SooWoo Opens in South Beach



Reviewed by: Fabiana Santana

555 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL
See map: Google Maps


Opening Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sharing is caring, literally, at Miami's newest hotspot restaurant. SooWoo, which means sharing in Korean, is located in the heart of South Beach and is the brainchild of Seoul born Bok H. An, a 17-year restaurant vet. 12 Teppanyaki tables hold court where talented chefs show off their knife skills preparing dishes like hoisin-marinated hangar steak, scallop sashimi and live uni with white truffle. Gochoo –a Korean pancake dish with pork pepper + scallion, Bul Go Gi – thinly sliced marinated rib eye steak and the ever popular Bibimbop – assorted vegetables, egg fry and beef are some of the traditional Korean menu options. Chef Bryan Emperor  - who apprenticed in Tokyo and earned a  "Best New Restaurants" title from Esquire and Food & Wine's nod as  "The People's Best New Chef" is leading the kitchen as Head Executive Chef.  He is the Seven Sushi Samurai U.S. champion and trained at the three Michelin starred Kikunoi Honten in Kyoto, Japan.  Chef Joe Bonavita, who did time in the kitchens of Todd English, Grant Achatz and Graham Elliot, is helming the kitchen as Exec Chef and  is crafting the menu of sophisticated Japanese small plates.

Chris Hudnall, a consultant and founder of Bar Culture, puts his creative touch on the beverages taking inspiration and giving a figurative bow to Asian culture with his signature cocktail menu featuring can't miss libations like the SooWoo Bellini - a watermelon infused sparkling sake and the Tokyo Rob Roy made with, vermouth, chocolate bitters, cherry and Yamakazi 12 year whiskey (which is created with pure spring water that bubbles up from a bamboo grove).


Pumpkin Flavored Cocktails



In wake of the recent Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte controversy (come on, did you really think it had pumpkin in it, people?) we thought we’d compile a bunch of our favorite pumpkin flavored recipes to keep the fall flavored fix going.

Pumpkin is actually an amazing food. Besides being delicious and turning magically into a decadent dessert, pumpkin;s health benefits include aiding in digestion, boosting immunity and aiding in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis thanks to its vitamin and beta carotene content. Make your own pumpkin puree by slicing a pumpkin in half, scooping out all the seeds, placing it cut side down in a roasting pan with about a cup of water and baking at 350 degrees F until the flesh is tender, usually around 90 minutes.  You can do all kinds of fun stuff with pumpkin puree like make dessert (pie, creme brûlée, crumb cake, etc) or luscious libations like the list of recipes we have curated for you.




pumpkin-pie-martini-1_small-300x200Orange Spiced Pumpkin Pie Martini

  • 1/2 Oz Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka
  • 1 ounce pumpkin pie vodka
  • 2 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 ounce half and half
  • 1 tsb brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves

Chill your glass in the freezer. pour the vodkas, puree, half and half, sugar into a blender and mix on low for 2 minutes. Pour into chilled glass and garnish with spices, cinnamon stick, and orange twist.

Orange Spiced Pumpkin Martini
This is a take on the Pumpkin Pie Martini above but without the puree.

  • 2 oz Skinnygirl prosecco
  • 1/2oz pumpkin vodka or Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka infused with pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 oz Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • orange zest
  • cinnamon

Pour all ingredients in to a chilled cocktail shaker filled half way with ice. Shake well, strain and pour into a chilled martini glass.

Pumpkin Peach Bellini

  • 4 ounces Skinnygirl Prosecco
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 ounce peach nectar
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    Dash pumpkin pie spice

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Pumpkin Mojito

  • handful of  mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2  oz. Copacabana rum
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 oz. Pumpkin liquer
  • 1/2 lime
  • 2 oz. soda

Muddle mint leaves and sugar. Add rum, pumpkin, and juice from 1/2 lime. Mix well, add ice, top with soda, and garnish with extra mint leaves.


