Tag Archives: Markets

{ The Borough Market in London }

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Whenever I go into a city, I feel pressured to eat—and drink—just about everything in sight. In a brief two-block stroll, I can usually find time to eat a pastry, sample a gelato, snack on an over-priced French macaron or chocolate, down a cup of fancy coffee, and possibly even grab a cocktail of some sort. It’s down right impressive, albeit slightly sickening to my friends that are forced to dip into every corner shop café with me!

Why does the city send me into this preposterous food frenzy, you ask?

Because I am from the suburbs!! The suburbs of Philadelphia, no less: a place where good food requires some serious gas mileage and planning. You can’t find an authentic Italian restaurant, a crab shack, a sake lounge, and an artisanal chocolatier all within the same one-mile radius! If you want Indian, you drive to Iselin, NJ. If you want Italian, you drive to South Philly. If you want French, you’re shit outta luck. My point is, that you’re driving if you want to get good ethnic foods. So when I see Cambodian sandwiches, ramen, French pastries, and kebabs all within the same street, I get beside myself and feel the urge to try it all simply because it is there!

My most recent trip to London kept me eating around the clock because of the seemingly endless number of cafes and pubs, each one more adorable than the next. I plan to give a full review each meal, but I want to start off with my absolute favorite food experience in London, which doesn’t take place in a restaurant at all, but rather an open-air food market called the Borough Market.

My idea of heaven is an endless Borough Market where every vendor has free samples and they don’t judge you for taking more than one, instead they encourage it! The food is free, and it has no caloric value, and you never feel full so you can just keep on eating, and eating, and eating. #FatGirlProblems

The Best Prepared Meal Item: Thai Green Curry Paella with Chicken & Seafood over Rice. I did my research on the market before going (aka Googled the shit out it to see what other bloggers were saying!) in so that I could make an informed decision on what to eat once I got there. I read that the Paella place was one of the best, and I can confirm that it was better than some seafood dishes I had in Spain. It was creamy and flavorful and the rice was tender without being mushy. A food experience that was borderline otherworldly.

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The Best Cheese: The Borough Cheese Company’s 15 mo. aged Comte

It was the first cheese we sampled going into the market, and we continued to go back for more samples until we found ourselves just pounding down his entire platter one sample after another. Then it got awkward and we decided we were obligated to make a purchase, which was noshed down that same evening. I ate it like a slice of watermelon, right down to the rind, holding the wedge between my two hands.

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The Best Exotic Item for Purchase: Tartufaia Truffles’ White Truffle Honey

Need I say more? Truffle + Honey = guaranteed foodgasm

I might just have to fly back for more once I eat it all, and for only 5 pound a jar, it is the best bargain in London!!!

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The Best Eat at Home Purchase: West Country Preserves

I bought the Spicy Gooseberry with Cumin Seeds, which is more savory than sweet. It pairs well with chicken and meat, but also toast if your taste buds are like mine! I also bought one of the Ginger Curds, which is a sweetened yet naturally spicy spread that pairs lovely with toast and desserts. My friends got the pure Ginger Preserves, which were intensely flavorful but also amazing. The man knows how to sell too—he loves encouraging samples! I think I tried all 32 varieties before selecting my final two for purchase.

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Other Items I purchased and loved:

 Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella – So creamy and tender. I coupled these bad boys with some sliced tomatoes and avocado wedges when I got back home and they were lovely.

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Date and Walnut Bread from The Flour Station– I was on a date kick after my trip to Harrods (where I bought the best dates of my life!), and so I decided to get loaf of this bread. It turned out to be my breakfast pregame and late night snack for the remaining days of my trip. A fabulous purchase!

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1 BOROUGH MARKET YUM

Roasted Porchetta Sandwich with Applesauce and Rockett on Ciabatta – this was not my favorite, as I found the meat a bit too fatty and difficult to swallow. That being said, I did love the deep rosemary flavor to the meat and the pairing of the sweet applesauce, which is something I will replicate at home in the future.

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Mulled Wine – It was my first English mulled wine experience, so I will have a special place for it in my heart, but I went on to have much better from street vendors at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. And priced at 4 pound a cup, it was difficult to catch a buzz!

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Chocolates and Fudge from Burnt Sugar– I loved the chocolate covered honeycombs made with rich dark chocolate, but learned that fudge is not really my thing. It might be the only food that I can say isn’t one of my weaknesses.

