Thursday, August 28, 2008

RAh, RAh, RAh!

Three cheers for the opening of RA Sushi in South Miami! Despite its chain restaurant and corporate roots (it is located next to, and owned by Outback and Carraba's), you can expect a great time - including funky sushi and inventive cocktails - all at an affordable price.

Marcela and I met up for dinner and drinks, expecting the standard sushi and sake. What we got, was a lot more than what we expected. The food was fresh, the atmosphere was fun, and the price was right. We shared four plates -- all of which came out in random order from different kitchens. We shared blue-claw crab cakes with a ginger mayo dipping sauce, thinly sliced ponzu chili yellowtail with crushed pine nuts and radish, a spicy tuna roll, and and awesome spicy lobster roll that was stuffed with cilantro, jalapeno, avocado and cucumber. We cleared our plates without a pause.

While we went non-traditional with our food, we stuck to traditional drinks like hot sake and Sapporro. However, I tried the Cucumber Martini that was refreshingly dangerous. Made with a blend of vodka and sake and mixed with lychee syrup and cucumbers, it complemented everything that we ordered almost too perfectly.

As I mentioned before, perhaps the best part of this experience was the fact that our bill very pleasantly surprised us. The trendy decor and dim lights give the effect of a pricey restaurant, while the menu told a different story. I would recommend RA to anyone looking for a fun night out and good food, without having to break the bank. And with a happy hour that offers $1 sake and beer for $2.75, I doubt you will need little convincing. Even better -- they offer several sushi rolls and appetizers at discounted prices as well.

I look forward to going back and taking advantage of the happy hour prices and exploring the menu in greater depth. Dishes like Yuzu Halibut and Mango Ceviche will likely make it happen sooner than later.

RA Sushi
5829 SW 73rd Street
South Miami, FL

(305) 341-0092

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ladies Night!

Do you relish any excuse to have the girls (or guys) over for a little mid-week entertainment? It is so nice to diminish the stresses of the week with a couple of cocktails and tasty treats, all in the company of great friends. Last night, I did just that -- hosting a little soiree for my girls as we toasted the upcoming weekend.

Everyone brought a little something special, and the result was a delicious one! I prepared a creamy lemon risotto served in lemon cups, bruschetta and olive tapenade. I also bought cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla oreo, chocolate and vanilla peanut butter, double chocolate and vanilla) from my favorite bake shop, "Buttercream Cupcakes and Coffee." Lucienne brought tangy goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes. Anne Laure brought a delectable artichoke and spinach dip. Jessica treated us with homemade guacamole and a fantastic spinach and feta pie. Katie helped round out the meal with strawberry shortcake -- and even whipped up fresh cream on the spot! We washed all of this down with a rose sangria, filled with blackberries, lemon and orange slices.

Whether it's stag night, poker night, or (in our case) Project Runway night, get together with your friends and spice it up with more than just chips and salsa. It's so much fun to be a little bit decadent when the middle of the week brings you down or wears you out. Plus, it is even more affordable when everyone brings a dish (and better yet, a bottle of wine).

Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee

1411 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33143
(305) 669-8181

If you would like any of these recipes, please feel free to email me at: Check out the pictures below. Happy entertaining!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ricotta & Goat Cheese Dip

I have been making this recipe for years. It's delicious and a crowd pleaser -- not to mention, ridiculously easy. Serve with toasted baguette, breadsticks and fresh veggies.


3 tablespoons olive oil (first cold pressed)
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup whole milk, or part skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste


Stir the goat cheese, ricotta cheese, basil, lemon peel, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve with desired bread and vegetables. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Little Underwhelmed by Fratelli Lyon

Perhaps I had over-hyped Fratelli Lyon in my head, had heard so much about it or just expected too much, but whatever the reason, I was seriously underwhelmed. I joined my friends and former co-workers, Cristian and Rachael last Friday for a Miami Spice lunch at the trendy Design District spot. Located on the front porch of The Driade design store, the unique location and artful accessories provided a very cool setting for our lunch. (Although, Cristian wasn't too fond of the chic, but uncomfortable chairs).

This is not to say that we had a horrible time, however. We started off the meal on a great note, ordering an antipasti plate of sopressata, prosciutto and capicola that was also dressed with perfectly briny olives and fragrant and floral olive oil. Our waiter was very friendly and informative as well, so we thought we were in for a fantastic meal.

Cristian and I both ordered off of the Miami Spice menu, while Rachael kept it light with a shredded chicken salad. While, I didn't get around to trying her plate, Cristian and I sampled bites from all three courses of our meals. My gemelli with pesto, potatoes and asparagus was a nice combination of ingredients and textures, but was very under seasoned. This was the case with Cristian's pasta e fagioli, macherroni bolognese and my layered eggplant, ricotta and basil tort. Nothing was terrible, it just all seemed to lack salt, which was surprising to me for an Italian restaurant -- especially an acclaimed one.

Our meals ended with Cristian's selection of grapefruit sorbet that seriously outshone my coffee gelato, which lacked the creaminess that I have come to expect from the Italian treat. The best part of the meal, might have been the prosecco, but that's not exactly a shocker considering that it was the three of us.

All in all, I didn't have a bad time, or a great time. I just sort of had a bland time. I don't think that it would be fair to totally discredit it without trying it again, although I am not exactly rushing to do so any time soon.

Fratelli Lyon
4141 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137
Phone: (305) 572-2901

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Five Guys: Great Wherever You Get It!

Thanks so much to all of you who wrote in to let me know of the Five Guys that have started sprouting up all over town. I just had a great burger at the Five Guys, located in Kendall. Since I am still sort of a rookie, I ordered a cheeseburger. I should have ordered the little cheeseburger because unbeknown to me, the regular burger comes with two patties! Whew!

Also, I can't wait to try the grilled cheese, as this is my favorite menu item at In-N-Out and there seem to be many similarities between the two not-so-fast-food joints. The only thing that I long for that Five Guys lacks, is the equivalent of "animal sauce." (Yes, it is scary delicious!)

So again, I encourage you to get out there (yes, Kendall can be a hike) and get yourself an award- winning burger from Five Guys! Happy Grubbing!

Five Guys Famous Burgers
10471 N Kendall Dr.
Miami, FL 33176
(305) 270-4990

Friday, August 1, 2008

Miami Spice is ON!

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to make sure that you all knew: today is the first day of Miami Spice! There are so many amazing restaurants on the list this year. I can't wait to try Table 8, Kobe Club, Michy's and Fratelli Lyon, and return to favorites like Talula, China Grill and Two Chefs.

What are you excited to try or return to? Is there a Miami Spice restaurant that you advise against? I'd love to hear what you think! Also, expect new posts and features next week. I am on vacation and will be taking total advantage of my free time.

Here is the full list of participating restaurants and menus:

Have a great weekend and spice it up!