SHSP06H_Pumpkin-Sangria_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapePumpkin Sangria

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 bottle Skinnygirl white wine, chilled
  • 3 cups mango peach puree or peach nectar
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice liqueur or brandy infused with pumpkin pie spice
  • cinnamon sticks, for garnish
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined. Transfer to a saucer. Add the maple syrup to a second saucer. Lightly dip the rims of 6 punch glasses into the maple syrup. Then dip the rims of the glasses into the spiced sugar.   In a pitcher, combine the wine, juice and pumpkin spice liqueur. Stir and pour into the rimmed glasses. Garnish  cinnamon sticks.

Pumpkin Margarita

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 bar spoons pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 ounce tequila
  • 1/2 egg white

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar and cinnamon. Garnish with an orange twist.

Pumpkin Pie Martini
Courtesy of
•    1 Graham Crackers (crushed)
•    1 T. Honey
•    1/3 cup Milk
•    2 T. Pumpkin Purée
•    1 1/8 oz. Svedka Vanilla Vodka
•    3/4 oz. Creme de Cacao
•    1 pinch Pumpkin Pie Spice
•    1 cup Crushed Ice
Preparation: Place graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat rim of martini glass with honey, and dip into graham cracker crumbs to coat. Combine milk and pumpkin puree in a cocktail shaker, and shake to combine. Pour in vodka and creme de cacao, and add ice. Shake well, and then strain into prepared martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Caipirinha
Courtesy of
•    1/2 Lime, Cut into 4 Pieces
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
Crushed Ice
•    1 1/2 oz. Cachaça
•    1 1/2 oz. Pumpkin Purée
•    1/2 oz. Ginger Liqueur (can substitute with 1 tsp. freshly peeled and grated ginger)
Preparation: In a cocktail shaker, combine lime and agave nectar (if using fresh ginger, add it at this time); muddle. Add ice, cachaça, pumpkin purée, and ginger liqueur; shake well. Garnish drink with grated nutmeg, cinnamon stick and lime wheel.


Spiced-pumpkin-punch-with-bourbon-1Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon Punch
Courtesy of Domesticate Me
•    1 oz. Pumpkin Purée
•    1 tsp. Honey
•    1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
•    2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon
•    3 oz. Crabbies Ginger Beer
•    1/8 tsp. Grated Fresh Ginger
•    1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Preparation: Place all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.




Chef Marcela Valladolid Makes Mexican Easy

A Taste of Mexico with Marcela Valladolid
Greg Rice

Good news for home cooks everywhere: Now you can have a celebrity chef in your kitchen every night with chef, author, and tv personality Marcela Valladolid's delicious new line of products, Marcela Valladolid for Safeway!

"I grew up in Mexico," Valladolid said. "I know what Mexican food is and I know what it isn’t. Marcela Valladolid for Safeway helps home cooks get a real taste of Mexico.”

read more


Top Chef Boston Contestants Announced

Bravo has released the names of the chef-testants for the next season of Top Chef filming in Boston. Local girl Stacy Cogswell, who is the Exec Chef at the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner, is sure to be a fan favorite. Cogswell kept her particiaption a secret by telling family and friends she was traveling through Europe during filming.  “They’re going to be really upset with me,” she told the Boston Globe, knowing that her extended family in Quincy would soon be hearing the news.


Bravo described this season as one of the most exciting yet.

"This season features some of the franchise's "hungriest" chefs battling it out against the backdrop of Bean Town's flourishing culinary scene. The chefs will go knife-to-knife at iconic Boston locales including Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation and The Bull and Finch Pub, which served as the inspiration for "Cheers" and where exterior shots for the show were filmed. Mirroring Boston's own rich history, Season 12 is full of firsts, including the first meal ever served on the field underneath the Green Monster, a challenge using only ingredients that would have been on hand at the first Thanksgiving meal, the first "Top Chef" food festival and the first fan appreciation challenge where fans of the show were invited to dine inside the "Top Chef" kitchen. The show will also feature a challenge highlighting Boston's finest from the police and fire departments."


