Friday, August 22, 2014

Red the Steakhouse - Miami Spice

So Miami Spice is underway and we're all discovering a slew of new places to grub at, visiting our favorites more frequently or taking advantage of the annual promotion to check out some of the more pricier, talk-of-the-town restaurants.

One of the restaurants you definitely want to try is Red, the Steakhouse, located at 119 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. Culinary genius Chef Peter Vauthy is giving his own spin to the dishes, offering a total of four themed menus which alternate every week during the Miami Spice promotion: Classic, Asian, Spanish and Italian. This gives fans the opportunity to return every week and try something new.  You can tell they really put a lot of thought into designing the menus in a way that gives guests a chance to experience a great deal of what Red offers for the promotional price. There are also a number of upgrades you can do if there's something you'd like to add or change.

With Executive Chef Peter Vauthy

I had the opportunity to sample some of the different course offerings and was very impressed with both the variety of options as well as the portion sizes.While I can't take you all to dinner with me to Red for Miami Spice, I figure I'd share my adventure with you by stimulating your sense of taste with some foodgasmic images of what you can expect to indulge in when you head over there. Ready...set....salivate.

For more information on Red, The Steakhouse, or to make reservations, visit their website or call them at 305-534-3688.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brasileiro Churrasqueria Launches A New Meat Rodizio at the Four Ambassador

If you feel like you're having a bit of deja vu, don't worry - you're not. You probably remember last year when Brasileiro Steakhouse opened at the Four Ambassador Hotel in Brickell Avenue, right at the same spot where the popular Porcao used to raise cholesterol levels with their delicious meat fest.

It turns out, new owners have revamped the place, now called Brasileiro Churrasqueria, and added a much needed and refreshing salad bar, along with a nice selection of hot and cold appetizers. Feeling carnivorous and not the least bit afraid to satisfy my urge, I headed on over to 801 Brickell Bay Drive to try the new Brazilian meat rodizio for myself.

As always, the ambiance is elegant yet relaxing at Brasileiro, with a killer view of the bay and impeccable service. After sipping a couple of Caipirinhas, we grabbed our plates and headed over to the salad bar to break the ice. A variety of fresh greens, homemade salads, cheese and hot and cold appetizers awaited us. I took a sampling of each without overdoing it. (You know I was saving myself for that picanha).

And then they came… the gauchos, armed with their skewers of drool inducing meats. Green means go, and I never wanted them to stop. Prime cuts of filet mignon wrapped in bacon, chicken, lamb and pork paraded in front of us, too tempting to turn down. The homemade sausage, full of intense flavor, was a favorite for us but it was the picanha that took the prize for the evening. Wow. It was amazing. Prepared a number of ways, each piece was as mouthwatering as the last. I momentarily forgot that there is only so much one can consume before going into a food coma. Reluctantly, I turned my card to red for a few minutes while I closed my eyes and basked in the ecstasy-filled aftermath.

Although it didn't seem possible to place another morsel of food in our mouths after that sinful feast of  the meats, the desserts were too decadent to ignore. Brasileiro offers a variety of Brazilian sweets and creative finales that you must leave some room for when you go. Oh and if you love wine as much as I do, they have now added a pretty amazing wine cellar to the mix. Nothing like pairing a good vino with the juicy carne.

A culinary experience like this, at such an affordable price, makes Brasileiro Churrasqueria a keeper in Brickell. For more information or to make reservations you can call the restaurant at 305-358-7880.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cafe Prima Pasta

I've considered trying a vegan diet for a few minutes of my life, but then the aroma of a juicy steak teases my scent of smell and my salivary glands immediately revolt. However, having said that, I recently tried Cafe Prima Pasta's new summer special, and I wondered if in fact I could take the meatless plunge one day.

Starting last month and available on Tuesdays, the Italian restaurant located at 414 71st Street in Miami Beach launched their Viva Las Veggies special, complete with light and flavorful dishes perfect for Miami's summer heat. Because you need some liquid love to go with your healthy veggies, they also added some fresh new fruit juice and signature cocktail options to their "Green With Envy" Tuesday tasting menu. Offering delicious appetizer and entree choices, you would never know you're squeezing the recommended three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit in one foodgasmic sitting.

The feast began for us with a cool, sweet Peach Puree Bellini that made my lips pucker. It was refreshing and delicious, resulting in the most suave of aperitifs. Following this pleasurable awakening, we indulged in our appetizer, a Zucchini Spring Roll stuffed with arugula, radicchio, black olives and capers, then splashed with fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. This tasteful delight was hand rolled into thin slices of zucchini and served with a truffle oil and balsamic reduction. Exquisite! Not your regular veggie meal.

Zucchini Spring Roll

Next up, we had the Garden Risotto, prepared with couscous butternut squash risotto, hearty porcini mushrooms and Mascarpone cheese on top. It had perfect texture and creaminess, with a well rounded flavor. We also sampled the Cannelloni, a spherical tube of pasta stuffed with a variety of cheeses (my favorite was the gorgonzola) in a rich, flavorful sauce. It was so delectable, I didn't have time to snap the picture before it disappeared off the plate. I'd show you the "after" picture, but I don't think you'd like to stare at an empty plate. We'll leave you with the suspense instead...

