Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mamma Mia!

Ahhh, Homestead... What can be expected from this rural mecca? Known for its vast fields of fruits and vegetables, as well as, acres of nurseries, little thought is still given to their current revamping process.

The once desolate area, has been increasingly booming with new residential developments, commercial restaurants (such as Chilis, Red Lobster and Olive Garden) and shopping plazas which include a Lowes, Walmart and the soon to be Ikea. It leaves one to wonder, how this will effect older establishments that are better known as the little wonders of Homestead.

While the architecture in most of this up and coming city is still drab and dreary, it is here where you will find these wonders which include palatial Mexican dining, Amish treats, finger licking BBQ dives and the sporadic yet, culture specific dine-ins (Chinese, Italian, etc.).

Matter of fact, it is here where you will find this off the side of the road and down a back alley, pride-fully Italian establishment; Mamma Mia Pizzeria. While the address might confuse some, this Collins Ave is not in South Beach.

Their bright red, white and green sign give light to its obscure location. It resembles a NYC eatery in the heart of the city, with its bright dining area and checkered table cloths. The light smell of garlic sifts through the air as you briefly wait for your server to attend to you. The menu is simple and full of traditional appetizers and entrees that would normally be served at an Italian restaurant.

As you wait for order, complimentary garlic rolls which are the size of my fist are served and like any well made garlic roll, the scent of garlic on your breath will linger way into the evening. Then your food is brought to you and one could barely refrain from their eyes popping out as they gaze at the size of their meal. Whether you ordered a calzone (which could easily be 5-6" long and about 2-3" deep filled with your choice of gooey cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and whatever else your heart declares) or their gnocchi parmeseana (covered with cheese and sauce that could easily give you a heart attack- but in a good way), their portions are enormous.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but when eating Italian, it's pretty much the sauce that makes the meal and their sauce easily gets two thumbs up. It's not too sweet, not too salty, definitely not watery or greasy and has a good consistency. Mamma Mia Pizzeria is a sure stop when in the area for some decent Italian. 


Mamma Mia PizzeriaL 538 Washington Ave, Homestead, FL 33030

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dim Sum- Touch My Heart

Touch my heart and make my belly happy!

There's nothing like the Chinese pass-time of Dim Sum. Dim Sum stems from an old tradition Yum Cha, which the Chinese observe as "tea time." Before the two had linked paths, it was once considered odd for food to be consumed while drinking tea. The Chinese believed that this kind of consumption would lead to unnecessary weight gain until they realized tea would actually help digest the food. Weight consciousness aside, I'm glad they made it part of their culture and are affluent U.S. has been able to get a taste of it. 

Normally an early morning to mid-afternoon snack (most places won't serve past 3:30PM), Dim-Sum can definitely be made a meal. With several bite-size yet delectably palatable treats, who could resist just having one of many? Mmm... variations of noodles with meats, chicken, shrimp or vegatable. The very thought of steamed succulent shrimp dumplings has my mouth watering. 

How I would love to visit China and sit as a guest with family during Dim Sum time. So far, the closest I've gotten to this is Jing Fong's in New York City. It's always on the top of my to do list every time I visit the NY. Being not much of a shy person, I often mingle with the regulars when I visit this not so little hole in the wall and they seem to be quite pleased with the cuisine. Jing Fong's is pretty big for NY's China Town; usually flooded with neighbors and local vendors on their break. Unfortunately, NY for me isn't a 3 hour drive (one I would happily make on any given day for some good old Dim Sum), but more like a 3 hour flight from my tropical city (Miami). Thankfully Miami is full of diversity and anyone could get a taste of practically anything they want down here. However, the search for some NY quality Dim Sum has been hard. 

 I've been to numerous Chinese restaurants throughout South Florida and had yet to find a place worth ranting about. Then I was introduced to this wonderful little palace of Chinese decadence in the middle of Westchester; Tropical Chinese Restaurant. Am I going to far? You can be the judge but I'm sure you would agree with me.

I must have passed this restaurant more than a dozen of times. Located in a little shopping plaza, I always thought it would have been some mediocre Chinese spot run by a Spanish speaking staff serving your run of the mill special fried rice and honey garlic chicken. Well, I was obviously wrong.

