Thursday, August 30, 2012

Off the Hookah Lounge - Downtown Miami (Bayside Marketplace), FL

If you live in South Florida at some point you've heard about Off the Hookah whether it be their location in West Palm, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Off the Hookah Miami is mostly known as an afterhours lounge, but me being the glutton for food, decided it would be best to grab some dinner and see what the fuss is about at the same time. Really though, I was just craving some off the hook hookah!

We got there a little before 9pm so much of the staff was preparing for the nightclub hours. There were also a lot of people standing around with nothing to do too. We were seated right away, but since we did not have reservations we were seated at an awkward spot in the middle of the dining area so I recommended making reservations with specification of where u want to sit if you do decide to come here. I would even suggest that sitting on the patio outside by the water may be a lot nicer. Random, but the chairs were very uncomfortable.

The scene fit the feel of the restaurant/lounge. Music was playing, the lights were colorful, and a belly dancer dances so it is an overall a fun atmosphere. The others that had arrive early like we had, were having a good time; dancing, singing, talking, eating, drinking and smoking. I personally like places like this but if you are looking for a quiet dinner, this is definitely not the place to be.

As I said before, there was a lot of staff when we arrived, but even after being seated immediately, it took a awfully long time for someone to come to our table. There seem to be some confusing as to who should be serving what table. Other than that, the service was good. The waitress we had was very friendly and helpful. She seemed to like her job and that makes all the difference in the world.

The food overall was mediocre. The Maryland Crab Dip was alright. It tasted fine but was nothing special. With the crostinis (which I'm not a fan of) it was palatable but with the pita chips (which I love on their own), it came off as bit too salty.

I enjoyed the Rack of Lamb (herb crusted and charbroiled). Although it was cooked well done and I had asked for medium, it was not dried out and I enjoyed the flavor of the crust. The goat cheese mashed potatoes were whatever; I didn't like the cheese combo. The asparagus drizzled with a Andros sauce was good.

The Filet Mignon wasn't very good at all. It was tender but as flavor goes it was very bland. It clearly was not seasoned and the sauce it came with added nothing to save the lack of the flavor. Again the bleu cheese mashed potatoes just were not good and the asparagus drizzled with a Cyprus sauce was good. Now, the drinks (a Signature Margarita & Long Island) on the other hand were nice and strong.

The main reason to come to Off the Hookah is the hookah and whether it was off the hook or not is to be determined, but I was happy with it. Let me preface by saying that I don't smoke and this was probably like my third or fourth time smoking hookah but I did enjoy the chocolate-mint flavor and it lasted through our entire meal which she outed so we could eat and re lit once we were done eating so no complaints here and it was well worth the price.

Perhaps if I came late night I would have enjoyed it much better, but for dinner since it is all about the food it would not be a top choice. It is however, a good place for groups and a fun place to have a good time.

Off the Hookah
401 Biscayne Boulevard R103 (Bayside Marketplace) Miami, FL 33132
(305) 373-5724

VIP Reservations:

Off The Hookah (Bayside Marketplace) on Urbanspoon

Romano's Macaroni Grill: Buy One Entrée, Get One Free

Get your BOGO here! Good through September 3rd, 2012.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crave the Sweet Life Food & Dessert Tasting: August 29th @ 7:30pm

What: Crave the Sweet Life Food & Dessert Tasting

Where: Ricochet Miami located at 3250 Buena Vista Blvd #122B, Miami, FL 33127

When: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 7:30pm to 11:00pm

Why: An evening designed to satisfy your INDULGENCE, “Crave The Sweet Life” Dessert Tasting Event was created to do just that! You will pamper your taste buds with the most delectable desserts and this time introducing food selections from featured catering company, MixStyles Catering, a fine authentic chef known for eccentric creativity from preparation to presentation that exceeds expectations!. All guilty free COMPLIMENTARY pleasures from juices to cakes, yogurts, alcohol specialty desserts, sweet dishes and more. Most will be healthy served for less calories, gluten-free and organic prepared. Food vendors will also fill up the space with edibles for all the vegetarian lovers. As you sample all evening from over 20 sweet treat and catering companies, be sure to acquaint yourself with our food & dessert connoisseurs to learn more about your favorites that were served.

