Prohibition - Restaurant & Speakeasy

Miami is like a second home to us.  As many of you know, JuanCarlos and I met there, got engaged there, honeymooned there and have an apartment there.   So, naturally we like to visit there. Of late, instead of cooking at home as much we have been testing out Miami's restaurant scene, which is really upping its game. 

On our last visit to the sunny city while my parents were visiting at the same time, one of our intentions was to show them a few new restaurants to try.  I immediately thought of Prohibition, a vibe-y hot spot in the Midtown district of Miami.  Don't let the name fool you.  The only thing prohibited here is to not have a good time.  I thought they might enjoy it too.   It's a throw back to the Speakeasy lounges of the Prohibition days, hence the name and offering all the energy of that era. It's interior decor is moody yet inviting.  It's a mix of Hollywood glam and Miami chic.  The crowd is a cool combo of both young and old alike, where everyone feels right at home.  

This was not my first visit. The first two times I frequented this cool hangout was for drinks and snacks at the bar. Both times I thoroughly enjoyed the food, drink and atmosphere.  This time we were there to check out the joint for a sit down, relaxed dinner.   We were hoping for a good meal and good vibe.  And it didn't disappoint.

The menu seems to follow a new style of offerings.  Small and large plates for sharing.  What I do love about this concept is that with so many interesting items on the menu you don't have to just choose just one entree and hope you chose wisely. You can choose several, share them and enjoy the tastes of all.  

We started off with the fresh Sea Bass Ceviche and Shrimp Cocktail.  The ceviche was fresh indeed, beautiful balance of Sriracha sauce and citrus, served with a generous portion of plantain chips.  The shrimp cocktail was classic and good.

Sea Bass Ceviche with the right amount of heat and citrus. And a generous amount of crunchy plantains.

Sea Bass Ceviche with the right amount of heat and citrus. And a generous amount of crunchy plantains.

Shrimp Cocktail, fresh and yummy.

Shrimp Cocktail, fresh and yummy.

Then came the homemade Spicy Meatballs with parmesan crostini.  The meatballs, made of beef and veal, were tender and flavorful.  The sauce had a sweet note provided by the caramelized onions followed by a spicy hit. Both team Perri and Casas enjoyed them, however given the traditional Italian roots of the former, felt that the sauce was a bit too spicy, yet ate them up just the same.

On to the larger plates.  We ordered two from this category to share.  Out came two stunning dishes. 

Lamb Chops, which my mom loves, were tasty and tender.  A smooth red wine reduction pooled around a heaping helping of chunky mashed potatoes scented with a bouquet of rosemary.  Just the bones were left.

Lamb Chops were finger licking good.

Lamb Chops were finger licking good.

Pan Roasted Salmon was cooked perfectly and set atop a bed of warm potato and crab salad. The salmon had a gorgeous crust of spice rub. The salad was flavor power-packed with a well balanced combo of potatoes, crab, grape tomatoes, scallions and herbs.  I really enjoyed this unique salad mix. 

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As we settled in and were enjoying all our selections, we chatted it up with the manager Amin, who is Iranian.  JuanCarlos immediately perked up to tell him how much he loves making Iranian rice dishes. To which Amin then informed us that the chef is also Iranian and one of his specialities is the Cilantro Rice dish.  He graciously offered us a plate to try.  As we each took forkfuls of the fluffy herb scented rice, we tried to figure out all the flavors but were told that the chef is secretive about the ingredients.  That said, I am pretty sure there was dill, and of course, as the name aptly states, cilantro.

Although we were all stuffed and completely content, Amin said we couldn't leave without a dessert.   Bring on the Tres Leches Cake that was lovingly soaked in 3 milks. Some versions of this cake can be very sweet due to the condensed milk addition but this one was not.  It was just the right amount of sweet topped with bananas and toasted marshmallow for an extra special touch.  Even though we thought we couldn't eat another bite after our magnificent meal, we polished off the entire thing.  

Tres Leches Cake... before.

Tres Leches Cake... before.

Tres Leches Cake... after.

Tres Leches Cake... after.

As our meal came to a close, we sat back to enjoy the some soulful sax tunes while sipping on Port 20, a fortified wine of tawny, nutty flavors. I noticed the table next to us had a large group that seemed to be equally enjoying themselves. I asked the woman what she thought of her meal.  As expected, her group thoroughly savored all their choices.  And although she doesn't normally eat octopus she ordered it.  Much to her pleasant surprise, she absolutely loved it.   Now that says a lot.

The days of prohibition may be a thing of the past, but visiting Prohibition Restaurant & Speakeasy should be high on your list to enjoy the great, food, drink and cool atmosphere of this happening addition to the Miami restaurant scene.

