Monday, August 27, 2012

bloody twisted

the twisted spoke
bikers, not so much babes
west loop

gal pal elena, her main squeeze dayon, myself and the uber-darling stephanie fantauzzi (she's on a small show called 'shameless' - all went to biker bar twisted spoke to nab their famous bloody's. 
we posted at the bar because of the 45 minute wait but enjoyed the view of a bartender with one of the greatest beards i've ever seen. the bloody mary's here are fresh & superb - hefty garnishes join the tasty beverage; mine had gin and shrimp and elena's had salami, cheese and pickles. and for the perfect finish, you get a beer back too. once we were seated, we ordered their fat boy sandwich (a.k.a burger) and although i can finely manage a burger all on my own, i was full from the bloody's and didn't stand a chance with the burger. had a few bites though and it was wonderful. 

with great rock n' roll music in the background, street signs to the bathroom that read 'piss that way' an entertaining server and lots of loud laughter amongst friends, i'd say operation sunday-recuperation-brunch was a dignified success. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

top chicago finds, thus far

fancy, steakhouse
river north

ever so grateful to be invited for dinner by my very amazing gal friend rikki davidoff and her vivacious mama sandra. it's a fine dining staple in the city and once finishing our exquisite meal of meals, i can attest to all the praise. that's a medium rare new york strip alongside lobster mac and cheese, soft crab gnocchi and their dessert platter but all you need to know is 'butter cake.' side note - they do to go orders in case getting too dressed up pains you. rikki tells a great "i devoured the butter cake before making it home" story. 

cool kids, american wine bar
logan square

when the charming and adventurous mr. david denberg decided to pay the midwest a visit, i immediately thought of telegraph as a dinner option for many reasons. great write-ups, located in an up and coming neighborhood and well, its wine menu is designed around the food. 

what a dashing time. delightful service amidst a small dim lit room, to a super-duper good squab dish and wine that helps connect the dots. wonderful things are happening at this spot, won-dah-full.

nori sushi
classic, japanese
lincoln park

a byob in lincoln park keeping the masses happy is nori. one of my first chicago friends was elena montalvo, an open minded spirit always ready for a good time. her happy-go-lucky roommate ali johnson dined at nori for her birthday and each roll got better and better. her sweet boy jimmy recommended wonderful rolls, highlights were: chicago crunchy crazy (unagi, escolar) & shrek (smoked salmon, jalapeno.)

i want more-y.

cafe, cheese shop
the loop

it's safe to say that cheese makes this girl rrreally happy. when my foodie friend eddie and i were making lunch plans towards the loop, i jumped at trying pastoral becauase of the cheese mecca its supposed to be.

it met all my goat-cow-sheep milk dreams imaginable. they have a crazy long and tempting sandwich menu. we nommed on killer salads and cheese plates on a beautiful summer day in millenium park.

pasta palazzo
new-kitchen, italian
lincoln park

exploration pants on, mai and i wandered the streets on lincoln park and settled on pasta palazzo. mama mia was this a find! super-small space, kitchen open for your viewing pleasure and absolutely everything was homemade. my mouth waters looking at the picture of what i ordered.

linguine with basil pesto - so good, so so good. grateful for the leftovers!

cafe ba-ba-reeba
vibrant, spanish tapas
lincoln park

i can easily say this is one of the most popular and celebrated restaurants in chicago and boy-ba-reeba is it good. Enjoy sangria or choose from a top notch selection of wines to be paired with these two winners: spicy potatoes and pork ribs. The adorably quirky and ever so darling mai tran lives for this place and her and I have had our fair share of visits.

sun wah
old school, chinese/vietnamese

rule of thumb for any ethnic eatery, in my book, is that 75% of the diners should be of actual descent per it's stated cuisine. this is one of them. a delicious, spacious restaurant with a great deal of asian families enjoying their version of sunday brunch in little vietnam town. mai goes on these awesome rants about duck and duck and then more duck that she craves from sun wah so it was only natural for us to wake one sunday stupor and zombie our ways there. 

