Big Easy Winebar & Grill | Media

photo credit korey daivs photography

Miami's only South African Restaurant is Insanely Delicious!

The Hungry Black Man
By Starex Smith
TheHungryBlackMan.com

"While exploring the new Brickell City Centre with family or friends, you find yourself captivated by an alien, yet inviting aroma. Following your nose to the 3rd floor of this amazing new development, you arrive at the doorstep of Big Easy Wine Bar and Grill – a South African inspired restaurant named after Theodore Ernest Els, a world-renowned golfer who is so big he could easily be on the defensive line for the Miami Dolphins, but he kills it on the green instead. His daughter, executive chef Maryna Frederiksen, known as the “Little Easy” (just kidding) runs this joint with a Charlies Angels line-up of badass women managers, bartenders, and chefs.

I found it refreshing to see a mostly women dominated management team, especially the evening manager Maria, who was straight up one of the most professional, down to earth, and kickass managers I have had the privilege to encounter. I was amazed by her grace, attentiveness, and comprehensive knowledge of the menu and cocktail program. If you visit, be sure to give Maria a shot out for us! Oh, and before I forget, Maria suggested that you order the Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Marmalade ($8) as one of your side items no matter what entree you decide on. She was so freaking right! These babies are crazy good!"

Read the full article on TheHungryBlackMan.com
photo credit dylan rives food photographer

Golf Legend Ernie Els Teams Up with Grove Bay Hospitality on the Big Easy

Ocean Drive Online
By Carla Torres
OceanDrive.com

"Grove Bay Hospitality joins forces with golf icon Ernie Els to bring South African cuisine and the Big Easy to Brickell City Centre.

South African pro golfer Ernie Els is easy to love—hence his nickname 'The Big Easy' —due to his imposing physical stature and fluid swing. So when the former world number one-turned-winemaker-turned-restaurateur launched his first wine bar and grill, The Big Easy was a natural moniker choice, especially given that it, too, is easy to love.

After all, what is there to dislike about pork belly popsicles doused in South African mango braai (barbecue) sauce and jalapeño jam 'cowboy candy,' fried green tomatoes crowned with tomato chutney and fried morsels of more pork belly and bacon jam, or a four-hour-braised lamb shank served in a bread bowl? 'That dish has rich history dating back to the 1960s, when Bunny Chow [a South African street rice bowl commonly made with beans and chicken] was the standard blue-collar lunch for South Africans,' says Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, reflecting on her own heritage. 'We have elevated the bowl with a lamb shank and bread. A lot of love and work goes into it.' ”

Read the full article on OceanDrive.com
photo credit chris wessling food photographer

Upscale South African eats comes to Brickell City Centre

Miami Online
By Sara Liss
Miami.com

"The who: Big Easy Winebar & Grill is a collaboration between Grove Bay Hospitality Group (Glass and Vine) and Ernie Els – the South African hall of fame golfer (playfully nicknamed 'The Big Easy' for his manner, stature and gentle disposition), who is also award-winning winemaker. Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a native South African, heads up the kitchen.

The space: The sprawling space at Brickell City Centre evokes the textures and colors of South Africa with cushy leather chairs, reclaimed wood floors marbled stone, earth-toned fabrics and clay pottery. They all combine to make the space feel like dining in cozy home of a wealthy winemaker."

Read the full article on Miami.com
photo credit brett hufziger

Big Easy Winebar & Grill Throws
Grand Opening Party

Dining Out Miami
By Jennifer Agress
DiningOutMiami.com

"Brickell City Centre’s hot, South African haunt, Big Easy Winebar & Grill, may have opened just before Christmas, but earlier this month, it threw a swanky soirée to celebrate. In honor of the night, esteemed guests and venerable foodies noshed on tasty bites by Big Easy Executive Chef and South African native, Maryna Frederiksen–and to wash it all down, sipped on handcrafted cocktails, African beers, and award-winning wines by the restaurant’s concept partner and Hall of Fame international golfer, Ernie Els.

This lavish party, which was hosted in conjunction with Miami Magazine, attracted 200+ guests, including Els himself, as well as two of his golf pals: Michelle Wie and Branden Grace. Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, Francesco Balli, and Eddie Acevedo, of Grove Bay Hospitality Group (the team behind Big Easy Winebar & Grill and two other popular Miami spots, American Harvest and Glass & Vine), also joined the festivities."