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Filed under Bakery, Baking, Breakfast, Brunch, Cocktails, Coffee Shop, Cookies, Dessert, International Restaurants, London Restaurants, Markets

Food Porn: Cuzco, Peru

My friends and I decided that we would end our 6-month South American adventure with a bang, and do the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu before flying home for good. And given that the Inca Trail is a rigorous 4-day, 50 km trek, reaching a height of 4,200 meters (I was not aware of any of these “minor” details before paying my deposit), I had an excuse to eat whatever I wanted while staying in Cuzco the couple of days beforehand. I needed to bulk up before this climb….and I certainly did!

Peruvian food is one of my favorite types of cuisine because it has such a wide variety of national dishes ranging from soups, to fish, to poultry, and even llama and alpaca meats! Below is a collection of photos, documenting my most memorable meals:

Lomo Salteado  – Lomo Salteado is a traditional Peruvian dish with Asian influence that can be found everywhere. It is strips of sirloin steak marinated in vinegar and soy sauce, that is then stir fried with red onion, parsley, and tomato. It is usually served alongside rice (image #2), atop french fries, or on a sandwich (image #1).

Dieta de Pollo – The quint essential comfort food, dieta de pollo is a delicate chicken noodle soup. I ate a bowl of this stuff before almost every meal, and I found that most Peruvians eat a bowl of soup before their entree as well–a soup society…I like that!

Aji de Gallina – Another classic Peruvian dish with a surprisingly French influence! French chefs, put out of employment by the social upheaval of the French Revolution, traveled to the New World and settled in Peru, creating a cuisine that blended local Peruvian flavors with French styles and techniques. Aji de Gallina consists of shredded chicken in a spicy cream sauce, flavored with cheese, garlic, nuts, and rocoto peppers (spicy Peruvian peppers). It is normally served with white rice and/or french fries.

Rocoto Relleno – As I mentioned before, Rocoto is a very spicy Peruvian pepper. Therefore, when you break down the Spanish name, a rococo relleno is a Peruvian stuffed pepper…a very spicy one at that! This particular dish originates in the city of Arequipa, but is now served all over the country! It is can be filled with beef, vegetables, and cheese, among many other things. The one in the photo above is even deep fried!

Pollo con Arroz – Chicken and rice has never tasted so good!! Peruvians know how to prepare a chicken that literally melts off the bone and the cilantro flavored rice that accompanies the poultry is out of this world!! The raw onion and tomato garnishes add a fresh crisp texture to the hearty dish.

Pollo Relleno con Alpaca in Elderberry Sauce – This was our way of easing into trying alpaca. We weren’t going to order an alpaca fillet outright, so we tried a chicken dish that was stuffed with bits of alpaca first. The dish was then finished in an elderberry reduction (elderberry being very popular in Peru), and then accompanied by sautéed vegetables. What does alpaca taste like, you ask? Chicken. Go figure!

Pisco Sour – When in Peru, have a Pisco or two!! Pisco Sour is a popular Peruvian cocktail that dates back to about 1900, getting is name from the Quechua word Pisco, meaning bird. The drink is made from Peruvian grape brandy (pisco), lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. It is mixed in a blender so it comes out frothy and full of citrus flavor.

Assortment of Causas – With over 8,000 species of potatoes native to the Andean region, it is no surprise that Peruvians use a lot of them in their cooking. A causa, in its most basic form, is a mashed yellow potato dumpling mixed with lime, onion, chili, and oil. The potato mixture is then stuffed with any combination of avocado, chicken, canned tuna, and shellfish. We decided to try the seafood sampler version, and it was light and lovely.

Chicharron de Pollo – Chicharron normally refers to a dish containing pork rinds, but since that didn’t particularly appeal to me, we decided to order the chicken version of the dish instead, which tasted like good ole’ American fried chicken. The fried chicken thighs were then finished with a garlic, ginger, and panda chili sauce, which was out of this world (and every ounce fattening!).

Peruvian Tequenos – Tequenos are not really Peruvian by nature, but these were because they were filled with lomo salted and aji de gallina. Anything stuffed and then deep fried is generally delicious, and this was no exception. I particularly loved the spicy rocoto dipping sauce that accompanied the tasty appetizer.

Tallerines Saltados con Pollo – If you have ever been to Peru, you will have noticed the incredible amount of Asian (chifa) influence on the food there. This is because the Spanish brought Chinese slaves to the country and with them they brought their national cuisine. One of the very popular Asian inspired dishes is Tallerines Saltadas, which are essentially lo mein noodles with poultry or beef (poultry in the photo above!).

