Fried Talapia Pranna

How quickly we forget to be civilized after unlimited mimosas in a room with a live DJ…. Tuh

It is very rare for me to go to brunch twice at the same location within two weeks, birthday shindigs call for proper birthday shenanigans and Pranna was the place of choice…twice. Let’s cut straight to the menu shall we?

I had the Fried Tilapia with an Aoli Sauce served Chips along with too many screwdrivers, mimosa’s and Bellini’s. For about $40 you will be full and intoxicated and hopefully content with what you ordered. Someone did say, ” we come here for the party not for the food”, I wasn’t warned.

Fried Talapia Pranna

The menu sounds really fun; the Thai fried chicken was alright but a bit misleading because it isn’t spicy at all, it was just your average wings and fries which are cool, I guess. They also serve banana roti pancakes which I didn’t enjoy. It was on someone elses plate, but who’s watching, and they didn’t enjoy it much either. It was very thick, with a cream like dry banana spread on the inside. Yea, not going to order that again. Back to my fish…. at first it was great; spicy, good crunch to it and I was really in the mood for fries and ketchup. Mmm, then I got to the middle of my second piece which I realized was a little tough. At first I figured it was just thick? *cautionary pause* and then I took it apart to realize it wasn’t cooked through. Big no-no. I let that meal go….I didn’t even complain because we had better things to do, like party, but if it was up to me I wouldn’t eat here again.

 

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Giorgio's of Gramercy Pasta

One of the hardest things to do is decide where to have dinner in New York City.  There are a trillion of options here and when it’s your birthday, you may feel obligated to accommodate your entire party whether it is through preference, money, or atmosphere. Difficult task if I must say so myself, so major brownie points to the birthday girl last weekend, who took a chance out on love, I mean, food and had us try Giorgio’s of Gramercy.

I had the pleasure of being in attendance of great people, who each provided a much appreciated balance at the dinner table. It was only right that Giorgio’s Gramercy, provided a balanced meal and smooth evening for all of us. We ordered two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and everyone tried something different on the menu. From the Paella to the Ny Strip, we tried it all.

Giorgio's of Gramercy Porkchop

Disclaimer: Expect to pay a little more than you’re used to when you dine here. I would recommend it for a date and most definitely business. But if you do surround yourself with movers, shakers, winners…. this just might be perfect.

Giorgio's of Gramercy Salmon

Lobster & Shrimp Linguini stood out to me the most and I enjoyed the portion size even though I was surprised by it. I’m used to huge servings of pasta but again this is “fine dining”. It turned out to be just enough. I would have preferred more lobster pieces because it was excellent but over all, it was fresh pasta with fresh flavors. I was able to try the pork chop there as well, which will be my meal if I dine there once more.

Giorgio's of Gramercy Pasta

The Rum Gotham drink there is rather strong if you like a good cocktail and the dessert (tres leche, tiramisu, and pumpkin cheesecake) were all delicious. The servers and host were pretty attentive and to my knowledge, the birthday girl enjoyed. Hope you can do the same!

 

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Front Porch Cafe cuban
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I was HUNGRY getting to Front Porch Cafe and it was super far from my hotel but I was CONVINCED that I had to have brunch here.  The hostess was extremely accommodating to my party and our waiter was a complete doll. My only real complaints were that the food took a little longer than I’m used to but again, I was starving and every minute after I ordered was too long for me.

Front Porch Cafe Mojito

Typically I ask what’s the most popular drink and theirs was the mojito. Strawberry Mojito’s in tow … the wait began for my French toast that was served with a fruit cup of mangos, melons, pineapples, grapes and honey-dew. I was beyond excited to be eating mangos for breakfast mainly because that fruit doesn’t typically come in a fruit cup when you’re dining out. Unfortunately, I must confess that I just couldn’t finish it all but I really tried to! It was so much French toast that I quickly shut up about how hungry I was because I couldn’t make it. It was indeed delicious, served with bacon and scrambled eggs on the side. Super traditional breakfast, but not so traditional flavors.

Front Porch Cafe french toast

 

I live and die for rich, hearty meals, and if you wake up on the beach hung over in need of that, I recommend you make your way there.

Front Porch Cafe cuban

 

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660 Anglers Ropa Vieja and Eggs
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I found myself in Miami last week, and of course I did Larios on the beach, my Cuban rave from last fall. (Please try their lightly breaded, juicy chicken chunks!) I went to Medi’s (Huge Drinks, Good Pasta) and Front porch Cafe , but 660 Anglers which is off of Washington Avenue, completely has my heart. I encourage everyone to go to South Beach and get off the strip to eat; there are really some gems out there.

Now let me just share that I haven’t gotten exceptional service in some time. Good service, pretty good service, etcetera, has been cool but Anglers provided exceptional service that weekend for my party of five. Everything on the menu was SOLD, explained in such detail that it was difficult for us, well me at least, to decide on what to get. I wanted steak and eggs and they were serving ropa veija with eggs – close enough for me.

660 Anglers Ropa Vieja and Eggs

That technically means old clothes but in simpler terms, it’s like pulled pork with sweet peppers. I absolutely love ropa vieja and here, they serve it on Ciabatta bread with the eggs anyway you like it.  So on the top of the mea, the BEST COOKED EGG in my life.

660 Anglers Arepas

This meal was just as exceptional as was the service here. My friend had the corn cakes with these guava bbq chicken chunks that everyone was stealing off of her plate. To. Die. For. Another guest had the burger there which had a fig spread on it that made me swoon. This is good food we’re talking about. Not to mention they have great drinks specials. $9 Mimosas, 3 for $14 and $25 for unlimited ones with flavors like guava (YUM), passion fruit, classic, and more.

