Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bahn Mi Where are where art Thou Vietnamese Sub

No the bánh mì (pronounced bun me) has come into its own, transcending its humble Chinatown origins and It’s fair to say, in fact, that the bánh mì is the new panini. Whats not to love fresh bread, vegetables and herbs, It’s easy to understand the Saigon sub’s appeal. It’s got flavor and textural contrasts that elude most others in its category. Made on a roll that traditionally incorporates rice flour to make it extra-light and crackly, especially when toasted, and baguette would be a welcomed substitue as we know how hard it is to get good bread in Florida. It’s got fatty meats, pickled carrots and daikon, fragrant cilantro, cool cucumber, and hot sauce or hot peppers or both. It’s usually got a cheap price tag, too. That’s probably why new bánh mì shops have been popping up all over NYC yet not a one has looked to open up here in the Magic city??? In this economy who wouldnt welcom a cheap street sandwich with gourmet appeal-So my journey begins as I look to find any worthy offerings here in South Florida...I will be reviewing my findings in the weeks to come until then I may just have to open up my very own Bahn Mi shop...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sellenium at the Setai??
Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time...With this weekend only being the biggest weekend in Horse racing its no surprise that the Setai couldnt have marketed the Polo matches on the beach any better, or did they....Talk about bad timing the recent daths of the Polo Horses in Wellington at the hand of the pharmacists due to an overdose of the drug sellenium makes one wonder if having a Polo match on the Beach in the hot sun is/was really a good idea-I mean 90', hot sun, 1000lb animals running after a small ball all so that some of us may enjoy a few afternoon drinks and shmoozing all dressed up in our finest linnen on the beach.. As anyone out there knows anyone who is realy into horses will be in Kentucky anyway paying homage to what is truly American, which is a far cry from the international import that Polo really is...I do hope that all goes as safe as possible and that the animals do not suffer this weekend on the beach, and that the promoters of this event truly think about next year and perhaps donating some of the proceeds to promote the safety rather than the exploitation of an American original.

Here We Go Again...More Steak...
Get ready get set Go...yet another steak restaurant is ready to set sail here in Sunny South Florida, yet this one has a name, a following, and not to mention hundreds of jelly Fish to go with it. The latest incarnation of the carnivors dream is brought to us by the highly acclaimed Philadelphia restauranteur Steven Star who gave us Morimotto as well as created many ofther "Star" restauarants in New York and in Philly. Now I am a big fan of Mr. Star, and have eaten in if not all but most of his restauarants and while I have to say they are very well done and well worth the price they yield, South Florida is not New York, and I guess not even Philadelphia, as you will soon come to realize, as I am a firm believer in the numbers and If his recent onslaught of help wanted ads is any indication as to his troubles yet to well as the reality with the other recent out of town transplants to the area and the troubles they have walked into, this may just as well be another one of those big ticket items that will emerge and quickly be a memory of the SFla food scene. (Think Evolution) When will restauranteurs learn, stick with what you are good at and in this case its region-Creating over the top restaurants with amazing venues may work where a customer is willing to shell out big bucks but again this is sunny Sofla where half the people are tourists, the other half dont understand what good food is, half of them couldnt afford to eat out even one day a month and well the wealthy hire all the chefs for private work so what does that leave, the hotel guest or prisioner as I like to call them who has no other choice and or is too lazy to do some basic research to know they can get the same food for half the price down the road-ok well maybe there wont be a giant fish tank full of jell fish, and only a gold fish in a bowl but then again I wont have to pay out of my meal to feed them either...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Mothers Day
As Mothers day quickly approaches Local Restauranteurs are stepping up their advertising "A" game and taking a plunge into Marekting their restaurant for the all important numero uno dining out day of the year. The day when even the simplest of foods can be comprised into a "buffet" whereby the restaurant can double their normal offering price and we the public will gladly pay up as no one wants Mom to have to cook on her special day.
So who will be the standout, if this holiday is anything like Thanksgiving We are in trouble. A note to all of you looking to make a make this Mothers day, All I have to say is one word...KISS, or as we in the restaurant business say: Keep it Simple Stupid. Dont overwhelm with fancy foods that sit out on a buffet all day but rather spoil mom with the little things, go for the detail rather than attracting to the masses-Create a personalized menu geared toward Mom, the family and the moment they get to share together at the table-NOT ON THE BUFFET LINE...Lets see who is the risk takers this year, watch as I look and report in the days to come...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Monday

Got the Monday Blues do ya-well just think it could be worse if you are one of the many americans now waking up to th media Diluting the airwaves with this swine flu outbreak, I mean common, just because a few "spring Breakers" brought back some germs from Mexico it should be noted that they should have been prepared before they went over-remember the phrase "dont drink the water", well same as here...

