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Oolite Restaurant - New from Kris Wessel - SoBe near Lincoln Road

From the timing of your post it seems likely that you were there this past weekend while the SOBE Food and Wine Festival was ongoing (and where Kris Wessel was a participant chef). I learned a lesson years ago: don't try out a restaurant when the named chef (and the best assistants) are likely not to be in-house -- after all I'm usually going for their food, not just be be at the restaurant (boy was that driven home a few years ago when I had an over-priced and worse than fast-food meal plopped onto my table by a surly waiter at Barbuto in NYC when Jonathan Waxman was apparently away).

As with any business, sometimes the failures of the "second-line" aren't completely evident until they're temporarily in charge without being over-shadowed. Sorry you had that experience.

Best Frozen Pizza (not Trader Joe's)?

I have to eat gluten-free, so I haven't tried a wide range of frozen pizzas.. but, Against the Grain makes a delicious frozen pizza. The crust ends up crispy/chewy (not like the cardboard type crusts found on many frozen pizzas). They have a 3-cheese pizza that I "doctor" with toppings to suit my taste, and I brush the crust with olive oil and sprinkle it with rosemary and coarse salt for added flavor.

Ingredients are:

Tapioca starch, mozzarella cheese, eggs, tomato paste (vine-ripened fresh tomatoes, and naturally-derived citric acid), parmesan cheese, non-GMO canola oil, cheddar cheese, water.

Feb 15, 2015
karmalaw in General Topics

Arepas, papusas, gorditas, sopes, huraches, panuchos....

The secret to a really decadent arepa is adding shredded cheese to the mix (as you've already learned, of masa harina precocido). I don't use oil btw, I use butter. Also, let the mixture set for about 15 minutes after you've added the water and mixed to a dough (I use almost boiling water).

Jan 15, 2015
karmalaw in Home Cooking

Miami mega list: feel free to comment! (wall of text!)

It's not necessarily a bad thing -- it was a comment to his choosing Tap Tap because he wouldn't otherwise be in Little Haiti. however, Little Haiti is still not an area I would recommend most tourists to wander around in without expert guidance, especially NW 2nd Avenue and beyond.

Miami mega list: feel free to comment! (wall of text!)

Skip:

Chick Fil A (too long of a drive for mediocre fast food)
Popeyes (not the neighborhood you need to be in as a tourist)
Royal Castle (ditto on the unsafe neighborhood)

