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Adrienne Carmack

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  1. May I suggest the discussion forums on mothering.com? I don't have personal issue with this myself, but a lot of moms there do, and I believe you could get some really great advice.
  2. In the US, it depends on which state you live in. In Seattle, I could buy raw milk in the grocery store. In Texas and North Dakota, I think you'd have to do a cowshare to get it.
  3. Portage Bay Cafe - they specialize in local, organic food, and it was quite good when we went - and reasonably priced
  4. I'm actually about to move from Seattle to Miami. Maybe I should have one last Cuban meal before I go. My favorite Cuban place is Puerto Sagua, on South Beach. I think it's around 5th and Washington. It's a cheap hole-in-the-wall, but I think it's great. And the only place I've had Miracle Fruit is also at the Fruit & Spice Park, and I was only offered it on one of my five or six trips there. Though they always let me sample numerous other fantastic fruits (if you go, make sure you go on a guided tour). In Key West, I love Bahama Mama's, especially the coconut shrimp with rum dipping sauce.
  5. I have heard from reliable friends that Sage has excellent French food. Enjoy your trip!
  6. My husband and I are going out to eat by ourselves for the first time since our daughter was born. We've been holding on to a set of cote du rhones, one white and one red, to enjoy at a French restaurant in Miami that we really like, Palme d'Or. My husband took an intro sommelier course and their sommelier taught one of the classes. The sommelier said that if we came to dine at their restaurant, they'd waive the corkage fee, which is a big deal for us because money is tight and we'll enjoy a much better meal if we don't have to pay for wine. So, we called and he agreed that they can waive the corkage. That sommelier, however, is off the night we are going, and is going to speak to the other sommelier about this. In addition, my husband asked if he could taste the wines and recommend dishes to go with them, and he said he will ask the other sommelier to do this. So, what is the proper etiquette in this situation regarding tasting and tipping? Or any other things we need to know and don't? Thanks! adrienne p.s. my husband's course didn't teach about working as a sommelier, despite its name - it was a class about wine
  7. I have eaten at a couple of good, inexpensive restaurants on Key Biscayne - not sure if that's what you're looking for, but they are Sir Pizza, a good little pizza place, and the Bayside Hut, a nice fish place on the water. The Rusty Pelican is a more pricey restaurant, and I have only eaten there once, but recall it being good. A friend who lives on the island said they have a very good Sunday brunch. There is a steak place called Linda B's (sp?) that is supposedly good, according to my friend. And my friend says the Ritz has an Italian and a Mexican restaurant. He has eaten at the Mexican restaurant and says it is very good. They apparently have a free salsa/guacamole bar on Sunday nights that he really enjoyed. Hope this helps! adrienne
  8. If you want stone crabs or fresh seafood, I would suggest Captain Jim's, around 130th and W Dixie Hwy. It is a fish market with a great inexpensive restaurant. I'm definitely an amateur when it comes to stone crabs, but they taste like pretty good "specimens" to me. I agree with others that Timo is quite good. There is also a good restaurant in that area (on the mainland) called Chef Allen's that you may want to look into. I've certainly enjoyed the food there during spice month, and they always have a chef's tasting menu that sounds great.
  9. Some friends of mine have raved about a French restaurant called Sage. It is modestly priced and quite good, according to them. It is BYOB - used to be no corkage, but now I think it's $10 a bottle now. And there is supposedly a wine shop adjacent to the restaurant. My husband and I have been meaning to try it with them one day, but haven't had a chance yet.
  10. All 3 of my favorite not fancy good local food restaurants are closed on Sundays. Any cuisine you had in mind? Cuban, seafood, ??
  11. I love the Fruit and Spice Park. Make sure you go for a tour, as you said. They pick fresh fruit and you get to taste it right off the tree, which is, in my opinion as a foodie, a fantastic experience. I have had tons of fruits there that I can't get anywhere else. Unfortunately, I always seem to go in the spring and have never made it during another season to try different fruits (when family usually visits, I guess). Visiting the Fruit and Spice Park is probably one of my favorite activities in South Florida. I've even been to one of their cooking classes, which was also quite fun. Robert is Here is neat, if you're down there anyways. They do have fruits that my Miami Publix doesn't sell, like mamey and custard apples. And their shakes are very good. Hope you have a great time!
