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Showing posts from September, 2016

best thing i ate last week: ice cream sandwich at Cream Parlor

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Sometimes, it's the simple things that deliver immense satisfaction. I'd just finished brunch at Pinch Kitchen on Biscayne Boulevard, and noticed that the new ice cream place across the street, Cream Parlor, had finally opened. I took a peek inside, and was pleasantly surprised at what a charming little place it was, loaded with vintage tchotchkes on the walls, mismatched coffee mugs, and flowery grandma plates. It also turns out to be a lot more than just an ice cream shop: there's a pretty extensive breakfast menu, plus sandwiches, tartines, salads, and healthy-sounding vegetable dishes like curried chickpeas and sriracha lentils.

The ice cream flavors veer more playful rather than artisanal: Red Velvet Cake, Prince-inspired Purple Rain, technicolor-hued Unicorn Poop. Among many other options, you can construct an ice cream sandwich from your choice of flavor and cookie, which I did with their salty peanut ice cream and Belgian chocolate and bacon cookies. I highly reco…

first thoughts: Phuc Yea - Miami MiMo District

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It's hard for me to believe it's been five years.


But it's been almost exactly five years to the day since I checked out a curious little pop-up restaurant in a non-descript café in downtown Miami. September 8, 2011 was opening day for Phuc Yea!, a little experiment in Vietnamese flavors by Aniece Mienhold and Cesar Zapata, the team who had previously been at a fun little spot in Buena Vista called Blue Piano. (You can read the report here and see more pictures in this flickr set.) I came away pretty excited by what they were doing: banh cuon so good we immediately ordered two more rounds; tasty salt and pepper smelts; a salad of pig ears marinated in nuoc cham, then fried crisp and served over cubed watermelon; chewy pork riblets with a soy caramel glaze.

That was five years ago. The Phuc Yea pop-up had its three-month run. Then Cesar and Aniece went on to do something different, opening The Federal, which they styled as a "Modern American Tavern," serving buff…

travelogue: Chile, Part 2 - Santiago

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After a day in Valparaiso and a quick pass through the Casablanca Valley wine country (more on that in Part 1 of my Chile travelogue), we were back in Santiago for a couple days. It is a big, sprawling city, which became more manageable as we got a sense of its neighborhoods: the relatively quiet, low-scale, Barrio Lastarria, whose European architecture reminded me of San Sebastian, Spain; the funky, bohemian Barrio Bellavista; the bustling business district around the Palacio de la Moneda; the towering high-rises and shiny new shopping malls of Providencia; the über-posh, almost Beverly Hills-like Vitacura neighborhood where Boragó restaurant resides; the bucolic stretch of shops and cafés in the Barrio Italia.

We made our home base at the Lastarria Boutique Hotel, a really nice modern refurbishment of a big 1920's house on a Lastarria side street. Most of the high-end chain hotels are in Providencia or nearby Las Condes, but we liked this location: not as generically big-city, …

Cobaya Fuego with Francis Mallmann

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Our last Cobaya dinner, back in July, was with Paul Qui at his restaurant Pao in the Faena Hotel on Miami Beach. We had an unexpected visitor during that dinner: Francis Mallmann, the most celebrated chef in Argentina, and also Pao's neighbor at the Faena, where his restaurant Los Fuegos also resides. We spent some time explaining what we do, and I saw a twinkle in his eye. A couple months later, and we were back at the Faena, this time for a dinner with Chef Mallmann and his crew on the veranda behind the hotel.



Mallmann is a master of live fire cooking, but I suspect that the hotel folks were a bit reluctant to have one of his more elaborate pyres assembled on the grounds of their billion dollar project. These fires were somewhat more modest, but were used to good effect.

(See all the pictures in this Cobaya Fuego with Francis Mallman flickr set).


With Damien Hirst's gold-plated mammoth as a backdrop, our guinea pigs assembled on the veranda, and servers circulated with a c…

travelogue: Chile, Part 1 - Valparaiso and Casablanca Valley

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I'm not sure I ever would have thought to go to Chile on my own. But Mrs. F had been in Santiago a couple years ago for something work-related, and came back raving about the bustling, cosmopolitan city surrounded by the Andes mountains. After doing some homework, I found plenty to get excited about too. We plotted a week-long trip when we'd have all the family together: a day on the Pacific coast in Valparaiso, a quick tour through Casablanca Valley wine country, a couple days in Santiago, wrapping up with a stay in the Atacama desert toward the north.

You probably know by now that the food usually plays a not-inconsequential role in my choice of travel destinations. But I didn't know much at all about Chilean cuisine. In fact, to be honest, I'd only heard of one restaurant in the entire country: Rodolfo Guzman's Boragó, a high-end tasting-menu place that has drawn the attention of the International Dining Mafia. Needless to say, this was entirely a function of m…