samedi 30 août 2014


When you think of Dining Spots around the world, or Dining in general, the every day food of America does not come to mind. Visitors to this country are amazed at the inexpensive, easily available, fast food that is available in this country. But repeat visitors would shun the bad quality of easily available food and look for good quality, edible food, while visiting USA and nowhere it is more apt for a big city than in Miami.
Because of the dense presence of immigrants from Cuba and the Caribbean Islands plus South America, the people and food of Asia have not ventured south to this place. While it is so easy to get a nice cup of Cuban Coffee or a Picadillo, as there are virtually hundreds of Cuban restaurants in the city. If you want a Rogan Josh or Chicken Karahi, you are out of luck; as is your disappointment with a tasty Bun Ga Xao or a nice pot of Pho. Chinese food has fallen out of favor in the USA as it has in the continental Europe, and the reigning darlings are Thai (usually serving Sushi as well?). European cuisine, you are at the mercy of the restaurateurs: along the broad walk in Hollywood Beach, a restaurant proudly announces itself as La Brocheterie, French American Cuisine and the only thing FRENCH in the menu was FRENCH FRIES! While Tex Mex cuisine has caught on like fire in the rest of America, in Miami, you may as well be in Sonora Desert as the Mexican Restaurants are very few!
How to overcome this handicap, if you are a frequent visitor to this lovely city by the bay?
I have a sister who lives here, who is such an Excellent cook, specializing in Lebanese food, that no Hummus I have ever tasted has come up to her standard..So there are always my favorites at her table: pita with zatar, lane, hummus, taboule, and many other dishes that she makes from the scratch. In the absence of such a sister or a relative, you can always go to Marroush, the excellent Lebanese Restaurant in Coral Gables and its friendly owner, director Samir!
When in Miami, there is no need for a Starbucks, we have excellent CORTADITO, which i always get, estilo de la habana, hot, strong and sweet..

The other ethnic food that is easily obtainable is the food of Jamaica, an Island I used to be in love with, but fallen out with its people but NEVER with its food..
I was treated on this trip to 
Jamaican Patties, Green Bananas, Salmon cooked in onion with Scotch Bonnet, among others.
The lovely hole in the wall resto The Jamaican Kitchen is conveniently nearby.

Next is to have good friends who are foodies and have scouted out the locations for you. I was lucky in that MIAMI SPICE food celebrations were on for the duration of the month I stayed here, and with my good friends M and G, who are authorities on the food scene in their part of Miami, we enjoyed an excellent evening at FISH FISH
Whole HogFish, no need for so much Potato but the white tasty meat went down well with a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.
The company and the conversation surpassed even the agreeable ambience and delightful service.
There were many visitors, from Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Belgium, France, the Indian Country and all that added up to nice dining experiences.
Take Out Cuban Food from a small cuban resto called a Touch of Cuba
 Pollo a la Plancha  above and Ropa Vieja,below, reminding me of my neighborhood resto La Roca in Vedado in La Habana.
As mentioned one has to be careful which restaurant one chooses for casual dining, names can be deceptive.
While walking along the beach, looking for an open air dining experience, overheard the French accent of the owner who was from Paris and the restaurant was French Caribbean, Sea Breeze Grill, and the experience was a pleasant one, despite the limited number of items on the menu.
The only restaurant I will not recommend is the Thai Sushi restaurant along the beach in Hollywood Beach, for its surly service, high prices and mediocre quality food.

Fortunately there are other lovely Thai restaurants and a neighborhood one in Kendall, Thai Bistro, provided a nice and pleasant meal for a gathering of friends.
A sunday brunch at the Miami Shores Country Club provided a typical and sumptuous American Brunch menu and the bubbly was from upstate New York, which quickly added to the joy of the companionship and tasty food.
A pleasant surprise indeed was Bamboo, a Colombian restaurant, with their fresh natural juices such as Pina con yerba buena and typical coastal dishes from Colombia. The taste had subtle differences from the Cuban and Jamaican cuisines with which it shares a familiar taste. The staff certainly were friendly Colombians..
 A pleasant surpise for a quick snack was Three Palms Cuban restaurant. Like many cuban restaurants these days, the waitresses were from Peru. (a very subtle sociological indication of the rapid upward mobility of Cuban migrants?)

Croissant is certainly not Cuban, but you can have a cuban sandwich and have a croissant instead of the cuban bread. The Cortadito was excellent!
For us, no visit to Miami would be complete without a stop at a New York Style Bagel bar, this one called such. Bagels of all sorts, Nova and Lox, but you can be innovative in your omelets as well if the breakfast hour had merged into the lunch time hour!
Now the time to show gratitude. To my Miami Family, my family from Bruselas, friends from Cayman Islands, dear friends M and G, Visiting Omaha Indians..

WELCOME TO be sung to the tune by Manu Chao!