Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guest Blogger Betty Presents:

Miami Beach featuring the McBricker/Rubble couple!

Recently, Barney and I took some much needed time off from stone quarry in Bedrock to travel to Miami Beach, Florida. It was great! We got to relax at the beach, party in the clubs, and of course drink cocktails and dine at some fabulous (and a couple not so fabulous) restaurants. I wanted to highlight some of local cuisine that you can only get in Miami....well maybe you can get these in Philly but I argue these are the most authentic.





We landed in Miami International Airport at 8:30 pm. Our 3 hour flight got in 30 minutes early, so Barney and I checked into our hotel earlier than we anticipated and immediately got a couple of drinks. Most hotels have their own restuarants and awesome outdoor seating areas. Maxine's is open 24 hours and the ombionce beckoned us to sit down. It also helped that this place was next door to our hotel. Barney sampled the traditional mojito while I tried the nuvo-tini (nuvo is a sparkling vodka and makes a great martini).















We stayed in a resort-like area so there were always people on the beach to bring us food, drinks, and party information. One day we indulged. Barney stuck to his mojito drink (left) and ordered a Miami Vice (a mix of pina colada, strawberry daquiri, and blue caracao(?)). Like the picture? Credit is all due to Barney on this one!















We dined in our hotel (Art Deco area), Lincoln Road (Art District), Ocean Drive (on South Beach) at delicious 4 and 5 star restaurants. However, this local diner with a faded, pale exterior was my favorite dining experience of the whole trip. Puerto Sagua, located 10 blocks down from our hotel, is no frillesbut offers delectable Cuban cuisine. Barney and I both had their Pollo Asado which is their roasted chicken with white rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. I opted to try their unsweetened ice tea as well. There was nothing left after we finised eating. The best part was like unlike most of the dining in Miami, this place did not break the bank. We had enough to go out and enjoy the rest of the night.

While I was sad to leave Miami, I missed Wilma terribly. Plus, I couldn't wait to get back and blog about the food and drinks. Hope you enjoyed our little trip to paradise.

- Betty "Cubana" McBricker

Monday, October 5, 2009

Single Serving: Satisfying Sandwich

For an easy weeknight dinner, try this simple sandwich. I've blogged about portabello mushroom sandwiches before, but they're so good I thought they deserved another mention. Portabello mushroom caps come in convenient packs of like 2 or 3 - perfect for the single chef. Another plus is that this requires so little effort and there's no cleanup. I often hate dirtying an entire kitchen for one measly serving. For the struggling vegetarian they are also satisfying in an almost meatlike way. Notice I said almost.

I originally made this with pesto, and this time went for a bruschetta to make use of the last of the summer's bounty. As you can see below I got beautiful cherry tomatoes in different colors. Between the 'shrooms, tomatoes, basil and garlic this meal is incredibly local. The bruschetta made fabulous leftovers with a sliced baguette. See earlier post for the recipe.

Sandwich Ingredients
1 mushroom cap
Slice of cheese
1 hearty sandwich roll
Splash of olive oil and soy sauce
Optional: hot sauce

Clean up the mushroom with a paper towel. Place on some foil and sprinkle some olive oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper on it. (And optional hot sauce.) Pop in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The mushroom should be tender all the way through then top with cheese and melt for a minute or so. Put on bun. Top as desired. Shove in mouth.

Cous Cous Revisited

I've posted about the virtues of cous cous before as a staple and a backdrop for fresh veggies. Regular cous cous is delicious but if you ever see Israeli cous cous (Trader Joe's has a good one) give it a try. Whereas cous cous reminds me of rice, Israeli cous cous definitely leans toward pasta in texture and tastes almost like orzo. It stands up to a sauce or dressing and absorbs flavors quite well.

Here is a recipe for a greek style salad, best served room temperature or chilled.

Ingredients

1 box Israeli cous cous
Handful kalamata olives, chopped
1 small bunch scallions or chives
Handful tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
Handful toasted pine nuts
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Optional: handful of capers

Cook the cous cous according to the package. While it's still warm, add all of the ingredients along with salt and pepper.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Disappointing Dinner at La Fourno

Fred and I decided that we needed to change up our regular dinner routine so we headed on down to the other end of South Street to check out La Fourno. The gift certificate Fred had been holding on to didn't hurt either.

It was a mixed bag of great service but mediocre food. The attention to customer service almost bordered on overbearing. The manager was hard at work mingling with customers the entire night and my water was constantly refilled. They were trying so hard so I felt bad when the food turned out to be mediocre.

Our appetizers of mussels and crab bisque were fine. I really think my overall impression of the food was due to the fact that they call themselves a pizzeria but the pizza was terrible. I expected a nice crispy crust at the very least, but the roasted peppers on my pizza seemed to have turned it into a soggy mess. Almost all of their pizzas seemed to contain roasted peppers, and I'm sure they aren't all as soggy as mine was. Maybe my pizza was just a result of a busy kitchen that night. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but I don't think I'll get pizza there again.

Maybe if I'm in the neighborhood I would give them another try because they are reasonably priced, but there are so many great restaurants in this city and this just wasn't a standout.