Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pit Stops - La Mar, Taperia Raca, Zak the Baker & Basil Park

  File:Pitstop ii-c64.png

I've been cruising around town with my windows down and made some nice pit stops along the way. The following four spots are new and my initial experiences were good enough to warrant return visits and were also worth sharing with you.

La Mar is located in the former Cafe Sambal space at the Mandarin Oriental hotel located on Brickell Key in Miami. It features the Peruvian cuisine of chef Gaston Acurio who has owns additional spots in Bogota, Lima, San Francisco and Sao Paulo. The Miami kitchen is run by Diego Oka and the menu consists of numerous cebiches, tiraditos, causas, anticuchos along with other takes on traditional Peruvian dishes. They are open daily for lunch and dinner.

The ceviche was easily the highlight of my initial visit. It featured really nice pieces of fresh tuna along with very flavorful leche de tigre. The strong and enjoyable flavors of the ceviche rendered the other dishes bland in comparison. That being said, I'm looking forward to returning and trying more dishes unless the location and valet fees slow me down.


Cangrejo - beet causa, crab, avocado, huancaina sauce, fried kale, cherry tomatoes, quail egg.


Nikei Cebiche - tuna, red onions, nori, avocado, daikon, cucumber, nikei tamarind leche de tigre.


Plancha Anticuchera - octopus & calamari a la plancha crushed potatoes, anticuchera, chimichurri, choclo.

500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL 33131
Phone:(305) 913-8358
La Mar by Gaston Acurio on Urbanspoon

Taperia Raca is a new Cap'n Crunch-Pancakeria tapas spot from chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and the Eating House crew located on Biscayne Boulvard in the MiMo area of Miami. Chef de Cuisine is Ryan Harrison who was previously at the short lived but promising kitchen at Preservation in Sunny Isles. At Preservation, Ryan was curing his own meat, baking his own bread and pickling everything and anything. Raca is a departure from that style but the fairly large menu allows Ryan to be creative and put his culinary stamp on dishes. The dishes pictured below were all good to great with the grilled short ribs and grilled calamari being real standouts.

It's a small casual place with a majority of the tables located outside. It's open daily for lunch and dinner plus Sunday brunch.


Boquerones with lemon and Florida Citrus.


Camarones al Ajillo - shrimp, fried garlic, sherry vinegar.


Cachets de Cerdo- braised pork cheeks, potatoes, truffle, eggs.


Tiras de Asado - grilled short ribs, romesco, scallion, garlic.


Grilled Calamari with Chorizo Ratatouille.
7010 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
(305) 751-8756 
Taperia Raca on Urbanspoon

Most of my hardcore audience already know who Zak Stern aka Zak the Baker is by now. But the casual food fans out there may be unfamiliar with Zak and the outstanding bread he bakes. I suspect that his popularity will rise rapidly with the recent opening of his new bakery and cafe in Wynwood. The new spot will allow him to increase production and the cafe will provide the community with a spot to grab some great fresh bread along with the tasty creations of chef Sasha Ariel. I look forward to popping in on a regular basis.


Fresh Pea, Roasted Garlic and Ricotta.


Hummus with Tahini, Hariff and Kohlrabi Salad.

Zak the Baker on Urbanspoon

405 NW 26TH ST
MIAMI FL, 33127


Basil Park is a new spot in Sunny Isles from chef Tim Andiola and Rodrigo Martinez of Timo. Timo's healthy neighbor is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have partnered with Harpke's Family Farm in Hollywood who will be providing all of their organic produce and micro greens.
The menu features a cold pressed juice bar, smoothies, raw items, pasture raised rotisserie chicken, grass fed meats and sustainable seafood cooked on a plancha grill plus salads and other healthy fare. The dishes I ate were fresh, clean, allegedly healthy and enjoyable.

Eat to live is the slogan and one I'm willing to embrace. A welcome addition to the Miami food scene.


The Filipina - coconut water, banana, pineapple, young coconut, coconut butter, lime.



Close up of Scottish House Cured Salmon, crisp potato cake, "creme fraiche"


Spicy Salmon Nori Wraps, red quinoa, avocado, pea tendrils, cucumber, daikon, carrot, Fresno chiles.


Vegetable Spaghetti "Alfredo" black truffle cream, squash blossom, cashew cheese.


Royal Red Shrimp a la plancha.


Ahi Tuna Tiradito - Aji amarillo, sweet potato & choclo.

Mushrooms and Snow Peas.    

Basil Park on Urbanspoon

17608 Collins Ave
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
(305) 705-0004

1 comment:

SteveBM said...

Hilarious pit stop graphic