  12. I like Puerto Sagua on Washington Ave, around 7th Street, I think. Seems authentic to me, given the ethnicities of the employees, and tastes similar to the Cuban food I've had in restaurants and cooked by co-workers. You'll of course find great Cuban food in Little Havana, too, but Puerto Sagua is convenient and quite tasty.
  13. I'm trying to use up as much food in my fridge, freezer, and pantry as possible cause our house is being exterminated soon, so I thought I'd throw together a rice pudding without a recipe. I mixed milk, rice, cardamom pods, cinnamon, almonds, and dried apricots and was surprised to see that my milk had curdled when I went to stir it about 5 minutes after I'd started it. I assume it was the apricots. I knew lemons curdled milk, but wasn't aware of anything else. Do any other dried fruits cause this problem? Anything else? I am sure I've made rice pudding before with dried apricots in it. I've started the "recipe" again without the dried apricots (cause I don't have any more) and it seems to be working fine. I think I'll stir in some fresh figs instead of dried fruit this time.
  14. Thanks, Steven. I really enjoyed your book and gave a copy to a foodie friend as a gift. In particular, the sushi part came in handy, getting me some very excellent service, and one-on-one lessons from the sushi chef at my favorite fish market/restaurant (which, unfortunately, closed the sushi bar a few months after it opened because of inadequate business). One question - how do you actually request a sommelier's help? Every time my husband or I have a question about the food, wine, or a combo, the waiter answers our questions very confidently, making me think that we shouldn't need the sommelier. And how about if we bring our own wine - is it appropriate to ask that someone taste it and offer food recommendations? And who should you ask? The chef, sommelier, waiter?
  15. Timo last night. It was my first time there; my husband used to go frequently with his job for Friday lunches and always raved about them. I've been wanting to try it for a while - actually, their regular menu looks fantastic and I hope to go back for it after Spice Month(s). Apps were a fettucine with shrimp that was quite good, and a tomato and arugula salad with lots of thin sliced manchego cheese that I really enjoyed. I have been on a salad kick since I got pregnant and this definitely fulfilled that need. My husband did the wine pairings, which was $25 extra. A rose was served with the appetizer, which I sipped and wasn't really impressed with, but he liked it with his fettucine. For the entrees, we both had the pork loin. Thankfully, the waiter warned me that it was spicy and accommodated my request to make it not so. The pork was perfectly cooked, and mine was not spicy at all (as I requested), while my husband's had a nice kick to it. It was served with spinach, artichokes, and kalamata olives, which made a nice accompaniment, although the strong flavor of the olives kept me from being able to eat them all. The wine was a Spanish grenache that was really nice with the pork. Desserts were a roasted peach with a mascarpone cream served in a soupy sauce with a little scoop of peach sorbet, and with some crunchy crumbled lady fingers on top. It was delicious. The other was macadamia nut ice cream with caramelized bananas, a coconut sauce, and macadamia brittle - also fantastic. Served with a sweet, honeyed dessert wine that was very good by itself. My only disappointment was the bread - the focaccia just didn't taste good to me (though my husband liked it) and the sourdough was too chewy. The cracker-style bread they served was very good, but I prefer risen breads to crackers. Overall, a very nice experience with good food and service, definitely a place I will go back to after spice month.
  16. Today, we went to Mark's for lunch. We've had great experiences there over the last 2 years for dinner and were not disappointed. The courses were all items off of the regular menu. We had one of each, the salad and clams for appetizers, which were both tasty, the salmon with pea risotto, which was perfectly cooked and had a delicious beurre rouge on the side, and the chicken with spinach and gorgonzola, also perfectly cooked. We both had the molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert, which was beautifully presented and tasted just as great as it looked.
