Category Archives: Miami Restaurants

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill *****

Strawberry Balsamic Cocktail with Vodka and Lime Juice (Right)  and Fresh Mojito (Left)

786.369.0353
3250 NE 1st Ave
Miami, Fl 33137

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Be careful what you wish for. It’s an age-old phrase that we have all heard a million times, myself included. All throughout my childhood, in fact, my mom was uttering these words to me. Warning me that one day, I just might get what I asked for and it might not turn out quite the way I had expected. However, being young and arrogantly confident (aka nieve and ignorant), I would dismiss my mothers advice with a roll of the eyes and shrug of the shoulders, telling myself that there was no way I would ever wake up a millionaire or regret it if I did become so lucky, for that matter! But tonight, 15 years later, I have finally come to heed my mother’s word of advice. Unfortunately though, I had to learn my lesson the hard way…through personal experience.

Now I assume that you are starting to wonder what it is that I wished for, and for those of you who routinely follow my blog (if you are one of these people, I thank you!) then you know what I wished for because I asked for it in one of my most recent posts. Scroll on down, if you please, and you will read:

“The more time I spend in Colombia, the more I fall in love with the country, the people, the food, and the way of life. Colombians aren’t chatting via their blackberrys, I-phones, facebooks, twitters, or any of the other million ways Americans have found to talk without being in each other’s physical company. Instead, they are gathering at cafes, neighbor’s houses, street corners, tiendas, and parks to enjoy the simple aspects of life that American’s so frequently overlook.”

I envied Colombian lifestyle and repeatedly told my friends and family, how I wished that I could live so disconnected from technology, without my facebook and blackberry. Now, of course a magic genie didn’t appear and grant me my wish this evening, but a hoodlum robber from Coconut Grove did!

This guy stole my phone, my I-pod, my wallet, my ID’s and credit cards, my car keys, my house keys, my textbooks, my entire 21st century life essentially. This weekend, I lived like a Colombian and learned the hard way that what works in Colombia, doesn’t really work in America. You can’t do anything without technology here.

To comfort myself during this time of loss and anger, I resorted to my usual coping mechanism….FOOD! I cooked a lot in my apartment and also found friends to dine out with. Last night I had the chance to get to Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Midtown, which I have wanted to try for quite some time now. It is a rawbar and tapas style restaurant, with everything from sushi and crudos, to desserts and specialty mojitos. This is a great place if you are going out with a large group of people, because everyone can try a bite of each thing, but caution: little plates do start to add up expense wise.

My first order of business upon arriving at Sugarcane, was getting a large alcohol beverage into my system. I certainly deserved it after my rough weekend!! I ordered the Basil Quencher, which had muddled Kiwi, crushed basil leaves, rum, and sugar. It came over ice in a tall glass and was a refreshing and unique spin on a traditional mojito. I enjoyed the pulp from the fresh kiwi and clean flavor of the basil, but I did prefer my second cocktail choice more, which was the Strawberry Balsamic with Vodka, muddled fresh strawberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh lime juice. This was probably the second my delicious drink that I have ever tasted, right behind the Chili Passion Martini from The Setai Hotel in South Beach. The balsamic vinegar was aged to a perfect sweetness and it complimented the strawberry beautifully. Again, the pulp from the fresh fruit added a nice texture to the drink, and the lime juice was just the right amount of citrus tang to round out the flavors.

Basil Quencher with Muddled Kiwi, Fresh Basil Leaves, Rum, and Sugar

As far as food goes, we ordered a bunch of small plates to share, starting with the Goat Cheese Croquettes served atop a drizzle of Membrillo Marmalade. Given my love for anything goat cheese, I expected to enjoy these, but I didn’t think that they would be anything special since they are just fried balls of cheese. I was wrong though, because the membrillo marmalade added a really interesting a sweet flavor to the dish that took it from basic to inventive and unique.

Goat Cheese Croquettes with Membrillo Marmalade

Next we ordered the Kobe Beef Sliders with Tonkatsu and Fried Quail Egg. I love kobe beef and sliders, but I had no idea what tonkatsu was and I was a little scared of the quail egg, which I have never tried before. I see them in the supermarket sometimes and they freak me out, so I was apprehensive, but this little slider packed a ton of mouth-watering flavor and the quail egg was a perfect addition. I sank my teeth into this burger, allowing that delicate yolk to break and dribble right down my chin. It was divine and the tonkatsu (which I assume to be the sauce) was incredible and had a slightly peppery and spicy flavor. I asked for an extra side, which I proceeded to dunk my slider in with each bite!

