Brunch at Eating House

Miami is full of incredible restaurants and my husband and I have tried many of them, but I have never experienced a brunch like the one we recently had at Eating House in Coral Gables. We finally made a reservation because the few times we tried to just show up and have brunch the line was halfway down the block (and it doesn’t help that the place is quite small).  Eating House (which started as a pop up restaurant, sharing the same space as a coffee shop) has become extremely popular with the locals, thanks to the incredible concoctions of Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli. Honestly, I was hooked when I heard of their famous Cap’n Crunch Pancakes with condensed milk syrup (yes folks, condensed milk) and their Cuban bread torrejas with guava and cream cheese!  Now mind you, I am much more of an eggs and bacon kind of gal for breakfast, as opposed to sweets, but I was very intrigued to try these dishes.  And of course, it didn’t take much convincing when hubby heard Cap’n Crunch and condensed milk in the same sentence!  Take a look at this:

Cap’n Crunch Pancakes, smothered in condensed milk syrup

Cap’n Crunch Pancakes, smothered in condensed milk syrup

Cap’n Crunch Pancakes, is a stack of pancakes topped with condensed milk ‘syrup’, candied cap’n crunch, and whipped vanilla butter. As I was expecting, my husband loved this dish!  Cuban Bread Torrejas, are a Cuban-inspired version of French toast made with Cuban bread, a guava/iron beer syrup and melted cream cheese, topped with Maria cookie streusel.  For the first time in my life, I actually found a dish too sweet, and could only take a few bites…but oh my, were they delicious.  Both of these dishes were huge, definitely large enough for 2-3 people to share, and then some…

Cuban Bread Torrejas...a slice of heaven

Cuban Bread Torrejas…slices of heaven

To round things out, my daughter ordered some BK hash browns served with housemade roasted ketchup and candied applewood smoked bacon cooked with brown sugar.  Both were delicious too!

‘BK hashbrowns and candied applewood smoked bacon with  brown sugar

BK hash browns and candied applewood smoked bacon with brown sugar

They serve many other items on their brunch menu, and of course make sure to check out their lunch and dinner menus as well.  So if you’re in the Miami area and you’re looking for a truly delectable dining experience, I recommend you give Eating House a try. I’m ready to go back for dinner soon.  Have you eaten at this wonderful place?  If so, I’d love to hear what you liked best!

Eating House Miami

Eating House Miami

Eating House
804 Ponce De Leon Blvd
Coral Gables
(305)  448-6524

http://www.eatinghousemiami.com/

My Signature

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Buttercream…Takes the Cake

The cupcake craze in the past few years has exploded, and in my family we have a bit of OCD (Obsessive Cupcake Disorder). It doesn’t help that almost everywhere you look, there’s a new cupcake shop opening up.  Here in Miami, we have quite a few, but to me there is nothing as delicious as the cupcakes found at Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee. I’ve mentioned them before in some of my other blog posts, but today I am dedicating an entire post just to them. The tiny shop, owned by wife and husband team Kristine Graulich and Jose Cuellar, situated on the residential side of Sunset Drive, is small but cozy. There’s a little table inside if you’d like to escape the heat and humidity, and also a few tables set up outside.  We love the aroma of warm cupcakes, the moment you open the front door.  And then it hits you…which one should I choose?

So hard to choose...

Such a variety to choose from…

Be warned, you will not find any crazy, exotic flavors or fillings in these cupcakes.  If that’s what you’re looking for, then this is not the place for you.  Here the cake is basically always chocolate or vanilla, topped with various flavors of buttercream frosting, such as guava, pistachio (hubby’s favorite), vanilla (my original favorite), strawberry (my current favorite), red velvet or chocolate.  The Oreo, featuring giant chunks of Oreo cookies in the frosting, is by far my daughter’s favorite.  But these cupcakes don’t need any frills, they are perfect the way they are. Buttercream cupcakes are store-baked each day using the finest dairy, flour and sugar ingredients which is why they are so moist. They also offer additional flavors on a rotating schedule, such as orange and lime, to keep things interesting. Here are all of our favorite flavors:

My favorite flavors!

