WHISK Gourmet

So, I finally got to eat at WHISK Gourmet. I had been hearing about this amazing restaurant, and was dying to try it out, but they don’t take reservations for parties smaller than six, and they’re usually pretty busy (they won’t even sit you down until your entire party is present). WHISK is owned by Brendan and Kristin Conner, a brother and sister team, who started the business in 2007 as a catering company in Coral Gables. The catering company evolved into a restaurant over the next few years and they relocated to South Miami in 2011, making it a true neighborhood restaurant. They have really put this place on the map, but it’s quite tiny, so you just might miss it if you’re not familiar with the area. Parking can be difficult, as it is throughout most of Miami, but don’t let this keep you away.

WHISK Restaurant

WHISK Restaurant

We recently went on the off-chance of getting a table on a Thursday evening, and we got lucky. First, I love the decor. It’s a cozy little restaurant that makes you feel as if you were in any other town, but Miami. Whisk has a certain charm and warmth to it and the atmosphere is very welcoming (oh yeah, and they serve their drinks in mason jars, my kind of place).

I wasn’t sure what to order, as everything sounded delicious, true southern comfort food. We started with their freshly baked warm Homemade Cornbread served with scallion-honey-buttercorn…yum! Then we ordered the Butternut Squash Soup and the Fried Green Tomatoes, as they are quite popular, and now I know why. Being a huge fan of pork, hubby had the Pulled Pork Sliders served with honey cider slaw, mustard barbecue sauce, and house pickles. I ordered the Lump Crab Cake served with sautéed spinach, crispy shallots and corn relish.

Warm homemade Corn bread and Butternut Squash Soup

Warm homemade Corn bread and Butternut Squash Soup

Fried Green Tomatoes & herb buttermilk dressing

Fried Green Tomatoes & herb buttermilk dressing

Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Sliders

Crab Cake

Lump Crab Cake served with sautéed spinach, crispy shallots and corn relish.

Everything was delicious but we definitely took some home, as the portions are generous, and we made sure we left room for dessert. All of the desserts sounded heavenly, and in addition to the variety of desserts (which I believe changes quite often to keep the menu fresh and exciting), they offer a daily homemade cake (Sweet Annie’s Slice of Cake), which ranges from guava to plain vanilla, but they are all delicious and moist. Luckily for hubby, on the day we went they were also serving coconut bread pudding, one of his favorite all time desserts!

Warm Coconut Bread Pudding served with vanilla crème anglaise and toasted coconut flakes

Warm Coconut Bread Pudding served with vanilla crème anglaise and toasted coconut flakes.

Needless to say, we’ve been back a few more times, including a Sunday family brunch, and this place does not disappoint! Every Friday is Burger Friday, featuring a different burger every week, adding to the originality of their menu.  Here are a few more photos of the dishes we had on our other visits:

The Tuna Melt, fresh grilled tuna salad, melted havarti cheese, bacon, arugula, tomato, crispy shallots, mayo & dijon

The Tuna Melt, fresh grilled tuna salad, melted havarti cheese, bacon, arugula, tomato, crispy shallots, mayo & dijon.

Pan Roasted Snapper Filet, fingerling potato cake, grilled asparagus, beurre blanc, charred lemon

Pan Roasted Snapper Filet, fingerling potato cake, grilled asparagus, beurre blanc, charred lemon.

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PB&J Parfait layered on top of chocolate cookie crumbles.

Papa’s Buttermilk Pancakes served with  pecan-caramel praline butter and maple syrup

Papa’s Buttermilk Pancakes served with pecan caramel praline butter and maple syrup.  
My daughter claims these are the absolute best pancakes she’s ever had in her life!

Fried Green Tomato Stack with bacon, pimiento cheese, baby arugula & egg.

Fried Green Tomato Stack with bacon, pimiento cheese and baby arugula, topped with an egg.

If you’re in the Miami area, make sure you stop by and check them out. I guarantee you will love their food!

WHISK Gourmet Food & Catering
7382 SW 56th Avenue
South Miami, FL 33143
786-268-8350

http://www.whiskgourmet.com

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Ms. Cheezious

Ms. Cheezious is one of the many food trucks that have taken over the Miami Food Truck scene in the last few years. It offers an amazing variety of delicious, mouth-watering grilled cheese concoctions that leave you coming back for seconds.

