I've had to pause my Try The World subscription, because I have been so slow to go through the boxes, plan a meal/blog post, make it, and write it up. Oops! So I've made a goal for 2017 (I don't like the word "resolution") to work on 1 Try The World post per month. This month I made tapas with the Spain Box! So much food!!!
The Spain Box came with El Navarrico salsa tumaca con ajo (tomato sauce with garlic); El Avión paprika; Oleum Hispania extra-virgin olive oil; and Espinaler canned white tuna - all of which were used to make the tapas.
It also contained P. listo jasmine floral jam; Ines Rosales cortadillo citrus crumble cakes; and El Almendro turrón (almond candy).
I am so far behind in my Try The World reviews, you guys, I am so sorry! Let's talk about this Argentina box: Bake Love Koo! coconut butter cookies (these were gone in like 2 seconds, so good); Dulcor dulce de membrillo (perfect for cheese plates); Chamana and Inti Zen teas (the dulce de leche with red fruits was really good); Memories of Patagonia Malbec wine marinade (I just spread this on crackers with mascarpone, yum); Doña Magdalena dulce de leche; Vanoli chimichurri; MQA Gourmet green olive paste.
I decided to make a meal using the chimichurri and olive paste. I tossed roasted potatoes with the green olive paste; then I broiled skirt steak with some of the chimichurri sauce, and added more on top. Simple, easy, delicious.
In my last post about our Miami trip, I talked about the Fontainebleau Miami Resort. But I didn't talk about any of the (numerous) restaurants on the property. There are a number of casual spots on the property, which I will talk about later. Then there are the four upscale "Signature Restaurants", which are the subject of this post.
First up is Stripsteak by Michael Mina, the most upscale restaurant at the resort. We are fans of Bourbon Steak (also by Mina) here in DC, so we were pretty excited to try this out. The space is pretty and modern, with a really cool glass wine room (and a really good wine list to go with it).
Like Bourbon Steak, Stripsteak serves buttery truffle rolls as it's complementary bread. So friggin good. Just give me 8 loaves. Also like Bourbon Steak, like the appetizers are on point. We ordered a burrata, asparagus, and duck prosciutto salad; a trio of oysters with salmon roe, paddlefish roe, and uni; and seared foie gras with strawberries, pickled fennel, and macadamia nut. They were all delicious, especially the foie.
The husband and I just spent a week in Miami Beach!!! He went for work training and I tagged along. The training didn't get approved until 1 week before, so we booked everything in a rush and, I have to say, I kind of loved it. I didn't have time to over-analyze everything, over-plan, or over-book. I just did a quick check on what seemed like the best restaurants, booked those, and that was it! No time to stress about anything. It also worked out that it was just after all the Spring Break madness, so it wasn't too crowded and reservations were easy to get.
We stayed at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach (which is also where Jasper's training was). It is huge, and gorgeous, and reminded us of Las Vegas (which is apparently what they are going for, so good job). On one side of the hotel is the pool complex and the beach.
The other side of the hotel is the, also beautiful, marina. There are four towers of rooms, and we stayed in the tallest one - the Tresor. This was actually a complementary upgrade given to us at check-in, because it was our first time in Miami. Check-in was super fast and easy and the employee who we dealt with was incredibly friendly and helpful. Major points to service, there.
It's time for another Try The World Post! Finishing up my Japan box, I used the okonomiyaki mix to make... okonomiyaki, of course! It's a savory pancake made with flour, yam, eggs, scallions, and cabbage; and topped with all kinds of things, but most commonly pork belly, bonito flakes, seaweed, okonomi sauce, and mayonnaise.
The kit came with batter mix, powdered yam, shrimp tempura crisps, and dried seaweed. Plus instructions in Japanese and English (thank goodness).
First step, chop cabbage. It really should have been finer than this, like shredded, but I was lazy. Add scallions. In a separate bowl, make the batter according to package directions. Then combine it with the veggies, tempura, and eggs.
It's time for another Try The World review (see my first here)! In my Japan box, I had: Otafuku Foods okonomiyaki kit; Aoi Tea blueberry match tea; House Foods ginger paste; Takaokaya seaweed snack; Akagi soba noodles; Kasugai gummy candies; and Morinaga milk caramels. I thought that those butter coconut cookies came in the box, but I actually must have picked them up at the Asian grocery store. So, ignore those (but really don't, cuz they are super awesome and yummy).
The caramels are are firm and not super sweet, I like them a lot. I haven't tried the tea, gummies, or okonomiyaki kit yet; but I used the rest to make Zaru Soba.