660 Anglers  Burger

This is a must visit for every trip To south beach.

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Over the summer, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman by the name of Tiffany Bender. Although I am still learning about this powerhouse of a woman, I feel like I’ve grown to know her enough to speak about her a bit to my readers. Tiffany is an extremely charismatic, upbeat, cute-as-a-button, warm person. Her accomplishments speak for themselves and I promise you, she has a good story to tell.

You will see Tiffany Bender on your TV Screen someday and luckily for me, I got to see her in the kitchen! See, Tiffany is a baker and she has a knack for baking cupcakes. I love to bake too and I have a knack for eating cupcakes so it was no surprise that I found myself  at her FAB Mom’s FROST event in Harlem

Tiffany baked over 50 cupcakes for this event and I was allowed the time and space to network with other like-minded female professionals thanks to her. There were strawberry cupcakes, yellow cake, and red velvet all for decoration. Tiffany guided us on what we could decorate with; she provided cream cheese frosting, peanut butter for the jelly filled cupcakes and a few other flavors. There was edible glitter, m&ms, colorful spray and fun at the table to enjoy. The best part of it was that she made the cupcakes with love. Thanks Tiffany, for letting me in your world one cupcake at a time.

Tiffany Bender

I was able to steal Tiffany for an interview as well. Get the details on Miss Tiffany Bender.

In your press release, your inspiration for Fab Mom Frost is evident. What made you want to share those memories with others and make it an event?

I love hosting. Not in the tradition, get on the stage and get a crowd hype — I mean intimate moments between good people. When I bake it’s that very nostalgia that comes to me of hosting a few friends over whenever I want to try a new recipe especially since I hate sweets. Isn’t that ironic?

How does your love for baking and your ability to bake (so well) factor into your everyday life and who you are? Is it Cupcake Therapy?

My grandma was a baker; both of them actually. So when I would get shipped to Jamaica (seriously — for the entire summer), my Dad’s mother would let me help her …well mostly lick the spoon …and entire bowl.

In the states, everyone in our complex loved my Mother’s mom’s cakes. My brother and I would be turned into delivery boys once she got to baking. I can’t say there are any family recipes or anything — but I definitely got the baking spirit from them. With one being sick and across an ocean and the other resting in peace I guess it really does serve as a form of therapy. 

What is your favorite thing to bake? And what is your favorite cupcake to have?

My favorite thing to bake is of course cupcakes. They are just SO FREAKING CUTE! My favorite cupcake would have to be a sweet potato recipe I stole from my college roommate. Those things — I could eat all day. And I did! And paid for it in the gym night after night!

Last but not least, have you ever invented your own cupcake? If so, what? And if not, is it something you would try to do?

Best cupcake I ever invented wasn’t necessarily an invention — just a random idea. Strawberry Ice Cream cupcakes. I literally just poured batter into a cone, (a few failed and set my oven a blaze -lol!) but when I got the measurements right: pure magic! 

You can find her at http://mstiffanybender.com/ or Instagram/Twitter: @MsTiffanyBender

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Feast of San Gennaro Calamari

Summer time is time for festivals and fun. I am sort of developing a knack for food festivals considering I have the fun part down packed. So last Saturday, along with a friend , I went to the 86th Annual Feast of San Gennaro for the first time. The festival is apparently “the longest running religious festival in New York City” and it’s held in remembrance of the first Italian immigrants to come to NY. It’s a festival full of music, food eating competitions, great food at that and rich culture.

Feast of San Gennaro 2012

Now, no way was I leaving here without getting calamari or a sausage with peppers and onions on bread. But FIRST, I tried these pina coladas served in coconuts from one of the vendors present. I was drinking with my eyes so to speak because I really just wanted the coconut cup; it’s all always about marketing anyway and I was already in line for one. The drink was alright but it really could have used more rum which I barely tasted. Considering that was the second reason I wanted it in the first place, duh. I was mildly disappointed but the calamari cheered me up immediately.

Coconut Drinks

I l-o-v-e calamari and I love fresh calamari more than my taste buds can fathom. So we stopped by Umberto’s clam house and got a small order of calamari topped with “medium sauce”. This was new for me. They had a sweet regular tomato sauce, a medium sauce and a hot tomato sauce. They tossed in a (hard) piece of garlic bread and two forks later we were on our way. Let me just say this calamari was spicier than I’m used to and it was fresh so it was temperature kind of hot also but I could not. stop. eating. It was the perfect portion for the two of us and it was just delicious. They served clams there as well that were going like hot cakes. Meanwhile, I had a sandwich waiting for me.

As I walked by the trillions of tasty desserts, I had to maintain my composure and hold out. Every last dessert I saw, I said I wanted. They all looked so pretty sitting behind the glass, it’s so hard to say no. I was actually surprised to see taco stands, and other Latin establishments posted on the strip. No way did I want to get my sausage from anything that didn’t embody Italy. This festival was packed with people, shops, vendors, beer, and the Yankee game was on. Can you imagine the energy there?

Calamari

Eventually we wound up at GiGi’s and they were so hospitable there. It was rowdy, everyone was into the game and taking orders, it could have gotten crazy. Luckily for me, I had the most attentive help so I ordered a mild sausage with peppers and onions, he threw some ketchup on the top and I fell in love. I could have kissed him. I really didn’t want to leave but then it rained and we still hadn’t stopped at rice to riches. Please go there next year with your girlfriends, spouse, family; it’s a really great experience for everyone.

 

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