The Ms. Cheezious truck

The Ms. Cheezious truck

I kept hearing about these incredible grilled cheese sandwiches, so I decided to check them out for myself. I went with the intention of trying their delicious infamous “Croqueta Monsieur”.  According to Ms. Cheezious owner Brian Mullins, his wife had an epiphany one night and thought, ‘Let’s take the croque-monsieur and add croquetas to it.'” And boy, an epiphany it was!

Croqueta Monsieur

Croqueta Monsieur

The sandwich includes three croquetas, shaved tavern ham, Gruyère, and a béchamel sauce that has more than a couple of handfuls of Gouda. It’s probably similar in taste to a Croqueta Preparada sandwich, but I wouldn’t know, as they sold out of this delicacy within 20 minutes of opening up the truck at lunchtime. By the time I arrived, close to 2PM, they were also out of pesto and pulled pork. You can also create your sandwich, choosing bread from their daily selection and then of course, the cheese, from options like American, Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, Blue, Brie, Havarti or Provolone. I decided on the Italian (provolone, tomato, basil and cream cheese on white bread).  By far, one of the yummiest grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever tasted. The other favorites seem to be The Grilled Blue & Bacon (crisp bacon, creamy blue cheese and green onions on sour dough bread), The Crabby Cheese Melt (fresh made crab salad with sharp cheddar cheese on sourdough bread) and the Goat Cheese & Prosciutto (goat cheese, prosciutto, tomato and arugula on marble rye bread). All of them sound amazing! Next time I will definitely try one of their specialties.

The Italian

The Italian

 

Grilled Blue & Bacon

Grilled Blue & Bacon

 

Crabby Cheese Melt

Crabby Cheese Melt

 

Goat Cheese & Prosciutto

And fear not…they also offer dessert options, like the Sweet Meltdown, a combination of Ricotta cheese and orange marmalade blend on Texas toast served with chocolate dipping sauce! What more can you ask for in a grilled cheese sandwich?

Sweet Meltdown

Sweet Meltdown

Prices for the sandwiches range from $6-$8 and side items like tomato soup and various types of fries range from $3-$6.  So if you happen to be in South Florida and spot the big blue truck, make sure you stop by and try one of their delicious sandwiches. You can find their location schedule on their website at http://mscheezious.com.  And soon they will be opening up their brick-and-mortar restaurant to be located at 7418 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, with additional items on the menu.  I can’t wait!

Do you like food trucks? And if so, which are your favorite?

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too? 

October 14 celebrates my favorite part of a meal….it is National Dessert Day, and who doesn’t love dessert (well most of us do anyway)?  For just one day, forget about the calories and high fat content, tomorrow you can go back to your healthy ways.  And if you’re one of those people who leaves some food on the plate, because you need to save room for dessert, then today is your holiday!

In honor of this yummy day, here are a few of my favorite recipes from where else…Pinterest (yes I am a Pinterest addict).  I’ve only tried making a few of these, but they all look delicious!

Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars, recipe here.

Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars, recipe here.

Mini Cannoli Cream Cups, recipe here.

Mini Cannoli Cream Cups, recipe here.

Strawberry Ricotta Popsicles

Strawberry Ricotta Popsicle, recipe here.

Key Lime Pie Bars, recipe here.

Key Lime Pie Bars, recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots, recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots, recipe here.

Mason Jar Strawberry Shortcake, recipe here.

Mason Jar Strawberry Shortcake, recipe here.

Alfajores, recipe here.

Frozen Pink Lemonade Pie, recipe here.

Frozen Pink Lemonade Pie, recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here.

Guava and Cheese Flan, recipe here.

Guava and Cheese Flan, recipe here.

No Bake Cookies and Cream Cake, recipe here.

Cookies and Cream Cake, recipe here.

Mini No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecakes, recipe here.

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes, recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars, recipe here.

And  in case you’re not much of a baker don’t worry, here are some of my favorite store-bought desserts:

Cheesecake Factory "Original" Cheescake

Cheesecake Factory “Original” cheesecake

My favorite ice creams!

My favorite ice creams!

Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake

Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake

La Lechera Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk in a squeezable bottle! Great to pour on almost anything!

What are some of your favorite desserts? Will you be having any of them today?