Favorite flavors!

But if you can’t decide, they offer a sampler box of mini cupcakes comprised of their most popular flavors.

Mini cupcakes...Photo courtesy of Buttercream Cupackes

Mini cupcakes…Photo courtesy of Buttercream Cupcakes

They also make cakes for special occasions, which are just as delicious as their cupcakes.  Take a look at the beautiful cake they made for my friend’s baby shower:

Beautiful baby shower cake...

Beautiful baby shower cake…

So the next time you find yourself in Coral Gables, make sure you stop in and try one of these heavenly cupcakes, you won’t regret it!

 Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee
1411 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables
(305) 669-8181

http://www.buttercreamcupcakes.com

Have you tried Buttercream cupcakes?  If you have, I’d love to hear which one is your favorite?

My Signature

Threefold Cafe

Breakfast all day long? This is what you’ll encounter at Coral Gables’ newest all-day breakfast place, Threefold Café. Opened this past summer by two Melbourne transplants, Teresa and Nick Sharp, Threefold offers diners a taste of their native Australian dishes all with a Floridian twist. And let me just say, if you are not big on breakfast, this place will likely change your mind!

Threefold Cafe

Threefold Cafe

Cute yellow teapots

Cute yellow teapots…

The menu features Australian-inspired dishes, my favorite being their “Smashed Avo”, butter & thyme roasted mushrooms with feta, lime, basil all served on Zak’s bread, topped with a perfectly soft poached egg for an extra $2. I had never tasted anything like this, but I can assure you it was delicious!  Both my husband and daughter, being waffle lovers, ordered the “Big Kid Waffles”, vanilla waffles dusted with powdered sugar, served with fresh strawberries and organic maple syrup.  We also ordered a side of Mornin’ Monkey, a banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup on the side.  Next time (oh yes, I think there will have to be a next time soon) I want to try the “Not So French Toast,” egg-soaked bread filled with prosciutto, basil, and ricotta, sounds heavenly! Oh and did I mention the portions are very generous.

Smashed Avo

Smashed Avo topped with a soft poached egg…

Waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar...

Waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar…

Mornin' Monkey... banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup...

Mornin’ Monkey… banana and walnut bread served with espresso butter and maple syrup…

Not So French Toast...

Not So French Toast…

Hot chocolate with mini marshmellows...

Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows…

And if you have little ones, this is the only place in the Gables that I have seen with a children’s nook, full of Ikea stools and toys, doesn’t get much better than that.  They also offer kid-friendly menu options such as vanilla waffles and buttermilk pancakes with butterscotch sauce and vanilla-bean ice cream, served in colorful plastic dishes. Oh and they offer “babyccinos” for $1 for the kids (frothed milk with marshmallows)…can you say cute? They want to make sure they are pleasing everyone in the family.

Children's play area...

Children’s play area…

Once you’re done with your meal, make sure you order the Tim Tam cookies, directly from Australia.  They are crunchy, malty and chocolaty, very similar in taste to a Twix bar…absolutely delicious!  My daughter loved them so much, they gave her a few extra ones!

Yummy Tim Tams

Yummy Tim Tams

Open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Threefold also has special lunch offerings, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.  If you’re in the Miami area, make sure to eat at this wonderful new spot.

Threefold Café
141 Giralda Avenue
Coral Gables
(305) 704-8007
www.threefoldcafe.com

Have you been to Threefold Cafe, if you have I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

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

Pan Con Mantequilla

So it seems that now I’m finding tapas restaurants everywhere…you know what they say, when it rains it pours.  Recently, we came across Bread+Butter Counter… a “Cuban Gastropub”, in Coral Gables. In Miami, good Cuban food isn’t very hard to find, with historic restaurants such as La Carreta, Versailles and Sergio’s, as well as, hundreds of smaller mom and pop places, all featured in travel books. (This by the way, was one of the main things hubby and I missed when we lived in Raleigh, no Cuban restaurants around, and most locals would refer us to the nearest Taco Bell, yes you heard it folks, Taco Bell!)

