Hunan Cuisine Finds Its Newest Spotlight at Blue Willow

Susan S. Johnson

The house-smoked Hunan bacon at Blue Willow, a new restaurant a brick’s throw from Trump Tower, is a real eye opener: glistening swatches of smoked pork belly, something like a less-sweet American bacon, stir-fried with scallions, slivered onions, green chiles, ripe bell peppers, and entire cloves of garlic. It’s like eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at once. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Hunan cuisine — which comes from a province of lowlands, rivers and lakes, and sprawling communal farms (though individual plots are now worked by tenant farmers) — is food preserved by smoking, drying, and pickling, lending

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What is nomadic cuisine? Find out at this new Latin fusion restaurant in Wynwood

Susan S. Johnson

Feb. 4—Andean culture is about to meet Latin fusion in Wynwood.

Restaurateur Diego D’Alvia, who owns the Rex- Best Chivito in Town restaurants in Buenos Aires, is opening Wakyu Restaurant & Bar in Miami next week.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant, which has indoor and outdoor seating, considers its kitchen experimental. Helmed by Milan-born Chef Matteo Gritti, it aspires to what it calls “nomadic-inspired” cuisine.

What does that mean?

It means you can start with light dishes such as the Krunchies Tuber & Beet Hummus. You can hit the raw bar and order hot and cold fresh tapas. Want something cold? Try

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Clintonville’s Olive & Thyme offers a lengthy menu of Lebanese-Mediterranean cuisine

Susan S. Johnson

The number of categories on the menu for Olive & Thyme Cafe stretches into double digits. Staring at that long document, I realized it would take months to eat my way through it. After sampling several of Olive & Thyme’s dishes, I’d gladly accept that challenge. 

a bunch of food on a plate: The small family platter at Olive & Thyme Cafe photographed on Wednesday, January 27, 2021. (Rob Hardin / Alive)

© Rob Hardin / Alive
The small family platter at Olive & Thyme Cafe photographed on Wednesday, January 27, 2021. (Rob Hardin / Alive)

Serving in Clintonville since November, Olive & Thyme occupies a big and bright space that still resembles the Panera Bread branch it previously housed. On the newcomer’s website, its food

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Head on down to the Bayou at Lil’ Bit of NOLA in Ghent for traditional New Orleans cuisine

Susan S. Johnson

NORFOLK, Va. – Violet, gold and green reign supreme inside a Lil’ Bit of NOLA in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood.

“There are beads on the wall you can take with you when you come by,” said General Manager Mark Conway.

The music, the masks and of course, the smell of jambalaya and shrimp Po-boys quickly pull you in, where every day is Mardi Gras inside this Louisiana lounge.

“We serve traditional dishes with a touch of this area and New Orleans,” said Conway.

The food is mouth-watering: From beignets, to gumbo, to Creole empanadas and more.

“We just have so much

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