August 2nd, 2011

Dinners in Paradise 2011-2012

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One of the things I wish I would’ve done before leaving Miami is go to a Dinner in Paradise at Paradise Farms. Not only are these dinners held in a beautiful setting but they are prepared by some of Miami’s best chefs using ingredients from the farm. The dinners for the upcoming season were announced yesterday and the line-up looks great. As always, proceeds benefit local organizations that work on bringing sustainable, healthy food to communities. YOUTH L.E.A.D., Troy Academy and Slow Food Miami were selected this year. The cost for dinner is $165 per person plus tax and processing fees. Reservations are now open. Here is the schedule.

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July 29th, 2011

Texas Bound

photo by Juan C. Niño

photo by Juan C. Niño

This bit of information will come as old news to many but I figured it was time to make it official here on the blog. D and I are moving to Houston and we’re hitting the road next weekend. The move was in the making for some time now but things didn’t start falling into place until earlier this month. Needless to say, the past two weeks have been consumed by packing, seeing friends and visiting the places we love to go to for drinks and food. (I think we’ll need a detox soon).

In hearing the news, people have asked me what I’m going to do with mango&lime. Jokes have been made about possible new names for the blog involving cattle and chili but for now I plan to keep the name — and continue writing in this space. Of course things may change but I’ll have to see how things shape up once I’m settled in what will become my new city.

I’ll miss Miami, my home for 15 years, but I know I’ll be back to visit often. I leave grateful to the people who have been supportive of this blog and of me. The best thing to come out of blogging in this city has been meeting wonderful people who share my interest in food, many who I can now call friends. I hope some of you will come along as I embark on this journey. I’m looking forward to a fresh start and Houston has an interesting food scene that I can’t wait to explore.

July 8th, 2011

How Do You Like Your Mangos?

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Do you like them a little tart? Or intensely sweet? Spicy or aromatic? If you ask Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s senior tropical fruit curator, Richard Campbell, a mango should be sweet and also a little tart. Not so for his fellow curator, Noris Ledesma, who prefers her mangos to taste sweet as honey. When it comes to talking about what a good mango should taste like, the two bicker like siblings.

Ledesma says most people prefer mangos with a little acidity hitting the back of their mouth. I always thought it was the opposite, and in the tasting the pair held last week at Fairchild Farm, it seemed that most people shook their heads at any hint of acidity. I side with Cambpell, though I don’t discriminate against the sweeter kind.

Not that it matters. With so many varieties of the fruit, there’s bound to be one that’s just perfect for every palate and at the garden’s mango festival this weekend, people can taste some 30 varieties of the fruit selected by Campbell and Ledesma for the occasion. The honorees this year are the mangos of Hawaii.

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June 26th, 2011

For the Love of Riesling

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Three summers ago, Paul Grieco, a New York City sommelier and restaurateur started Summer of Riesling at Terroir Wine Bar. During that summer if you wanted white wine by the glass at his bar, your only choice was Riesling. The goal was to get people to try the grape and dispel the notion that its wines are all sweet.

In the following years, Grieco’s love affair with Riesling grew and several New York restaurants and bars joined in to celebrate it. This year, the event is going national and four Miami restaurants – Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Sustain, Blue Piano and Michy’s – are joining some hundred restaurants and bars around the country to celebrate the grape.

At Michael’s it kicks off big with an already sold-out dinner this Wednesday featuring dishes prepared by Schwartz and chef Marco Canora, co-owner with Grieco of Terroir and Hearth. These will be paired with Rieslings selected by Grieco and Michael’s Genuine sommelier, Eric Larkee.

To have a little Summer of Riesling celebration of my own, I prepared two dishes from “Salt to Taste,” a cookbook by Canora that guests will receive at the dinner. My favorite of the two, roasted Cornish hens with a lemon and onion sauce, made for a fine weeknight dinner. I asked Larkee which Riesling he’d pair it with and here’s what he had to say.

“I’d want to drink Lagler 1000 Eimerberg Riesling with that dish. This wine holds the classification of Smaragd. In Austria, if you are a Smaragd you are either a rich (above 12.5% alcohol) dry wine or a small green lizard that suns itself on the terraces of the Wachau. The key for me with this dish is the rosemary. I want a savory wine with such a powerfully aromatic herb. The 1000 Eimerberg has layers of rich fruit and a solid core of minerality with medium acid along with an engaging smokiness that makes this one of the most pronounced savory Rieslings I’ve had ever.”

Check out Canora’s recipe after the jump. Rieslings will be poured at the participating restaurants through September so make sure you stop by for a glass or two or more. You may just fall in love with Riesling.

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June 21st, 2011

‘Tomatoland’ Author Barry Estabrook at Books & Books

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Florida’s tomato industry has been on the news quite a bit in the past few weeks thanks to the release of Barry Estabrook’s new book, “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.”

In the book, Estabrook, a journalist and author of Politics of the Plate, traces the history of the tomato from its origins in Peru to Immokalee, Florida, where he exposes the dire conditions in which tomato pickers work to supply perfectly round, red – and likely tasteless – tomatoes year round. Growing one third of the country’s supply of tomatoes also requires a large amount of chemicals and pesticides. According to Estabrook, in 2006, Florida growers sprayed eight times as many chemicals on their tomato crops as California growers sprayed on crops of similar size.

“Of all the fruits and vegetables we eat, none suffers at the hands of factory farming more than a tomato grown in the wintertime fields of Florida,” he writes.

Estabrook first exposed the poor working and environmental conditions of Immokalee’s tomato industry in a 2009 article for Gourmet that won a James Beard Award. He’ll be in town speaking about “Tomatoland” tomorrow, June 22 at 8 p.m. at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables; 305.442.4408).

Read an excerpt of the book here.