Posts made in March 2019

The Best Pizza in Miami is Pizza Rustica on Lincoln Road…Simple!

Independent Pizza Rustica Customer Review:

I have to say it again! Unbeliveable pizza!!! This is my second review. Unlike other “2nd reviews” there was no change of opinion. Pizza Rustica is simply the best pizza in the world (just the opinion of me, my two boys, my nephew, dad and brother-in-law…plus one of best buddies when we came to Miami some 7 years ago). Its sooooo good. And at around $5 for a giant square. C’mon man!!! Its just too amazing. Nothing comes close to fantastic taste/value and stomach satisfaction. On one hand I’m glad there is not Pizza Rustica in Toronto (I’d be a whale). Actually there is a “Pizza Rustica”, but they only used a name. I tried it once…it was OK, but it was not “The real Pizza Rustica”.

I think most of you would agree that reading a review like this from a customer would for sure get you in there for lunch or dinner.¬† Every restaurant has it’s reviews and of course all you have to do is look at the reviews and make your own decision. In addition to the positive review this customer gave, consistency is also one of the most important factors that will keep customers coming back again and again…and it’s this consistency that keep us coming back…not to mention the extra napkins ūüôā

Meet a smiling Carlos!

When starting off our day in Miami, we look forward to the ever evolving Wynwood Art District. Known for its many colorful graffiti art  murals, Wynwood is one of the city’s most happening destinations in South Florida. Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum showcasing large-scale works by some of the world’s best-known street artists. The surrounding streets have converted warehouses housing craft breweries and funky art galleries.

At the same time, we like to walk the Lincoln Road Mall and stroll about looking at the shops. To be 100% honest, It’s also the home of our favorite pizza spot when visiting Florida…ie…PIZZA RUSTICAhhhhh! For several years we have been coming here and it wasn’t¬†until now that I decided it was time to write this review. Why? The timing was such that I just happened¬†to run into a smiling and sincerely¬†happy Pino the proprietor.

Bert & Pino

I have to say one of my habits in running into the owner or manager of any pizza restaurant is to get the lowdown on the flour. By now you know my concern with bromated flour in pizza.  

So gracious was Pino that he quite proudly brought me towards the back of the restaurant to show me the bags of beautiful King Arthur (unbromated) flour used to make their pizza.

As well, he proudly pointed to all the cans of Italian tomatoes they use and that’s really all I needed to know.

Knowing the tastes we experienced in the past and seeing the ingredients I was not able to see on any prior visits convinced me that not only is this pizza the best taste and texture around…it is also among the healthiest.

What more could you ask for? Pizza Rustica uses Italian tomatoes, unbromated*** flour, extra virgin olive oil and the pizzas are topped with healthy and unique ingredients like seasonal organic produce and natural chicken breast. Salads are made the same way. The produce is sourced daily, and they only use 100 percent whole milk cheeses.  

To Pino…We say thank you for the tour and we look forward to seeing you and your most happy staff all again soon! You know what they say about happy people…Yes?

Hello Rene’

Say Hey to Maria…Mario…Ana…Roxana and Natasha. You know what they say about happy people…Yes?

On the way home, another must stop is Zak The Baker.

Truly Fabulous Food & Art Finds in Wynwood, Miami, Hollywood & Liberty Park, Florida

 

Mangia Baby!

Bert

Unbromated flour*** Google “bromated flour in pizza” and educate yourself.

 

As usual, hope you enjoy the read and we would love to hear your comments and/or suggestions in the “Comments” box below.

BetsaPasta’s Arthur Avenue Inspired Veggie Hero, Sub, Hoagie Creation…Yum City!

As much as I love my Arthur Avenue Teitel Brothers ‘deli’ in “The Beautiful Bronx” for most of my Italian delicacies, I have to confess that my go to source for fresh mozzarella cheese happens to be just down the street at Casa Della Mozzarella.