Since we never INDULGE without a cause, “Crave The Sweet Life” has dedicated this evening of taste bud pampering to assisting several homeless shelters within our community in feeding the homeless. Guests are urged to help by bringing “non-perishable” food items to assist in our efforts. Your selflessness this will not go unnoticed as you will receive a raffle ticket and gift bag gratis for your donation. Come out! INDULGE and GIVE at “Crave the Sweet Life”.

For those looking to keep the positive energy flowing throughout the night, stay for “1Love Wednesday’s’ with live cultural music and reggae vibes brought to you by Square Rootz at 11pm.

How: Tickets are $10 (150 available) You can purchase Tickets Online!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eat Good at Islands In the Pines - Pembroke Pines, FL

I have been eating at Islands In the Pines for years. Although I no longer live in the area, any chance I get I head over there to get my Caribbean food fix. They are the epitome of what a great Jamaican restaurant should be. Not only do they serve delicious lunch/dinner (Jerk Chicken, Oxtail, Gungo Peas Soup), they also serve scrumptious breakfast (Ackee & Saltfish, Mackeral Rundown). As great as the food is, they also dish up a dining experience. You can always order take out but it is a nice place to dine-in. As the restaurant is aptly named, you may physically be in the Pines, but dining here you will be cast away on a island adventure. With ambient reggae tunes playing in the background it sets the mood.

With the many food options it may be difficult to decide what to eat but I will tell you this whatever you choose will be an excellent choice. My personal favorite is the curry goat. Very spicy and extremely delicious!!! Their fresh lemonade is amazingly refreshing too. Prices are reasonable especially during lunch and best of all you get nuff (plenty) food.
Curry Goat with white rice, steamed veggies & plantain

This last time I went the food was a bit off from what i am used to expecting. The curry didn't have the level of spicy I am used to (they may have toned it down to better suit the general public) and it was a bit on the fatty side. I am definitely not saying it was bad, it just was not up to the level I have been spoiled to love but since it was still good and not bad by any means, I will let it slide this time. Truly, I have been here far too many times without issue to complain about one time.

To sum it up, Islands In the Pines is just that Islands In the Pines.
Brown Stew Chicken with rice & peas, steamed veggies & plantain
Oxtail with rice & peas, steamed veggies & plantain

Islands In the Pines
162 North University Drive Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
(954) 431-7600

Islands In The Pines on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 24, 2012

The L.B.G. 3rd Annual Micro Brew Beer Cook-Off: September 16 @ 5:00pm

What: The L.B.G. 3rd Annual Micro Brew Beer Cook-Off

Where: Lou’s Beer Garden located at 7337 Harding Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33141

When: Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 5:00pm

Why: 11 Contestants will Battle for supremacy by creating a dish cooked with a Micro Brew, Yes, A Micro Brew. From dessert to a Pot Roast! Your Creation, Your Pride! You will be judge by 6 celebrity judges who will determine the ability of your dish to provide balance, between all other ingredients and the beer. And Let Us Not Forget The People’s Choice Vote. 1st prize winner wins a two night stay in a Key West B&B plus 2 tickets to the Key West Beer Fest over labor day weekend. Are You Ready To Stand Behind Your Dish?! To act like a Glutton is to Act like A God. Bottoms Up !

How: For more info and contestants entry, please contact Ann via email:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Visit Dominican Republic

Being from Jamaica, when you take a trip to one of the other islands in the Caribbean in comes down to this, they are pretty much the same. Even with that being said, my trip to the Dominican Republic was still a fun one and I look forward to going back, maybe to the capital (Santo Domingo) and Punta Cana instead of the north-central (Santiago, Puerto Plata & Sosua) region of the island I visited this time.

Obviously, the Dominican Republic is rich in culture and a great destination for some good food so I was very excited for that. Unfortunately for me, I was staying at an all-inclusive resort that I paid for so I was going to get my money's worth was much as possible. Yes, I endured the buffet food and cheap drinks, but when I did get a chance to get out of the resort and get some real food and drinks, I was all for it.

Jamaica is a tiny island but still has so much to see. DR is probably 5 times the size of Jamaica so there even more to do and with me staying only 3 days there was way too little time to do much. I am all about experiencing everything a place has to offer but the beaches here are so beautiful that I decided to just take it easy and just kick back, relax and enjoyed the beauty of the island.

Welcome to DR!!! Continue after the cut to see pictures of my trip.

