Calle Ocho Style Lunch in Miami

Mr. Yum - Crab Rangoon

Mr. Yum – Crab Rangoon

Calle Ocho (meaning “8th street” in Spanish) is a famous street in Miami that is best known for its Cuban influence. Leading straight into the heart of Downtown Miami, this street is always buzzing with life and energy. With a Latin vibe that could be found no place else, Calle Ocho is truly unique. However, despite the heavy Latin influence on this street, there is also a vibrant restaurant scene with cuisine from around the world. Instead of going with traditional Cuban food, I wanted to try something a little different. So Jessica and I decided to give Mr. Yum a shot. Best known for its Thai and Japanese cuisine, this restaurant is anything but typical. Here’s what we had.

Mr. Yum - Hangover Soup

Mr. Yum – Hangover Soup

Hangover Soup – Unknown ingredients. So I will confess that when I don’t know all of the ingredients in a dish, I usually look them up on the online Menu after I leave the restaurant. However, this soup is not featured on their online Menu and I have no idea what was in it. All that I could tell about this soup was that it was absolutely delicious and refreshing with a salty vegetable flavor. Hangover soup is served to you while you’re deciding on your meal.

Mr. Yum - Crab Rangoon

Mr. Yum – Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon – Deep fried dumplings with a curry cream cheese and crab meat center drizzled with an avocado lime sauce. I must say that this was a first time for me. While I’ve had Crab Rangoon in the past, I’ve never had it with a curry cream cheese or avocado lime sauce. What a delicious little treat this was. The curry cream cheese gives it a spicy kick while the avocado lime sauce counter-acts that spice perfectly. This is a great choice for anyone who likes spicy food.

Mr. Yum - Masaman Curry

Mr. Yum – Masaman Curry

Masaman Curry – Yellow curry with coconut milk, cashews, chicken, potatoes, onions, avocados and a side of white rice. This is the real deal when it comes to curry. Each bite of this amazing dish was both sweet and spicy while also creamy and crunchy. For me, texture can sometimes be as important as flavor and that’s why I loved this dish so much. Fresh avocado slices and just the right amount of kick from the curry made this mouthwatering plate a personal favorite. I would definitely order this one again.

Mr. Yum - Pad Thai

Mr. Yum – Pad Thai

Pad Thai – Sautéed rice noodles, eggs, scallions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts. Jessica ordered this one and I must say that I loved it too. Again, this restaurant knows how to deliver on both flavor and texture. The noodles were cooked to a soft perfection and sautéed in a sweet Asian sauce. While skeptical at first about eggs and peanuts in this dish, they gave it a salty twist that kept the sweet sauce from overpowering the meal. These chefs definitely know what they are doing.

Overall a great lunch on Calle Ocho. I would recommend to anyone who likes Japanese and Thai cuisine to come to this place and give it a try. It is guaranteed that whatever you order in this restaurant will be both original and delicious. I hoped you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

To all of my followers, thank you for your support. It means the world to me when I see you guys liking my posts and keeping up with my writing. If you ever have an opinion on what restaurant I should try next then please leave a comment and let me know. Happy Monday everyone.

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Lessons of Love #5

Being A Couple Doesn’t Mean That You’re No Longer An Individual

Why is it that sometimes, we commit so much of ourselves to our relationship that we feel like we no longer know who we are? This is something that Jessica and I have talked about for a while now. Whether it be our own personal experiences or those of our friends and family, everyone has been or knows someone who has been in that place. That place where they don’t know who they are anymore because their personality was all based on their relationship. I know that I’ve been there before and I wondered how I got to that point and what I could have done to avoid it. Do we simply forget who we are when we are in a relationship or is there something else at play?