you're looking at their house-smoked bbq duck, chicken and pork platter. that's what's up.

mercat a la planxa
fancy, spanish tapas
south loop

one of the best days i've had while living in chicago was when the family i babysat for in florida all came to visit. both the kids matthew and amanda are mini-adults (i'm having a hard time accepting the fact that they won't freeze at the ages of 7 & 9 - now that they are 11 & 13.) their mom anne, who has been a close confidant for several years, took us to ironchef jose garces restaurant called mercat. the kids got burgers and we each opted for their steak and chicken entrees. but what you need to order are the phenomenal croquettes served over a darn perfect romesco sauce. we were all happy and red from eating so much romesco.

butcher and the burger
new casual, american
lincoln park

another tasty eatery denberg and i tried was a byob where you build-yo-own-burger. we split a bison, wasabi infused beauty and occasionally stuffed it with french fries, because there is no such thing as too much of a good thing - ya dig?

so many combos to try, so little time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

mercadito - mastering the art of tacos & tequila

chicago - river north
miami - midtown
nyc - avenue b & grove

From the really cute Spanish lady in the back of the kitchen using a cast iron presser to make perfectly sized corn tortillas – one by one – to the house mixologists stirring crazy ingredients away during the lull of the day, concocting new recipes to serve eager patrons later on in the evening...  Mercadito consistently succeeds because they brilliantly pick the best that Mexican cuisine has to offer, diligently perfecting each aspect. Dried and fresh chiles are skillfully immersed in dishes - de arbol, serrano, haberno – you name it, they’re about to artfully feed you with it. Presenting the food and delivering flavors in ways you couldn’t dare imagine. 

The focus is on fresh at Mercadito. In fact, i found myself continuously using the thesaurus so I wouldn't overuse the word fresh as I wrote this post. Mercadito means ‘Little Market’ in Spanish therefore the idea is to experience a variety of flavors and ingredients from Southern Mexico – served tapas style. This way you are not overwhelmed with one big burrito and instead can see the versatility of the cuisine in beautiful, small portions. The restaurant is always bustling - vibrant ambiance, great crowd and topnotch service but the heart beats here because of the food.

*courtesy of

Ripe avocados are getting sliced and ready to mingle with ingredients such as mango, pomegranate, and even sweet potato in what will inevitably become some of the best damn guacamole you will ever have. You can’t have great guac with mediocre chips and they don’t want you to – instead they use those freshly made tortillas the cute little lady in the back just made, fry them and kindly serve it warm for your liking.

*courtesy of

Mercadito offers tequilas beyond comparison and drinks are served by gifted boys & girls who skillfully make alcoholic beverages that are appealing to both the eye and discerning palate. They’re more like wizards concocting new recipes and trying to find the next spell that’s going to mesmerize you and keep you asking for more. My recommendation is the ‘Misty’s Sleeve’ – an outrageously delicious blend of el Tesoro blanco, ginger, orange, hibiscus and chile Serrano… it’s a spicy kick your taste buds didn’t see coming but will end up thanking you for. Add heat for some interactive fun and enjoy fire on top of your beverage as its served... which your server will kindly fight off so you.

*courtesy of

By now you are sipping finely created cocktails and munching on unrivaled guacamole... so the time has come to conquer the rest of the menu. I can easily write paragraphs upon paragraphs on each item offered but instead I’m going to happily share how I would order at Mercadito (since I get to work at the Chicago location and have had the good fortune to try mostly everything the talented and humble chef Patricio Sandoval makes– who was born in Mexico and brings you dishes that were inspired from meals he was raised on since childhood.)

Do the sharing menu – regardless of how many people you are eating with – this way you get to explore the menu like you yourself were in the “little markets” of Mexico, trying one thing at a time, at all the different stalls.