Read the full article on DiningOutMiami.com
big easy miami interior element

No, not that Big Easy

The Whet Palette
TheWhetPalette.com

"This Big Easy Winebar & Grill comes to Miami from the Western Cape region of South Africa, by Ernie Els (nicknamed Big Easy, for his stature and smooth golf swing) and the Grove Bay Hospitality Group.

Offering a taste of authentic South African cuisine, the restaurant is now open at the shiny and new Brickell City Centre. One look at the menu and I could not wait to dig in. I didn’t know where to start; too many options, too little time. Every category (Tid Bits, Starters, For the Table, Salads, The Grill, Sauces, Sides, Chef’s Butter, Ernie’s Favorites, From the Sea, Chef’s Selections, and of course, Desserts) listed something interesting or that I just had to try. Luckily I’ve visited twice (once via a media invite, and the second time on my own) and have been able to try a good portion of the menu. The wine list features mostly South African wines, including blends from Ernie Els’ own vineyards in Stellenbosch.

Set against a rich earth-toned palette, the restaurant’s effortless and rustic chic decor honors Western Cape: imported furniture, leather banquettes and chairs, rustic wood finishes, carved wood accents, and framed black and white photographs (of Els’ career and travels). Visible from most seats in the main dining area, the open kitchen sits towards the back of the restaurant. The South African native and Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen can be easily spotted supervising and working her way around every station. The hostess, wait-staff, and manager all provided knowledgeable service with a genuine smile both visits. The staff worked nonstop, scurrying here and there without much down time. Napkins were often refolded multiple times when patrons momentarily left the table (a nice touch not often seen at casual restaurants). I also noticed a waiter meticulously rearrange all the placemats on a table until they lined up perfectly centered with each chair. I love attention to such details."

Read the full article on TheWhetPalette.com
chef maryna frederiksen

Ernie Els takes SA Cuisine to Miami with The Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Tee Off South Africa
TeeOffSouthAfrica.com

"Ernie Els, known as the “Big Easy” in the golfing world, not only goes big when it comes to his golf, but he is also taking the world by storm by sharing his love of South African cuisine.

With a few successful restaurants already situated in Cape Town, Ernie Els took the opportunity to introduce South Africa to Miami through means of food by opening his restaurant “Big Easy Winebar & Grill”. South Africa is known as a country that makes food for the soul and it’s always exciting to see our cuisine enjoyed on an international level. With Executive Chef, Maryna Frederiksen at the forefront of this restaurant, her knowledge of food and SA heritage (born and raise on a farm in South Africa) makes her the perfect person to feed the crowds of Miami!"

Read the full article on TeeOffSouthAfrica.com
big easy miami rib-eye steak

Ernie Els wants you to try his steak at Brickell’s newest showplace

Miami Herald
by Linda Bladholm
MiamiHerald.com

"The Place: The Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill, in the sparkling new Brickell City Centre, opened Dec. 22. Enter to find the Afrikaans word gesellig — meaning a social gathering like a braai (barbecue) with close friends and family — spelled vertically opposite the hostess stand. That’s just what is encouraged here in the relaxed but classy space designed to make it seem like you are in golfer Ernie Els’ living room (more on that later). A communal table sits opposite the open kitchen and wood burning oven, where flames glow and flatbreads are baked. The space is done in earth tones with wood accents, cork decorations on the wall behind a long counter and chandeliers resembling wine barrel rings beaded with small Edison lights. There is also a small covered patio on the mall and a private dining room."

Read the full article on MiamiHerald.com
chris wessling downstairs loft creative

The Hottest Restaurants in Miami Right Now,
February 2017

Eater Miami
by Olee Fowler
EaterMiami.com

"The South African themed eatery from the guys behind Coconut Grove’s Glass & Vine, boasts a menu of traditional South African fare inspired by investor Golf-icon Ernie Els like boerie bites and the carnivore friendly braai platter, along with more familiar dishes like burgers, lamb chops and couscous risotto."

