Edible South Florida Winter 2012 : Page 16

talkin’ food &#1a; ?<P#&#17;C<<&#17;J:?I8><I#&#17; N?8KËJ&#17;>F@E>&#17;FE6 J\]&#17;>feqXc\q#&#17;XbX&#17;k_\&#17;9li^\i&#17;9\Xjk#&#17;jXk&#17;[fne&#17;n`k_&#17;Jflk_&#17;9\XZ_&#17; N`e\&#17;Xe[&#17;=ff[&#17;=\jk`mXc&#17;Zi\Xkfi&#17;C\\&#17;JZ_iX^\i&#17;kf&#17;kXcb&#17;]ff[&#17;Xe[&#17; ]\jk`mXcj&#17;Xe[&#17;kip&#17;jfd\&#17;Z_`Zb\e&#17;jki`gj#&#17;:lYXe`kf&#17;jc`[\ij&#17;Xe[&#17;G_`ccp&#17; Z_\\j\&#17;jk\Xb&#17;]i`\j&#17;]ifd&#17;k_\&#17;=cp`e^&#17;JXlZ\i&#17;]ff[&#17;kilZb%&#17;8j&#17;fe\&#17;f]&#17;k_\&#17; eXk`feËj&#17;kfg&#17;\m\ek&#17;gcXee\ij#&#17;JZ_iX^\i&#17;`j&#17;c`eb\[&#17;kf&#17;Xcc$jkXi&#17;Z_\]j&#17;Xe[&#17; `ek\ieXk`feXc&#17;dfm\ij&#17;Xe[&#17;j_Xb\ij&#17;`e&#17;k_\&#17;]ff[&#17;nfic[#&#17;Ylk&#17;_`j&#17;fne&#17; kXjk\j&#17;j\\d&#17;[fne&#17;kf&#17;\Xik_%&#17;ÈN_Xk&#17;dfjk&#17;]fcbj&#17;[feËk&#17;befn&#17;`j&#17;k_Xk&#17;_\Ëj&#17; i\Xccp&#17;Xcc&#17;XYflk&#17;Zfd]fik&#17;]ff[#É&#17;jXpj&#17;J\]% Cfm\&#17;K_Xk&#17;=i`\[&#17;:_`Zb\e&#17;]ifd&#17;¿&#17; 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; Who do you think has the best fried chicken? C<<1&#17; Bojangles. Oh, you know what? I’m sorry, I think I mean Popeye’s. I confuse them, but I actually do mean Popeye’s. A few weeks ago, I needed a fried chicken fix and I went online and I was shocked to find out there were no Bojangles in Miami. I love Popeye’s, but I have to say Bojangles biscuits are delicious. They’re a little sweet. Where have I had fried chicken lately? I have to tell you, Sustain has great fried chicken. Andrew Carmellini [of the Dutch at the W] and his fried chicken are awesome. I love Michelle Bernstein’s fried chicken – when you get it off the menu, it’s amazing! Yardbird, have you been? 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; No, I heard it’s really good. C<<1&#17; It is delicious fried chicken. It’s exceptional. So I have to say that Yardbird is my favorite fried chicken. It’s the new hot fried chicken in town. CfZXc&#17;?fkjgfkj 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; Right now, what local restaurant can’t you get enough of? C<<1&#17; I would have to say the new Dutch at the W. I went to that pop-up Jflk_&#17;9\XZ_&#17;N`e\&#17;Xe[&#17;=ff[&#17;=\jk`mXc&#17;)'() 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; Which new event are you looking forward to? C<<1&#17; We are doing a farm-to-table brunch with Michael Schwartz at the Miami Vietnamese restaurant downtown, Phuc Yea! I thought it was really, really good. I went yesterday for lunch to The Tudor House for brunch. 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; I’m dying to eat there. I saw the menu and it looks phenomenal. C<<1&#17; At the beginning of the meal, they bring a Bloody Mary cart over and I thought that was amazing, Then they have a little dessert cart with all miniature donuts and pastries and pop tarts and chocolate chip cookies. Last evening for dinner we went to Philippe, which used to be Philippe Chow at the Gansevoort. They moved to the old Taverna Opa space on Collins. It was a really great meal. 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; You still eat at Michael’s Genuine often, don’t you? C<<1&#17; A, Michael’s is across the street from our house. B, I can eat his food every day ’cause you almost feel like it’s healthy if you don’t eat Hedy’s desserts. And C, I think that his poulet rouge, his half chicken, is the best in town. He is a great chef. His salads are a great meal. Plus, I can walk to it. N_Xk&#17;I\Xc&#17;D\e&#17;<Xk 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; I remember the last time we met up for breakfast we went to Buena Vista Bistro and I had never had quiche. I don’t think we talked about it and I don’t think I told you but I was floored. C<<1&#17; Because of how good it is? 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; Yeah! C<<1&#17; Well, it was the Buena Vista Deli, the Bistro is next door and opened about a year ago. I walked by when it first opened and I said, oh, this doesn’t look like anything. I went in one day and I was blown away. His pastries and breads are incredible and I think his quiche is the best in town. And if you’ve ever had his ham and cheese panini, it’s incredible, too! 18 | winter &#11;&#0f;&#10;&#11; | edible SouthFlorida.com Beach Botanical Garden that I think is going to be great. We’re doing a brunch at sea with Douglas Rodriguez with all-Latin food and a great salsa band. It’s hard to choose one, but as far as new ones, the food trucks – Trucks on the Beach – for sure it’s going to be the most popular. 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; People are hungry for it and it’s going to be a little easier for them. Some folks don’t want to stand in line and wait. It will be cool for you to just go up there and get your food. C<<1&#17; And what’s making it quicker is that it’s done and you don’t get to pick over 15 items. You pick one or two best items and you are out of there. I think it’s fantastic. 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; How did Trucks on the Beach end up as the closing event and why did Burger Bash move to Friday night? C<<1&#17; Well, it couldn’t be the opening and also we needed the tents to be empty, so it just logistically worked out best for us. Plus, it’s a great outdoor event. I just think it had everything in its favor going for us. The Burger Bash really just had to do with switching it up, and doing things different. You know Burger Bash is kind of our signature and giving it a prime time night felt right. K_\&#17;Jflk_&#17;9\XZ_&#17;N`e\&#17; 9LI><I&#17;9<8JK1&#17; Any more festivals on the horizon? Maybe Las Vegas? Don’t you want to do &#1d;&#17;=ff[&#17;=\jk`mXc&#17;ilej&#17; =\Y%&#17;)*$)-&#17;Xk&#17;dlck`gc\&#17; like a porn and food convention? cfZXk`fej&#17;`e&#17;^i\Xk\i&#17; C<<1&#17; I’m doing Los Angeles, I’m doing New York D`Xd`%&#17;=fi&#17;[\kX`cj&#17;Xe[&#17; City and I’m done, that’s it! Food and porn … no, k`Zb\kj#&#17;m`j`k&#17;&#17; too much! You know how much work this is. One )'()%jfY\]\jk%Zfd was a lot, two is crazy and three is suicidal. KiXZb&#17;K_\&#17;=cp`e^&#17; &#1e; JXlZ\i&#17;fe&#17;Kn`kk\i1&#17;&#17; 7K=JXlZ\i IF9<IK&#17;G8I<EK<