Miami Spice Cooking Demo: August 23rd @ 7:00 pm

What: Miami Spice Cooking Demo

Where: Whole Foods Market located at 6701 Red Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33146

When: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Why: During August and September, Miami's top restaurants offer three-course meals featuring signature dishes created by world-renowned chefs. Check out Chef Julie Frans of Essensia at the Lifestyle Center.

How: Free to the public, but space is limited. To pre-register, please visit Customer Service or call 305-421-9421.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grill! Grill! Grill!

I have a charcoal grill but since I live on my own and don't have a family to feed, it's time consuming and wasteful to light up the grill just to make a one steak, a little bit of veggies, etc unless I am having a barbecue. Besides, here in South Florida, it is often raining and just too damn hot to be outside cooking, so grilling indoors with a cast iron is the greatest thing ever.


I must admit I am a bit obsessed and that I use my cast iron several times a week. Plus, not only does the cast iron add more flavor to the food, but some of the iron is actually absorbed into the food so if you are iron deficient, this is a great solution.

Miami Food Truck Rally at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Who: Miami Food Trucks

What: The Miami Food Truck Rally brought to you by the combined minds of the Seminole Paradise &

Where: At the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Seminole Paradise Valet Lot) located at 1 Seminole Way Hollywood, FL 33314

When: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 at 5:30-10PM

Why: To enjoy some great food, hear Pinchadiscos throwing down the jams and to take on everything the Seminole Hard Rock has to offer!

How: This a free event. There will be plenty of Free Parking.

Truck Line-Up:

B.C. Tacos
Boba Station
Che Grill
Cucina Al Mare
Daddy’s Grill
Dog Eat Dog
Dolce Gourmet Cupcakes
El Rincon del Coqui
Firewall Pizza
Grill Master Cafe
Korean BBQ Taco Box
Marlie’s Delights
The MexZican Gourmet
Mojo on the Go
Mr. Good Stuff
Ms. Cheezious
Purple People Eatery
The Rolling Stove

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recipe: Alfajores de Maicena - Cornstarch Shortbread Cookies filled with Dulce de Leche

Prep Time: 1 hrs
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hrs, 15 mins
Serves: 1 - 2 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie
  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 cups dulce de leche
  1. In a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar.
  2. One at a time, add in the eggs and vanilla; beating over medium speed until incorporated.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, cornstarch and baking powder together.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and continue mixing until it forms a dough.  
  5. Remove the dough from the mixer and form into a balls. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness, then cut with a the cookie cutterof your choice. Repeat this step until you have used all the dough.
  8. Place the cookies on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, just until the edges start to brown.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely, and then place a generous dollop of dulce de leche on one cookie, topping with another cookie to make a sandwich. Press gently together.

  • Variations: You can dip the cookies in chocolate, covered in powdered sugar or roll in coconut. You can also make your cookies thicker or use more dulce de leche in the middle.

Crime and Pun-Ishment: A Mobster Murder Mystery Dinner - August 24th @ 7pm

What: Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by The Murder Mystery Company

Where: Cafeina located at 297 NW 23rd St Miami, FL 33127

When: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Why: Basically, imagine the game CLUE came to life, and you were right in the middle of it. Try to figure out who-dun-it, while enjoying dinner and drinks. Throughout the evening and between dinner courses, you will have the opportunity to get up and ask each character questions and gather clues. Make sure you and your table's team of detectives find out everyone's secrets, so when it comes time to finger the murderer you'll be pointing in the right direction!

How: $60.00 per person includes dinner and drinks. You can purchase tickets here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

McDonald's: Spicy Chicken McBites

Finally got a chance to try the Spicy Chicken McBites. Surprisingly spicy and not just salty. A lot of it was crunch and not much chicken but when it did have chicken, it was chicken and not nugget "material" and the crunchy was not bad tasting. A-ok for me. Definitely one of McDonald's better tasting items. I wouldn't recommend the spicy buffalo sauce with it.

"in Viaggio" Pop-Up Dinner at the Bass Museum: August 22nd @ 6pm

What: Fratelli Lyon presents a pop-up dinner "in viaggio"

Where: Bass Museum of Art located at 2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

When: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Why: To enjoy dinner, wine and entrance to galleries. Join in a prix-fixe 5 course wine dinner featuring some of your favorites from the fratelli Lyon menu. Prosecco will be served beginning at 6:00pm and the galleries are open during the cocktail hour for some pre-dinner entertainment. Dinner will begin at 7:00pm.

