Southern Succulence – The Federal, Miami

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Buffalo Style Pig Wing

My first impression when I came for brunch was great. Everything about it: food, service and ambience. But when I came back for dinner, I was even more impressed. What makes a great restaurant? Ask the guys at the Federal!

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Jumbo Buttermilk Biscuit
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Heirloom Florida Tomato Salad

Nothing more inviting than good lighting and I don’t mean bright lighting.  It’s an essential element in the ambience of a restaurant and while you don’t want to be squinting to read the menu by a tiny candle light, you don’t want to feel like your dining in a dental office either. Lovely outdoor string lights and indoor soft table ones invite you to explore one of the most exciting menus in Miami.

This time, I had some friends visiting from Spain whom I did not want to disappoint.  I didn’t want them to badmouth American cuisine as Europeans usually do ” oh you guys eat mostly burgers and fries! Blah, blah, blah….I had to prove them wrong  which is exactly why I chose Southern.

We started with the Federal classics: a Jumbo Buttermilk Biscuit  glazed with apple honey  and sea salt for $6.00, the amazing Jar O’duck made with duck confit rillette( a variation of pâté), charred marshmallow fluff and candied sweet potato for $12.00. This one was a real treat served with  delicious homemade bread. The Buffalo Style Pig Wing for $7.00 was interesting: made of pork instead of chicken in a tangy sauce accompanied by a creamy blue cheese dressing…a little spicy for some but delicious nonetheless. That was just the beginning!

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Jar O’duc
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Country Corn Cake

We followed with the  Surf and Turf Jambalaya  for $22.00. According to the Paella connoisseurs at the table, it was outstanding! Chock full of gulf seafood, smoked chicken and Andouille sausage, this dish was an impressive southern treat for this group of Valencianos. For a light touch, we added the Heirloom Florida Tomato Salad for $12.00. A lovely bowl of garden goodness: avocado, shallots, hearts of palm, puff amaranth and Harpke family farm sprouts sprinkled with a good dose of queso fresco. Along came some Country Corn Cakes dotted with plenty of salmon caviar, herb crème fraiche and lemon zest for $14.00.

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Pannacotta Shortcake

To top off this southern feast, we had to have desert.  The Bourbon Bread Pudding made with Krispy cream doughnuts were pretty good. In spite of its rich ingredients,  it turned out to be quite light and the Panacotta Shortcake was a cloud of  fluffy deliciousness topped with fresh strawberries  and a good sprinkle of crunchy biscuit crumbs.

No complaints here, not one! I was sure my mission to impress my friends was successful as I heard my  friend Pilar say : “They’ve got to  open one of these in Madrid!”

The Federal

5132 Biscayne Blvd.

Miami, FL 33137 -Tel. 305 758 9559

http://www.thefederalmiami.com

 

Ticety – A French treat in Coral Gables, Florida

ticetysandwichWith tea being the second most popular drink after water, it’s no surprise a tea bar should pop up in Coral Gables. But this is no ordinary one. Ticety is a very chic and charming little bit of France on Miracle Mile where a great selection of organic teas are served, hot and cold, as well as gourmet sandwiches, salads and pastries that will have you coming back for more.ticetybeetroot

Beautiful decor nicely combined with an ever so relaxing atmosphere is truly inviting: a lush walled garden lined with comfy wicker swivel chairs and low tables with an open view to  the mile will, no doubt,  entice you take a break and savor some of the finest  teas ever concocted. From delightful green blends like raspberry or mint, to the wild rose white  blend or the island vanilla black blend, every brew is uniquely delicious..

There are many tempting  items on the menu like the Asian shrimp salad made with orange, lemongrass and spinach or the goat cheese foccacia made with tomato, basil and honey. I treated myself to the Copa bun:  small bites of a grilled  brioche-like roll with prosciutto, fresh burrata, avocado and basil served with  a side of greens and cherry tomatoes.  Exquisite!

Another great treat was the smoked salmon salad: a colorful serving of chioggia beetroot, asparagus and granny smith apple with a crunchy citrus dressing. An ever so light croque monsieur was made with Serrano ham, Parmesan cheese and a  touch of truffle oil.ticetycroque

To wash it down, nothing like the caffeine-free berry ice tea served in a lovely pitcher along with some agave syrup for sweetening. Not for me – it was perfect! For those with a  sweet tooth, nothing like the a nice  selection of fine pastries that includes chocolate and almond croissants, fruit scones, danishes and muffins.

ticety1As I enjoyed my lovely lunch, I noticed a particular attention to detail in every way: prompt and courteous service, eye catching dish presentation and a great atmosphere; very French in deed and a  true luxury in these days of coffee shop  chains and pre-packaged food. Whether for  breakfast, lunch or dinner, Ticety  is, by far, the most interesting place on the mile!  


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TICETY

206 Miracle Mile

Coral Gables, Florida 33149

(786) 280-2713

http://www.ticety.com

 

Kazumi Modern Japanese – Key Biscayne, Florida

kaz5When you are not in the mood for something heavy, where do you go for something light and really  fresh? A Japanese restaurant perhaps? Yes, a really good one like Kazumi in Key Biscayne.

It was late and we didn’t want to leave the island so we hopped onto the golf cart and went for a spin. Luckily, we stumbled upon a small  restaurant at the Galleria mall  that looked modern and sophisticated. Hoping the food would be along the same lines, we delved into a very interesting menu of both Japanese and Peruvian specialties:  sushi, ceviche, tiraditos and some small grilled plates of mostly beef, chicken and vegetables.  Some of the main dishes are grilled ribeye with truffle and ponzu sauce, pork belly and miso cod aside from their daily specials.kazasparagus

We ordered the delicate homemade vegetable gyoza served over a mildly sweet carrot puree. Rich in flavor, these small mushroom filled  dumplings are pan fried after they’re steamed, making them somewhat crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy inside for $8; no dipping sauce needed! The perfectly grilled asparagus was a  small order yet cooked to perfection, you rarely find asparagus cooked this well.

kazroll2The Buddah roll  was the best of its kind that I’ve ever tasted. Fresh salmon, cream cheese, avocado and tempura flakes wrapped  in soybean paper with a touch of spicy mayo that gave it a very light kick for $16.  The vegetable roll was equally fresh, loaded with shredded carrots, asparagus and cucumber for $15. Delighful!  Finally, a first class Asian restaurant on the Key. As the Japanese would say: Umami!

 

 

kazdumpKazumi Modern Japanese

260 Crandon Blvd Ste 16

Key Biscayne, FL 33149

(305) 361-2675

http://www.kazumirestaurant.com