Last week, Connor and I were driving around North Miami, after a thought-provoking trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art (read about it here), searching for a quick snack. Having no luck, we started moving farther and farther south in the direction of our ‘hood when I thought to check twitter for the location of Jefe’s Original Fish Taco and Burgers.
I first learned about Jefe’s from Mango and Lime, and I’ve been dying to stalk the truck ever since. Problem is, it’s not often that I’m out and about searching for the perfect mid-afternoon salty snack. Luckily, I pulled up Tweet Deck on my trusty iPhone and quickly found Jefe’s, only to discover that we were merely eight blocks north of the truck!
Needless to say, the fish tacos did not disappoint. The battered grouper was light and salty, the toppings provided the quintessential balance of smoky, spicy, and creamy, and the tortillas tasted so obviously homemade. And Jefe’s even gives you Chiclets gum with your meal!
To be honest, I probably could have eaten ten orders of those little guys, but I’m glad I didn’t, only because of what came later. After I finished cleaning up the terrible mess I made on Jefe’s truck, I popped a Chiclet in my mouth and insisted we stop by The Cheese Course on the way home. You see, I had been conserving the last small chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano in my fridge (blasphemy!) and I desperately needed to restock.
I also had yet to pay a visit to my local cheesemonger. To be honest, I don’t recall how I discovered The Cheese Course, but my gut tells me it was probably through twitter. Anyway, I somehow ended up on their mailing list, and now I am routinely tempted by free wine and cheese tastings that I never seem to be able to attend.
Now, I’m sure I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like cheese, but I could eat cheese every day. And I don’t just mean that I could have a sprinkle of cheese in a salad or a slice on a burger. I mean that I could eat entire meals of cheese every single day. Years earlier, through a particularly rough patch in my twenties (haven’t we all been there?), I was hurting pretty badly, financially. I lived frugally, not going out with my friends often, refusing to venture anywhere near a retail store that wasn’t named Target, and working eighty hours a week (seriously). Since I managed a catering company at the time, I saved a ton of money on groceries. Those rare moments that I actually had time to grab a bite, there was almost always something good in the kitchen. Oh, the days of having a professional kitchen at my disposal! Anyway, I figure that no matter how rough things are, a girl’s gotta indulge a little, right? So instead of suffering through endless dinners of Easy Mac and PB&Js, I was able to use my poor single girl’s grocery budget to spoil myself with endless dinners of wine and cheese.
At the time, the best cheese selection in my area was found at Publix, and let’s face it, as amazing as Publix is, it certainly has its limitations when it comes to satisfying a gourmet palate. Later, when I moved closer to a Whole Foods, I took pleasure in having easy access to a much more refined cheese selection, but I never could find a solo cheesemonger in South Florida. So you can imagine my excitement upon discovering a whole store, devoted entirely to cheese, just ten minutes north of my apartment!
Of course, I couldn’t leave there with only Parmigiano Reggiano. I also picked up a wedge of Piave that the store described as tasting of pineapple and almonds. I’d actually never heard of Piave before, but it’s similar to Parmigiano Reggiano and Connor and I enjoyed comparing them in a little wine and cheese tasting at home.
The Cheese Course also has a lovely menu of bites and nibbles, and the staff is pretty good at pairing the wines. Walking around the store made me hungry again, so Connor and I shared the Spanish cheese plate, which we paired with two glasses of Rioja.
After we finished the wine and cheese, I was happy and delirious and ready to spend another hour wandering aimlessly around the store again, smelling wedges of gorgonzola and delighting over little jars of quince paste. Unfortunately, Connor pulled me away before I could do any more damage.
I suppose I’ll just have to plan many nights of pasta, so that this Parmigiano Reggiano doesn’t last too long.