Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Eat It - A la Folie Cafe Francais - 516 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL 305-538-4484

Oh la la. When my friend Ciaran showed up at the Flamingo on Monday evening, I had forgotten that he and his girlfriend were visiting from NYC. Well, if my friend Ben reads this, I am in trouble, because I didn't go to dinner with him at Tapas y Tintos, just down Espanola Way from A la Folie. I'll make it up to you, dude.

The French-owned and very authentic A la Folie is not to be missed. If you're looking for a spot that is different than any food or atmosphere you've experienced on the Beach (that's what we Miamenses call Miami Beach), try this place out. Not only is it located on the very quiet Espanola Way, but it is located at the western (quietest) end of it, just east of Pennsylvania, where Tantra is located.

When Mitzy and I arrived, the dinner party had already started in on a fabulous-looking salad, topped with meats and cheeses that look like they came from the streets of Paris. Well, not like, on the street, but from a charcuterie or fromagerie. You feel almost like you're in another country (even though Miami already feels like something other than the US) when you come to this restaurant, I mean, cafe. I all of sudden feel self conscious about using French words. I can't say that you'll feel like you're in Paris, since the owner is from Toulouse.

I ordered the escargots au fromage (I think that's what they were called) to start. They tasted as good as any I have ever had. They arrived way too hot to eat, just as any time I have ordered them in France or Quebec. Absolutely delicious. And the best part was sopping up the cheesy, oily sauce afterward with pieces of crusty baguette (the best bread I have eaten in Miami, incidentally).

For our main courses, we ordered savory crepes. Marguerite ordered the seemingly most popular Dijonnaise, filled with chicken, potatoes and creamy mustard and pepper sauce. I had one with ham, spinach, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Marguerite had the presence of mind to order vinaigrette to sauce it up even more (she's a saucy one, tu sais quoi). It was some of the best vinaigrette I have tasted. You will probably keep saying to yourself all meal, "that's the best ____ I have ever had".

For dessert, we shared the classic butter and sugar crepe and also one with Nutella and banana. Both absolutely delicious.

The prices are moderate at A la Folie. The savory crepes cost around 9 or 10 dollars; the dessert ones a little less. I can't think of a much better place for a romantic date. I will be back fo' sho'. I kind of want to go there right now, having finished up this post.

DiningOut has a short list of some menu items, as well as some nice photos.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Eat It - Doraku, 1104 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 305-695-8383

If you're a young professional or still a student, I have a deal for you. Our buddy Lana, another PhD student, so you know she's pretty smart, turned our group of friends on to what is sure to be a Friday night tradition.

Doraku, located just east of the movie theater on Lincoln Rd., has a happy hour from 5-8pm, every Friday, during which drinks are 2-for-1 and chef Hiro serves up complimentary hors d'oeuvres such as maki rolls, spring rolls, and chicken wings. I hope that not that many people read this, come to think of it, and I'm considering deleting this entry altogether.

Cafeteria (546 Lincoln Rd. at the intersection of Lincoln and Pennsylvania) has an open bar from 1030 to 1130 on Friday nights, so you just have to fill a couple of hours before commencing an extremely cheap South Beach night on the town.