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Jam Out With Bangin’ Drums

Jam Out With Bangin’ Drums

Many people have heard about Quaker Steak & Lube (because it’s great), but the real question is- have you heard about the new Bangin’ Drums? Well, the answer is probably not… and that needs to change. These bangin’ drums are the real deal. The new wings are on average a whole 3 times larger than a normal drumstick. Not only that, but you can choose from over 20 of the original sauces to cover them with. The sauces deserve an article of their own, because man are they something special. The original sauce starts at 90 SHU (Scoville Heat Unit). This scale leads all the way up to the Triple Atomic Sauce which is a whopping 500,000 SHU. You need to wear gloves and sign a waiver to even try it (sounds like a challenge to me!) The best part of this entire thing is the fact you can help contribute to the Spirit of Harmony foundation just by eating these wings! Todd Rundgren (artist who sings Bang the Drum All Day) started up the Spirit of Harmony to help preserve the world of music in today’s youth. With each order of Bangin’ Drums sold up until September 30th, 50 cents will be donated to this charity. So get eating and start doing good!

 

Check out participating locations here- http://thelube.com/category/locations/

How to Throw the Best Dinner Party Around

How to Throw the Best Dinner Party Around

Anyone who knows me, knows I truly love a good dinner party. Hosting one is even better, except for the insane amount of time it takes. As much as I love having everyone over and wining and dining the guests, I really can’t afford to take the time to do so now of days. Well everyone told me the solution… catering. I just wasn’t for it. I figured nothing could compare to a meal made from scratch right there in my kitchen. Well… I was wrong. In walks Randazzo Italiano and the game is forever changed. Think of the meatballs your Nona used to make and that is what Randazzo Italiano is putting on your plate. From chianti braised brisket to nutella brownies (my two favorites!), they have it all. The process of ordering Randazzo Italiano is probably even more convenient  than not having to cook! All you have to do is head to their website (https://randazzoitaliano.com ), select your address within the Miami Dade area, choose your meal, and boom you’re done. Not only that, but they have individual meal delivery. Yeah you are hearing the angels singing right!?! As a busy working woman, meal delivery is the best thing to have graced this Earth in a while… now add the fact you can get amazing Italian food! SIGN ME UP!!!

What I tried:

Catering Menu-

Antipasta: Probably one of the best variety antipastos around. The meats were some of the best I’ve ever had, and it was a great plate to set out for when people are walking in.

Chopped Salad: The dressing, oh my gosh! The salad was fresh, but the dressing was what set this dish apart!

Penne Al A Vodka: So I’m not a huge pasta fan, but this was pretty great. Not only that, but the portion was large enough to feed an army.

Garlic Rolls: Food porn to the max. These rolls were so good, I didn’t even care I would have to hit the gym for 3 hours to work off eating 6 of them!

Chicken Parmesan: Again not a huge fried food fan, but this was breaded so lightly I couldn’t help but take a second serving. The cheese was nice and melty when it arrived, further showing how fresh it was.

Meal Delivery-

Chianti Braised Brisket: I have Jewish family who makes brisket all of the time, and man I have to say this surpassed any brisket I have ever had! The meat was so tender and seasoned to perfection.

Orecchiette & Italian Sausage: This pasta was perfection. My only adjustment was to add fresh parmesan before reheating!

Sausage & Peppers: This is comfort food. Turn on the football game, and enjoy not having to cook for the night!

Meatballs: Oh geez. I ate all 3 and feel no regrets.

Chicken Marsala: The portion of chicken was insanely generous. Honestly wasn’t my favorite dish, but for sure a classic everyone can appreciate!

Lasagna: Classic dish did not disappoint. The portion was enough for two meals, but I obviously devoured it in one!

Panna Cotta: I’m not a huge panna cotta lover, but the lightness of this dish made it perfect after a pasta meal.

Tiramisu: In the past 6 months, tiramisu has stolen a piece of my heart. This tiramisu changed me to a die hard fan!

Nutella Brownie: I for sure saved the best for last. This was the best brownie I have had in South Florida. I eat chocolate desserts all day everyday, so that statement should be enough to make you order yourself!

The Guide to Healthy Eating On-The-Go

The Guide to Healthy Eating On-The-Go

As someone who travels in between meetings and events quite frequently, I know how to difficult it can be to eat on the go. When you are driving, you need something that is easy to eat, but won’t break the waistline. This can be especially tricky if you are not prepared. I have you covered though. Below you will find my top 3 picks for snacks that satisfy your cravings!