The Island Cow

Whenever we’re visiting a new place, we like to try unusual or local restaurants. Every time we visit Sanibel Island, we make it a point to eat at The Island Cow. We like everything about this casual, beachy, cow-themed (hence the name) eatery. My husband always says this place makes him feel happy!

Fun for kids outside!

Fun for kids outside!

This quirky family restaurant has a fun vibe, with its cow decorations, funny signs, and claims that the food is “udderly great”. I especially LOVE this sign:

The menu here can only be described as extensive with items such as Seafood Fajitas, Steak and Cake (NY strip steak and their famous crab cakes), Moolicious Meatloaf, and Po’ boys. Let’s not forget the extensive breakfast menu, and the appetizers, soups, salads and desserts! We love to start with the basket of muffins they put on your table. They are really yummy, but don’t overdo it, you want to make sure you have room for the main dish.

Yummy muffins!

Yummy muffins!

For my main meal, I had the Islander’s Crab Cakes (I always order this), and hubby chose the “Fish’in Rules”, pick a fish from one of three groups:

Then choose how you want it prepared, however you want from broiled to barbequed, and then pick sides like cheese grits, island yellow rice or hush puppies. Whatever you eat, make sure you leave room for their famous Key Lime Pie, one of the best I’ve eaten in Florida!

Delicious Key Lime Pie!

Delicious Key Lime Pie!

The Island Cow is right in the middle of Sanibel on Periwinkle Way. Be prepared to wait a bit for a table, the place is usually quite busy, especially during the high season. However, the service is pretty good and fast, and if you get tired of waiting, there are plenty of games, activities and photo-taking opportunities available while you pass the time.

Here are a few more photos of this cute little place:

The Island Cow

The Island Cow

Colorful Adirondack Chairs outside

Restaurant Interior

Restaurant Interior Photo Courtesy of The Island Cow

More colorful chairs…

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The Island Cow
2163 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel Island, FL 33957

http://www.SanibelIslandCow.com

Have you ever been to The Island Cow…and if you have, what has been your favorite dish?

Chillin at Chill-N…

As the summer sadly comes to an end (well it’s always summer in Miami), we made our last official summer ice-cream run last night to our new favorite ice-cream shop.  It’s so cool, it’s chillin (the name of the place)!  Not only is Chill-N Nitrogen Ice-Cream absolutely delicious, but the way it is made is what really makes your mouth drop. They make their ice-cream with Nitrogen, yes folks, Nitrogen!  The shop is quite small, but in my opinion, small places are typically the best!  No matter when we’ve visited this place (usually on the weekends), the line is outside the door.

How they make  ice-cream!

How they make ice-cream!

When you first walk in, you will find a cool Periodic Table inspired board of all delicious bases, flavors, and toppings, or as they call them, their mix-N’s…brownie bits, mint, marshmallows, Nutella, cookie bites, white chocolate chips, & much more.  You first choose your size of dessert, then whether you’d like ice-cream or yogurt.  Next, you choose from over 10 base flavors, and lastly, you get to choose all of your add-ins.

Flavors and topping!

Flavors and toppings!

Then the magic begins… While regular ice cream is frozen over night or frozen instantly through commercial freezers, nitrogen flash-freezes the liquid base as it is churned. The nitrogen makes the ice cream really cold, and since it’s all prepared as you watch, you can see the nitrogen fog pour out of the mixers.  It’s all really cool, and even the adults in line are watching the process in amazement!

Ice Cream in the making!

Ice Cream in the making!

The only drawback is that since the ice-creams are made fresh on the spot, you can’t try the different flavors.  But no worries, I’m sure any combination you come up with will be heavenly!  The first time I visited I got the cake batter ice-cream mixed in with the Oreos and cookie dough (now my daughter’s favorite).  Another favorite of mine is strawberry ice-cream mixed in with white chocolate chips. Absolutely delicious, I’ve never tasted creamier ice-cream!

If you’re in Miami and you want a place to chill…go to Chill-N, you must stop by one of their locations:

Pinecrest:  8271 SW 124th Street, Miami, FL 33156

Aventura: 17831 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, FL 33160

http://www.chillnicecream.com

Swooning Over Swine

Miami is a great place to try new restaurants, it seems like there’s a new one opening up almost every day, whether in Coral Gables, Midtown or in Miami Beach. Recently, Gastro pubs have taken over in Miami, sometimes making you feel as if you’re dining in NYC or Chicago, instead of South Florida.  Swine Southern Table & Bar, is the latest addition to the 50 Eggs, Inc. family, which consists of Khong River House and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (both of which I still have to try).  Swine describes itself as ”A house of worship to the porcine pursuits”.