  17. Went to North One Ten for dinner last night. The web page states to call for their spice menu as it changes daily, which we did, and they promptly ran through the menu with us. It was our first time there - the environment and menu were very nice. Overall it was a very solid experience. All of the spice menu items were basically regular menu items. Appetizers - He had the steamed white river clams, which he really enjoyed. I had the mushroom-stuffed mushrooms with a chayote slaw in a BBQ sauce. They were fantastic, tasted very meaty. Entrees - He had the roasted duck with dried figs, gorgonzola, etc. It was quite tasty, reminded me of a Thanksgiving turkey with the fixings. Unfortunately, he didn't chose the right wine (the duck was not as heavy as he anticipated), but it was still good. I had the basil crusted mahi with mashed sweets. Alone, the fish wasn't very flavorful, but eating it with the sweets was very tasty. Dessert - I had a mango sorbet with strawberries, just cause I was in the mood for something light. He had one of the best cheesecakes we've ever had, a mascarpone-ricotta crustless cheesecake. It was only about an inch high but otherwise looked and tasted like a cheesecake without a crust. It was delicious. Would definitely recommend this for a good spice experience, I'm sure the other menus will be good as well judging from their other regular menu items.
  18. Went to Azul for lunch on Monday. It unfortunately did not meet the expectations I had based on last year's experience, though the food was really pretty good, and the entree was exceptional. The main problem was the service - last year, I had a fantastic waitress, we were given an amuse bouche, then our three courses, then complementary chocolates that were all fabulous. This year, no extras, and the waiter forgot to bring the tea I ordered. Not what I'd expect from Azul. For food, I had the gazpacho appetizer, which was good, though a bit acidic. The shrimp toast wasn't great. 2 co-workers had the ceviche, and they both raved about it. One of them is from Peru and said it was very authentic and great. Another had the calamari and seemed to like it well. 3 of us chose the flounder entree, which was fantastic. It was a very southern style meal, which you don't see much in Miami. Another had the wild mushroom pasta, which was good as well. Desserts were good, though one of my friends saw mold on a raspberry so had to send hers back. The chocolate tarts were very good, as was the caramel-coconut ice cream. Not a bad experience, definitely worth $20, but a bit disappointing for one of Miami's best restaurants.
  19. First one - Vix for dinner last night (Sunday). We chose this to be our first because I've been there several times and loved it, but my husband was never able to go with me. They had a very extensive menu, with four choices for starters and appetizers and 2 for dessert. Last year, they only had a lunch menu, which was great, but difficult to get to for lunch Monday - Friday. This year's menu is dinner every day but Thursday, and much extended from last year. When we arrived, the waiter actually brought up the change and said they had been disappointed last year (no need to be) and were very excited about this year's menu. Check out the menu on www.miamirestaurantmonth.com Bread - the house bread is an Indian nan, very traditional, served with a yogurt mint sauce, a raisin cashew sauce, and a peas and paneer sauce. All were excellent, the bread was perfect. Starters - My husband had the Mediterranean palette - basically a salad of mixed greens with lots of arugula on flatbread with shaved pecorino and parmigiano and a nice light dressing with truffle oil. My husband thinks he doesn't like vegetables and salads, but ate this one up. Paired nicely with the tempranillo by the glass. I had the Indian palette (would have gone for the ceviche if I wasn't pregnant) - a delicious mango soup with light Indian sauces served with 3 crispy puri on the side, each with a little dollop of yogurt, some spices, and chickpeas. I scooped soup up in my puri and the flavors were fantastic together. Since I'm sticking with nonalcoholic beverages, I had the mandarin orange vanilla iced tea - fantastic and much better than the usual water or plain iced tea I've been getting stuck with. The waiter said the calamari salad was his favorite and that the ceviche was very traditional - if we go back, I'll try the calamari. Intermezzo - a palate cleanser - we were given a plate and directions to first eat the blackberry off the spoon (which was salted) and then squirt the spiced pineapple juice from the pipette into our mouths - worked wonderfully - my husband had ordered a tempranillo to go with his salad and a