Benihana in Miramar!

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Looking for a show and dinner at the same time?  Look no further than Benihana, a teppanyaki-hibachi restaurant.  Opened back in 1964 this style of Japanese cooking with flair came to the United States on West 56th Street in New York City.  Now in 2013 there are over 70 restaurants in the world including Latin America and the Caribbean.  I had the pleasure of dining at one in Miami, Florida and honestly hope the next location I visit is just as memorable.

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The menu can be tricky since there’s a plethora of options, BUT I was able to focus on what was important: sushi and an entrée!  Even though it was lunchtime I was ready for a big meal. I started off with two sushi’s.  First was the Las Vegas Roll made of salmon, avocado, cream cheese, jalapeño, and spicy sauce on top served DEEP FRIED.  My second roll was the Crunchy Roll containing shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, crab, and tempura crumbs.  The rolls are served in half or full sizes with prices ranging from $2.90 to $12.75.  That was just the beginning.

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Side station to the grill.

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For my entrée I chose the fillet mignon cooked medium but close to well.  You can get a filet mignon USDA Choice, cut on the premises for ONLY $14.95 during lunch.  If that’s not amazing I don’t know what is!  Accompanied with mushrooms and lightly seasoned I find this hard to beat.  Also included in my lunch entrée was fried rice, Benihana Onion Soup, and a salad.

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Everyone should experience a show like this one.  Our chef, Eddie, was very entertaining.  He even turned our table’s rice into a tea pot on the stove with a handle. Then he topped that with creating an onion volcano.

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Eddie is Funny!

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Both sushi’s came out at once.  I was impressed with the taste of the Las Vegas Roll since I thought it would be like a Philadelphia Roll, which I’m not a fan of.  I think the spiciness really compliments the cream cheese.  The Crunchy Roll was lovely.  Before I could finish those my Benihana soup was out, which cooked for 6 hours before being served.  I wish I could take that recipe home with me.  I love soup.

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And now, cooked before my eyes, we have the filet mignon.  Absolutely AMAZING!  So tender and full of flavor.  Benihana knows not only has amazing food but their sauces addicting.  Their garlic butter is out of this world.  I was spreading it all over my steak.  The eel sauce is also a winner.  They atop it on the Crunchy Roll and have it to use during your meal.

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This was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  Now to go on the Benihana food tour and conquer each location one by one.  Not sure if my invisible potbelly would stay invisible for much longer for that journey.

Xo.

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Thank you Eddie!

Benihana

3261 SW 160 Ave

Miramar, FL 33027

(954) 342-2892

http://www.benihana.com/locations/miramar-fl-mr

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Afternoon Tea at Harrods!

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Tea land is a wide and deep world where flavors are created, mixed, and used to give off not only amazing aromas but also delectable taste.  It took visiting England to fully make my discovery.

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Fascinated that people in the country loved tea my friends and I decided to part-take in teatime.  We quickly learned the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea.  For us the definition was quiet simple; affordable verses pricey.  To break it down further than that Afternoon Tea (low tea) is usually served on a lower table between 3pm to 5pm with assorted snacks.  Meanwhile, High Tea (Meal Tea) is served on a higher table and has heartier meals provided between 5pm to 7pm.   Once that was squared away, and we checked our budget we made our way to The Tea Room at Harrods in Knightsbridge London.

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The calming environment filled with piano music, comfortable seating, and a refreshing ambiance is the perfect setting to forgot about the hectic hustle and bustle of the city outside.  If you can, snag a seat in a plush couch!  Opened Monday thru Saturday 11am to 8pm and Sunday 11:30am to 6pm tea lovers aren’t constrained to the “typical” afternoon tea hours.

With a list of “Afternoon Tea” options, we selected the “English Fancies” which included tea and a choice of three afternoon tea fancies for £29 ($46.51).

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What’s a tea fancy?

Tea fancies are mini baked goods and dessert that can accompany your tea putting a spin on the traditional crumpets (resembles and taste like an English muffin).  For “fancies” we chose a scone, a lemon meringue slice, and queen of puddings.  For our tea choice we indulged in the Vanilla Excellence, a Chinese black tea infused with Vanilla from Madagascar. The scent was amazing!

