Chef Jason Arroyo does it again! Starting 2018 just right and this time, with wine! If you recall, my first paired dinner that I attended was a beer one with Dogfish Head. In case you missed it and would like to catch up on this amazing food-venture I have begun with Chef Arroyo CLICK HERE. The first article isn’t just drool worthy but also hits home with a beautiful story that comes full circle as to why Arroyo does what he does and so well.

Below is the menu for the wine paired dinner that took place on Jan. 29th 2018.



There is something I always vouch for and that is the spread for local love. Chef Arroyo not only hand makes everything in his dinners BUT he also sources what he can locally. I got a behind the scenes exclusive just hours before the dinner began. Now, if you do not grow appreciation for this chef … I don’t know what will do the trick!

Here is Chef Arroyo showing me how he makes the squid ink pasta from scratch. The last photo is the octopus bolognese that went on top of the pasta dish. Look at the octopus chunks in there!

COURSE 1 : scallop ricotta fritter with a fermented garlic honey glaze that Arroyo made himself! That weekend he went to a farmers market and grabbed the honey fresh from a local vendor.


Overall Notes: the wine that was paired with this dish was a Pinot Grigio which was explosive with the honey. The honey had a kick to it from the garlic which was then amplified with the wine. The fritters scallops were so juicy and tender on the inside and tasted better after every sip of wine. The outside fried part wasn’t too fried or that hard; it was actually the perfect amount of crunch needed to settle everything in your mouth.


Now, here is that honey drizzle. The honey was very light and fresh tasting but the smell and taste was like nothing you’d ever expect. It was so good I took some left over home. 

COURSE 2 : charred winter squash on a bed of greens and crispy oyster mushroom petal with a light garum dressing


Overall Notes: the wine that was paired with this salad was a Pinot Noir which paired excellent! The aftertaste was dry on the tongue but it went perfect to cleanse the mouth and separate all of the many flavors that came with this simple looking dish. Looks can be deceiving though, this little side salad packed a huge punch. The squash was slightly burnt (on purpose), the burnt flavor amplified the taste of the greens and the dressing was light yet the salty and sweet pairing that you needed after tasting the robustness from the squash. The crispy oyster mushroom petals were everything. Forget everything you’ve ever said about needing and wanting croutons on a salad … THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE CRUNCH!

COURSE 3 : octopus bolognese on squid ink spaghetti

Overall Notes: the fact that i saw this dish being made from scratch – I may be biased on the fact that THIS was my favorite of the entire menu. It was just warm, hearty and so delicious! It just felt like a home-cooked meal. Also, if you know me… You know how much I love octopus! The wine that was paired with this dish was a Malbec. The Malbec that was chosen was fruity and softer on the tongue, not too dry which helped give rise to the bolognese. The bolognese was so flavorful on its own but when the wine followed the taste lingered a bit longer in the mouth. The pasta was cooked to perfection, it became one with the bolognese. The bolognese was chunky which if you love octopus as much as I do then you savored that part the most!

COURSE 4 : cumin roasted lamb lollipops laid carrot tahina and grilled bok choy


Overall Notes: the lamb was cooked amazingly. I can’t BS you as you can see in the photos, the color is pure perfection. The juices that poured out with every bite made me see stars. The meat came right off of the bone, you didn’t even have to fight to get the scraps on the bone. The wine was fruity, flavorful, and full bodied. The dish had natural flavors from the carrots at the bottom, the lambs which was roasted lightly in cumin and the bok choy giving you that delicious earthy flavor. The wine was like putting a bow on top of everything, elegantly.

COURSE 5 : pear turnover with burnt cinnamon whipped cream made by Chef Arroyo which was garnished with micro basil


Overall Notes: first of all, I always appreciate dessert coming from Chef Arroyo. It is always a huge portion! Who doesn’t like to end a good meal with a good sized dessert?! These pear turnovers resembled empanadas but soft all around. When cut in half you can see the delicious pears. The wine that was paired with this dish was a sparkling pear wine. It was truly pear heaven! The cinnamon whipped cream was so delicious and although in the photo it looks heavy, it wasn’t it was very light. The basil was the perfect little hint to have you escape all of the sweetness going on. The wine at the end was the perfect palate cleanser but actually made you want more.


I have yet to be disappointed with anything Chef Arroyo cooks. If you go back to my first blog where I cover his story then you’d understand his craft. Arroyo is detail oriented because he does everything with love. His goal is always to see someone taking a bite of something he created and generating smiles aside from those oh’s and ah’s, that every chef likes to hear. Take a look at your calendars and make room to sit down on one of his dinners. The next one will be Feb. 26th at 7 P.M. This dinner will be paired with beer from local Miami craft brewery Lincoln’s Beard and local restaurant The Westchester. There will be so much talent under one roof that night so I highly encourage you to come. I am all about #LOCALOVE and Feb. 26th I will be able to overuse that hashtag.

Chef Arroy’s story : CLICK HERE

The Westchester’s story : CLICK HERE

Lincoln’s Beard Brewing story : CLICK HERE


Chef Arroyo’s IG | Business IG

Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen of Pembroke Pines

Monthly Paired Dinners Hosted Once A Month

to R.S.V.P call (954) 431-1131

Address : 14910 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027



@littlemariii | #EatingWithLittleMariii

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