riesling to go with his appetizer and was a bit worried, but had no problems tasting the wine after the palate cleanser. Entrees - He had the India palette - a very traditional plate. Actually, the best Indian food I've had since I was in India. The chicken was very spicy and paired well with his Riesling. The rice was flavorful. It was also served with a very tasty traditional dal and spinach with paneer, as well as a bit of yogurt. The portion was described by the waiter as the largest of the four - he was right, my husband couldn't even finish it. I had the Latin palette - salt cod and beef were both excellent and matched well. There was a beautiful roasted tomato full of hot juice and a great crispy fried plantain that tasted wonderful with the beef. The mojo citrus sauce was excellent. The waiter described this as the smallest of the 4 choices, but it was plenty of food for me. The other 2 choices sounded fantastic - we'll have to go back to try the duck and risotto. Dessert - He had the pannetone with sabayon and nectarines. Again, he thinks he doesn't like fruit, but ate almost all of this. The sabayon was full of muscat. I had the cherries with vanilla cardamom cream. This was a big dish of wonderful custard that again reminded me of India. The waiter explained that they did not have bing cherries, so substituted some other kind (they were golden). They tasted great in the dish. After this, I had the tarragon strawberry sorbet it was served with, which was full of tarragon flavor and really nice after the heavy custard. My husband also loved the sorbet and ate half of it. Finally - chocolate lollipops. The waiter explained that they send a recipe to Switzerland and that the chocolates are sent back. We were given a choice of dark chocolate with lime, milk with bitter orange, and white with something I can't remember. We shared a milk and a dark - both were very nice. Overall, a fantastic spice experience. It was a wonderful meal with great service that paralleled the quality of non-spice menu meals I've had there. The final bill with tip was $111 for the 2 of us.
  20. It's my favorite time of year again! I'm entering my fourth season of Spice Month(s) here in Miami and plan to attack it efficiently and cost-effectively, now that I've had some experience. We have had a range of experiences, from some of the best gourmet dinners to the worst - irritated waiters and completely changed or limited menus. I'm going to post my dining experiences as they come up - I've made myself a list of the places with the best menus and where I've had the best prior experiences and hope to do one a weekend. Please post your experiences as well! www.miamirestaurantmonth.com Bon appetit!
  21. The Epicurious article is a great idea. I'm pregnant, and went out for a nice meal for the first time last weekend (I just became interested in food again). I'm not avoiding wine so much because of fears about the baby, but because it will probably upset my stomach and really just doesn't appeal to me much these days (although I find myself looking longingly at my wine cabinet more and more often). I asked what non-alcoholic drinks they had, and it was basically iced tea or fruit juice. Thankfully, their iced tea was of good quality. And they did have a fine decaf coffee. The problem is that most non-alcoholic drinks have very high sugar contents and a lot more calories than wine, not something I want. The good thing was that my husband was able to afford an even better glass since I was abstaining
  22. Of the coffee places I've tried, this has been my favorite - http://www.theroastedbean.com - I've ordered coffee in the store and via the Internet and had great results with both. Perhaps you could call and speak with someone knowledgeable about "what beans are good right now".
  23. Agreed. Not sure that Texas has a "state pie" but the pecan tree is the state tree. No key limes there, though.
  24. My father is a police officer, so congrats! He always ate at Sonic, though. It was convenient for him since he could stay in his car while he ate. I'm in Miami, so have a few favorites. I've mentioned them in other threads already. Burritos Grill - a fantastic Yucatan style restaurant with about 4 tables inside, plus a bar that faces the grill, and then 4 more tables outside. Owned and run by a married couple from Mexico, who are fantastic chefs. Great homemade salsa, guacamole, burritos, TAMALES, mole, and more. And then for the freshest, cheapest sea food, Captain Jim's. Excellent food, great complementary crab salad. But Rachael Ray went there already. I've also lived in Nashville and Boston and have a few favorites in those places as well...
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