Garden Risotto

Totally delighted at this healthy, yet memorable meal, we were excited to try dessert. Out came a sweet and decadent pastry, created with dulce de leche and chocolate. It was sinful! But even more sinful, was the Chocolate Prima Martini I had to call it a night. Cafe Prima Pasta offers a variety of cocktails and martinis that will be the perfect treat after such a healthy veggie meal. The "Green With Envy" Tuesday tasting menu will rotate weekly and includes a signature cocktail made with fresh squeezed juice or glass of wine and a complimentary peach puree Bellini for the ladies for just $38.95. Viva Chef Carlos Belon for his delicious and nutritious dishes.For more information on Cafe Prima Pasta or to make reservations, you can visit them here online.

Cafe Prima Pasta on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 25, 2014

TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers

Well as you guys know, I'm a Brand Ambassador for TGI Friday's and I promised to keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings and promotions. Last month I told you about the popular eatery's Summer of Fridays Road Tour, where food trucks have been driving around the country handing out complimentary samples of their new handcrafted menu items (which by the way are awesome).  Has anybody gotten the opportunity to check it out? If you haven't, and there's a truck hitting your town soon, don't miss it. You're going to be impressed with all the new stuff.

Cotton Candy Cosmo

But let me tell you what's going on now. TGI Friday's has recently launched their Endless Appetizers promotion, and it's an appetizer lover's dream. For just $10, you can keep your favorite starter coming to your table over and over again. About a week ago, I was up in the Weston Area and started to crave some comfort food. We drove by a local TGI Friday's and decided to stop for some bites and a couple of their creative cocktails (I needed a Cotton Candy Cosmo - Guess I was having a SATC kind of day.). There's always something going on at Fridays, whether it's their happy hour, or a special promotion, so I figured I'd ask the server. He told us about their Endless Appetizers offer and that's all we needed to hear. By the way, he was awesome. We were starving (and I guess it showed) and he  brought out some complimentary chips and salsa for us to nibble on while we waited. That was cool!

Garlic & Basil Bruschetta

Mozzarella Sticks
Loaded Potato Skins
So here's how it works. You buy one appetizer for $10 each per person, and you get free refills for that appetizer for as long as you can eat.  Bring it on! And it isn't just one or two appetizers that the offer applies to. It's most of the favorites: Loaded Potato Skins (one of my personal faves), Pan Seared Pot Stickers, Mozzarella Sticks (you have got to try these - they are totally different from all others), Garlic & Basil Bruschetta (boy I had a torrid affair of endless proportions with this baby), Tuscan Spinach Dip, Boneless Buffalo Wings and Crispy Green Bean Fries.

Needless to say after some luscious libations and a whole lot of endless appetizers, we walked out of TGI Friday's with a smile on our face and a little more of us to love. Remember though, the offer won't last forever so hurry before it's gone.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Brunch at Love is Blind

You know how they say love is blind? Well at The Passion Restaurant Group's newest venture, Love is Blind, all you need are your taste buds and a cool, refreshing Mimosa to stimulate your senses. From the makers of Brickell's Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita and Crazy About You, the newest catchy-named eatery is located in the heart of Coral Gables at 225 Altara Avenue.

Bloody Mary and Mimosa

Huevos Rotos
Serrano Ham Croquettes
The first thing that will catch your eye when you arrive at Love is Blind is their romantic and inviting decor. The wooden furniture, iron work, beautiful lighting fixtures and colorful tiles come together to create an enchanting setting, fit for a memorable rendezvous. I recently visited the restaurant to taste their new brunch, and I felt right at home from the moment I walked in. To start off our Sunday Funday, we ordered a Mimosa and a Bloody Mary. Both were refreshing and addicting. Sipping my cares away, I looked at the brunch menu. (And I sipped for a while)  I'll tell you I had a hard time deciding what to choose. There were several dishes that caught my eye and made me salivate slightly. Part of the reason is that Chef Jose Liriano has prepared a menu of "world cuisine" where guests can take a culinary journey throughout the globe without ever leaving their seats. We decided to break the ice with their ever popular croquetas, appropriately named Maybe The Best Serrano Ham Croquettes. Creamy and smooth inside, with a hint of crispiness outside, our palates were awakened with a flavorful Good Morning. It had been a long night so these babies hit the spot. I noticed they offered Huevos Rotos as part of their appetizers and I knew I had to have them. This is a Spanish dish I absolutely love and their version didn't disappoint. The perfectly poached eggs were served over Confit Potatoes and topped with Iberico Ham. Delicious.

Grilled Short Rib Benedict

Chicken and Waffles

Steak and Eggs
It was time for our entrees. Now remember that Love Is Blind follows the same concept as its Brickell predecessors. You pay one price and you choose an appetizer and an entree. It happens to be that the price for brunch is 17.99, which is not only reasonable but great for the wallet of a single girl like me. I chose the Grilled Short Rib Benedict. Can I pick them or what? Just imagine toasted English Muffins topped with juicy, tasty short rib, a poached egg and creamy hollandaise sauce. I was in love and declared my passion with every bite. My partner in crime ordered the Steak and Eggs, which consisted of 3 eggs cooked to order and served with a tender slab of grilled veal churrasco. All entrees include their zesty patatas bravas as a side. I can tell you that he didn't talk much and just chewed (which is quite rare) so I know it was good. Because I'm addicted to sweet and savory and really because I can eat like the world is ending, we also sampled their Chicken and Waffles. I closed my eyes and inserted that fork without hesitation. That was a love-filled, hopelessly devoted experience. Four Belgian waffles were topped with chicken tenderloins AND Applewood bacon. Yes, I said bacon. The maple syrup was gingerly placed on the side. Of course, mine were bathed in it in an instant. What else can I tell you? Love is blind.

This Sunday, you want to drive to the Gables and check them out. For more information, you can visit their website.

Love Is Blind on Urbanspoon