Recently, the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables invited Miami food bloggers to participate in a crawl of some of the restaurants participating in the hugely successful Coral Gables Restaurant Week, now in its seventh year.
The evening began with all the bloggers, more than sixteen of us, meeting at Swine Southern Table and Bar. There, we got to sample two of their signature drinks, the Swine Old-Fashioned: Bacon washed old overholt rye, maple syrup, house-made swine bittersÂ and an Old Cuban: Eigth year old Bacardi, mint, lime, Delamotte Â Champagne and angostura bitters. During cocktails they brought out the appetizer: Deviled Crab Hush Puppies with pickled celery and smoked trout roe. These Puppies were so full of flavor, I could’ve happily stay there just eating them the whole evening but, the best was yet to come, as an entrÃ©e we had the Smoked Brisket Steak covered with a delicious molasses glaze accompanied by stoneground grits, pickled corn and cheddar relish. This brisket was crisp on the outside and so moist on the inside, the meat just melted to the taste. I’ll be dreaming about it until I get back to Swine!
We had to move on…our next stop was Talavera Cocina Mexicana where they extended out the red carpet for us in typical Mexican hospitality fashion.
At Talavera Mexican Cuisine, the welcome cocktail was Pueblito Viejo: Corzo Reposado tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup, sugar, crushed mint served over ice. It is refreshingly sweet and goes down so easy!. The menu featured an appetizer consisting ofÂ Gordita Conchinita Pibil: (pulled pork) in a corn masa tortilla with a dry rub of chiles and spices. The taste of toasted corn of the tortillas combined with the flavor of the tender piglet was so pleasing to the taste buds, add to that the hint of chiles and you have the perfect appetizer.
Next were Enchilada Suizas: pulled white meat chicken inside a corn tortilla with poblano cream sauce and tomatillo salsa, topped with Oaxaca cheese and baked, served with crema Mexicana and cilantro. Hot, chewy, soft and delcious!
The second entree was Camarones al Ajillo: sautÃ©ed shrimp in a garlic sauce with dried guajillo chiles served with rice and watercress. The shrimp were so fresh and they had just the right touch of garlic. The rice complemented the dish so very well.
For dessert it was Crepas de Cajeta: crepes covered in Cajeta served with walnuts and vanilla ice cream. If you haven’t had this dessert I urge to go to Talavera and try it. You’ll thank me later.
The portions at Talavera were very generous and we were beginning to exhibit signs of food exhaustion but we marched on…
The next one up was Divino Ceviche where they welcomed us with a that typical Peruvian drink known as the Pisco Sour: Pisco, lemon juice, sugar and Â angostura bitters topped with a frothy egg white meringue sprinkled with cinnamon…ooh so good…! there were Camote (Sweet Potato) Chips ready to be dipped in Aji Amarillo or Salsa de Huacatay accompanied by Canchas (Roasted Corn).
The hot appetizer consisted of Pulpo (Octopus) in Salsa Anticuchera. The octopus was lightly crunchy with a very pleasing smoky flavor. Â For entree we were served the Trio de Ceviches consisting of Ceviche Tradicional, Â Ceviche Divino (the Chef’s specialty) and Ceviche al Olivo. These Ceviches are made with slices of fresh fish and or whole shrimp marinated lightly in lime juice and seasoned with Peruvian limo chili, fresh cilantro and onion; garnished with sweet potato and choclo (Peruvian giant corn), the Ceviche Divino also has mango and avocado. The ceviche is so good that one of the bloggers proclaimed “the best ceviche she had ever had”, I concur.
For dessert, Mousse de MaracuyÃ¡ (Passion Fruit) and Mousse de Chirimoya (Custard Apple). These are delicate mousses with a refreshing tropical flavor.
From Divino Ceviche we were on to Tarpon BendÂ for a glass of prosecco and to sample their Braised Short Rib. These ribs are braised for four hours and they are all flavor.
Finally we ended the crawl at Cibo Wine Bar where they started with a wonderfully soft and fresh Burrata and robust yet light Prosciutto di Parma, followed by Arancini: Rice balls stuffed with ragu and melted mozzarella.
The Grilled Whole Octopus with mixed greens, diced tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice was amazing!
The Pappardelle with slow cooked lamb ragu covered with pecorino shavings was so delicate and yet robust that it didn’t matter how full I was, I still wanted more.
As if all that wasn’t enough they brought out a Black Tiger Shrimp in a wine garlic tomato sauce that was simply out of this world.
After an incredible twelve different courses, three dessert and five different drinks we were all exhausted, happy and ready to go home. It was an incredible experience!
You are still in time to try out the Gables Restaurant Week Menu but you better hurry because it ends June 29th.
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