For guacamoles, order mango (sweet & spicy), toreado (spicy) and traditional (better than any ol’ regular guac you’ve tried before.) Definitely get the chipotle salsa (a smoky-sweet finish) and roja salsa too. Ask for the ceviche with scallops (mixed with pumpkin seeds and a key-lime habanero broth) as well as the mahi mahi - which comes in a superb tamarind-chipotle broth. There are 11 tacos to choose from but my choices are the ‘estilo baja’ (crispy beer battered mahi mahi), ‘carnitas de puerco’ (flavorful braised pork), ‘camaron’ (shrimp), ‘carne’ (skirt steak) and the ‘pollo’ (smoked chicken.) Each has its own unique topping – anywhere from Mexican style coleslaw to crispy plantains. Every taco is exceptional and since you will naturally be inclined to visit again, be sure to try them all and proudly gloat that you have mastered the mercadito menu and maybe even become the Mayor of Mercadito via FourSquare.

Other highlights are the ‘pollo enchilado’ that is described on the menu as a chile morita-arbol crusted chicken but all you have to know is it’s especially delicious and even the 45-minutes it takes to make it doesn’t stop anyone from ordering it. They also have a Mexican style corn on the cob, brussel sprouts cooked in crispy pork belly and for dessert get the ‘torreas de bolillo’ – an ode to French toast but turned Mexican and entirely incredible.

There's a reason why they have a countless amount of regulars and there's certainly a reason why they have a countless amount of newcomers - all arriving with empty stomachs and eager palates. 

I would say to go if you love Mexican food but I will make it much easier and just say that if you love food in general then "check-in" at Mercadito. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

finding chicago

i flipping loved chicago. i loved chicago more than new york city (no need to pause for reaction here.) i loved how clean the streets were, i loved how it seems fast pace but it's really laid back and most of all, i loved how incredibly friendly everyone was. talk about a city. i loved chicago so much that i'm about to give 'finding cupcakes' a new home there.

i really tried to keep this post as short and sweet as possible by just giving you the lowdown on where we went and why it was awesome - remember, i like to leave out places that weren't too great since it's not my intention to be a harsh critic. one area i struggle to keep it short is telling you who i had the pleasure of enjoying my adventure with. although i have included my sister shafia in plenty of posts before, this trip was our very first together just the two of us. having already lived there herself over a year ago, shaf's very kind and generous friends kevin and mike let us stay at their unbelievably nice apartment in river walk - with a view of the city's skyline that left a permanent 'jaw-dropping' expression on my face.

my sister and i galavanted the city for three days and there was no stopping us. days started at bars, nights ended at bars and the in between was better than any great sandwich could even boast - ingredients like asking locals where the sears tower was, shaf wimpering like a little kid at the skydeck, asking locals where we could 'find cupcakes', hitting my head underneath the bean while waiting for the rain to stop and then walking right into mud in wedges, trying to find one restaurant and ending up at a speakeasy bar... each unique moment, we just laughed out loud and lived in the present.  i don't know how others feel about their younger siblings but as i get older, i truly fall more in love shafia and can't help but feel blessed that someone as courageous, charming and endearing is my very own little sister.

... an 'fc' fyi: it's all about the neighborhoods in chicago, hence the neighborhood name after each place...

public house 
river north

all about the beer here but with a food menu like theirs (in a bounded book), you can skip the brewskis and still love it. i ordered one of their mussel bowls - the lemongrass ponzu: steamed mussels in a bountiful bowl of lemongrass broth, ponzu butter, kimchi, honey-anise bacon and thai basil served alongside a rustic piece of sourdough bread. you know the drill, dip the bread in the broth aaand insert sound that reminds you of why comfort food is the best. the components of the bowl were magical and made the mussel eating all the more enjoyable. i wasn't thrilled when shaf ordered their pulled chicken salad but the light plate shut me up - dates, avocado, goat cheese, apple, walnuts, etc, etc... a little honey-cilantro vinaigrette and public house scores. they've got flatbreads, an array of mac & cheeses, sandwiches, ribs - the list goes on. day one was off to a delicious start.

elephant & castle
magnificent mile

a good ol' british pub, with three locations in chicago, serving all the comforts one would hope for in this sort of english establishment. we were on a james & ginger binge but did annoy the bartender to let us try samples of their daily beers that i honestly can't remember what they were (bad blogger, bad!) however, after asking our bartender, we were able to find out two restaurants that he said are loved by the locals - big star and girl and the goat - which we fortunately did on our last day and hence the plug for elephant & castle. kapeesh.

