Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (and other Miami eateries) featured on "After Hours with Daniel"

Last week I headed over to Michael's Genuine Food & Drink for dinner with a lady friend of mine, hoping to land a table even though we had no reservation which is risky business if youve ever dined there haha. Luckily the hostess said the wait wouldnt be long so we sat at the bar. As I sipped my Basil Hayden, I noticed a flyer on the bar for one of my favorite shows, "After Hours with Daniel" which is on Sunday nights (and randomly throughout the week) on the MOJO hi-def channel on Comcast. The show follows renowned chef, Daniel Boulud, who picks a restaurant in a given area (up until now I thought it was NY only but apparently theyve expanded to Miami and New Orleans) and joins the chef to cook for an audience "after hours" when the restaurant is closed. Daniel usually invites other chefs in the area along with celebrity friends for a roundtable discussion on food, wine, etc.

Its a pretty cool show and I actually saw the Michaels episode just the other day. Pretty interesting when Daniel shows up with a bag full of an assortment of birds to be plucked and served for dinner. Michael also seems like a "genuinely" cool guy.

Also featured from Miami - Ortanique, The Lido, Sardinia, and Michy's

I enjoyed this show so I figured Id share. For more info on the show, including episode dates/times, visit the show website

Monday, March 10, 2008

Aladdin's Grill, Coconut Grove - Awkwardly good

When I first heard about the opening of Aladdin's Grill on Main Hwy in the Grove, I was happy because I have lunch in the Grove often on weekends and Im tired of all the current options. I also love a good falafel pita, wrap, or sandwich of some sort. So, this past Saturday I headed in to check it out.

As I crossed over Main Hwy, I glanced up the street and saw this kooky looking guy eagerly trying hand out menus to passerbys. "Oh, this has got to be it", I thought. The man really, really wanted to give me a menu but got really excited when he noticed I was headed inside. The whole thing was just really awkward and the getup he and another waiter had on wasnt helping. Call me ignorant if you want but these guys just looked silly. I felt like I was at a bad play and thats probably the best way to put it. Im actually cracking up as I type this because, looking back, it was pretty hilarious. The outfits are just too much hahaha.

The awkwardness continued when I went to order. I really dont think I can explain it properly because anything outside of being there would never do it justice. The waiter was obviously new and probably knew little about the food from what I could gather. I thought this because he would tell me something, then leave, then come back and add a sentence, rinse, lather, repeat. This went on at least 3 times and I just chalked it up to him being new. It was a little annoying though because I simply wanted lunch and to get the hell outta Dodge. The menu had all of the typical Middle Eastern/Mediterranean fare along with a selection of flavored tobaccos to smoke through use of a houka. This screams college and I think its a good business idea. Stupid college kids act like the stuff is weed or something and they will pay for the look.

Naturally, I ordered the falafel wrap. It reminded me a lot of the type of wrap you get at Pasha's but it was much larger. Quite frankly, it was damn good. The falafel were nice and crisp on the outside with a warm middle that wasnt dry at all. The rest of the veggies inside and the tahini sauce did their job to keep things cool as I applied hot sauce to each bite. That was the one setback to the food. Most Middle Eastern restaurants that Ive got a falafel at have a special blend of peppers and spices that pack a mean punch. Hell, this is half the reason that I love the falafel pita at Pita Plus on SoBe. This place didnt have that and the owner said he was going to find someone to make that for him. They also didnt have Tabasco so I had to opt for the inferior "Hot Sauce" brand.

I wont hold it against them though. Like I said, the wrap was damn good and it only came to about $8-$9 with tip included. I'll definitely be back to try the kibbe sometime and knowing that there is a falafel wrap within walking distance is a good thing as well. Plus, the unintentional comedy at this place is off the charts!