Kobe Beef Sliders with Tonkatsu and Quail Egg

Next to arrive at the table was the Tuna Crudo Special with Black Sesame Oil, Marinated Mushroom, and Garlic Chip. The waitress highly recommended this dish, but I was rather unimpressed. I didn’t feel like it had enough flavor, unless you got a bite with the garlic chip, which were far and few between. The mushroom and herb garnish didn’t really enhance the flavor of the dish, although they helped with presentation. I regretted not going with my gut instinct and ordering the tuna tartar, but you can’t always win!

Tuna Crudo Special with Black Sesame Oil, Mushroom, and Garlic Chip

The last small plate we shared was the Korean Style Beef Short Ribs, which were really good. The plate came with six ribs total, but they were very small. I wasn’t really wowed by them, but the sauce they were in was tasty. Unfortunately, we got stuck ordering these primarily because they sold out of the Brussels Sprouts infused with Orange and Soy. I have heard that these are one of the best items on the menu, and a must try. I figure that they must be pretty incredible since they were sold out!

Korean Style Short Ribs

My favorite part of the meal though was hands down dessert! We ordered two different ones to share, including the Ricotta Cheesecake with Pink Peppercorn Nougat as well as the Torreja with Maple Carmel Apples and Cinnamon Ice Cream. The torreja, which is almost like a french toast, was by far the best. It was hot, soft, and gooey in the center yet crispy and well-done (but not burnt!) on the edges. The cinnamon ice cream was served with piecrust crumble all around it, and the maple carmel apple slices were just divine. The ricotta cheesecake was also very good, but I am Italian and like my mom’s traditional version better. This one was served with a carmelized sugar top, almost like a crème brulee, accompanied by vanilla ice cream and piecrust crumbles. The cake was very rich and creamy, but again, I prefer my mom’s homemade citrus version better.

Ricotta Cheese Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pie Crust Crumbles

Torreja with Maple Carmel Apple and Cinnamon Ice Cream with Piecrust Crumbles

Overall, fabulous meal and I will definitely be going back. I could go back just for the strawberry balsamic drink and torrejas alone! Great place, and reasonably priced. They don’t use a lot of ingredients on each plate, but the food has a lot of unique flavor (with the exception of the tuna crudo special tonight). Also, don’t be afraid or overwhelmed by some of the culinary terms that they use. It sounds fancy, but in most cases it is just another way of saying sauce or garnish! Go to Sugarcane!!

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Gusto Fino Italian Deli & Market ****

Chicken Louie Louie with Chicken Milanese, Portobello Mushrooms, Melted Mozzarella, and Creamy Marsala Sauce

Sadly, I boarded a plane and headed back from Colombia this morning. Of course, being a part of the flight safety watch list (long story—starts with a carry on, ends with a butcher knife and interrogation), I was searched several times, holding up the entire group I traveled with. They unpacked and unfolded every piece of clothing in my luggage twice, and they questioned me relentlessly at customs, while the rest of my friends just walked through with a “welcome back.” It was frustrating, but all the hold ups at the airport gave me time to ponder whether or not I would resume my carb-free 4-hour body diet when I got home. I had been pounding arepas, fruit, and chocolate to the face all weekend and didn’t seem to look any different. I certainly felt different though! I felt alive again—like someone had given me a blood transfusion and injected me with energy and pure life. Carbs are the fuel of my existence and the source of my happiness. I will not go without them ever again!

So the first thing I did when I got back to Miami was go get a delicious fully carb-loaded sandwich.

What does fully carb-loaded mean? It means I got white bread, not wheat. It means I ate both sides of the bread, instead of open face. It means I got breaded and fried chicken on that sandwhich, instead of grilled chicken. Carb on top of carb….two are always better than one!

This sandwich sounds a bit gross and overwhelming, I know. But it was absolutely divine. It is called the Chicken Louie Louie from Gusto Fino Itlaian Deli in Miracle Mile. The Chicken Louie Louie, is a hot sandwich with breaded chicken strips, sautéed onions, Portobello mushrooms, melted mozzarella cheese, and a creamy marsala sauce. Cheers to ending that carb-free diet!