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Your tea is served in loose leaf form within your kettle.  A strainer is provided for your cup to catch all the leaves.  Such a tranquil time.   My scone was soft and chewy, not like most scones I’ve had in America that are hard and need the tea for softening.  My favorite of the “fancies” was the queen of puddings.  The raspberry jello-like jam mixed with the meringue was very yummy.  Wish I could have another.  My tea was lovely, I didn’t want tea time to end, which is hard to believe since I’m usually a busy person.

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The Tea Room at Harrods opened my eyes to a love of tea, considering I didn’t just stop there with my search of Afternoon Tea while in the country. I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon and did Afternoon Tea there as well and now that I’m home in Boston I’ll continue to keep people updated on where they can enjoy a relaxing pot.  So many places in my city, I’m excited!

Thank you Harrods!

 

The Tea Room at Harrods

87-135 Brompton Road

Knightsbridge

London, SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom

+44 20 7730 1234

http://www.harrods.com/content/the-store/restaurants/the-tea-room/

Cambodian AND French? Elephant Walk!

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I’m always trying to broaden my spectrum on food every chance I get.  This is one of the perfect restaurants for hitting two birds with one stone: Elephant Walk!

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Opened back in 1991, Elephant Walk has a total of 3 locations: Boston, Cambridge, and Waltham.  The first location opened by Bob Perry and Longteine “Nyep” de Monteiro was in Union Square, Somerville on August 20, 1991 the day after Hurricane Bob.

Funny.

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Serving Lunch, Dinner, and Brunch with a respectable wine menu Elephant Walk aims to please.  The bright, upbeat appearance and decorates of Elephants takes your mind on a mini vacation outside the city.

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After years of wanting to eat one of their locations I finally had my chance in Cambridge.

The menu is split between two cultures but one is further broken down to “Traditional Cambodian” and “Original Cambodian”.  What’s the difference?  Traditional Cambodian are foods widely known throughout Cambodian culture and can be found at other restaurants.  Original Cambodian however are foods made by the chefs in house using traditional ingredients and techniques, but you can ONLY find those meals at Elephant Walk.  Love it!

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Warm Bread to Start!

Most Cambodian recipes at the restaurant come from the founding chef and author of The Elephant Walk Cookbook, Longteine “Nyep” de Monteiro.  Nyep’s daughter, Nadsa de Monteiro has brought in most of the French recipes.  These are some very talented ladies.

Since I HAD to have a mix of both worlds I had Cambodian as a starter and French as my entrée and dessert.  I was so excited for dinner that night!

Prices on the menu range from $8.50 to $23.95.  Not a huge jump.  I ended up drinking Irish Breakfast tea that night which had more depth than English breakfast, but was tasty all the same.

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Irish Breakfast

First out was my Cambodian Crêpe au Canard et Champignons, a warm crêpe filled with duck braised in Soy-Ginger and Tamarind juices, with Mushroom and Scallion, garnished with Dressed greens.  This dish was So well rounded: great appearance and great taste!  The duck was Very sweet and tender.  I believe it was my first time having duck!  The crepe itself was soft and chewy.  Yum.

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Second out was my entrée, Steak Grillé, Jus de Boeuf au Vin Rouge, a Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Red Wine Beef Jus, sautéed Yukon Gold new Potatoes, Zucchini and baby Portabella.  The steak was nice and tender.  I liked the amount of salt and butter used in this dish.  There was a good balance.

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And finally, the cherry on top (not literally) of my best of both worlds combination was my dessert, Moka Liègeois, consisting of two traditional French desserts revisited: combining chocolat liegeois and cafe liegeois. Layered Almond, Coffee and Chocolate Cake with Coffee and Chocolate ice creams, served with mocha sauce.  This is how you finish a meal!  The espresso at the bottom of the dish was quite potent, but not overbearing.  The fingers were delicious and perfectly soaked due to the melting ice cream.

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This location is perfect for the common MBTA commuter or driver.  A short walk from Porter Square on the Red Line or a convenient parking location behind the building, Elephant Walk leaves their guest comfortable.

I see why this business has been around since the 90’s.  Quality food NEVER goes out of style!

