Miami Spice is our favorite time of year. When over 200 restaurants let diners try their fare at a fraction of the price, going out to eat for dinner every day is actually affordable. But while the two-month period gets all of the attention, the events leading up to the main event are just as fun and budget friendly. Case in point: the Miami Spice Mash-Ups.
These exciting collaborative dinners pair talented chefs for a memorable preview of their Miami Spice offerings. We were lucky enough to witness the work of Quality Meats’ Patrick Rebholz and Edge Steak & Bar’s Aaron Brooks at the latest mashup, which took place at QM on Miami Beach. Each chef prepared dishes for every course, which were all served family-style. We’ve been to Quality Meats plenty of times to know that Chef Rebholz holds nothing back, and we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Chef Brooks’ food. Needless to say, we were excited.
And rightfully so. Both chefs left us flabbergasted by the end of the meal. When we finished the dessert, we turned to each other and thought, “Did this really happen?” Yes, it did. This was quite possibly one of the best Miami Spice experiences we’ve had in a very long time. Actually, probably since trying QM’s menu last year. But enough hype — let’s talk food.
For the first course, Quality Meats came out of the gate with a house cured slab bacon with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. If you’ve been fortunate to catch them at local food fests, you’ve probably encountered this beautiful beast. Peanut butter on anything is awesome, but peanut butter and bacon together is a match made in heaven.
From the other side of the kitchen, Edge served up two appetizing apps: a grilled duck summer sausage — two thumbs up for the spicy mustard — and some crispy pig ears with green mango, watercress, mint and chili. The latter had some nice spice that was cooled by the mango; we could eat the pig ears like chips, and we totally did.
For mains, we couldn’t figure out which we liked more: the French onion filet with corn creme brûlée and steakhouse mushrooms (Quality Meats) or the lamb shank cooked with olives, capers and Calabrian chili PLUS a salad of kale with garbanzo bean, heirloom tomatoes, pepitas and fried bread (Edge).
There’s nothing like a good piece of steak, and the corn creme brûlée at Quality Meats is to die for. On the flip side, Chef Brooks’ lamb was perfectly seasoned and the kale salad was as sizable as it was flavorful. These dishes represented each chef at his best, and we’d revisit any of the plates in a heartbeat — or a hunger pang.
Dessert was a spectacle. When we saw Build Your Own Ice Cream Sundae on the menu, we expected something on the lighter side — maybe a tiny topping station or something. Yeah, no. We got a dessert carousel for the table full of the most decadent items known to man: marshmallows, churros, chocolate, more chocolate, sprinkles, whipped cream, even more chocolate, Rice Krispies and cherries — and I’m pretty sure we still missed a few items. Our eyes lit up at the sight of this thing, as did our heartburn.
Anyway, this final course from Quality Meats was what all desserts should be: unforgettable. We felt like little kids again, picking apart the sweets one by one and making a hot mess. Edge’s dessert was more subdued but no less memorable. Small tins of homemade fudge made our stomachs jump for joy; we’re still eating them as I type this.
Going into the meal, we knew Quality Meats would deliver an epic experience — and they did. This was our first time trying Edge’s amazing food, and it definitely won’t be the last. The mash-up succeeded in making us even more excited for August 1 to come around. And if you can’t tell, we’ll certainly be checking out both restaurants again for Miami Spice.