August 3, 2010

Miami in Pictures: The Food, Part One

Now that I've properly fulfilled my self-picture quota in the last post, I figured it was time to get to what everyone (including me) probably cares more about: the food! Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find vegan food in Miami. I thought it would be mostly Spanish food, tapas bars or gourmet food filled with eggs and butter, but there were a lot of options. Also, strangely enough, there was a lot of Italian food. Seriously, I think I saw more Italian restaurants than anything else. Despite the fact that I like to be creative in the kitchen, Italian food still owns my heart. It reminds me of home, my family and my roots. However, I rarely ever eat at Italian restaurants because they aren't known for being vegan friendly, aside from a boring pasta dish here or there. Well, that changed in Miami. Enter TiramesU.

TiramesU is one of the many restaurants featuring al fresco dining on Lincoln Rd. Everyone who was working there, as well as most of the diners, seemed to be Italian and I felt like I was transported to Rome the entire time. The experience was even complete with a man singing Italian songs and playing his guitar around the outdoor tables. I spent hours there and even went back the following night because the experience was that good.

The evening included a lot of this:

I hadn't planned to order an appetizer the first night, but I knew I had to have a bowl of their minestrone after seeing a waiter carrying it. I was pleasantly surprised to have a bowl full of large vegetable pieces, but I hesitate to call it minestrone because it had no beans or pastina. It was fresh and healthy.

The healthy sort of ended there. My entree, though technically part of their "nutritional pasta" dishes, was huge. I had farro pasta with artichokes, fennel and plum tomatoes tossed in a pinot grigio thyme sauce. The waitress scooped the pasta into your plate tableside and left the bowl filled with the remaining pasta at the table.

It was so delicious.

I ate it all. I did. Am I ashamed? Only slightly.

After hours at Tiramesu, I hobbled around Lincoln Rd until I found The Gelateria. I thought: "How can I eat Italian for dinner and NOT have sorbetto for dessert?" So I had some. In fact, I had some every night I was in Miami. This particular flavor is blackberry, but I also had kiwi and a combo of blueberry and lemon the following nights. Gelateria, I miss you already.

The next night I decided to take off from food photography, mostly because I ate at the same place. I did, however, eat different and arguably more delicious food. I had a salad with fennel, grapefruit and arugula in a citrus vinaigrette and the classic: the small portion of spaghetti pomodoro e basilico. It was almost as good as my marinara. Almost.

Stay tuned for more of my embarrassingly large gastronomical excursions.

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