That question has always bothered and baffled me, mostly because I know that I have felt like that in the past. However, thanks to some sound advice, and a few inspiring examples in my life, I’ve been able to understand why this happens and how to avoid it. Most importantly among those things that I’ve learned is to never forget that you’re an individual before you’re a couple. Though that may sound obvious to some people, the fact is that sometimes it’s not obvious. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then try asking yourself this question: Did you do what you wanted to do this week, or did you do what you thought your partner would like to do this week?

If you answer is that you did what you wanted to do, then you’re being an individual in a relationship. If your answer is that you did what you thought your partner would like to do, then you’re losing your individuality to your relationship. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do things that your partner likes doing, but I am saying that you should never stop doing the things that make you happy. The second that we forget to do the things that make us happy, is the second that we forget who we are. Making your partner happy is essential to any relationship, but don’t let yourself forget that your happiness is just as important. After all, you got into your relationship because it made you happy right?

Never forget to be yourself first. I hope that this little post gave some insight to people out there wondering why they feel like they’ve lost their personality to their relationship and how to get it back. Happy Friday to everyone and thanks for stopping by!

Dinner with a Twist at Barley and Swine

Barley&Swine - Mac-n-Cheese

Barley&Swine – Mac-n-Cheese

Located in Downtown Dadeland, this Gastro pub has earned the title of best croquetta’s in town! Recommended to us by our good friend Kelci, Barley and Swine is a new spot that serves up its own brand of American Comfort food. With Latin and Asian flavors fused into every dish, this spot is great for trying things with a twist. Jessica and I had a great time at this restaurant and this is what we ordered.

Barley&Swine - Croquetas

Barley&Swine – Croquetas

Croquetta’s – serrano ham, manchego cheese, guava sauce and parmesan cheese. Hands down, best Croquetta’s I’ve ever had. Each bite was both pure joy and pure sadness. Pure joy because of its perfect combination of flavors and pure sadness because of its ability to disappear so quickly. I highly recommend these to anyone who’s willing to step outside of their comfort zone. You won’t regret it.
Barley&Swine - Wine and Beer

Beer – American Bourbon Ale and Wine – House white wine. Being a gastro pub, a large selection of beers could always be expected. This one in particular was delicious. Jessica got the house white wine which came chilled and was great too.

Barley&Swine - Fried Green Tomatoes

Barley&Swine – Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes – pimiento cheese, crispy bacon and pimiento aioli. The presentation of these fried green tomatoes was unfortunately better than their actual taste. While the pimiento aioli was a great addition to the fried green tomatoes, the breading was too thick. This resulted in a mushy tomato with a crunchy exterior which was not terrible, but I wouldn’t order it again.

Barley&Swine - Mac-n-Cheese

Barley&Swine – Mac-n-Cheese

House Mac & Cheese – large shell pasta – house blended cheese. Wow. I mean Wow. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy Mac & Cheese from anywhere else ever again. This dish of Mac & Cheese is served in the same cast iron skillet that it is cooked in. While in the picture you may think that the tops of the shells were charred and burnt, you would be incorrect. Those seemingly burnt shells were just as good as the ones on the bottom making this dish an absolute winner in my book. I highly recommend this one to all food lovers as well.

Barley and Swine is definitely a great place to try both new and classic dishes. I will be coming back for an order of those Croquetta’s and I may stay for another Mac & Cheese when I do. Thanks for stopping by!

Largest Outbreak of Ebola Virus in History

CDC map of affected African Countries

CDC map of affected African Countries


The African continent is once again dealing with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, though this time the virus is spreading much faster than in previous years. According to the CDC, as of August 1st, there are 1603 cases of the virus. So far the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have confirmed cases. 887 people have already died from the virus, which unfortunately has no known vaccine. Studies currently suggest that the virus is first contracted by bats and then transmitted to humans, though the actual process by which the virus infects humans is unknown.

