Dim Sum at Hakkasan, Miami Beach

hakvegThe last time I dined at Hakkasan was in 2009, the year it first opened at the ritzy Fountainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach. I remember the wonderful ambience and the courteous service, and yes the food was a delicious cornucopia of Cantonese cuisine.

This time, Dim Sum brought me in on a cool sunday afternoon. I couldn’t resist a tempting price fix menu of $28 that included a sample of three steamed dumplings, three pan fried dumplings, one entrée, a choice of  vegetables and a choice of *char sui cheung fun (bbq pork rice noodle roll), wild mushroom *cheung fung (rice noodle roll), spring onion egg fried rice, steamed jasmine rice or wonton noodle soup.

Pork *shui mai (dumpling), a snap pea and shrimp dumpling and a Chinese chive prawn dumpling were the steamed offerings.While the chive and prawn dumpling was tender and flavorful, the pork one was chewy and tasteless.  As a matter of fact, none of the meat dumplings were worth biting into, neither steamed nor pan fried, not even the deep fried  chicken puff.hakdumplings

For the main course you could choose from the BBQ platter, the smoked ribs and char sui (bbq pork) and the stir fried chicken.  We all had to choose the same entrée so we picked the stir fry which was absolutely delicious; tender morsels of breast meat with mushrooms, crispy snap peas,  and crunchy bits of Chinese yam.

hakchickenThe only problem with this dish was its size. It was  too small, more like an appetizer for three people. When asked if it was the right portion, the waitress replied ” that’s what the chef consider’s the right amount to be”. Ok, jut don’t call it an entrée!

The scallion fried rice was light and fluffy. The vegetable side was a lovely medley of perfectly cooked asparagus and thin strips of fried tofu in a sweet Szechuan sauce, the best dish on this Dim Sum menu. Aside from the steep prices and the somewhat snooty staff, Hakassan’s ambience and decor are worth peeking into. Just make sure you order from the regular menu and hope the entrées will really be what they claim to be!

 

hakbarHakkasan

4441 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach, FL 33149

(786)276 1388

http://www.hakkasan.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!  


ticety2

 

 

TICETY

206 Miracle Mile

Coral Gables, Florida 33149

(786) 280-2713

http://www.ticety.com

 

Swine – Coral Gables, Florida

brisket

Swine: the name says it all ! Once you pass through its door, you’ll feel like you’re somewhere in the deep south like Alabama, Mississippi or Georgia. Tall wooden shelves stacked with chopped lumber and  jars of pickled “everything”, a warm lit long communal table in the center surrounded by  individual ones upstairs and downstairs, somewhat reminiscent of an old southern beer hall.

lightspickled

An extensive menu of mostly swine in its various barbecued forms.  I picked the 1/2 lb  14-hour smoked brisket that was melt in your mouth delicious, served with South Carolina stoneground  grits for $28.  Side dishes such as mac and cheese, made with 5 different types of cheese, bacon and a crusty herb  top for $10, were still that: mac and cheese .Alternatives for those who don’t eat meat are just a few but well worth a try like the shrimp with grits.  When first served, the Florida pink were overcooked but  quickly replaced with a delicious fresh batch that made this dish a very comforting one, in spite of the Virginia ham bit overload.

shrimp&gritsStarters such as the fried green tomatoes and the kale salad were spot on.  Four slices of crunchy fried green tomatoes served with arugula and shavings of Manchego cheese for $13.   Seasoned with a cider vinaigrette, the kale salad came with apples and raisins and delicious, of course, cornbread croutons for $13.fried green tomatoes

The dessert was a refreshing bite called slice of heaven, a homemade pie made with rich raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice-cream dusted with chopped hazelnuts on a sweet crust for $9.

All in all, Swine is a great take on the very best in southern cuisine we desperately need down in Florida. Whenever foreigners criticize American food, I always respond: You haven’t tried southern!

pie

 

Swine

2415 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables, FL 331

786 360-6433

http://www.runpigrun.com