Gelato Nostro

Gelato Nostro

More than just ice cream, Gelato Nostro offers unique flavors from fruits, chocolates and alcohol drinks such as Dulce de Leche, Nutella and Coconut. They even experiment with different tastes like The Godfather, an amaretto and whiskey inspired concoction. The quality of the ice cream is superb for it is prepared fresh daily. Besides their amazing gelato selection, gourmet teas and coffee, they also serve pastries such as empanadas and quiches.

Gelato Nostro

I would definitely come back to Miami just to “Come, Taste, Enjoy” their ice cream!

Contact Information:
1111 SW 1st Ave. Miami, FL 33130
(+1) 305-677-8808
Mondays to Saturdays – 8AM to Midnight
Sundays – 12NN to Midnight
gelatonostro.com

Advertisements

Tapas Xperience

The most amazing thing about going on Spring break is spending a nice afternoon eating out with friends. Tapas Xperience was another discovery through Yelp. True to their meaning, Tapas Xperience offers a variety of small plates prepared by Spanish chef Ibai Torres.

Tapas Xperience (Me, Annie and Frank)

Tapas Xperience (Who’s hungry? Clarence, Justine or Gavin?)

They started us off with a free glass of Sangria. Looking around, I noticed that they also offer wine dispensaries. Wine dispensaries are like vending machines. You buy a card, fill it with credit and use it to get wine usually for tasting purposes. Most wine dispensaries offer 1/4, 1/2 or a full glass. Tapas Xperience is known for their selection of Spanish wines.

Tapas

Our appetizers were Patatas Bravas, Croquetas and Chorizo. This was served with their garlic and potato dip, which was amazing. We couldn’t get enough of it.

TapasXperience2

TapasXperience4

Then we decided to try their Seafood Paella and Shrimp Ceviche. I think everyone loved these dishes because we ordered a second round. And because we can never leave a restaurant without having beef, we also ordered their Filet Mignon.

TapasXperience5

Another great food experience in Downtown Miami! Xperience it too! Pun intended.

Contact Information:
900 South Miami Ave. Suite 180
(+1) 786-391-1450
Mondays to Wednesdays – 12NN to 11PM
Thursdays to Saturdays – 12NN to 1AM
Sundays – 1PM – 10PM
tapasxperience.com

Ristorante Fratelli Milano

On our first day in Miami, we gathered around Annie’s laptop, browsing through Yelp for a place to eat in. I came from the airport not long ago so I wasn’t particularly fussy about what restaurant to go to as long as it’s food. “You guys pick. I’ll take a bath.” I said, shutting the bathroom door behind me. An hour later, I found myself sitting outside a small Italian restaurant, two blocks away from our hotel. Yelp is such a wonderful tool, don’t you think so?

Ristorante Fratelli Milano was an excellent choice for our first Spring break dinner. Most Italian restaurants in the world would say that their cuisine is authentic. Nearly everyone dissatisfies but not Fratelli Milano. Besides their affordable wine list, who better to prepare a true Italian dinner consisting of hearty pasta dishes, pizza and other specialties than twin Italian brothers Chef Roberto and Emanuele Bearzi?

So here is our Italian experience in downtown Miami…

Mushroom Risotto

Sometimes, I am guilty of rating a restaurant solely on their risotto. With just their Porcini Mushroom Risotto, I would have probably given them an A+. One bite and its creamy texture plus delicate flavor brought me to the brink of ecstasy. Rarely does a dish excite a picky eater like myself but it was that good!

Pear Taleggio Cheese Pasta

Annie, on the other hand chose Fiocchi di Pera e Taleggio. It is pear and taleggio cheese pasta in a sage and butter sauce. I was not a big fan of this dish because it was too sweet but my friends loved it.

Filet mignon

Maybe it’s his huge appetite but I’ve always wondered why my friend, Clarence, constantly orders steak. Personally, I do not like the texture of beef so I try to avoid it as much as I can. Nonetheless, their Filet Mignon medallions with baked potatoes and sautéed spinach served with gorgonzola sauce was quite wonderful.

Papardelle Milano

Papardelle Milano is their homemade pasta cooked with Chianti wine and truffle oil. It’s   served with tomato sauce, slices of filet mignon and porcini mushrooms topped with bits of goat cheese. Frank was a bit disappointed with his choice and ranked it as the least favorable among our main dishes. Yet, I thought it was probably the most delicious one.

After cleaning our plates and a few glasses of wine, we decided to order desserts for the four of us to share.

Tiramisu

Chocolate Souffle

We ordered the chocolate soufflé with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and tiramisu. Both were average, nothing special unlike their restaurant’s entrees. All of us decided we should have gone to a different place for dessert. Though one should note that we did not try all their desserts.

