1826 is a gift to Miami

For whatever reason Chef Danny Grant decided to open a restaurant in Miami (Lebron, le ladies etc) I am thankful. His 1826 restaurant in South Beach is a show stopper. I would usually share pics of what I ate but the flash was so obnoxious I figured I could explain with my words.

FOOD

Sensational. Each dish was a surprise of flavor and had us asking “What the hell was in that?” From the bread to the dessert, there was no detail overlooked. The burrata dish is a must and was so divine I’m going to try to recreate it – anyone got a dehydrator I can borrow? My husband had the lamb shank which was cooked to perfection and nestled in a soft lovely sauce that had subtleties of cardamom and other spices. I got the seafood stew in which the waiter poured the hot creamy broth over the mix of fish, shrimp and vidalia onions so the wafts of curry could slap me right in the face. Nicely done.

SPACE

Lovely design. Beautiful wine cellar. You can also select your beer/wine/cocktail off of a convenient and informative iPad. There is also a third floor that has a lounge but we’re saving that rendevous for a weekend evening.

STAFF

Attentive. Knowledgeable. Unpretentious. My fav.

 

Hopefully, this gift from Grant will be appreciated by the Miami critics and continue as a South Beach treasure.

 

http://www.1826collins.com/

 

Restauraudit: Edge Steak & Bar

Luck struck me last week when The Hungry Post selected me as a winner for their Miami Spice giveaway. They had been running the contest for a few weeks with several different restaurants via their Facebook page. I was holding off on entering until they announced they’d be giving away a dinner at Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons hotel. I’d heard amazing things about this restaurant and they didn’t disappoint. Here are some of the dishes we had.

Lamb braised with chipotle and spices, whole grain salad, fragrant herbs, yoghurt

Lamb braised with chipotle and spices, whole grain salad, fragrant herbs, yoghurt

Creekstone farms butchers filet, fire roasted broccolini, pepperoncini and raisin salsa, sweet onion butter

Creekstone farms butchers filet, fire roasted broccolini, pepperoncini and raisin salsa, sweet onion butter

Black cherry bubble, pistachio pound cake, vanilla bean ice cream

Black cherry bubble, pistachio pound cake, vanilla bean ice cream

Peanut butter mousse, strawberry gelee, banana financier

Peanut butter mousse, strawberry gelee, banana financier

You’ll notice that the lamb looked and smelled so incredible that I had to sneak a bite before I took the photo. We had a great evening and thank you again to the Hungry Post!

Restaraudit: Lee & Marie’s Cakery

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Iced coffee makes me happy

On our way to a scorching day at the beach, hubs and I parked our cruisers outside this lovely coast side “cakery” called Lee & Marie’s. Shabby chic decor with an abundance of sweets and southern charm. This place makes you feel at home.

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Citrus Salad

I enjoyed a simple citrus salad with strips of apple, mandarin oranges, nuts and wait for it…. mushrooms. Seemed odd at first to throw mushrooms in there but it paired quite nicely.

The couple also owns Bar Crudo, a raw bar next door, which has been getting a lot of good buzz.

Miami Spiced: Hakkasan

After narrowing down our Miami Spice list, hubs and I landed on Hakkasan, Makoto, Gotham Steak and Catch. I really love this article posted on Thrillist on the top best values. This past weekend we went to Hakkasan for lunch. Not many restaurants offer lunch, let alone offer it on a Saturday.

What I love about this restaurant’s spice deal is that they give you multiple apps and entrees, no need to pick just one. Where I think we went wrong was choosing lunch over dinner. Frankly, the dinner menu sounds much better. As well, the restaurant is lined with gorgeous floor to ceiling intricate wood paneling. This eliminates any view or terrace option, so we really weren’t able to take advantage of the gorgeous day and scenery.

Oh and the food, well, here is the rundown:

HAKKA SIGNATURE COCKTAIL – A delightful lychee cocktail that’s velvety texture had me taking this one down like I was partying at LIV.

DIM SUM COMBO  – Really unique dim sum. I was particularly impressed with the steamed mini char siew bun (precious white pillow in the picture).

BARBEQUED COMBO – Great BBQ items, nothing really else to say here.

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CRISPY SEABASS IN ORANGE SAUCE – Orange sauce tasted more like a mango sorbet, I felt it didn’t really compliment the battered Seabass either.

STIR-FRIED SHANGHAI BAK CHOI WITH GINGER OIL – Nothing fancy.

NOODLES (Spicy sesame bean curd skin cheung fun) – You gotta be open-minded for this one, which I wasn’t really feeling that day.

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MANGO CUSTARD – The coconut sorbet made this dish!

WHITE CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA – I thought the white chocolate was a brilliant panna cotta idea – great combination of flavors.

Restaraudit: Lucali

Miami’s has had some nice little New York additions in recent years. Catch. Shake Shack. Mercadito. Serendipity. Il Mulino. Mr. Chow. Cipriani. (Just to name a few) The most recent being Lucali, a classy pizza joint from Brooklyn. I went recently with my hubs and here’s what we had to say.

1. Pizza – Sumptuous cheese lightly layered on their chewy crust. The only downfall was the crust/topping ratio – as you can see in the photo some edges were just much too wide.

2. Ambience – So Brooklyn.

3. Price – You might feel a little bad about how much you pay for this pizza. The place is cool, the service is great and the food is good, but my heart ached a bit when I got the bill. It’s pizza, not wrinkle reducing pizza.

