First Watch…The Daytime Cafe

It seems as if my family is always on the hunt for new breakfast/brunch places. We try our best to eat “somewhat healthy” during the week, so naturally, when we wake up on the weekends, the first words out of my husband’s mouth are “where are we going for breakfast?” Because of this I am always on the lookout for new restaurants (thanks Instagram). Last weekend, we woke up very late so that immediately limited many of our breakfast choices in town. I decided to search on Yelp and came across First Watch (a chain with 15 locations throughout South Florida and over 200 locations throughout 29 other states). The name is a nautical reference to the first work shift aboard a ship as First Watch restaurants are only open from 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM. I had never heard of them and the one here in Miami is in the Blue Lagoon are, which we rarely frequent, so this was all new to us. Well, we were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the place is pretty large, so there was still ample seating even with the social distancing of tables. They seemed pretty busy, but since we got there around 1PM, we only waited 5 minutes for a table. All items are made to order. The restaurant does not use heat lamps or deep fryers, only the finest ingredients possible for the freshest taste around. Also make sure to try one of the yummy freshly squeezed juices.  A kids menu is also available.

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We started with the Holey Donuts, cinnamon sugar-dusted cake donut holes served with chocolate sauce and mixed berry compote for dipping.  I know that doesn’t sound too healthy but we just had to try these, and it was worth it! Then hubby ordered his usual waffle with eggs and decided to try the million dollar bacon (four slices of their signature hardwood smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle). I ordered the avocado toast, with 2 eggs, and a freshly squeezed orange juice.

donuts

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avoado toast

The restaurant also makes delicious fresh salads and sandwiches for lunch, take a look at all these goodies (all photos courtesy of First Watch):

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Cobb Salad

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Ham & Gruyere Melt

Market Veggie

Market Veggie Sandwich

And here are a few more delectable breakfast items:

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Floridian French Toast

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Farmhouse Hash

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Frittata Rustica

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

We will definitely be back!  Which dish appeals to you most?

First Watch Cafe
5799 NW 7th Street
Miami, FL 33125
Open Daily: 7am – 2:30pm
Closed on Thanksgiving & Christmas
786-605-5050

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Honey Uninhibited

Searching for a new brunch place recently, my husband suggested we try Honey Uninhibited. Owned by former Florida Gator Carlos Dunlap, Honey is one of the latest eateries to open up in the Brickell Avenue district of Miami.

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Outside of restaurant

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Entryway to the restrooms

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Doorway leading into the kitchen

The menu is mainly comprised of Dunlap’s top soul-food picks, many of which are a result of his eating experiences throughout his extensive travels. I ordered the “Challah Berry,” (nod to Halle Berry), challah bread French toast, strawberry ricotta cheese stuffing, strawberry compote, Chantilly cream, raspberry glaze and mixed berries. This was more dessert than breakfast!

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Challah Berry

My husband had the waffle topped with Chantilly cream and chocolate chips (you can choose from a number of toppings on the waffles and pancakes). Other breakfast yummies include the Red Velvet square pancakes, served with chocolate chips, strawberry mascarpone, Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries, as well as any of the “Bennies” or various other egg dishes.  And if you’re in the mood for lunch, look no more.  The menu offers many items such as the Uninhibited Burger and Truffle Mac-N-Cheese (you can add either chicken or lobster). Naturally, honey is on all tables as the go-to condiment. This is a great place to experience in a large group so you can order many of the items and share. Take a look at some of these delectable dishes.

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Waffle with Chantilly cream and chocolate chips

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Truffle Lobster Mac

Truffle Mac-n-Cheese with Lobster (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Braised Short Rib Benny

Braised Short Rib Benny (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

chickem benny

Sweet Chick Benny (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Have you been to Honey Uninhibited? I would love to know what dish you enjoyed most!
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Bachour Miami

You can say my family definitely has a sweet tooth and we are always on the hunt for a new dessert place. We recently picked up some pastries and sweets at the amazingly exquisite and delicious Bachour, located in Coral Gables (they also have another location at the Time Out Market in Miami Beach). Bachour opened in the spring of 2019 by master pastry chef Antonio Bachour (read more about him here). Not only is this place gorgeous from the moment you walk in with the beautiful flower adorned front door, but the actual desserts, aside from being delectable, are such a work of art, you almost feel badly biting into them! Bachour also offers unique brunch items (guava and cream cheese pancakes) and a contemporary American menu featuring a full-line of viennoiserie, egg-based dishes, tartines, sandwiches, salads and main courses. As far as the bakery items go, I couldn’t even begin to choose which are my favorites. I have never been a huge fan of macarons, until I tasted these and fell in love and the alfajores are amazing! My husband is addicted to the dulce de leche croissants.  Something for everyone. Take a look:

