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Adrienne Carmack

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Everything posted by Adrienne Carmack

  1. If you don't find any great grocery stores nearer you, the Whole Foods in Aventura is great. It's around 205th St. It shouldn't be more than 15 or 20 minutes away for you. They really have great meat and cheese selections.
  2. Sounds good. I live in N Miami and am not aware of it. Do you know the address, or at least the approximate cross streets it was near on Biscayne Blvd?
  3. My favorites (I live in N Miami) Fishmonger - Captain Jim's - have bought all kinds of seafood here, including sushi-grade tuna. Also has a very good restaurant. Closed on Sundays. Always very fresh and lots of selections. Cheapest stone crabs in Miami, as good as they are anywhere else. Located on W Dixie Hwy around NE 135th St. Specialty Laurenzo's Italian Market - W Dixie Hwy and NE 163rd St - excellent Italian selections, great wines, olive oils, good meat, very nice farmer's market across the street Le Estancia Argentina - very good meat - there is one on US1 in N Miami and one in Coral Gables Produce I usually buy this at Laurenzo's or Whole Foods (around NE 205th St) or The Fresh Market (around NE 170-180th on US1) Meat The best I've had is from Whole Foods or the Fresh Market - I can usually get whatever specialty thing I want from there. La Estancia Argentina and Laurenzo's also have very good selections. There are some good kosher butchers in the area according to my friends, but I haven't tried them. Cheese I like Whole Foods cheese selection. There is supposedly an excellent cheese shop on US 1 around NE 70-80th (recommended to me by an Italian), but I never have looked it up or gone. She said they have the best buffalo mozzarella around. Laurenzo's also has some very good cheeses, lots of fresh fetas and mozzarellas.
  4. I've been there a couple of times and really liked it. I thought the menu was creative and tasty. My husband was working for a wine broker last year and they had their holiday party there. His company provided the wines and they did a great job pairing them. Everything was really spectacular. I have some other foodie friends who think Norman's is the best restaurant in Miami, but one of my friends cannot stand it. Go figure.
  5. I finally made the cake again. I picked up the chocolate that looked good to me, a dark chocolate from Belgium. I melted it in a double boiler (about 0.4 lbs) and stirred in 6 oz of butter. This is what the original recipe called for, except also for 1/4 c of water. I left the water out. It made a delicious frosting, not really a glaze. It was very easy to spread on, but didn't come out perfectly smooth (which I don't really care about). It tastes great, so I'm happy. Thanks everyone for the discussion!
  6. How about Sage (I think that's the name)? My friend's refer to it as "the French place". We keep trying to go there with them but something always comes up. It was popular with them because there was no corkage and it was byob, but I think now it's $15 a bottle (much better than most places in Miami, still). Anyone else enjoy the place?
  7. My favorites down there: Cheap - La Puerta Sagua - on 5th and Washington, I think. Excellent cheap Cuban food. I love the ropa vieja and plantains. Pizza Rustica on Lincoln Road - fantastic selection of pizzas Great outdoor breakfasts - Front Porch Cafe - Ocean Drive and around 12th I have friends who love the News Cafe - food's not bad, beer's cheap, and the view is fantastic. On Ocean and 7th or 8th, I think. Moderate to Expensive - Escopazzo - Washington and 12th - excellent gourmet Italian - our anniversary favorite Mark's - in a hotel that I can't remember the name of, sure you can find it easily Ultra-Expensive - Vix - at the Hotel Victor - upstairs is a smaller version with the same ceviche selections - probably also great but cheaper
  8. My dad used to date a woman who was paralyzed on one side. She was a very good cook, but of course had perfected her techinques over years. The one gadget I remember her using was a cutting board with a big nail sticking up in the middle - she could put whatever she was chopping, like a potato, onto the nail (maybe it was 2 nails?) and then do the rest one-handed. Might be worth it if you'll be in the cast for a few weeks.
  9. When my friends and I were about 14 years old, one of my friends would always sneak in a bag of potato chips under her shirt. She certainly looked pregnant with it, but no one questioned her. These days, I always eat before and I like to make sure my bladder is completely empty before going in. I don't think I could enjoy a beer at a movie. I'm one of those people who hates movie interruptions - I like to hear every word and I don't want to have to leave to use the restroom!
  10. I've only been to two places, and my experience with Cuban food is limited to those two, but they're both quite good to my novice palate. My favorite is La Puerta Sagua on South Beach. It is a hole-in-the-wall, excellent ropas viejas. Also convenient because it's across the street from a city parking garage (nothing like the rest of the South Beach scene). Versailles, the most famous Cuban place here, I think, is also good and seems to be frequented by Cubans. The restaurant is very good with a large selection. Next door, the bakery is incredible. They have excellent pastries and sandwiches. (They also make amazing wedding cakes.) The cafe con leche is great. Oh, I've also been to a place on Coral Way that was tasty, but the name is slipping me. At Versailles, the servers usually speak English, but I've mostly ordered in Spanish or by number at the other two. The menus have the English and Spanish together, so it's easy.
  11. I love the Islamorada Fish Company. The food's quite good and the atmosphere is awesome. I never have made it for sunset, when they supposedly feed the tarpons, but the tarpons are fun to watch when they're just swimming. If you need to stop in Miami for food, I recommend Burritos Grill Cafe. It's about 1-2 miles off of I-95, the NE 125th St exit. It's Yucatan style Mexican food and I love it! The Mayan burrito, filled with cochinita pibil, is awesome, as are the enchiladas de mole (a special, but they have them almost every day) and the guacamole. Salsa's great, too. It's a tiny place and their hours are a bit limited, so you may want to call if you're thinking about stopping - 305-891-1041. They have four tables inside, a short bar, and 3 tables outside.