Pollo en Salsa Rocoto with Quinoa Tabouli – This was supposed to be served as a sandwich, but since the restaurant ran out of bread, I ordered it as a deconstructed plate of ingredients. The elements included: chicken sautéed in a spicy rocoto pepper sauce, sautéed eggplant and caramelized onions, quinoa tabouli salad, and french fries. The platter had an awesome mix of Peruvian, Asian, and Middle Eastern flavors.

Alfajors – Alfajors are shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche spread (a.k.a caramel). They are popular all over South America, but prepared slightly different by every country. For example, Argentina coast them with chocolate, Chileans in Patagonia fill them with berry flavored jams, and Peruvians simply serve theirs with a dusting of powdered sugar. We got this plate of petite alfajors and fruit jams complimentary with our bill at Chi Cha de Gaston Acurio, and we all agreed that they were the best alfajors we had on our trip (sorry Argentina….)

{ San Pedro Market in Cuzco, Peru }

Woman selling her herbs and spices.

Baskets of dehydrated rocoto peppers and dried fruits.

Enormous loaves of bread, which can be found everywhere in Peru.

The line up of fresh juice bar stands.

Sam pulls up a chair and tries a juice. Have it at the stand though, because if you ask for it to go they give you a plastic bag with a straw:

To-Go cups are so American.

Where the Peruvian locals go to eat.

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{ Food from Barcelona, Spain Pt. II }

Milk Bar

Gignas 21,
Barcelona, Spain 
{Metro strop: Jaume I}

(www.milkbarcelona.com)

By the time we got to Barcelona, Ariana and I were already two weeks into our trip and we were craving some sort of an American breakfast (especially after coming from Morocco where we had been on the Quaker granola bar diet for five days—the consequences of unsanitary water are far from desirable). We hadn’t seen eggs, bagels, or pancakes in forever, and we wanted to taste a little piece of home. I honestly can’t tell you what I would have done for a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee, a veggie omelet, and a WWET bagel (whole wheat everything) toasted with cream cheese. But we were in Spain, and there are no Jewish deli’s or Jersey diners there, so we did the usual and turned to Google for help! The search returned: “MilkBar: Best recovery brunch in Barcelona.” Sounded American enough to me!

When we arrived at the café/bar, we were pleasantly surprised by the eclectic and vintage décor but disappointed to find out that they only served brunch Thurs-Sun from 10 am till 4 pm. It was Wednesday….sad face. Of course, we made the trek the following morning though.

I ordered the French Toast topped with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries and Ariana got the Ranchero Omelet with Spicy Chorizo, Chili, Mixed Peppers, Scallions, and Crème Fraiche. Certainly not the ideal “American breakfast” we had been yearning for, but we figured it was as close as we were going to get. The quality of the ingredients was excellent (one of the best Greek yogurts that I have ever tasted, and incredible chorizo in the eggs), but for some reason both dishes were slightly off and unsatisfying. It was odd that they smothered the warm French toast in chilled Greek yogurt because it made both elements of the dish room temperature. I like my food like my coffee…hot or cold, not lukewarm. And Ariana’s omelet had a nice spicy flavor, but it was drowning in crème fraiche. Too much crème fraiche is just never a good thing.

Although I wouldn’t recommend MilkBar for their recovery brunch, their lunch menu looked very appetizing and their nighttime bar scene looked very trendy and hip. I would go back to cozy up on the cool upholstered sofas and have a drink, but I would skip breakfast there.

Lesson learned: When in Spain, just stick to eating a traditional Spanish breakfast, which is a pastry or piece of bread with jam.

 La Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boquiera

Rambla, 91
Barcelona, Spain
{Metro Stop: Liceu}

(http://www.boqueria.info/)

Mercat de la Boqueria is  foodies Mecca. It is the end all, be all of gourmet food markets. In fact, it gives new meaning to the word food market. Upon entering, I experienced same overwhelming emotional feeling that I did when I first saw the Roman Coliseum—it was complete sensory overload. But after a few short minutes, I regained my sense of purpose and devised a plan of attack; heading first for the fresh squeezed fruit juices, and ending at the nuts and candy. I cannot really even put the experience into words, so just enjoy the photos!