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The entrance to Bachour

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So hard to choose…

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Coconut cheesecake

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Bon bons

guava and cheese pancakes

Guava and cream cheese pancakes

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Amazing selection of croissants

Spanish Scramble

Spanish Scramble; scrambled eggs, Serrano ham , manchego cheese , crispy Serrano ham , confit tomatoes , toasted sourdough, my favorite breakfast item!

more desserts

Delicious!

bolognese orecchiette

Orecchiette Bolognese

strawberry shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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Yummy macarons

alfajores

A family favorite, Dulce de Leche alfajores

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We bought an array of new goodies to try, including guava bonbons!

We love Bachour and will definitely be visiting again soon, especially because they also offer outdoor dining during these Covid-19 pandemic times. Have you been to Bachour? I would love to know what you liked most.My Signature

Pink Lemonade Pie Squares

Summertime is my favorite time of the year, for many reasons. One of them being, refreshing, summer desserts. I love lemons and anything related to them such as, lemonade, key lime pie, lemon squares, you name it. I recently came across a very easy recipe for frozen pink lemonade pie squares, and can I tell you, they are amazing.  All I had to hear was cream cheese, condensed milk, cool whip and Oreos…I was sold! So sweet, yummy, light and refreshing. Anyone can make them.

Ingredients
22 Golden Oreos crushed

1/2 stick butter softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces frozen pink lemonade concentrate thawed
8 ounces Cool Whip
Red food coloring

Instructions
Mix together the crushed Oreos and butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan. You can also just use a graham cracker pie crust if you prefer, but the Oreos make it different and delicious.

In a mixer, beat the softened cream cheese for about 2 minutes until it is fluffy and smooth. Add in the sweetened condensed milk (as usual, I added an additional 1/4 can), pink lemonade concentrate and red food coloring (only 4 drops, I made the mistake of using too many and mine came out dark pink) and mix it well. Fold in the Cool Whip using a spatula.  Don’t mix it with the mixer or it won’t be fluffy. Pour this mixture over the crust and freeze for approximately 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Should look like this:

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I love easy recipes and you can’t go wrong with this one. Have you ever made frozen lemonade pie?  I would love to hear how you make it.My Signature

Mini Bacon & Cheese Meatloaves

Meat loaf is a staple for dinner in our house, we all love it and I have been making it quite often during this quarantine time. A few days ago we were getting pretty bored of all our usual dinner meals, however, I didn’t feel like going food shopping or inventing something new to cook. So, my daughter went on Supercook.com in search of some new recipes. This is a website (and there are many other similar ones) that will provide recipes for you once you input the ingredients you have at home, very convenient. That’s how we found the Mini Bacon & Cheese Meatloaves (as usual I made my own adjustments to the recipe).  The best part is how easy they are to make and they are delicious too!

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
4-5 slices of bacon
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of Goya Adobo seasoning
1/2 an envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine beef with remainder of ingredients (except bacon slices).

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Mix until well combined. Your mixture should be firm, but, not too dry. Adjust bread crumbs to form mixture to your liking. Form meat into 4-5 individual loaves. Wrap a single piece of bacon around each loaf. Spread tops with additional shredded cheese to your liking.  My daughter and I love cheese so we decided to add some extra.

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Place on baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until meat is done and no longer pink. The final product should look something like this:

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Serve with mashed potatoes, mac and cheese or steamed vegetables and you have a tasty new way of enjoying meatloaf! Have you ever made these mini meatloaves? I’d love to try some different recipes if you have one.

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Cuban-Style Arroz con Leche

Growing up, my grandmother was the queen of Cuban desserts. I have a tremendous sweet tooth so I know good desserts when I taste them and I have yet to find anything remotely as delicious as my grandmother’s Arroz con Leche (rice pudding, my favorite), Flan or Natilla (and I live in Miami, where Cuban bakeries and restaurants are a dime a dozen).  Hers were simply in a league of their own.  Sadly, I don’t have my grandmother’s recipe, so being my perfectionist OCD self, I decided to google Arroz con Leche recipes and found one that I really liked and made a few adjustments. I know there are many recipes out there that only use cow milk, however, I cannot imagine making this dessert without condensed and evaporated milk. This recipe is super easy to follow and will make for a very sweet and creamy Arroz con Leche.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of short grain rice

2 cups of water
Zest from one lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 14 oz. can of condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Ground cinnamon for garnish

Cook the rice in a saucepan with water, lemon zest, and a 2 cinnamon sticks. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until the water is mostly absorbed and rice is tender. Drain any excess water and remove the cinnamon sticks.

