Happy New Year and Welcome to 2014! What better time to launch this blog than the beginning of a fresh new year?
I want to begin with a disclaimer: I am not a chef, or a critic, or work in the food industry in any way. In fact, I don't think I'm even a great cook, although I love to play in the kitchen. What I am is a lover of the dining experience... all of it. For me and for my partner in mischief and adventure, my hubby John, the food must be tasty, but presentation, service and surroundings are important factors that influence our emotional responses to the meal.
Also, I promise that my intention is to chronicle, not review, our experiences as we visit different eateries, from the diners and dives to the frou-frou establishments, and hopefully you will read something that sparks your curiosity for the place or a dish. Having said that, please remember that observation leads easily to opinion, and opinion is laced with judgment. Thus, a critique is born, so I expect that my observations will sound as critiques. For that, I apologize in advance.
That business out of the way, I can tell you about our New Year's Day lunch at George's. It's one of several trendy places in the South Miami area that fill up with night-lifers to enjoy the various evening entertainment events, but on that early afternoon, the glass doors were wide open which made the entire place feel like an outdoor restaurant, and the patrons were mostly young families. The temperature was in the mid-70s so it felt quite pleasant. The décor consists of a carefully balanced blend of Buddhist iconography and dance club ornamentation (love the huge disco ball!). It works.
After we were seated and greeted with complimentary Mimosas, John ordered the Fish and Chips and I chose the Croque Monsieur. The table bread, toasted French baguette strips, John's fish and both our sides of fries came in cute tin buckets. His fish was a bit bland, but it came with a homemade tartar sauce that had a rich subtlety to it. John's not into tartar sauce, so he had to salt the fish.
I once had a recipe for Croque Monsieur that I attempted with little success, but the idea of grilled ham and cheese with bechamel sauce on brioche bread is so tantalizing to me, I decided to try one made by professionals. It wasn't bad, but the bechamel was so unassuming, I had to peak under the bread to make sure they hadn't forgotten to include it. The greens on the side were dressed with a surprisingly delicate mustard vinaigrette.
Now, I'm leaving the best for last, as dessert often is. We shared a Chocolate and Hazelnut "Kit-Kat" Bar. Simply put, this was nothing but layers of heavenly deliciousness- a moist yet textured cake bottom, topped with hazelnut truffle brownie, topped with chocolate mousse, and crowned with a hard chocolate sheet drizzled with caramel and powdered sugar. This dessert made the somewhat presumptuous price of the meal almost worth it, not to mention the nice detail of having the waiter consistently visit our table to refill our Mimosa glasses with more champagne. Like John says, "They keep bringing it to me, I keep drinking it."
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