Bravo also let it slip that Top Chef All Stars winner Richard Blaiswill join Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Hugh Acheson as a recurring judge and chef mentor. Also slated to appear in the series are celebs Emmy Rossum, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, MLB Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley, Jacques Pepin, “Cheers” actor George Wendt (which is totally awesome in our opinion), “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen (who went to Boston University), and local chefs such as Ken Oringer, Todd English, Barbara Lynch, Jasper White, Ming Tsai  and Jamie Bissonette.


Here's a sneak peek of what the season has in store. 


Here’s the full list of “Top Chef Boston” contestants:

Doug Adams, 29, Portland, Ore.

Stacy Cogswell, 33, Boston

Joy Crump, 46, Fredericksburg, Va.

Ron Eyester, 40, Atlanta

Gregory Gourdet, 39, Portland, Ore.

Aaron Grissom, 27, Los Angeles

Adam Harvey, 29, New York

Melissa King, 30, San Francisco

Rebecca LaMalfa, 32, Chicago

Mei Lin, 28, Los Angeles

George Pagonis, 31, Washington, D.C.

Michael Patlazhan, 31, Brooklyn, N.Y.

James Rigato, 29, White Lake, Mich.

Katsuji Tanabe, 33, Los Angeles

Keriann Von Raesfeld, 28, San Jose, Calif.

Katie Weinner, 35, Salt Lake City


Food Trend: Eating Insects

Eating Insects

Dining on InsectsGrasshoppers. Crickets. Beatles. Sounds delicious, right? While these every day insects and animals may not sound appealing on your dinner menu, more and more restaurants are making them a mainstay.


Last year, a team of students at McGill University won the 2013 Hult Prize, and a $1 million dollar start up prize, for their insect-based business pitch. Power Flour, they say, will feed millions of malnourished around the world.


“It’s a huge deal because we had a very ambitious but highly executable five-year plan in place,” said team captain Mohammed Ashour, whose team hails from McGill University in Montreal. “So winning this prize is a great step in that direction.”


Crickets that will eventually be ground up to produce Power Flour.

Crickets that will eventually be ground up to produce Power Flour.

Since the kinds of insects people consume from country to country varies, think weevils in, caterpillars in Botswana, caterpillars, Power Flour will vary ingredients according to the breeding cycles and nutritional profile of each culture.



Chapul: The Original Cricket Energy Bar

Shark Tank fans might remember an energy bar called Chapul. The Original Cricket Bar is made with protein from cricket flour. “For centuries, human civilizations have rightly considered insects an excellent, plentiful and resource-efficient source of protein,” the brand says. “Even today, 80 percent of the world’s people regularly munch edible insects as part of their normal diets – chapulines in Mexico, stir-fried red tree ants in Cambodia, inago (grasshoppers) and hachinoko (bee larvae) in Japan and casu marzu in Italy. And with good reason &mdash eating insects provides an incredibly rich source of protein, iron and omega-3 acids and are very low in cholesterols and fat.” Flavor varieties of the Chapul bar range from dark chocolate, peanut butter and coconut. All with cricket flour as the main ingredient.


Julian Medina would testify to that fact. The chef runs and operates Manhattan’s popular Toloache, Toloache 50 and Toloache Thompson restaurants. “Yes grasshoppers in Mexico are consider a snack, you can eat them in a taco, quesadilla, or however you prefer, you grow up eating the bugs, at least I did!”


Medina wanted to bring a bit of his heritage to the Toloache menus. So, he developed a recipe for grasshopper tacos. “Because I grew up eating them, so I though that New Yorkers should be able to taste what I grew up with, plus as a Mexican I want to give my customers authentic flavors of Mexico.”


The grasshoppers, he says, are full of proten and 100 percent organic. And while there is no set way to cook them, he likens them to a popular American snack.


The Grasshopper Tacos at Toloache.


“In Mexico we don’t have a rule how to prepare them, people just fry them with chiles and garlic and you eat them as a popcorn, you can sprinkle on a Tlayuda or quesadilla, at Toloache I make a taco, I sautéed them with jalapeños and onion, guacamole and salsa verde with handmade corn tortillas.”


What do you think? Would you ever eat insects?