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Thursday, February 25, 2010
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
I haven't seen my friend since September, so FDC was a perfect choice as we needed a lot of time and a somewhat quiet place to catch up ...and at the end 4.5 hours were still not enough.
As I have previously established, I love, love, love red meat. Because of it, I could never be a vegetarian.
Overall, the experience was satisfying. From the moment you sit down, the staff is there getting you anything you want. The decor inside was very formal and conservative with stone, custom glass, dark hardwoods and walls covered in red colors. Even so, it isn't too dark. What I liked the most was the flatware - heavy with a great design, so appropriate for a steakhouse. There's also a full bar, and what I liked the most within the walls of a restaurant the 2,000+ bottle wine cellar. A perfect place for corporate dinners.
So here is how the Brazilian steakhouse works.....every diner has access to a table side service of fifteen different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken. To complement the varieties of meats, there is a buffet of salads, fresh cut vegetables, imported cheeses, cured meats, smoked salmon and steamed veggies as well as traditional Brazilian side dishes (polenta, garlic mash potatoes, caramelized bananas and pao de queijo - cheese bread). The salad bar was just OK, but I came for meat...
Like most churrascarias that I have been to, they hand you a card that's green on one side and red on the other so that the waiters know when to come offer you some meat. Here, even when I had it on red, they still came - which becomes annoying after a while. The good thing about it, the meat was always fresh, warm and done to perfection (medium rare for this girl). What I really appreciated was that if something got cold on my plate, a fresh piece was served within moments.
My favorites of the night were picanha (perfectly seasoned with sea salt and flavored with garlic), filet mignon, linguica (pork sausage that was well seasoned and slow roasted) - all to mouthwatering perfection.
My disappointment was the salad bar - it was very plain and it lacked excitement. Yes, I did say I was there for meat, and not the salad, but if compared to some of the other churrascarias in town, it was boring.
Overall it was a good dinner with great company. I am glad that I tried it but I don't see myself rushing back anytime soon.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Just like Michy's, I felt so at home. Though Michy's is very vibrant and colorful, the Sra. Martinez is dark and comforting. Oh so grown-up. The interior is sexy and conducive to first dates and intimate groups of friends. The two-story restaurant is located in the old post-office building, decorated in leather booths, and accented with modern elements like silver metal stairs, soft industrial lighting and amazing wall prints.
The menu is divided up into three sections; cold and hot tapas and heartier main entrees. The decision was unanimous, the menu items that knocked our socks off were the seared scallops, ham croquetas, cheese platter, beet salad, and patatas bravas. Some of the divas "noted" that the portions are tiny and a bit expensive but everything is fresh and well executed. In my book, Michelle can do no wrong, so it was perfect.
The restaurant has a really good selection of Spanish wines and a nice cocktail menu. Though it's a Spanish tapas restaurant, I noticed quite a few non-Spanish classics, which I was told change on a monthly basis. Since it only seemed appropriate to drink Spanish wines, I decided to start the night with the glass of Rioja Gran Reserva by Viña Valoria, but before I knew it, I was ordering another and another, and....
The complimentary bread came with one of the best house olive oils I've ever had. You could definitely taste how rich it was. Extra virgin, to be sure. If you look at the wine glass picture closely, the bread is hiding behind the glass.
We selected several of the cold and hot tapas. So here we go...
Cheese Plate - It came with three cheeses including manchego. I liked all the things that accompanied the cheeses including the honey but I didn't think the cheeses themselves were particularly exciting. My favorite thing about the cheese plate was actually the toasted raisin bread it came with. Actually, we ordered the same plate twice...for the bread, of course ;)
Galbi Pinchos - such a surprise of a night - I found Korean short ribs at a tapas restaurant owned by an Argentinean-Jewish woman? Ha! I love it. Everyone that I spoke with about the restaurant was saying these were a must, so I knew that they would make an appearance tonight. (not sure what happened to the picture, but trust me when I say they were delicious).
Chorizo and Manchego Croquettes - Subtle but present flavors and spot-on consistency; and once again Michelle's voluptuous fig marmalade made another appropriate appearance. So glad appetizer came from Michy's...such a staple.
Patatas Bravas - These were absolutely beautiful; mini potatoes (Peruvian purple?) filled with a warm and ever-so-slightly-spicy bechamel/cheese-like sauce and a paper thin slice of Spanish ham. I could have eaten 100 of these things.
The beets salad was unusual with a bit of sour cream on a side, but so refreshing. My mom would be so proud of me eating beets.
Overall, the evening was a medicine for my soul and it erased all the troubles of the week....The service was smart, timely and knowledgeable...never rushed, consistent and friendly. Just as Michy's, dinner and experience at Sra. Martinez was extraordinarily, well executed and brilliantly imaginative, using only the finest and freshest ingredients.
The bonus to the evening, Michelle came out, sat with us and chatted a bit. After a few minutes of discussing very important topics, I discovered we have something very important in common - the hairstylist...oh Paulo, I really feel special now. But I knew you first:)
Can you tell I am already plotting the come-back!
Monday, February 15, 2010
With no real direction and no recipe in hand, but a little bit of inspiration from Kath, I threw it all together and hoped for the best. The adventures spirit within was saying "go for it"....and i did. For this simple dinner, somehow I ended up using two pots, a baking sheet, a cutting board and three knives, but it was all worth it as the finished product was "oh so yummy".
