THE LIGHTER SIDE OF THE FEDERAL
Chef Cesar Zapata Launches Late Summer Menu Showcasing Colorful Vegetarian Dishes
Chef Cesar Zapata and spouse Aniece Meinhold of The Federal, Food, Drink & Provisions, have launched an exciting new late summer menu that features the lighter side of The Federal with a slew of visually striking and amazingly delicious vegetarian options that embrace the way Zapata, recently named one of Miami’s New Culinary Guard, enjoys eating.
Known for his deft touch with barbecue and all things meat, especially pork, the self-proclaimed “pig whisperer” is ironically a pescatarian who prefers to eat light and healthy meals. “Don’t get me wrong,” explains Zapata, “I love the dishes I make and I try them all when I’m creating, but my favorite meals to eat are light and healthy – a piece of fish or seafood, lots of veggies and tons of color. Lately, I’ve been exploring the combinations of refreshing fruits, veggies and herbs with savory elements such as spicy pickled peppers and salty cheeses, as well as mixing temperatures on the plate. The result has been very interesting and quite tasty, and the dishes just happen to be perfect for the long hot Miami summer.”
The new Summer, Summer, Summertime menu ($8-$22) includes vibrant and satisfying vegetarian dishes such as the Heirloom Tomato Salad with avocado, shallots, cotija cheese, fresh heart of palm, pea shoots and mixed basils; a dreamy Grilled Figs & Ricotta with artisan local ricotta, smoked blueberries, honey and Thai basil, and spicy Texas Style “Esquite” – charred corn with poblano aioli, lemon pepper, and cotija cheese. Vegan options include a Seasonal Summer Salad featuring chunks of ripe mango, corn nuts, and freeze dried and fresh strawberry, with chipotle, finger lime and infused coconut; as well as the Avocado & Orange with charred orange wedges, avocado, cumin, and puffed and micro amaranth. Fish lovers can indulge in new summer treats including the Daily Crudo served in Andouille oil with pickled corn, and charred poblano with a crispy shrimp cracker; New England Style Lobster Roll – sweet, butter poached Maine lobster, celery seed and Old Bay aioli on a buttered potato bun; Chargrilled Octopus with jalapeno sweet chili, black olives and pickled celery; and the delightfully tender and sweet cola marinated Hawaiian Style Short Ribs, served bone-in with pineapple spam relish, sesame seeds and scallions.
Federal traditionalists can still sink their teeth into heartier dishes that have become mainstays including the Chili & Fries – venison chili, grit fries, chipotle and cotija cheese and the Buffalo Style Pig Wings with creamy blue cheese and house-pickled celery and carrots that were both recently featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; as well as Sausage Ragu & Creamy Grits with morcilla, Andouille, and smoked elk sausage over Anson Mills grits, with a 63° egg and chives; South West Mac & Cheese (an older vegetarian option) with three cheeses, poblano peppers and chipotle biscuit crumbs; Ceez’s Smokey Fried Chicken, just voted one of Miami’s best by Tasting Table by virtue of its smoky, spicy and sweet breading, drizzled in honey and served with buttermilk ranch dressing, or the house cured and smoked Campfire Bacon, grilled slabs of bacon, with maple and herbage, which pairs delightfully with their Jumbo Buttermilk Biscuit drizzled with a honey apple cider glaze, named “Best Biscuits in the US” by Food & Wine magazine.
Owned and operated since January 2012 by husband and wife team Chef Cesar Zapata and Service Maven Aniece Meinhold, The Federal is a modern American tavern serving comfort food classics with an updated edge. Geared to be a neighborhood meeting point where folks congregate to enjoy great food and drink, the restaurant sources ingredients exclusively from American artisans. Describing their restaurant/concept as a celebration of American integrity, ingenuity and craftsmanship, Zapata and Meinhold make light of their demanding positions referring to themselves as “Stove Master and Pig Whisperer” (Zapata) and “Bar Wench and Pot Stirrer” (Meinhold). Born in Colombia, reared in New Jersey and taught his craft in Texas, Zapata creates good ol’ American comfort food classics, utilizing old world French techniques and infusing touches from his diverse upbringing. The restaurant offers Supper, Weekend Brunch, bottomless Happy Hour and a progressive bar program with innovative beer and wine cocktails.
Located at 5132 Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo district, The Federal, Food, Drink & Provisions is open for Supper Tuesday–Thursday from 6:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday–Saturday from 6:00pm – 11:00pm and Sunday from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. Their $15 Bottomless Happy Hour takes place Tuesday–Friday from 5:00pm-7:00pm. The Boozy Weekend Brunch is Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am – 3:30pm. Parking is free Tuesday–Thursday in front and rear parking lots; $3 Valet Parking offered on weekends. Telephone: 305.758.9559; www.thefederalmiami.com