That sandwich was awesome. The creamy marsala sauce (which I had some skepticism about) was incredible. Totally buttery and fattening, but you got to walk into this meal knowing that your going to waste you’re entire days with of calories on one sandwich. The bread that the sandwich was served on was also fabulous, a little thick for my liking, but since I’ve been depriving myself of carbs for so long, I ate it! It’s rare to get such good bread in Miami, so I was most impressed by that. I was also thrilled with the meal because it was served piping hot! I had to wait for the sandwich to cool off before eating it, and I love hot food, so brownie points for that!

My roommate, Ariana ordered the Mario’s Ultimate, which is a cold sandwich served with parma proscuitto, fresh mozzarella cheese, pesto sauce, tomatoes, and arugala salad, topped with olive oil and balsamic glaze. It was tasy, but paled in comparison to the Proscuitto Sandwich from La Sandwicherie. We have gotten so accustomed to our proscuitto sandwiches with their delicious secret sauce, that this one felt lacking without it. She actually took it home and put our stash of secret sauce (we steal a bottle from La Sandwicherie every time we go) on the sandwich and ate it for dinner!

Mario’s Ultimate with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Proscuitto, Arugala, Balsamic, and Pesto

Overall, this place has an enormous menu and you can get an extraordinary amount of food for just $10. There are combo options for soup and a drink for just $1.69 extra. It’s such a great value for your money, and its always refreshing to see a deli joint in Miami!

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Arepas, Arepas, y Mas Arepas…con Carne, con Pollo, con Queso, y Huevoss

Arepa with Steak and Avocado

It’s a good thing that I came off of my no-carb diet for this vacation, because the staple of almost every Colombian meal is a flattened corn cake known as an arepa (definitely not allowed on the diet!). Prior to going on this trip, I knew that arepas were popular in Colombia, but I now realize that they account for about 50% of all meals. Seriously, if you’re being served a plate of food in Colombia, chances are that there is an arepa hiding somewhere on your plate. It could be hiding under your eggs, or buried under your meat, but it’s there…trust me!

I haven’t been in Colombia for more than 12 hours now, and I have already consumed more than three different varieties of these delicious corn cakes. I had my first one last night with Carne Machada (shredded beef), after a long night at the “Chupteria” (aka shot bar…I don’t know why these don’t exist in America!). And I must admit that guys sport the mullet hairstyle here as abundantly as arepas appear in the Colombian diet. I could not get over the number of rat-tails that I saw when I looked around the bar last night. I felt like I was trapped in a horrible 80’s film or something. And it wasn’t even a traditional mullet, it was more like a sea-horse hairstyle, where the hair gradually gets longer as it nears the center of the skull and the nape of the neck. I don’t know if this was their attempt at bringing the mullet into the 21st century or what, but it was still God awful. In fact, I would have almost preferred the traditional mullet, as like a vintage homage to the 80’s.

Anyways, let me end this tangent and get back to the food. My first arepa was actually disappointing, granted it was from a really budget-looking food window and only cost like $2 American dollars. It was far too overcooked and kind of charred on the bottom. The meat was the polar opposite of tender, in fact it had the stiff and sharp texture of hay. But did this stop me from drowning that bad boy in hot sauce and scarfing down the whole thing?

Most certainly not! Nothing a little hot sauce can’t remedy!

My second arepa was for breakfast this following morning at the hotel (pictured above), and that redeemed my experience from last night. It was fresh, tender, and delicious. Again, I ordered beef (this time skirt steak), and also avocado. The beef was seasoned just right and the avocado added a delicious creamy texture that mimicked cheese. The highlight of my breakfast though was my coffee and my Coconut Lemonade Smoothie. The coffee was divine, served with steamed milk and chocolate shavings. And the Coconut Lemonade was out of this world. It reminded me of a Pina Colada without the overbearing sweetness, and a lemonade without the mouth-puckering tartness. In fact, I want to start using Bacardi Limon in my Pina Coladas, because I think that will imitate the flavor of this drink. Incredible.

Coconut Lemonade Smoothie

Coffee with Steamed Milk and Chocolate Shavings

Also very good were the Fried Plantain Chips with Avocado Crème Fraise, which came out as a starter to the meal. They were not too oily and the dipping sauce was a perfect compliment to the salty flavor of the chip.