 

When you want something sweet: Super Yummys

Super Yummy are like my dream come true. Let me just say the packaging is genius- every individual snack has it’s own wrapping. First, it helps the self control… but secondly, it makes it so easy to throw into my purse. When it comes down to the actual snack, man is it good. I LOVE coconut, so this is right up my alley. Each snack is only about 60 calories and is gluten free, all natural, and non-geo.

http://www.superyummys.com

When you want something crunchy: Hi I’m Skinny

Hi I’m Skinny is my guilty, not so guilty pleasure. These veggie snacks fulfill your cravings for crunchy items like chips, but without all the negative repercussions. From mesquite bbq to sweet quinoa onion, they have all of the flavors your heart could desire. These snacks are perfect for the road, because they have a considerable amount of protein. I’m all about cutting down the amount of times I need to stop and fill my growling belly!

http://www.hiimskinny.com/Homepage/

When you need a pick-me-up: Blue Bottle Coffee

By now almost everybody has heard of Blue Bottle Coffee… however most people don’t know about their pre-packaged drinks. This is about to change, because man have you been missing out. Their New Orleans Iced Coffee is like nothing you have ever tasted. The carton packaging makes it so ideal to throw into your bag to stay cold until you’re ready to crack that baby open on the road.

https://bluebottlecoffee.com

 

Need a Ride?

Need a Ride?

Alright so let me start off by saying this – thank goodness for Maven. I had never been to San Francisco or let alone California before 2 weeks ago. I was staying by Fishermans Wharf, which is a solid 2o minutes from downtown. Knowing this, I thought it would be a good idea to rent a car… WRONG. After searching for car rentals for hours and calculating the cost of daily fees plus hotel parking, I was going to be out close to $800 for 3 days! I didn’t even really need the car most of the time, only to get to certain destinations that were across the bridge. Well after discovering Maven, I felt like my problems were solved. The nice thing about the company is it offers hourly car rentals. Not only that, but if you keep it in the designated lot, it’s free parking. This was the most convenient thing ever! Seriously my mornings in San Francisco couldn’t have gotten any better- first I would walk to the Maven Car, UNLOCK IT FROM MY PHONE, go get an amazing bowl of the one and only, Basik Acai, and then return the car to it’s spot. I was out $20 at most. Long story short… do yourself a favor and try out Maven by downloading the app, and take a spin to grab a bowl of the best acai SF has to offer!

UPDATE

I can now say I have had another fantastic experience with Maven. Chicago just like San Fran proved to be quite a difficult city to rent a car in. The prices were high and finding a place was inconvenient. Thankfully, Maven had a gorgeous new Chevy Malibu located at the Hawthorne Garage. It was located walking distance away from downtown. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was to me. I was able to keep the car parked there when I ate out downtown without having to pay the insanely high prices for parking in the city. The most amazing feature about it all is the hotspot in the car. I was in the city traveling for work so being able to pull over and use the wifi to hook up my computer and answer a few emails was priceless!

Meat Market

Meat Market

Oh my! There is so much I want to say about Meat Market that I don’t even want to know where to begin. I have had the privilege of eating not only at the Palm Beach location, but the Miami one as well. The ambience is one of a kind. It is upscale and chic without having that feeling of stuffiness that no one can stand. The service matches and surpasses the great ambience. The wait staff is informative and attentive. You can expect that your glass will never be empty and only the finest of steaks will be served on your plate. Speaking of the food, OH MY GOSH!!! The food is so very good. They offer your traditional steakhouse staples with a new modern twist. Everything I have tried is amazing, but below you will find my top favorites!

Appetizer: Whole Roasted Cauliflower with lemon, EVOO, Parmesan , and cauliflower cream

Entree: Sea bass with truffle mash, wild mushrooms, sweet corn, tomato concise, truffle name, and soy beans

Side 1: Homemade Mac and cheese with lobster tail

Side 2: Crispy Brussel sprouts with almonds and bacon

Dessert: Adult milk and cookies- chocolate chip, double chunk, and oatmeal. Served with an aged rum, creme de cacao and almond milk whip

 

 

 

 

Interview with Executive Chef of S3, Chris Miracolo

Interview with Executive Chef of S3, Chris Miracolo

I had the privilege of sitting down with Chef Chris Miracolo this morning. He is the executive chef of S3 in the Hilton Hotel. I have become a huge fan of the restaurant, and their style of cooking. He gave me some insight into his life as a chef to share with you all. Below you will the transcription of our conversation. Enjoy!

“Hi my name is Chris Miracolo, I am the executive chef of S3 here in the Hilton hotel.”

 

How long have you been a chef?

 

“I have been cooking professionally since I was 18. So it would be 24 or 25 years now.”