Walter's Coffee Shop is in the same shopping plaza as Asian Best -- it's a mostly vietnamese restaurant with nice, small asian market next door. Coral Castle -- a very unusual (and worth seeing tourist attraction) is further south on Dixie highway.

~~~~

In Little Havana I'd skip el Rey -- my personal favorites are El Nuevo Siglo (a freestanding market with a great breakfast/lunch/dinner counter). The daily specials (there are several each day) provide great cuban food and great value. Or Exquisto -- next to the Tower Theater (and a few paces west from Domino Park).

For Mexican - there's a great Michoacan taqueria at SW 12th avenue and SW 6th street -- just 5 tables and a 4 or 5 counter spaces... the tacos are superb, service great (splurge for the guacamole side to pile onto your tacos).

If you insist upon going to Chef Creole -- you will be the west side of Little Haiti.

La Patagonia is a simple little argentine restaurant -- but, it's also quite a distance with little else to recommend in the area (other than that the original Los Jugos is nearby). Closer is Rincon Argentina (which is very good) or Dona Paulina (a Uruguayan parilla) on SW 8th street -- roughly at 10th avenue (I have not been to this new location, the prior location was at 28th Avenue and smaller and a good bargain). Also at 10th Avenue is a very good Colombian restaurant called San Pocho (try the deep fried fresh fish).

My favorite fresh seafood restaurant, on the Miami River, is Casablanca (they started out as a seafood shack on Watson Island). I used to eat next door at Garcias -- but the last few visits turned me off: overpriced and mediocre.

ABC Kitchen, Perilla or something else?

I've been to Perilla several times and thoroughly enjoyed my meal each time (as have my dining companions) -- I haven't been to ABC -- but I love the warm feel of Perilla, the location, and I've found the service to be top notch to go along with the food.

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Perilla
9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

Jan 14, 2011
karmalaw in Manhattan

Help: solve the puzzle!

I see nothing on the Falai website or elsewhere that indicates that it offers a gluten-free menu. Do they have a gluten-free menu?

Many restaurants have little to no experience or inclination to properly prepare gluten-free foods.

Jan 12, 2011
karmalaw in Manhattan

Help: solve the puzzle!

Pala at 198 Allen Street just barely south of Houston has great italian food -- and the best gluten-free italian food I've had in NYC... They have regular, GF, and vegetarian items marked clearly on the menu -- I have eaten there a number of times with non-GF friends and they've all loved the food. Service is friendly and efficient. It's very reasonably priced IMO -- here's the regular menu:

http://www.pala-ny.com/library/pala_m...

There are also daily specials.

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Pala
198 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Jan 11, 2011
karmalaw in Manhattan

Gluten free

Risotteria is good when it's good, and nastily awful when it's bad, including a rude attitude of "we won't correct any problems". On my last visit there I was served a mediocre pizza (I didn't complain about it -- I accepted its slightly soggy crust and cold sausage) and inedible carrot cake. The carrot cake was dry and impossible to swallow unless you had a heavy oil-based lubricant for it - of which I had none. It had been recommended to me by the server. I explained (nicely) that it was dry and not edible (my dining partner concurred) -- and asked if it was possible to substitute something else. The answer was "NO". We went back and forth about it and I was finally told that if I wanted to do anything at all about it other than pay the $7 for it (our total tab was around $80 for two), that I would have to come back during the day to speak to the owner. I explained it would be better use of my time to just point the poor quality of food and service whenever I had the chance. :-)

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Risotteria
270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Jan 03, 2011
karmalaw in Manhattan

Gluten free

My favorite is Pala:

http://www.palapizza.com/

The gluten-free pizza is so good that I had to double-check with them that my order was indeed gluten-free. They use a dedicated fryer for the apps and other fried foods (I had delectable stuffed squash blossoms earlier in the Fall)... well worth a visit.

Lili's 57 (asian food) has a gluten-free menu -- the gluten-free tempura is a real treat:

http://www.lilis57.com/

I concur with Bistango -- it's friendly and has a nice menu and good food.

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Pala
198 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Jan 03, 2011
karmalaw in Manhattan

I'm having a problem

They eat more than goat (I've never seen them eat goat) -- it's a common mis-perception that they are vegetarian. I was taught to make momos by Tibetan monks -- and not only did they make them -- they ate them -- with gusto.. and they were beef filled, not goat filled. I've also brought Tibetan monks beef filled empaƱadas as gifts -- they were eaten with smiles (much to the amazement of the vegetarians). The Tibetan diet is vegetable poor -- not vegetable rich.. and it shows in typical Tibetan foods.

Dec 25, 2010
karmalaw in Food Media & News

Barbuto on Sat night - Any Must haves. Also need reco for drinks after

My must have would be a reservation elsewhere... I had dinner there last month and was completely underwhelmed. It was an exercise in attitudinal servers coupled with mediocre food. I had the roasted chicken -- the dark meat and skin were great -- the white meat was dry -- as in saw dust dry. I couldn't/wouldn't eat it -- when questioned about it by the servers (a second one came to ask about it after I told the first one that it wasn't edible) - their response was "Oh".

I didn't expect the chicken to be removed from my bill -- I'd eaten the skin and the dark meat -- but, I did expect some gesture other than "Oh".

The roasted beet salad would have been much nicer if there'd been more than just the wish of dressing on it -- it was bland otherwise -- save for the few sparse crumbles of goat cheese I managed to locate in it.

The chocolate budin was the highlight of the meal -- but, not worth the overwhelming din of the space, the mediocrity of the rest of the meal, or the attitude of the servers (supercilious, acted like it was our privilege that we were being served, etc).

Jonathan Waxman wasn't present . I would hope that things are much better when he's present -- perhaps you'll be lucky. But, there are too many good meals to eat in life to give Barbuto any more of my time or money.

Dec 22, 2010
karmalaw in Manhattan

Best Solo Dining in NYC

The chef's counter IMO is by far the better option -- you get to watch the action in the kitchen and not be overrun by anyone. It's my favorite solo dining spot in NYC.

Nov 10, 2010
karmalaw in Manhattan

Can't get a reservation anywhere....any suggestions in West Village/Village

Risottoria was horrid working its way to inedible the last time I was there (and they weren't inclined to do anything about it) -- so awfully so that I won't return -- despite them having many gluten-free items. La Pala (on Allen Street just below Houston) has much better pizza and italian food anyway -- so it's no loss for me.