Photo of Casa Della Mozzarella Italian Deli - Bronx, NY, United States

They¬†specialize in serving New York City with the best Mozzarella rated by Zagat for over a decade with phrases such as ¬†“The Best Mozzarella This Side of The Atlantic” and “The best Mozzarella In NYC, No Questions Asked”.

Short and sweet…it’s true!

BetsaPasta’s¬† new veggie Italian hero, sub, hoagie!

-Fresh baked bread…preferably made with unbromated flour

-Sliced grilled baby artichoke hearts with stems (Teitel Brothers)

-Casa Della fresh mozzarella

-Red roasted peppers marinated in olive oil and garlic (Teitel Brothers)

-Banana peppers ( readily available almost anywhere)

-Sprinkle of dried oregano, dash of Kosher salt and ground pepper

-Blend of EVOO*, red wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar and Manodori balsamic (Manodori is my choice for balsamic vinegar, however use what you are happy with). 2.5 Tbsp EVOO, 1 tsp. each vinegar. Whisk with oregano, salt and pepper.

Note: You can mix and blend your favorite oils and vinegar’s since we all have our own tastes and, of course, it’s all subjective, As well, red roasted peppers are readily available in many gourmet markets

One thing I will tell you. Depending on your timing…

Lucky day…

Unlucky Day is when the line can be out the door and down the block…but you can always get a phab slice of Full Moon Pizza while you’re waiting at the end of the line ūüôā

 

Seen in “Blog Entries”¬† December 15th, 2013

Hey Hey Ralphie…How ‘Bout A Slice O Full Moon And Some Cannoli?

As always…PLEASE feel free to comment below ūüôā

Mangia Baby!

Bert

 

 

 

The Taco Beach Shack Mexican Restaurant in Hollywood, Florida. “A Local Gem”

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For us, what’s really special at The Taco Beach Shack in Hollywood, Florida, is their signature Korean short rib and/or brisket¬† tacos, burrito’s and salads. There are really so many other dishes that are wonderful, however the bottom line here is that these are quite unique in the world of Mexican fare.

Their Margarita’s are phantabulous and worth $10 or $35 for a pitcher. Go Monday eve for the same¬†¬†CLASSIC MARGARITA¬†(Tequila Blanco, Fresh Lime Juice, Agave, Triple Sec (choice of: Strawberry , Guava, or Passion Fruit) and these truly delicioso¬† margaritas are just¬†$2…yup $2.

The service is efficient and the ambiance is relaxed and comfortable. Been referred to as a “local gem”…trust me and go. Have I ever led you astray?

Mangia Baby…or should I say Comer Bebe!

Bert

Short Rib Burrito bowl

 

Brisket Burrito Bowl

Burrito

Short Rib Tacos


The Best Pastrami On Rye Resides At Hershel’s East Side Deli…And It’s Not In New York!

Let me preface this ‘Declaration’ since we’re in Philadelphia!

First…a little “deli’ background. It started for me in New York City with Max Asnas and the Stage Deli’s traditional¬† “Lox, Stock and Bagel” and then the Carnegie Deli back in the 1950’s. Iconic deli’s for sure….the Stage closed in 2012 and the Carnegie closed the last day of 2016.

Image result for stage deli pics

Carnegie Deli Closes Doors After Possible Gas Tampering

Growing up in Great Neck, N.Y. with my friend Kenny Pines, whose father Leonard Pines founded Hebrew National Kosher Foods, put us square in the middle of Kosher deli central. For us in Great Neck in the 60’s and early 70’s it was SQUIRES Delicatessen owned and operated by the Kleckner family and after Squire’s closed, the go to ‘deli’ was…and still is with many devoted fans…BEN’S Kosher Delicatessen owned and operated by Ronnie Dragoon¬†with locations in New York and Florida.

Image result for Squires Delicatessen great neck ny pictures

Many Jewish American delis aren’t even kosher anymore and are commonly referred to as “kosher-style” delis. For example, you can get a pastrami reuben with swiss cheese and sauerkraut at New York City’s Katz’s Delicatessen and, as well, here at Herschel’s with cole slaw in place of sauerkraut.