 

Are you from Miami?

 

“ I am originally from long island, but I have lived in Miami since I was 15.”

                          

When did you decide you want to be a chef?

 

“It would have to be about the time I went to Normans down in Coral Gables for dinner back in the day. I had been cooking as a pizza man for some time and never really got smitten by food until I walked in there and couldn’t even pronounce half the items on the menu.”

 

Did you go to culinary school?

 

“No, I actually ended up forgoing culinary school. By the time I had decided it was an option, I had already worked under a few good chefs. I actually went and toured a couple of campus. However, I felt the best way for me to get the experience was to keep working under good chefs and get direct hands on experience.”

 

How would you describe S3 as a whole?

 

“We are very eclectic. At any given time, our menu will touch on 15 different nations and 4 to 5 different continents. We have a sushi program, and we have a very heavily internationally influenced staff. A lot of people bring a lot of different views to the table. Our scene resembles that of a pacific resort. Being in South Florida, we are a melting pot of different cultures so we like to represent that as well.”

 

What is your favorite type of cuisine to cook?

 

“Not one per say, I like different aspects of different cultures. I like the peasant dishes of these cultures. For example, mofungo from Puerto Rico, vishwada from brazil, and bouillabase. All of the things people were forced to make tremendous flavors out of the off cuts.”

 

Have you traveled to one area that you have been overwhelmed by the cuisine there?

 

“I actually enjoyed believe it or not, San Francisco. I speak the language there. I haven’t been able to travel much to France or Italy since I have become a chef. I only experienced it before I appreciated food. Now that I have a son, my wife and I want to be able to expose him to these places. My recommendations for San Francisco are : the Main Stage, Berkley, The Slanted Door, and of course I like mom and pop shops. I have friends out there that are sure to take me to all of the good local secrets.”

 

One thing on the menu at S3 that you have to order?

 

“Believe it or not, the edamame. It is 5 ingredients, and it is the thing I get the most feedback from. Edamame is usually very simple wherever you go. We put a little garlic, salt,  soy, seasoning, and then just the right amount of char inside the wok and it really seems to make the difference and stay in peoples mind.”

 

Any advice to people who want to be chefs?

 

“Read, I mean really read. Admit that you will never know everything. Be humble in your approach to new experiences. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from it.”

Donut Fest is Coming!

Donut Fest is Coming!

Alright time to get excited! Donut Fest is coming to Miami. All your favorite Soflo donut spots and craft beers will be in place! It is taking place March 30th at 7pm at MAPS backlot. The list of vendors has been announced. Drumroll please… circus eats, crave clean, dunkin donuts, helen & Meyers, Jupiter donuts, Krispy Kreme, mojo donuts, one donut shop, and yonutz are taking center stage. Tickets are $35 and come with unlimited donuts and two free beer tickets! You can purchase them here –  http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1400087-2017-donuts-miami/

Best Places To Eat In Doral

Best Places To Eat In Doral

I find that Doral is a very underrated section of Miami. I never ventured out there until about 2 months ago. Now, I continuously find myself wanting to dine there. Below you will find my favorite restaurants in Miami’s hidden gem:

Best Restaurant for Celebrations: Bocas House 

Bocas House has become wildly popular due to their extreme milkshakes. Why they do tend to be quite sweet, they make a fantastic centerpiece for photos! Personally, I am all about their dinner! I am not a huge octopus fan, but the grilled octopus appetizer has to be my absolute favorite item on the menu! Plus, you can never go wrong with the tomahawk and truffle fries!

http://bocashouse.com

Best Restaurant for Sushi: Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market

Dragonfly is located in the cutest strip mall not too far off of the Turnpike, that you would never guess is there! However, if you are lucky enough to stumble upon this place, you will not be disappointed. All of the fish is so fresh and flavorful. They have signature rolls and lots of shareable asian inspired plates. I mean who doesn’t like anything that has to do with the concepts of tapas?

http://www.dragonflyrestaurants.com

Best Restaurant for Grab & Go: Giardino Gourmet Salads 

Although Giardino is a chain, I am definitely not ruling it out! I am a huge huge huge salad fan. Like I eat at least one salad everyday… this one was up to par for sure. Plus it has a BYO option, which is great for people like me, who make every menu item into a BYO. Most importantly, all of the ingredients are so fresh as if just picked out of the garden.

http://www.giardinosalads.com

Best Restaurant for Instagram Content: Pisco Y Nazca

So as content creator, I had to make this a category… sorry not sorry. I mean just look at this dessert, the videos of it have gone viral for good reason. The perfect chocolate dome melting is the truest from of food porn anybody can find!

http://www.piscoynazca.com

What it’s Really Like To Eat With a Food Blogger

What it’s Really Like To Eat With a Food Blogger

Let’s start by saying that as a food blogger I often get invited to media tastings and different food events. The question I typically follow up with is, “can I get a plus one?” After I get the o-k, I reach out to a friend to see if they want to join. The answer is almost always “of course, why wouldn’t I want free food?” Let me say, THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE GETTING THEMSELVES INTO. Dining with me for fun and as a food blogger are totally different experiences. Let’s take a walk through what its really like to eat with someone infatuated with food.