Zaru Soba is a cold soba dish usually made in the summer (whatever, don't judge me). The noodles are cooked, then rinsed, chilled, and drained. Normally, you would serve them on a woven bamboo mat that lets the extra water drain out; but I don't have those! So I dried them on paper towels.
The noodles are topped with seaweed and sesame seeds just before serving, and dipped in a sauce made of dashi, soy, mirin, sake, sugar, and ginger paste. Wasabi and scallions are served on the side and mixed into the sauce to taste.
Try The World is an international food subscription service that I have written about before (first post here). The first box that I received was Marrakesh (post here), and it was awesome. The second box I received was Paris, France. The items included were: La Mere Poulard sables (butter cookies), Maison D'Armorine salted butter caramels, Domaine Des Vignes whole grain mustard, Le Palais Des Thes fine teas, Le Saunier De Camargue fleur de sel, Maison Peltier artisanal honey, and Charles Antona fig jam.
Unlike the Marrakesh box, these items were less suited to a single recipe, but they were some of my favorite items that I've received so far. The honey and fig jam went on to many a cheese plate, the mustard and sea salt went on to everything, and the cookies and caramels were gone the first day because they were ridiculously good. For more information on the Paris box, click here.
One Year Ago - Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Two Years Ago - Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella and Bacon
Three Years Ago - Broccolini and Feta Tart
Four Years Ago - Sourdough Pancakes
Five Years Ago - Spiced Pumpkin and Lamb Tagine; Thai Pumpkin Soup; Spiced Carrot Soup
I wanted to give a quick shout-out to a couple of my favorite local establishments in Chantilly, VA.
First up is 5T*Ice, an Asian dessert shop at Dulles Landing. I used to frequent Tutti Frutti, owned by the same people, but 5T opened much closer to where I live. Yay! In addition to frozen yogurt and gelato (including hard-to-find durian), they serve Patbingsu - shaved ice topped with ice cream, fruits, and syrups. I really like the coconut and ube bingsu with coconut shavings, sweetened condensed milk, and ube ice cream.
They also have bubble tea, smoothies, milkshakes, and other various similar drinks. I really like the Che Thai - a Vietnamese drink with coconut milk, grass jelly, coconut jelly, pomegranate jelly, lychee, jackfruit, and toddy palm. It is crazy good. If sweet is not your thing they also have steamed pork buns, sticky rice with Chinese sausage, and other goodies. And, no, I don't know what the name means - no one I know does!
I am on the NoVA Elite Squad this year, which means that I get invited to awesome events! Back in July (I'm so far behind on posting, lol) - I was invited to a tasting event at the (then) new Tupelo Honey Cafe in Arlington. We got to hear about the menu and try several dishes and drinks. It's a really great way to get an impression of a restaurant without having to visit several times in order to try a lot. That's our fearless leader, Gretchen, in the photo there (check out her blog here).
I thought the location was really cute, on a corner near Ballston with a nice patio. The decor was warm and inviting, and the staff handled the madness of the event quite well. We got to try several drinks, starting with the happy hour special of sparkling sangria. I actually did not like that drink, though many others did, because it tasted more like a vodka and soda than a sangria. After that, I ordered the Violet Beauregarde (props for the cute name) with vodka, St. Germaine, blueberry puree, fresh mint, fresh lemon, and sparkling wine. I LOVED that one. I also loved the non-alcoholic blueberry spritzer that they passed around, but not the rosemary lemonade (too bitter).
As for food, we tried the Goat Cheese Grits Poppers with Jalapeno Apple Salsa (4:00, my favorite); Fried Green Tomatoes with Grits (1:00, also really liked); Country Ham Wontons with Shaved Brussels Sprouts (10:00, very good); Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese with Apples and Figs (not pictured, pretty good); Salt Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Pesto (6:00, disappointed with this one); Pimento Cheese Dip (too spicy for me); Mac and Cheese with Cajun Shrimp (also too spicy for me).
My takeaway was that this is Southern food, get the fried stuff and the cheesy stuff and the grits - if you try to go healthy, you will be disappointed. Everything we tried was from the small plates menu, so I would like to return to try an entree. Or better yet, bunch - I hear the brunch is fantastic.
My thanks to Yelp and Tupelo Honey Cafe for their generosity! You can read more about the event here.
You may be interested in: Yelp Progressive Brunch at Springfield Town Center
Earlier this week I talked about my Marrakesh box from Try The World, and what I did with the sardines from it. Now I'd like to tell you what I did with the rest of the items, which was to make this beautiful lamb and couscous dish!
First I took cubed lamb and tossed it with some of the kefta rub, then browned it in batches.