hub 51
river north

got here around the time happy hour was ending but the place was packed. we met up with two of shaf's delightful friends, amish and jared, to continue the james & gingering (i'm sorry liver.) the boys ordered chicken nachos and sushi from the extremely diverse menu also offering tacos, lots of seafood dishes and  fun salad and sandwich choices. definitely a lot of energy at hub which was matched by our great company. i loved the house rules on their menu such as "guys, no tank tops. trust us, we're doing you a favor" and "it's too soon to bring you home to mom. try her carrot cake instead."

potbelly sandwich shop
mucho locations around chicago

okay - shafia would not stop talking about this place. i remember when she was living in chicago and would message me saying, "i just ate at potbelly again - it's amazing!" so it was inevitable that we were going to eat here during my trip. sandwich was great but i loved the concept a lot more. walked in during lunch rush, long line of hungry customers, chick playing guitar and singing on the second story... very scrappy decor but that's a total compliment. turns out the founder's first store was actually an antique shop and out of a whim they started making sandwiches... thirty years later they are rolling in dough or wheat bread - whatever. everything is made to order and the line goes quick - shaf went turkey and i went chicken cheddar. i happily finished my toasty sandwich and my beautiful little sister got her potbelly fix.

mucho locations around chicago

our chicago galavanting even included a round or two of shopping, the most notable at a shop called akira. we were in their shoe store but they also offer clothes for men and women. very eclectic vibe - i was in awe of their shoes... ranging from reasonable to "whoa, definitely can't afford that" but all beautiful in their own right.

lou malnati's pizzeria 
mucho locations in chicago

i would have gotten slapped silly if i didn't try deep dish pizza in chicago. so i tried it and it was wonderful but i think pizza was always meant to be thin, no? regardless, lou malnati's was a really fun place to be. i always prefer to eat at the bar because the bartenders treat you the best and i just prefer the dining experience that way. since shafia wasn't having pizza, i ordered a wee little baby six inch size pie but the ingredients made up for the size. the bartender said i had to get the 'malnati chicago classic', which is where the pie is made with sausage, some extra cheese and the necessary tomato sauce. like i said it was wonderful, especially the buttery crust and i'm glad i got that bad boy off the bucket list.

violet hour
wicker park

we accidentally stumbled upon this place. our original plans were to go to big star but as we got out of the cab, a random dude told us it was closed but mumbled we should try "that place" - pointing to what was a red wall, which someone happened to walk out of and in shafia and i went. turns out we were in one of the most raved about places in chicago - a speakeasy bar that makes cocktails for you to talk about days after. you have to wait until you're seated since they have a very strict rule on no standing inside. the interior is dark, adorned with chandeliers, candles and a whole lot of whispering. we were lucky to get seated at the bar and enjoyed watching the mixologists make fancy drinks for guests, while (unbeknownst to us) we went in our plain drink of choice. it took a good hour until we realized it's all about their specialty drinks such as the 'juliet and romeo' and 'the willing hostage' - gin cocktails with highlights like rose water and cynar. we then found out big star was owned by same people as violet hour and was definitely open (and right across the street.) violet hour was awesome but it was time for some food.

big star
wicker park

i wish more places like this existed. they've got a crazy whiskey menu (some from boutique distilleries) and even serve a different $3 whiskey shot everyday. followed by tons of beer, tequila and outstanding food... like the organic, sustainable kind. the whole idea behind big star was an ode to the 30's and 40's when the working class were migrating west towards california and small spots were opening that had a 'screw you' attitude to society... emphasis on struggling, drinking and trying to make sense of everything. besides the love of drinking and food, big star is also all about infusing music in the culture of the restaurant... sort of like a mix of hipster meets western. i tried the 'tacos al pastor' - spit roasted pork shoulder, grilled onions, pineapples, cilantro - and the 'tacos de pescado' - beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, cabbage, cilantro. amazing - no need to explain how each ingredient complimented each other... just simply fantastic. whiskey and tacos?! yes and please, more. our friend rummi joined us for an endless round of drinking. the night was true grit at its best... har har har (no, but it really was.)