Read the full article on EaterMiami.com
linefish ceviche

South African Sensation at
Brickell City Centre

Digest Miami
by Jennifer Agress
DigestMiami.com

"From the moment I walked into Big Easy Winebar & Grill inside the new Brickell City Centre, I knew it was going to be a very different kind of Miami experience. Unlike the city's usual, overdone glitz, the restaurant’s earthy, South African-inspired accents give the space a sultry, masculine feel. The space is furnished with rich dark leather seating, marble stone, hardwood tables and industrial-like chandeliers. I felt like I was eating in my friend’s living room. And after all the good meat, seafood and wine, I only wanted to be on a living room couch or in bed. The (wine and) food coma is real."

Once there, I settled into my cozy booth, and at the suggestion of our very attentive waiter, ordered a glass of the restaurant’s signature red blend, the Big Easy 2014 from Stellenbosch, South Africa (which I ordered again and again). The wine is from Ernie Els’ own vineyards located in the Western Cape terroir of South Africa. Many of the region’s influences are found throughout the menu.

'Miami has never really experienced the South African influence of flavors, which lends itself to great opportunity for creativity,' says Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen. A South African native, Chef Maryna has over 20 years of experience working at AAA Five Diamond and James Beard Award-winning dining destinations all over the world. 'The Latin spices that people are used to tasting are presented in an entirely different way. Take our Florida Linefish Ceviche with sweet potato, corn nectar and grilled lime, for example. We’ve taken something that is very well known in Miami and put our own unique twist on it.' "

Read the full article on Digest Miami.com
big easy miami

Four South African-Inspired Dishes to Try at Big Easy Winebar & Grill in Brickell

Miami New Times
by Nicole Danna
MiamiNewTimes.com

"Born and raised on a farm in the Transvaal Province of South Africa, Big Easy Winebar & Grill (Brickell City Centre, 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami) executive chef Maryna Frederiksen has fond memories of her father raising cattle and sheep for the country’s minister and eating vegetables fresh from her family’s garden.

Today, Frederiksen is living her dream through a concept that combines two of her favorite things: authentic South African comfort food influenced by Indian, Malaysian, and European cultures, married with a touch of spicy Nuevo Latino taste, an homage to her new home in Miami.

Last month, Coconut Grove-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group unveiled Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els, a project in partnership with the nationally renowned golfer-turned-winemaker who has been affectionately called 'the Big Easy' for his stature and gentle disposition. The concept's grand opening signals Grove Bay’s leap to downtown Miami following the 2016 debut of chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove.

With cuisine influenced by Dutch, Indian, and English cultures, the Big Easy menu highlights prime cuts of meat and seafood, much of it sourced directly from the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. To pay homage to it all, Frederiksen's menu ranges from small plates dubbed 'Tid Bits' ($6 to $9) and sharing plates 'For the Table' ($10 to $26) to a section naming some of Els' favorite dishes."

Read the full article on MiamiNewTimes.com
big easy miami king prawn

New Restaurants and Bars in Miami

Zagat.com

"Never mind the New Orleans nickname – this Brickell City Centre spot takes its moniker from Ernie Els, aka 'Big Easy,' and culls culinary inspiration from the golf star's heritage, with fellow native South African Maryna Frederiksen helming the kitchen. Regional wines also take center stage, while reclaimed wood floors, clay pottery and marbled stone accents lend a Western Cape wine country feel."

Read the full article on Zagat.com
dylan rives food photography miami

Take It (Big) Easy on Inauguration Day

The Hungry Post
by Diana Rodriguez
HungryPost.com

"Whether or not you’re taking an extended lunch on Friday to watch Trump get sworn in, we know a place that will have its doors open right on time for the opening remarks. It’s the Big Easy Winebar & Grill located inside the newly opened Brickell City Centre. With flat screen TVs surrounding every side of their large bar, we just hope you can find a seat before Donald’s parade begins.

Bringing South Africa to Miami, the cuisine at Big Easy is filled with chili sauces, chutneys, smoky flavors and lots of spiced meats from their grill. We recommend you start with the Pork Belly “Popsicles” in case you plan on staying (or drinking) long. The pork belly is sweet and savory with a crunchy top and meaty center.

In case that vegan friend from the office tags along, make them happy with the Mini Cauliflower Samosas. Their center is a soft, roasted cauliflower mash paired with green chutney on the side. The crispy pastry is one for the win."

