1.14.2018

Restaurant Review: Amelia's 1931


Last night, A and I decided to have a night out on the town to celebrate so many things that have been happening in our lives, and are yet to happen: his new job, my recent job promotion, his 32nd birthday, and marking one month to go 'til the wedding, to name a few things. Mind you, we don't really go out much, and recently, due to wedding/honeymoon budgeting reasons, we haven't even been going out at all, not even to eat. But, you know what? It's a new year, and with so many things in the works, we decided what better thing to do than to do what we love: eat. To commemorate our first out-of-the-house date night of 2018, we decided to try out a new restaurant that opened up relatively close to our house: Amelia's 1931.


Amelia's 1931 is local Miami chef Eileen Andrade's newly opened second restaurant, located at 13695 SW 26th St., Miami, FL 33175, only a few blocks away from her first restaurant, Finka Table and Tap. At such a young age, this entrepreneur has shown off her genetically-inherited culinary skills and was even named as one of Zagat's 30 Under 30; talk about IMPRESSIVE! Per the restaurant's website, Amelia's 1931 is an homage to Chef Andrade's grandmother, who "was known for her counter service and delicious cafecitos at [her] grandfather's restaurants in Cuba and Miami."

As soon as we were seated, we noticed how cozy the restaurant was, with an old-world Hispanic diner vibe, which was accentuated really well by 1930's-1940's-like music in the background. When looking around, we noticed the crowd was a melting pot of differing groups: big families, groups of friends, couples on intimate dates. Everything meshed well. Our waiter for the night, JP, immediately came up to offer us the menu, one side being the food, and the other being the drinks (beer and wine). A ordered a local beer, La Rubia, and I asked for a glass of Pinot Grigio.

For the appetizers, we chose from the Pa' Picar section of the menu:

Peruvian Arroz con Pollo Fritters with Huacatay Mayo

and

Fried Porkbelly with a Chicharron Crumble and Chives

The fritters were an explosion of flavor in my mouth. The "chicken and rice" croqueta-type of appetizer was paired with a mayonnaise sauce made of Peruvian huacatay, and was served with chopped tomatoes and onions. This combination made the dish be a very strong way to start an amazing meal. To follow, the fried pork belly was juicy and flavorful, and it seemed to be spiced with some kind of Asian-inspired seasonings. The lasting notes of spices reminded me of the sauce that you get with Chinese takeout, but in a good way. This seasoning went really well with the chicharron crumble's texture.

After the appetizers, we chose our main meals from the Daily Special menu as well as the Cuban Tots section of the main menu:

Malanga Tots with Vaca Frita, Fried Garlic, and Aji Amarillo Mayo

Lamb Chops with Parmesan Risotto and Mediterranean Sauce

and

Yuca Tots with Pulled Pork Cheeks, Mariquita Crumble, Cilantro Aioli, and Chives

Both of the Tots dishes were equally amazing. Each listed flavor on the menu combined with the other flavors, but without being diminished by any of the others. You could literally sit there and distinguish everything that was listed on the menu, and although when looking at it, you would think the sauces would make the tots mushy, on the contrary: both dishes had a great texture and crunch to them.

Although the Malanga Tots dish was my main dish of the night, A decided to have the lamb as his main and had the Yuca Tots to accompany it. The lamb was perfectly cooked, and he thought that it was paired extremely well with the risotto underneath it, which was also cooked well. His only complaint was that he would have put a little less of the Mediterranean sauce on the plate. He thought that the sauce overpowered the parmesan flavor of the risotto instead of bringing it out.

For dessert, we had the Flan, which is made in-house:


Although we were told that the flan comes with peanuts crumbled on top, since we're not peanuts fans, we asked that they not include them. Regardless, the flan was exceptional. It was creamy, and had that light egg-y flavor that a good Cuban flan has, without being too sweet. The caramel on the flan was a nice accent to the flan, as it did not take the spotlight but had a nice presence on the plate.


Overall, we highly enjoyed our date night at Amelia's 1931! Would we go back? Yes! Would we recommend this place? Yes! Should you go? Yes!

1.23.2017

Tuna & Cucumber Bites


"The opportunity is often lost by deliberating." - Publilius Syrus

New week, new Monday, new goals for the week, new motivations, new aspirations. I'm refreshed and ready to take on this week's challenges. After last week's ups and downs at work, I learned how to manage my time and my projects a lot more and in a more efficient way. Last week, there were moments where I felt like I was drowning in my work, and all these requests and projects that were thrown at me were making me feel really overwhelmed. But, going through that made me think about it all over the weekend. I was able to breathe, mull things over, and plan on how to incorporate all of my new jobs and assignments into a cohesive hour-by-hour daytime schedule. And, it worked! Today could NOT have gone any smoother. I got to work, did all of my daily tasks, worked on some side projects, and I almost even completed one of my biggest monthly reports, right on time for tomorrow's meeting. By no means does that mean I can slack tomorrow. I have to go into work with the same focus I had today... and, I'll accomplish that by resting tonight, and... enjoying The Bachelor!

