Showing posts from April, 2016

best thing i ate last week: oysters frank at Mignonette

There are so many new places that have opened in Miami of late; and yet sometimes – often – I just want to go back to an old favorite. Mignonette, Chef Daniel Serfer's oyster bar in Edgewater, has become one of those old favorites: a place where I might very well order the same thing every time I go, and always leave happy.

But here's something new: "Oysters Frank," named after chef de cuisine Bobby Frank. Topped with smoked bacon, manchego cheese, a goodly amount of butter and a dash of sherry, then broiled, these will give Mignonette's excellent rendition of Oysters Rockefeller a run for their money. Round out the rest of the meal with their very good lobster deviled eggs, one of my favorite salads, and a fancy seafood tower, and I bet you'll leave happy too.

best thing i ate last week: grilled eggplant salad at Vagabond Backyard Cookout

I'm a big fan of all the good things happening in Miami's "MiMo District" along Biscayne Boulevard, anchored of late by the refurbished Vagabond Motel. Yes, it's partly because it's a straight shot from home across 79th Street Causeway for me, but it's also because the neighborhood has some old 1950's Miami feel, which many of its new inhabitants are looking to preserve in some fashion while still bringing new styles and flavors.

So I was particularly happy to see Chef Alex Chang, who runs the Vagabond Restaurant, team up with Chef Phuket Thongsodchaveonde of Cake Thai Kitchen up the street for a Backyard Cookout around the Vagabond pool. Two of my favorite spots, at one event? Sold.

Together they did a Thai-style BBQ that included grilled corn slathered with coconut cream and palm sugar, a fragrantly spicy Isaan style pork shoulder larb dusted with roasted rice powder, BBQ chicken with papaya salad and sticky rice, grilled whole fish cooked in banan…

Cobaya #61 at 27 with Chef Jimmy Lebron

This is another one we've been trying to make happen for quite some time. Finally, all the right pieces fell into place and we had a date locked in for a Cobaya dinner at 27 Restaurant, the sibling to the wonderful Broken Shaker bar at the Freehand Hotel on Miami Beach.

27 is one of my favorite places on the Beach, foregoing the glitz and glam that's becoming ever-present for a cozy, homey atmosphere with the feel of an abuela's casita – if your abuela was also Israeli and had a thing for craft cocktails. The regular menu at 27 does a remarkable job of capturing that vibe as well: it's fresh and unfussy, and though visitors may puzzle over why arepas, shakshuka and kimchi fried rice are all coming out of the same kitchen, it somehow tastes and feels more like Miami than just about any other restaurant in town.

The Freehand actually played host to Cobaya #29 with Brandon Baltzley a few years ago, but this one would be an in-house affair. So Chef Jimmy Lebron was in cha…

travelogue: a weekend of eating in New York City

Whenever we visit New York City, there's a constant tug of war between the new and the familiar. We're typically only in the city for a couple days at a time, and the list of places I'd like to try runs into the hundreds; but there are also the places to which we like to return, rituals that provide reward and reassurance through repetition.

When we can do so for a not-astronomical rate, we like to stay at The NoMad, which aside from having a great restaurant and a great bar,[1] also has posh but comfortable rooms, great service, and a central location (28th and Broadway) from which both Lower Manhattan and the heart of Midtown are within range of a long walk. That's the view from our room down into the dining room at the top of this post; the view at ground level is equally nice.

(You can see all my pictures from The NoMad in this NoMad flickr set).

And when we stay at the NoMad, and arrive mid-afternoon, we like to drop our bags and get a snack at the John Dory Oyste…