Garcia's Wins Big at Paella Parade
|Por Fin's quail/quail egg paella - most creative by far.|
Participants were Por Fin, Xixon, El Carajo International Tapas and Wines, Garcia's Seafood, Casa Juancho, and Happy Wine.
|The Garcias, far left and far right, cop top prize.|
LOSERS: Delicias de España, Andalus, El Rincón Asturiano, and Whole Foods, who did not show up. They weren't missed, but shame on them anyway -- especially Whole Foods, which co-sponsored the event. "Two of them were for personal reasons," replied one the event managers when asked why those four couldn't make it.
Chef/owner Esteban Garcia of Garcia's offered a "Valencia, Spanish-style paella. We've got a lot of seafood in there. We started out with blue crabs, scallops, calamari, fish, shrimp, a little bit of lobster meat...and we've got some chorizo, some chicken, and some pork." It gets finished with olive oil and "a lot of love from our fish stock." I thought it was the tastiest of the six -- the crab flavor really came through. You can get it at Garcia's Seafood Grille ($22.95 to $26.95).
|Ricardo Fonseca unveils El Carajo's paella|
Co-owner siblings (along with their father) of El Carajo, Ricardo and Javier Fonseca, were on hand to dish. The secret ingredient? "We put love in ours," answered Ricardo. "We match wines with the food at our restaurant, instead of the other way around." Chef Juan Caliero described the ingredients to me in Spanish. According to my on-the-spot translation, he said, "bacalao..(I'm not sure what came next)...porcinis Italiano...pollo, clams, white asparagus...(a few more things I didn't understand)...piquillo peppers and Valencia rice." It's $18 to $20 at El Carajo, and "it's a 45-minute wait," Ricardo offered, "because we cook everything to order."
Chef Jon Gonzalez of Xixon also described his paella to me in Spanish. I'm not sure if he mentioned garlic or not, but you could taste it.
|Judges from Miami Culinary institute|
|Paella from Casa Juancho|
|Felix Carlos Lopez of Happy Wine takes prize for most wine-friendly paella|
|A food & film crowd.|
|Xixón's xellfish being xerved.|
Jose Rodriguez of Casa Juancho was dishing a paella with scallops, calamari, shrimp, mussels, and mahi-mahi. I thought they got the rice down better than anyone, including the nice crispy stuff at the bottom. They serve the same version at the restaurant for $28.
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