In 1888 Katz's Deli was the first Jewish American delicatessen to open in New York.¬† ¬†A little tidbit: In 1888 Katz’s Deli was the first Jewish American delicatessen to open in New York.

A little history: The demographics of the neighborhoods in which many of us grew up (for us it started in Great Neck the 1960’s) supported these various first Kosher and then Kosher style eateries. They were food driven and¬† they were also informal community centers where folks could gather to talk politics, get news, reminisce about the old country, discuss arts and announce life events. Jewish American’s from across the religious, economic and political spectra could collect at these places to¬†discuss a¬†broad¬†range¬†of¬†varied¬†but¬†related¬†ideas¬†and intermingle in the comfort of an environment that served good food and made them feel welcome.¬† These were the types of restaurants our families gravitated to…thus making us all experts in the world of pastrami, corned beef and brisket. Right Kenny?¬†

Bottom line: I guess I’m trying to say I’ve tasted them all and now want to share with you our latest and greatest phood phind smack dab in the middle of Philadelphia, PA.

Folks…let me introduce you Hershel’s proprietor¬†Steven Safern (that happy lady smiling in the back is Mrs. S.), whose¬†dad was a manager and partner in Katz‚Äôs Deli in New York. Katz’s may be the best to many folks…but just because you’re in New York and just because you are Katz’s doesn’t mean you are the best…at least in my eyes. Our choice is here!

Not gonna be in Philly anytime soon…try Katz’s…IF you can get in.

So here’s the story. Sandy and I go to the Philadephia Flower Show almost every year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and simply enjoy the theme based shows. This year the theme is Flower Power, but that’s another story.¬†Every time we go, it’s lunch and dinner at the Reading Terminal Market with Hershel’s and a choice of so many other food destinations.

Just a little tidbit about the Reading Market itself: Considered by many as one of the finest public markets in the U.S., this one-of-a-kind with no equal (in our opinion) market blends together state-of-the-art systems technology without sacrificing its historical integrity. It’s not only a popular hometown attraction, but also the most popular Philadelphia tourist destination after the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. More than 80 merchants offer patrons fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, as well as hard-to-find specialties and ethnic foods. Shopping and dining become a pleasure in this warm, inviting, and unique atmosphere. The Reading Terminal Market, as it was over a hundred years ago, is reminiscent of personal, neighborhood shopping, and still offers something for everyone. A trip to Philadelphia would not be complete without stopping here.

For us…Hershel’s is the standout with it’s mind-blowing Pastrami, Brisket and Corned Beef served by one bunch of happy folks. You know what they say about happy people…Yes?

Succulent Pastrami

Brisket, Swiss and Cole Slaw

Corned Beef on Rye                                                          Tender and Juicy Corned Beef

Straight up Brisket on Rye

The consistency¬†of the food and service is what draws us back time and again. Until you experience this for yourself, it’s just another opinion coming from us. Opinions to some degree have a lot to do with timing. Perhaps one day something is off…however I do not write about anything that has not gone through the consistency test. You can Google Hershel’s and like any restaurant there are tons of reviews. Here are just a few I have picked off the web.

***Hands-down best pastrami Reuben on earth including my favorite places in New York City.

***I ordered a pastrami sandwich with slaw on the side.The sandwich was oozing of soft, wonderfully cooked delicious meat. The meat had such an amazing taste to it-it actually was melting away in my mouth. The bread used was fresh and delicious as well. It was so packed with meat that I actually took some out of the sandwich to eat with a fork. The slaw was crunchy and fresh.

***So I have been to different Jewish delis around the country. I have been to many staples in New York city like Katz’s and the Pastrami Queen. I have never found a better Jewish Deli than Hershel’s any where. Their pastrami is so incredible!

Fortunately it was late and this allowed me to take some pictures of some more of the specialty and ethnic food choices there for the picking…and with happy and smiling faces at 6PM after a long day.