Ordering:

Right here my friends are already starting to hate me because I pretty much tell them what they are going to be eating. Actually, I tell them exactly what they are ordering for every single course. We all know that the plates have to be different. This way, I get the most shots with different colors, angles, and perspectives. Plus, there has to be cheese on the plate because… #cheesepull.

Waiting: 

As we wait for the food, I politely ignore my friend as managers frequent the table making sure you give them a good review by the end of the meal. After I just gave my menu to the waiter, I ask to see the menu again. This is because I have the memory of a gold fish and forgot what was in the items I ordered and have to take a photo of the menu for my review later. Finally everything starts to relax and I can enjoy a nice peaceful meal with my friend. Nevermind, here comes the food…

Feast Time:

Glorious sighting… here comes the food. Out comes the: iPhone, Canon, Tripod, 2 different lenses, and selfie stick, just for good measure. My friend now looks over and comes to the realization no way is the food going to be hot by the time they get it. I pretty much take photos of every angle imaginable. The background is super important. This is when other patrons awkwardly watch me as I parade around the restaurant with a plate in my hand looking for the best lighting and prettiest wall. I finally found it, now I must destroy the food ( #doitfortheinsta ). If there is cheese, I must pull it; if there is cookies, I must separate it; and if there is steak, I must cut it (in slo-mo of course). Now that the food is: cold, chopped, pulled, and broken… it’s time to eat!

More Waiting: 

Now that the food is gone and we are in a food coma, it’s time to relax right? No! The work has only begun. Now, I must once again ignore my friend to edit a photo, post it to all the social media channels as possible, create the perfect hashtags, and then schedule the rest of my posts. This is now complete, and the manager or owner once again walks over. Now we engage in a 30 minute conversation about how great the food was. Finally we wrap up and head out of the restaurant.

The Drive Home: 

I take this time to apologize to my friend for how long it took, and how I ignored them, and used every single thing they ordered (well, I ordered for them) for photos. I expect them to be upset and never want to join me in my work ventures ever again. Yet, unexpectedly they don’t care at all. Why? Free food that’s why! Welcome to the life of a food blogger!

Making the Perfect Charcuterie Board

Making the Perfect Charcuterie Board

As everyone knows charcuterie boards are a gift from God. I mean who doesn’t love cheese? Now just add a bunch of side items, and you have made the perfect party dish! Well… not so much. Making the perfect charcuterie board can be tricky sometimes. Below you will find all of the steps to making the showing stopping dish you have been waiting for!

Step 1: The Cheese

I have found that depending on the size of the party you are catering to, around 4 cheeses is perfect! Always choose 1 soft cheese, 1 hard cheese, a staple, and a unique item. For example, if I were creating the board, I would include a French brie, truffle cheese, Vermont cheddar, and maybe a gruyere.

Step 2: The Meat

So this is really customizable to your tastes! I say the more the merrier! When you have a bigger group, it is always good to have more choices! I am a huge truffle fan, and Whole Foods carries a black peppercorn truffle hard salami.. so this is automatically one of my picks! Other ideas include: mini meatballs, prosciutto, pate, or any thinly sliced high-quality deli meat.

Step 3: The Carbs

We all know that you can’t forget about the carbs! Go for a trio! Traditional cubed French bread is always a winner. Then don’t be afraid to switch it up with a seeded bread or a nice pumpernickel. Also, give a variety of textures with a good cracker to really support those hard cheeses!

Step 4: The Spreads

Again, the great thing about a charcuterie board is that you can make anything you want! So, the spreads are the same way. I think having a sweet and a salty spread allows flavor contrast. For the sweet, I would choose a fig jam. The figs will pair really nicely with prosciutto, cheddar, and gruyere. For the salty, I always reach for the pesto! Pesto has such great flavor notes that honestly compliments anything! If these aren’t pulling your fancy, feel free to try mustards, oils, and olive tapenade.

 

My last piece of advice is to just have fun with it! Charcuterie boards are great party trays, because people are bound to like something on there! So go wild!