Lucali - Pepperoni Halfsies

Lucali – Pepperoni Halfsies

Restauraudit: M.E.A.T

Traveling to or from Big Pine Key is a 3 hour car ride so me and my beau always make a point to break it up with a great lunch. I’ve made it my goal to try every well rated place in the upper Keys. We more often than not end up at a seafood place but in this instance we were craving something meaty. And then we found M.E.A.T Eatery and Taproom. It’s a cozy quick service restaurant that offers savory and creative burgers which a great selection of beer.

I had the standard burger which was salty and delicious, the bun was also airy and flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised by the homemade ketchup. Generally I don’t like homemade ketchups but this spicy mango version was great for dipping the duck fat fries. – YUM!

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Restauraudit: Wok Town

Decided to try Wok Town, a noodle bar near Lincoln road, after a movie the other night. Service is quick and the food is served hot. Good flavors but nothing to write home about. They do deliver so I may be hitting them up again, the salads looked quite appetizing so next time I’ll likely try one of those. My husband and I ordered the following:

Chicken lettuce wraps – a little different from what I was expecting, it was more of a ground meat concoction

Crispy brussels sprouts – these were very fried so much so that they weren’t green anymore. quite tasty but I wouldn’t call this a healthy side

Gyoza – we ordered the steam pork gyoza, lacked some flavor in the meat filling

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Hester Street Fair…I finally try Luke’s Lobster

Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day in NYC, so I wound up at the Hester Street Fair on the Lower East side. I could go to a street fair everyday- they just never seem to get old! What’s better than shopping and eating all within a block radius?!? I can’t seem to think of anything I would rather be doing. There were a ton of food options from pulled pork sandwiches, tacos and empanadas, edamame dumplings, burgers, gigantic pickles and mac n’ cheese… just to name a few. I’m sure you could imagine just how high my calorie intake for the day was. Given the title of this post, I chose to go with Luke Lobster. I have been dying to try a lobster roll for as long as I can remember.

Boy, was I happy! I would not have been surprised if their shipment from Maine arrived earlier that morning with a box labeled, “Kayla this is what you have been waiting for.” Served chilled on top of a split bun, this succulent piece of meat had a hint of lemon butter and secret spices that was simply perfection. As I took the very first bite I realized what all the hype about Luke’s Lobster was! The deliciousness that embodies their famous lobster roll should be tried by all. The only downfall was the size. As you can see from the picture, I could have easily devoured this in 2 bites. I wanted to savor every last piece, so I somehow managed to eat it in 6 bites. Ok, I lied, it was actually 4 bites… but 4 of the greatest bites of lobster roll I have ever had the pleasure of eating! As far as recommendations go this should be ranked high on your list of things to try. 🙂

There’s one other item worth mentioning from the Hester Street Fair. I saw a bunch of people walking around with something like this:

 

What we have here is shaved ice dessert drizzled with condensed milk. Surrounding the ice is mango sorbet, strawberries, caramel popcorn, and kiwi. It may sound like you can’t go wrong… but as I slowly started to dip into this creation, I couldn’t help but think about the condensed milk poured over the shaved ice. It was completely foreign to me, and blew my mind. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to eat it! Do you take a bite of everything at once or individually? Do you decide your favorites and eat those together? There must be a simpler way to eat this…    As it turned out, there’s not. I tried many/ if not all options but in the end, this was not my cup of tea.

Update: When I got home later that day, I was so intrigued about this odd dessert, that I did a simple online search. What I learned is, that this is an authentic Taiwanese dessert. It may be their standard  after dinner treat, but I think I’ll stick with a good ol’ fashion ice cream Sundae with a cherry on top for now!

Miami Spice: Symcha’s Review

Like New York’s Restaurant Week, Miami has a similar promotion called Miami Spice, which is actually the whole month of August. It gives us food lovers a great opportunity to get fancied up and treat ourselves.

This past weekend a few of us decided to try Symcha’s. Pronounced Sim-kkchhkkka’s – you know, how a Jewish person would say it. Which is exactly who the owner is – Mr. Symcha, a kind attentive Jewish restauranteur from Venezuela.

Anywho, here is the rundown on the grub in a fancy slideshow.

Symcha’s Homepage

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Seafood Ceviche
Served on top of a Himalayan Salt Block – ok let’s get real, that block is definitely not from the Himalayas but I appreciate the creativity.

Zinfandel Braised Oxtail
Served with Butter Lettuce Wraps, Pickled Cabbage, and Celery Pepper Slaw. Very delicious, but left my hands covered in oxtail juice (wet nap please?)

Center Cut Beef Skirt Steak
Rustic Fingerling Smashed Potatoes, Sauteed Haricoverts, Thyme Demi Sauce
Tasty and I learned a new word – “Haricoverts” which is a type of green bean.

Pan Seared Florida Black Grouper
This was my dish. Had a beautiful Purple Potato Puree with Grilled Asparagus and a Leek Saffron Bisque Sauce

Death By Chocolate
Chocolate Brownie, Caramel, Dark & Milk Chocolate Oreo Fudge, Cardomon Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut finished with a Minted Cream Sauce and Fresh Berries

The dessert is the money maker, you blow this you blow the whole meal. To me, a dessert called Death By Chocolate should have layers and layers of chocolate. And although it was a sweet morsel of goodness, I was in no way near death caused by chocolate.

Tiramisu
My boyfriend had the Tiramisu which I can’t say much about because it was tasteless compared to my coconut-mint-oreo-death-explosion.