Experts say that the virus has spread at such a rapid rate in part due to the poor conditions found in West Africa. Guinea, which was the first location of the outbreak, is one of several West African nations that is poorly equipped to deal with the virus from a healthcare point of view. A lack of facilities to treat the virus coupled with insufficient healthcare resources has led to the spread of Ebola in the region. Experimental vaccines are supposedly being tested on two U.S. citizens who contracted the virus while treating infected patients in Africa.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus can be high fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, liver damage, internal bleeding, external bleeding and skin rashes. The images that I saw when researching this virus were so horrific that I chose not to add any to my post. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from this virus. All that I could do is pray that a vaccine is found shortly and that the virus ceases to spread any further. If there is any progress with this situation I’ll make sure to do a follow-up post on this. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Latin House, A Food Lover’s Paradise

Latin House - Chimi Burrito

Latin House – Chimi Burrito

So I’ve been wanting to write about this amazing restaurant for a while because it’s one of my absolute favorite places to eat. The first time that I went to this place with Jessica, our waiter explained the inspiring Latin House story to us. Initially a food truck, Latin House gained its reputation by serving up some of the most unique cuisine in town. With the food truck craze in full swing across Miami, it didn’t take long before people began raving about their amazing dishes. Eventually they became so popular that groups of people began following the food truck from location to location and at times even to the chef’s home. Earning them the appropriate title of “stalkers”. Overwhelming success allowed the chef to open up a restaurant location and embrace the phrase “stalkers welcome”. For me it was love at first bite. Cuban, Mexican and American foods are all delicious on their own, but when combined together, they form some of the most epic fusion cuisine I’ve ever tasted in my life. So here’s what we ordered…

Latin House - Queso Fondue

Latin House – Queso Fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queso Fondue. A blend of 3 cheeses and Mexican chorizo, melted and served with fresh tortilla chips. This is a must have if you’re planning on ordering an appetizer. This mouthwatering treat is served in the same cast iron skillet that it’s cooked in, giving the Fondue a truly great flavor.

Latin House - 2 Sangria's and a Chimay

Latin House – 2 Sangria’s and a Chimay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sangria and Chimay beer. Known for giving everything an unexpected twist, Latin House makes their own special version of Sangria that’s perfect for Miami weather. I went with one of my favorite beers called Chimay which never disappoints.

Latin House - Grilled and Regular Chimi Burrito's

Latin House – Grilled and Regular Chimi Burrito’s

The Chimi Burrito and the Grilled Chimi Burrito. Normally Jessica goes with the “MadLove” burger but after trying my Chimi Burrito last time, I can’t blame her for ordering one this time around. Since they’re basically the same I’ll just tell you about the regular Chimi Burrito that I can’t seem to get enough of. Yellow “Chuchi” rice, three cheeses, sweet plantains and carne asada come wrapped in a large flour tortilla that is flash fried and topped with pico de gallo, avocado lime sauce and Mexican crema. In short, this is the holy grail of burritos. If you’re the type of person that likes going to a restaurant and ordering the dish that made them famous, then make sure you order one of these. I could literally write an essay explaining why this burrito is the greatest invention ever created but I rather you just try it for yourself.

Latin House - Timba

Latin House – Timba

Timba. Fried Cheese Cubes and a special Guava dipping sauce. The only negative thing that I have to say about this dessert is that it doesn’t come with more! I’m not really a desert person per say but when it comes to Timba, that doesn’t really apply. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these cheese cubes go perfect with the special Guava dipping sauce.

I highly recommend that all food lovers give Latin House a shot. Great service and amazing food keep me going to this restaurant time after time. I hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

Israel Conducts Major Anti-Terror Operation in Gaza

Israeli Police Evacuating Warzone in Gaza

Israeli Police Evacuating a Warzone in Gaza

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to put an end to Hamas’ military attacks on his country. Years of rocket fire on the Jewish state along with constant terrorist operations from Hamas have led Israel to this decisive point. Talks of a truce between Hamas and Israel only worsened the situation as Hamas rejected the idea of a cease-fire. Now Israel has deployed thousands of troops to infiltrate the terror network and asked more than 100,000 Palestinians to leave the area of conflict.