Now it might not have the same set up as Jing Fong's in NY, with a cluster of tables being circled by carts filled to the top with cartons of steamed or fried treats. However, the decor is charming, the service is great and the food will still come to you by cart; you just a get a little more space and intimacy with your table. As you skim through their elaborate and daring menu of Chinese cuisine, the first page of Dim Sum is a heavenly display of dumpling and noodle combinations. My personal favorites are their "Har Gow": steamed shrimp dumplings, steamed siu mai, chicken pot stickers, fried shrimp wontons, and steamed beef tripe with ginger scallions. Ok, you can grab a kleenex now to wipe the drool off your chin; I understand completely! As if that weren't enough, their jellyfish salad (yes, real jellyfish mixed with crisp cilantro) and szechuan muscles and scallops are to die for!

Just talking about this has me craving and tempted to beat the afternoon traffic down Bird Rd. Dim Sum is definitely a beautiful thing. What is traditional pass time for my Chinese friends has become one of ultimate treats for me. 

 

Tropical Chinese Restaurant: 7991 Bird Road, Miami, FL 33155

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market: NY Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar

I wish I could be in NY this weekend...

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market is having their New York Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar. Right on West 39th Street, between 9th and 10th Ave, there will be various local vendors, designers, artists, tourists and these fabulous trucks prepped for a weekend of uber decadence.

This year's Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar will feature the following:

- Frites "N" Meats
- Rickshaw Dumpling Truck
- Treats Truck
- Big Gay  Ice Cream Truck
- Cinnamon Snail
- The Bistro Truck
- Calexico Carne Asada
- The Krave Truck

How much better can a weekend get?! I hope my NYer friends take advantage of the weekend fun!






Sunday, May 2, 2010 • 11am - 4pm


Enjoy the best cuisine and desserts from NYC’s famed gourmet food
trucks in one location, and the best vintage and flea market shopping at
Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
West 39th Street at 9th Avenue

www.hellskitchenfleamarket.com
For vintage shopping news and special events, follow us on
Twitter: NYCFleaMarkets
and on Facebook: HellsKitchenFleaMarket
http://www.hellskitchenfleamarket.com/foodtruckbazaar/

Food on a Stick

About a year ago, WomansDay.com came out with a list, "10 Surprising Foods on a Stick."

The list featured the following:

1) Deep-Fried Spam









2) Deep-Fried Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes









3) Octopus Tempura









4) Deep-Fried Tootsie Roll









5) Deep-Fried Mac-N-Cheese









6) Pizza









7) Deep-Fried Bacon & Fries









8) Deep-Fried Chocolate Cake









9) Livermush

 







10) Deep-Fried Cheese










Obviously a far stretch from the traditional, All-American corndog and candy apple. Food on a stick has come a long way. Whether or not Livemush would be appealing on-the-go, nevertheless, America's street vendors continue to get more creative.

This leaves me to wonder, aside from the local "pinchos" guy usually found on the exists of some Miami clubs, what other food on a stick do we have in our city?

If you can think of any, please share!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome Miss Olga Magic!

Nothing like a fellow foodie to share the joys of eating...

I would like to introduce to you a dear friend of mine, Miss Olga Magic.

Olga Magic is BMP's guest contributor.

This will be her first experience with the blogging world.

Olga, we all look forward to reading your contributions and sharing your experiences.

Welcome to Bless My Palate!

Buena Vista - Buena Comida

Who would have thought that love at first sight would transcend and manifest a unique French bistro in the heart of old-Midtown? A diamond in the rough some would call it, once first glance has skimmed through the bitter surroundings of its location. An easy spot to miss but all the better for those that have the fortune of its discovery. With very few choices for food in the area, owners Claude Postel and Clarie Bienvenu, have accomplished what they set out to do; establish a place in the neighborhood where people can get a good meal.

As you walk into the bistro, the aroma of fresh baked bread fills your chest while your eyes drift straight ahead admiring all the fine custard filled and fruited pastries. A slight glance to your left, would cause anyone's feet to gravitate towards their fresh meats and salads. But that's not all... literally, there's more than what meets the eye.



As if the endless possible sandwich and panini combos running through one's head weren't enough (I'm salivating over the idea of a fresh prosciutto and mozzarella baguette drizzled with olive oil); their menu encompasses a variety of French fare from Escargot a la Proven├žale and Grouper in Beurre Blanc to a more simple yet not so simple house tomato soup. 



Since it's opening, Buena Vista Bistro has become a popular spot for its surrounding locals from the regular faces, the nearby artists and ecclectics and those like myself, the occasional passerby.

Sigh... what a little love can do!

