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Showing posts from October, 2016

Cobaya Gabe at Bourbon Steak

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It's hard for me to believe it's been six years. But sure enough, it's been that and then some since our first Cobaya dinner with Chef Gabriel Fenton of Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak in Aventura, back in May 2010. That was only our sixth experiment, and in our eagerness to push chefs to work outside of their comfort zones, we told Gabe that he could cook whatever he wanted – as long as it wasn't steak. It was our bit of rebellion against the then-common trend of big-name chefs opening nothing but steakhouses in Miami.[1]

It was a great dinner, but man, was that dumb.

We've been looking to make a repeat visit for some time, and it finally happened last week. This time around, we told Gabe – who I think is one of South Florida's most skilled chefs – he could really cook whatever he wanted.

That was smart.

(Full set of pictures can be seen in this Cobaya Gabriel Fenton flickr set).


We started the same way every meal at Bourbon Steak starts: with some of their …

Boragó - Santiago, Chile

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As I mentioned in Part 1 of my Chile travelogue, before we'd decided to visit Chile, I knew very little about the country's food. In fact, there was only one restaurant I could name: Boragó. Boragó's chef, Rodolfo Guzman, opened the restaurant in 2007 after taking an interesting path into the kitchen: he studied chemical engineering, went to culinary school when a broken ankle ended a career as a professional water-skier, then spent time working at Andoni Luis Aduriz's restaurant Mugaritz in Spain's Basque Country before returning home to open his own place.

It took several years, but eventually, Boragó drew the attention of the International Dining Mafia: it now ranks No. 37 on the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list, and No. 4 among "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants" – whatever the heck those rankings mean. I think the whole concept of these numerical rankings is goofy, before even addressing the many othervalidcriticisms lodged agai…

best thing i ate last week: pan con tumaca at Alter

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A recent twitter exchange hit on a nugget of truth: more often than not, when a dish is "revisited" or "reinvented" (or worse, "deconstructed"), the end result pales in comparison to the original.

The classic Spanish snack, pan con tumaca (a/k/a pan con tomate or pa amb tomàquet), is a simple thing: grilled or toasted bread, rubbed with raw garlic and tomato, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt. And yet with the right ingredients – crusty bread, ripe juicy tomato, fruity peppery olive oil – it is magically good, and difficult to improve upon.

The version I had this weekend at Alter, though, manages it. A thin plank of sourdough, golden on its surface but with still a whisper of tenderness at its center. A daub of tomato butter, warmed with Aleppo pepper. Soft, crushed cherry tomatoes, bleeding their juices. Slivers of pickled garlic, as thin as Paulie cut in prison. Red vein sorrel – pretty, sure, but also providing a bit of grassy, tart con…