For more info on all that Prohibition has to offer visit them at:

3404 N Miami Ave
Midtown Miami  33127
(305) 438-9199
info@prohibitionmiami.com

 

 

 

 

Copper 29 - Bar Bites & More

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As is our tradition for our anniversary, we head to Miami at the end of October each year to celebrate. This past October was no different. In years past, we have hosted little gatherings at our apartment there, but with so many dear friends to visit, it’s sometimes easier to gather at a bar or restaurant to catch up.  With the proliferation of so many cool, happening hangouts cropping up all over Miami the question was where do we go.

For this night out we wanted to keep it centrally located for all parties by staying in Coral Gables.  The Gables is an old historic area of Miami known for its Mediterranean Revival style architecture with streets lined by the famous banyan trees. It's home to such landmarks as the Venetian Pool and the Biltmore Hotel, along with the popular and most noted street; Miracle Mile. And that was exactly where we were headed to try out Copper 29 Bar recommended my our friend, Stephanie.  This Coral Gables bar is reviving the idea of the perfect cocktail. Using the art of mixology paired with bar bites to create a relaxed atmosphere of food and drink, which was what we were looking for.

Stephanie ready to eat, drink and be merry.

Stephanie ready to eat, drink and be merry.

Especially, given that we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, and our goal was to chat and catch up with each other’s lives. However, that was not quite what we got. Well, at least not on a Friday night.  Don't get me wrong, it's not because the place wasn't cool.  It was cool with an interesting mix of decor including an entire wall of plant life.

But when we opened the door, the music was pumping and the place was jamming and we thought we might not hear each other breathe.  

Silly of us to think that a relatively new hangout on a Friday night would be a quiet place to chill. We were told that the owner recently decided to make Friday nights a Happy Hour with DJ music pumping.  That said, the music mix was a fantastic groove, prefect for dancing and keeping it interesting for a proper happy hour.  If we hadn’t wanted to talk this would have been an ideal spot. And on any other night there, we could have done that.  However, Friday’s are made for letting go after a long week of work.  So we stuck it out because the vibe was happening, the atmosphere interesting and the menu looked promising. (Spoiler Alert:  We were all glad we did!)

Some of us started off with Moscow Mules served in cool copper mugs which keep the drinks nice and chilled. If you enjoy a spicy drink, this one delivers. The ginger beer brings that bite while the mint is refreshing and surprisingly light.  

The rest of our group ordered Martinis and Old Fashioned and they were like a good ole fashion should be…good.

From there, we began ordering a dish at a time, each as good as the last.

Martini, dry, shaken with olives

Martini, dry, shaken with olives

Good Old Fashioned... good

Good Old Fashioned... good

Jalapeño Corn & Cheese Biscuits

These are decadent balls for yum.  Crispy exterior, doughy middle with whole pieces of corn throughout served with a Bourbon Honey Syrup that has even your biscuit begging you to dip for more.  I loved watching everyone's expression as they popped these in their mouths.  

Eyes wide and then the expressive smile that gleamed; 'what did I just eat and is there enough for everyone else?'.   Only wish there was a bit more jalapeño in these biscuits.  The Bourbon Honey Syrup provided enough sweet that they could have used a bit more heat…  at least for my, and everyone at the table’s taste.  Even with that slight spice suggestion, we would order this again in a heartbeat.

Glistening with honey wonder.

Glistening with honey wonder.

Tuna Tartare

Classical and good balance.  Slight hint of heat that was a nice play off the creaminess of the avocado.  Served with chips for scooping and enjoying each bite.  Well done.

Kale Salad

We’ve all eaten tons of kale salad.  The key is the cut of the kale. The chop on this one rendered the kale tender, and manageable to eat.  The Caesar dressing was creamy but not overbearing and softened the salad just the right amount.  The Parmesan cheese in nice big shards added the salty sharpness we all want. Then there was the addition of radicchio and sunflower seeds that were subtle while still imparting an effective crunch and earthiness. And last but seriously not least; the croutons, which were more like lightly grilled garlic toasts.  Much better than the average crouton who would be ashamed to show up in a salad against this king of crouton. Would you guess that everyone thoroughly enjoyed this salad?  Good guess.

Mac n Cheese

Creamy with lovely Fontina and a deep truffle flavor that perfumed the entire dish.  Sprinkled with bread crumbs and pancetta, this is a dish worth the calories on a Friday night.  And with the music playing,  there is no need for guilt since you can get up and dance some of those calories away.

Looking dark and sultry, this mac n cheese was just that.

Looking dark and sultry, this mac n cheese was just that.

Short Rib Sliders

Oh the juxtaposition of these pretty, almost dainty little sandwiches that deliver a fun rollercoaster ride of flavor.  The short ribs were tender and juicy, layered on top of the surprising and interesting addition of polenta.   Caramelized onions sweetened the pot while the alioli had a horseradish note that provided the right kick. Needless to say, these were devoured by our group.

