Disclosure: Some posts on this blog are sponsored, meaning that I received goods, services, or monetary payment for my writing. My opinions however, are not 'purchased' and are always 100% my own. Posts contain affiliate links that I earn a commission on. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Website Review: Mommypolls.com

So, a few months ago I got sent an email from Bloggy Moms to check out this website called mommypolls.com. It wasn't on the top of my to-do list (because my to-do list is a million miles long) but just this week I had a chance to check it out. I've been stuck in bed a lot lately because I've been sick, so I've been trying to do stuff that I can manage without leaving my room! So when I started cleaning out my email inbox today, I wandered onto the Bloggy Moms email and decided that it would be fun to take a break and poke around the site!

Right away I found the site to be clean and inviting. There were lots of polls right on the front page, just tempting me to put my two cents in. But what's even better than that? I found out they give you points for telling everyone what you think! And those points can in turn be used to redeem things like gift certificates. In other words... your two cents' worth is really getting you two cents. Not bad, if you ask me!

So how does it work? You head over to the site and find an area you know a little somethin' about. Don't try to make up answers, trying to fake your way through will only lead to losing points! When you find a category that suits your knowledge, vote & comment away! Your responses will give you points, and the more involved you get with your answers, the more points you're going to receive.

Are you a new mom that doesn't feel comfortable answering mommy questions just yet? That's okay, you're still able to get a lot of points with the Mommy Polls system! If you don't feel comfortable answering questions or giving advice, maybe you have a few mom-questions of your own that you'd like a little insight on. Asking questions on the site will also get you points, which in turn build up your score. Of course, the site isn't just about what sort of monetary gain you can receive - that's just a bonus - what's really important is that some great mommy knowledge is being passed around!

When you first sign into the site, a good way to begin is by going to your page. Do you have a poll to post, a question to ask, or an article that you'd like to share with the mommypolls.com community? This is a great place to do so. And mom bloggers, you should definitely make sure to check out the article option! What better way to reach the very audience that you are looking for than to link a mom-article on a platform that is attracting moms from around the world!?

After you've posted your poll, article, or question, you are able to see how many people are following your post and interact with the comments that they leave. Visiting the My Page section will always take you back to an overview of your interactions on the website.

I found that when you start to answer some of these polls, it can be very hard to get away from the site! Everytime you answer a question or take a poll, there's another poll or question you see that would be fun to answer! My one down-side to this service is that it is nearly as addicting as Facebook. It also seems to load a bit slowly after you comment on a poll. (That could be my computer, or it could be because the website is still in the Beta version.) I came away with 290 points after looking around the site for a while, not bad considering that I was multi-tasking and tabbing back and forth to the site!

My final recommendation on the site? I think it's great! I would keep it in mind for if you're trying to kill a few minutes of spare time, looking to get some insight on a mom-question, or just looking to spread a little knowledge. It can be a bit of a pain to wait around for things to load, so try to do this "in between tabs", in other words, hop around the site a little, check out some other things, then head back to the site. Hopefully soon they will be out of the Beta version and this will be a great go-to site for moms everywhere. I love the idea, and I'm looking forward to spending more time there!

Disclosure: MasterofMom.com was not compensated in any way for this post, nor are they affiliated with MommyPolls.com. For more on my disclosure policy, please see the tab entitled "Let me disclose to you" at the top of the page.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

(#Giveaway!) No joking, this one little item will save you hundreds every year...

Want to save yourself tons of money each year? Just stop buying laundry detergent.

No, I'm not kidding around, and I'm not suggesting that you make laundry soap from scratch either (although that is a great cost-effective option if you have the time). What I'm suggesting, is that you get yourself a Robby Wash Ball.

I was given a free Robby Wash Ball in order to do my review, but my opinions are still 100% my own. For more information on my disclosure policy, please see the tab above titled "Let me disclose to you".

As always, when I see a product that claims to save me time and/or money, I put on my skeptic face. My thought always is, "If it was so incredible, why haven't I heard of it yet?" (Of course, the irony isn't lost on me that I'm the very person that should be newly discovering these sorts of products, not the other way around.) Thankfully, my skepticism doesn't keep me from trying out new things and keeping an open mind when it comes to their value.