Plantain Chips with Avocado Creme Fraise

 

My third arepa, and so far the best of the entire trip, was enjoyed once we got to my friend’s Uncle’s house in the mountains. It was served with shredded chicken, stewed tomatoes, onions, and salsa picante. Unfortunately, I ate this one so fast that I forgot to even take a photo, but the reality is that no photo would have even done it justice. All of the food during our stay at the ranch this weekend (formerly owned by Pablo Escobar….how cool?), is being cooked Colombian natives named Marta y Maria. I only wish I could whip up the kind of things that they have been putting out for us to eat.

For those of you looking to get a delicious arepa in Miami, I suggest going over to European Corner in Sunset Place. Although it is a Venezuelan restaurant/market (don’t ask me why it’s called European Corner, when Venezuela is in South America…still beats me), they serve incredible arepas that I actually prefer over Colombian ones. My favorite is the Arepa con Carne Machada. They stew their meat until it is perfectly tender, and the flavor is ridiculous. The arepa itself is also delicious, and it’s never burnt! I usually get two because they are small, and make sure that you try some of the hot sauce (or creamy sauce, if spice isn’t your thing) because it adds another layer of flavor to the dish. To start, I recommend the Taquenos, which is queso blanco wrapped in bread dough and fried. They are perfect as an appetizer or even snack to go. And you must—I repeat, MUST—try the Passion Fruit Juice (parchita). It is the most delicious juice that I have ever tasted and I literally go out of my way to get it here at least 4 times a week.

The only downside to European Corner is that you need to be proficient in Spanish to avoid the “Gringo Tax” and ensure that you get what you want. Abuelito (the elderly man that owns the place) doesn’t exactly speak the best English and he will tack on a fee to your bill if you make him. I paid my dues all last year, and now I try to speak Spanish as best I can with him. I like to think I’m getting better because he now lights up with a smile and calls me “mi nina” when I walk into the store. Of course, the reality is that he is probably just happy because he knows I’m a “Gringa gorda” that will spend about $20 on my extravagant breakfast/lunch there. But hey, at least I pay what the Venezuelan’s pay now!

 

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The Icebox Cafe ****

Assorted Cakes Offered by The Icebox Cafe

305.538.8448
1657 Michigan Ave
Miami Beach, Fl

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This morning I did the ridiculous—I packed a bag and headed to Medellin, Colombia with two of my girlfriends, Sam and Ariana…with absolutely no game plan. You see, a few weeks ago Sam had mentioned that her family would be taking a trip there and after I expressed enough interest, she extended the opportunity for me to join her. I’m not really sure if she expected me to actually follow through or not, but since I am always looking for an excuse to get out of the country, I booked my ticket right away. Ariana also felt the itch to get away and decided to book one too!

So there we were at the airport this afternoon, passports and plane tickets in hand, with no idea what kind of trip we were in for. Sam’s uncle, who lives in Medellin, had planned out the entire weekend and we were just along for the ride. We didn’t know how long the flight was, whether or not there was a time difference, or just where exactly we would be staying once we got there. All we knew is that we were going and that the best way to travel there was drunk!

So as we headed to the gate, we kept our eyes out for a nice little bar to get some vino. After passing several dark, crowded, and unappealing bars we came across the Icebox Cafe. It was an all glass-encased restaurant with lots of natural light and a clean modern décor. It stood out from every other place in the airport and was conveniently located directly across from our gate (in the American Airlines terminal). Tons of people were in the little café area and so we figured it must be a good bet. This was then confirmed after we saw the generous pour of Chardonnay that we were receiving. I was tipsy after just ½ a glass and sufficiently drunk upon its completion. I really wanted to order some of the food at the Icebox Cafe, which all looked incredible, featuring: warm meatloaf sandwiches, thai chicken salads, egg breakfast platters, and a wide assortment of freshly baked pastries and cakes (a refreshing change from traditional airport food—sandwiches served on cardboard-like bread and hash browns from McDonalds), but I still was debating whether or not I would come off of my carb-slow diet altogether while on vacation. Sure, I had had some mishaps in the past two weeks (aka my Vietnamese Noodle binge the other night), but for the most part I have remained pretty loyal to the diet over the course of the past 14 days. As I sipped my vino, I pondered my dietary furture. When I finished my vino, I had my answer—no way was I missing out on Colombian food for the sake of an experiment!!!

