Educated Foodie

Monday, May 13, 2013

Father's Day Grilling 101

Sorry, I know I have been off my game for blogging. 

If you want to learn how to Grill something special for dad this year, sign up for Father's Day Grilling 101 at FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Chef Moran is an expert on the subject he has cooked for Kings and Queens and knows his way around a kitchen whether it is inside or out.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grand Opening of The Cheese Course in Aventura Mall


Miami, FL (November 20,2012) Please join us for the Grand Opening of The Cheese Course, a new European style cheese shop and quick service bistro in Aventura Mall. Enjoy delicious samplings from our extensive selection of artisanal cheeses, gourmet products and fine wine.

What:         The Cheese Course Grand Opening in Aventura Mall
When:         Friday, November 30th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
American Artisanal Cheese and Wine Tasting Event
Saturday, December 1st from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Cheese from Around the World and Wine Tasting Event
Where:       19575 Biscayne Blvd. Suite 383 Aventura, FL 33180

About The Cheese Course:

A European-style artisanal cheese landmark of South Florida, The Cheese Course is the only shop in the Southeast that consists of a cheese and wine market, educational courses, tastings, and bistro in each of its seven locations. After 10 years in the market, The Cheese Course has mastered the artistry of cheese and influenced others to grasp a culturally rich understanding of this classic artisan product. The Cheese Course has locations in Weston, Midtown Miami, Boca Raton, Hallandale, Coral Springs, Pinecrest and Aventura, and continues to expand in the South Florida market. Crossing all cultural borders, The Cheese Course unites and imports cheeses from dairy farms all over the world. The store embodies a traditional, farm-to-table approach to dining with a bistro menu of more than 40 items, each enhanced by the store’s assortment of hand-crafted cheeses.

Cheesemongers in every store offer a culturally rich and authentic experience for guests shopping for the finest cheeses from every country, including La Tur (Italy), Epoisses (France), Stilton (England) and L’Amuse Signature Gouda (Holland). The founder’s vision to inspire and educate guests about every aspect of cheese led to the concept of promoting a higher standard for cheese lovers. With owner and franchise operator, Miguel Contreras, The Cheese Course continues to grow and integrate even more types of cheeses into its already vast selection.

The brand prides itself on the more than 150 imported artisanal cheeses that fill the wooden creates and wicker baskets in each store. Images and color schemes from farms, green pastures and rolling mountainsides bring to mind the authentic, organic roots of the store’s products and concept.

In addition to the specialty cheese and wine market, The Cheese Course Bistro boasts a menu of more than 40 items, clearly labeling cheeses included in each dish and categorizing cheese plates by region and flavor, paired with the perfect accompaniments. Turning classic sandwiches, salads and cheese plates into a cheese lovers’ adventure, menu items include traditional favorites such as; the Prosciutto Di Parma sandwich with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil, basil pesto, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; Applewood Bacon sandwich with goat gouda, tomatoes, avocado, rosemary aioli, and greens; French Field Greens with fresh goat cheese, dried cranberries, mustard-shallot vinaigrette. The Cheese Steward’s Tasting Plate allows guests to sample three special cheeses at an ideal stage of ripening and flavor, carefully chosen from the store’s entire collection, and served with two accompaniments and sliced baguette.

The array of educational courses offered to guests interested in learning more about specific cheeses or the cheese making process is a valuable addition to The Cheese Course experience. Classes are offered several times throughout the month at each location, and provide a simple approach to understanding the art of cheese making, pairing and tasting. Drawing upon community learning, The Cheese Course takes advantage of hands-on methods of education and allows guests the opportunity to sample, ask questions and indulge in all things cheese. 

The Cheese Course on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Foxy Brown in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
I am on a roll this week with blogs, I hope I can keep it up. Checked out last night The Foxy Brown in downtown Fort Lauderdale. They are located on the north side of Broward Blvd, just east of US1. The location is deceiving and it really isn't in a hotbed of culinary activity being that it is off Las Olas, and not close to anything else. Parking was easy enough behind the restaurant and we came in the back door, which made sense to us but the hostess is by the front door, oh well we got it covered.

This place is small and tight, if you are claustrophobic you might want to sit outside. We got a table quickly and started to look at the menu. The choice of food is almost as limited as the amount of seats, not a huge menu, but everything sounded very good. The style is new American, it is a little of everything from Fish and Chips, to beef-a-roni, to Chicken and spaetzle. The wine and beer menu is much more extensive than the food menu. Lots of great craft beers so I was happy. We started with an appetizer special, the Cherry Bombs, hollowed out tomatoes filled with sausage and herbs, covered in a wonton wrapper and deep fried, with also the fried green beans. Both appetizers not only were delicious but served very fast and piping hot.

