Finding good food in Miami and beyond. Reviews of restaurants throughout South Florida and elsewhere, as well as occasional blather about points more abstruse yet still food-related.
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CSA Week 6
What do we have here? Green peppers, an eggplant, canistels (on the left; a fruit related to the mamey, also known as eggfruit since the color and texture supposedly resembles a hard-cooked egg yolk), bok choy, some adorable French breakfast radishes, green beans, komatsuna, and more betel leaves. Some of the green beans have already found their way into a pasta, along with last week's tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella. The radishes will be perfectly pleasant just with some good butter and salt. That's a lot of green peppers for someone who prefers red ones. Though I'd like to try something different with the betel leaves, the fridge already has all the fixings for bò lá lốt, so we may see a repeat performance (with either the bok choy or komatsuna serving as extra wrappers). And I'm doing my homework on canistels. Meanwhile, last week's black sapotes are looking ready to explode, which means they're ripe, and notwithstanding the chilly temperatures, I'm thinking they're going to become ice cream this time.
Last month, I had the good fortune to be invited to an event at the Japanese Consulate in Miami, extolling the virtues of washoku, or the traditional cuisine of Japan. The event was hosted by the gracious consul general, Ken Okaniwa, but the headliner was chef Shuji Hiyakawa, who provided a live-action sushi-making display.
I had a feeling we were in good hands when Chef Hiyakawa started with the preparation of the rice, noting how every component is essential to the finished product: the blend of two vinegars he uses to season the rice, the wooden bowl in which it's prepared, which retains the right amount of heat and absorbs the right amount of excess liquid, the manner in which it's mixed, so that all the grains are seasoned, and neither too starchy nor too loose.
With the rice made, he went on to break down an entire loin of bluefin tuna. Given the depleted state of the species, I really would have preferred to see just about anything else on the cutting board. I suppose …
Until recently, British food has been saddled with a terrible reputation. I'm reminded of the old George Carlin joke about heaven and hell:
"In heaven, the Italians are the lovers, the French cook the food, the Swiss run the hotels, the Germans are the mechanics, and the English are the police. In hell, the Swiss are the lovers, the English cook the food, the French run the hotels, the Italians are the mechanics, and the Germans are the police."
That reputation, I've always thought, has been undeserved. Even thirty years ago, when I spent a summer in Oxford "studying," I ate very well. Ploughman's lunches with good cheese and bread, rich steak and kidney pies, crisp, steamy fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, fiery Indian and Jamaican food – what's not to like?
Over the past couple decades, general sentiment seems to have shifted, and now London is regarded as one of the world's top dining destinations. Partly that's been driven by interna…
There's yet another wave of taquerias opening in Miami these days, so many I've given up even trying to list them, much less sample them all. But last week I did stop in on La Pollita, which is currently operating from a trailer parked in the Midtown Garden Center. The backstory is intriguing: chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer worked at some pretty highfalutin places before this: Eleven Madison Park (just named as "World's Best Restaurant" by the suspect but influential 50 Best list), its sibling the NoMad, Scarpetta in Manhattan, Animal in L.A. Which made me wonder – what are these folks doing running a taco truck?
Making really great food, it turns out. They've got a short list of tacos, served on fresh tortillas pressed from masa supplied by Miami masa maestro Steve Santana (of Taquiza), and the cochinita pibil I tried was very good. But the standout item was the fried chicken cemita. A hot, crispy, juicy tranche of fried chicken. A crunchy, vinegar…
Rules bills itself as the oldest restaurant in London. Over the past two centuries, it's been owned by only three families: Thomas Rule opened it in 1798; just before World War I, one of his descendants decided to move to France, and arranged a swap with a Brit running a restaurant in Paris named Tom Bell; and then in 1984, Bell's daughter sold the restaurant to its current owner John Mayhew.
The dining room, with its red velvet-wrapped, gold-piped banquettes, polished wood dividers, oil portraits and old cartoons on the walls, the occasional marble bust here and there, looks every bit the part. If not for the bona fides of its history, the stereotypically posh decorations would seem almost laughable. I adore the place.
We first came here on a family trip to London more…