I didn’t order anything at the Icebox Café (although they do serve Oprah Windfrey’s favorite cake in America, called The Bomb, which is layers of dark chocolate cake filled with creamy cheesecake brownie and imported chocolate mousse, topped with a dark chocolate ganache). My mouth just watered typing that. I think it’s pretty clear why that is Oprah’s favorite cake. I mean, how could anyone not like that?!?! But instead I saved my appetite for the delicious arepas that awaited my arrival in Colombia, and I made sure to eat two within my first 12 hours in the country!

Slice of Bomb Cake, which is layers of dark chocolate cake filled with creamy cheesecake brownie and imported chocolate mousse, topped with a dark chocolate ganache

The Icebox Café is not only located in the American Airlines Terminal at Miami International Airport, but they also have a main restaurant on Lincoln Road in South Beach, which I plan to visit for some food and cake this upcoming weekend! Even though I have not tried any of the food, I feel completely comfortable making a recommendation for the place, based on their concept and the satisfaction of others eating around me. They also score some brownie points for the generous pour of wine, which only cost $9!! Cannot beat that!

The Icebox Cafe located in Miami International Airport (AA Terminal)

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Miss Saigon Bistro **

 

Steamed Rice Noodles (Bun) with Lemongrass Curry Chicken and Spring Rolls over Lettuce, Bean Sprouts, Shaved Carrots, Cilantro, Mint, Chopped Peanuts, and Lime

305.446.8006
148 Giralda Ave
Coral Gables, Fl 33146

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I have been so behaved on this ridiculous diet, but today I cracked. I got the taste of carbs on my tongue on binge day and haven’t been able to get the thought of them out of my head since. I can go without sugar, I can go without dairy, I can even go without sex, but please, for the love of all that is good in this world, don’t take away my carbs!!!

Now, in my own defense, I didn’t succumb to my carb craving easily—it was a slow and steady build up of temptation throughout the day. I went to work and my favorite sandwich (chipotle chicken ciabatta) was on the menu as a lunch special. I had to watch customers order and rave about how delicious the sandwich was while I carried my spinach salad without dressing to back rooms for lunch. Then in my evening class, my teacher decided to treat the entire class to pizza. Not only did I have to watch everyone scarfing down their cheesy hot slices of deliciousness, but I also had to endure the rest of the 3 hour lecture in a room that smelled like a pizza shop (with my belly burning in hunger, might I add!).

I was so tormented by these temptations that I packed up my things and left class early to go get myself a Vietnamese Bun. No one wanted to join me, but not even the awkwardness of eating alone came between me and my noodle dish. I drove over to Miss Saigon Bistro near Miracle Mile in Coral Gables and got a table for one.

I ordered the Bun (steamed rice noodles) with Lemongrass Curry Chicken and Spring Rolls, which also contains Bean Sprouts, Cilantro, Mint, Shaved Carrots, Green Onions, Shredded Lettuce, Roasted Peanuts, and Lime. The average portion of this dish is enormous (and it was here too, as you can see in the photo), so I figured I would eat half the dish and take the other half to go, but I didn’t put my chopsticks down till every noodle was in my belly—a screw you to my carb-free diet.

As for the quality of the food, it wasn’t very good. The meat was nicely flavored (make sure that you ask for all white meat if you get chicken), but the dish itself lacked flavor. The noodles weren’t the vermicelli noodles that I have grow accustomed to eating at Vietnamese restaurants at home, and the dish overall was disappointing (even though it satisfied my carb craving). I think I was most upset though when the check came because the Bun for one came to $17, which is ludicrous. I am used to getting the same size portion but better quality for just $7 at home. In conclusion, I left feeling guilty for having cheated on my diet, and mad for having paid $17 for that guilt.

I wouldn’t recommend Miss Saigon Bistro, but since it is one of the few Vietnamese places in Miami, it will probably stay in business by default for a many years to come. If anyone can suggest an alternative Vietnamese restaurant in Miami, please leave it in a comment response, because I crave Pho like a sick kid craves chicken noodle soup.

**In regards to the diet, I did feel significantly more energetic after consuming the carbs and was able to have a powerhouse workout later that evening, which I wasn’t capable of when eating strictly protein. I also was in a much happier mood and felt entirely less lethargic.

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The First Binge

Exactly how I felt after each and every meal today…..

It’s been a full week of protein, protein, and more protein. Eggs on top of chicken, on top of spinach, on top of steak and beef. Not one carb. Not one cheat. But today is the glorious day. That’s right ladies and gentleman, today is binge day!

It’s currently 9 am in the morning, and I am already about 2,000 calories deep. And yes, I did sleep, meaning that all this damage has been done within just a few short hours (I am now back in bed blogging with a hangover in a food coma…I’m a dedicated writer, I know). Anyways, I got the binge started around 4 am after a night out in South Beach. I was heavily intoxicated, but not too drunk to remember that I could now eat PASTA (one of my favorite late night grubs!!). So I put a pot of water on the stove and anxiously waited as I cooked out an entire box of De Cecco linguini. Of course, this felt like it was taking forever, so I munched down a Nature Valley Granola bar in the meantime (190 calories…start counting). Once my pasta was perfectly al dente, I drained it, tossed it in red sauce, and topped it with crushed hot pepper flakes. I ate my bowl and then proceeded to eat the bowls of others that had passed out during the cooking process. I would estimate that I ate about 2 cups of pasta total, which is 400 calories plus about 100 calories for the delicious tomato sauce. I’m at 700 calories now and it’s time for a nap! I push my bowl a few inches to the left and put my head down, passing out for a couple hours before driving home.

Spaghetti with Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

At 8 am, on the drive home, I get the sudden craving for pastries and not just any pastries….French pastries. So I keep on driving past the apartment building (with Sasha barely awake in the passenger seat), heading in the direction of Le Royal Bakery. I love this bakery dearly, but always find such a limited selection because I get there too late in the day. By the time I get there, all the croissants have been picked over and my favorite desserts are usually sold out. But it is only 8 am and I realize that I will have my choice of whatever I want, because the early bird gets the best croissant! So Sasha and I stumble in (we are both still in our clothes from the night before and she is barefoot), and I am literally taken back and aghast at the assortment of delicious pastries before my eyes. I can feel my blood sugar rising from the very smell of this place. My eyes scan over the case and then bingo…I’ve found it—The Almond Croissant. I order it, but then see that there is also an Almond Brioche located just below it. I should probably find out which one this bakery makes better (for blog purposes…wink, wink), so I order the brioche too! And as I am paying, I also see one of my favorite little Raspberry Custard Tarts. Can’t leave her behind, I’ll take one of those too. Sasha orders a Ham and Brie Sandwich on Baquette with Dijon Mustard, and while we wait for them to make her sandwich, I polish off the Croissant and Brioche. I don’t think I even stopped for air. I can officially say that although both pastries were delicious, the almond croissant was a million times more incredible. It was buttery and sweet and flakey and the almond paste was so pronounced. It was divine…really one of the most incredible food experiences that I have had in a while (certainly in this past week!). I polished off the raspberry custard tart on the drive home, and now I’m in bed holding my stomach and sweating out the food cramps. Too much sugar…too early…too fast. I feel like I’m going to die (although I don’t think even this feeling will turn me against eating that croissant in the near future….yes, it’s that good!). I am now going to try to sleep off this horrific pain (which is going to be tricky due to all that sugar consumption), but I have to be up in two hours for a event in South Beach where there will be buffet-style lunch. Ughhhhh…..the thought is miserable.

Almond Brioche Dusted with Powdered Sugar

Almond Croissant Dusted with Powdered Sugar

Raspberry Tarte with Pastry Cream Filling

I’m finally back in bed, and I am so thankful that the binge day is over. I never thought I would look forward to eating my plain protein diet, but I don’t want anything cheesy, sweet, or breaded for a while. I made it to the luncheon on South Beach at the Raleigh Hotel, and forced down a lunch consisting of; Ceasar Salad, Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich with Tomato and Basil on French Baguette, and Chicken Chipotle Sandwich with Pepperoni, Pepper Jack Cheese, Sweet Peppers, and Chipotle Aioli on Baguette. The food was alright, nothing really special (compared to my breakfast at least!) The ceasar salad dressing was bland and the sandwiches were just so-so. I felt like the food was really under seasoned, so I wouldn’t recommend eating at the Raleigh’s Royal Restaurant. I checked out the menu and the prices were reasonable, but under seasoned food isn’t good at any price, in my opinion.