Buena Vista Bistro

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stir Moon under $10

What a treat last night! I was busy running around South Miami and the Grove taking care of some errands when 9 o'clock crept up on me. I would have probably kept going on about my business if the sudden urge for some Thai/Japanese didn't cross me. But, how could I resist? It was right there on the corner, eye-balling me and screaming "come in! come in!" 

I circled around back for parking and then it dawned on me that I couldn't walk into Moon Thai & Japanese wearing leggings, a tank top and sneakers during prime dinner time. As the smell of sweet terriyaki and curry slipped in through the windows of the car my stomach began to grumble. At least I thought I could have kept on going about my business. Who am I kidding? My stomach always wins these debates.

Considering my wardrobe, I decided to walk just two doors down to their sister-restaurant, Stir Moon. The crowd is a little more casual with the familiar faces of college students scattered about. The menu is a little simpler and significantly cheaper than Moon Thai but don't let that take away from the same great taste. The food and service is great. Plus, where else can you get a more than hefty serving of rice with terriyaki chicken and broccoli? Mmmm... Rice bowls under $10 makes the food even more appetizing! Maybe I'm just easily satisfied, but the convo with my Filipino server, Gloria made my dining experience all the more enjoyable.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Grand Opening of LIME in Downtown Dadeland

Quick to thought, my first impression of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill was here comes another chain of Tex-Mex. As if Miami and the rest of the U.S. didn't already have a glorious rendition of Mexican cuisine. From Taco Rico and Tex Rex to Baja Fresh it was easy to envision the traditional menu of salsa and chips, quesadillas, burritos and tacos with refried beans, low grade meat and sour cream slapped onto a plate or wrapped in wax paper.

When they opened their first restaurant in South Beach a few years ago my friends went quick to grab tacos and naturally they ranted and raved of this new spot. "The food is fresh and pretty good," was the report but all I could think was ok, sure it's new. I eventually found myself walking in to see what the buzz was about and as I expected nothing too far off from what I imagined the menu to be but they were right, the food is fresh and pretty good. 

With something similar to a traditional kitchen setup, the cooking is done right in front of you. I came to learn that the local spot runs off it's own community. Unlike a lot of other restaurants and chains, Lime's produce is delivered daily from local markets. There isn't left over guacamole or jarred salsa; everything is made fresh daily. This still wasn't enough for me to set them apart from the others. I needed something different and there it was...all to their own right, over 50 variations of hot sauces. From mild, sweet and tangy to a tropical chipotle fire. Did I mention, I love my condiments?! Yes, lots of sauces please!

My experiences with Lime since then have been exceptional and usually a spot I opt for when craving some non-traditional Mexican grub. Needless to explain my excitement when invited to attend Lime's Grand Opening in Downtown Dadeland. Finally some decent Tex-Mex in my newly claimed neck of the woods. 

The grand opening was quite the bash with nearly two (2) blocks full of attendees sampling their dishes, sipping on beer and their house margaritas. Seating was set up outside in between the blocks so guests can eat and enjoy the live band. Between sets, random guests would be serendaded by the hired mariachi band. 

All-in-all, it was a wonderful kick-off for their new venue and I could only wish them lots of success!



Mi-Kan Sushi Platter (Mahi, Salmon & White Fish)

One of my favorite places for a quick bite to eat on a work day. Mi-Kan Japanese Restaurant is a rather quaint location, often missed by passer-bys and tourists. It's most known by regular office tenants and locals in the Brickell Financial District. This a no-fuss, seat yourself or sit at the sushi bar venue where you can easily find yourself talking to the chef as you watch him cut your filet and wrap it with rice and seaweed. While there's really not much to the decor, the lunch hour is packed with power suits and the occasional local reading the daily paper. 

The food is fresh and made fast. You can have your miso soup, house salad with ginger dressing and choice of roll, sushi platter or bento box and be out on your way out the door in 30 minutes. How great is that? Oh, and did I mention the price per value is up to par too? Their most expensive dish barely grazes over $15.

If you're ever in the area, pressed for time and want some good sushi, make sure you check them out.

Mi-Kan Japanese Restaurant : 80 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33131

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Welcome!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out Bless My Palate!

As the site progresses, I hope to share with you my many experiences and discoveries with various types of food, cultures and locations.

I believe food is more than just for eating; there's an experience for every dish. 

Feel free to contribute your own experiences and share your favorite spots either around town or around the world. 

Hope you enjoy!

Bless My Palate