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

Media Noche Croquetas & Pan Con Tomate

At B+B, owner and chef Alberto Cabrera offers a creative menu using Cuban staples with a twist, to serve up innovative dishes. In addition to a complete list of tapas style remakes of Cuban traditional plates to share, there’s also medium-sized rice dishes and a few larger plates, including the Pollo Asado, which is my husband’s favorite!  I went for the Media Noche Croquetas served with aioli and soda crackers, and Pan Con Tomate, both very good.

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Platano en Tentacion

However, the dish we most enjoyed was the Platano en Tentacion…bacon-wrapped plantains, served with five-spice almibar and topped with sour cream, and chives…in one word, divine!

I also really liked the decor of this place, resembling an old-time diner or counter restaurant. The first thing I noticed when we sat down, were the tin can water cups on the table, very similar to the ones my sisters tell me we used in Cuba when we were little.  There are also many beautiful, vintage black-and-white images of the old Cuba my parents are always reminiscing about.  I must warn you though, as with many places in the Gables, parking for this place is tough, so if you’re trying to make your reservation, give yourself enough time to find a spot.

Tin water cups

Tin water cups

Once again, we didn’t make room for dessert. However, there were a few that caught our eye for our next visit, such as the Flan de Queso de Cabra (a goat cheese flan) and the Torrejas, a traditional dish similar to Cuban “French Toast”, served with guava maple syrup and cream cheese ice-cream.  I’m not sure they’ll be as incredible as my Abuela’s torrejas were, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

Bread + Butter Counter
2330 Salzedo Street
Coral Gables
http://www.breadandbuttercounter.com

Bulla Gastrobar

I’ve been craving tasty tapas since I returned from Barcelona last summer.  I’m always on the lookout for a good tapas place, and on a recent Sunday lunch date with my husband, I finally found one…Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables. Bulla (pronounced boo-ya, not bull-ah) is defined as the ability to create a stir; what everyone’s talking about.  And trust me, everyone is certainly talking about this eatery featuring delicious, delicately prepared Spanish and Catalan dishes, in an ambiance that will make you feel as if you’re sitting in one of the many tapas bars on Passeig de Gracia in lively Barcelona.

Photo Courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar

The restaurant is located at 2500 Ponce De Leon, the same spot as the owner’s previous and slightly more upscale restaurant, Por Fin (which I never had the pleasure of trying), but Bulla symbolizes a fun and casual tapas bar.  A great place for a light dinner or a quick happy hour with friends.  The restaurant also features an upstairs dining room for private events and group gatherings.

There are so many dishes to choose from, it took us a while to decide on a few to share for lunch.  A house favorite is the Huevos “Bulla”, their version of the Spanish favorite usually referred to as Huevos Estrellados in Spain (a favorite dish of mine in Barcelona).  Huevos Bulla are prepared with organic eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil (sounds heavenly). Another house specialty is the Sangria de Cerveza, which is prepared with Ommegang Witte, triple sec, lemon juice, and pear purée. We decided on the very traditional Pan con Tomate, and paired it up with an order of Jamon Serrano.  We also had some tiny yummy Croquetas de Jamon, Tortilla Española and Buñuelos de Bacalao (codfish fritters with homemade tartar sauce).

Pan con Tomate &  Jamon Serrano

Pan con Tomate & Jamon Serrano

Buñuelos de Bacalao

Tortilla Española

Croquetas de Jamon

Everything was delicious, and very filling, so unfortunately, we didn’t leave any room for dessert. Next time we will have to try a few more dishes and possibly the Cremoso de Chocolate, their three layer chocolate genoise, vanilla ice cream, olive oil, and Maldon salt concoction, which sounds blissful…What are some of your favorite tapa dishes, I’d love to hear?

Bulla Gastrobar
2500 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
Coral Gables
http://www.bullamiami.com