To ensure I got my daily veggie intake, the dinner included brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, sun dried tomato chicken sausage with oregano, salt, pepper, and drizzled with olive oil.
Of course, the dinner would have not been complete without some whole wheat pasta and finished off with some goat cheese.
I can't believe that this was actually delicious. The bitterness of brussel sprouts, sweetness of chicken sausage, and tanginess of the goat cheese made this for a tasty delight. To compliment the flavors I had a glass of perfectly crispy and sweet savignon blanc. Simplicity, perfection and a little bit of adventures spirit, and the dinner was served. Bon Apetit!
I am usually eating breakfast on the run - green monster or oatmeal, so today was a special treat - pantry in the cereal bowl.
Pretty much everything that I found in my pantry ended up in the cereal bowl:
my favorite cereal - Nature's Path Organic Granola Flex with Omega 3
Topped with Uncle Sam's cereal, goji berries, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, dried raspberries, almonds
some banana and fresh strawberries and a spoon of Dark Chocolate Dreams (peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate).
Even though it is pretty chilly (for S. FL standards) outside, I decided to enjoy my breakfast in the back yard. I often forget how peaceful and calming it is to sit outside. I read somewhere that it's the first thing of a day that we do is what determines how our day will go. So hopefully today will be nothing but relaxing, calming and peaceful. I guess I better ignore a mile long to do list.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We kicked-off Friday with a short stop at the Versailles for some cafecitos and guava pastellitos.
It's a must see/experience place for all the out of towners. As always, it was sweet as sweet can get and it certainly held us over till the late lunch at the Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latam Grill in the Coconut Grove.
Last time Shannon was here, was two years ago for my big bash and we ate a lot of ceviche and all the reminiscing made me really hungry for it. Since we were already doing the tour of Miami and all things non-south beach, this was the perfect spot. Without even looking at the drinks menu, I knew I wanted a mojito. I was thirsty for a good mojito. There is nothing better than enjoying a late Friday afternoon, with the bestie and sharing a mojito in the sun.
For an appetizer we ordered ceviche spoon sampler - Ceviche Oriental, Ceviche Peruano and Ceviche Black Market. All the flavors were refreshing and perfectly tangy. Thinking back, this could have/should have been my lunch, but my love for fried onions made me order the pesto basil chicken sandwich with chipotle mayo.
Now, I am not big on mayo, but the combination of thinly cut fried onions dipped in slightly spicy chipotle mayo is what I call heaven. I barely touched my chicken sandwich, even though it was great, I certainly ate all of my onions as well as few of Shannon's. Usually, fried onions really don't do anything for me, but those...ah, what can I say, a pure perfection.
After couple of hours of walking at the ING Marathon Expo and South Beach, it was time for dinner and Shannon is the perfect foodie friend to try out new places with. So we decided to see what is all the hoopla about the RED LIGHT. Needless to say, I now know....amazing food. Yes, absolutely amazing, but the service - terrible. Now, I don't like to talk bad about restaurants, but if you are going to survive in this economy, you (the restaurant owners/chefs) need to know what is happening with your service. Granted, it was Friday night at 9:30pm, but that was no excuse for one thing after another to ruin the dinning experience. I won't go into details, but I will say this - good service is imperative and those that don't realize it, well...you don't need me to tell you.
So let's get to the good stuff.....Starting with the menu - it's written like a play bill, though the drinks portion was a bit difficult to understand, it was still fun that it was designed differently than the usual menu. I had a few glasses of "refreshing Albarino - Nessa, Rias Baixas"....don't ask what it really was, I have no clue, but it was delicious, hence a few glasses.
Appetizer - an amazing citrus steamed mussels with green tomatoes, white wine, garlic peppers and cassava chips. Next time, I am choosing this as my entree. Yes, there will be a next time, as I don't want to make my final decision on one night of poor service. It could have easily been just an off night.
Salad - citrus growers dream - orange-grapefruit, toasted pecans and crumbled goat cheese.
Main Entree - Scotch bonnet vivaneau (snapper) with Haitian chocolate rice (my very first chocolate rice-oh yum) and squash saute.
A friend of mine (a true culinarian, food expert and a great chef) said it was too many citrus flavors for the evening, and I am sure he is right, but I still think it was a great meal that I will repeat again.
Saturday was a mish-mash of Pembroke Pines local restaurants that included a discovery of the Frozen Yogurt store - Menchie's. Let's just say that since Saturday, I have made it my meal twice. Amazing!!!! What I liked the most was the tasting cups. I have tasted every single flavor the store offers, yummy yum, but decided to go with the usual suspects: vanilla bean and peach-mango frozen yogurt with kit-kat and miniature peanut butter cups as toppings. What a heavenly meal that was! Nutritious....not su much.
And now, on to the Sunday...except the frozen yogurt that I had for another meal, we indulged in the best burger you can find in South Florida. Actually according to the GQ magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Show, one of the best burgers in the US - Le Tub. We were lucky that it was an overcast and chilly day and got immediately seated. I knew the wait is long, so I suggested we sip on margaritas and chips and salsa. Once the burgers arrived, we both wished we ordered only one and shared it. They were so tasty and just perfectly done. We both talked about gourmet burgers all weekend long, but we ended up eating a very simple, but perfectly done burger that certainly satisfied the craving.
With all the indulgence that took place this weekend, it looks like a vegetarian day today......
As always, I had an amazing time with Shannon and our next gathering is already in the works - Portland, Oregon here I come.......