How: $65.00 per person includes dinner, wine, and entrance to the galleries | 20% service charge and sales/resort taxes will be added | Pre-paid reservations required | Bass Museum members receive 20% off.
To reserve your seat with your pre-paid reservation, kindly respond to

Burrata: mozzarella, tomatows & grilled rachicchio
Ciabbatta, rosemary grissini & olive oil

Pasta Zafferano Estiva: wide-cut, hand-made saffron-stained pasta with a summer sauce of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers & herbs

Pesce all Montovana: olive oil orated fish, raw vegetables & herb sauce
Agnello con Finocchio: lamb roasted with fennel, red onions, garlic & herbs

Crostatain al limone: lemon tart
French-pressed coffee & biscotti

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Brio Tuscan Grille - Pembroke Pines, FL

My boyfriend and I were doing some shopping at the Shops of Pembroke Gardens and instead of my typical choice of Cheesecake Factory or RA Sushi, I decide to try something different and check out Brio Tuscan Grille. Once inside, the hostess told us that it was happy hour at the bar which consisted of $3.95 Tuscan tasters and $5 cocktails. A glutton for food, a deal and the opportunity to try some small plates, I took her up on the offer.

The restaurant was huge. The decor consisted of the typical Tuscan scenery Ala Olive Gardens albeit nicer but in any case it was happy hour so we headed to the bar on the patio. Outside was a lot nicer. It had a spacious bar, a few high tables, and lounge type seating. It was not dark out yet, but I could imagine that at night with the right lighting how nice it could be.

For food, we decided to try a few of different things. One of the things we ordered was the Brio Burger. The was by far the best thing we ate. Very juicy and although very basic of a burger, the bun and cheese gave a nice taste to it. My next favorite was the Ravioli Caprese. Obviously not fresh made pasta but still it tasted good. The Sausage
& Pepperoni Flatbread was just too flat. It was overcooked, way to thin and just not right. The Crispy Shrimp Piccante was a huge disappointment. When the server warns you that a dish is very spicy you expect it to at least have a drop of spice. The spicy aioli it was suppose to be drizzled with was more like a few drops. The only flavor it had was overly salty.

The drinks selections were fine by me, but they were mostly if not all "girly" cocktail drinks that I could only envision a group of women enjoying for their after work hours. So, my boyfriend didn't order off the menu and got two Guinness instead. I did order from the menu and got a Sangria Rose and a Mango Mojito. Frankly, it's happy hour and only $5 so I was not expecting really strong drinks but they were both pretty good drinks.

Although the food had a few misses, I liked enough of the dishes, the drinks and especially the prices that I will definitely come back for happy hour or lunch or dinner.

Brio Tuscan Grille
14576 Southwest 5th Street Pembroke Pines, FL 33027
(954) 431-1341

Brio Tuscan Grille on Urbanspoon

Grand Opening of Taverna Opa Mary Brickell Village: August 22 @ 6pm

What: Celebrating the Grand Opening of Taverna Opa Mary Brickell Village

Where: Taverna Opa Mary Brickell Village located at 900 S Miami Ave, The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, Miami, FL 33130

When: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Why: Brickell is going Greek! Please join the Downtown Miami & Brickell Chamber of Commerce in welcoming Taverna Opa Brickell to the neighborhood. Great appetizers and signature drinks will be served.

How: Please dress in business attire (no t-shirts, no tennis shoes). You can RSVP to or Kadson at 954.789.1709.

Facebook Event Page!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chips & Salsa


Food & Drink Pairing at CRAVE Restaurant: August 21st @ 6pm

What: Food & Drink Pairing

Where: CRAVE Restaurant located at 4250 Salzedo St, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA

When: Tuesday, August 21st at 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Why: If you enjoy fresh, locally sourced food, the flavors of Asia & the Mediterranean; and a chic environment, you are sure to enjoy CRAVE Restaurant.
CRAVE will offer four different food and drink pairings. All are tasting portions (this is not a dinner) and will be smaller than the regular sized items.

How: Cost is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. This includes tasting portions of the items below. You can register and find more details on the Savor Tonight website.

