban coffee!


  • Ice Box Café (  The Ice Box is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering creative cuisine with flavors rooted in French, Spanish, Cuban and Caribbean traditions


  • Sardinia Risorante & Enoteca (  Sardinia is one of my favorite restaurants in Miami; a neighborhood venue that has a great local following, outstanding selections of salumi, roasted vegetables and cheeses, as well as features from its wood burning oven.


  • I had to go see my buddy, DJ Ross One (, who was spinning at Mokai (, a club located off of 23rd & Collins.  This is more of a lounge with a killer vibe, beautiful people, great drinks and a true Miami experience.  Ross was manning the tables, spinning a variety of Top 40 hits, Hip Hop, Funk and House music.


  • Nobu Miami Beach (  I know that there are now many Nobu restaurants in the world (how many, I’m not sure) but let me tell you, this experience was pretty damn good.  After being seated and having a little rough service to start, we dove into the menu including the Nobu classic dish, Yellowtail with Jalapenos in Ponzu sauce, Avocado tempura (really good) and the winner of the night Tai (Red Snapper) sashimi.


  • Gansevoort Hotel ( - the Southern version of the New York original.  Now, it takes a lot to impress me, however one of the coolest things I have ever seen were their bathrooms – completely outside and open to the elements on the roof deck.  Wow.


Lots more happening on my end here in Vegas and also while traveling the world.  Next stop is Los Angeles for a series of meetings and participation in the American Wine & Food Festival (the 26th year –, working with Piero Selvaggio at his booth, representing Valentino.  I promise to have lots of updates and stories as there will be over 50 chefs and 50 wineries represented at the event.  Always remember, Keep Eating & Drinking!





blogCraig Nyman