Saturday, December 12, 2009

Popping over to Miami for an interview and a Stone Crab recipe

I know it is a while ago, but I went quick from Newcastle, north of Sydney over to Miami for an interview with a rather big cruise line. It was a lot of flying for 5 days, actually most of the time. Everything was good, but there is nothing worse than having to sit at airports and wait for a connection. I had the great pleasure sitting in Los Angeles for 7 hours, as the departing plane to Miami was delayed.......Sounds familiar?

I was impressed with the size of Newcastle Airport, I was there at 530 in the morning and it was pumping, it looked like everybody wanted to leave Newcastle. It is a modern airport with all the facilities, not huge, but nice and cosy.
After a quick flight I was for a couple of hours at Brisbane International Airport. Had some lovely coffee there, everything is well organized, just keep in mind when arriving in Brisbane International and you need to take a Domestic flight, the transfer between the airports can take a long time as there is only one train connection every about 20 minutes.

Immigration Los Angeles........anything can happen........I am prepared for a long wait as I usually do.........5 minutes later I was through it, I just can't believe that Immigration took actually less than 5 minutes, including the wait in the queue, which as you can see was non existent. So there is plenty of time to explore the airport. Last time I was here was about 2 years ago and I thought they should be finish with renovating......they are not! I had a breakfast coffee at the International terminal, at 7 AM and was amazed how busy Mac Donald's was......long queues.....let's not go into it! So, no there is not much I can say about Los Angeles Airport except, make sure you are there for as short time as possible.
Now to Miami. I LOVE Miami, it must be the Hispanic influence, the Cuban feel, it is just nice. Staying at Hilton Down Town (the company pays), I had this most amazing view over the City Bowl, all the photos are taken from my room, OK I got upgraded to a Junior Suite, not because I am a nice guy, but the other rooms were fully booked and I only arrived after 10PM. So I had to reside in this Suite with a lounge big enough to accommodate a soccer team. The rest of the hotel was then very much average, breakfast and service even below. I like my breakfast, but what they offered was not even worth taking a photo.

I was lucky enough to be flown in a day early, so I could meet up with some friends and spent a lovely day, driving out to the Everglades National Park. Just amazing to see the sheer size of it. The dinner with some beautiful BBQ Lamb Chops and good wine, life is good.
Then after being so short in Miami I was on my way back, another 20 hours of flying.....yes it started to get sore in some special place of my body! But this time there were no overlays in the airport, no delays, just straight flying. Quantas was lovely, good service, good food, and even good movies. As this flight was on a Monday night, the planes were not that full, on my way here all the seats were taken. So this time I had space and on both long haul flights had a really good sleep.

I thought I give here a little recipe for Stone Crabs, a speciality in Miami when in season.


3 pounds stone crab claws
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-dry vermouth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper


First crack the stone crab claws and remove the shell and pincer. Leave the meat attached to the remaining pincer. Next it is time to heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add Stone crab claws and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the claws are heated through, and turn the crab claws frequently. Turn heat to high; add vermouth, lemon juice, salt and pepper to pan. Cook 1 minute more, spooning vermouth sauce over claws

Oh, by the way, I did get the job and will start mid January, my new Job title is Traveling Executive Chef, fits perfectly to the Gourmet Traveler, doesn't it? So I think there will be plenty more posts to come over the next year. And I better get used to the hotel (not the room of course) as it seems that this is the hotel I will be staying at while in Miami.

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