La Diva Takes a Walk Around da 'Hood'

My name is La Diva and I live on an island.  It's f*cking fabulous.  It's called Belle Isle, is a "natural" island (as opposed to man-made) and is part of a chain of residential islands on the Venetian Causeway that joins Miami Beach to mainland Miami.

I also live on an historical site.  This makes me happy and adds to the fabulousness of it all.

This is the building I live in now.  Every time I walk into it "The Jefferson's" theme song plays in my head:  "Well, we movin' on UUUUUUP!"  I can't believe I live in a place as fancy-pants as this and keep waiting for someone to stop me and ask what I'm doing there.  The building was built in the late 1970's and the interior looks just like the inside of the Love Boat.  It's fabulous.

I have to cross this bridge to get to the shops and restaurants on Miami Beach.

This is to the right of me and faces south looking into Biscayne Bay with the Port of Miami in the background.

This is to my left from the causeway bridge.  I like that I have to go over water every time I leave my home.  Being close to the water makes me happy.

This is the stone plaque and entrance to the lovely little park just over the bridge, on the north side of the causeway named in honor of Maurice Gibb.  Yes, THAT Maurice Gibb (pronounced "Morris") from the Bee Gees, who were longtime Miami Beach residents.  (Barry and Robin might still live here but I never see them!)  Instead of walking through the park, I head east across the street to check out what new store went into the corner shop.

Ahhhh....just what La Diva needs!  A yummy gelato bar!  

And right next to it the French creperie, A La Folie Cafe! In fact, on this block alone, I can enjoy the food of Burger & Beer Joint (every burger you can imagine), Morgan's (damn good comfort food and brunch) and Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante, which offers a unique form of Italian food from Sardinia, naturally! (think fregola, boar and pecorino cheese!)

A turn to the east again takes me to my fabulous new grocery choice, The Fresh Market.  

And a quick stroll up the block finds me right at my other grocery choice, Publix.  Yes, that is my grocery store. We have a rule regarding architecture on Miami Beach.  It all has to be fabulous.  I mean it.

I begin to head west again, towards Sunset Harbor, with hip, new Catalan-inspired resto Barcelonata in front. 

 I pass their other two deelish restaurants, Asian gastro pub Pubbelly and PubSushi.

For some strange reason, I really like living in a neighborhood that boasts a yacht club.  Not sure why, though.  I head south again, towards the park and back home.

In order to glean a bit more sunshine, I decide to walk along the back of Sunset Harbor Yacht Club by the marina, taking photos of the pretty, little boats.  I can do this even though I'm not a resident and is private property because I am sporting a gold lame carry bag and no one would dare question anyone sporting a gold lame carry bag, would they?  They didn't.

La Diva thinks that it would be fun to buy a kayak to go whenever I want!

 I keep heading south and stroll through Maurice Gibb Park again and take note of the stress-free playground scene with the parents.  *sigh*  It's sooooo nice Miami Beach parents have this great, clean, safe play ground for their kids.  It's also soooooo nice it's not within ear shot of my home.

I head back over the bridge to Belle Isle and walk through the small park towards home.  I love this little gated doggy park in front of our building.

As I start to head in, I get a phone call, and decide that this bench under this fabulous tree is too perfect to not sit on while I chat.

I like my new neighborhood.  It's fabulous.  And La Diva needs to be a part of fabulous.  I think I'm going to like living here, yes, I do.

It ALL Starts with Buttah.....

Darlings!  Twas the night before Thanksgiving and finally, La Diva had the time to do something I'd been wanting to for months:  Have a Julia Child night and immerse myself in cream, buttah and complicated recipes!

My buddy Corinna came by with the intention of imbibing fully in the Julia theme!  We would be making an entree and dessert from her cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and then watching foodie flick "Julie & Julia."

As one does when cooking with a friend (or alone), a cocktail was in order and the DJ handed us both a lovely old school drink, a 7 & 7, and I got to work on the chicken while the lovely Corinna began to peel apples for dessert.

Indeed it is.

Looking through the intimidating tome a few days before, I had picked some fairly simple recipes for us to prepare, a chicken fricassee and an apple clafoutis.

And it all started with buttah.  

Loads of it!   I began with the mirepoix aka chopped celery, onion and carrots and sauteed in the butter until the vegetables were translucent.  This would be a fine flavor base for my stew.

Corinna's beautiful apple clafoutis, a combination of fruit, pancake and tart!  Easy and delicious!

But wait.  I had to make a 'garnish' of mushrooms and pearl onions.  More buttah, more steps and not enough pans or burners!   Sheesh!  This is why I don't cook French food often, so many steps!  Meanwhile, Corinna is working on HER dessert, more buttah.....this was going to be one divinely decadent dinner!  (say that ten times fast after a few whiskies!)

Three hours and a few whiskies too many, we finally ate.  Drunk and starving, we inhaled the creamy, divine chicken in a mere 15 minutes!

The fricasee was CREAMY DIVINITY packed with flavor (and loads of buttah, a few egg yolks and cream!)  Success!  (and worth every step, every ingredient, every pat of buttah!)

And then the next day was Thanksgiving.....

Friday we had leftovers from our fabulous dinner at a friend's but then Saturday offered another opportunity for La Diva to cook meals I hadn't had time for lately.   A recent purchase of grass fed beef osso bucco at the Farmer's Market inspired this comforting meal.

Osso bucco braised in red wine with carrots and mushrooms over creamy polenta.  Want to make your polenta REALLY DECADENTLY CREAMY?  Add one cup of whole milk along with chicken stock and then add a cube of fontina cheese along with buttah and parmigiano cheese.  Jessssss......!

Finally, after four days of imbibing in creamy, buttery delicious dinners and desserts, La Diva was craving LIGHT and GREEN and HEALTHY!  So, we started  Sunday's dinner with a salad of butter lettuce (had to be buttah in there somewhere! ha!) with roasted organic baby beets, feta, almonds and pomegranate.  Crunchy, sweet, tart and tasty!

Followed by a seared mahi mahi steak with a fresh asparagus and roasted grape tomato garnish on a bed of saffron infused wild rice with spinach.  *sigh*  Guilt gone and back to the gym on Monday!  

There really is NO POINT TO LIFE if one can't enjoy a few decadent meals with friends once in a while, right?  Darlings, what's YOUR fave decadent meal?  And have YOU ever prepared a Julia Child recipe?  DO tell, La Diva wants to hear all about it!

Ciao for now, darlings! x