All I can say is that with all this scare my daily post shall surely inspire as I as any interested foodie loves to take the advice of fellow foodies and seek out those destinations that recieve critical acclaim. It is with this in mind that I will set out on my weekly Blog spots, to judge for myself what you all have been saying, and add my Umami to the mix. I started my journey yesterday in venturing based on the Recent Miami herald article depicting Ernies BBQ in Ft. lauderdale as the real deal when it comes to Conch and BBQ and after finding this prescious hole in the wall I couldnt wait to taste what what was brewing inside. I loved this place, with its old florida charm, the smell of stale brew, and all the history that is pictured throught the walls. I chose to venture upstairs to the outdoor patio as I had heard the view was better up there, and while this was not the case I was pleased to sit amongst the many different people that frequent this bar/BBQ joint.

I started with a cold beer, and some conch friters while I pondered their overabundant menu of items, from the basic bar foods, from chicken wings to fingers, there is something for everyone but for me its all about the conch. It was on, as a longtime ex bahamian resident I know all about the mollusc and its preparation yet could nything compare to the mouthwatering delicasies that I awoken to each morning at the courtesy of The queen Percente, but hey this was just wishful thinking. Upon their arrival I had already washed down half my brew so ordered another and proceeded to go to town on my fritters, served with a spicy cocktail sauce and lemon I loved the tradition as I could smell and see the conch as I poped one into my mouth-it was heavenly, a bit airy and full of that fresh seafood flavor that I seldom experience in any other so called dough balls here in Miami, As I scarfed them all down in less that a few seconds I was eager for more as that salty taste got my buds all excited. Next I went for the Chowda, as this is what a true conoseur looks for-in this case I was more than impressed. Not to thick and not too runny it was the perfect blend between soup and chowder, sweet and tomato based with a hint of heat from the special peppers that I was told they used, as it definately gave this chowder its bite, and coupled with the succulent conch it was a real pleasure in the mouth and as comforting dipping the larger than life Bimini bread was a slice of fishing that beats work anyday. The only reserve I had and I know this is a rustic chowder but leaving the skins on the carrots is a no-no in any cuisine and only hope that it was a cooks oversight on this particular day.

Next it was on to the Q, and I opted for the pig roast platter with some pulled pork a half rack of ribs and I added on another half chicken just because I was there. My basket arrived and I was impressed with the warm BBQ sauce served on the side for my pulled port

k (In this case sliced), not what I was used to but the pork was juicy, and not fatty and paired perfectly with the tart onion vinegar BBQ sauce and oh how awesome was it on that Bimini Bread. Next I was knee deep in ribs, as the meat was slowly cooked to perfection, as I pulled each bite off the bone, it was as tender as any ribs I have ever had before, needless to say this puerco was stuffed, as my meal came with a basket of your average nothin much to write about Fries, and some creamy cole slaw yet it aint about the sides at ernies its about the Bread!!! Everything tastes even better on that bread, its a winner, and guess what they sell it by the loaf for the way home, so armed with chicken and leftovers in hand I just had to take me some home. Now the best part-for all that food and a few cold Lagerhead's the whole bill was under $25.00, a real bargain, and in this economy I couldnt believe it as I was and have been paying much higher prices for far less quality but hey thats the Miami thing right-If only more places would take a note from Ernie's, Good food, great value will keep them coming back for many years to come!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Post Bday Jimbo
In an era that forgets those maverics who have forged what is Miami, here is a legend, who celebrated his bday this past weekend, and while I was only there for a short while I felt the vibes the minute I entered the compound. For those who have never been Jimbo's is a page out of old florida, think flipper, and sandy beaches before all the concrete and thats what this dive bar hole in the wall is all about-no suits no attitudes no dudes trying to work their magic on all the Ho's lookin for a freebee this is the real thing, from smoked fish to pabst Blue ribbon its what made me move down here in the first place-oh my lord if only more places would take notes what a better world this could be...

Free Preview Lunch in Delray (Today)

Out with the old and in withe the new...Just what Delray needs another Italian Restaurant...Located in the recently evactuated City Limits space behind another new Italian entree to the downtown Delray Dining scene (Vic & Angleos') Il Bacio is set to open early May-yet we all know with permitting it just may be a little longer. This ultra-hip wanna be South Beach inspired restaurant has all the bells and whistles that one would find down in the land of the beautiful people situated along the RR tracks in Downtown Delray-think train watching vs people watching and if the demographics prove right thats what the elder crowd will be doing, as hip tapas even from a veteran chef from Bova restaurant in un-hip Delray doesnt mix...In a land where you are competing with penny pinchers I am only hoping the menu and the offerings will be respectful so that atleast give them a chance...I as ith all new restaurant/lounge ventures wish you luck, yet a hint to all you realtors out there-look for a vacant spot to be available at once again under market in Delray...