Read the full article on HungryPost.com
dylan rives south florida

Ernie Els' Big Easy restaurant
opens in Brickell

South Florida Online
by Susan Bryant
SouthFlorida.com

"The owners of Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove have partnered with this small international chain, coined after golf star Ernie Els’ nickname, to introduce the first U.S. outpost on the third floor of Brickell City Centre.

The cuisine is South African — the homeland of Els and the chain. Executive chef Maryna Frederiksen grew up on a farm there.

'Since Miami-Latin-inspired cuisine lends itself to spice and flavor, it was easy to bring my South African dishes without changing them too much,' she says.

She crafts bone marrow with oyster and curry sabayon ($9), Angry Duck Curry ($22), grilled Nigerian prawns ($38) and Cape Malay Seafood Pot ($46). Seven blended butters ($3) and six sauces, such as braai barbecue, enhance meats such as bison rib-eye ($45).

The theme extends to her family’s Cape-Dutch malva pudding ($10), cocktails ($10-$14), such as Rooibos Copper Cup with vodka, and Ernie Els Wines.

Lunch and dinner are served daily, plus Sunday brunch, amid furniture and decor from the Western Cape with tufted banquettes, reclaimed wood, cork artwork, chandeliers mimicking wine-barrel hoops and a wine-bottle-shaped, hammered-copper gas oven in the elbow of the open kitchen.

Read the full article on SouthFlorida.com
dylan rives food photography miami

The 14 Best New Restaurant
Openings to Check Out

Tasting Table
by Devra Ferst
TastingTable.com

"Big Easy Winebar & Grill: Transport yourself to South Africa at Big Easy (named for golf star Ernie Els). The menu spans duck curry, grilled Nigerian prawns and steaks, which are served with a choice of butters like Miami spice with citrus, cumin and ancho chile, and Durban spice with annatto, jaggery cane sugar and turmeric."

Read the full article on TastingTable.com
chris wessling food photography las vegas

Eat Your Heart Out at
Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Dining Out Miami
by Jennifer Agress
DiningOut.com

"As if Downtown Miami’s dazzling Brickell City Centre wasn’t exciting enough already, now, it has a new restaurant that Miami’s finest have been eager to try. Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els, Miami’s only option for haute, authentic South African cuisine, opened to the public right before Christmas, marking the first project in Downtown Miami by Grove Bay Hospitality Group–the restaurant firm behind both Big Easy and earlier this year, Giorgio Rapicavoli’s acclaimed Coconut Grove spot, Glass & Vine.

Named after Ernie Els, a restaurant partner, golf icon and winemaker affectionately known as “The Big Easy,” this casual and sophisticated spot focuses on the flavors of the Western Cape region of South Africa. And staying true to its theme, Grove Bay Hospitality Group even tapped Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a native South African with more than two decades of experience as a chef at AAA Five Diamond and James Beard Award-winning restaurants, to lead the kitchen."

Read the full article on DiningOut.com
dylan rives photography

Delicious Downtown:
Big Easy Winebar & Grill and American Harvest Opening at Brickell City Centre

Miami Culinary Tours
by Debbie Stoeva
MiamiCulinaryTours.com

"On Thursday, December 22, 2016, Coconut Grove-based restaurant firm Grove Bay Hospitality Group will debut their highly anticipated new restaurant concepts – Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els and American Harvest at downtown Miami’s ambitious new mixed-use space, Brickell City Centre. The concepts’ grand opening signals Grove Bay’s leap to downtown Miami – in early 2016 they debuted the highly acclaimed Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove with acclaimed Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli – and more in-the-works in the new year, including Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour with famed duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth.

Locals and tourists alike will be able to experience the flavors of the Western Cape region of South Africa at Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els. The restaurant is a project in partnership with the nationally renowned golf icon turned winemaker affectionately nicknamed “The Big Easy” for his manner, stature and gentle disposition."

Read the full article on MiamiCulinaryTours.com
grove bay hospitality big easy miami

R&D PROFILE: TO SOUTH AFRICA TO BRING BACK A NEW CUISINE TO MIAMI

Grove Bay Hospitality
GroveBayGroup.com

"COMING SOON TO BRICKELL CITY CENTRE

Big Easy is our new South African restaurant, set to open at the long awaited Brickell City Centre, this fall; filling an important culinary gap, which has been missing in South Florida, until now. Big Easy Grill & Winebar is an unpretentious yet sophisticated dining destination hailing from the stunning Western Cape region of South Africa – inspired by the lifestyle and spirit of South Africa’s most recognized export, Golf-icon Ernie Els, whose nickname is “Big Easy”, based on his easygoing personality and effortless golf swing.

