Saturday, December 30, 2017

and - another dinner with friends

Last night friends came up from Venice to see a movie and then come by our neighborhood for dinner.  They are big travelers and so we suggested the (new to us) Peruvian place El Warike.  We brought a Jose Dhont Champagne and a 2005 St Aubin En Frionnes from Lamy both showed well...sorry fell down on the job with the wine photos...

We ordered things to start and paired their Cabernet with the Anticuchos (beef hearts) and our Champagne with the calamari - then we went on to two kinds of ceviche (mixed and shrimp) and then mains followed by one of each dessert on the menu (four of four LOL)

so here we go with photos - this place is small and cute and casual-

Gene and I chose the Corvino with crab sauce- very good! Phil had the paella and MA had the lomo saltado (meat fab but fries just ordinary)

there was one dessert special (which had Lucuma and something else served in a glass) that was my favorite of the four but Phil liked the platanos the best and the crema volteada was flan like without being pedestrian. They brought a Pedro Ximenez for the dessert course which we liked better than they did  LOL-

LOL I know you will be surprised to hear we closed the place down and Chef Jorge was happy to lock the door as he left with us - what a friendly place- really worth a try. We were already making plans to return with Mike when he visits in early January.  We are fast approaching the final 2017 countdown less than 48 hours and it will be 2018- with more fun and games planned for next year! #lifeisgood

Thursday, December 28, 2017

dinner with friends

Our first return trip this winter to the Rosemary Cafe - in - you guessed it- the Rosemary District of SRQ ... finally got a chance to get together with very busy John & Barb...

Barb's ceviche starter and Phil and I shared both the wedge salad and the escargots-

and yes it is December 27th and we are eating outside - deliberately away from the heater (reserved for 80 year olds and older LOL)

the mains- meat loaf for me, BBQ brisket and ribs for Phil, BBQ brisket and pulled pork for John and Barb had the shrimp and scallops -

the Old Stones Chard from Bergstrom is one we bought for Florida since we are always pulling out whites- we also have the Argyle half stainless half oak for here and the St Innocent Pinot Blanc - of course we brought wines from our cellar too but we use so much white with the mostly seafood menus here we are always looking for an everyday white and those are all good choices...

my ice cream and berries and Barb's apple pie a la mode (shared with John) and Phil's key lime pie

As usual they were stacking the chairs and breaking down the outdoor tables by the time we finished our meal and conversation :-)

Tomorrow MA and Gene are coming up to try the hole in the wall Peruvian El Warike - then we are in hiding until after the clock turns midnight on NYE - anxiously awaiting a better 2018 (or nuclear annihilation - whichever comes first) #thankgodIstillhaveasenseofhumor  - So stay tuned! NYE caviar, foie gras, lobster, Stilton, Krug and Corton Charlemange! #gobigorgohome

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holidays in Miami

The last few years we have had a tradition of spending holidays with my brother in law- Larry.  He lives in Miami.  He has been coming up to Sarasota to spend Thanksgiving with us and we go to Miami for the Christmas holidays.  Since we don't do Christmas traditionally we consider these both eating holidays (as opposed to the fasting holidays like Yom Kippur - which we also don't observe LOL)

So off we went to Miami on Saturday morning stopping in Ft Myers at Grimaldi's for our favorite pizza.... arriving in Miami in the late afternoon.  Our first meal was at Pascal's on Ponce. We have been eating here for a number of years because the food is good. Service is friendly especially the front of the house.  We closed the place (and the valet stand LOL) so we must have been having a good time...

I started with a cheese souffle- Phil with the mushroom soup and Larry with the tomato tarte

the boys both had the chicken and I had the mussels

then Larry had a berry gratin and I had the baked alaska and Phil had the chocolate souffle-

the wines for the evening -

mignardise to end- all very good

But not as good as the rest of the meals we had over the long weekend-

on Christmas Eve we went to Bellmont - a Spanish restaurant with amazing tapas and the full range of jamon iberico, including the J5 bellota. Again this year we were wowed by both the food and the service at this family owned and operated place in Coral Gables.

above the cheese platter with various aged cheese and milk types sheep and goat and cow- and below the Bellota J5 jamon iberico

the cured pork loin!


Boquerones (terrific!)

Gambas al ajio

the Spanish tortilla


hazelnut torte and almond torte - shared among the three of us-

After lunch we headed to Larry's - where I hung out by the pool while he and Phil walked around the neighborhood looking at various buildings and locations that Larry may want to move to more permanently as he is currently renting a place he picked on a "must move now" basis when his house sold.  Our dinner was at a gastro pub on Miami Beach near where Larry now lives- having moved last year from Coconut Grove after nearly three decades.

The dinner place is called Drunken Dragon. The reservation was for 7:45 and the wait for our table was more than 35 minutes but the food was fabulous! we had a terrific meal and our server Ty was first rate.

we started with the popcorn and the hotdog (sorry no hotdog photo I was dividing the tiny thing into three tinier parts - but it was fabulous despite missing the photo)

 The stone pot rice dish a chaufa style fried rice with egg mixed into the hot rice
pork belly gyoza- YUM!!!

the crunchy cucumbers

the Peking boa got three votes for the best dish- the chicken skin on the top really made it a winner

the grilled octopus was exceptional-

The main event was the grilled beef rib (BFR) with accompaniments- served with steamed buns or lettuce wrapper-

we had three desserts to taste and share- in the order shown- Larry's "Tokyo" mochi with caramel crunch (I think it was the winner) then my Green Tea soft serve with Sage brownie and finally Phil's chocolate pot with brownie and some kind of crunchy thing in the middle - so SAVE room for dessert here!

Then on Christmas Day we had lunch at a downtown place Ceviche 105 or CVI.CHE 105 depending upon what resource you are using.  We had another amazing meal (with three real winners in a row counting Bellmont then Drunken Dragon and now Ceviche 105)

Two views of our starter platter of prawn and lobster and mixed ceviche - we saw one go by and immediately said - we'll have that!

the Juan Chipoco Iron Man dish- scallops shrimp and filet - big enough to share (which we did)

a shrimp dish that the boys shared -

a hazelnut cheese cake that Phil had to have being the Nutella freak of the house- LOL- Larry tried it but I wouldn't taste it not caring at all for hazelnuts...

 our lunch wine showed very well-

Dinner was at Il Mulino where we had an abundance of food and portions so large it was mind boggling.  Because my phone camera was having a breakdown that evening I don't have any photos of the tasty burrata salad I had or the mushroom ravioli the boys shared - nor the plate full of pasta about the size of an elephant's head. Nor do I have photos of Larry's three large pieces of veal saltimbocca or Phil's langoustines and risotto.... or the Tiramisu portion big enough for six (we could finish between three of us) sorry you'll just have to trust me that it was all quite WORTHY!

Of course no visit to Miami is complete without the obligatory trip to La Camaronera for Phil's favorite shrimp platter (I had a shrimp sandwich)...

on the way home to SRQ we stopped in Ft Myers and had an early dinner with Chris and Jim Knutte who live out by Lake Okeechobee.  The meal at Blue Pointe Oyster bar was really excellent- throwing us into a dilemma about which place to choose now on the way to and from MIA... there are worse problems LOL... stay tuned tonight we return to Rosemary Cafe for the first time this winter.... will report back.