I got into Miami yesterday afternoon for the SOBE Wine and Food festival. My old high school friend Ted picked me up. He drove us to his apartment in his daughter’s Hello Kitty Audi TT. His other car a turbo S Carrera couldn’t accommodate my luggage. We had dinner with his daughter Charlotte (who I hadn’t seen since she was 3). She is now 16. We ate at Georges in the Grove. A small French restaurant in Coconut Grove. It was nice to be with Ted again and see how much his daughter had grown.
Today, we went to pick up my festival credentials at the Loews Miami. Driving with Ted is always an experience. Miami is filled with police and slow speed zones. This is not conducive to the acceleration capabilities of the 500hp Carrera, but Ted uses every opportunity to accelerate the vehicle within the range of what is allowable in the zone. He is a very good driver but the sensation is very slow 1st gear to very fast 3rd gear to very slow 1st gear. Throw into the mix a mind numbingly loud stereo pumping the latest techno music and you can get a feel for the experience. It always amuses me.
We get to the Loews and I try to find the hospitality suite. Nobody seems to know where it is. I walk into Emeril’s restaurant and who is there but Emeril himself going over the plan for the following day. They don’t know where the suite is so I return to the hotel and find the concierge. They direct me to the suite. They can’t find my credentials right away so they tell me to return in a few hours.
So Ted and I head to the fashion district to eat at Michael’s Genuine. This is a restaurant I have heard a little about (it was featured in Art Culinaire recently) and it turns out to be one of Ted’s favorites. We eat at the bar as the restaurant is full and the patio looks iffy as potential for rain is imminent.
I believe I see Rachel Ray sitting with a group of ladies and she goes up to hug one of the chefs. Ted orders the burrata with heirloom tomatoes. It is an excellent example of imported Italian burrata and the tomatoes are shockingly ripe and juicy.
The crispy pork belly was amazing. Crisp around all the edges with slightly sweet glaze, digging into it further you flake through savory meat bound with succulent pork fat. All of this combines nicely with the kimchee giving an extra level of texture and acidity. Ted orders the spicy beef salad and they utilized the kimchee as the base in that dish as well. I get the wood fired pizza with shrimp and chorizo.
At the end of the meal it starts to rain heavily. We decide to hunker down to a chocolate and banana panini and some coffee to ride out the storm. Our attractive bartender (who isn’t beautiful in this town, well maybe the people living in tents under the causeway) was very attentive to our needs throughout the whole experience.
The sun returns and we head back to the Loews to the thumping sounds of techno and high rpms rolling at 15 miles an hour in a school zone. I get my credentials. I’m ready.