Talking food

HEY, LEE SCHRAGER, WHAT'S GOING ON?

Sef Gonzalez, aka the Burger Beast, sat down with South Beach Wine and Food Festival creator Lee Schraqer to talk food and festivals and try some chicken strips, Cubanito sliders and Philly cheese steak fries from the Flying Saucer food truck. As one of the nation's top event planners, Schraqer is linked to all-star chefs and international movers and shakers in the food world, but his own tastes seem down to earth. "What most folks don't know is that he's really all about comfort food," says Sef. Love That Fried Chicken from ...

BURGER BEAST: Who do you think has the best fried chicken?

LEE: Bojangles. Oh, you know what? I'm sorry, I think I mean Popeyes. I confuse them, but I actually do mean Popeye's. A few weeks ago, I needed a fried chicken fix and I went online and I was shocked to find out there were no Bojangles in Miami. I love Popeye's, but I have to say Bojangles biscuits are delicious. They're a little sweet. Where have I had fried chicken lately? I have to tell you, Sustain has great fried chicken. Andrew Carmellini [of the Dutch at the W] and his fried chicken are awesome. I love Michelle Bernstein's fried chicken – when you get it off the menu, it's amazing! Yardbird, have you been?

BURGER BEAST: No, I heard it's really good.

LEE: It is delicious fried chicken. It's exceptional. So I have to say that Yardbird is my favorite fried chicken. It's the new hot fried chicken in town.

Local Hotspots

BURGER BEAST: Right now, what local restaurant can't you get enough of?

LEE: I would have to say the new Dutch at the W I went to that pop-up Vietnamese restaurant downtown, Phuc Yea! I thought it was really, really good. I went yesterday for lunch to The Tudor House for brunch.

BURGER BEAST: I'm dying to eat there. I saw the menu and it looks phenomenal.

