Last week, while we were in Miami, we went to a couple of really good restaurants, two of which we loved so much that I wanted to share with you.
Both restaurants are in a neighborhood called Wynwood. Wynwood is a trendy arts hub with more than 70 galleries and museums. As we walked through the streets, we got a chance to see some of the most amazing murals I have ever seen in my life. Also, we went into a couple of galleries and saw some exceptionally beautiful paintings, murals, and sculptures. If you have time, you could literally spend a whole day going in and out of these galleries in the area.
Wynwood also is home to some of the trendiest restaurants in Miami. We ate at a couple of them, and while they were all impressive, two in particular were really something special.
The first one is called Mandolin. It is an Aegean Bistro located on 4312 NE 2nd Avenue. It was our friends, Andrea and Thalia’s idea to go there. The minute we entered Mandolin, I felt the familiar, warm and welcoming feeling that made me feel like I was back home. From the color scheme to the happy and genuine smile of our server, I knew from the very beginning that I was going to enjoy this dinner. When we were handed the menu, it was confirmed that there was a Turkish chef in the kitchen. Come to find out, Mandolin is a restaurant owned by 2 people – one is Turkish and the other is Greek.
The menu was full of Aegean classics from small plates – mezes to main dishes like chicken kebap and sea bass- levrek. To start with, we ordered Turkish chorizo, Kofte, and marinated octopus. Then for our entrées we both had the daily special, sea bass. I was so happy when I saw that they served the whole fish, just like they would do back home. To end our dinner, we had Turkish coffee and a couple of pieces of delicious homemade baklava.
All in all it was a wonderful dinner that we enjoyed immensely. I strongly recommend anyone living or going to Miami to stop by and have a bite at Mandolin.
The second place we loved is called Joey’s. Located on 2506 NW 2nd Avenue, it is a modern Italian café. When we heard that they claim to be the best pizza in Miami, we knew we were going to have pizza for lunch that day.
Joey’s menu offers some of the most popular Italian dishes from Bruschetta Fresca to Cocette Primavera to pizzas like Margherita and Parma e Funghi. We started with the Cocette Primavera, a dish similar to a summer vegetable gratin served in a small ovenproof bowl with toasted garlicky bread. Then we shared a pizza called Gorgonzola Tartufata – a pizza made with Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and topped with arugula flavored with truffle oil. It was AMAZING. I thought the combination of Gorgonzola cheese and chopped walnuts together with truffle oil was just simply yummy.
I told Dwight that we would have to make this at home. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by a supermarket and picked up a bottle of truffle oil.
So the idea of this bruschetta came from Joey’s in Miami. I opted for a bruschetta because it is much quicker to put together. However, you could certainly use the combination as a pizza topping. If you decide to do that I would recommend making the pizza dough as thin as possible so that it would be light and crunchy. Just like they served in Joey’s.
Either way, I promise you with such flavors, your taste buds are in for a treat. The creamy and salty Gorgonzola cheese flavored with earthy and crunchy walnuts and topped off with peppery arugula tossed with truffle oil offer you a simple yet delicious treat. I served it with my Mint and Rosemary Lemonade with Vanilla for lunch. But it could also be served with wine as an appetizer for a dinner or a brunch party.
Gorgonzola-Walnut Bruschetta with Truffle Oil
- 8 slices of sourdough bread
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 3/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 2 cups arugula washed and spin-dried
- 2 cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press
- 2 tablespoons of truffle oil
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Line the bread slices on two baking sheets.
- Divide the shredded mozzarella evenly on each bread slice. Continue the same process with the gorgonzola cheese and walnuts.
- Place baking sheets in the oven and bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Place the arugula in a salad bowl. Add the garlic and truffle oil. Toss to combine.
- Top each bruschetta with a handful of arugula.
- Serve when it is still warm.