Food: Baby’s Mama Drama 3 ½!!

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While we waited for the wine’s matrimonial dish, we discussed what we always discuss—men. My situation is simple—I have no man in my life and am feeling that late twenties itch. I am attending two weddings out of four this year. Betrayed, bewildered, and terribly lonely, I am The Last of the Mohicans. Yeah, so I’ve taken to prancing around my room when my belly is really full from time to time, pretending to be pregnant. I know, I know--it’s sad.

Chef Cindy gets two winks for this alone: Jerk Rubbed Sonoma Foie Gras over Warm Salad of Mache, Crisp Potatoes, and Duck confit with Burnt Orange Marmalade and Grand Marnier Drizzle, $28.

Okay, so when I first read this on the menu, I immediately thought they were trying too hard because a jerk rub would kill something as delicate as foie gras, (literally fat liver), but then the little fella arrived with a glass of Sauternes, Chateau Climens Premier Cru 1996, $10, per glass, on his arm, and all was well in the world.  Ladies, this is like getting that very special treat we love just before penetration. 

Gentlemen, this is just like giving those very special women that very special treat they love just before penetration.  Sounds like I’m reaching, but I’m not--from texture, to smell, to feeling—that’s the experience.  The Sauternes falls on the tongue like mango silk rolling around that luscious foie gras.   Another fantastic choice for this dish would have been ice wine.  Ice wine has nice acidity, so that would have sliced right into that sexy oiliness (or what we, Jamaicans, call phatness).  Valium almost leapt out of her seat when the Sauternes hit her olfactory bulb. 

Right about now Chef Cindy appeared and it was perfect timing.  I gushed over the food porno that just left the table and she graciously accepted my compliments.  She struck me as no-nonsense woman, slightly Bohemian, who had met and greeted several food writers and was totally over it. Round 4—A+ for creativity here: West Indian Bouillabaisse, Market Price between $34 to $37, a hot spring of diver scallops, Key West Shrimp, Middle Neck Clams, and P.E.I. ,(Prince Edward Island), mussels, with aromatic jasmine rice in a coconut curried broth. 

This tasted like home.  At first glance and smell, it felt like a Thai dish, but then once I tasted it, there was a familiar comfort redolent of Hominy porridge in downtown Kingston at my cousin’s house or take-out porridge to heal the freezing January morns on Flatbush Avenue & Parkside, underneath my girl, Karen’s apartment.  This is a warm, cozy dish.  Valium wasn’t excited about it at all and unfortunately, the Hugel Gewürztraminer Alsace Contrôlée 2003, $10 per glass; $40, per bottle, just didn’t have the balls to stand up to all that coconut creaminess.

I think I would have gone with a buttery Chardonnay from California or perhaps a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for all those herbaceous notes and tropical fruit flavors to blend in with the herbal perfumes of the dish.  Perhaps, a hearty champagne like Duval Leroy 1996 which is made of 100% Chardonnay would have been even yummier?   Oooo even better—Vision Cellars Pinot Blanc 1999. As Valium and I approached round 5, our conversation got a little deeper as constant wine consumption tends to inspire over-thinking. 

She talked about having the perfect husband, who’s never around because he’s working several jobs to ensure his family has a superior quality lifestyle—nice car, nice house, and all that stuff.  She, too, is pretty lonely and despite her fabulous career as a 28-year-old Programs Coordinator for Adult Education; a beautiful, healthy three year old son; and palatial home, she just misses her man. 

I guess both sides has it’s ups and downs.  Relationships—the never ending saga continues…Next, two glasses of Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, $16 by the galss; $65 for the bottle, arrived .  What a soft, well-rounded wine this is.  The wine was more like a Chilean Merlot than a California Cabernet with all those sweet spices.  What a prelude for the Black Truffled Crêpe, $15, stuffed with braised short ribs, Giganda beans, sweet Vidalia onions and grape tomatoes.  Valium said this tasted like roast beef and sour cream and she’s right.  Very tasty. 

The consistency of the meat reminded me of my mother’s oxtails and the cream sauce drizzled on top gave it a Mediterranean flair.   When I inquired about the dish’s preparation, I learned that the short rib crepe was, in fact, traditionally made with oxtail, butter beans, and steamed white rice.  Ortanique’s Chef de Cuisine, Sara Mair, revised this dish from oxtail to short ribs, rice to black truffle crepe, and the butter beans are sautéed with tomatoes, rib braise, and truffle butter. Again, I love the creativity here and the clever union of authentic Caribbean flavors with unexpected New World highlights and presentation. 

Last, but certainly not least—THE DESSERT---A Double Chocolate Rainforest Terrine with a Creamy Passion Fruit Anglaise, $9. First is a moist layer of chocolate devils food cake, made with dark “El Reyâ€? Venezuelan chocolate that the terrine mold is layered with.  Next, a silky chocolate mousse, made with semi sweet chocolate, is folded with a mixture of macadamia nuts, pistachio, hazelnuts, and dried cranberries. 

The terrine mold is filled and pressed.  The mold sits in the refrigerator for hours.  Once ready, it is served with sweet passion fruit anglaise. The passion fruit anglaise is made by combining the juice of fresh passion fruit with a traditional crème anglaise (Anglaise is a fresh egg custard).  Sorry, ya’ll, this dessert is now only available as a special. This was soooo delicious.  Chef Cindy climaxes with a desert dish that has all the elements—subtle sweetness, alert sweet spices, and lovely fudge consistency all rolled into one.  What wine had the honor of matching such a dish?  Late Mer Soleil Santa Lucia Highlands 2001, $14, per glass,—this is just a long sweet, passionate kiss of a wine—honey and papaya flavors and just wonderful with the dessert.

Valium and I were quite satisfied by the end of the evening.  Thankfully, we drank lots of expensive bottled water in between meals and drinks, so we weren’t drunk—just smiley and pensive. As we drove home Billy Jean popped up on the radio.  Of course we knew all the words and as the ambrosial juices of the evening skipped through our bloodstream, we sang passionately; my arms flailing in the air: “Billy Jean is not my lover. 

She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one, but the kid is not my son…â€?  Valium asked me if I was serious about the baby daddy thing.  I paused for a second and answered, “Sometimes I am.  Mostly, I miss the old world approach to love—courtship and romance—flowers, long kisses, and playing guitars outside of windows.   I miss love.  More truthfully, I just want the same man to give me that jerk-rubbed foie gras feeling for the rest of my life.â€?

Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday - Wednesday: 6:00pm - 10:00pm Thursday - Saturday: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm

Payment Options: Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners Club
Phone: (305) 446-7710

Neighborhood: Coral Gables, Florida

Address: 278 Miracle Mile
Cross Street: Salzedo & Miracle Mile (Coral Way)

Dining Style: Fine Dining
Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic

Offers: Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair, Wine
Parking: Valet

The Scoring: 3 ½ “On their way to greatness.�
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