Sunday, May 27, 2018

Getting ready...

Count down...minus 31 days and counting...First culinary trip.  Ireland.

Can't wait to explore the food, the people, where my ancestors came from.

I think this will broaden my horizons as a chef.  See how other chefs in different countries interpret the same ingredients.

I come with eyes wide open and hope this trip helps me to become a better chef and that I come away different ideas for my catering company.

It is all about growth.  You can never stop growing in life, professionally, spiritually, intellectually.

Be inspired, and be the best you can be!

Sum of the Parts....

Some restaurants hit at every level.  It is emotional, it is energizing, it is delicious, it is comforting, it is unforgettable, he service is great, the ambiance is marvelous and food is out of this world....You get the point.  Some only hit a few notes, some strike out and some gently touch most if not all.

I am always looking for standouts in every city I visit.  I want that true dining experience that encompasses a city.  When you say, name your favorite restaurant in every city, you have a name or more.  Well I have been to Miami dozens of times and quite honestly no restaurant ever resonated with me there.  It was all very blah.  Nothing memorable.  I knew a city of that size had its gems, but I needed a local to help me out.  I called my nephew who is in the process of getting his law degree down in Miami.  He is from West Palm but now lived in Miami with his lovely soon to be bride.  I told him he had to help me out.  He had to find a place that was Miami, something you can't get anywhere else in the states, something unique.

He proceeded to ask me what kind of cuisine.  I said, I would guess something seafood related as we are surrounded by water.  Made sense to me.

He asked to give him some time.  An hour later, he called.  "I've got it!" he said.  "I haven't been here but it has been on my bucket list for the longest time!"


Light bulb moment. Why yes, Joe's Stone Crab!  Why the hell didn't I think of that place.  Miami's oldest running restaurant.  Iconic South Beach haunt. A place that celebs, politicians and the common man collide over the seasonal stone crab.  Man I was pumped.  This is what I was looking for, a true legend, a unique food, in a great part of the city.

The place is a food palace.  Located in the trendy and fashionable South Beach, Joe's occupies almost a city block.  It is old world but still hip.  They don't take reservations so we met up with our family an hour before they opened at 10.30 am.  There were already people waiting.  No one cared, it was beautiful day and we were all hungry for the experience.  The waiters were attired in real retro suave wait jackets and bow ties.

These waiters work 9 months of the year and have 3 months off when the restaurant closes.  They do so well that they have enough dough to carry them though the downtime, Very cool. 

You feel you like you were transported in time back to the days of the swinging 20's.  It has that vibe.  It is formal but not pretentious.  The service was very warm, affable but professional.  They struck the perfect balance.  They had been trained well.

The menu was quite small and not too pricey, except for the stone crabs that are worth their weight in gold. One of the interesting menu items was the half fried chicken for $6.95.  What a deal.  Joe believed in having something anyone could afford on the menu.

I had the crab cakes and stone crab claws.  Some at our table ventured out to Lobster Rolls and Crab Salad. 

The stone crab was the real scene killer.  Fresh, lush, sumptuous.  Their famous dipping sauce was like a remoulade and very tasty.  The crab cakes were light and very nice. 

We indulged and had their key lime pie.  Great crust, tangy filling, delicious.  The food was very well executed.  The whole experience was just great.  I will definitely be back and would recommend it to all.  It is one those special places where the whole experience is better than each part, but when you bundle it together you end up with a great experience.