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Pala
198 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Nov 09, 2010
karmalaw in Manhattan

Loroco Flower

They have jarred ones at the El Presidente Supermarkets. I haven't seen fresh ones -- BUT, if they exist they're most likely to be at the produce market at Bargain Town Flea Market on South Dixie Highway, south of the Cutler Ridge Mall.

Oh and The Pupusa Factory on Flagler at 19th makes a pretty good pupusa.

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Bargain Town Flea Market
24400 Packinghouse Rd, Homestead, FL

Should prices of specials be told up front?

I think some places count on people being too embarrassed to ask the price. I'd rather look intelligent for asking than a fool for overpaying. My preference is to patronize places that are upfront about their pricing rather than a place that wants to up-sell by subterfuge.

Jul 03, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

would you expect to be comped

No, I wouldn't expect to be comped. I would expect that they would be reasonable enough to let me have time to get to an ATM. IMO being able to use credit cards/debit cards is a convenience, not an absolute right. I always try to have enough cash on me to cover my tab in case of a problem.

Apr 27, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

acceptable "spur of the moment" vegetarian offering?

unless the father-in-law was in the kitchen cooking, I disagree. The OP already pointed out why no mention was made to the hosts. The question posed isn't whether the hosts should have seen to the special needs of a guest -- but, is instead, whether the restaurant responded aptly to the last minute request.

Without knowing what the server told the kitchen, it's impossible to say whether the server miscommunicated (and I've seen plenty of picky children order plain pasta) or whether the kitchen sent out the plain pasta to make the point that last minute special requests won't fare well with them.

Mar 21, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

Need a large Baking / Pizza stone.

go check out your closest Big Lots store (other other scratch/dent/closeouts store) -- I found my large Kitchenaid stone (fits one entire rack of my oven) for $20 there -- and it sits in its own rack with silicon covered handles.. it's quite nice -- and I love it.

Mar 21, 2010
karmalaw in Cookware

High Fructose Corn Syrup- Friend or Foe?

Another study was just released that indicates that High Fructose Corn Syrup may be a significant factor in Fatty Liver Disease :

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/boost...

Of note:

"Compared to subjects who drank the least fructose beverages, those who drank the most were significantly more likely to have the hepatic scarring that will more often progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer. And older subjects who regularly consumed fructose beverages showed more signs of liver inflammation. "

Mar 19, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

High Fructose Corn Syrup- Friend or Foe?

Your willingness to try to discredit what I experienced is unwarranted. Be that as it may, it might help you to understand better to place the meal in the perspective of the "one small, thin wafer" that caused the dam to break. I am, perhaps more sensitive than many people (my reaction to contact lenses that were cleaned in a thimerosal preserved solution back when such things were the norm was extreme -- it felt like someone had poured liquid fire into my eyes). But, that doesn't negate the mercury levels in certain foods and their cumulative effects.

See:

http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/me...

http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/me...

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/stor...

Mar 16, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

High Fructose Corn Syrup- Friend or Foe?

The possible mercury content is enough to keep me away from it. I have been avoiding HFCS for years... and after a bout with mercury toxicity (courtesy of one meal of way too much great tuna sashimi), I am sensitized enough to the mercury that I will break out in a red rash if I inadvertently consume some HFCS containing products.

See:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

Mar 16, 2010
karmalaw in Not About Food

KItchen Aid "Blue Willow" color: have you seen it? Need opinions.

And, people actually "see" and respond to color differently -- one person's "cheerful" might be another person's "overwhelming" or even "boring". And seeing a color in a small sample doesn't always give someone the full impact of the color (think paint chips). Add into it the environmental conditions (lighting plays a large role in color), and color becomes a very individualized choice.

Mar 15, 2010
karmalaw in Cookware

KItchen Aid "Blue Willow" color: have you seen it? Need opinions.

I have the Professional 5 Plus in the blue willow -- it's sort of a dusty cobalt blue with a slight periwinkle undertone... it's quite pretty. I think it's the most cheerful of the colors available now (the Artisan seems to have much more "fun" colors -- but, I vastly prefer the pro model with the lift bowl).

Mar 13, 2010
karmalaw in Cookware

Help! Pastry bottom stuck in stock pot!

1) try spraying the pastry bottom with compressed air (this will chill the pastry ring -- and some air just might get in to break the seal) while the pan itself is on a warm burner? Once it's chilled try to use the suction cup trick to lift it out?

Mar 09, 2010
karmalaw in Cookware

Rats to Roaches in Miami

Anyone else see this article in the New Times:

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shorto...

And are happy that they haven't eaten at any of the restaurants on the list?

Thoughts on South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2010?

you can expect to see me there :-) haha -- other than that, I know the primary focus is on wine, not food.

Thoughts on South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2010?

Red Light is at Bubble Q, not the Grand Tasting.. and Kris Wessel also cooked tonight with Daniel Boulud and Morimoto for the Haitian Benefit dinner at Tap Tap.

If anyone is headed to Best of the Best, I highly recommend Chef George Mendes of Aldea.. I've been to the restaurant during each of my trips to NYC.. one of his signature dishes is the Arroz con Pato (a crispy duck risotto complete with apricots).. but, don't miss the cuttlefish should you find yourself at Aldea in NYC.

Nena's Cafeteria, La Caretta, Luis Gandalias and Islas Carnarias

One of the best cuban restaurants is not on your list:

Habana Vieja
3622 Coral Way
(305) 448-4644

It's very old school and should certainly be on your list.

If you haven't been to the lunch counter at El Nuevo Siglo (13th and Calle Ocho) - that should certainly be on your list. Thursdays one of the specials is Quimbombo - -an okra, pork, and green plaintain stew that's quite delicious.

Lebanese!Middle East grocery-greater Miami?

My favorite is the tiny, but quite friendly and authentic Middle East Best Food at 1711 Coral way (a few doors west of SW 17th Avenue on Coral Way -- north side of the street).