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Showing posts from August, 2012

(Miami) Spice of the Week

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I've missed the first few weeks of Miami Spice season while on vacation, and frankly, after two weeks in Hawaii, could use some bargain dining. We go over this every year here at FFT, so here's the short-form version of my "Spice Rules":

(1) there's no reason to bother with restaurants where the Spice menu is not a meaningful discount from their regular prices (though, of course, go to them if you like them; just don't do so because they're offering a Miami Spice menu);

(2) the infamous chicken breast / farmed salmon / churrasco (or substitute short rib) "trifecta" is usually a tell that a restaurant doesn't have its heart in it; and

(3) look for food that actually interests you. If a restaurant doesn't excite you the other ten months of the year, it is unlikely there's going to be something really inspiring on their Spice menu.

The Miami Spice format is a bit different this year. There are now two categories: "Luxury Dining"…

A Key West Weekend

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Maybe it's the three hour drive that sloughs away petty worries and aggravations, as south Miami suburbia gives way to Homestead farms and nurseries, which in turn give way to islands and open water. Maybe it's the people, the motley historical confluence of traders, fishermen, treasure seekers, drug dealers, Cubans, Bahamians, gays, hippies, writers, musicians and miscreants of all sorts that make it feel so different.  Maybe it's just that feeling of being completely enveloped by ocean, the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico only fifteen blocks away on the other. Even for a native Miamian like myself, Key West really feels like something of an escape.

Key West is an easy trip from Miami; still, it's also one I find strangely easy to overlook in favor of other more exotic, more distant destinations. But with nearly 5,000 miles of air travel coming up (we headed down there the weekend before taking off for Hawaii for two weeks) and a couple days free, it was …

Summer Reading List

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Well, I forgot to hang the "On Vacation" sign out before leaving, but indeed I've been gone - in Hawaii for most of two weeks, with too-brief stopovers in San Francisco on the way to and from. Some reports from the islands - Maui and Big Island in particular - will follow. We also ate incredibly well in our few days in San Francisco, starting with State Bird Provisions (named Bon Appétit's "Best New Restaurant of the Year" a few days after our visit), AQ, and finishing our trip with a Lazy Bear underground dinner. Lots of pictures are already up on flickr if you're interested in a preview.

To phase back in gently, here is the tried and true crutch of those lacking the energy to write their own material: the "What We're Reading" list. It just so happens that there were a number of interesting things I read over the past couple weeks which seemed worth sharing (and, it's easier than writing my own right now):

Top 50 Best New Restaurants …