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!
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 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.