I wasn't entirely sure what the Robby Wash Ball was when I agreed to review it. I had looked it up on Oransi's website, but I had only given it a cursory look to determine what it was. My misconception was that it was an average laundry ball and I would be filling it with store-bought detergent. I was so wrong. (That'll teach me to skim.)

The Robby Wash Ball isn't a ball for putting laundry soap into, it's a ball for putting macro-molecule pellets into. The pellets go into the ball, you drop the ball in the laundry, and the laundry comes out clean. How does that work? It's simple science. The macro-molecule pellets are activated and slowly released during the washing process, and the ions generated activate water molecules. With the pH level increased, the molecules are able to attach themselves to debris and stains on the clothing, and the marks come away from the fabric easily with the agitation of the washing machine.

Pretty cool, right? Even though the product seemed to have solid reasoning behind it, I still had some questions. I was concerned, for instance, with whether or not the Robby Wash Ball would be able to remove bad odors from my clothing. The pellets themselves have a slight (pleasant) scent, but it doesn't really affect the clothes. They come out with no bad smell, but also no fragrance. I was also curious about how long they would last, and if I'd be able to get refills cheaply. The first kit you receive comes with a few small refill packets and I thought that I would go right through them. The thing is though, the balls don't just "dissolve". They wear down over time, very slowly (like hundreds of little jawbreakers), so you don't have to worry about running out of them. The box states that one kit will last for a whole year! Can you imagine not needing to buy laundry detergent for an entire year?? My usual regimen was costing me around $50 a month, so if I switched solely to the Robby Wash Ball, I'd be saving myself at least $500 every year. How cool is that? I went through at least 30 loads while testing this out, and every single load came out clean and fresh.

Because I had such great success with this, I read up a little more on the product and learned that the balls have two different colors (blue & pink) for a purpose other than aesthetics. The blue colored ball is great for cold or hot water loads, and the pink is specially formulated to clean color loads in cooler water (up to 86F). I also found out that the Robby Wash Laundry Ball is hypo-allergenic, making it a great choice for laundering baby items or for those who have sensitive skin.

The kit also came with a stain stick, which I didn't find to be very effective at first, but after a quick chat with the PR rep for Oransi, I discovered that it was because the stain stick is for smaller stains, and not for the bright yellow curry I had slopped all over my white t-shirt. Unfortunately, it isn't the first time I've dropped my fork and gotten food all down my front, and with my clumsiness, it won't be my last either! (As a side note, a regular heavy-duty stain stick or even bleach can be used in conjunction with the Robby Wash Ball if it's required!)

So how much does the Robby Wash Ball run you? About $32 dollars for your initial kit, which lasts the average user around a year. Another $50 will get you a two year refill when you finally get to the point of running out of that first year, which means that for just a little over $80, you can wash your clothes for 3 years. Top that off with the fact that it is so convenient and easy to use, and this is a product that is definitely worth having. I mean really, what would you rather do when washing the laundry? Measure out that little cup every time, or just throw a ball into the washing machine, no prep-work needed? You're saving yourself at least 30 seconds every wash, and that comes out to about an hour of time every year - couldn't we all use an extra hour?

My final recommendation? This is good for anyone who wants to save time and cut down on their laundry product bill. The only down-side? You're going to lose that trademark smell your clothes have if you're someone who always goes for the same scented laundry detergent. However, you can still use fabric softener with your clothes to get a specific smell either in the wash or in the dryer. My favorite thing about this product though (yes, even more than saving the money) is the convenience. I hate pouring the soap out of those containers and then having it drip all over the place, needing to find something to wash or wipe my hands off with, lugging the heavy detergent container back to it's original spot, etc. There is something quite satisfying about dumping all my clothes in the wash and then just throwing the ball on top of the pile. In a nutshell, this product is a keeper through and through. My thanks definitely go out to the PR rep for thinking of me. I am super-grateful that I got to try this thing, and I'll be buying a refill kit... just not anytime soon. ;)