INTRODUCING A NEW CONCEPT TO THE MARKET

Deciding on which new cuisines to bring to Miami is no easy feat; Miami is a city that has often lagged behind in rich culinary innovation over the years, but that is rapidly changing. We took a step back, and looked at the dining scene to find out what we felt was missing.

In general, every time we consider a new project, we ask ourselves if this specific project is bringing something new or different to the landscape. I think we’ve been successful meeting this standard in our new restaurant projects. Our contribution to Miami so far includes; Glass & Vine, the great chef-driven restaurant surrounded by a gorgeous park landscape; the forthcoming Stiltsville Fish Bar, which we describe as a great seafood restaurant on the water with an amazing rooftop deck; American Harvest also to be opening it’s first location at Brickell City Centre, one of the first American farm based fast casual concepts focused on “clean eating”; and a new “Harbour” project, which will include a cornucopia of ocean side commerce, focused, of course, on food.

Identifying South African cuisine for our latest venture, came from what we have observed in the last few years, that a burgeoning foodie culture in Miami has given rise to a wider array of dining options, pushing the culinary trends to new places. We aspire to capitalize on that progress, while also contributing to the culinary landscape of the city we love. However tricky it sounds to balance appealing to the entrenched palates of local restaurant patrons while offering them something new enough to get excited about, we feel that in this case, the divide may not be so deep."

Read the full article on GroveBayGroup.com
big easy miami appetizers

Details Emerge on Two New Brickell City Centre Restaurants

Miami Eater
by Olee Fowler
Miami.Eater.com

"When the behemoth Brickell City Centre emerges later this year a whole new slew of restaurants are coming with it. More details have been released about two of its new spots — Big Easy Winebar & Grill and American Harvest — who will both be setting up shop November 3.

First up is Big Easy Winebar & Grill, which is actually a South African concept that crossed the Atlantic for its first outpost in the U.S. here in Miami. The 5,592-square-foot space plans to seat around 200 and is inspired by famed golf pro Ernie Els, who’s nickname is “Big Easy.” The space will serve South African dishes like as springbok loin, ostrich fillet, and spring rolls stuffed with sweet ground beef curry with spice chutney, along with items that have a more local, Latin spin to them. Since wine is in the name, expect a large variety of it, including many from Els’ namesake wines."

Read the full article on Miami.Eater.com
big easy brickell city centre miami

Grove Bay Hospitality Group Announces Two Concepts Opening in November

Full-Service Restaurants Magazine
FSRMagazine.com

Grove Bay Hospitality Group—the Coconut Grove-based restaurant and development firm behind the acclaimed Glass & Vine restaurant, with chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and the highly anticipated Stiltsville Fish Bar, with famed culinary duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth—is taking a slice of the Brickell City Centre pie this fall. The hospitality group is unveiling not one but two new concepts—Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els and American Harvest —both debuting on November 3, 2016.

Big Easy Winebar & Grill will be a casual yet sophisticated grill room hailing from the Western Cape region of South Africa, considered by many to be South Africa’s answer to Napa Valley. Inspired by the lifestyle and spirit of South Africa’s golf icon turned winemaker Ernie Els, affectionately nicknamed “The Big Easy” for his manner, big stature and gentle character. The Hall of Fame golfer has partnered with South Florida’s unstoppable new boutique hospitality firm to import the cuisine, wines, décor and hospitality from Els’ homeland. The opening of the Miami location will signal the arrival of the concept’s first U.S. location; it already enjoys acclaim in three locations in South Africa and Dubai.

“Working with Els and winemaker Louis Strydom is an honor for us,” says Eddie Acevedo, partner and chief operating officer of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. “Louis is a gifted and passionate winemaker devoted to capturing the unique terroir of the region in every vintage he makes. The opportunity to bring to Miami the only restaurant tied to his vineyard is extremely exciting. Collaboration is a key component to Grove Bay’s approach: Giorgio with Glass & Vine, Jeff and Janine with Stiltsville, Els and Strydom with the Big Easy Winebar & Grill, and more to come in the Grove. Working with driven, creative, industry leaders keeps us motivated and has us, ideally, setting trends rather than chasing them.”

