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herbed tostada - Willows Inn We're already a few weeks deep into 2019, but I'm still writing 2018 on my blog posts. Here's the last round of my personal "best dishes of 2018," which starts at one of my favorite places on earth, then spends the rest of its time back here in sunny South Florida. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here. Happy New Year, all! smoked black cod doughnuts - Willows Inn
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Though I'm not posting as frequently of late, I did at least manage to start my "best of 2018" list before 2019 actually started, which is better than I did last year (though I may not finish before the year comes to a close). You can read Part 1 here, where we left off in Los Angeles. We'll pick up here back in Miami before bouncing around some more, to the Hudson Valley, the Bay Area, Chicago,
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This time last year, I felt out of touch with much of the local dining universe: 2017 was the year of the "to-do list" for me, during which the much-talked-about local openings outpaced even my appetite (or at least my schedule). But 2018 was the year of catching up, at least to some extent. After submitting my list of "Top Restaurant Newcomers" for Eater's annual year in review, I realized that
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So here was a fun thing: "Night at the Burger Museum," organized and hosted by Burger Beast a/k/a Sef Gonzalez. Most folks know Burger Beast as a passionate and voracious blogger of burgers and other comfort foods, or maybe as the organizer of record setting food truck events. Not as many may appreciate that he is also a true historian of the fast food universe, with an encyclopedic depth of
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I'm a big fan of collaborations. When you put two creative minds together, good things are bound to happen. Yet many "collaborative" dinner events turn out to not really involve all that much actual teamwork. Sure, the chefs will communicate about a menu and ingredients, and decide who is going to do what. But more often than not, they're ping-pong-ing courses back and forth, rather than
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Let me just get this out of the way: Norman Van Aken has always been something of an idol of mine. One of my formative food experiences was at his restaurant A Mano, which he opened in the Betsy Ross Hotel on South Beach (now known just as The Betsy) in 1991. A Mano was Van Aken's first venture in Miami after making a name for himself at Louie's Backyard in Key West, and it was a great
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Some places aren't just restaurants; they're institutions. Chez Panisse certainly falls in that category. Its founder, Alice Waters, is widely regarded as the patron saint of the "farm-to-table" movement: the restaurant, which she opened in 1971, made the sourcing of local ingredients a cornerstone long before that term was commonly used, much less beaten to death.[1] And generations of
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In the kitchen, unitaskers are anathema. All those avocado slicers and egg peelers and meat shredders just do the same things you can do with standard kitchen tools while taking up extra space in your drawers. As Alton Brown used to say on Good Eats, "The only unitasker allowed in my kitchen is a fire extinguisher." When it comes to restaurants, though, I'm a big fan of unitaskers. Focus on
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My first taste of chef Shuji Hiyakawa's food came at an event last spring hosted by the Japanese Consulate in Miami, described as "Culinary Secrets of Traditional Washoku." "Washoku" literally means "Japanese food," but more specifically, the traditional cuisine of Japan (here's a good primer). After breaking down a whole tuna loin and making sushi of it, Chef Shuji also served a variety of
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I've said here often that P.I.G. - Pork Is Good, Jeremiah Bullfrog's locally grown celebration of all things porcine, has become my favorite Miami food event. A few years ago he added a spin-off – Duck Duck Goose, starring the one protein that may come close to rivaling pork's range, versatility and deliciousness: duck. The inaugural DDG in 2016 was a blast, but I sadly missed Number 2. The
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