*courtesy of

girl and the goat
west side

i guess you can say that i saved the best for last. top chef's very own stephanie izard is behind this exquisite (i love any opportunity to use that word) restaurant. there's lots of goat to be had here and all served in the best manner. we were told before going here that the wait can be long, no kidding two hours in but they clearly get away with it because everyone falls in love with the food. this place is for food lovers and our sleeves were rolled. we started with the chickpea fritters - topped with a terrific romesco, hummus and sesame combination  & the pan fried shishito peppers (beware, it's on the salty side as it's accompanied with lots of parmesan and miso) but we were already singing praises.

shaf got the fried soft shell crab served with a delicious chili-lime and pickled ramps medley. i ordered the wood oven roasted pig face, served with a sunny side egg that was drizzled with a magnificent tamarind sauce and if that wasn't enough, they were kindly showered with potato stix. shaf's dish was yum, my dish was sinfully yum. dessert was dropped off from heaven in the form of a ridiculous concoction of shortcake, lemon gelato, rhubarb and lemon, panna cotta and graham crackers. another big star moment where it's not even important why those key components made it semi-orgasmic... they just did and that's all you really need to know. we were smiling... alongside everyone else in the packed restaurant.

did i mention that i flipping love chicago?!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

delray delights

brule bistro in delray beach

my beautiful friend stefania giommoni - a real deal italian foodie - and i got to check out the dining scene in a smaller section of downtown delray beach called pineapple grove. it's relatively new with art shops, residential buildings, clothing stores, salons and a few restaurants. we searched some menus online and brule bistro was an instant win. the restaurant looks like an open market and i would recommend eating in their outdoor patio to truly enjoy the weather. we went on a friday night, ordered a bottle of malbec and conquered the diverse menu of heavy french and italian influences. 

for appetizers we ordered the beef carpaccio flatbread with caramelized onions, arugula and a gorgonzola horseradish cream and duck confit egg rolls - which was a fun play on the classic french dish duck confit (leg of duck) turned into egg rolls. the egg rolls came with a sweet chili sauce and a pureed mango mustard sauce. while nomming on those we were presented with a complimentary bite from the kitchen. they were small fried balls (croquettes) stuffed with heavenly prosciutto and gruyere cheese. stef and i wished that they would have thrown more of the freebies to us but our main courses kept us from asking for extra. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

a bark worthy of your bite - white chocolate peanut pretzel

here's a simple recipe that wins everyone over and is way too easy to make. i've made this white chocolate bark several times now and each person who tries it pretty much goes crazy over them. i love making it for the sheer reaction they get and the lack of time it takes on my part.

it's even abbu approved... yup, my father (who's spoiled by my 'chef de i-have-never-made-anything-that-tastes-bad' mom's cooking) said he could eat it all day, everyday. i always make him fist pound me when i'm really excited over something and he reluctantly participates to make me happy but this time around - after trying the white chocolate bark - he initiated the fist pound and i was off to writing this post. you can't deny the power a parent has on their child and i'm fortunate to say that my dad (who we call abbu) falls somewhere between 'heart of gold, funny, hardworking, honest and super intelligent.' he's a family guy and a constant source of strength and determination in my life. this one's for him!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

b is for burgers

before my love for food grew into exploring exotic cuisines, eating at fancy restaurants and appreciating hole in the wall joints - it was always simple for me - "i'll have the burger."

it's the most ideal thing to eat - a warm patty usually made out of beef, slice of melted cheese, whatever toppings you desire, dollop of ketchup - all nestled into a bun...yum. i've had great ones at places like shake shack, in-and-out, houston's, primanti's, etc. over the past year or so they've become the trendy item to order - just like good ol' cupcakes - and restaurant's are either updating the traditional cheeseburger with unique creations or opening with the entire concept based around the burger. trendy or not, i'll always love a burger and there are two burgers that i recently tried that cannot go without recognition.