Key Lime Pie in a Jar

Tart and Tangy and Luscious.  Topped with grapefruit that was a surprising, refreshing touch, this dessert was right on point.  Team vote:  Approved. Team goal:  Polish this off.  Goal: Accomplished.

Oreo Cookie pie in a jar

This dessert was decidedly too sweet for my palette and everyone in our group but for those with a true sweet tooth it might just hit the mark.

Music getting our table moving in our seats.

Music getting our table moving in our seats.

A very cool vibe, as if you were hanging out in your own cozy, stylish lounge.

A very cool vibe, as if you were hanging out in your own cozy, stylish lounge.

Overall, the joint was jamming.  A great spot for a Friday night Happy Hour if you want to move to the groove of hip swaying music, enjoy good drinks and upscale bar eats.  If you want to chat and have a quieter evening, I would highly recommend coming on a weeknight to work your way through the menu and have the mixologist blend you up some cocktails.

The food, good service and overall vibe are definitely worth the trip.  So with winter still brewing here in the Northeast, this might just be the right time to head south for more reasons than just the sun. 

Cooper29 is located at 206 Miracle Mile, Miami FL / 786.580.4689

Green... Breakfast Tortillas

Verde Que Te Quiero Verde.  The translation of this line so famously written by Federico Garcia Lorca:  
Green How I Desire You, Green.  For whatever reason this phrase has stuck with me from my college days of being a Spanish Lit major.  Every time I see an abundance of green I recite those words with gusto.  So it seemed appropriate that when I created these very green breakfast tortillas during a Miami trip last year that they be announced with the same zeal.  

A little back story on Miami. Since my husband and I met in Miami, got engaged in Miami and then had part of our honeymoon in Miami, it was only fitting that after we got married we should buy a little apartment there so we could continue our to nurture our beginnings. 

The morning sunrise view from our balcony.  Who wouldn't be inspired to create, get up and take a long walk.

The morning sunrise view from our balcony.  Who wouldn't be inspired to create, get up and take a long walk.

We try to go once or twice a year, but Juan Carlos usually has more opportunities to visit then I have in the past.  I think that trend might flip in the near future.  Hurray for me!

Morning  Glory

Morning  Glory

When we are down there we tend to eat a bit differently.  We definitely eat lighter, making BIG salads for lunch and big fruit salads throughout the day.  But since we always head to the beach in the mornings for long walks, we need a bit more energy provided by breakfast. So I found myself looking through the ingredients I bought and to see what might give us that extra ummph.  Fortunately, our supply didn't disappoint.

The main GREENS to build our breakfast tortillas.

The main GREENS to build our breakfast tortillas.

On that day,  I grilled up corn tortillas,  cut up baby spinach, thinly sliced cucumbers, scallions and avocado squeezed and layered them with smoked trout and some lime for JC.  (He is allergic to dairy.)  

Corn tortillas grilled in a cast iron pan for maximum crispiness.

Corn tortillas grilled in a cast iron pan for maximum crispiness.

Start layering your ingredients

Start layering your ingredients

You can keep the spinach fresh or sauté it. 

Both versions, raw spinach on the left, sautéed on the right. 

Both versions, raw spinach on the left, sautéed on the right. 

For me, I use all the same but replaced the smoked trout with feta cheese.  I love smoked trout but was in the mood to have a warm, slightly melted element to contrast with all the crisp fresh greens.  It was delightful and we were ready with energy as we headed off to the beach for our 4 mile walk. 

The best part about these opened faced tortillas is that you can fill them with whatever you have in the fridge.  Hummus, red onion, cucumber.  Or scrambled egg, bacon, tomato.  Or Ham, cheese. Or leftover pulled pork.

Of course those might not qualify for the original chant, Verde Que Te Quiero Verde but they certainly qualify for a Something from Nothing creation.   Start your morning with something green and enjoy the sunshine whatever state you are in.

Harry's Pizzeria - Serving Up So Much More

A funny thing happened on our way to Chile. Our flight from NY to Miami had equipment issues. After much debate, delay, and finally a change of planes, our stop-over arrival was well past take off of our connecting flight.  So, we got sidelined with a pit stop in our old stomping grounds - Miami.  Perfect, since my hubby, Juan Carlos, and I have an apartment in the steamy, sunny city.  

Without a car and in the pouring rain, we "Uber-ed" ourselves out for a bite to eat at Harry's Pizzeria in the Design District, one of several successful eating establishments from chef, Michael Schwartz.  (There is a second Harry's location in Coconut Grove which we also visited)

The best way to cook almost anything, and Chef Michael does just that!

The best way to cook almost anything, and Chef Michael does just that!

Harry's Design District location

Harry's Design District location

With its wood burning oven, Harry's is a quaint little spot for the obvious main item; PIZZA.  

