Tag Archives: South Beach

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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The News Cafe ****

Bagel and Lox with Cream Cheese, Sliced Tomato, and Red Onion

305.538.6397
800 Ocean Drive (at 8th St)
Miami Beach, Fl 33139

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If you are visiting Miami, then the News Café is a must for at least one meal. Is it touristy? Yes. Is it slightly over-priced? Yes. Have you seen the Jersey Shore cast eating here on several episodes? Yes. But the food is good and the scene is ideal for people watching (may I remind you again that the Jersey Shore cast ate here). Now that I think about it, it’s actually the ultimate people watching spot. The tables are situated along the crowded sidewalk of Ocean Ave, and all the freaks know to put on a show around here for tourists. Regular sightings include: skinny white women with big fake tits and long blonde hair looking ridiculous in barely there bikinis and stripper heels, large groups of Asians wearing oversized safari hats with cameras hanging around their necks, “bling-ed” out black men pulling up in pimped out Cadillacs with 10-person entourages, elderly gay couples that look like something out of the movie The Bird Cage wearing visors and speedos,  and last but not least, some cracked out homeless people like this guy that my friend, Sam, and I witnessed over brunch today….

Spotted at News Cafe…lower back tattoo reads: “I bet You Won’t.” No further comment.

It is a hotspot for whack-jobs, so technically you’re getting “dinner and a show!” This two-in-one deal helps me justify the moderately steep prices, which are not completely outlandish, but certainly not a good value. Most of the restaurants on Ocean have ridiculous specials, such as free entrees with the purchase of an appetizer, ½ off the entire check, or two-for-one drink pitchers, but they aren’t nearly as good as the News Café. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a sale, but prepared food that is on sale scares me. I say splurge on News Café and you won’t be disappointed if you order smart. In my opinion, the breakfasts are reasonably priced (around $10) and the best thing to order. I like the Vegetable Omelet with sautéed spinach, red pepper, tomato, mushroom, onion and cheddar cheese, which is served with rye bread and your choice of home fried potatoes, fresh fruit, or pancakes. I order the fruit bowl (pictured below), but hear that the pancakes are delicious, light, and fluffy. The omelet is not too oily, and the eggs aren’t runny, which is a pet peeve of mine. It’s a generous portion too—I would estimate a 3 egg omelet. The  French Toast with Strawberries and Bananas is also very popular and delicious!

Side of Fresh Fruit served with Omelet

French Toast with Sliced Bananas and Strawberries

If you’re looking to do lunch, I highly recommend the Chicken Nachos, which are listed under the appetizers but large enough to be a meal. They are really delicious and the guacamole is creamy and great. I also like the Greek Salad with Chicken, which is tomato, red onion, pepper, and feta cheese on a bed of Romaine lettuce tossed in basil vinaigrette ($15). It is an enormous portion, but tastes light and fresh. Another great salad is the Sliced Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil ($12). The tomatoes are always ripe, and the mozzarella is soft and creamy. Again, the portion is huge (see below) so I suggest this as an appetizer for the table.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Basil

Another favorite dish of mine to share is the Mediterranean Sampler Plate, which includes hummus, babaganush, tabouli salad, stuffed grape leaves, kalamata olives, chopped tomato, and warm fresh pita bread. This plate is a-w-e-s-o-m-e! You can get it portioned for one or two, depending how hungry you are and how many people there are.

Mediterranean Platter (for one) with Tabouli, Babaganush, Tomato, Hummus, Kalamata Olives, and Stuffed Grape Leaves

Surprisingly, the pizzas at News Café are also really delicious. I am not the kind of person to order pizza just anywhere because I maintain the belief that a pizzeria is where one should go for pizza, but my friends have ordered the Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza ($15) in the past, and I undoubtedly swindle a slice. The only thing that I would stay away from really, are the pasta dishes. This is not an Italian restaurant and so the pastas are not gourmet. The tomato sauce is very watery and doesn’t really adhere to the noodles…it’s just not the thing to get at a café. On the other hand, I do really like the drinks at News Café. My dad and I once went late in the afternoon and got tipsy on specialty mojitos (such as mango, strawberry, and coconut) straight into the evening.

Overall, I’ve been living in Miami 4 years now, and the News Café is still my go to brunch spot after a morning spent tanning on the beach. I usually complain about the prices a little, but still voluntarily hand over my Visa to witness and be a part of the News Café scene. As long as you don’t try to customize your order too much—they will charge you for every add on and extra side—you can get away with a reasonable bill.

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