Signature Dishes

It was a busy week last week for Foodie in Miami!

Labor Day we had to go for our “free” Hot Dogs at Riviera. Emma and Guillermo, A.J. Wyatt and Phoenix joined us for the buffet of Baked Beans, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad and Chips and then A.J. took the boys swimming.

Dinner was an easy one of creamy Burrata, sliced Fresh Tomatoes (from Pennsylvania!) and Arugula with toasted garlic bread for dinner. We’d stopped to get tamales at our favorite tamale place in Homestead on the way home from the Keys on Monday, but alas, they were sold out. So, instead, we got Shredded Beef, fresh Corn Tortillas and salsa, which is what we ate for dinner Tuesday night. They weren’t tamales (my favorite!), but they were good. I served them with Spanish Rice and an Avocado Salad with corn and feta.

I used to belong to the Cookbook Book Club at Pinecrest Library, but it was suspended in the Pandemic, so lately they’ve been doing Virtual Events. This Thursday they had The Art of Charcuterie with Vegan author Ellen Kanner. While charcuterie is, by definition, meat, Kanner is vegan, so hers had different vegetables and a tahini dip. She also made a beautiful Foccacia, decorated with vegetables and a dessert board with S’ Mores and fruit. While I like the convenience of Virtual Events, nothing can replace in-person events. At our Cookbook Book Club we got to sample all the dishes the participants had made and talk about them. Hopefully, they will bring this fun group back into live events in the near future.

Friday I met friends at True Food Kitchen in the Falls for lunch. Since I’d already tried (and loved) the Turkey Burger, I got the seasonal soup (Butternut Squash) and the Edamame Dumplings. Both were delicious. My friends got a Chopped Salad with Shrimp and an Ancient Grain Bowl with sweet potatoes, avocado, charred onion with a pumpkin seed pesto. They both really enjoyed their dishes. The service was good and the place has a clean, fun vibe. When I return, I will definitely get the Edamame Dumplings again.

I was so excited to have my first Miami Spice of the season Friday night with friends I haven’t seen in a while at Michael’s Genuine. Alas, Foodie in Miami screwed up! Michael’s Genuine, newly remodeled and revamped, doesn’t offer Miami Spice on Fridays. Oh well- we still had a lovely night, with good conversation and food. Some of their signature dishes- Pig Ears anyone?- are still on the menu, but there are also new items. Prices, like everywhere else, have jumped, but that’s to be expected.

We ordered a bottle of Albarino wine, perfect for a hot night (and we were seated outside), which the waiter poured judiciously throughout our meal. I love when they do this, because the wine doesn’t get hot. Warm Sourdough Bread was ordered, with whipped butter and black salt, as well as Crispy Pigs Ears, which were thinly sliced and fried, for the table to share. They sound weird, but were good.

I got two appetizers- Prime Steak Tartare and Wood Roasted Octopus– for my meal. The tartare was chilled, came with an egg yolk on top and toasted bread on the side. The octopus was beautifully plated with cilantro sprigs and sliced radishes; while it wasn’t a big portion, it was delicious and perfectly cooked. We ended the night with a Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ice Cream we all shared (6 spoons please!), which was on the house because it took a while coming out. It was delicious, with refreshing, candied ginger topping the ice cream. Yum!

The next day, we went to our first U.M. game of the season. We got to go into the Black Parking Lot, that had a bunch of booths, a DJ, games to win prizes and free samples of food and drink. It was fun and then we went into an air-conditioned suite (thank the Lord) to watch U.M. beat Southern Miss. We met up with A.J. at halftime. She’d used our regular tickets to attend the game with Wyatt and Phoenix. We had to hurry home, because I had my Hy Vong pick-up at 5 p.m.

I drove over to the house where the pick-up was located, which is only a couple blocks from mine, and rang the doorbell. No answer. I called and texted the phone number. Still no answer. A van pulled up, with a woman in a headdress and a man carrying a small child. I assumed this to be the Afghan woman who is cooking with Tung and Kathy. Shortly after, the man emerged with a box filled with my order. The food came in paper boxes, which made it easy to heat up in the microwave, as per the instructions on the label. The sauces came on the side.

We started with the Papaya Salad. It was a huge portion, with jullienned green papayas, carrots, cilantro and peanuts. Next, the Barbeque Pork with Vermicelli Rice Noodles. It made me so happy to eat this! Besides being delicious, with complex flavors, it reminded me of eating at Hy Vong. Lastly, we sampled the Mantoo– Afghan Meat Dumplings. The meat in question was lamb and it came with garbanzo beans, a tomato sauce and fresh mint leaves. Very interesting and the dumpling skin was the most delicate I’ve ever tasted. We finished everything off but the salad, which I ate the next day for lunch. I will definitely order Hy Vong pick-up again. Zeke was already asking when the next pick-up date would be.

On Sunday, I had my Mom over for a Belated Birthday Dinner. She was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for her actual (undisclosed) birthday. I set the table with my wedding china and the flatware setting of Newport Scroll my Mom has gifted me over the years. I got flowers at Trader Joes- daisies because that’s what my mom carried in her wedding bouquet- and put out a framed photo of her as a toddler in cowboy boots. Our first course was lobster-topped deviled eggs. We’d had them at a restaurant in Maui (it was their signature dish) and since I had two lobster tails in the freezer, I thought- why not? Surf-N-Turf Dinner.

Zeke helped me broil the lobster, which I chopped up and chilled. I made my Mom’s Deviled Egg recipe, topped them with lobster chunks and sprinkled them with Old Bay. An easy, yet impressive, appetizer. Since the U.S. Open Men’s Final Tennis Tournament was on, we went into the Family Room to watch it, bringing the Deviled Eggs with us. Zeke grilled the New York Strip Steaks (a tad too much) and I assembled the first course- a Romaine Salad with grapefruit wedges, avocado slices, feta cheese and a Dijon Viniagrette. It was a recipe from a catering company in L.A. and is one of their signature dishes. It was very good- a summery salad with delicious creamy avocado, refreshing grapefruit, some salty feta and. a punch of Dijon.

Dinner was New York Strip Steaks with Ina’s Coffee Rub, Baked Potatoes with butter, chives and sour cream and Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms. For dessert I served Lemon Delice, a pound cake frosted with Lemon Buttercream, and Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream. It was the perfect combo!

You’ve made this before.

My Mom said about the cake.

Yes, I had, more than thirty years ago for another Birthday Dinner for her. It’s a dessert that looks pretty, isn’t too sweet but is easy to put together because you use a store-bought pound cake. My Mother loved her Birthday Dinner. I think cooking for someone is an act of love and spending time with them, the best gift, for all involved. So Happy Birthday Mom! And many more…

Up Next: Lemon Delice

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: