Today’s Blogger in the Spotlight is without a doubt an equal opportunity eater. She writes about chick-fil-a and Diet Dr. Pepper to Dim Sum at Hakkasan in the Fontainebleau. I met our Blogger in the Spotlight earlier this year at Hakkasan and she is as lovely as she appears in her writings. She’s all glow-y and happy and nice (keep reading and you’ll understand why). Gracia Larrain Lascelle is the writer behind Notable Nibbles who takes you with her on her culinary journeys and jaunts from South Florida to Sarasota and anywhere else she may land. Notable Nibbles recently plunged into marital bliss and documented her pre-wedding meals, horoscope, diet, bridal shower and all around excitement of her pending nuptials, this is what bloggers are made of, great real stories and experiences that followers literally eat up. At the end of most Notable Nibbles are wonderful thought-provoking food quotes such as, “Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.” Frederic Raphael. These iconic one-line wonders definitely make you think about food and eating and inspire you to enjoy food in all of its forms from the drive-thru quick flash fryalator food to the perfectly sautéed veal medallion at the hottest new restaurant in the Design District; and Notable Nibbles gives you the bite on just how to appreciate it all. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you this week’s Blogger in the Spotlight, Notable Nibbles:
South Florida Food and Wine: How did you start food blogging?
Notable Nibbles: When I first moved to Miami nearly six years ago, the city was undergoing a bit of an identity crisis when it came to food. In recent years, I have seen the city evolve as it’s attracted new names on the restaurant scene and it’s also been an influential vehicle responsible for reshaping certain areas and neighborhoods, e.g. Design District, Midtown, North Miami, Brickell, etc. Despite this influx of culinary talent in our own backyard, I was still seeing the same restaurants pop up in conversation among locals and out-of-towners. So Notable Nibbles was born out of my interest to share my gastronomic adventures in South Florida – both Miami and Sarasota (where I spend some of my time as well) – and hopefully contribute to Miami staking its claim as a city with varied and vast dining options.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about blogging?
Notable Nibbles: The greatest challenges with blogging are regularity, relevance, and entertainment. I don’t like to let too many days pass without an update, but when it does come time to share a new experience, I want to present it in such a way that speaks to the reader. Also, I prefer to include an image with my posts so I try to stealthily sneak in a shot without being a nuisance to fellow diners.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the greatest opportunity that has come from blogging for you?
Notable Nibbles: This experience has introduced me to so many terrific local bloggers and resources I would have otherwise never had a chance to experience.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your most memorable blogging moment?
Notable Nibbles: When a restaurant owner reached out to thank me for my review. It appears my blog was the first one to publish a review – a five star one at that! – And it showed him the power and importance of social media for his business.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Notable Nibbles: Assuming my last day would be in Miami, there’s a three-way tie so I would have to make a few stops that evening: saag paneer from Mint Leaf, the agnolotti Katerina from Caffe Abbracci and the gorgonzola gnocchi from Il Gabbiano.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best food advice you have to share?
Notable Nibbles: Don’t rely on recipes. Certainly draw inspiration from them but feel free to tweak as needed and putting your own twist on something. You’ll have more fun that way and have a better end result.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one obsessive kitchen habit?
Notable Nibbles: I love to cook for an audience, not with one. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen, so solo time at the stove is a must, and then when it’s time to dig in, it can be about communal enjoyment.
South Florida Food and Wine: If you could choose to be any food, what would it be?
Notable Nibbles: Cherimoya.
South Florida Food and Wine: If looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
Notable Nibbles: A vast assortment of hot sauces (Texas Pete is ridiculously cheap and pretty potent) and mustards (Mr. Mustard is hard to find but the best sandwich spread and the perfect dollop to spruce up your salad dressing), and Parmesan cheese (freshly grated and in block form, Parrano).
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one “staple” food you always have in your cupboard?
Notable Nibbles: My “in a pinch” meal for my hubby is spaghetti Bolognese so I always have a package of whole wheat pasta and a jar of Mario Batali’s Arrabiata pasta sauce. Dalmatia Fig Spread is always in there too; it’s a lovely little something extra for soft and hard cheeses as well as salad dressings.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your beverage of choice?
Notable Nibbles: These days I’m obsessed with coconut water (Vita Coco, peach & mango flavor) and red wine – either a Chilean Merlot (Santa Ema Maipo Valley Reserva) or California Pinot Noir (Etude)
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite comfort food?
Notable Nibbles: I have a serious crush on the veggie burger from Go-Go Café in Miami Beach, served with sprouts, avocado, and a side of sweet potato fries. This meal is total comfort and for dessert, the banana nutella empanada is a must.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your culinary claim to fame?
Notable Nibbles: I’m known for impromptu cupboard cleansing meals. I can make a little go a long way, especially if I’m in someone else’s home. Having few ingredients does not mean you can’t whip up something tasty; you just need imagination and patience.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best culinary gift you ever received?
Notable Nibbles: A Breville blender. I’ve gone through too many that wobble and spill to the point of concern, but this guy is totally reliable and sturdy.
South Florida Food and Wine: What kitchen chore do you dislike the most?
Notable Nibbles: Taking out the trash. I live in a condo so it’s just tedious. I leave that to my husband.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten and where?
Notable Nibbles: A sea urchin shot at Bond Street in the basement of the Townhouse Hotel in Miami Beach.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most extravagant food or beverage item or culinary tool you spent money on?
Notable Nibbles: Good parmesan can be pricey but sometimes a necessary extravagance, depending on the dish. For a special celebration, Perrier Jouet is the only bubbly.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where was the best meal you ever had? And why?
Notable Nibbles: I’m half Peruvian, and during our honeymoon in California, we dined at La Mar, Gaston Acurio’s restaurant next to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It was sublime as he took classic dishes but put his own spin on them for purposes of flavor and presentation. Tiradito, ceviche, causa, lomo saltado, arroz con mariscos, and on and on and on and on. Heavenly. For when I’m in desperate need of my own Peruvian fix at home, Francesco in Coral Gables fits the bill.