Christmas in Miami, Day One

Hey folks!

So, as some of you know, I went to sunny Miami, Florida for a few days to spend Christmas with my older brother, J. We ate a ton of food at some pretty incredible restaurants and spent some awesome quality time together. Since he moved down there I only see him twice a year if I’m lucky, so it was really special to be able to spend two Christmasses with him in a row (my AWESOME sister flew him up in secret last year!). Anyway, I’m breaking up my vacation into a few posts because I’m milking my available ideas for posts and also because it’s eleven and I need to post this by midnight!

miami skyI arrived around ten thirty on Christmas Eve. My brother and his lovely girlfriend picked me up from the airport and we drove to their apartment so I could put my luggage away and change out of my crafty Cleveland layers. After a solid twenty minutes of hugs, Christmas gift exchanges (the ones to them from me, mom, and sister), and dog lovin’, we left for lunch.

kiddo

Kiddo, the best dog ever.

We went to a place called Blue Collar in the MIMO district of Miami. It was a teeny tiny restaurant with seating for maybe thirty people including the outdoor seating. They had an incredible assortment of seasonal vegetables that were available, cleverly displayed on a colorful chalkboard at the front of their kitchen. Their menu had a ton of choices, which ultimately led to J, L, and I getting way too much food (you’ll find that this becomes a pattern) by getting two appetizers to start and an entree each for lunch. Sorry for the lack of pictures, guys, but I didn’t realize that I should be taking them until dinner and also I was too excited that I was with my big bro!

Our appetizers were their pork n’ beans and shrimp n’ grits. I could have bathed in the shrimp n’ grits. Holy wow it was creamy and well-seasoned and overall really freakin’ awesome. The beans weren’t cooked as well as I’d hoped, but it tasted good and the sausage was pretty bomb. As for entrees, J got braised lamb neck with mashed potatoes, L got a chicken breast with two veggie options and I got four of the veggie options. In total, if memory serves me correctly (man, I should have written this shit down) we had kale, sweet potato fries, a sweet potato plantain mash, artichoke hearts, curried cauliflower puree, and maple roasted carrots. Everything was deeeeelish except the sweet fries, sadly. As one of my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes, fries are a huge selling point for me. They tasted like they weren’t made with nearly as much love as everything else. The chicken was moist and had a good flavor and the lamb neck was the bomb.com. We left fully sated.

Enter: more dog time, taking L to work, and hanging out with the broski.

My brother and I went to DB Bistro Moderne for dinner. He used to work there, so it was a cool experience just being there with him. It’s slightly humorous to see a chef on the other side of the restaurant. Because of his charming demeanor, I’m sure, the staff there love him and decided it would be a good idea to make us eighty pounds heavier in one meal. They tried very hard. We got sent an awesome charcuterie with some freaking incredible house made meaty delicacies (I really couldn’t try to name what kind of sausages or whatever we got- it would be an insult to the chef(s), which I’m sure this whole blog post probably is- sorry guys) and it included my favorite meat on the whole planet- jamón iberico AKA bacon and silk’s sweet, sweet love child. They sent out soup, some sort of paté on a cracker for J and on a slice of endive for gluten-free me. How sweet, am I right? Adorable. After those we got scallops with hazelnuts (again, delicious to the point where trying to describe it would be an insult) and a kale salad. In the shape of a wreath. With little bows made out of pomegranate leather! WHAT. SO FREAKING CHRISTMAS.

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Iberian ham

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Kale salad

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Scallops with hazelnuts

Blah blah blah, whiskey in many different formats and I think I drank tequila in a way that actually made it taste awesome to me.

Enter: dinner! Since it was a Christmas Eve meal, J got (Christmas) goose and I got pig, because I can’t resist pork. Om nom, we devoured our meals (gosh, my pork was incredible- served with pears and some awesome vegetable I can’t remember) and hoped that the pastry Chef didn’t get too many bright ideas. (Spoiler: we were wrong)

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Holy crap, guys. DO YOU SEE THAT? THAT IS AN EDIBLE ALICE IN WONDERLAND SET. That is where Hansel & Gretel TOOK PLACE. ON A PLATE. WITH EVERYTHING DELICIOUS AND ABLE TO BE PUT IN MY MOUTH.

Mr. Jerome Maure, you are an artist. You are incredible. Of course, this wasn’t the only thing he sent out. We got chocolate cake with a brandy ganachey filling with mocha ice cream and another dessert similar to this one. But this one takes the cake (pun pardon, please). Do you see this? You understand how gorgeous this is, right? It tasted better than it looked. Everything worked together in such a way that I felt the party in my mouth. Gnomes and fairies exploded with applause at their home being devoured by two giants that really didn’t need to be eating this much chocolate.

An absolutely perfect day with an amazing brother (and his kickass lady), great food, and this masterpiece to end it all. I’m salivating just writing about this stuff, so I’m going to go have a snack. It won’t be nearly as stellar as our dinner (and especially dessert) at DB, but it will help fill the void now left in my heart by not having Jerome anywhere near for his casual humor and inordinate amount of talent.

Thanks for a perfect Christmas Eve, J, L, and the great people of Blue Collar and DB Bistro Moderne.

Until tomorrow, folks!

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