Read the full article on FSRMagazine.com
ernie els miami

Big Easy Winebar & Grill
to Launch in Miami

A fourth Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els is launching
at Miami’s Brickell City Centre this fall.
ErnieEls.com

The Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els in Miami is the fourth launch for this blossoming global restaurant brand, with existing outlets already buzzing and thriving in locations in Stellenbosch, Durban and Dubai, the latter of which was voted ‘Best Food & Beverage Outlet’ at this year’s Middle East Golf Awards. As with its predecessors, the Big Easy Winebar & Grill will offer a casual yet sophisticated steakhouse dining experience. The cuisine, wines, décor and hospitality are all inspired by the lifestyle, spirit and homeland of South Africa’s four-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els.

The Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els is a culinary experience that is first and foremost a superb grill restaurant; thus it boasts a strong line-up of succulent prime cut steaks and a selection of outstanding meats including Tenderloin of Beef, Prime Ribeye, Wagyu Flank Steak, Veal Chop, Rack of Lamb and South African delicacies such as Springbok Loin and Ostrich Fillet alongside the ever-popular Big Easy burger. Also from Ernie’s homeland are Bobotie Spring Rolls (sweet ground beef curry with spice chutney), Grilled Boerewors (one of Ernie’s personal favourites!) and Sosatie Grilled Mini Skewers of beef, pork, lamb and chicken with tasty dips

From the ocean you’ll find only the finest fresh fish, much of which celebrates Florida’s sensational seafood and Latin influence, including Fresh Stone Crabs, Peekytoe Crab Cake, Line-caught Florida Snapper with Peri-Peri Sauce, Local Shellfish Bouillabaisse and Lobster & Langoustine Duo. Other irresistible dishes on the Big Easy Winebar & Grill’s diverse, seasonally-driven menu include juicy Mozambique Tiger Prawns, Pan Fried Sea Bass, Spit Roast Baby Chicken, Braised Pork Belly, Carpaccio of Tuna, Cape Rock Lobster Risotto, Ceviche, Sashimi and the spectacular Big Easy Shellfish Platter formed of the Executive Chef’s daily hand-picked selections.

Read the full article on ErieEls.com
winemaker louis strydom ernie els wines

Capture The Sunshine

A visit with Ernie Els' winemaker offers a lesson in South African wines
- just as it did for Els 16 years ago.
by Mike McAllister
PGATour.com

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – A light haze caresses the Helderberg Mountain, which looms behind Louis Strydom's right shoulder as he pours one of his creations into a long-stemmed crystal glass. Shade from the oversized umbrella provides much-needed relief from a challenging hot summer day in South Africa’s Cape Winelands region. The cool False Bay breeze that extends the ripening period has yet to announce its presence.

In Afrikaans, Helderberg means “clear mountain" and now, while sitting in its foothills, you understand why. The setting on the back patio at the Ernie Els Winery is spectacular, one of those life-is-good moments.

On the table in front of Strydom are a variety of wine bottles, a mid-afternoon taste testing ready to begin. It’s not unlike the scene 16 years earlier when Strydom – an award-winning winemaker – first explored the palate of his country’s top professional golfer.

When Els decided in 1999 to enter the wine business, he asked Strydom to join his project. Priority No. 1 was choosing the wine they wanted to make. Potentially, this was a problem, since Els was no wine expert. He grew up in Johannesburg, in the Highveld, a grassy plateau through South Africa’s interior. Big city. No vineyards.

“They only drink brandy and Coke there,” Strydom says with a laugh. “They don’t drink any wine.”

Els’ dad, in fact, didn’t drink alcohol at all, and didn’t allow any in the house. Els’ interest in wine only took off in the early ‘90s after he met his future wife Liesl, who grew up in Stellenbosch. But while he now enjoyed a glass, he couldn’t tell you why. And that’s what he told Strydom that day.

No worries, replied Strydom. “You don’t have to know anything about wines to know what you enjoy.”

He then set aside five bottles, each one placed inside an unmarked bottle-store paper bag. This would be a blind taste test. Strydom didn’t want anything – the grape, the color, the label -- to influence Els. The only thing that mattered was taste.

