A food blogger’s fantasy! In continuation of the 7th Annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week presented by Bacardi, we were invited to attend the first bloggers’ crawl which consisted of two routes for a group over 20 of several top South Florida’s Food Bloggers. We reviewed both routes and elected to go with Route One and tagged along with Adventures of the Foodaholic, The Foodie Teacher, and several others. Each route had five stops at different restaurants participating in the 7th Annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week.
Both routes began at Swine Southern Table and Bar where all of the bloggers met to depart on their respective chosen routes. Swine is a nice hang-out spot to go after work for Happy Hour and have several of their tasty appetizers. At Swine, >we were all treated with refreshing Swine Old-Fashioned and Old Cuban drinks. A little detail on the drinks, the Swine Old-Fashioned is a Bacon Washed Old Overholt Rye with Maple Syrup and House-made ‘Swine’ bitters. The Old Cuban is an 8 Year Bacardi with mint, lime, a splash of champagne, and Angostura bitters. Both very refreshing drinks. The drinks were followed up by Swine’s signature Deviled Crab Hushpuppies with pickled celery, and Smoked Trout Roe. We tried these little guys during the Taste of the Gables event on June 5th and were delighted to have them again. Swine then brought out their Smoked Brisket Steak in a Molasses Glaze with Stone Ground Grits, Pickled Corn and Cheddar Relish. All we have to say is “Wow!” After this delicious meet-and-greet with all of the bloggers at Swine, we took off on our routes.
Our group’s first stop was Talavera Cocina Mexicana. Talavera is a nicely interior decorated quiet restaurant with pieces of artwork all around the bar area and further decorated with very fine Mexican-style dishware. At Talavera, we were presented with Gordita Conchinita Pibil which contained pulled pork in a corn masa tortilla and a dry rub of chiles and spices. It was perfectly seasoned pulled pork dressed with red seasoned red onions that we could have eaten a bowl of the onions themselves. The servers then introduced us to their Enchiladas Suizas. These enchiladas were made of heavenly pulled white meat chicken inside a corn tortilla with poblano cream sauce, tomatillo salsa, topped with Oaxaca cheese baked to precision and served with crema Mexicana and cilantro. At this point, we thought we were done at Talavera until they came out with their Camaron al Ajillos which are sautéed shrimp in garlic sauce with dried guajillo chiles and served with rice and watercress lemon. Alright, now it was time to get up and head to the next stop…wait! Here came DESSERT! Dessert was, check this, Crepas de Cajeta. For those of you who don’t know what that means, well, it doesn’t matter. These are crepes covered in Cajeta or milk caramel served with walnuts and vanilla ice cream. We think we are going to have to be sent to Crepas de Cajeta Anonymous after eating these mouthwatering crepes because these things were divine.
After leaving Talavera, we crawled our way over to Divino Ceviche Peruvian Cuisine. We love Peruvian food so we knew from the start we were going to be in for a treat. We also tried Divino Ceviche at Taste of the Gables. At Divino Ceviche, we all elected for the traditional Peruvian drink, the Pisco Sour. The restaurant was elegant and quiet for a nice evening out for dinner. While we all chatted away amongst each other, we snacked on sweet potato chips and Peruvian toasted corn, which is one of our favorite Peruvian snacks. Our first dish out was Pulpo en Salsa Anticuchera which is octopus skewers. If you are a seafood lover like we are, then the visual of an octopus limb wouldn’t bother you, but it had a similar texture to chicken and seasoned very well in their house sauce. Then, the ceviche made its presence! We were treated to traditional fish ceviche which again was perfectly cured in lime just like their Taste of the Gables presentation; Shrimp Ceviche also cured in lime, with avocado and mango bites; and finished off with a dessert of Passion Fruit Mousse and Maracuya which was much like a custard.
We then crawled on to Tarpon Bend Raw Bar and Grill. Tarpon Bend was very noisy. Not a place to go on a romantic date, but more of a place to host parties, listen to live music, with extended Happy Hours for get-togethers with friends where you can just drink, have good food, and just be yourself. At Tarpon Bend we had a traditional Cuba Libre drink and a Martini Rossi Prosecco. Tarpon Bend offered us their Porcini Braised Boneless Short Rib which was a sample portion of their eight-ounce that is slowly cooked for hours with porcini mushrooms, herbs and spices and served on a bed of roasted garlic and onion mashed potatoes drizzled with an au jus reduction and garnished with an onion leek. Some claimed the short rib was a little too salty or overly spiced, but everyone’s taste buds are not acclimated to certain types of seasonings. Now the roasted garlic and onion mashed potatoes drizzled with an au jus reduction garnished with onion leek was extraordinary.
We literally crawled to the last spot called Cibo Wine Bar. This place was like walking into a very nicely decorated, cozy wine cellar in Italy. We were sat down and greeted by a gentleman with a strong Italian accent both he and our waiter, who also had a strong Italian accent were very friendly and catering. To us, we were in Italy enjoying a beautiful night.
Here at Cibo we had their Arancini which were rice balls stuffed with ragu and melted mozzarella; the Grilled whole calamari, mixed greens, diced tomatoes, with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice; their Black Tiger Shrimp in a spicy wine garlic tomatoes sauce; and their popular Pappardelle which is slow cooked with lamb ragu and pecorini shavings. A Coral Gables Tour of Italy at Cibo we have to say is a must visit.
The City of Coral Gables is home to some of South Florida’s finest cuisines and some of the world’s most renowned chefs in the kitchens. We over-enjoyed and over-stuffed ourselves with this palatable assortment of meals of just 5 of over an estimated 90 Coral Gables restaurants in the area.
So make your way to 7th Annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week before it ends June 29, 2014. Visit www.coralgablesrestaurantweek.com to check out all the participating restaurants and their special menus. Enjoy!