Add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, salt, and vanilla extract to the rice and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness. Should start to look like this:
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Remove from heat and serve in smaller jars or bowls for individual servings if you wish. Top with ground cinnamon and chill in the refrigerator overnight (some like to serve it warm, I prefer it chilled). A delicious refreshing summertime dessert!
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Have you ever made homemade Arroz con Leche?  I would love to know if you have a different recipe?My Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strada in the Grove

My favorite type of food is Italian, always has been. I am always trying out new Italian places everywhere I visit. Thankfully, living in Miami allows me many options. My husband is not big on dishes with creamy sauces or cheese (don’t ask), however he loves seafood so he always finds a nice fish dish to enjoy. Miami has many amazingly delicious Italian eateries, however, Strada is one of my favorites, from the marvelous food to the side entryway, which reminds me of many restaurants in Italy, to the friendly wait staff. Its sister restaurant/pizzeria, Farinelli 1937, located directly across the street, is another great eatery in Coconut Grove, also not to be missed.

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Side entryway of Strada

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Interior of Strada

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Sitting outside in the evenings. Photo courtesy of Strada.

At first glance it’s hard to choose from so many amazing dishes, but here is what we started with:

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Ricotta cheese and prosciutto appetizer, delicious!

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Fried calamari

Then on to the main dishes.  I ordered the pumpkin agnolotti which I always order here, it is amazing (I am a creature of habit), and my husband ordered the salmon.

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Agnolotti di Zucca al Burro e Salvia
Homemade roasted pumpkin and amaretti agnolotti in butter sage sauce.

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Salmone al Ginger
Grilled marinated fresh Atlantic salmon, crunchy ginger and carrot salad.
Served with green beans and potato gratin.

For dessert we ordered the panna cotta, one of my all time favorite Italian desserts, and it was delicious.  Just the right texture too.  And it came in a cute tiny mason jar to boot:

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Panna Cotta served with fruit.

You basically cannot go wrong with this place.  All of the dishes we have tried have been excellently prepared and the ambiance is fantastic, located in Coconut Grove, with outdoor seating available as well. Makes for an enticing evening out.

Have you dined at Strada?  I would love to hear what you enjoyed most…

Strada in the Grove
3176 Commodore Plaza
Miami, Florida 33133
(305)444-1312
http://www.stradainthegrove.com

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OH MY GOSH! Brigadeiros

What is a brigadeiro, you may ask? A brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert, a popular chocolate treat named after the Brazilian hero, Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes. Brigadeiros are made of condensed milk (the main ingredient, now you know why I love them), cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles covering the outside layer. They are also referred to as bon-bons, truffles or fudge balls. A few years ago, Luciano Brilho, a young American-Brazilian entrepreneur opened up the first Oh My Gosh! Brigadeiro boutique in Miami, Florida (there are now 2 shops). My daughter spotted the place one day as we were driving (hard to miss all the pink) and decided we should check it out sometime. We weren’t even sure of what they sold, as we had never heard of brigadeiros. Boy am I glad we stopped in. Not only it is adorable but the brigadeiros, as well as some of the other items they sell, are all delectable.

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Oh My Gosh! Brigadeiros location on Coral Way in Miami. (All photos courtesy of OMG! Brigadeiros)

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The outside of the Coral Way location on the corner.  You cannot miss it!

The “Oh My Gosh” is their signature flavor and easily the most popular.  It has a creamy condensed milk center wrapped in a milk chocolate coating covered in chocolate pearls. However, my favorite is the White Milk brigadeiro, but it’s hard to choose a favorite. These are the available flavors:

new flavors
They also offer small cake jars, several types of cakes, coffees and shakes, all very delicious. I was also very impressed that during this crazy quarantine time, they were offering chocolate Easter eggs, which I unfortunately did not order in time, however I was able to order a tray of varied brigadeiros to surprise my family for Easter yesterday.  Take a look:

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Small cake jars

shakes

Yummy shakes

dulce de eche capuccino

Dulce de Leche Cappuccino

Eggs

The delectable Easter eggs

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Super cute wrapping too!

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The brigadeiros I ordered for Easter came with a cute Easter tag as well

If you are ever in Miami you must stop by and visit this place. You will not regret it.  Have you been to OMG?  I would love to hear what you liked most!