Swine Southern Table & Bar Interior  Photo Courtesy of MiamiEater.com

My husband first tried this place with some co-workers, and he liked it so much, he suggested we go for a family brunch. At first sight, the place looks very small and cozy, but then you take a look around, and realize there’s a loft-style dining space up on the second floor, which almost doubles the restaurant space.  A relaxed ambiance with dim lighting and creative decor make this restaurant everything that a Gastro pub should be.  Also worth a mention, some of the friendliest waiters I have ever encountered in Miami!

The menu resembles one of a typical BBQ joint, with items such as pulled pork and brisket. Everything is smoked in-house for around 12 hours, leaving the area with an intoxicating smell of wood, meat, sweetness, and bourbon. In addition to the creative cocktail menu, there’s also an extensive bourbon collection featuring rare, limited editions and house infusions, as well as various beers and wines to choose from.

Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread

Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread

The first time we ate at Swine, we ordered a muffin basket, with cherry scones, cornbread and banana muffins. Since we’ve been back they no longer offer it, but you can still order the items separately. Remembering how yummy these treats were, we of course ordered the  Jalapeño, Cheddar & Bacon Homemade Cornbread, and the Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin, both served with homemade berry jam and maple butter. Delicious!

Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin

Granola Crusted, Cream Cheese Stuffed Warm Banana Muffin

Next we had the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apple and bacon vinaigrette, one of hubby’s favorite dishes there! And he also ordered a side of the BBQ spiced French Fries, served with spicy ketchup and crumbled bacon.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apples and bacon vinaigrette

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with green apples and bacon vinaigrette

BBQ spiced French Fries

BBQ spiced French Fries

To top this all off, we all shared the Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.  As you can imagine, we were stuffed and really couldn’t finish all of this food, it was very filling, but also very delicious!

Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.

Warm Sticky Icky Bun, with maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan cream cheese, candied smoked bacon, and sweet potato “pie” ice cream.

If you’re in Miami, or visiting soon, make sure you stop in the place that proclaims “the only part of a hog you can’t use is his squeal”, you won’t be disappointed!

Swine Southern Table & Bar
2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd
Coral Gables
http://www.runpigrun.com

What Is A Montadito?

What is a “Montadito” you might ask?  Well, In Spanish, montar means “to mount,” so montaditos are tapas-style tiny baguettes that are piled high with meats, cheeses, chocolates…essentially delightful bite-sized finger food.

Various "montaditos"

Various “montaditos”

That is the concept behind 100 Montaditos (you can choose from 100 mini sandwiches, hence the name).  They also serve appetizers, tapas, salads, various types of beer, and of course sangria.

100 Montaditos has become a very popular restaurant chain, which first opened its doors in 2000 in the south of Spain, and has now become the largest Spanish-owned franchise in the world.  The ambiance is very typical of a tapas bar in Spain, where once folks finish their meals, they like to hang around drinking and having fun.

Ham croqueta appetizer

Ham croqueta appetizer

In 2011, the first US restaurant and Americas headquarters was opened in, where else, Miami.  My family and I love to frequent this place because there is such variety, and you can’t beat the prices. The mini sandwiches range in price between $1.00 – $2.50, but on Wednesdays, all sandwiches cost $1.00! Another great feature of these restaurants is their locations.  In the Miami area, you can find one in South Miami, Miracle Mile, Lincoln Road, Brickell Avenue, Midtown, Kendall, Pinecrest…just about anywhere. My favorite montaditos are the Serrrano ham, Manchego cheese, tortilla Española with ali oli, and my husband loves the BBQ pulled pork.

My favorite Guava & Cream Cheese Montadito!

My favorite Montadito!

On our last visit there, they had changed up the menu a bit, and I was surprised that they no longer serve the very popular cream cheese and guava montadito, (not sure why it’s off the menu, it was delicious). But if you’re looking for a sweet ending to your meal, make sure you try one of their delicious chocolate montaditos, especially the Cookies and Cream one! Have you been to 100 Montaditos?  If you have, which is your favorite?

Montaditoscollage