rok brgr in ft. lauderdale
rok brgr and the peggy burger

mike o'donnell makes his smooth return to the blog and appropriately so on a burger post. when the two of us aren't bantering about movies, music or just mocking one another - we are usually talking about how great american food is. as mike is trying to expose me to more music he loves (and sports - but that's going to take much longer), i am trying to expose him to eating different types of eats and especially break down his aversion to spicy food. we had been talking about the best burgers we've had for quite some time and when the new rok brgr on himmershee street in ft. lauderdale was getting rave reviews, i knew that's where i wanted to take him during his visit to south florida. it’s a very laid back scene with good music playing and adding to the bar scene in downtown ft. lauderdale,  except here they offer super quality food and lots of burgers.

he was so giddy over all the options and was struggling to decide on one. we happily compromised with ordering two different burgers and splitting them. he got the rok brgr which came with hickory smoked bacon and a winning bourbon bbq sauce and i got the peggy – topped with pulled short rib, same bbq sauce and a horseradish cheddar cheese. both burgers were served with handcut fries – perfect to stuff into your burger for that one really good bite.

photo courtesy of

Monday, March 28, 2011

pet shop turned coffee shop in nashville

nashville was never really high on my list of places i wanted to see in the states since i affiliated it with country music and have yet to bond with that music genre. however not very long ago my friend zara - who i have known the longest from all my friends - got engaged and since most of her family are tennesseans, the location of the celebration was a no-brainer and so off to nashville i was!

simply put, i love zara. she is hands down the most easygoing person i have ever known and i often use the word 'bubbly' to best describe her. in fact the few times i have seen her upset or angry, (which i've loved since they're so rare) they were because she's fed up of worrying about wasting her energy on being upset or angry. anyone who knows zara loves spending time with her. it's usually just a whole lot of laughing and eating a whole lot of food... can't beat that kind of fusion in my book.

the two of us got the chance to go sightseeing in nashville before the engagement party at her uncle's house and managed to do some marvelous finding. she had mentioned that her uncle once took her to an artsy downtown area that i would love so we ended up in what we learned is called hillsboro village. upon arriving, i immediately tweeted that it looked like urban outfitters had thrown up all over the place and that was aside from how everyone was dressed. the area has a brick-paved street filled with local restaurants, hand-painted signs and old-fashioned storefront windows. it's very easy to kill a day here from spending time at a book store, to visiting a local brewery and endless amounts stores to shop in. we decided to eat at a place called fido, formerly a pet shop and now the coffee enthusiasts place to daydream with a strong focus on animal love in every corner. there were tons of young people just hanging out either with friends, with a good book or facebooking away on their laptops. the weather happened to be near perfect with the sun shining and weather in the low 70's. we were all loving life.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sushi and locally brewed beer in boca

as i begin to write this post i can't believe it's my first time including my best friends falan meltzer and alex busch in my blog. i've known them since the beginning days of freshman year in college and they've remained some of my greatest confidants. with fal spending all of last year in israel and busch dedicating so much of her time studying for medical school - our dinner date together was long, long overdue. i could truthfully just spend this whole time talking about how wonderful they each are in their own unique ways. busch is a kindred soul, who stays very loyal to the close people in her life and is extremely dedicated to her family, pets and meal time. falan's energy is highly contagious and her passion for people, philanthropy and israel continues to be the same driving forces that made me so fond of her from when we first met. they're both super strong women and have played a key role in my life over the past few years... especially with supporting my own passions and especially this blog.

sushi of boca, boca raton
(you're going to have to google this bad boy yourself)

now onto our lovely dinner date. fal couldn't help but poke fun at finding cupcakes, referring to it as "fc" all night and sarcastically hoping that i would write about where we were eating. even though i know it was her way of really wishing that the dinner would actually go on the blog, especially since she kept sticking her hand in every picture and boasted about her hand modeling skills. buschra (as i often call her because my mother's name is bushra) always told me about a hole in the wall sushi restaurant she frequents with her boyfriend ian and insisted that we tried the place too. busch's suggestion was spot on!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

vegetarian dines at mellow mushroom & sublime

two super good restaurants with two of some of my most favorite people in the world - javier and jessica garcia. married for almost two years now, javier and jessica are young, carefree spirits and an unbelievably kind duo. javi is one of my closest friends from high school and it's great to see him find someone like jess who carries the same outlook on life as him - simple yet refined (and always a little bit of crazy.) 