“What the hell am I tasting here?” Els asked, still feeling out of his element.

“Just tell me. Just talk to me,” responded Strydom.

Els remained unsure. These guys with the oakey and the smokey and all this, he laughed to himself.

“Listen,” he told Strydom. “I’m not gonna tell you what I’m smelling or tasting. I’m just gonna tell you what I like."

So he did. A sip from the first bottle. The second. Third. Fourth. Fifth. It was that fifth and final bottle he enjoyed the most -- a classic Bordeaux-style blend with five varietals.

Strydom then went to work.

ernie els winery

Ernie Els Winery, Stellenbosch

A year later, the Ernie Els Signature wine was introduced, utilizing those five varietals – 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, 5 percent Petit Verdot, 4 percent Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Malbec. It was an immediate success, akin to a golfer making his pro debut by winning The Open Championship. Wine Spectator gave it 93 out of 100 – no South African red wine had ever been rated that high.

Since then, the Ernie Els Signature has annually received 90-plus points for every vintage. Platter’s Wine Guide, the country’s top wine annual, has given it 5 stars on four occasions. It continues to set the tone for all of Els’ wines each year – a high-end product that consumers will appreciate and enjoy.

“I trust him – and I did trust him back then – so I knew he would come up with a good product,” Els says of Strydom. “He just wanted to see what I liked. I’m glad that first meeting went well.”

When it was released, the 2000 Signature sold for R450 in South Africa. At the current exchange rate, that’s just over $31 in U.S. dollars. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’re probably not flinching at that price. But 16 years ago ...

“It was the most expensive wine in South Africa,” Strydom says. “And it came out of a brown paper bag.”

Read the full article on PGATour.com
big easy winebar & grill miami

"Nine More Restaurants Announced For Upcoming Brickell City Centre"

"Uless you've been living under a rock, you're well aware that the behemoth Brickell City Centre is close to opening its doors. The billion dollar project in the middle of — you guessed it — Brickell, will feature 500,000-square-feet of retail and restaurant space.

Yesterday, nine new restaurant concepts were announced to a lineup that already include Pubelly Sushi, Pasion del Cielo and Uruguayan restaurant Quinto La Huella. Those restaurants coming to City Centre include mall staple like Häagen-Dazs (naturally), juice bar concept Dr. SMOOD, French bakery Calissons du Roy René, lobster roll creator Luke's Lobster, South African "lifestyle" restaurant Big Easy Winebar & Grill, along with an American Harvest, DAVIDsTEA, Santa Fe and Taco Chic. No final opening date has been announced. Stay tuned for more updates."

Read the full article at MiamiEater.com
big easy winebar & grill miami brickell city centre

"Brickell City Centre will boast more than a dozen eateries, cinema under a climate ribon"

"When Brickell City Centre opens this spring, it's destined to become a hub of activity for the residents and workers of Brickell."

The $1.05 billion mixed-use project, located at 67 SW Eighth St., consists of a condominium, office space, and the East Miami Hotel. But the likely reason Miami denizens will be excited is the 500,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center. Until now, Brickell hasn't been the best of places to shop, with workers and residents having to drive to retailers. That's about to change.

Swire Properties, along with retail codevelopers Whitman Family Development and mall giant Simon Property Group, has announced an updated list of retail, service, and restaurant tenants that have signed leases in the space, which features a 150,000-square-foot "climate ribbon" — a trellis of steel, fabric, and glass that protects shoppers from weather and captures sea breezes to regulate the air flow and temperature under it. The $30 million ribbon will also collect as much as 3 million gallons of rainwater for reuse annually.

The development's fourth floor will be the home of most of the eateries. Restaurants announced for Brickell City Centre are the usual mix of fast-casual and sit-down chains and include American Harvest, Big Easy Winebar & Grill, Calissons du Roy René, David's Tea, Dr. Smood, Häagen-Dazs, Luke's Lobster, Santa Fe, and Taco Chic. The signing of Pasión del Cielo to the project was previously announced.

Though many of the restaurants are chains, there are some standouts. Big Easy Winebar & Grill is a South African export from pro golfer Ernie Els. The restaurant has locations in Durban and Stellenbosch, South Africa, as well as Dubai. The Miami location is the first in the United States.

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