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Showing posts from May, 2015

Cobaya Chang at the Vagabond

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When I wrote about Chef Alex Chang's work at the recently opened Vagabond Restaurant, I referred to what I call the "Rob Deer School of Cooking:" go for the home run, don't be afraid to strike out. Not every dish I've had there was perfect, but none have failed for lack of ambition. With his willingness to take risks, his creative approach to using the local bounty, and his backstory (he ran an underground supper club in Los Angeles while a student at USC, before spending a few years working in some great kitchens around the world) we figured Chef Chang would be a great fit for a Cobaya dinner. We were right.


(You can see all my pictures in this Cobaya Chang at the Vagabond flickr set).



The Vagabond – situated in the wonderfully refurbished 1950's gem of a motel by the same name – hosted us on a Monday (when they're usually closed) so that we could have the entire place to ourselves, and so the kitchen could devote its focus to our twenty-five guinea pigs…

Cobaya Lee at the Forge

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The Forge is one of the true grand dames of the South Florida restaurant world. And like a lot of grand dames, it's had a bit of work done here and there over the years. Originally opened in the 1930's, it was the mid-century Miami hangout of choice for celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason. In the 1960's, Alvin Malnik bought it from the original owner (a blacksmith, ergo the name), and remodeled it in the luxe, rococo style that has become its signature. Malnik – with a little help from Baron Philippe Rothschild – also was responsible for filling out its encyclopedic wine cellar. In the 1990's, after son Shareef Malnik took over from his father, the Forge was not only regarded as one of the city's top restaurants – it also was one of Miami's hottest party scenes with its Wednesday disco nights.

Since then, it's had at least one more substantial redecoration about five years ago, lightening up some of that old polished mahogany. It has brought …