After the appetizers and before the main course we were delivered warm wet towels like you would get at a sushi restaurant, very nice little touch, unexpected and appreciated. For dinner I had the clam bake special ($24.00) all the seafood was cooked perfectly and the broth was briny and satisfying. The only issue was I didn't have enough bread to soak it all up. Not that I needed it, I had too much food already. Carole had the Mabel's Chicken ($18.00), chicken thighs served with spaetzle with a delicious gravy. Our friend Scott also went for a special, the fried clam strips with Old Bay seasoned fries ($19.00). They were good, but for the most part unmemorable.


Dinner did not take long at all from sit down to clean up, you don't feel rushed but service was prompt and efficient to turn the tables and get more clients in to this small space. We opted out of desert, but not before the warm wet towels showed up again. I really liked that! Dinner for 3 with 2 appetizers 5 beers and 3 entrees was priced at $108.00. For what we got it was a great meal and I will be back.


Foxy Brown on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quarterdeck on Dania Beach
'Twas the night after Thanksgiving, and the last thing I wanted was turkey. My wife, folks, and I went to the new Quarterdeck on Dania Beach Pier last evening and while we were not expecting much we were pleasantly surprised. I have some friends who hit this place a couple of weeks ago when they first opened and had awful service, and a terrible meal. We had a great time!

For those who know Quarterdeck you know what to expect. It is a family friendly bar, the same family that owns Flanigans, owns Quarterdeck. Good food, cold beer, good service, reasonably priced. The last few owners that have had the pier restaurant have not been successful; shoddy service, crummy food, and overpriced, and destined to fail. As long as Dania is not gouging Quarterdeck on rent, they should be fine and stay there for a long time. I bet during lunch or dinner in the summer the view has got to be great. At 6:30 in November you can barely see your hand in front of your face. We sat inside and while the server was brand new, he was informed on the menu, and eager to help us with our order. We all steered away from anything foul, 3 burgers and a Grouper Rubin. All four sandwiches were cooked perfectly. It wasn't the best burger I have ever had, but for what it was and how much we paid you couldn't beat it.

I will definitely go back. This is the first Quarterdeck that I have been to that has a Sushi bar. That might be a try next time. 

Quarterdeck Seafood Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rosies bar & Grill in Wilton Manors

Picture stolen from
I’m back! I’m trying to catch up on the blog by just doing quick short stories instead of the long ones from now on. I am hoping that using this strategy I will write less but more often.

Last night Carole and I met some friends from the old Alamo Rent-A-Car days for dinner in Wilton Manors. We saw Patrick & Veronica (Pat & V) from at Rosie's bar and grill ( on Dixie Hwy in the heart of Wilton Manors. Great burgers as always, I went for the Hellena Bun a burger covered in hot sauce, blue cheese and fried jalapenos. They have awesome potato salad so that was my side and I drank a few too many Blue Moons. The citrus from the beer really helped to cut through the grease of the burger making all the flavors come out. Good meal, but the real star was the conversation. We will be vising Pat & V in New York next month and she has given the rundown of where to go in the city for all of our meals. I am hoping to reinvigorate the blog especially with the NY trip coming up. There should really be some great things on the menu.

Educated foodie

Rosie's Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Problems were small yet Cumulative

     Let me start this blog by saying. I love French food. This weekend my wife and I visited her French aunt and it put me in the mood for the cuisine of France. We went to Le Petit Café this weekend. The place has been in Dania Beach for over 10 years, and we have thought about trying it many times as we stared from across the street while at The Field Restaurant on Griffin Road. We walked in and our anticipation quickly started to diminish. The place is packed with tables, way too many for the space, especially because most were empty. They could have easily lost 30% of the seating and not missed a beat. The decorations on the wall were poor, the flowered drapes were ugly, and the fresh flowers on every table were actually a little too much.  A gigantic miss was the paper napkin folded into a fan at each place setting. Cloth isn't that expensive to wash, and the bread that came out was covered in a cloth napkin, so why couldn't I use one in my lap?

     Ok, so the place is not the most inviting but I can get past that. We looked at the menu and notice that the wine list is pretty slim. My opinion is that wine lists at a French restaurant should offer a range of the offerings of the various regions in France. The list was for the most part Red or White. That may be a little over simplified, but not much. Again not a huge “ding” but definitely noticeable. I went for a Kronenbourg beer, simple yet tasty. The aforementioned bread that did come out wrapped in the napkin was very sad. 4 cold slices of baguette with a mound of margarine appeared on our table.