Pairing Menu
CRAVE Mini Burgers with CRAVE Amber
Salmon Sushi Rolls with Sake Sangria
Grilled Ceviche with 7 Heavenly Chardonnay
Tiramisu with Royal Tokaji

After the tastings, guests will enjoy select wines for $5 and 1/2 price bottles

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Strawberry Jelly Frosting

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 18 full sized cupcakes or 54 mini cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder                                      
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt) into a large bowl.
  3. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  4. Mix in the peanut butter.
  5. Then, add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. 
  6. Reduce speed to low and mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
  7. Add dry ingredients to mixture in 3 additions.
  8. Divide batter among the cups, filling each 3/4 full.
  9. Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
  10. Bake cupcakes until a tester inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes for regular cupcakes and about 10 minutes for minis.
  11. Let them cool in tins on wire racks.
  12. Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with frosting or my suggest strawberry jelly frosting.

Strawberry Jelly Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Strawberry Jelly, Jam or Preserve
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
  1. Place butter and jam in a mixing bowl or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  2. Miz in the Vanilla.
  3. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
  4. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix until frosting is fluffy with medium peaks.

Taste the New Menu at Prosecco Cafe: August 20th @ 6pm

What: Happy Hour at Prosecco Cafe hosted by Savor Tonight

Where: Prosecco Cafe located at 4580 PGA Blvd Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

When: Monday, August 20th at 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Why: For an evening of great food, wine and making new connections. Prosecco Cafe has recently brought on a new Chef -- Chuck Gittleman (formerly of Deck 84) -- and recently launched a new menu and they want you to be among the first to check it out.

How: Cost is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. This includes one glass of wine and a selection of complimentary hors d'oeuvres. You can register and find more details on the Savor Tonight website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Growing in the Yard: Sugar-apple aka Sweetsop aka Custard Apple

Doesn't matter what you call's oh so so goood!!!

Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival: August 18th @ 5pm

What: Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival

Where: Magic City Casino located at 450 NW 37th Ave Miami, Florida 33126

When: Every 3rd Saturday of the Month at 5:00pm to 10:00pm

Why: This is event is put together by Burger Beast and the Magic City Casino where its held. There are always some great giveaways at the event like tickets to concerts at Magic City Casino. Beer is sold at this event and parking is plentiful. Come out, the chances are great you’ll have an amazing time.

How: Free to come out and join in on the fun.

Saturday August 18th
Che Grill
Cold Stone Creamery
Contenti Cupcakes
Daddy’s Grill
Don Mofongo
El Rey de las Fritas
Firewall Pizza
Grill Master Cafe
Korean BBQ Taco Box
Los Chamos
Marlie’s Delights
Monster Burgers
Ms. Cheezious
My Mad Scientists
Pincho Factory
The Rolling Stove
Taco Fresh
Taco Heat
Waffle Gourmet

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Asia Bay Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar - Bal Harbour/Bay Harbor Islands, FL

I had heard about Asia Bay Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar a while ago and rave reviews on their fabulous Spicy Tuna Rock so it was always on my list of places to check out. I mean, if Alec Baldwin says its good then it must be good, right? My intention was to dine in but it was late and I was dead tired but still hungry so I decided to still go to Asia Bay but order takeout instead.

Although it was not a weekend and pretty late, the restaurant was jam packed. That made me feel a little bit better about doing takeout instead of dining in since there might have been a wait. The vibe inside the restaurant was energetic, you can tell that this is a fairly popular spot and people enjoy dining here. When I arrived my food wasn't ready so there was a little bit of a wait but I can't really fault them since I called when I was already on my way over there. Finally, with food in hand, I was excited to get home and chow down.

Since I decided to do takeout, I figured my best choice would be to order sushi since it had the greatest likelihood of tasting the same once I got home. I ordered the Mexican Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Toro Crunchy Roll and the Tuna Rock Roll. OMG was it good!!! It could be the delirium from my hunger, but it really was very good. My favorite was the Toro Crunchy Roll and being the most expensive it was best that it was otherwise I would have been real disappointed paying so much. Overall, the food was really good; I was a satisfied customer.

Mexican Roll
Spicy Tuna Roll
Toro Crunchy Roll
Tuna Rock Roll

I definitely want to go back and try the Tuna Rock appetizer. Also, since I missed out on the dining experience this time, I am looking forward to going to the Fort Lauderdale location that is closer to home.

Asia Bay Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar
1007 Kane Concourse Bay Harbor, FL 33154
(305) 861-2222

Asia Bay on Urbanspoon