New post finally, new address, surprising last 90 seconds of a restaurant meal (and how to lose a customer)…

Have been wildly negligent updating this blog.
The quick & dirty — in Europe for 90 days (left on our last legal day of our Schengen Agreement visa), almost/sort of bought a house an hour outside Rome,
but residency and tax issues made a mess of it, decided to have a residence again in the States and so..well, Miami Beach won out.
I know, I know. California likely will win the day eventually. Napa, Berkeley, LA. Nothing beats the farmer’s markets there.
But Miami Beach was an easy quick fix. So far so good. Do need to learn Spanish though — two years of it in high school will not cut it.
Our place has no great view, but centrally located in South Beach and a 10.5 minute walk to the beach.
And it has an electric stove top. That’s disconcerting of course, but we have managed to make do! Actually the kitchen works pretty well.
Already had a fun dinner here a week ago for new friends.
The menu…

:: asparagus five ways (picture below)
:: poached scallop, armagnac tomato & cream
:: house-made garganelli pasta, brown butter & sage
:: steak southwestern
:: house salad, fine herbs
:: chocolate caramel mousse and individual black mission fig tart

More on Miami. Still coming to terms that we’re actually here. Combination of flash and design, insane rain storms with no warning, not as brutally hot as I’d imagined for the middle of summer, friendly inhabitants, gorgeous and long frolicking beach. Good, close-in airport, etc, etc.
Found a great meat place (Gaucho, http://www.gauchoranch.com/), a fish place (Casablanca, http://www.casablancafishmarket.com/), and a produce place (Josh’s Organic Garden, no website – how can this be?). Josh’s only is open on Sundays.

The restaurant tonight. It was going so well… and then the tone changed when we asked them how they got their ricotta so fabulously soft. Felt like we were transported back to the 50s (well, Frank S. was on their playlist) but not in a good way.
In the past century I think some cooks kept their recipes close to their vest. A pride thing? an arrogance thing? A business thing? Who knows, but happily that kind of action has gone out the window.
Every cook I know wants to tell you how they devised this or tweaked that, at this temperature for 8 minutes but not that temperature for nine minutes, beat in these eggs all at once or one at a time, etc, etc, etc, etc. The point is that they (we) want to tell you.
But not tonight in a particular Miami Beach Italian this-side-of-Statan-Island red sauce joint. No. Not happening. On one question – how did you get your ricotta so soft. They might even have folded their arms (or do I only now imagine it) when they said but these are 100 year-old recipes!!, no can do.
C’est la guerre.

Asparagus 5 ways

Asparagus 5 ways