mellow mushroom in delray beach
monk in the trunk, kosmic karma pizza, cinnamon and honey pretzel

after an unpredictable adventure with the two to rescue an old cell phone held hostage from a disturbing character, our dining fates were immediately sealed when jess quickly learned we were very near mellow mushroom and realizing i had yet to eat there myself... she, i quickly found, was one of their regulars.

Monday, January 17, 2011

what is the what - a book review

Here's a perfect example that discovering the sweet things in life doesn't have to be dessert oriented...

As the world slowly but surely turns itself to electronic reading (insert the sound of a baby crying out loud), I fall under the stubborn group who refuse to let go of the tangible act of holding a book. In due time I will own my very own nook/kindle/shnook/book device but during this stop at the bookstore, I was spending my dollars on ink and pages.

I developed an urge to read something that would simultaneously inspire and captivate me - and boy did I find one. The book is called 'What Is the What' by Dave Eggers (New York Times Bestseller) and once I completed it, my sole responsibility was to share this compelling, eye-opening, sometimes funny and ultra wise story with you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

midtown miami does fresh asian

it took me some time to warm up to twitter but once i got the hang of the constant updates and it's many treats, i was participating at a fast rate. the foodie updates are incredible and has allowed me to keep up with all the buzz and news in south florida and beyond. my bucket list to try different places increases week after week with all the new spots opening around town and miami, especially, has developed a great food scene near downtown with neighborhoods termed "upper east side" and "midtown."

recently, foodies are tweeting left and right about dining finds that offer all the key components for an enjoyable fresh asian eating experience. with additional insight from trustworthy foodie-friend jessica brager, i present you two spots worthy of trying in the near future - as in, right now.

sakaya kitchen in midtown miami

after a wonderful evening spent at the soho beach house with jess and her charming boyfriend craig dell, we hopped over to midtown to try the food at sakaya kitchen. fortunately craig is a food lover who isn't afraid to try new things and most importantly, lots of new things. the setting of the restaurant is low key and the menu is presented on a chalkboard on the lefthand side. the food is asian inspired with korean influences - think lots of fresh produce, well marinated, all-natural meats, especially pork. off mr. dell went with the order and jess and myself were swooning with glee because we were in for some good eats.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

oliver twist eats

i have to admit that lately most of my fine dining has been at my home or at the homes of my friends. suffice it to say, i've still had the chance to try some new eats for you to hear about. these will keep you warm for now and saying "please sir, i want some more."

the pub in pembroke pines
english pot roast
this is the ultimate holiday meal to enjoy at a bar. tender pieces of beef with peas, carrots and chive whipped potatoes served over a bordelaise sauce. accompanied with a great glass of cabernet sauvignon while it's a little chilly outside will make it feel like you're in a scene right from the movie 'the holiday.' albeit, jude law would have been a much nicer side to the roast than red wine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

november must haves

since it's the first of november i thought it would be timely to share some must have items that this eleventh month of year can't be without. gotta love for always helping me get my "find" on.

must have handbag
por la victoire
lennon tattered leather satchel in black
throw this over anything and you're good to go.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

nirala sweet house in sunrise

i love, love, looooooooooooove this restaurant. i'm pakistani and this is a hole in the wall pakistani joint which really means it is incredibly delicious and i always feel like i'm celebrating my birthday when i get to eat here. so when my second family a.k.a the wildest group of women i know informed me that we would be going to nirala for their infamous sunday brunch, i kinda cried with joy. i have a lot of foodie friends but mimi, zara and maliha are a whole other world of food eaters. some have described us as "beasts" and my favorite "garbage disposals." what's the harm in getting a tad bit excited about the food you eat?