Ohh, and just outside the mercat is a little pastry/chocolate shop called Escriba and they have incredible truffles, quiches, and coffee (photos are included at the end):

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“Death By Prosciutto” – Madrid, Spain

Iberico Ham from Spain

Before my trip to Spain, mention of the word ham conjured up strong images of Christmas dinner—a honey-glazed, suckling pig in the center of a large table, surrounded by side dishes piled high with mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, and rye bread. However. I must admit that this traditional Christmas feast never tickled my fancy because I don’t like the actual taste (or texture) of cooked ham. And judging by the number of condiments that people use in combination with their boiled and broiled pig, I don’t think that I am the only person sharing in this sentiment. I mean you rarely see someone just nibbling on a piece of ham…unless of course, it’s slathered in mayo between two slices of Wonderbread, or served next to a heap of cheesy scrambled eggs, or covered in gobs of mustard. But in Spain, ham is like a second religion (soccer being the first), and it is delicious because it is NOT cooked. Instead, it undergoes a delicate process of curing and drying, which can take up to 48 months! After the ham has aged to perfection, it is dubbed “Jamon Iberico,” which is then sliced down into thin cuts of meat that sell at a very lofty price point. I once heard a comedian say, “I wouldn’t mind being treated like a piece of meat, as long as it was Serrano ham…because that means you think I’m fancy and thin!” I would have to agree with this statement after spending time in Spain.

Serrano ham is truly incredible—an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Unfortunately, it is also an explosion of sodium. Your fingers and feet will attest to that after just 2 short days in Catalan country. You will struggle to take off your rings and your ankles will transform into cankles as they rapidly loose bone definition from all of the salt-swelling. However, you will accept these side effects as minor troubles, and continue to eat Serrano ham, as you begin to realize that it is one of the best foods available in Spain. And unlike ham in the US, it doesn’t require a slew of condiments to taste good. It is perfection when eaten alone, but also delicious when paired with melon, Manchego cheese (a real sodium-assault), or sliced baguette for a simple sandwich. It is an ingredient so delicious, that you honestly can’t ruin it if you try, which brings me to my next point: do yourself a favor, and order simple in Spain. They have a lot of high quality produce and ingredients available, but they struggle developing the right flavors in complex dishes at many restaurants. After several disappointing meals, I learned that the best foods in Spain are the simplest; i.e. Serrano ham platters, chorizo, stuffed olives, and patatas bravas (potatoes with hot sauce). Therefore, a good place to grab lunch is in a food market (this is NOT to be confused with a supermarket). The food markets are very gourmet and have a variety of different vendors, each with a specific and unique culinary offering. You can create yourself a fantasy meal as you go from station to station, and select the items that call out to your belly…a true tapas experience. My favorite food market in Spain was located in Madrid, and it is called the Mercado de San Miguel (situated right outside the Plaza Mayor—http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/).  This covered market is over 100 years old and boasts 33 different food shops; selling anything from fruit to meat, cheese, and baked goods.

Mercado de San Miguel

Me, standing in front of the Mercado….itching to get inside

I got the best Iberico ham that I have ever tasted there, in addition to olives stuffed with mussels, croquettes, a mini tuna bocadilla (sandwich), and an assortment of Spanish cheeses with sliced baguette.

Is it a fruit display or is it art?…ask for assistance getting those cherries!

Our Jamon Iberico getting sliced to order….talk about fresh

Our Jamon y Queso Platter

Assorted Croquettes Stuffed with Blue Cheese, Spinach, and Chorizo

Manchego Cheese, Sliced Baguette, and Spanish Olives Stuffed with Mussels and Chilies

Tunafish Bocadillo with Manchego Cheese

Prices at the market were very reasonable, and I enjoyed eating my lunch at a window-counter where I was able to people watch passerbys outside. Just try not to make eye contact with the bands of roaming gypsys that are begging outside the market. It is like feeding the birds at the beach…you give a crumb to one seagull and soon the whole flock is swarming.

If you manage to resist the mouth-watering desserts offered in the Mercado (a serious testament to your self-control), you can walk across the street to CH&CH Chocolate & Churros (Calle Mayor, 54 in Barrio Palacio) for a sweet bite.

CH&CH Menu

CH&CH serves up fabulous cappuccinos and Spanish fried pastries (known as churros). Personally, I prefer Mexican/Cuban churros, which are topped with cinnamon and sugar (too much time in Miami), but this place served up some delicious fried-to-order churros that came with an incredible thick and rich chocolate dipping sauce. Ohh and just a heads up, the dipping sauce comes in a mug so you might mistake it as hot drinking chocolate, but don’t drink it unless you want the belly-ache of all belly-aches (I speak from experience). You will also be all sorts of hyped up, like the episode of Friends where Ross drinks all of the maple syrup.