You can get the info on Oransi and their great products (like the Robby Wash Ball) by visiting their website, www.Oransi.com, or by connecting with them on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Want to win your own Robby Wash Ball from Oransi?!? Enter this giveaway and you could be on your way to saving hundreds on your laundry bill this year!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review: Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip

A while back (before Cravebox sadly went out of business), I was pretty addicted to the whole get-it-in-a-box thing. Still am pretty addicted to it actually, but just can't afford to be buying cute little boxes full of goodies each month. If you aren't a part of the subscription box craze, or you don't know what it is, you're missing out a little! But that's a talking point for another time.

What I would like to do is tell you a little bit about the Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip that I got in my Cravebox. Obviously, I purchased this product through the Cravebox company, and I didn't get asked to do this review by anyone. I'm just reviewing it because, well, I like to review things, and I especially like to review things that I get out of subscription boxes!

I've been swimming in things to do and things to review lately - so much so that I'm really, really behind in my work. This is due to a combination of my bad health, my extended family's medical problems, plus a whole slew of other weird things that keep popping up and getting in my way. Icky, but that's life sometimes. So this review is actually being written about two or three months after I tested out the product, which is why it seems a little odd that I'm doing a review on something that happened in June or July.

I spent the whole summer at my parent's house, and my mom started begging me as soon as I got there to let her do my hair. For the first couple of weeks, I gave her a firm NO. It's not that I don't love my mom and love to spend time with her. It's that the last time I let her do my hair she gave me a style like Kelly from Saved by the Bell, except it kind of looked like I had a 40-year-old's wig on. Oh, and did I mention this was for my senior yearbook pictures?

However, I had a whole box of stuff from my Cravebox that I hadn't yet reviewed, and one of those items was the Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip. It's basically a mousse, and not only do I hardly ever use mousse, it's kind of something that I associate with the 90's and my mom. The only person in the history of my life that I can remember using mousse on a regular basis is her, so I decided that she should be the one to test it. You guessed it though, I was the test dummy.

My mom was thrilled to have finally gotten a second chance (only took me 10+ years to let her do my hair again) and she set right to it. I was pleased to see that my mom did not intend on poofing my hair to the ceiling and, although I had to argue her out of teasing my hair into it's natural curls, she gave me a cute half-twist.

As far as the Pantene Pro-V goes though... I wasn't that impressed really. I haven't used mousse a lot before, but I got the impression that it was supposed to help style my hair and reduce frizziness without making it crunchy. I will say, my hair was soft. That much is true. But it was also a bit heavy. I only wash my locks every other day to avoid frizziness due to my super-dry hair, but I definitely had to wash this stuff out of my hair the next day because it was looking greasy. When it was first finished, my hair seemed shiny and frizz-free, but as my hair dried, the frizz came back and the shine wasn't anything out of the usual for my hair. As far as styling, I have a whole slew of things that are my "go-to's" when I have to get a piece of hair to stick a certain way, and they seem to work better than this product did, without making my hair greasy. Maybe I'm just not a mousse-lover? It did seem to keep my natural curls together though (the ones that my mom kept sneaking in) and this might have been a product better tested by returning my hair to it's crazy curly-state... that is if I wasn't still haunted by the perms, crimpers, and curling irons of my childhood.

Maybe next time.


******************************************************************

P.S. I may tease my mom, but I wouldn't trade my time with her (and the hair disasters) for anything.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Milani Gelateria

Milani Gelateria on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

At the end of our night, we went strolling down Espanola Way to wind up at the Milani Gelateria. Although I had tasted gelato before, I've only had it in little cartons I'd purchased from the grocery store. Since I know that eating ice cream at an ice cream parlor is infinitely better than the ice cream I usually buy in the carton at the grocery, I was really excited to try authentic gelato. They are very committed to a quality product, and (as I understood it) some of their ingredients even come all the way from Italy!