My Signature

Coral Way Location:
2205 SW 23rd Avenue
 Miami, FL 33145
305.456.8378

MiMo Location:
6912 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33138
786.817.2132

info@omgbrigadeiros.com

Monday – Thursday: 11AM – 7PM
Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 8PM
Sunday: 12PM – 8PM

Homemade Dulce de Leche

During this quarantine time, many of us have taken to cooking to keep busy. I am not much of a cook, however, I do enjoy baking.  I decided to try and make homemade dulce de leche.  Dulce de leche is one of the most popular desserts originated in Latin America. However, its name varies greatly from country to country. In Argentina, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica it goes by the name of dulce de leche. In Ecuador, Chile, and Panama it is referred to as manjar. Peruvians and Colombians prefer arequipe, while Mexicans and Nicaraguans use the name cajeta. I am Cuban, and ever since I could remember, before dulce de leche became a thing, most Cubans simply called it leche condensada cocinada (cooked condensed milk). Dulce de leche for us was actually another dessert made from curdled milk and sugar (also delicious).

Dulce de leche can be eaten by itself with a spoon straight out of the can (my favorite way), or it can be spread on toast or crackers, as a topping for ice cream, on pancakes or crepes, etc. Many of you have probably seen dulce de leche cookie, cheesecakes and ice cream recipes all over Pinterest.  It’s all very yummy (my entire family loves alfajores!)

Most folks make dulce de leche in the pressure cooker or in a crock pot. However, I have always been scared (actually terrified) of the pressure cooker and after hearing how the cans may explode and such, I finally decided to make it a much simpler way, using a water bath.

Take a look at all of the delicious desserts you make with dulce de leche:

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Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 425°F.

2) Pour the contents of the sweetened condensed milk can into an 8×8 pie pan and cover the pan tightly with foil.

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3) Fill a larger roasting pan with enough water so that it goes halfway up the sides of the 8×8 pan, which will go inside the larger roasting pan.

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4) Bake for 1.5 – 2.5 hours, or until you reach your desired caramel color. Check to make sure that the water is still halfway up the side of the pie pan, checking every 45 minutes or so to add more boiling water if too much has evaporated. Take the pans out of the oven and uncover the pie pan. Stir the dulce de leche until smooth. It’ll thicken a bit while cooling. Cover and store in the fridge.

It should look like this:

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Have you made dulce de leche?  How do you enjoy eating it?

My Signature

Root & Bone Miami

A few months ago, we tried out a new restaurant, Root & Bone, located in South Miami. I must admit I was a bit skeptical at first, as unfortunately restaurants (event some really good ones) do not bode well in this area.  However, I was intrigued and decided it to give it a try after seeing the crowds on a few occasions. The restaurant was created by Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, owners of several other amazing eateries, including Root & Bone in NYC.  Root & Bone boasts a delectable southern-inspired menu, serving options such as tea brined fried chicken, shrimp and grits, lobster pappardelle, and cast iron seared yellowtail snapper. The restaurant also offers a weekend brunch (I have yet to try) which includes banana cream pie waffles, shrimp and grits, savory “everything bagel” waffle, the avocado toast and short rib meatloaf and eggs, just to name a few. A children’s menu is also offered for the kiddies, as well as, a full bar, craft cocktails and beers, a Bloody Mary cart during brunch and a Whiskey/Bourbon cart at dinner. I also love the décor, full of southern influences (drinks served in mason jars), makes you feel as if you’re dining in a modern, yet cozy farmhouse.  The restaurant also offers outside seating.  Take a look:

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Here are some of the dishes that we had for dinner (we had a tough time deciding):

Gooey Sweet Corn Spoon Bread – Cast iron baked spoon bread, cheddar & buttermilk cream, heavenly, but I love cornbread so I am a bit biased!

gooey corn bread

Sticky Pork Belly Bacon – Spicy bourbon maple, benne seeds & sea salt

pork belly bacon

Mac & Cheese – Big pasta, crunchy cheese & biscuit herb crust, this was my favorite dish!

mac and cheese

Barbecue Bruleed Spare Ribs – Smoky & burnt brown sugar crusted ribs, pickled fresno chilies & tangy barbecue, this was my husband’s favorite dish.

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 Have you eaten at Root & Bone?  I would love to hear what you enjoyed most.

My Signature

Root and Bone
5958 S. Dixie Highway
South Miami, FL 33143
786-785-1001
rootnbonemia.com

LUNCH
Mon-Fri | 11:30am to 4:00pm

SUPPER
Mon-Thu | 4:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri & Sat | 4:00pm to 11:00pm
Sunday 4:00pm to 10:00pm

WEEKEND BRUNCH
Sat & Sun | 10:00am to 4:00pm