The Elephant Walk

2067 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02140

(617)492-6900

http://elephantwalk.com/cambridge-menu/

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink MIAMI!

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One thing a foodie like myself loves is recommendations!  I adore people saying to me, “you gotta try out this place” with conviction that their suggestion is the be all end all to my food research.  It’s great!   The most recent of my recommendations while in Florida lead me to Michael’s.

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Location in “little Haiti” or the Design District of Miami, this dress casual yet contemporary restaurant adds to the flavor in Atlas Plaza.  Opened back in 2007 James Beard Award winning-chef/owner Michael Schwartz brought a daily changing menu with fresh ingredients to this up and coming location.  I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Michael and it was lovely.

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Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (MGFD) is the 1st of two locations.  The second location is in the Cayman Islands.  Both restaurants are apart of The Genuine Hospitality Group of chef/owner Michael Schwartz.  The group includes a total of seven restaurants, two of which are aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise lines (150 Central Park).  To add to the line of restaurants, Michael’s also has their own Home Brew that carries a light bodied American ale.

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Opened from 11am to 3pm for lunch, I stopped in and had comfortable seat at the bar while getting a sneak peak of pasty chef Hedy Goldsmith involved in a staff meeting.  The calm yet upbeat jazz music makes the perfect background and filler adding to the ambiance.  Serving lunch, dinner, brunch, and happy hour guests can feel free to stop by three times a day during the week knowing their choices aren’t meager.

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The lunch menu is broken into appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, sides, and main entrees.  Prices between $6 and $39 (that’s for a 12oz. wood roasted Harris Ranch N.Y. Strip) make it possible for guest visiting able to try a couple options.  For my appetizer I had the Crispy Hominy (coarsely ground corn) with chili and lime.  I was impressed with the special of the day, the Pan-Seared Jerk Grouper Sandwich, so I ordered it.  This sandwich contained spear caught black grouper fish with avocado, mango salsa, mixed watercress greens, and lemon vinegar dressing.  Do you see why I feel in love?  For dessert I tried the Chocolate Cremoso and I washed all this down with a special from the bartender Brittney.

This was going to be a magical moment.

My drink contained passion fruit seeds and tasted wonderful.  If I didn’t have to drive I would have gotten another.

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Another “special” the restaurant does is with Double Crossed-Vodka.  Everyday bartenders make a new cocktail with it.  That’s been consistent for the past 5 years.

The hominy was comforting.  I could see myself eating some while watching TV, a great mouth-popping snack.  Definitely like crunchy popcorn.

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Next up was the meal of the day, the Pan-Seared Jerk Grouper Sandwich.  Talk about “wow”.   I’ve never had jerked fish before, and I see I’d been missing out.  So juicy! The spice was there, perfect with the mango salsa!   I do love mango salsa.   Using the lemon vinegar on the greens was a good choice rather than predictable balsamic.  My only issue with the sandwich was that my fish was trying to escape its fate.  It slid out of my bun mid bite, causing me to get a bit messy and required me man-handling it back into place.  It was worth every moment!

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Now, to seal the deal on my experience at MGFD was the Chocolate Cremoso, which was recommended by Brittney and Andrea (a member of the team).  This little number was so exciting to me.  Not only was it a mix of flavors (sea salt, olive oil, sourdough crostini, and espresso parfait) but the presentation was beautiful.  Turns out Chef Michael actually made this dessert for me himself from how the food was displayed said a staff member. AWESOME!

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The Cremoso was yummy.  It reminded me of a dessert I would experience in Europe brought to me via U.S.A.  The salt and the chocolate had a great chemistry meanwhile the oil was soaking into the crostini and powdered sugar.  Heaven.  I could have eaten that all day long.

Other perks of this restaurant is the gallery room used for events, private dining and art shows.  Want to take the chefs home with you?  Well you can’t do that, but you can get their cookbooks for either $27.50 or $35.

As far as parking is concerned there are meters but I went with valet.  You can valet starting at $3 for a few hours.  That’s cheaper than ANY valet I know of in the north.

Until we meet next time MGFD – and that WILL be on my next trip – I bid the adieu!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

130 Northeast 40th Street

Miami, FL 33137

305/ 573.5550

http://michaelsgenuine.com/miami/