I ordered the lemon, and my husband ordered the chocolate. Usually I would have gotten chocolate as well, but this is gelato, not ice cream, and there is a big difference. Plus, it was hot out, and the air conditioning was broken in the gelateria that night, making it even hotter in their building than it was out on the street. I needed something tart and sweet and cold, and lemon fit the bill. The chocolate my husband had was creamy, and delicious. And if I had been in a chocolate-mood that night, I can't think of anything that would have hit the spot more. As it was, my husband was in more of a lemon mood than he thought too, either that, or the lemon there is really spectacular. It was tart, but not too tart, with a sweet aftertaste that left my palate feeling clean (and a bit cold).

After a few minutes my husband stopped stealing tastes of my gelato and went in to buy a cup of it, complete with a tiny cone as an adornment. I snatched up the tiny cone and filled it with the lemon gelato, and between the two of us we devoured the cup in mere minutes. Unfortunately, it was so good, I don't even have a picture of it to show in my blog - we ate it that fast. Just imagine it though: it was pale lemony goodness, swirled around with a thin crispy wafer cone. Deliciousness.

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!






Milani Gelateria on Urbanspoon

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Blocks Pizza Deli

Blocks Pizza Deli on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

Out of all the stops on the tour, I think that Blocks Pizza Deli was the favorite for my husband and I. We both love to get organic and all-natural food whenever possible, so this type of restaurant is right up our alley. (I just wish it was literally right up our alley... then again, if it was closer to our house, we'd probably be broke!)

So what do they serve at a natural, whole food, pizza deli? Well, pizzas of course... along with calzones, salads, and the Blocks Pockets that we got to try. We were each given a pocket called Sundried Hippie, filled with some of my favorite things, like feta cheese, delicious kalamata olives and spinach. Sun dried tomatoes and basil pesto tops the pocket off and gives it a bit of zing. The most surprising thing about the first bite was the light perfection of the bread, and each bite was delicious. I mourned the loss of an olive that accidentally dropped to the floor. After a few bites I tried out their infused olive oils by splashing a bit onto my pocket. The oils they had to choose from were plain, garlic-infused, rosemary-infused, and jalapeno-infused. I tried all but the jalepeno, and the rosemary was my favorite.

Before we left Blocks, we grabbed a take-out menu for future reference and we thought it was cool that they have an option to buy an uncooked pizza and bake it at home. This is perfect for us since we live far away, but we'd still love to share their food with our family.
Blocks Pizza Deli on Urbanspoon
I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours.

You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!



Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Jerry's Famous Deli

Jerry's Famous Deli on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

As soon as our tour group walked into Jerry's Famous Deli, I felt like I was transported to New York. Up in the Big Apple, deli/restaurant/bakery/counter combos are fairly common, and the mix of the decor, the delicious looking food behind the large glass displays, and the mix of people sitting around the deli made me feel as if I had suddenly been taken to that big city. The atmosphere of the entire place gave me a sense of belonging, even though I'd never been there before, and the servers behind the counter gave us a greeting and a smile as we came up with our group.

One of the most fascinating things about the Jerry's location that we went to has got to be the architecture and ambiance. The high ceilings, the engraved windows with greek-looking statues, the huge displays, the dark flooring against the white walls, the star-studded feel of the wall hangings - out of all the things I did on the food tour, this is something that stands out to me the most. Even now, I have a craving to go back there, late at night, and just look around, eating and people watching. It's the kind of place you can imagine being in a movie scene.

And it's not just about the look and feel of the restaurant - the rugelach (pronounced rug-ah-lock) our group got to sample was pretty darn tasty too! I've never been a huge fan of sweets (with the exception of a recent attraction to donuts), but the flaky, crispy crust with fruit and what I suspect was cream cheese inside was absolutely divine. I actually really wanted a second helping, but it wasn't that kind of food tour, so I'm just going to have to go back on my own time!

If you're looking for a place that has a big city feel, but that has a comfort-zone a mile wide, this is the deli to go to. An interesting note: On the way out, my husband and I noticed that they deliver - to your home, your work, or your boat!

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!