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As much as I love pizza, I don't eat it due to having both a wheat and yeast sensitivity. You might ask, "why would you torture yourself with the yummy, yeasty aromas and sights of others enjoying crisp, artisanal pizza?"  The answer; Harry's also offers daily menu specials that are equally amazing.  And on this day, one of the specials was Wood Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad.  Voilá, perfect for this rainy day in So. Fla.  Since we were going to take an overnight flight later on we wanted to fill our bellies with good food, real food... Real good food.  Here's what we ordered... And loved every bite.

Polenta Fries with spicy ketchup


Abundant and crunchy.  Soft inside with a serious outer crust. Sprinkled with sea salt enough to enhance the flavor but not too much to be salty. Really the perfect touch.  These fries are hefty but somehow don't overstuff you. The spicy ketchup was just spicy enough.  What a lovely detour from the usual potato version.

 

 

(I love making polenta in a variety of ways.  I will definitely be posting on those in the near future. However, I have never tried to make such a hefty polenta chunk.  After partaking of these crunchy fries, I will certainly try to replicate.)  

If you want to try making these, Chef Michael's cookbook shows you how. I have the book and have tried a few other recipes. I think you might enjoy it as well. You can also order an autographed copy.

 

Kale salad with goat cheese

Kale salad with goat cheese

 

 

 

 

Kale Salad


Hearty kale is mellowed by a sunflower dill dressing. Earthy flavor makes an appearance by the way of roasted beets and goat cheese.  Extra sunflower seeds provide a nice textural crunch. (By the way, we took some of this salad home.  The longer is sits the better it gets!)

Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad

Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad

Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad

This fish was outstanding.  Perfectly cooked and seasoned.  Roasted, in a brick wood oven, to a crisp exterior while preserving the delicate white fish interior.  The fall grain salad of rice, farro and bulgar wheat was a nice combo.  It was served with a garlic alioli.  However, both JC and I felt the dish didn't need it.  The fish and salad were perfect as is.

 

Oven Roasted Tile Fish with replacement Orange & Radish Salad

Oven Roasted Tile Fish with replacement Orange & Radish Salad

As I mentioned I avoid wheat, so I asked to replace the fall grain salad with the Orange & Radish Salad.  Since I make salads with ingredients like this all the time,  I'm usually a big fan of strong flavors and this one had that.  For the most part, I enjoyed it but must admit that, for me, it could have had one less ingredient.  That said, I ate it all.


In March, Juan Carlos and I were in Miami again, and again we wandered over to Harry's. First, we stopped into the one in Coconut Grove on a Sunday night. The place was hopping with people, families... and us!

Harry's Coconut Grove exterior on a Sunday night

Harry's Coconut Grove exterior on a Sunday night

Braised Fennel Pizza

JC couldn't resist ordering this earthy pizza.  I tried the topping and must say that braising the fennel brought out the anise flavor and soften the fennel creating a winning complement to the saltiness of the green olive.  

Fennel & Green Olive Pizza coming out of the wood oven

Fennel & Green Olive Pizza coming out of the wood oven

The very next day we went back to Harry's in the Design District for lunch.  This outing offered up:

Yes, that's right we ordered the Kale Salad and Polenta Fries... again to share.  I had the special of the day, Wood Oven Roasted Eggplant.

Kale Salad with Polenta Fries making an encore appearance

Kale Salad with Polenta Fries making an encore appearance

Wood Oven Roasted Eggplant

Wood Oven Roasted Eggplant

Big, thick slices of eggplant are deeply roasted to deliver a soft inside, almost creamy inside. Served over farro, smothered with stewed tomatoes and crumbles of feta cheese, I loved how comforting this dish felt.

JC and his business associate each had a bowl of the Yellow Jacket Soup special.  A medley of vegetables in a light tomato and fish broth with chunks of Yellow Jacket, a mild white fish.

They shared the Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings which were tender and tasty when dunked into the agrodolce & rosemary crema, the hot & cool balancing act of sauces. They finished them all up and moved on to...

Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings

Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings

Meatball Pizza

Meatball Pizza

The Meatball Pizza with it's perfectly thin, crispy crust covered in caramelized onions, peppers, escarole, cheese and of course, meatballs.  The sweetness of the onions and peppers played nicely off the savory notes of the meatballs and escarole.  

Another delightful, belly filled visit to Harry's. If you ever find yourself "stranded" in Miami on a layover, or just vacationing in the fun, sun city, do yourself a favor and frequent any one of the restaurants from Chef Michael Schwartz.  He and his teams are spot on with their food and flavors.  I highly recommend any of his  eateries.  His approach to food, atmosphere and service are exactly what he professes: Michael's Genuine

 

Although we know Chef Michael, this review was unsolicited.