What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.
Hurry to this farm-to-fork restaurant in Pineapple Grove if you want to try its latest round of seasonal specials.
"Sustainability is key. We're also trying to bring more organic products to the menu," Max Group executive chef and partner Patrick Broadhead said in a press release.
Small plates are burrata Caprese ($15) and ricotta gnocchi with short-rib ragout and truffle oil ($16). Or, go bigger with pan-seared diver scallops with Vietnamese-scented aioli ($19/$35), New York strip steak with crispy onions and mustard-peppercorn butter ($39) or pork chop with sweet corn souffle, braised collard greens with smoked hocks, baby carrots and green tomato jam ($36).
Back by demand: pork belly with maple-bourbon glaze, peaches and crispy shallots ($14) and the vodka Watermelon Patch cocktail ($12).
Other new drinks for the summer include the Dark & Stormy ($12) and Bourbon Orchard with Maker's Mark, ginger liqueur, apple juice and strawberries ($12).
End with banana creme brulee layered with bananas Foster and molasses cookies ($13).
With the addition of chef Mark Militello, he and owner Zach Erdem are reshaping this year-old contemporary American restaurant amid the avenue's bustle.
"The whole focus here has been trying to make this restaurant food driven and not a nightclub," says Militello, who is a James Beard Foundation award winner.
He has instilled classier changes, such as expanding the weekend brunch. Bestsellers are challah French toast with fruit ($12) and malted walnut waffle with roasted pears ($12 or add fried chicken for $5). Main dishes include a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary.
Desserts are now made in house, such as the Kit Kat cake and the Italian budino with caramel sauce (both $10).
Craft beers have been added, as well as seven cocktails, including vodka-and-ginger beer Moscow Mule and the vodka Acai-Blueberry Vohito (both $14).
A new nightly happy hour from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. now follows the one from 4 to 8 p.m. Jazz musicians will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
California Pizza Kitchen
Cpk.com, various locations
After debuting its flagship restaurant at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise in December with a new look, the international chain is integrating its softer feel with reclaimed wood at other locations in a return to its West Coast roots.
Natural-looking tables have appeared on the patio at the Boca Raton branch with a bar and fire-pit lounge to come, says general manager Michael Hanzas. Expect to see remodeling in Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines too this year.
"As a company, we're elevating the food and atmosphere," he says.
Other upgrades are silverware and glassware, Hanzas says, as well as wine flights ($12) and more bottled craft beers, such as Chimay Grand Reserve ($14.50 for 750-milliliter bottle). Non-alcoholic alternatives are mixed with Diet Pepsi and flavors like blueberry lime ($3 with free refills).
Another step up is offering more seasonal items, such as the spicy Korean barbecue pizza with kimchi salad ($13.25) and spring market vegetable salad with Greek yogurt vinaigrette ($9.75), both available through June.
Today , summer berries and vanilla-bean sabayon ($4.75) and a strawberry basil martini with açaí spirit ($8.50) will be introduced.
CPK also recently rolled out a rewards program called Pizza Dough.
Restaurant Michael Schwartz
The Raleigh hotel, 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-612-1163, RaleighHotel.com
The chef and owner of the Design District darling, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, has unveiled his latest outpost in the 72-year-old Raleigh, part of the property's renovation to begin this fall after a change in ownership.
Michael Schwartz, a James Beard Foundation award winner, mixes some of his classics, such as crispy hominy with chili and lime ($7), with new creations, such as shrimp toast ($6), succulent grilled octopus ($18), rich spaghetti with cured swordfish and pistachios ($19) and grilled rib-eye cap with brussels sprouts and tomatoes ($34).
"Because he has such a following, we want to be the place on the beach that people drive to," says Reghan Alexander, openings manager for SBE restaurants. "There's not enough catered to the locals."
The emphasis is on the sourcing of seasonal ingredients and simple preparations of the eclectic plates, categorized by size on the menu. "That's what it's about for me — improving what we are bringing in to improve the taste and the freshness even without reinventing the menu," says Schwartz.
The beige dining room with a fireplace and photos of hotel visitors leads out to a romantic wood-deck courtyard with lit sea-grape trees overlooking the iconic baroque pool.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, as well as Sunday brunch. On Tuesday nights, guest bartenders will mix their own concoctions in the intimate vintage Martini Bar, and Mondays will feature a changing family-style prix-fixe dinner with wine for about $60.
Schwartz also recently opened the dinner-only Cypress Room at 3620 NE Second Ave. in the Design District, a nod to classic 1920s fine dining with pecky cypress wood, crystal chandeliers, tufted sky-blue banquettes and mounted deer and boar heads. The menu centers around the wood-burning grill and rotisserie. Favorites are frog legs in brown butter ($21) and cote de boeuf for two ($129).