Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wine Dinner @ Gibraltar

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Gibraltar and next week Dine mag is hosting what looks to be a great wine dinner along with the chief Winemaker of Schloss Vollrads. You have the option of going to the pre-recpetion from 6-8pm for $10 or go whole hog and attend the full dinner for $84. More info here.
The menu follows. The short rib pot pie sounds beyond.

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Garlic
Ahi Tuna Summer Roll with Avocado, Orange, Cucumber, Sesame Seeds
Foie Gras Torchon, Pink Peppercorns, Apricot
Asian Short Rib Pot Pie with Hoisin Sauce

Dinner - Each course will be paired with a different wine from Schloss Vollrads.
1st Course — King Salmon Crudo with mustard caviar, sweet lime and dill
2nd Course — Burgundy Braised Short Rib, Truffled Black Cherries, Spring Mushrooms and Dutch Potatoes
3rd Course — Malva Pudding with Caramelized Spongecake with Ginger Snap Ice Cream

Bourbon Tasting @ Morton's

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alizé Pop-Up Lounge @ The Raleigh

I'm no Winter Music Conference junkie. Sure, I like a good electrodance DJ set every now again but WMC to me has always meant shirtless guys with high douche factor fist-pumping to bad house music while downing beer from plastic cups at a pool party in South Beach. But when this little nugget landed in my inbox touting a free pop-up restaurant at the Raleigh, I bit. For three days this week the spirits company - along with a slew of other sponsors like Cafe Bustelo, Original Penguin and some vibrator company - hosted this hospitality site where everything's free - you get handed a food and drinks menu with no prices.

We decamped to one of the couches at the rear of the hotel, by the outdoor ping pong table, and had a long leisurely lunch. It was more leisurely due to the Alizé cocktails (the one with ginger ale was quite refreshing) and bit longer than expected since the kitchen was tragically backed up - go figure, everyone ordering all that free food. When my tuna nicoise finally arrived it was pretty good, with hard boiled quail eggs and well-dressed greens. For dessert I managed to snag a cup of Cafe Bustelo coffee ice cream, the perfect caffeine fix for the day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Early Bird Dinner @ Morgan's

From 5pm - 7pm, Tuesday - Thursday for $20 per person (+ tax and gratuity). Full menu here.

First Course
Onion Soup- Gruyere gratinee
House Salad-Field greens, tomatoes, radishes & sprouts, white balsamic & honey vinaigrette

Second Course
Simply Grilled Wild Salmon - Pan seared baby bok choy
½ Roasted Lemon & Herb Bell & Evans Chicken - French fries
Cavatelli Bolognese- San Marzano based tomato sauce with ground beef, pork, mushrooms, onions, herbs & spices

Ice Cream

Monday, March 22, 2010

Offal Update at Lou's Beer Garden

Congrats to Lou's on the (mostly) positive review in the Herald. The New Hotel’s poolside beer garden has just expanded their draft offerings to an impressive 12 taps including rare brews like Dogfish Head’s Raison D’Etre, Stone’s Double Bastard and Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale (apologies for the blurry pic, I blame it on that pint of Hazed and Infused I downed while scarfing some peppery fries). There are a few new menu items to soak up all the alchy like chorizo-stuffed squid and the surprisingly delicious Callos de Sevilla, minced cow intestines seasoned with sage and mushrooms. Also, Chef Lou was talking of adding more offally goodness to the menu like cow brains and tongue. Dude is fearless.

7337 Harding Ave, 305-704-7879

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Art Basel of Cars

We're up in Amelia Island this weekend, checking out the mother of all classic car shows - the Concourse d'Elegance.

We're also here to check out BMW's swanky new 5 Series Gran Turismo, sort of European touring car. We test-drove the car all the way up here (a rainy, rainy six-hour drive) so more on that later. I'm not much of a car connosieur (in fact, until I moved to Florida seven years ago I never owned a car) but I can't help but be drawn in to this celebration of chrome, steel and leather.

Not only are there amazing vintage cars here that are auctioned off for obscene prices (some for as much as $1million-plus) but every luxury brand is here showing off their beauties and offering the public test-drives. Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, BMW, Bentley - the list goes on and on.
For now I leave you with a few pics of some speed wagons of yore. If this car doesn't scream Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I don't what does.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Balvenie Scotch Dinner @ Sra. Martinez

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a scotch pairing dinner at Sra. Martinez courtesy of the Balvenie folks. It was in honor of their unveiling of the Balvenie Medeira Cask 17 year, a velvety smooth spirit that was almost too easy to drink (yes, I had a slight hangover the next day - lesson learned. Scotch does not equal wine.)