Here goes…

 

 

Oh yeah….The Flower Show!

Nothing signals the imminent arrival of spring quite like the Philadelphia Flower Show.

A staple in Philadelphia since 1829, this annual blockbuster show ‚ÄĒ which is the world‚Äôs oldest and largest indoor event of its kind ‚ÄĒ draws more than 250,000 people to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia every year.

Each year, a new theme energizes participants and visitors. The theme for 2019, ‚ÄúFlower Power,‚ÄĚ celebrated the impact flowers have on society in the year of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

Take a day trip: For sure worth the 2.5 hour drive for us coming from East Norwich on Long Island…from Manhattan maybe 2 hours. Since today is the last day, you’ll just have to plan a trip next year. Trust me…have I ever lead you astray?

On that note…Sandy and I wish you all sincere Love, Peace & Happiness wishes…in that order!

 

Please…feel free to comment below. We love your input and/or suggestions.

Until next time,

Mangia Baby!

Bert

South Seas Resort, Sanibel & Captiva Farmer’s Markets, The Inspired Art of Matlacha & Shellfies, YES Shellfies!

First and foremost. The Shellfie was the brainchild of Sandy Shair Spitz in Captiva, Florida in 2019.

Says Sandy…

“Trends are new but many are long lasting and become classics. Shellfies will become a classic…so get on board with YOUR¬† own Shellfie pic…coming soon to a beach near you!”

All Pics by Bert

Now…The peace and tranquility of The South Seas Resort on the island of Captiva, Florida.

But first…know this!¬†Two of Florida‚Äôs most beloved beach destinations, the islands of Sanibel and Captiva offer visitors a combination of outdoor adventures and natural attractions. Boasting an alluring small-town charm, this Gulf Coast barrier island‚Äôs laid-back ambiance lets visitors escape from the daily stresses¬†of life. Known as the ‚ÄúShelling Capital of the World,‚ÄĚ people travel from all over the world to scour the beaches each every morning for the array of unique pieces that have washed up ashore.

We all have our favorite destinations and for Sandy and me, this is therapy! Being surrounded by water at every turn, palm trees and Australian pines, most assuredly plenty of sunshine, beautiful natural wildlife and tropical birds. most of the time uncrowded beaches full of the most beautiful seashells one has ever seen, sighting dolphins swimming 50 feet off-shore, casual and fun restaurants and no traffic lights is our Def O Heaven! When one chooses Sanibel and/or Captiva, you’ll slow down and you can then set your mind not be in a rush to go anywhere.

 

Hey Look!…There’s Everton in the red shirt. A genuine sense O humor…Just check out his Shellfie!

                                                                     Sunrise and Moon-set

Beautiful air plants and enchanting scented candles from Lizzie’s Lights at the Sanibel Farmers Market with our discovered Captiva shells

Shell art on our beach!

Can you imagine?

Did I mention extremely exquisite sunsets?

 

Of course, if you are a foodie like me, you’ll absolutely love the Sanibel and Captiva farmer’s markets that take place weekly. In my humble foodie opinion, there is not a more enjoyable and satisfying farmer’s market than Sanibel…anywhere! Cap that off with a similar, albeit smaller, version of this market in Captiva and you are in peace and tranquility foodie heaven!

That said, let me introduce you to one of the two most famous foodie’s on these islands and the organizer of these two phabulous phood shows…Jean Baer…seen with me in the photo below. She and her business partner Betsy Ventura own¬†Local Roots, LLC.¬†and operate 8 of the largest Farmers Markets in Lee County Florida.¬† It goes without saying that when you buy from local vendors at a Farmers Market that money stays in the community and gets reinvested!¬† Much of the produce that is found in the big box grocery stores has been trucked in from as far as 1500 miles and may have been picked over a week ago.