LEE: At the beginning of the meal, they bring a Bloody Mary cart over and I thought that was amazing, Then they have a little dessert cart with all miniature donuts and pastries and pop tarts and chocolate chip cookies. Last evening for dinner we went to Philippe, which used to be Philippe Chow at the Gansevoort. They moved to the old Taverna Opa space on Collins. It was a really great meal.

BURGER BEAST: You still eat at Michael's Genuine often, don't you?

LEE: A, Michael's is across the street from our house. B, I can eat his food every day 'cause you almost feel like it's healthy if you don't eat Hedy's desserts. And C, I think that his poulet rouge, his half chicken, is the best in town. He is a great chef. His salads are a great meal. Plus, I can walk to it.

What Real Men Eat

BURGER BEAST: I remember the last time we met up for breakfast we went to Buena Vista Bistro and I had never had quiche. I don't think we talked about it and I don't think I told you but I was floored.

LEE: Because of how good it is?

BURGER BEAST: Yeah!

LEE: Well, it was the Buena Vista Deli, the Bistro is next door and opened about a year ago. I walked by when it first opened and I said, oh, this doesn't look like anything. I went in one day and I was blown away. His pastries and breads are incredible and I think his quiche is the best in town. And if you've ever had his ham and cheese panini, it's incredible, too!

South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2012

BURGER BEAST: Which new event are you looking forward to?

LEE: We are doing a farm-to-table brunch with Michael Schwartz at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden that I think is going to be great. We're doing a brunch at sea with Douglas Rodriguez with all-Latin food and a great salsa band. It's hard to choose one, but as far as new ones, the food trucks – Trucks on the Beach – for sure it's going to be the most popular.

BURGER BEAST: People are hungry for it and it's going to be a little easier for them. Some folks don't want to stand in line and wait. It will be cool for you to just go up there and get your food.

LEE: And what's making it quicker is that it's done and you don't get to pick over 15 items. You pick one or two best items and you are out of there. I think it's fantastic.

BURGER BEAST: How did Trucks on the Beach end up as the closing event and why did Burger Bash move to Friday night?

LEE: Well, it couldn't be the opening and also we needed the tents to be empty, so it just logistically worked out best for us. Plus, it's a great outdoor event. I just think it had everything in its favor going for us. The Burger Bash really just had to do with switching it up, and doing things different. You know Burger Bash is kind of our signature and giving it a prime time night felt right.

BURGER BEAST: Any more festivals on the horizon? Maybe Las Vegas? Don't you want to do like a porn and food convention?

LEE: I'm doing Los Angeles, I'm doing New York City and I m done, thats it! Food and porn ... too much! You know how much work this is. One was a lot, two is crazy and three is suicidal.

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival runs Feb. 23-26 at multiple locations in greater Miami. For details and no, tickets, visit 2012.sobefest.com Track The Flying

Saucer on Twitter: ©TFSaucer

DIM SUM

DIASPORA

There are many great things that come out of South Florida's polyglot culture, but I'll be honest: I care about it mostly on account of the food. As is so often the case when people come to a new place, they typically bring their native foods with them. One happy result is that in some neighborhoods you can walk down the street and grab a sandwich Cubano, a Peruvian ceviche, an Argentine empanada, a Uruguayan chivito sandwich, a Colombian hot dog or a Venezuelan tequeño all within a few blocks of each other.

Even so, South Florida's diversity is not all encompassing. People of Asian descent make up less than two percent of the population of Miami-Dade County, and Chinese are only a fraction of that number. Once again, I care mostly on account of the food. In New York, you can fairly easily find not only ubiquitous Chinese-American classics like General Tso's Chicken, but authentic Cantonese, Sichuan, Henan, Fujian, Xinjiang, Taiwanese and other regional specialties. San Francisco's still-vibrant Chinatown dates back to the 1850s, but the city's cognoscenti debate whether the best dim sum is actually found in the Financial District or in the further flung outskirts of Richmond or Daly City.

By David Rosendorf
Photography by Robert Parente

Ah, dim sum, "Dim sum" literally translates from the Cantonese as "touch the heart." Those who get to know these little bites are almost always enchanted by them. Supposedly, the history of dim sum reaches back more than 2,000 years, Like many similar "small plates" food traditions like Spanish tapas, dim sum likely originated as something to provide a bit of sustenance while drinking - in this instance, tea, What began as little snacks served at roadside teahouses has become a lunchtime custom offering up various steamed, baked or fried buns, dumplings, noodles and other bites, Also like tapas, they're best when shared with a group, as the small format lends itself to extensive sampling

South Florida's concentration, depth and diversity of Chinese cuisines may not be at the same level as some other cities, but we actually are fortunate to have several excellent dim sum options. You need to know where to look, as they are spread out from South Miami to Sunny Isles. Here is a guide to South Florida's dim sum diaspora.

