Tag Archives: Miami

South Beach Bringing the Heat

As you can see, or so the title implies, “Miami” is still stuck in my head.  Damn you Will Smith and your catchy lyrics.  And as the song plays on, so do my Miami posts.

Night two in Miami could have been a total disaster.  I mean, where is there to go after the magnificence that is Casa Tua but downhill?  But Michelle Bernstein saved the day, or night really, with Michy’sMichy’s is a modern bistro in North Miami Beach, about 20 minutes away from South Beach.  Michelle Bernstein is a celebrated Chef, winning the James Beard Award in 2007 for Best Chef South.  She has also been featured on the Cooking Channel, which is how I found out about the restaurant.  I knew the moment I saw the Deep Fried Apple Pie A La Mode, featured on Unique Sweets, that it was a dessert I could really sink my teeth into.  So, with high hopes, and an empty stomach, I visited Michy’s.

To start, we ordered the Peruvian Style Ceviche, with the Seafood of the Day, Ginger, Lime, Chilies, Corn, and Sweet Potatoes.  The Ceviche was clean but flavorful.  The ginger and chilies added an element of heat to the cool dish.

The Creamy Polenta with Truffle Poached Egg and Bacon Bits was a clear choice from the get-go.  This is the best polenta I have ever had, and yes, I understand the weight I am putting on this dish.  The moment my fork perforated the egg, it exploded into the smooth polenta.  The Bacon Bits should actually be referred to as Bits of Bacon, since they in no way, shape or form resemble the imitation Bacon you find in the Supermarket.  They only enhanced the already delicious dish.

As a palette cleanser, if you will, we ordered Kumamota Oysters, petit and flavorful gems.

The Duck Confit was not your typical duck confit at all.  It was crispy, and served along a Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad, tossed in a Sicilian Blood Orange Marmalade and mustard vinaigrette.  I enjoyed the Duck Confit, but I loved this salad.  I found myself repeating the ingredients over and over so I could replicate this dish at home.  (Stay tuned; there just might be a Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad in your future).

The Sautéed Prawns and Handkerchief Pasta with Fava Beans, Kale and Seafood Nage was a favorite of the table.  Here’s your fun fact of the day: a Nage is a flavorful liquid used to poached delicate foods (shrimp in this case).  The liquid is thickened with cream or butter.  The large noodles were delicate but sturdy enough to hold the vegetables.  I liked this dish, but what I really enjoyed the most was being able to point out the ingredients used to make the Nage.  Thank you French Culinary Institute.  This Bite-Sized Blonde is forever indebted to you.

The Short Ribs Falling Off the Bone, which is actually what they are called on the menu, was served over a Parsnip Potato Mousseline, Natural Jus, and Roasted Root Vegetables.  It was hearty and rich, but not enough to make me forget the dessert I had been waiting for all night.

Deep Fried Apple Pie A La Mode.  More like A La Amazing.  The first thing you notice with this dessert is the great, big sphere of milky vanilla ice cream, speckled with pieces of toffee.  Yum, but even more yum when paired with deep-fried apple pie.  Sure, you could really deep fry about anything and it would taste good.  But good is just not good enough to describe this dessert.  The deep-fried dough is crispy as can be and the warm apple pie filling is luxurious.

What a way to end Miami…on a sweet note!

6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, Florida

Party in the City Where the Heat is On

When I think about Miami, I think of palm trees, night clubs, and of course, Will Smith…I mean how can anyone not love that song, or love to hate it at least.  (Apologies now if you are still singing this song at the end of the day.)

Palm trees and night clubs are great, but never do you hear someone say Miami has great food.  Miami is just not a front-runner is the culinary world, and no, I am not hating on Miami because I hate on the Heat.  (Let’s Go Knicks!)

Don’t get me wrong, Miami has great restaurants, just not that many.  They are hard to come by without a little hard work.  And lucky for you, this Bite-Sized Blonde did all the hard work this weekend.

My first stop in Miami was Casa Tua, which means “your home” in Italian.  This hotel, which is really more like a private residence, has only five private suites.  I didn’t stay here, but I did have the privilege of dining in the restaurant.  Yes, you heard my correctly, PRIVLEGE.  This restaurant is special, and you feel that the minute you walk into the lush garden terrace.  The restaurant is designed to feel like you are in someone’s home; it is adorned with photographs and bookshelves piled high with books and trinkets.  Even the menus are special, decorated with personal photographs for an intimate feeling.

I would be remiss not to mention the enormous open kitchen that embellishes the dining room.  Although I didn’t sit in front of it, I had a pretty good view; Cameron Diaz and A-Rod were at the table next to me.   While this Bite-Sized Blonde might not be a celebrity, I was certainly treated like one.  The service was outstanding.  Our waiter, well versed in the menu, helped us pick a perfectly hued Rose and well as a number of exceptional dishes.  He made sure they were stacked so we could savor each and every one.

We started with The Branzino Carpaccio with Pink Grapefruit and Toasted Hazelnuts, which was enhanced by crisp scallions.  The carpaccio was everything that carpaccio should be, light, refreshing, and delicious.

We also enjoyed The Grilled Octopus with Borlotti Beans, Celery and Red Radish which was tender and creamy from the beans.  The celery and radish added a unique element of texture to the dish.

Spinach Salad is usually something I stay away from in a restaurant with endless options.  But as it was a recommendation, I decided to ignore my initial instincts and give it a chance.  Boy am I glad I did. This spinach salad was anything but ordinary, with prosciutto, fresh figs, fried red onion and balsamic dressing.  The spinach, along with a few sprigs of basils, was cut into beautiful ribbons, mixed with the fresh figs and fried onions, tossed in the balsamic dressing, and then wrapped up in the prosciutto like a beautiful present.   Gosh, I love an early birthday gift.

The Casa Tua Tuna Tartar was prepared more like a beef tartar, with olives and capers.  It was an interesting take on a classic dish.

The Tagliolini with Maine lobster and fresh tomatoes was a dish I couldn’t pass up, and do you really blame me?  The sauce was sweet which complimented the succulent lobster so effortlessly.

For the grand finale, we ordered the Grilled Waygu Skirt Steak with Baby Cipollini Onions and Roasted Mini Sweet Bell Peppers.  The juicy meat was smoky and woodsy from the rosemary yet sweet from the onions and the peppers.  When such a simple dish has such complex flavors, you know there’s a great chef behind it all.

Casa Tua is a great restaurant, and not just for Miami.  This restaurant would be successful in New York and Los Angeles.  You know why? Because exceptional food, outstanding service and a warm atmosphere are like love, universal and hard to come by.

Casa Tua
1700 James Ave
Miami Beach, FL