Jerry's Famous Deli on Urbanspoon

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Larios On The Beach


Larios On the Beach on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

The longest stop on the food tour was Larios On The Beach, a pop-up restaurant in The Cardozo Hotel which is owned by Gloria Estefan. This is a great place to seek traditional Cuban food with flair. Our sampling through the tour consisted of ropa vieja, rice and beans, sweet plantains, and Cuban bread.

I loved the ropa vieja, which is a dish consisting of shredded meat cooked in sauce, because it was so tender and juicy. The sauce was delicious, and I dipped my crunchy Cuban bread into it to be sure I didn't leave any behind. (Classy, I know, but it was too good to let go to waste.) The rice and beans weren't anything out of the ordinary, but were the traditional black beans of Cuba. An interesting thing about many Latin American countries is that many of them have a traditional bean that is used. Cuba uses black beans, for example, while just a couple of islands away, natives of Puerto Rico prefer to use the red bean in their traditional dishes. I get pretty good rice & beans at home from my Puerto Rican mother-in-law, so I'll just say that I prefer hers over the ones at Larios and leave it at that.

The plantains were delectable, each bite was crunchy on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. The Cuban bread was excellent, but I would say that one should be a fan of Tostada Cubana prior to comparing it to regular dinner bread. Tostada Cubana, or "Cuban Toast" is made with traditional cuban bread, usually sliced lengthwise, and is crunchier and thicker than what Americans call toast. Cuban Toast is a big favorite in this area, and when I moved here, it was practically a requirement for me to try it. I didn't like it at first - but that's because I was comparing it against my idea of "toast". It was a lot drier, chewier, and thicker - not just in the cut, but in the very makeup of the bread. Somehow it is addicting though, and I've been eating it ever since. Go in expecting Cuban Bread, not dinner bread, and you'll be amazed.

If I got to go back? I'd try a Sándwich Cubano, one of my favorites to order whenever I pop into a Cuban restaurant, but I'd try to hit it around the lunch hour when prices are traditionally cheaper.

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!

Larios on the Beach on Urbanspoon

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of David's Cafe

David's Cafe on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

Tucked away in a little corner of South Beach, just a short block away from Ocean Drive, is David's Cafe - a walk-up counter and restaurant that serves up Cuban food 24/7. The coolest thing about them having a walk-up counter (other than the fact that it's 24/7, hellooooo after-drinking food!) is that if you're hanging out on the beach, you don't have to worry about the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service rule. Taking a run with your dog? No problem, you can order at the counter without having to tie poor Fido up somewhere. On a bike and don't feel like taking the time to lock it up? Just order outside. Their 24 hour menu has Cuban goodies like the Medianoche (literally meaning "Midnight"), and stuff for your average hungry guy (or gal), like sandwiches, salads, steaks, seafood, chicken... you get the idea - it's pretty much a full menu.

But we didn't go to David's for the food. We went for the Cuban coffee. Café Cubano, something I'd had before without realizing under the name "cafecito", is a potent and sweet shot of coffee. It's meant to be consumed in small amounts, not just because it's similar to taking a shot of espresso, but because it's so sweet that to drink a lot of it would ruin the simplicity of it all. Although I have only had Café Cubano at one other restaurant (one of my "usual" spots), I can attest that the coffee here was excellent. Our tour guide, Anna, even went into detail about how David's uses locally-made coffee in their café. This was a great stop on our tour, not just because I love coffee, but because it was a nice mid-stop perk-me-up and because the coffee went down smooth, hot, and sweet. What's not to love about that?

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!

David's Café on Urbanspoon

Things to Do in South Florida: Mini-Review of Bolivar Restaurant


Bolivar on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

One of the restaurants that we stopped at was called Bolivar. The restaurant, popular for fusing Columbian and South American cuisine, was one of those artsy places that I could spend a couple of hours in, doing nothing but eating tapas and having a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer. But I was introduced to something even better to drink during my food tour visit - refajo. I had heard of mixing beer with other drinks before, such as in a beermarita (margarita with beer) or a snakebite (beer with cider), but I hadn't actually tried any of those beer-mixed drinks. I didn't know what I was missing! The refajo drink is made by mixing a soda such as Columbiana (kind of like our A&W Cream Soda) with beer. The refajo we tasted at Bolivar was made with Columbiana and Aguila beer. It had a sweet flavor to it, and reminded me of drinking a moscato wine, but I enjoyed it far more since cream soda is one of my favorite pops. (Yes, I call it pop. I'm from the Midwest. Deal with it.)