Oh c'mon, you know I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass me by. It's Monday! LOL Have any of you been watching it? I'm all the way to the Wisconsin group date. I really like all the events that have led to this point. The first one-one-one date was super cute; I loved how Nick showed the contestant all of his childhood haunts while sharing stories from his past. Then, when it came time to the group date, it brought flashbacks from my childhood, when we used to have cows over at the farm. I used to help my Dad feed the cows, and I sometimes would even help him milk the cows, or better yet, watch him milk the cows and run to take the milk to my Mom. It also made me think about how my Mom's go-to snack back in the day was tuna salad. She would go crazy inventing all different kinds of tuna salad, as well as chicken salad. She'd chop apple, celery, onion, anything crunchy with flavor, and mix it into the tuna. As soon as she'd see a new recipe whether in a magazine or on Food Network, she'd run to try it. So, she definitely fed my love for tuna. I guess, because of this, you can say that today's post is an ode to her. Today's tuna recipe packs a flavorful punch with ground cumin, while having a kicking bite with chopped jalapeños and cucumber. This quick tuna salad bite would be great as a snack or even as an appetizer. I definitely think my Mom would approve of this recipe!


Tuna & Cucumber Bites
adapted from: Comida y Familia Otoño 2009 by Kraft Foods

*makes: 4 servings*

"This bite has protein from the tuna and a crunchy cucumber base."

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
5 oz canned chunk white albacore in water
1 small jalapeño, without any seeds, finely chopped
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Directions:
1) Cut half the cucumber into 12 slices; set aside. Chop the remaining cucumber; mix with the remaining ingredients.
2) Put the tuna mix on the cucumber slices just before serving.




1.16.2017

Creamy Fruit Dip


"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Oh how I look forward to my Guilty Pleasure Mondays, a.k.a. The Bachelor! It's funny to think that I used to hate these kinds of shows, and now, I'm hooked! Like for this season, Adrian and I both made our own teams of 3 each. Adrian's team consists of Corinne, Liz, and Vanessa. My team is made up of Danielle L., Danielle M., and Kristina. Sadly for Adrian, his team is actually down to two people after last week's episode, but my team is still going strong, and one of the ones on my team had a great starring moment during the Backstreet Boys part of tonight's episode :) :) I know, I know, no spoilers, and trust me, I'm trying super hard not to give too much away just in case some of you haven't seen tonight's episode yet. I mean, I'm still watching it as I'm writing this - speaking of, OMG, is Nick crying??!!

In preparing for tonight's episode, I decided I wanted a light dessert, something I could pair with all of the strawberries and blueberries I have in the fridge. I didn't want anything sticky or overly sweet, but I did know I wanted something fast, easy, and creamy, and something that Adrian would like as well, since this is his post-birthday week. Since he was at home today, I had him set out some cream cheese for it to get to room temperature, you know, something easy but enough for him to feel like he really took part in making this dip lol - it's one of my inside jokes with him. Once I got home, I mixed the cream cheese with the sour cream and the brown sugar in my stand mixer until everything was mixed well. I added a splash of vanilla and some milk, just enough for it to be creamy without being too liquidy, and oh my, it was delish! It reminded me of that cream cheese marshmallow fruit dip they sell at Publix, except sans the marshmallow. It was very lightly sweetened and really brought out the natural sweetness of the berries - a great way to end my Monday night. Now, let me sit back on the couch to enjoy the rest of this dip while watching the second half of The Bachelor. Good luck to all of the contestants!


Creamy Fruit Dip
adapted from: New Cook Book 14th Edition by Better Homes and Gardens

*makes: 2 cups*

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
1/8 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
2 tbsp whole Grade A milk

Directions:
1) In a small mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
2) Gradually add sour cream, beating until combined.
3) Add brown sugars and vanilla; beat just until combined.
4) Stir in enough milk to reach dipping consistency.
5) Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
6) Serve with assorted fruit.



Spice Fruit Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
1/8 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
2 tbsp whole Grade A milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon



Lower-Calorie Fruit Dip

8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
8 oz light sour cream
1/8 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
2 tbsp whole Grade A milk



Creamy Marshmallow Fruit Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
7 oz marshmallow creme
1 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
2 tbsp whole Grade A milk


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