Over the course of the last few years I have been fortunate enough to get to know Miami. Believe me, it’s even more beautiful than any picture or CSI episode could show. I would also like to say that I still have quite a bit of exploring to do. That will start in mid-April 2010. During one of my visits, I decided to address a statement that another chef made. He said that the food in Miami was so bad. I could not believe this. Now I had already been there quite a few times but I didn’t remember any HORRIBLE food. Yet, at the same time most of the great things I had came from really casual places. There is a rotisserie chicken spot, The Peruvian Kitchen (www.theperuviankitchen.com), that makes really good food. It’s simple, affordable and packs a bunch of flavor. I pretty much stick with the chicken. The skin is crisp & the meat stays tender & juicy. But I know what you’re saying…”Miami for chicken, that’s a joke right?” Tell me about the seafood! Well, it took me a minute to get to the seafood because of some of my dining rules. I have a certain approach to cities when I know I will regularly stay there. Here they are:
- What do the locals eat?
- Where is the French breakfast spot
- How far away is the Wine/Champagne store
- Is there a Laker game on tonight?
- Don’t fall for the cruel joke, “We have Chicago Style pizza here…” cuz they don’t!
Since I do a lot of weekend events, I am a brunch regular. I look up reviews of great brunches. One of my favorite Miami haunts is The Raleigh Hotel (www.raleighhotel.com). I tend to stay away from most hotel restaurants. They typically have overpriced bland food. Well…The Raleigh did not get the memo. The first thing you notice about the Garden Restaurant is how it leads to the cabanas surrounding the pool. The pool that then leads to the ocean. That’s right directly to the ocean. It has one of the best views in Miami. The décor is once again on point with the other places that have much larger marketing budgets. Yet , at this particular hotel they got the memo on how to treat you. The service level here is EXCELLENT! The management and staff had no idea about my visit or any of my clients. It was just business as usual. Now let’s get to the food. One item that’s a must is the chicharron de calamari, this is not to be missed. It comes with a red pepper aioli and cayenne glazed cashews.
The ahi tuna wrap was perfectly cooked and had great use of citrus. Yeah, the pomegranate mayo works! I actually borrowed that idea for my chipotle shrimp wrap, but that’s another entry. I love the use of the mint in the ceviche. It’s easily in my Top 3 ceviches in the country. The champagne was perfectly chilled. With every visit, they have remained consistent on all points. The only difference is now management knows who I am, because I’ve sent clients there. So if you are in Miami on a Sunday, check out brunch at The Raleigh…you just may see me cooling out poolside.