Char Siu bao at Tropical Opened more than 25 years ago in southwest Miami across from Tropical Park, Tropical Chinese is the standard bearer for local dim sum. Tropical does a steady lunch trade every day of the week, but really fills up on weekends when there often will be dozens of people waiting for tables. Don't despair. Busy is good when it comes to dim sum, particularly pushcart-style service like they have at Tropical. It means that's what is on the carts is fresh, hot and turned over quickly, as you can tell by watching the busy cooks through the glass wall that divides Tropical's kitchen from the dining room.

The choices at Tropical cover the standard repertoire. There are baked and steamed buns with a variety of fillings, an assortment of steamed, baked and pan-fried dumplings, various crispy fried treats, occasional exotica like braised chicken feet, and a good collection of sweet items, too. After extensive sampling, I'd venture to say that Tropical's baked char siu bao (puffy, golden buns filled with sweet minced barbecued pork) and their sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf are still the best in town.

Dumplings at Kon Chau

Nearby, Kon Chau is the most utilitarian of South Florida's dim sum options. Their idea of decoration is a few faded paper lanterns emblazoned with Tsingtao beer logos and a spindly lucky bamboo plant on the front counter. But the food at this no-frills, checklist-service venue is usually fresh, hot, satisfying and cheap. Visit enough dim sum operations and you'll start to see the same items over and over again. The challenge becomes figuring out what each does best or differently. At Kon Chau, the duck dumplings with green-hued skins (tinted and flavored with green tea) are something you won't easily find elsewhere, and the fried shrimp and taro cakes – crisp, hot and not too greasy – are as good as you'll find anywhere.

Egg custard tarts at Philip Ho If Tropical is the standard bearer, then Chef Philip Ho in Sunny Isles is the brash newcomer. Opened only a few months ago in a former all-you-can-eat buffet space, Philip Ho has jumped quickly to the front of the South Florida dim sum pack. Chef Ho, who used to work as the dim sum chef at the ultra-luxe Setai Hotel on Miami Beach, brings the same attention to detail and refinement to his more accessible namesake venture. Philip Ho has alternated between pushcart and checklist service styles in my several visits since they opened, but either way, you will find both excellent renditions of the standard repertoire and some interesting contemporary twists.

As for the latter, be sure to try the very elegant scallop and black truffle dumplings or the "Chef's Special" dumplings filled with chopped shrimp and topped with shredded dried scallop. Off-menu specials like crispy squares of turnip cake with a brightly spicy XO sauce, which waiters sometimes circulate around the dining room on large platters, also are worth seeking out. And the desserts at Philip Ho are exceptional: green tea balls are crisp on the outside and filled with a sticky-sweet bean paste; the custard tart (described on the menu as "Macau Style Portuguese Egg Custard Tart," though whether this is historically attributable to Portuguese or British influence is the subject of some dispute) is obscenely rich as is, but reaches a new height of decadence when infused with a bit of finely chopped black truffle.

A Guide to Dim Sum Dining

HOW TO ORDER

There are two typical styles of dim sum service: pushcart and checklist. With pushcart service, several servers navigate the room, piloting carts stacked with dishes, often set up like portable steam tables to keep hot foods hot. Dishes are often kept in bamboo steamers or under metal covers, which the server will unveil so you can see their contents. Point at whatever looks good and it's yours. Usually the server will stamp a card that's kept on your table to keep track of what you've ordered. With checklist service, a menu listing all the dishes will be placed on your table, along with a pencil. Check off what you want and hand it to your server, and in a few minutes your order will start finding its way to your table. Dishes are generally meant for sharing and will come out as they're ready.

Each style of service has its advantages and disadvantages. Pushcart service is fast. What you see is what you get, without the occasional vagaries of Chinese-to-English translations (of course, if you don't recognize what you're looking at, identifying it will still depend on the combined linguistic skills of you and your server). Advocates of checklist-style ordering point out that it better assures that what you get will be hot and fresh, and hasn't circled its way around the room a few times before winding up on your table.

WHAT TO ORDER

One of the great joys of dim sum is the variety. Most places will literally have dozens of different dishes, but there are several that are "standards." Perhaps the most typical example is har gow, a steamed dumpling with a translucent white shell wrapped around a filling of minced shrimp. Supposedly, the skill of the chef can be measured by the number of pleats in the dumpling skin. Shu mai are typically open-topped dumplings filled with minced pork and shrimp. Bao, or buns, come both baked (with a golden-brown exterior) or steamed (looking like puffy dough-balls); the most common filling is char siu, delicious, sweetish minced barbecued pork. Cheung fun is often translated as "rice pasta," and the thick sheets of rice noodles are wrapped around a variety of fillings and usually drizzled with a sweet soy sauce.

Other typical items include turnip cake, which is sort of like the Cantonese version of kugel; various meatballs; spare ribs, sometimes in a Chinese fermented black bean sauce; and sticky rice, steamed inside a lotus leaf and usually studded with mushrooms, shrimp or other meats. Then there are the more exotic choices: braised chicken feet and tripe are very common (when you see "honeycomb," don't expect something sweet!). Noodle dishes, roasted meats, and vegetable dishes like Chinese broccoli often round out the meal. And don't skip dessert. Many dim sum places offer excellent custard tarts, buns filled with custard, red bean paste or lotus seed paste, and other sweet delicacies.

Xiao long bao at ChuS

Chu's Taiwanese Kitchen in Coral Gables is notable if for no other reason than that it offers one of the more celebrated but elusive dim sum items: xiao long bao. Xiao long bao may also be called "XLB," "soup dumplings," "soupy dumplings," "soupy pork dumplings," or even "steamed soupy pork dumplings." It's worth knowing all the various alternate sobriquets, because by any name they are delicious. What makes them special is that the filling includes not only minced meat (usually pork, occasionally mixed with shrimp) but also a savory hot broth, which releases in a gush as you bite into the dumpling. This also makes xiao long bao even more labor-intensive than other forms of dim sum. The trick is to assemble them while the broth is cold and jellied; then the dumpling skin must be perfectly sealed so as not to leak as it is warmed, strong enough to hold in the broth, while still remaining soft and silky. When made well, and doused in a bit of ginger-infused vinegar, xiao long bao are among the crowning achievements of dim sum.

When Chu's first opened in Coral Gables they did not offer dim sum, as their preparation required a specially trained chef. The dim sum chef finally arrived, and now xiao long bao and other delicacies are on offer every day of the week but Tuesday, when the restaurant is closed. Even for more standard dishes, Chu's versions often take a different form: where most South Florida restaurants will serve two or three reasonably-sized buns as an order of char siu bao, an order at Chu's brings one gigantic grapefruit-sized bun. Another welcome unorthodoxy is that several dim sum items, including those xiao long bao, are available on the dinner menu as well.

Cheung fun at Hakkasan

In something of a category by itself is Hakkasan in Miami Beach. The original Hakkasan in London holds the unusual distinction of being the first Chinese restaurant to earn a Michelin star, and its offspring in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, opened in 2009, represents the first U.S. outpost of the brand. Like the original, the Miami Beach Hakkasan is an elegant maze of dark lacquered wood and blue silk, with intimate spaces divided by carved wooden screens. Hakkasan currently does a dim sum lunch service on weekends only, and while the choices are not as encyclopedic as those of some other places, the execution is at an exceptionally high level.

Hakkasan's dim sum platter brings an assortment of different dumplings that change from day to day. Nestled in their bamboo steamer, they glisten like jewels, and they taste as pristine as they look. You can also order a limited selection of dumplings a la carte, as well as cheung fun (rice pasta wrapped around various fillings), barbecued meats, noodles and vegetable dishes. Among the standouts are stir-fried green beans, their skins blistered from the hot wok, tossed with pungent, salty dried shrimp and preserved olives. You'll pay for the refined cooking and ornate surroundings – Hakkasan is easily two to three times as expensive any other local option – but a prix fixe dim sum menu option, intended for sharing among at least two people, may help soften the blow.

Dim Sum in South Florda

Tropical ChineseChu's Taiwanese Kitchen
7991 SW 40 St., Miami2728 Ponce de Leon Blvd.,
305-262-7576Coral Gables
786-953-7351
Kon Chau
8376 SW 40 St., MiamiHakkasan
305-553-77994441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
877-326-7412
Chef Philip Ho
16850 Collins Ave.,
Sunny Isles Beach
305-974-0338

Dim sum may not be so easy to find in South Florida, but it is worth seeking out. This list is by no means comprehensive. In Miami-Dade, you might also want to try South Garden (10855 SW 72 St., Miami, 305-274-9099) and Sang's (1925 NE 163 St., North Miami Beach, 305-947-7076). In Broward, Hong Kong City (5301 N State Road 7, Tamarac, 954-777-3832) and Toa Toa (4145 NW 88 Ave., Sunrise, 954-746-8833) are among restaurants offering dim sum service.

Read the full article at http://onlinedigeditions.com/article/Talking+food/942552/95953/article.html.

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