The group behind Graziano's restaurant and Market in Coral Gables are taking over the once and very briefly occupied space in the Lattitudes building that was Rybaks, off Brisckell avenue in Downtown Miami. While the former tennant failed to make any significant impression, in fact it openened and closed faster than anyother restaurant I can remember in recent years-but remember where you heard it first when it opened that I said the concept wouldnt fly and that the woners were in way over heir heads...What else is new its the same old story all over town, big eyes, big dreams and no money (Cashola) to back it up. Lets hope Graziano's people have what it takes as it would be a welcomed addittion to the area in which I live as currently I am sooo not impressed with the local pizza and offerrings that have sprouted up in the area-Having lunch today at the newly opened up outpost of Rosinella's newest Pizza jopint located right next to their other restaurant in Mary Brickell Villiage and if it is anything like mamma Rosinella's other establishements we could have a winner here-look for my review later today as again my blog is all about whats going on in the food Biz....Good Luck Graziano's as you will need it heading into the Long hot summer that we face here in the magic city-hopefully your takeover of this space wont be short lived, yet I feel that that area is a ghost town waiting to happen, but hey you heard it first here!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RECESSION BLUES I Think NOT....tables packed at area restaurants this passed weekend

$20.00 Thursday all the spoons you can eat not too mention three (3) drinks is just what the doctor ordered during this recession, or atleast thats what one would think but from the looks at the tables this past weekend from Sobe to MBV saw just the opposite, making me wonder just what recession as the wait at some of the local tables were in excess of 30 minutes, so touche and congrats to all of us who are weathering this serious downturn, maybe the end is near, although the summer is just upon the horizon, I say kudos to Jaguar and hope to see many others jumping on the value train to offer us locals what we so deserve for our continued patronage

In Tough Times We take rediculous Marketing approaches?? and whatever happened to their pasta???

Pizza Hut Seeks Twintern
Big food is getting a little desperate in its advertising these days — and we’re not just talking about burger porn, e-stalking, or (most recently) Kellogg’s dubious claim that Frosted Mini-Wheats improves attentiveness in kids. Pizza Hut is taking marketing to a truly absurd place by hiring a Twitter intern who will act as a “social media journalist, chronicling in 140 characters or less what’s going on at Pizza Hut.” Hmmm, you know who might just be good for this …

Monday, April 20, 2009

And its the best burger here in South Florida. Since its arrival a few months ago from the highly successful restaurant team that has brought us The city group and Rocco's Tacos comes the tastiest burger in town. Made from Organic beef (slightly higher price) this succulent burger was dripping with flavor, include the rich homemade brioche bun and your choice of some amazing toppings ( I opted for the bbq burger) none will disappoint. Even for you Ecoli hating carnivors I will aslo say that their turkey burger laced with herbs and spices and topped with avocado is an amazing healthier alternative-not too mention the bunless burger salad that for us carb conscious might find quite pleasing-As far as sides while not many they do compliment as the crispy perfectly seasoned fries outshined even the taudiest of other places that have recently entered the scene and the Onion rings, well they would make any southerner proud. Needless to say that for the craving and the product no matter where you are in South Florida Clematis isnt that far a drive-if only the parking were cheaper.

This weekend saw the Grand opening of the new Zushi Flirt at the Regent Hotel or should I say Crown property on Miami Beach. Ok for the record let me reiterate this in saying that this is not the first run of this wanna be sushi as sex restaurant whereby the names of the entrees are seductively named after your favorite khama sutra offerring..if only the food was as good as the ideas that they conjure up. From the "Miso Horney" soup to the octopussy delight let me tell you it was no delight to chew and chew and chew on this rubbery and overly salted sushi appetiser, and it went from bad to worse as the "Orgy" was more like a sumo event than an actually sensual festival as I don't need bulk amounts of food I just want food that tastes good, and in this instance this was not the case. Look for another quick exit back to New Jersey for this wanna bee trying so trying to add some life to a restaurant space that like the latter will soon look for another location, just remember where you heard it first-

Once twice three times and your out, isnt this the case in Baseball, well not in the food industry as within a month The Peppermill restaurant in The Waterways of Aventura has been shut down by the health department for a laundry list of violations, a list that has only been growing since the first closing back in March, then the second the next week, and now finally again with the third closing last week. When will the owner realize this type of publicity will only keep people away as if the waterways wasn't already a retail failure the last thing they need is the only real restaurant to be closed continually. I must say that for many of the rsidents in the area while the food was only so so the location and the serenity of the water was the reason they were loyal-now I know of atleast three long time patrons that will no longer be dining there-
This years Crawfish festival was truly a feat for the entire family, as the folks over at Tobacco Road surely know how to kick it up a few notches when it comes time to boil down that New Orleans specialty, and they were delish. Lots of smiling Happy people , dancing, throwing frisbees and listening to some amazing tunes all day long. Other than the trays of Crawfish the other food related offerrings did not live up to the usual tobacco road standards as the basic BBQ street food compared to a roadside fair, and not too mention the price for beverages, considering the amazing Friday 96c happy Hrs. I was I was better served going around te corner buying a cold 6 pack and sitting back and enjoying the music..See ya next year!!!