Tempting Take-Out Ideas

These days, the best seat in the house is your own dining room table.

I like to cook and don’t mind staying home.  My husband Mikey and I and enjoy discussing what we will have for dinner every night. After we kind of slave thru the day with prep, we look forward with anticipation to opening a nice bottle of wine and reward ourselves to an always delicious homecooked meal.  But, there are exceptions.  Here and there we venture to our favorite chefs and restaurants, who now-a-days are now offering take-out and delivery service.

LA MAR by Gaston Acurio

Here, our dear friend Diego Oka has imprinted his unrivaled culinary artistry.  This chef is restless.  Last week, I received a preview of the current Peruvian Independence Day (July 28), a holiday-themed box filled with a curated selection of those authentic Peruvian specialties that Chef Diego re-creates,  which is available thru August 2nd.  The deal, $99.00 (with either 1 liter of Chicha Morada or two Cuzqueñas Beers), includes enough food for two people, would normally retail for $128.00.  The feast includes a robust Cebiche Carretillero, chunks of snapper, shrimp, octopus, sweet potato, choclo come alongside a mildly spiced leche de tigre, which is what marinates the pristine raw fish to a raw-cooked state.  The Causa de Pollo, even as it traveled inside a box, its beautifully packaged arriving intact: piped mounds of buttery yellow potato causa, creamy chicken salad, huancaina sauce, black olives and quail eggs.  A delicious composition.  Papa a la Huancaína are smashed cooked then fried yellow potatoes covered with that unique tasting huancaína cream.  Anticucho de Corazón, are skewers of beef heart, an acquired taste ( I have never gotten used to eating this organ meat, but its authentic Peruvian!), and a superb Arroz con Mariscos,  beautifully cooked rice in rich seafood broth with rings of calamari, octopus, sweet shrimp, aji amarillo and criolla sauce,  is accented by translucid  slices of purple onion. The  dessert, a simple Alfajor, a cookie that originated in Spain and found its way to South America, is made as a mini cake, with three layers of buttery crumbling cookies filled with dulce de leche and dusted with snow of confectioners’ sugar. La Mar 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131, 305-913-8358.

Michelle Bernstein Catering

The multi-faceted chef Michelle Bernstein doesn’t need a restaurant kitchen to prepare her delicious food.  Her style: homey, well prepared, yummy, every day, unpretentious dishes. Bernstein and her husband David Martinez quickly adapted to the “new normal” state of current living and even after temporarily closing Café La Trova – to keep patrons and workers safe — they continued to offer their twice-a-week popular delivery menus.

Wednesdays have been known for Michy’s Fried Chicken Dinner for two, which became a tradition. You have until August 5th to try this delicious meal that includes a refreshing watermelon and feta cheese salad, along with her tangy coleslaw to accompany that fabulous crunchy buttermilk fried chicken. The meal ends with an old-fashion, creamy chocolate pudding.  At $49 it’s a steal. You can also add buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac & cheese and pickled deviled eggs.

Starting next Wednesday Bernstein will lighten things up, and take the Roasted Chicken route. This new Chicken Fest will come with Local Italian Burrata, ripe heirloom tomatoes and watermelon, adorned with her own front yard grown basil pesto; Squash and Eggplant Tian, medallions of the veggies roasted with tomato sauce, caramelized shallots and garlic; the slow roasted half bird seasoned with lemon and zaatar over fingerling potatoes; and a summer treat for dessert: strawberry and peach shortcake with whip cream.  Price, also $49 for ½ bird enough for two and $99 for whole one enough for four. Order online by clicking here.


This Lima import, with popular locations in Latin America’s most prominent cities such as Buenos Aires and Bogota, Osaka Miami in the Brickel area, has provided the same culinary concept to North America with a definite Miami twist. Nikkei master Chef Rogger Quispe and his team prepare Osaka’s eye-catching signature cuisine.  The to go or Delivery menu gives diners a nice selection of dishes, but it’s hard to re-create the setting and the intimate vibe of the location. Wasabi Ceviche is made of pristine slices of scallops, and white fish,  dressed with a wasabi citrus sauce ( $24);  As a “Tiradito”, the Tuna Tataki ($24) is slices of seared tuna with aji amarillo sauce, and the addition of   the aromatic tropical chirimoya fruit and chalaquita; but for straight forward non-adventurous tastes there’s the Carpassion ($25), slices of salmon with passion fruit honey, accompanied by the freshness and crunch of watercress.  For an out-of-the-ordinary treat, but a great one,  the crispy ( by means of frying) Nori Taco ($16) is filled with a tuna tartare seasoned with a smoked rocoto pepper preparation, avocado mayo, cilantro and pickled radish;  The Lime Salmon Makimono ($18), a rice roll filled with crispy fried shrimp, cream cheese, topped with salmon slices and lime felt Americanized and delicious, and the Inca Gyoza ($26), plump and filled with tender  flavorful duck confit, caramelized onion and shiitake mushrooms, a total delight with or without the accompanying aji Amarillo sauce.  Tender, sweet and crisp Pisco Ribs ($32) have been heavily glazed with citrus and pisco and sprinkled with cacao nibs and coriander.  Brickell House, 1300 Brickell Bay Dr, Miami FL 33131; 786-627-4800

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