Overall, this is a wonderful restaurant with attentive service and tasty food which is perfect for dates or relaxed meetings with family and friends (warning on the extremely dim lighting though).

Contact Information:
213 SE First Street, Downtown Miami
(+1) 305-373-2300
ristorantefratellimilano.com
Mondays to Thursdays – 11 AM to 10 PM
Fridays to Saturdays – 11 AM to 11 PM

Sakaya Kitchen Miami

To fuel our third day in Ultra Miami, we decided to get a huge brunch at Sakaya Kitchen, a quick service Korean restaurant in downtown. They use organic and locally sourced ingredients which was a plus for me. I wish I took the time to take a photo of their interior. It was cute how they used a chalkboard for the menu.

MiamiFood4-5 MiamiFood4-4I started with edamame drizzled with garlic and ginger soy sauce and Sakaya’s signature Korean fried chicken wings.

MiamiFood4-6 Then I had Dirty South pulled pork sandwiches with kimchi slaw and pickle. This was served with tater tots. I should have expected this to be a bit spicy with the kimchi but I didn’t so I was a little surprised with the kick. Nevertheless, it was a good choice and I thoroughly enjoyed munching on these sliders.

MiamiFood4-3 MiamiFood4-1 My friend, Annie, got the soft shelled crab steamed bun with spicy mayo and the Bulgogi bowl served with Angus beef, rice and kimchi. Personally, she said she preferred the steamed bun.

MiamiFood4-2 MiamiFood4-8 Frank, who is the ultimate foodie among all of us, also grabbed the opportunity to try out two dishes. One was the roast pork steamed bun made with sweet chili sauce and the second one was a kalbi beef soft taco served with tater tots.

MiamiFood4-7My other friends decided to take the authentic Korean route and ordered Jigae, a spicy miso stew with kimchi and roasted pork served with rice.

I must say that this is not your ordinary Korean restaurant but Sakaya Kitchen is definitely a restaurant to try out for people planning to visit or are living in Miami. It has a casual and fun vibe that is perfect for friends hanging out (plus they serve alcohol).

Contact Information:
3401 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127
+1 (305) 576-8096
Monday to Sunday – 12NN to 10PM
Twitter or Facebook – @sakayakitchen
sakayakitchen.com

South Beach

We were a bit disappointed that when we went to South Beach in Miami, it was cloudy. However, it was still amazing being in a tropical city. After spending months in Chicago, the change of temperature was a welcomed gift.

Ultra2013-9

Ultra2013-16

Ultra2013-15

After walking around, we decided to eat in Otentic, a small intimate French restaurant. The meal started with a small glass of Chardonnay then we ordered a Foie Gras to share.

MiamiFood2-6MiamiFood2-3

MiamiFood2-1

I chose the seared back of salmon with creamy basil sauce on a bed of potato gratin. This is probably one of the perfectly cooked salmon dishes I have tasted.

MiamiFood2-4

Frank ordered roasted chicken on a bed of ratatouille with porcini sauce.

MiamiFood2-5

Clarence ordered a filet mignon served with a side of potato gratin and mustard sauce while Annie chose the mahi-mahi with scallion sauce on bed of green beans.

MiamiFood2-2

A perfect restaurant to start our Miami adventure.

Contact Information:

+1 (305) 531 1464
710 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, Fl, 33139

TWG

TWGI love tea and I especially love the brand TWG. I thank my best friend Manny for introducing me to this tea company a year back. Ever since then, it’s been the tea I preferred taking with my macaroons or cakes. Here’s a list of my favorite tea flavors.

Tip: TWG employees said that the smell of the tea directly affects it’s taste so before you buy tea, smell the leaves. If you don’t like the smell, I bet you wouldn’t like the taste. Also, take your tea with honey. It’s much healthier than sugar.

  • Creme Caramel

A delicate red tea from South Africa with a secret blend of sweet French spices. You’ll definitely taste the sweetness of the caramel in this tea. No need for honey unless you’re a sweet tooth like me. I’ve tried it hot and iced. It’s very versatile.

  • Silver Moon

This tea is a blend of green tea and berries. The smell reminds me so much of Japan. For those green tea lovers, this one is especially amazing to try.

  • Grand Wedding

Grand wedding is the tea for special occasions. It’s black tea blended with white flowers. You can even smell exotic fruits in the blend.

  • Christmas Lights

The smell of Christmas is encompassed in this tea. It is also a green tea blend. You’ll be able to smell the chestnuts and aromatic scent of pine trees.