The refajo, while good, wasn't even the best part about Bolivar. In addition to the drink, we were also able to sample patacón - deep fried green plantains covered in shredded beef - and an empanada - deep fried corn fillo pockets with meat inside. The food was hot, and crispy without the greasy. And while the fare was delicious on its own, I devoured it with the green sauce served alongside - so spicy it made my eyes tear up, but too mouthwatering to stop eating.

In addition to the food, I enjoyed the decor of the restaurant and found the pictures hanging on the wall to be vivid and entertaining. A row of locally-made wine lines the walls and the staff there are happy to explain the details of the food to those who have never had some of the menu items before. A wall television to watch the latest game of fútbol and a chic bar set-up complete the restaurant's appeal, and make me want to head back with my friends in tow.

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or Flickr. Happy dining!

Bolivar on Urbanspoon

Things to Do in South Florida: 660 at Angler's Resort Mini-Review

660 at Angler's Resort on Foodio54Recently I was given the opportunity to go on a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours, through the South Beach area.

The first stop on the tour route was the 660 restaurant at The Angler's Resort. I was immediately impressed by the decor, both inside and out, which was both elegant and casual at the same time. My husband and I ordered drinks off their Happy Tapa Hour menu, a Blueberry Caipirinha and an original Mojito. I loved both drinks, which were not only made with fresh fruit, but with a great balance of sweet and sour. I am not usually a fan of Mojitos, but the taste of this one was so delicate, with the mint and the lime blending together so well, that I was at a loss for anything but praise of the drink.

To go with our Mojitos, Miami Culinary Tours had arranged for us to sample a dish called Scallop Tiradito. I'm not a huge fan of scallops, and had my own doubts about the dish - especially once I heard the ingredients: passion fruit, aji amarillo (a spicy, yellow, chile pepper), red onion, cilantro, garlic, avocado, lemon... It just didn't sound like it would go together! What's more, Scallops Tiradito is a ceviche recipe, meaning that the acidity of the ingredients is used to help cook the food. I had never tried a ceviche before, and I wasn't sure how I'd like it.

The first thing that struck me about the dish was how tangy it was. I loved the red onions, the peppers, the cilantro. I didn't taste the passion fruit that is particular to the tiradito served at Angler's, but I was in love with the dish nonetheless. As I finished eating, our tour guide, Anna, explained to us how the juice of ceviche is referred to in Peruvian as leche de tigre, translated to mean "tiger's milk". Not only is it considered to be a hangover cure, but small shots of it are commonly served alongside ceviche dishes. Other times, people simply tip the dish into their mouth (as I did) to drink the juice after the meal.

If someone would have told me a few years ago that I'd be sitting in Miami, drinking scallop juice from a ceviche marinade, I probably would have made a face or laughed. Now I sit here wishing I had some more of it. It was delicious. There are no words to describe the incredible array of flavors that were in the leche de tigre, other than to say this was where I could really taste the passion fruit. I expected the sauce to be tangy and zippy like the dish itself was, but instead it had such a surprise twist of sweet tucked in amid the rest of those flavors that I was instantly hooked. I am now a lover of ceviche... at least of the scallop ceviche at 660... and I can't wait to go back.

I'm so glad that I was able to taste this on the food tour. There are so many great restaurants in Miami, and even if I had a million dollars, it'd be impossible to try all the awesome food out there. It was a real treat to be able to go on the sampling tour with Miami Culinary Tours. You can check out more about my trip here, or click here to go to Miami Culinary Tour's website to see how you can go on a food tour through Miami! You can also connect with them through social media on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Flickr. Happy dining!


660 at The Angler's on Urbanspoon