After chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, formerly of 660 at the Anglers, won Food Network's 'Chopped' challenge, he took his $10,000 winnings and realized a life-long dream: to own his own restaurant.
With friend Alex Cassanova, Rapicavoli launched Eating House, a pop-up restaurant that takes over Coral Gables' Café Ponce after lunch.
Although Rapicavoli would say it has no theme, the ever-changing menu features some consistencies: local ingredients like heirloom Homestead tomatoes, South Florida twists on classic favorites like Cuban bread French toast, and whimsical nods at childhood treats such as the "dirt cup" -- an indulgent, nostalgic mix of Nutella mousse, salted Oreo crumbs and house made gummy worms.
Part of the buzz surrounding Eating House, beyond Rapicavoli's fresh take and inspired creations, is that it represents only a fleeting moment in Miami's culinary scene; it will close this August.
HuffPost Miami spoke with Rapicavoli about where he likes to indulge his palette in town when he's not the one cooking and which trendy dish he's downright sick of.
Who are you:
Years in Miami:
Favorite childhood memory in Miami?
Going to the circus at the flea market and riding an elephant for my birthday.
North Beach, FL
Chef/Owner Eating House
Favorite 'Only in Miami' moment?
Driving down Bird Road when the Miami Heat won the championship a few years ago - people in the streets celebrating, waiving flags, screaming and banging pots and pans.
What's your idea of a perfect day in Miami?
Start off with a classic Cuban breakfast, hit up some sneaker stores, go see the family, eat dinner, drink Cuban coffee and finish off the night cocktailing at the Broken Shaker.
You're headed to or from the Beach. Prefer 395 or 195?
Where do you take out-of-towners to eat?
Why did you decide to open up a pop-up restaurant?
It was the easiest way for me to finally get to do what I want, which is: whatever I want.
Is it true you created your own Eating House breakfast sausage with a local company?
Yeah, it's a blend of maple, bacon and pancake crumbs. It's our take on 'breakfast sausage.
Which dish at Eating House best showcases your culinary style?
The Florida Tomatoes: we take locally grown heirloom tomatoes and dress them with lime, ginger and fish sauce. We finish the dish with roasted peanuts, frozen coconut milk and herbs/flowers from our garden.
Do you think Miami's culinary scene is recognized nationally?
I finally think it's starting too...Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein have really paved the way for the younger generation and now it's up to us to keep it up.
What trendy dish are you really sick of?
Why has your food been described as "edible graffiti"?
If you can imagine classic dishes with classic techniques compared to fine works of art like that of Monet or Picasso, our food is the kids in gas masks tagging up the streets of the city.
Last big project you did:
Upcoming projects you're working on:
Competing in my first cocktail competition...should be interesting considering I've never bartended before.
What are three local meals you can't live without?
Vaca Frita - Casa Larios
Duck Sandwich - Sakaya
BBQ Spare Ribs - Tom Jenkins
In a word or two or three, Miami is...
Like none other
Click below for a glimpse at some of Rapicavoli's culinary creations: