Tag Archives: French

{ Sketch Restaurant in London: The Gallery }

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9 Conduit Street
London WIS 2XG
+44 (0) 20 7659 4500

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I rarely save obligatory tourist sights for my last day when traveling in a new city. And this is a rather difficult feat for me, provided that I am, by nature, a procrastinator in all other aspects of my life. I quit procrastinating in travel, however, after my recent trip to Barcelona—a city that I must revisit since I left without ever laying eyes on Parque Guell. I saved that monumental attraction for my final day in Spain, spending the rest of my time (and money) on binge drinking and partying down by the notoriously shitty beach. I planned to visit Picasso’s masterpiece on June 31st, before flying out to Prague. But the 31st never came because there are only 30 days in June, and thus I left the city with a month-long hangover, very little cultural enrichment, and hardly and cash.

Since then, I have made it a point to get my sightseeing done first. But due to the limited space and late reservations, I was forced to save the London Eye experience for the last night of my trip…which turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise, because it was the perfect note to end my trip upon! I also indulged in one of the most incredible meals of my life after seeing the beautiful views of London from the top of the Eye.

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Where did I dine, you ask?

9 Conduit Street in Mayfair, London.

If you are into food, art, fashion design, or architecture, then you may be familiar with the address. The opulent townhome has served as the headquarters for the Royal Society of British Architects, the atelier of Christian Dior, and is currently home to the 2 star Michelin-rated French restaurant run by Executive Chef, Pierre Gagnaire.

Even if French food isn’t your cup of tea, if your pockets are deep enough, I suggest that you at least pay a visit to check out the unique ambiance. The décor is parallel to none; with each room in the space taking you on a journey that is evocative of trippy dream. There are three different dining rooms—each one offering a different menu and price point—as well as two ultra posh cocktail lounges. The whole venue is a riot of color and an onslaught to the senses. But the loud and quirky design makes this Michelin restaurant feel, dare I say, comfortable?!

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After studying all of the menus, I chose to dine at the Gallery, which is the more informal restaurant space with more reasonably priced menu items. British artist, Martin Creed, has transformed the space into a serviceable museum of modern art with eclectic chairs and one-of-a-kind dinnerware.

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To start, I ordered the Chestnut Velouté with white truffle oil, and pan-fried squid sautéed with garlic and cherry tomatoes (£15). It was velvety, rich, and every bit delicious. I cleared the bottom of my bowl with the trio of freshly baked breads that were brought to the table (£4).

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The second appetizer that I tried was the Dublin bay prawn tempura with haricot beans and aubergine, accompanied by an Osframpi sauce (£25). The prawns were delicious but sadly, there were only three of them—typical French portions! I didn’t expect the vegetables would also be deep fried, and I found them a bit bourgeois in contrast to the otherwise haute cuisine. The osframpi sauce was magical, however, due in part to the fact that I’ve never tasted one before. Essentially, it is a puree of wild berries balanced with some sort of lemon acidity to cut the sweetness. I did not use it for the prawns, but rather as a spread for the breadbasket.

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For my entrée, I ordered the Cannon of lamb roasted en crépine, Niçoise socca, swiss chard pomponette (£28). The lamb was cooked to perfection and the sauce dressing the plate was to die for, but I have had better cuts of meat before. I cleared the plate none-the-less, which easy to do at a French restaurant—oftentimes in just two bites!

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To accompany my main dish, I ordered a side of the homemade pumpkin and chestnut gnocchi (£6), which were fabulous. They were so delicate with all of the vegetables minced into perfect little cubes, and the pasta was browned on the outside and tender and chewy on the inside.

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There was little hesitation when it came to choosing a dessert; naturally, I opted for the chocolate one: Sketch Chocolat, which is a dark chocolate box filled with vanilla cream, nougatine, dried fruits, caramel syrup and coffee genoise. On the side, of the box was a little shooter filled with pistachio ice cream with pineapple and mango coulis (£10). I also got the suggested after-dinner drink, The Whisk Away, made with Laphroaig Whisky and Kalua (£7). The coffee notes in the dessert and cocktail complimented one another beautifully.

All in all, Sketch is about the experience: the art, the atmosphere, the service, the exotic bathrooms! Sure, the food is very, very good, but it is the ambiance that is over-the-top. I would certainly return, possibly in some high heels next time, with slightly lower expectations of the food.

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Filed under Bars, Brunch, Cafe / Bistro, Cakes, Cocktails, Coffee Shop, Cookies, Cupcakes, Dessert, French Restaurants, International Restaurants, London Restaurants, Lunch Spots

George’s in Sunset ****

Angus Center Cut Beef Filet “Au Poivre” with Truffle Mashed Potatoes and French Green Beans

305.284.9989
1549 Sunset Dr
Miami, Fl 33143

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I recently wrote a rave review on George’s restaurant located in the Grove, making specific mention that his location in Sunset did not have the same quality of service. However, I feel that I need to revise this criticism after most my recent experience there for my graduation dinner. The place was obviously packed for graduation weekend (although it is packed almost every night of the week), and I was struggling to find the hostess amidst the large crowd waiting outside—as they don’t take reservations for parties less than 8 persons…a.k.a get there early! Suddenly, a rather stout bald man approaches me and assures me (in a charming French accent) that he will personally see to it that my family is seated within 15 minutes. Pleased to meet you, George!

We headed to the bar, grabbed a round of cocktails, and sure enough he had us a table outside before we finished the drinks. This kind of attentive personal service is seriously lacking in Miami, so to be taken care of and treated in this way is infrequent and enjoyable. We were then each brought a complimentary glass of champagne before receiving our menus. Again, a nice personal touch that scores major brownie points with customers. Who doesn’t love getting free stuff? Especially, free alcohol!!

To start, I ordered the Steamed Mussels with shallots and garlic in white wine sauce. This is the must try menu item. They come in a large le crusset pot, piping hot, with a decadent side of Truffle French Fries. I would estimate that about 50% of the tables you see will have an order of these mussels on them, because everyone loves them. The mussels themselves are large and plump and the sauce is just outrageously good and flavorful.

Mussels with Shallots and Garlic in a White Wine Sauce with Truffle Fries

Next, I got an order of the French Onion Soup, which is prepared in the traditional way and served in a crock with baked gruyere and provolone cheeses atop sliced French baguette. Although it is tasty, onion soup is onion soup in my opinion, and I would recommend trying some of the more unique menu items.

French Onion Soup with Melted Gruyere and Provolone Cheeses

For my “celebration entrée,” I thought that a nice steak was the most appropriate! I ordered the Angus Center Cut Beef Filet “Au Poivre” with Truffle Mashed Potatoes and French Green Beans (photographed at top). The steak was incredibly lean and buttery…each bite just melted in my mouth. And the sauce, although rich, was delicious. The cognac added a nice sweetness to the dish complimenting the pungent peppercorn crust on the steak. I was a little disappointed with the mashed potatoes however, which lacked in truffle flavor. I would get the potatoes au gratin instead next time.

For dessert, we ordered the Raspberry Custard Tart with homemade Raspberry Sorbet. I really enjoyed the dessert, although my family thought the sorbet was a little too tart and sour. Guess it is a sheer matter of preference.

Raspberry Custard Tart with homemade Raspberry Sorbet

Overall, I believe that George’s in the Grove is a more appropriate place for a dinner date and family dinner because it is a lot less noisey. But I take back my former harsh criticisms on Georges in Sunset, and recommend it as a great place for celebration dinners and drinks. The bar scene is much larger at the Sunset location, and on Wednesday nights you can watch the local Miami divorcee scene get smashed and mingle. Ohhh, and Wednesday night is ladies night, which means free champagne for women all night long!!

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George’s in the Grove *****

Morels Mushroom Risotto with Shaved Foie Gras

305.444.7878
3145 Commodore Plaza
Miami, Fl 33133

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“Don’t fix it, if it’s not broken!” This is a quote I’ve heard my dad say a million times over throughout my lifetime. I remember when the Blackberry first came out and I wanted to trade in my hot pink Motorola flip phone so that I could get a pin and enter the world of bbm-ing (this dates me a little since kids these days know their Blackberry pins before their social security number!). But, my dad wouldn’t have it. He refused to upgrade me because my Motorola worked just fine. I then made it my mission to break that little phone and quickly learned that Motorola phones are nearly indestructible—much unlike Blackberrys! That pink phone had loose wires coming out of one end, had duck-tape keeping the battery in, and had a simultaneously cracked and water damaged screen, but wouldn’t you believe it still made phone calls! Now the biggest annoyance in my day is when my trackball gets stuck and my bbm is slow (and to this my dad would say, “be careful what you wish for!”) But, back to point…don’t fix something if it’s not broken! Likewise, don’t feel pressured to always try a new menu item when you have already found a dish that you love at a restaurant! When I find something that I really like at a restaurant, I stick to ordering it because I then I am never disappointed!

One place that I go for the same dish every time, is Georges in the Grove (they also have opened a place in Sunset, but I was there the other night and very disappointed by the unfriendly service, which never happens at the one in the Grove!). Anyways, the dish to order is without doubt is the Steamed Fresh Mussels with garlic, shallots, and parsley in a white wine butter sauce served with french fries. I really don’t even think that there are adjectives in the English language to describe how incredible these mussels are. Just…wow! The mussels are enormous and succulent and the sauce is outrageously good. As soon as I get the bowl, I drop a few slices of french bread into the sauce to let it soak…yummm. And best of all, they are served piping hot and do not cool off before you are finished, so you can take your time. Also, if you are into truffle flavor, ask the waiter to bring you truffle fries instead of plain fries (the Georges in the Grove will do this at no charge…but the same cannot be said for the one in Sunset—I’m really hating on them). The fries are delicious and taste fresh cut, and also go well with the white wine sauce.

Steamed Fresh Mussels with garlic, shallots, and parsley in a white wine butter sauce served with french fries.

Truffle French Fries

Of course, I have also tried other menu items (all very good), but if someone won’t split the mussels with me for an appetizer, then I have to get them for my entrée. On the occasion that someone will split them with me for a starter, I like to order the Steak Tartar, served with Truffle Fries and Mesclun Salad. Not too many places do steak tartar and so I take advantage of this menu item when I go. It sounds gross, but it is delicious.

Steak Tartar with Mesclun Salad and Truffle Fries

And for those of you who like your meat cooked, the Steak Frites with Bearnaise Sauce is also amazing!!

Steak Frites with Bearnaise and Mesclun Salad

If you’re looking for a carb, then I highly recommend the Morels Mushroom Risotto with Shaved Foie Gras (pictured at top). It is straight up high-class comfort food!

The only thing I am not crazy about is the pizza at Georges. The crust doesn’t ever get crunchy on the bottom and so the dough is very chewy, which isn’t my thing. I ordered the Proscuitto and Arugala Pizza for lunch today and was pretty disappointed. But other than that, everything else on the menu is a go!

The atmosphere (at the one in the Grove) is very hip and chic with a lounge feel. And don’t be alarmed when the disco balls light up and the club music comes on for someone’s birthday, because it seems that everyone goes to Georges for their birthday! Ohhh and they give you a free mimosa with breakfast and lunch, or a glass of champagne with your dinner (again, at the one in the Grove…the one in Sunset didn’t)!

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Brasserie 360 ****

Warm Chicken Club, with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Boston Lettuce, and Mayonnaise between 3 slices of Whole Wheat Bread

212.688.8688
200 E 60th Street
New York, NY

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Still full from our Mexican meal last night, Jen and I woke up and headed straight to Bloomingdales without stopping for breakfast or coffee. But after just two hours of lugging around an arm full of shopping bags, we were ready to get some food. Unfamiliar with that particular area of the city, I asked the woman behind the handbag counter for some suggestions and she enthusiastically replied, “ohhh yes, there are so many great places around here to eat at!” Unfortunately, she then listed off places such as California Pizza Kitchen, Papa Johns, and TGI Fridays. What was worse is that she acted as if I had never heard of these places, and described them in detail to me, recommending her favorite menu items. I wanted to get out of the conversation fast but had no escape, Jen had to finish paying for her handbag. I tried to be polite, but I couldn’t even pretend to be interested in these places and she wouldn’t stop ranting and raving about the enormous “gourmet” salads offered by CPK.
I don’t mean to sound like a food-snob (which I openly admit that I am), but why would I ever want to go to a chain restaurant in a city filled with such culinary richness? I’ll save my fast food/chain restaurants meals for desperate times (such as Orlando), thank you!

Anyways, I realized that we were on our own for this one and that the best thing to do was just walk until we saw a menu that peaked our interest. So that’s just what we did. We walked out of Bloomingdales and headed down the block until we spotted Brasserie 360. I can always go for French food, and New York is filled with an abundance of fabulous Brasseries so I figured it was a safe bet. Sure enough, it turned out to be our best meal in New York!

To start we ordered a round of Mimosas and 2 glasses of Chardonnay (after all, shopping is always more exciting with a buzz!). Next we moved onto appetizers—Jen ordered the French Onion Soup baked with Gruyere and Provolone Cheeses ($9). It was probably one of the best French Onion soups that I have ever tasted (second to Nordstrom’s Café Bistro, which holds first place in my mind). It came in a large crock and the cheese was perfectly gooey and browned on the top. The broth was also a beef stock, which I think has a much heartier flavor than places that use chicken stock.

Glass of Chardonnay

French Onion Soup baked with Gruyere and Provolone Cheeses

I ordered the Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Whipped Avocado Cream served over Dill Marinated Cucumber Slices ($16). I was not used to eating tuna tartar without some form of cracker or plantain, but the cucumber slices were just perfect for the crunch (plus they are healthier!). The flavor of the wasabi was perfect and the creaminess of avocado helped subdue the heat, so it wasn’t too spicy. It was a little pricey for an appetizer but they used the highest grade of Tuna and the portion was very generous, as you can see in the photo below:

Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Whipped Avocado Cream served over Dill Marinated Cucumber Slices

For my main course, I ordered the Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Tomato, and Goat Cheese instead of Bacon. The salad came tossed in a light herb vinaigrette, and it was delicious. Of course, it is kind of hard to screw up a Cobb Salad, but I assure you that this was much better than any of the ones at CPK! The goat cheese was especially good, and the chicken had a nice herb marinade.

Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Tomato, and Goat Cheese instead of Bacon

Jennifer ordered the Warm Chicken Club, with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Boston Lettuce, and Mayonnaise between 3 slices of Whole Wheat Bread (photographed at top). I thought that the bread was a little bit bulky, and she removed the center slice as well. But the sandwich was awesome and certainly filling! Her entrée was also served with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, which were hands down the best sweet potato fries that I have ever tried, and best of all they were large cut steak fries! I kept sneaking my fork onto her plate to grab some.

Overall, amazing place, great atmosphere, and reasonable prices! Go!

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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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Filed under Baking, Miami Restaurants

Db Bistro Moderne *****

The Original Db Bistro Burger – sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras served on a parmesan bun

305.421.8800
255 Biscayne Blvd Way
Miami, Fl 33131

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Chef Daniel Boulud hails from Lyon, France and has opened an abundance of award winning restaurants in cities such as New York, Beijing, Vancouver, West Palm, and finally, Miami. His soulful dishes, inspired by traditional French cooking, are beautiful to look at and quite an indulgence to taste. Every detail in his restaurant is carried out to perfection—from the décor, to the to plate aesthetics, to the food flavors.

Db Bistro Moderne, which opened back in February of last year in the JW Marriott (downtown Miami) has a rich elegance that is incomparable. When my friend, Brooks, asked me to get some dinner with him there I could hardly wait. I spent the hour prior to going on my phone reading over the menu…again, and again, and again. I was salivating at the mere descriptions of the food, which were so detailed you could almost imagine the taste. I think that a lot of restaurants make the mistake of not describing their menu items in enough detail, but this is certainly not the case at Db Bistro! Here, if it is on the plate, then it is in the description.

Despite having poured over the menu for almost an hour, I still found it hard to make my final selection once at the restaurant. So I did what I often do, and asked the waiter to name the five most popular menu items. Without hesitation (no “depends on what you’re in the mood for” bullshit), he lists off his favorite five dishes. And when I asked about the beef bourguignon, which I was tempted to order, he was astonishingly honest and told me that there were better things to try. So I ordered my meal based on his suggestions, had not one regret! To start, I tried the Tomato Tarte Tatin which is puff pastry with tomato confit, herbed goat cheese, frisee, atop a swirl of basil pesto sauce. Although the combination of the cheese and puff pastry sounds a bit heavy, the dish actually came off surprisingly light. The dough was flaky and buttery…just kind of crumbled when poked with the fork, and the cheese was creamy and flavorful. I had originally been expecting freshly sliced tomatoes with the tarte, but when it was brought out I noticed that it was actually like stewed tomatoes (almost looked like a red sauce, with roasted tomato slices). Actually, when all of the elements combined in my mouth it tasted like a super gourmet pizza. The most interesting element on the plate, however, was the basil pesto. I took the pesto for granted as a garnish when I first saw the dish, but once I got a little taste, I couldn’t seem to get enough. The pesto is very thin and almost looks watered-down, but the strength of flavor is unexpected and incredible. Such a miniscule element, but it really pulls the whole plate together.

Tomato Tarte Tatin – puff pastry with tomato confit, herbed goat cheese, frisee, atop a swirl of basil pesto sauce.

Brooks had the Tuna Crudo with harissa-sesame sauce, cucumber radish, and crispy rice. Again, every element of the plate had a punch of flavor that lended itself well with the others. The tuna was prepared in small one-inch cubes and a total of 6 or 8 were served on the plate. I tried one, and the flavors just exploded in my mouth. I had really expected it to taste dull like tuna sashimi, but what a pleasant surprise. This is certainly a place where you eat the garnish!! Daniel doesn’t put anything on the plate that doesn’t enhance or compliment the food. There is no senseless parsley garnish or pickle to be wasted here. Every element of the dish is meticulously planned and the layers of flavor just build and build.

As my main entrée, I ordered The Orignal Db Burger, which is a sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras served on a parmesan bun accompanied by a small pale of pomme frites. And, I think that’s about all I need to say! I mean, beef + short ribs + foie gras (all in one bite) = sheer bliss. The only way that this burger could have possibly gotten any better is if it was void of calories. But since this is impossible, it was utter perfection. I have never experienced a burger like this, and I really don’t think I would even call it a burger because it is just on another level. Obviously, I crushed the entire thing…much to Brook’s disappointment I think, because I sensed he was feigning for a few more bites (I’m not generous with sharing food I love)! His dish—the tasting of Lamb which included roasted loin, merguez, sweet and sour eggplant couscous, croquette, sheeps milk yogurt, and lamb jus—was also very good, but didn’t hold a candle to my divine burger. Also, the lamb was unfortunately a little over-cooked. The flavors were still great but definitely an apparent cooking error.

Tasting of Lamb – roasted loin, merguez, sweet and sour eggplant couscous, croquette, sheeps milk yogurt, and lamb jus

Just as I was tucking my now pregnant-looking belly down into the elastic waistband of my leggings, the server brought over the dessert menu. I was already stuffed beyond capacity, but each and every dessert taunted me…enticing my sweet tooth. Again, I asked the server what was best and finally agreed to let him just surprise us. He chose something that I wouldn’t have ordered for myself, but it was fabulous. It was tiny oatmeal raisin cookies, complimented by Jameson flavored ice cream and a dense chocolate mousse (it had the flavor of a mousse but did not have the air bubbles). Of course there was also homemade whipped cream and drizzled chocolate on top too! It was really refreshing and hit the spot with just a few spoonfuls. We also tried some of the Warm Madeleines, which were very light and had a terrific infusion of lemon flavor. They were topped with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and were small enough to just effortlessly pop into your mouth again, and again, and again.

Warm Madeleines Sprinkled with Powdered Sugar

Overall, the meal was fantastic and I think that I will forever have cravings for that orgasmic burger. I am better off for having experienced it in this lifetime.

 

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Filed under Miami Restaurants, New York Restaurants

Le Royal Bakery *****

Raspberry Fruit Tart with Custard Cream

305.665.6631
7370 SW 57th Ave
South Miami, 33143

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For as much as I love baking and for as often as I do it, it’s surprising that I am not really a “dessert person.” I enjoy desserts every now and then, but I never deliberately leave room for them when enjoying a meal out. I would way rather eat more steak than save myself for a brownie a la mode. So on the rare occasions when I do have dessert, I usually make a meal of it…going out specifically for that dessert. And who does desert better than the French?

NO ONE.

So I set out to find some French bakeries in the Miami area, and after trying several different ones, I believe that I might have finally found the best. It is called Le Royal Bakery and it is located in a little shopping center near Sunset Shops. I stumbled upon this little gem while walking back to my car after having lunch at a French restaurant that is in the same shopping center (Café Pastis, which is a-m-a-z-i-n-g). Since I had just eaten, I wasn’t hungry when I walked by Le Royal Bakery, but I got one glimpse of the croissants and my feet involuntarily carried me inside. The inside is nothing fancy, but the display case is quite impressive. There are like 6 different types of croissants and 10 different varieties of fruit tarts daily. Of course this is in addition to the abundant assortment of breads, brownies, cakes, danishes, and cookies. I love the Almond Croissant and the Cream Cheese Croissant. The almond paste and cream cheese help keep the inside of the croissant moist, while the outside is soft and flakey. The Plain Croissant is also very good and buttery, and I love to drizzle a little honey and raspberry preserves over top of it when I eat it. I go for a croissant and coffee here about 1-2 a week in between my classes! They are very addicting and oh so cheap! I always feel like I’m getting ripped off at French restaurants because the food is usually so over-price (as if something expensive is intrinsically delicious), but this no frills bakery has cheap, not modest, but cheap prices! A specialty croissant is just $2.50. But beware, although they accept credit cards, there is a $10 purchase minimum, and this equates to a lot of treats there so bring cash! I learned the hard way (aka delicious way) on my first visit and ended up purchasing like 3 croissants, 2 fruit tarts, and a macaroon. I never bring cash and just use it as an excuse to treat myself to indulgent pastries. Out of the tarts, I have tried the Raspberry Custard Tart, which is a buttery piecrust filled with custard and topped with fresh raspberries. Oh my goodness is it good! Its actually an experience. This is not something you eat with one hand as your driving in your car, this is something you sit down and devote a blissful 5 minutes to eating. You need to fully enjoy the experience of this dessert. I have also tried the Blueberry Tart, which has an almond cream filling, but I thought the Strawberry one was better and this is surprising given my love for almond flavoring. The Macaroons are also incredible, and traditional French style.

Apparently, they also serve sandwiches for lunch that cost only $5.50. I have never had one, but I hope to try one soon! You must try this place for yourself!

Chocolate Croissant

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