     We ate our cold bread and decided on dinner. The decision was made to go for the homemade pate, and to split the special seafood cassoulet. The dinner came with a cup of vichyssoise, it was good, nothing special, but good. After having to remind the waiter about the pate we watched it immediately being retrieved from the refrigerator in the dining room already plated and garnished. It was ok, a little overdone, but tasty. It could have been accompanied by some good mustard, but it was good none-the-less. The cassoulet was not what I expected. The bay scallops, shrimp, and unidentifiable white fish came out over-done, and in an overly curried red sauce. I did notice some of the other patrons dishes that looked excellent, the one thing that I did see were the sizes were huge. The portions were easily twice what they should be, and the prices reflected that.

    Splitting the app and the entree was definitely the way to go. We were not overly full and could easily have a crepe. We saw a few savory crepes come from the kitchen and they all looked delicious. We decided to go for the traditional Crepe Suzette, and cups of café ole. The presentation of the crepe was perfect, it was flambéed table side and it had the perfect flavor, and texture.

    The bill came to about $80.00 with tip. A little high I think, for in theory dinner it was only dinner for one, at a strip mall French restaurant in Dania. There was nothing that really jumped out a being awful. All the issues were small yet cumulative. I probably won’t go back, I won’t recommend anyone to go there. I might try it again after dinner just for the desert and coffee, but probably not.

Le Petit Café on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A weekend dining trip to South East Asia and beyond.

A couple of weeks ago I tried 2 new Vietnamese places. One was the best that I have had in a long time, one was okay. I have been meaning to write about it and I hadn't found the time. I also didn't know if I should tell everyone or keep this secret to myself. I am a kind giving person and I want The Hot Pot to succeed so here is my review.

A couple of weeks ago on a Friday night a friend and I decided to hit up a brand new
Pho restaurant in downtown Hollywood, Pho Vi. Walking in was like walking into
a white room with brown tables, because that is what it was.

Nothing on the walls, nothing exciting and we began to
cringe that the food was going to be as boring as the place itself. Our waiter,
who I will refer to as Miss Siagon, was interesting. He had no ideas about the
drinks they serve, and was confused when we handed two credit cards to pay the
bill at the end of dinner.

The food itself was good, Pho is not something that I
NEED but more of an occasional want. We each decided to get the small special
Pho and split a Banh Mi sandwich. The soup was big and full of flavors and
different meats, noodles, and vegetables. By choosing the special Pho the meats
were different cuts of beef, I think some pork, sausage, and tripe. All of the
meats together gave the broth a delicious taste and was one of the best bowls
that I have had. The sandwich had pork, chicken, and beef along with daikon,
and carrots on a very good roll.

It was a good sandwich, nothing to do run around
screaming eureka about, but good enough. 
Again I could live without Pho, it isn’t something that I crave. I will
definitely go back, but it will not be a weekly thing.

While Friday was not a flop, it definetly paled in comparison to the Saturday night
restaurant and I plan on going there regularly. Saturday we went to The Hot Pot on Stirling road, in
Hollywood/Davie/Dania (I have no idea what city it is in, I found it in all
three on a Google search). Walking in we found it also bland. Come on people step it up and put something on the walls.

We sat down at the table that each has its own burner for cooking the hot pots.
We went there for one reason only, crawfish. The owner, who is from Vietnam,
lived for a long time in both New Orleans, and Hawaii and his restaurant is
representative of all of the foods he liked in each place. It is kind of a
hodgepodge but it works so well together. The crawfish were live and cost $9.99
per pound. Carole, Jesse, and I ordered 5 lb’s of the mud bugs along with corn,
potatoes, and sausage.

The way that they handle the crawfish is by the pound and then you pick your sauce, garlic butter, lemon pepper, rajun cajun, or the She Bang. The She Bang is taking all the spices and sauces and mixing them together into something that was sent down from the gods up above. These crawfish did not have a chance. When we were done there was only shells, we sucked everything out of the heads and tails, and there was a point that I was using a spoon to suck up the rest of the sauce. It was an amazing meal, and the presentation while a little odd really worked. The crawfish were delivered in a plastic bag full of all their spicy goodness on top of some thick paper. When dinner was done, cleanup was easy.

One word of warning, the crawfish are good but don't eat too many of them. Their beignets are good, not Cafe du Monde good, but some of the best that I have had in SOFLA. Also the sweetened condensed milk on the side makes them even better.

Do yourself a favor and make your way over to The Hot Pot. Try Pho Vi if you need some Pho, but you have to go to The Hot Pot!

The Hot Pot on Urbanspoon
Pho Vi on Urbanspoon