  12. During the hurricane last year, my neighbor used her gas range to make instant coffee, which I drank for the first two of the 10 days without power, until enough places nearby got power back and started serving real coffee. This year, I will be more prepared for the hurricanes. I'll remember to use my car ac-dc converter to grind beans and will ask my nice neighbor to fill my carafe with hot water.
  13. I love Shiner. I'm from Texas and it's one of the first beers I grew to like - we always had kegs of it at parties. In Miami, I can find it very inconsistently. When I do see it, I buy it.
  14. I've been wondering about this recommendation for a while now. I've been baking for a long time, self-taught in self-defense, and I've always followed recipes with cups and tablespoons. I do own a kitchen scale, but I use it to measure stuff that's not already measured, such as my chocolate that's not in neat little squares or my produce, but never my flour. I would say about 90% of the baking I try works fine, just by following a recipe. I do measure everything the same way every time (ie, flour leveled off with a knife, brown sugar packed in tight), but don't do anything else special. I definitely have no motivation to take the time to weigh everything and convert all of my recipes. I don't know how I lived without my KitchenAid for so many years - I never thought I needed one, but I was given one as a wedding gift, and now I can't imagine going without it.
  15. I ask my servers lots of questions, but I can't recall ever actually talking to the chef about how to prepare something myself. The closest I came was asking for a recipe for an incredible olive oil pound cake, which was a perfect dessert, but of course the pastry chef wasn't there during dinner time. They told me to call back but I never followed through enough to actually call when she was there. I would probably feel like I was being too much of a burden to actually ask for the chef to come out of the kitchen to teach me how to do something. If they're good, the servers or sommeliers can usually answer most questions.
  16. I've found that the easiest way to get rid of grease is to save things like old big ketchup bottles or canola/vegetable oil bottles and dump the grease into them. When they're full, I just throw the whole thing in the trash. I'm sure it's not any more environmentally friendly, but it's the least messy way to put it in the trash. And if you're looking for good deep fried recipes, Emeril's recipe for fried eggplant on foodtv.com is super easy and is very versatile - I've used it for fish and other veggies like zucchini. I just use a deep pan, the kind with straight sides.
  17. On my dad's side, my grandfather always made the best red plum jam. We would go out as a family and pick the plums, then come back and I'd watch him cook the jam. He died 20 or so years ago, but my grandmother still lives in the same house. I have so many memories from that kitchen. Her greatest dish was her banana pudding - she would make the vanilla pudding in a double boiler and it was the best ever. I really need to get that recipe soon. I don't think she's made it in a while. When she and my grandfather would cook for us, we were required to have a slice of white bread with every meal. My mom's mom makes the best macaroni and cheese - a recipe I got a long time ago and use often. This post is a good reminder for those of us who can still get recipes to hurry up and do it! I'm going to email Mimi about the banana pudding now.
  18. Similar story here - my husband I will be in San Francisco in April and will probably only have one day to visit Napa or Sonoma. We can probably go down on Friday evening/late afternoon and stay through late Saturday. Any recs on wineries as above, and also on bed and breakfasts in the area?
  19. A wine I love and find very versatile is Van Durzer Pinot Noir - can't remember the vintage I've had for sure ('01?). Around $20-25.
  20. No, I didn't chop it very fine. I just put the block in a Ziplock bag and banged it with the flat side of my meat mallet a few times. I just ate the almond butter cake and the cake was great but the glaze was disgusting. Despite adding butter, vanilla, and some vanilla sugar to the Baker's, it tasted way too bitter. I had hoped it would taste good with the cake, but no. I ate around it. I definitely want to make the cake again with a GOOD chocolate glaze. Maybe if I just use the Valrhona in the same recipe with a double boiler instead?
  21. Hmmm... The end microwaved product certainly didn't seem salvageable (I did do an eGullet search for how to do this, but didn't have time to read through everything I found and see if an answer was there). Maybe I didn't use the right chocolate? I assumed the Valrhona was bitter or unsweet, but the dark version I bought was next to the milk chocolate, so maybe it was an "eating chocolate."
  22. I made an almond butter cake with chocolate glaze from one of my cookbooks tonight. I had some Baker's chocolate in the pantry, but wanted the glaze to be delicious, so I bought a big hunk of Valrhona. The recipe said to put 6 oz of bitter or unsweet chocolate pieces in a bowl with 1/4 c of water and microwave til melted, then stir in 6 tbsp of butter and some vanilla to make the glaze. It was only after I did this with my Valrhona and saw how it looked that I remembered reading somewhere that when melting chocolate in a double boiler, to avoid getting even a drop of water in it. My chocolate was a lumpy mess with muddy water floating on top. I ended up remaking the glaze with the Baker's chocolate, leaving the water out, and it looks like it worked fine. I did add some sugar because the glaze tastes like (of course) melted Baker's chocolate. The cake batter was delicious, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the final product! So, do I need to scratch out the part about adding the water in my cookbook, or is there some other reason why I had this problem?
  23. Talulah's is quite good - but I drove by it after the hurricane in October and it looked like their buiding suffered some major damage. Does anyone know if they're open now?
  24. I've been to Key West a few times. My favorite place is Bahama Mama's - their coconut shrimp with the rum sauce is awesome. My friends have had other great meals there. Blue Heaven is good and fun. There is a great crepe place on the opposite end of Duval from Mallory square - can't remember the name of it - it's a French place and has all kinds of delicious crepes. We always go there as well. On the way to the keys, my favorite is Islamorada Fish Company. (Around MM 80s, I think).
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