Frothy Cappuccino

Freshly Made Churros with Chocolate DIpping Sauce

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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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Perricone’s Marketplace and Cafe ***

Baked Brie En Croute with Apricot Glaze and Slivered Almonds Served with Fresh Fruit and Crackers

305.374.9449
15 SE 10th Street (at South Miami Ave)
Miami, Fl 33131

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The whole Miami club scene is great, but it is certainly not conducive to catching up with your best friend that you haven’t seen in a while. Of course, it is also not conducive to many other things either, such as; relationships, a sober productive lifestyle, maintaining good grades in college, and having your voice in the morning…but it’s fun and so we willingly sacrifice these things. But after showing Jen the whole South Beach spectacle on Friday night, I really just wanted to spend Saturday somewhere low-key where we could actually talk…without yelling over house music and getting elbowed by fist pumping DJ groupies!

I figured that Brickell would probably be the best spot to grab dinner and then drinks, since everything is within walking distance and knowing Jen’s love for seafood pasta, I decided to go the Italian route. Il Gabbianno is my favorite Italian restaurant in Brickell (and so far in Miami for that matter), but after all the shopping we did during the day, we decided to go for a slightly cheaper option (aka more money for drinks afterwards!). Perricone’s in Brickell is both a restaurant and an Italian market. It looks tiny from the front, but don’t be fooled because once you walk through the market, the entire back opens up to an enormous outdoor seating area. It is half enclosed, but the ceiling opens up for just the right amount of fresh air!

I love Perricones because it isn’t stuffy…it’s causal and delicious Italian for an affordable price. If you’re wondering why I only give it three stars then, allow me to explain. Perricone’s is good, and the atmosphere is nice, and the price is reasonable, but the food is very basic and uninspired and the red sauce is very inconsistent. I always enjoy my meal, but never really feel like it is exceptional. I do give Perricone’s three stars though because it is a pleasant dinning experience and they have the most incredible Baked Brie En Croute Appetizer, which is an entire wheel of brie baked in puff pastry with a warm apricot glaze and slivered almonds, served with fresh fruit and precious heart-shaped crackers. It is really fabulous and a must have for the table to share. Even when no one will share with me, I order it as an entrée for myself because it is the best thing that I have had there yet. Of course, this is very difficult to mess up, considering how easy it is to make (see my recipe if you want to try!), but it is still delicious and nice to have someone do the work for you. The heart shaped crackers are so cute too!

As expected, Jen ordered the Seafood Linguine in Fresh Scampi Sauce, with sautéed gulf shrimp, scallops, muscles, and calamarie for her entrée. The sauce was really nice and the seafood was generous, she loved it! I was just jealous because her dish came out piping hot, and my Chicken Parmesan with Penne Pomodoro was only luke-warm, at best. The temperature of my food is one thing that I am very, very fussy about (I hate food to go because it’s not hot enough, and I microwave my dishes to get them hot before putting food on them) so this was a problem for me. But they gladly took it back and warmed it up, in addition to taking it off the bill. I was glad they did too, because even after they made it hot, I still wasn’t thrilled with the dish. The piece of chicken was really thick, resembling a chicken breast more than a chicken cutlet. I tend to like my chicken parmesan pounded out real thin so that the bread crumbs flavor every bite. Also, the red sauce tasted kind of smoky. I’m not sure if it was burnt or if they used liquid smoke to flavor the sauce, but I wasn’t a fan.

When I go back to Perricone’s again, I am going to stick to the baked brie appetizer and order one of their salads as an entrée, which seemed to be a very popular trend there. Overall, I like Perricone’s but it’s not the place I would send someone wanting an amazing Italian meal. It’s definitely good (no Olive Garden for sure), but I am hard on it because a) I am Italian and b) there are so many other fabulous Italian restaurants in Miami to choose from. Although I have not done blog posts on all of them, I suggest (starting with my favorite): Il Gabbiano (Brickell), Scarpetta (Sobe), La Loggia (Downtown), Joeys (Wynwood), Prime Italian (Sobe), and I hear that Café Abbrachi (Coral Gables) is also fabulous and it is on my to-try list!

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