Each of the Local Roots Farmers Markets offer a unique opportunity for vendors to sell seasonal local fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, nursery stock and other commodities. Some of the markets also create an opportunity for local crafters to showcase their products. Attendees have the opportunity to buy locally and to gather with friends and neighbors in a relaxed outdoor setting.  Stop by one of the Local Roots Farmers Markets…….It’s the Best Thing Growing!

There was such an abundant selection of wonderful foods, not to mention one of our favorite finds…Lizzie’s Lights for phab candles.¬†¬†¬†Local produce selections at both venues were vast and included for us a phab selection of citrus and exotic fruits, organic lettuces and absolutely some of the best heirloom cherry tomatoes I’ve ever tasted from Farmer Mike U-Pick.

WHAT ARE FARMER MIKE U-PICK’S FARMING PRACTICES?

They are a Non-GMO Sustainable Farm based in Bonita Springs and their¬†decisions are based upon protecting the environment, protecting our resources (soil and water), and protecting our workers. With that, let me introduce you to Jessica…a very happy protected worker. You can tell by that smile and you know what they say about happy people….yes?

Jessica, please bring the word back to your folks that we appreciate their practices and tell them we love the product!

Sandy shopping and a couple of dishes we made from what we bought at the Farmer’s Market’s

¬† ¬† ¬†Ever hear of Calamondin Oranges? Me neither…but a winner!

Other favorites included unbromated flour breads and  Gallberry honey from Heritage Point.

Hey Mary…thanks for your fine reception and fun personality, It made the experience that much sweeter. Loving the Gallberry honey! Tell Mr. Don Murray we’ll be back for more.¬† ¬†

Fresh local seafood, meats, flowers, really nice bagels and cream cheese flavors, fresh mozzarella cheese selections, Greek cheeses,¬† and beautiful tropically scented candles were all an integral part of these shows…BUT the real show stopper was THE BEST Guacamole we have ever tasted.¬† This superior product by Dynasty Guacamole was prepared fresh in large batches by the happiest bunch of fellas…and on the spot. You know what they say about happy people…yes?

So happy, they gave me their recipe to share with my readers. Can you imagine?

                                                            Meet Winston, Izzy and Pedro

So…here goes…Avocados, sea salt, lime juice, tomatoes, red onion and extra virgin olive oil. Simple…right? The only thing you need to figure out is the proportions. It’s better that way anyway so you can make it to your taste…yes? They also sell on the spot their famous tomatillo green salsa, pineapple salsa and Mediterranean mango salsa.

Let’s move on to some wonderful Italian products prepared by¬† Chef Luigi of Ernesto and Luigi’s Sauces.

Bottom line…we couldn’t taste everything, but whatever we did eat brought us back to the flavors of Arthur Avenue in The Beautiful Bronx. Thank you chef and thanks to your lovely daughter in her NY Yankee hat for her phab ravioli.

 

Well, that’s about it for our favorites and Jean’s famous Sanibel and Captiva Farmer’s Markets.

Thank you Jean…See ya next time!

 

As much as I could be satisfied getting up and going to the South Seas beach or pool for the day, Sandy like to take us on adventures on some mornings (Sunday and Tuesday it’s the Sanibel or Captiva farmer’s markets) and then the beaches or pool in the afternoon. On one of those adventures, our friends Judy and Eddy along with Helen and Joe¬† in nearby Fort Myers took us on a day trip to the art colony of Matlacha on Pine Island…for sure one of the most colorful and inspirational art destinations we have ever seen, I have to confess, however, I was shellfishly¬† bowled over by not only the colorful art…but by¬† BERT’S Bar & Grill.

Are you ready?

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Me, Judy, Sandy and Eddy takin’ a Shellfie!

 

A special shout out to Joey…Keep those Hot Dogs and your personality coming Joey…See ya next time!

BTW…Just so you folks know how to get Joey and his boat to come into where you are…

Don’t wave! You need to motion him in by moving in unison both of your arms toward you on the beach. This is how he will know you want him and his phabulous floating hot dogs!

All the best,

Sandy & Bert

No worries …Schnapper’s…and more…coming soon!