Asori Soto’s documentary "Cuban Food Stories"
Asori Soto’s documentary “Cuban Food Stories”

Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival (MFF) announced the program line-up for a new category addition, Miami Film Festival Culinary Series presented by Miami Design District.

This program will take place during the Festival’s Opening Weekend, Saturday, March 6th and Sunday, March 7th. Screenings will take place in Miami Design District’s Jungle Plaza and will include a collaboration with two of Design District’s most popular restaurants, Itamae Miami and Caja Caliente for two nights of cinematic experiences with a culinary twist.

The series will begin on Saturday, March 6th with a screening of East Side Sushi, the story of a single mother, Juana, who stumbles into the high-energy, male-dominated world of Japanese cuisine. It is here that a whole new world of cuisine and culture are discovered, far-removed from everything she has ever known. Following this screening, guests will head over to Itamae for a special curated menu of some of the restaurant’s greatest plates.

Itamae is a Nikkei-inspired restaurant located in Miami Design District’s Palm Court. Chef’s Valerie, Nando and Fernando Chang create dishes rooted in Peruvian-Japanese flavors and traditions while also celebrating local and seasonal ingredients. Since opening in Miami Design District in 2018, Itamae has received critical acclaim garnering two James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Nominations. The experience will begin with their famous smoked-fish dip, followed by a choice of tiradito, the classic fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Guests will then have a choice of one Signature Roll, named after iconic films and video games (Lost In Translation, My Neighbor Totoro, Kirby’s Dream Land, or Sansho). The featured main entrée will be their special seared daily catch with white bean puree. Finally, guests will finish off the meal with their house dessert, the seasonal Cremolada.

On Sunday, March 7th, Miami Film Festival will screen Asori Soto’s documentary, Cuban Food Stories. Diverse cuisine is rarely counted among the cultural phenomena for which Cuba is celebrated. A richly comprehensive remedy for this misperception, Cuban Food Stories visits every province in the country to sample a culinary legacy grounded in so much more than rice and beans. Following this screening, guests will head over to Caja Caliente for a special curated menu of their favorite offerings.

Caja Caliente, a food truck located at 95 NE 40th St. Miami, FL 33137 in Miami Design District, has become a hit in the neighborhood, with expanded outdoor dining. Guests can experience the food by Miami’s own Chef Monica “Mika” Leon. All the dishes are made with love by Leon and her mother, surrounded by relatives, you can taste authenticity and innovation in this family-run business. For the experience paired with Asori Soto’s mouthwatering documentary, guests will feast on Caja Caliente’s take on traditional Cuban cuisine. Starting off with a classic bola de yucca rellena de picadillo (fried yucca balls filled with ground beef) for an explosion of flavor, and continuing on to the main course: an indulgent classic Cuban Tamal, a traditional homemade corn tortilla topped with crispy lechon, pico de gallo, avocado, cotija cheese, and caja alioli. Finish off the experience, guests will have a choice of flan de coco or flan de leche, a Cuban dessert staple!

All dinners will be accompanied by complimentary Estrella Damm beer, the Official Beer of Miami Film Festival.

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