Four courses, 20 dishes, four snifters of scotch later I discovered that I have expensive taste in Scotch (the Portwood 21-year was my favorite at about $160/bottle) and that Spanish food pairs surprisingly well with the dark stuff, redolent with notes of cloves, tobacco, raisins and oak. An added bonus was that I got to taste almost the entire menu at Sra. Martinez, a real treat since I haven't been to the restaurant in a while. Always good to see what Michelle Bernstein is experimenting with in the kitchen. Seems like she's taken a generalized Latin approach to the tapas and isn't doing strictly Spanish food. For the most part it works, and everyone at the dinner (including wizened NY liquor ambassadors) seemed impressed with the parade of plates.

Highlights include:
Shrimp tiradito with ginger, aji amarillo, corn nuts and popcorn - definitely more of a Peruvian dish with the corn nuts and a superb aji sauce.
Uni risotto with chimichurri - lovely. Though the calamari topping doesn't really add much - bland in taste and texture.
Butifarra - gigante white beans with foie gras-duck sausage and port wine - hearty, rustic, satisafying. Food for a winter's night in a French castle.
Crispy Artichokes - as good as the first night they opened. This dish is a winner - salty, crunchy, nutty. I could eat the lemon-coriander dipping sauce with a spoon.
Banana fig torrejas - a nice rendition with rum-sauteed bananas and figs and butter pecan ice cream

Less impressive:
Rabo Encendido - oxtail with mascarpone cheese. I like those two things separately, but put them together and the dish is way too rich.
Cauliflower a la plancha with raisins and marcona almonds - the raisins and almonds didn't do much for the cauli which also seemed a bit undercooked. Much prefer the cauliflower over at Sugarcane topped with bagna cauda, the anchovy butter really perking up the bland vegetable.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Yelp Drinks! And So Do We!

After this weekend the last thing I want to see is a wine glass (though I did find myself rooting around the fridge tonight looking for a beer. Sigh. Hair of the dog I suppose). But I may hit up one of these places for a fancy little cocktail or two, especially since these drinks specials run all day long and are 50% off.
I'll repost the list of participating restaurants below, and there's more info here.

CAFE SAMBAL / M BAR - Brickell/Downtown
Ginger Saketini - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Pineapple Upside Down Martini - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Agave Margarita Tequila - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Lychee Martini - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Mango Saketini - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Mandarin Martini - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)

CLUB 50 - Brickell/Downtown
Gran Lychee Grape - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Viceroy Margarita - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Caipirinhas - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)

CHOPHOUSE - Brickell/Downtown
Cucumber Watermelon Martini - YDW $7.50 (Reg. $15)
Dragonberry Mojito - YDW $7.50 (Reg. $15)
Strawberry Martini - YDW $7.50 (Reg. $15)

Mojito - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Nina Fresa - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Spice of Love - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)

SRA MARTINEZ - Design District
The Ximenez - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Newgroni - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)
Razjaz Cocktail - YDW $7 (Reg. $14)

PACIFIC TIME - Design District
Lychee Martini - YDW $5.50 (Reg. $11)
Blood Orange Caipirinha - YDW $5.50 (Reg. $11)
White Peach Pisco Sour - YDW $5.50 (Reg. $11)

MAITARDI - Design District
Moscow Mule - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
French Pear Martini - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Mint Julept - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)

NEWS LOUNGE - MiMo/Upper East Side
Lychee Kick - YDW $4.75 (Reg. $9.50)
Green jeans - YDW $4.75 (Reg. $9.50)
X.O Margarita - YDW $4.75 (Reg. $9.50)

SEGAFREDO LINCOLN ROAD - Lincoln Road South Beach
Aperol Beach - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Crazy Passion - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Sake Pomegrane Lychee Martini - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)

Stella Artois - YDW $4 (Reg. $8)
Jack Daniels & Coke - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Jamesons - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
* $2 off Southern Star (pulled pork sandwich) and The Rabbit (veggie sandwich)

8 OZ - South Beach
Thai Gimlet - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Shocktop Citronage - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)
Mixed Berry Mojito - YDW $5 (Reg. $10)

Strawberry Margaritas - YDW $5 (Reg.$10.00)
Apple Lychee Martini- YDW $6 (Reg.$12.00)
Bellini - YDW $5 $3.50 (Reg. $7)