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

 

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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

 

Josh’s Deli – Surfside, Miami, Florida

joshchickensaladcloseupDo not be fooled by the understated façade at Josh’s Deli. Take a step inside and you’ll find yourself in what looks like a really hip hidden garden: soft lighting, rustic wood tables, hanging vines and walls lined with photographs. It’s  like a bit of Brooklyn in Miami with all the great trimmings of a chic New York eatery offering a wholesome deli menu with an ingenious twist.

I have always been a fan of a good all American chicken salad sandwich. This  was even better than anything I had tried before: juicy shredded chicken mixed with plump raisins, smoked chopped onions and a touch of a delicate foie gras reduction —-what a touch! This delicious concoction was generously served on rustic rye bread with some mustard, fresh kale and a slice of tomato along a side of tangy coleslaw and a pickle, all for $10.95. Of course, there was some secret ingredient  in the light and creamy dressing that I couldn’t put my finger on but  I’ll be back for more until I figure it out!

My friend Tamara was equally delighted with the Tricky Ricky sandwich: turkey, prosciutto, duck and brie cheese on toasted rye for $13.95.  This delicious alternative to the classic Croque-Monsieur was made with a slightly spicy chipotle and truffle dressing – exquisite! 

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Along with the great food come great drinks like  the  refreshing veggie juice  made with kale, cucumber, beet and carrot for $6.95. For those more adventurous,  there’s  a Sake Bloody Mary and a Mimosa for $7.95 each.  Of course, there are more classic items on the menu like wine, beer,coffee and cappuccino and Josh’s also offers a more extensive menu for brunch on weekends.  Starting October 23rd, dinner will also be served and every thursday will be pizza night  featuring a variety of pies made Josh’s way.  I can’t wait to get a taste!joshhimself

 

 

 

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Josh’s Deli

9517 Harding Avenue

Surfside, FL 33149

(305) 397 8494

http://www.joshdeli.com