My eclectic plate of food at The Raleigh Hotel

Shortly after eating, my cramps came back and I was holding onto my belly again. I walked it off, shopping at Victoria’s Secret, but had a hard time feeling sexy with such an un-sexy appetite. I crawled back into bed as soon as I got home, and slept for another 4 hours. I don’t know what happened during those 4 hours, but when I woke up, I had a ferocious appetite. I am not kidding you. The next meal on the binge day list was….drumroll, please….CHIPOTLE! Ohh yes, I wanted a large burrito to my face. So my friend, Sam, and I rolled out of bed, threw on some slippers, and headed out to Chipotle in our pajamas…diary of a fat girl. I ordered a Burrito with rice, black beans, carnitas, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, and cheese. I destroyed this whopping 900-calorie burrito in about 5 minutes, but found that I had a difficult time eating the cheese and sour cream. I think that my body might be getting adjusted to a diet without dairy and so the cheese and cream was overload. Whatever the case, I had to take eat around it. I also ate half a bag of chips and salsa before heading out the door.

Chipotle Burrito with Barbacoa, Rice, Black Beans, Fajita Veggies, Salsa, Sour Cream, and Cheese

I then decided that a trip to the gym was necessary. I ran about 3 miles and did abs and arm work for about 30 minutes. I then crawled back in to bed, where I am writing to you now. Sadly, as if I didn’t eat enough, I am polishing off a box of Godiva chocolate truffles while I type. I would estimate that I easily ate anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 today and I feel like shit. I can’t wait to just eat simple meat and spinach tomorrow.

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The Restaurant at the Setai *****

Chicken Satay Skewers with Hot Chili Dipping Sauce

305.520.6402
In the Setai Hotel
2001 Collins Ave (at 20th Street)
Miami Beach, Fl 33139

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My chili lunch turned out fabulous, and I had a second bowl around 8 O’Clock before going out tonight. Ohh, if you’re wondering about how alcohol figures into this ridiculous diet, allow me to explain now. On the carb-slow diet, you are allowed to have 2 glasses of red wine each night, and the drier the red wine the better (so Pinot Noirs, Cabernets, and Merlots over Malbecs, for example). But I don’t feel the need to drink every night, and so I have taken it upon myself to justify roll-over drinks. Meaning that on the nights I do drink, I will allow myself to have 3 because I had none the previous night. This is probably not allowed, but I am in college and there are nights that I will want to be drunk with friends, so I’ve decided to bend the rules a little bit. Also, I find myself getting drunk off of only 3 glasses of wine now because there isn’t a whole bunch of carbs in your belly to absorb the alcohol. That’s definitely a perk on this diet—you become a lightweight that gets drunk fast and for cheap. Certainly is saving me money at the bar!

Anyways, tonight I went with some friends to the Setai for drinks and a bite to eat before going out to LIV. This was my first time eating out on the diet, and it was probably the most conducive menu to my limitations. The Restaurant at the Setai is a Pan-Asian, Pacific Rim restaurant with infusions of Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Malaysian cuisines. So it is a lot of protein and a lot of vegetables, which I can have. To start I ordered the Chicken Satay Skewers, which came with a spicy red dipping sauce. They were delicious, but certainly different because they didn’t come with the traditional peanut sauce. I also ordered the Tom Kha Gai Soup, which is chicken, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, and oyster mushrooms, simmered in coconut milk. This dish is one of my favorites, and I always order it when I go out for Thai food, so it was hard for me to deny myself the coconut milk broth and sticky rice that I normally put it in. Instead, I used my chopsticks to pull out the pieces of meat and the different veggies, leaving behind the delicious, but caloric, coconut milk and rice. The dish was still fabulous though and the chicken was so well flavored from cooking in the broth. It probably would have been the best Tom Kha Gai I have ever had, had I been allowed to drink the broth and eat the rice. But it was still fabulous!

Tom Gha Kai Soup

I did make one little splurge tonight and substituted one glass of wine for a Chili Passion Martini, which is officially the best cocktail that I have ever tasted! It is Captain Morgan Passion Fruit Infused Rum, Ginger Juice, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Red Chili Seeds. WOW! It is such an exotic flavor with a perfect blend of hot and sweet. I will probably have cravings for this drink in the near future. If you go to the Setai, you must order this martini! End of story. I now it sounds super girly—and it is—but boys, order one for the girl that you are with and steal a sip or two. I promise that it is so good, you won’t care what anyone thinks of you sipping your passion martini (decorated with a cute little red chili pepper!).

Chili Passion Martini

 

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