Jean-Georges Debuts at St. Regis, the Federal Opens, and Rapicavoli Moves On

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Photo courtesy of The Federal
Jar-o-Duck
​It was not such a good week for the shuttered Vice Lounge Miami, but it was a splendid week for the Federal Food, Drink & Provisions, which opened to lots of huzzahs and buzz, and for J & G Grill, which debuted with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was also a good week for chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, who is going from 660 to popup, a good week for California bees, and a very very good week for European chickens. 

And yet overall it was a sad week because of the news about Melissa "Melie" Cala's passing. 

Here's the recap:

MONDAY
The Federal Food Drink & Provisions held a soft opening on Monday night. The funky Phuc Yea team behind Federal -- Alejandro Ortiz, Cesar Zapata, and former Short Order blogger Aniece Meinhold -- are serving things you don't see everywhere else, like the Jar-o-Duck of namesake bird with crostini, candied sweet potatoes and marshmallow Fluff. I've often said that I wouldn't eat in any dining establishment that served Fluff until the day pigs could fly, but then I found out that The Federal serves pig "wings" -- which, really, is close enough, so I'll have to check it out. The "wings" -- which look very much like the pork "osso bucco" at Crazy About You -- are served Buffalo-style with a blue cheese mousse and pickled vegetables. I'm not sure about the Federal's beverages, but a Lime Rickey would fit in nicely in a throwback sort of way.


TUESDAY
News reached us that Melissa (Melie) Cala, chef at The Corner in downtown Miami, passed away from complications following an asthma attack. I met her briefly, in the kitchen of Michy's, during her time as Michelle Bernstein's executive and personal assistant. She was a sweetheart that day, and by all accounts she always was. The funeral service is scheduled for today at Scarano Funeral Home, 17250 W. Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach from 2 pm to 4 pm.

A survey in England found that for the first time, more than half of all meals eaten out were at fast food restaurants. "Burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, kebabs and take-out curry account for 50.4 per cent of meals bought outside the home," reported the Daily Mail. There were 5.54 billion visits by the Brits to fast food restaurants in 2011. McDonald's sold over a billion meals in its UK outlets -- including 96 million children's Happy Meals. Pizza Hut snagged 55 million UK customers, and Domino's sells a million pounds worth of orders online every day. 

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The two cassanovas: Giorgio Rapicavoli and Alex Cassanova
WEDNESDAY
Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli formally announced that he was leaving 660 at the Angler's in order to open a popup along with Alex Cassanova called Eating House. It will be on Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables. His last day at 660 is...today. 

Wednesday brought this B-story from the California Farm Bureau Federation: Because of a dry winter so far, California bees have had less food available. To solve the problem, beekeepers have been giving them supplemental nutrition via a mix of sugar syrup, protein feed, and pollen substitutes. Almond bloom is coming in a few weeks, and it will take 1.5 million bee colonies to pollinate the state's 760,000 acres of almond trees.

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Mural at the St. Regis Bar
THURSDAY
General Manager Marco Selva and a host of invited guests took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the debut of The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort. Of particular import to food enthusiasts is the in-house J & G Grill by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Food Safety News reports that as of January 1, 2012, the European Union officially implemented its ban on battery cages -- those horribly cramped cages that egg-laying hens get stuffed into. This comes after a 12-year "phase-out" period that allowed the egg farmers to make the transition. Most farmers have opted for "enriched cages" that allow hens to stretch their wings, roost on platforms, and nest in designated nesting areas. Others allow for free-range systems. Germany led the movement, banning battery cages in 2007. The vast majority of hens in America are raised in battery cages.

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One less Vice in South Beach
FRIDAY
A very solid source of mine, Deep Kebab, reports that Vice Lounge (and Cafe) housed in the two-story 3,800-square-foot Lincoln Road venue that used to be home to O Asian Grill and before that to Rumi, is no more. We have no confirmation, as nobody is answering the phone. The opening executive chef was Michael Blum, and the menu featured items such as Cotton Candied Apple Wood Bacon Tower. This is what the food looked like in July; don't know about you, but the photos don't exactly whet my appetite. In any event, Vice certainly never took off as a place to dine. I don't think we can entirely blame the demise of the restaurant on the cotton candy/bacon combo, but it couldn't have helped.

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Location Info

The Federal Food Drink & Provisions

5132 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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