TWGOn another note, I recently sent a TWG postcard to an acquaintance in Finland. It was free and was given to me while I was spending time in their restaurant in Singapore. TWG recently opened in Manila too so if you’re planning on trying it out, drop by their store at Greenbelt 5.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto PastaOnce again, I bring to you busy bees an easy pasta recipe you can whip up every time you feel too lazy to cook.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

You will need the following ingredients:
1 box whole wheat pasta
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 cups milk (any type, low-fat would be great!)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 small jar of pesto
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with olive oil. Grill until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut chicken breasts into pieces. To make the sauce, heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally. Combine 1 cup milk and flour in a small bowl the add to the butter, making sure that you stir constantly with a whisk. After, add in the pesto. Gradually add remaining 1 cup milk again stir constantly. Cook until sauce slightly thickens. Season and then add the Parmesan cheese. Add chicken and sauce to pasta, tossing well to coat.

Disclaimer: All measurements for ingredients are just estimated. Always taste your food while cooking and add more of something if it lacks a certain flavor. Every palette is different.

Green Lemon Iced Tea

Iced TeaI am a huge fan of those little packets of flavoring you add to water to create juice. Over time however, I realized how terribly unhealthy they were. Thus I came up with this healthier option.

Green Lemon Iced Tea

You will need the following ingredients:
2 packets of any tea flavor (with this recipe I used green tea)
1/4 cup of granulated sugar (white or brown, though brown sugar is the healthier option)
1 freshly squeezed lemon
1/4 liter of water (used to steep)
3/4 liter of water or more

First, you will need to steep the two packets of tea flavor in hot water (use 1/4 of the 1 liter) for about 3-4 minutes. After, add the sugar. This will taste really sweet but that is why you need to add the rest of the water. Taste constantly to see if you want to add more sugar or more water. Then, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir and pop in for a couple of minutes in the refrigerator to cool. Add ice before serving and voilà! You have your refreshing green lemon iced tea!

Suggestion: Try it out with different tea flavors. You can check out the tea company TWG for amazing tea! My favorite from their tea line is crème caramel and grand wedding.

4 Herb Tuna Pasta

My friend, Tanya, would always cook “Spicy Tuna Pasta” after every night out. That recipe has cream and uses spicy tuna which I am not a huge fan of so here’s my take on her recipe. Once again, this dish is pretty easy to cook and would not take more than half an hour.

4 Herb Tuna Pasta

You will need the following ingredients:
1/2 pack (box) whole wheat pasta
2 cans of tuna chunks in water
1/2 chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup herb mixture (Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme)
1 bouillon cube
About 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Do not forget to add salt to the water. You can also add olive oil so the pasta does not stick together when cooking. While your pasta is cooking, start sauteing your garlic and onions in a saucepan with the olive oil about 2 minutes. Then add the tuna and the bouillon cube. Saute for a few more minutes. Add the herbs last. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then set aside. Meanwhile, your pasta is probably already done. Strain it and mix it with the tuna sauce. Add some Parmesan cheese and you’re done!

Because we did not use cream and used olive oil, we have reduced calories from the old recipe. Also, do not be afraid to use whole wheat pasta! It is definitely healthier and it tastes good too! This dish is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. You can pair it with a good glass of white wine and you’re all set!

Disclaimer: All measurements for ingredients are just estimated. Always taste your food while cooking and add more of something if it lacks a certain flavor. Every palette is different.

Easy 15 Minute Fried Rice

As a student living alone in the city, I always try to cook my meals because I don’t like eating take out especially in America where most of their foods are processed. However, cooking is a time consuming task that easily takes up three hours in a day. Time better spent studying or doing other chores. So I took it upon myself to discover dishes that are cheap, healthy and easy to do. Here’s one that I think is perfect for breakfast and it only took me 15 minutes to prep and cook it.

Fried Rice “Kaan Style”
(And for those of you who don’t know, my name is actually Kaan, not Robin.)

You will need the following ingredients:
1 cup of cooked rice (I used chicken stock instead of water)
1 fish fillet (Chopped into small equal pieces. I used Tilapia because it’s cheap.)
1 crab stick (Sliced lengthwise. Most crab sticks are actually just fish that’s flavored.)
Scallions
1 egg (Beaten)
Salt and Pepper
Kikoman or oyster sauce
Sesame oil
Vegetable oil

So what you have to do first is to heat the vegetable oil and then saute the fish. Add the crabstick and scallions. When they’re fairly cooked, add the egg and then the rice. Make sure the rice grains are separated before you add them. I usually use Kikoman but if you don’t have it, use oyster sauce. I don’t measure how much I add. Add a little batch at a time, stir and taste until you like how it is. Add a little bit of sesame oil, salt and pepper and voila! You are done!

Add five to eight minutes of eating time and five minutes for washing the dishes. You’ve minimized a task that usually takes an hour and a half to only thirty minutes!