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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

100 Montaditos

   
     You sit down, you look at the menu, you take one of the little papers and pencils provided on each table, and you write your own order... Gotta love it!
     Montaditos is an adorable place-  red walls covered in vintage photos of Spanish scenes in contrast to the severe black linear tables and stools.
     The menu indeed comprises 100 different mini-sandwiches (Montaditos) assembled with exquisite ingredients that include Spanish chorizo, Spanish omelette and Serrano ham (of course!), Basque sausage, garlic pork loin, smoked salmon, Manchego, goat and blue cheeses. The memory alone makes my mouth water.
 
     John ordered the pulled pork and Manchego and the Philly steak. I ordered the chorizo and Manchego and the blue cheese, bacon and arugula. John gave them his signature 'they're alright', but I found them tasty and amusing. However, we did agree that the sangrias were delightful. He had the classic and I had the cola sangria, two of several choices on the menu. Next time, I will definitely try the lemon sangria. We also agreed that the side of cheese fries we ordered was disappointing and unnecessary since the sandwiches came with chips.
   
     When lunch ended, my husband said "I wouldn't mind coming back just for sangria and dessert."  I will tell you why. They have dessert minis made with chocolate bread. They can be filled with your choice of Nutella and almonds, Nutella and Oreos, Oreos and whipped cream, Oreos and Hershey's chocolate or item #100, their top of the line, Nutella, whipped cream, almonds and Hershey's chocolate.  They had me at chocolate bread... and at Nutella.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Garcia's Seafood Grill & Fish Market

     Last week was a rough week, busy and stressful in a variety of ways. When the weekend finally arrived, I needed my fix. I needed to relax and look at any body of water available. Fortunately, in Miami there's many from which to choose.
   
     Garcia's balcony seating area looks right over the Miami River. The salty smell of fresh fish is inescapable. It beckons you as you enter the building and are welcomed by the bustling fish market. I worried that on such a hot day, I would have to sacrifice comfort for a water view, but the breezes were remarkably pleasant and made the humidity almost undetectable. I felt my cares glide away a little at a time with each yacht, fishing boat, and barge that sailed on the watery ribbon.
   
     Before you even settle in your seat, the servers slip small plastic cups filled with a creamy yet chunky seafood dip to be enjoyed with the generous baskets of saltines that live on the tables.
     The specials that day included Chilean or Black Sea Bass in cilantro and mango sauces. Their regular menu entices with selections of grouper, swordfish, dolphin, salmon, yellowtail— a treasure trove of aquatic denizens.
     Many items were intriguing, but both John and I opted for the dolphin (Mahi-Mahi), grilled with French fries for him, in Garcia's
classic sandwich for me with a side of plantain fritters. There is no question that the quality and freshness of the seafood is superb here, but the popular sandwich was not extraordinary in any way, and I hoped that John's dish would have a bit more sophistication.
     The customers around us were happily digging into overflowing platters of oysters and stone crabs, so I must conclude that their shellfish is a big draw. Watching them enjoy their lip-smacking experience made me a little jealous since I don't share their passion for edible crustaceans. It's a lovely, casual place, and the seafood is so fresh, it almost climbs onto your plate of its own accord, but next time I want to stare at the water and eat with the fishes, I'll head down to Sundowner's in Key Largo. Stay tuned.
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