Air power is perhaps Israel’s strongest weapon against Hamas, but terror tactics have made the use of air strikes close to impossible without causing civilian casualties. Hamas takes advantage of its people and asks innocent civilians to stand on the rooftops of their buildings to prevent Israeli air strikes. The result has been a massive ground operation by Israel in which soldiers, tanks and marine assets have all descended upon the Gaza Strip. Underground tunnels used by Hamas to store weapons and move terrorists into the city are being destroyed by the overwhelming ground force.

Just today Delta airlines canceled all flights to Israel due to concerns of rocket fire and ground to air missile attacks. After diverting a flight from Israel to Paris, the airline claimed that it would not risk the lives of its passengers or crew and therefor will be cancelling all flights to Israel for the time being. As the conflict in Israel rages on, the death toll has reached about 550 Palestinians and 25 Israelis. Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned that calling off this operation before destroying Hamas’ terror network could pose a greater threat to Israel in the future.

While waging war against Hamas is a necessary action for stability in Israel, I can’t help but reflect on the U.S. war against Al Qaeda which resulted in more damage and resentment than it did resolution. So how can a country battle terrorism and actually win? I’m not sure if there is any way of achieving a victory against this type of enemy but at least Israel is fighting this battle in its own country and not abroad. My heart goes out to the innocent lives being lost in this confrontation and I hope that a peaceful resolution could be achieved. Thanks for stopping by everyone and feel free to leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this conflict.

Israeli Tanks Mobilized in Gaza

Israeli Tanks Mobilized in Gaza

Map of Israel

Map of Israel

 

 

 

 

Casual Miami Dinner at the Pincho Factory

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries

Pincho Factory is a small casual restaurant with a big reputation in the Miami area. Known for their pincho’s and burgers, Jessica and I decided to give the burgers a shot. (I’m becoming slightly concerned at how often I order burgers. Leave it to blogging to realize you’re a burger addict!) After placing our order and taking a seat, we could not help but realize the diversity of the crowd around us. People from all walks of life gathered under a small roof to enjoy some really great food. It doesn’t get much better than that. So here’s what we ordered…

Mimosa and Heineken

Mimosa and Heineken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First order of business is always ordering a drink. I went with an ice cold Heineken (Right) and Jessica went with a fresh Mimosa (Left). Who says Mimosas are only for brunch. We enjoyed both drinks.

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar Fries (Left) Toston Burger (Right)

Next comes the Pincho Burger and Bacon Cheddar French Fries (Left). Obviously this isn’t a meal that I would recommend anyone eat often, but when you feel like taking a break from the healthy stuff this sure does hit the spot. The Pincho Burger was cooked to juicy perfection with lettuce, tomato, potato sticks and their special sauce. The Bacon Cheddar fries came with a ranch dressing on top. Each bite was both delicious and depressing. Delicious in taste but depressing in that I could tell it was a calorie bomb. Another and perhaps more renowned dish is the Toston Burger (Right) which Jessica ordered. Sandwiched between two tostones (fried plantains) comes a well-cooked burger with jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and a homemade cilantro sauce. If I return to the Pincho Factory I might consider ordering that burger instead. With the innovative toston buns and that amazing cilantro sauce, this burger is in a category of its own. Keep in mind though that the burger is super filling and likely to be too much for one person. Jessica could attest to that.

2nd Round

2nd Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert ended up being a second round for us. After such a filling meal, it was all that we could bare.

My favorite part of our dinner was honestly the bill. Great prices and really unique food are always a great combination. For anyone thinking of going to the Pincho Factory I would strongly recommend doing so on a day that you’re starving. The burgers are very heavy and a side of bacon cheddar fries might put you in a food coma. Aside from that, I really enjoyed our dinner and plan on trying their Pincho’s next time. Thanks for stopping by!