Thursday, June 15, 2017

B Ocean Resort Brings the Mermaids Back to Fort Lauderdale

If you are familiar with the Fort Lauderdale area (or love vacationing there) then you know all about the iconic Yankee Clipper hotel from back in the 1950s. (You may have seen it in Billy Crystal's and Robert De Niro's 1999 hit comedy Analyze This.) This splendid historic spot later became part of the Sheraton brand and most recently in 2014, South Florida's B Hotels and Resorts acquired the property and have given it an amazing transformation.
Courtesy of B Ocean Resort


The B Ocean Resort, Fort Lauderdale, located at 1140 Seabreeze Blvd, just had its Big Reveal as it showcased its multi-million dollar renovation, which included the expansion of its lobby, 484 guest rooms, suites, penthouses and the addition of some pretty fabulous restaurants and bars.

Bringing back the one-and-only Wreck Bar from its glory days, complete with its majestic mermaid shows, the B Ocean transports its guests to a more relaxing time and place.  Live underwater performances and marine-themed décor, giving the destination a warm, beach feel and providing a unique, beautiful experience for everyone.
Restaurants include celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano's Naked Crab, featuring a variety of seafood and steaks, as well as a nice selection of luscious cocktails. The Salty Siren is the perfect place to chill and enjoy some scrumptious seafood, salads and burgers while enjoying the laid-back beach vibe and music.

There are plenty of special offers and deals to experience the B Ocean this summer. For more information, visit their website, or call the property at 954-564-1000.

mojitobar & plates by Douglas Rodriguez Brings Latin Flavors to Sawgrass

Celebrity Chef Douglas Rodriguez has brought his Latin flavors to South Florida yet again, with the newest mojitobar location to hit our city. mojito bar & plates by Douglas Rodriguez, located in the Sawgrass Mall, pairs the brand's signature high energy ambiance with Chef Rodriguez' innovative cuisine, in an array of bar snacks, sharing plates, and large dishes. Of course, the name says it all so not only do you want to come hungry, but thirsty as well. Get ready to sip on some of the best mojitos you will ever lose your inhibitions to, and while you're at it, grab the big ones. Those lighted souvenir glasses will look great on your bar at home.
Cuban Sandwich on a Stick
We headed on over to mojitobar & plates after a stressful day crunching numbers, ready to relax and unwind. Mission accomplished. Between the awesome drinks, the tasty food, and the great music, I was as good as new by the end of the night.  True to Rodriguez's unique style, mojitobar & plates features American cuisine with a Latin twist and I just couldn't get enough. Take for example the Cuban Sandwich on a Stick. Who thinks of that? Just imagine smoked ham, roasted pork and swiss cheese laying cozily together with some dill pickles and malted mustard, inside the most tender melt-in-your-mouth bread that fits snuggly in your mouth in a perfect bite. Are you salivating yet?

Wondering what this mouthwatering tower of deliciousness might be? Well it's the Crispy Shrimp Chicharrones. I never thought I'd hear those two words together but tell you what. They work. I was hooked. They had a fiery, buttermilk glaze that made me both sip more mojitos and then go back into the plate and repeat. Definitely a must-have.

Smoked Pineapple Guacamole
Now I have to tell you this next plate was our favorite one. We couldn't get enough and we literally started getting nervous that the other would scoop up more than we were willing to share. It's the Smoked Pineapple Guacamole. You know I'm a fan of the green cream but this one took the experience to a whole new level. It was served with jalapenos and a side of crispy tostones. After asking the chef how they elevated the taste of this normally simple dish, he gave us a tip. The pineapple is smoked for a while before they prepare the guacamole, allowing us to taste the smoky flavor seconds after it hits our mouth. Wait for it....


Mixto Leche de Tigre Ceviche
How about this? A Mixto Leche de Tigre Ceviche featuring shrimp, calamari and corvina mixed with lime, ginger and lemongrass, and then sprinkled with a hint of passion fruit and fresh basil. Yes, yes, yes. But the best part is that if you're into ceviches as much as I am, there are a variety of other ones you can try so regardless of how often you come, it can always feel like your first time.

Chocolate Natilla Parfait
Last but certainly not least, we satisfied our sweet tooth before we danced the night away (and ordered another mojito) with their Chocolate Natilla Parfait. I really enjoyed the refreshing dulce de leche ice-cream topped chocolate cookie crumbles and cinammon espuma. I loved the hint of expresso foam that gave the dessert both a nice taste and an interesting presentation.
I have to say the staff at mojitobar & plates was completely amazing; making the whole experience complete. Not only were they on point with the service, but also made sure everyone was having a good time. Personally, I had an awesome salsa spin around the dance floor with one of the waiters and my date got to play some bongos with the DJ. Seriously, I am looking forward to going back real soon.... maybe tonight.
For more information, you can visit their website or call them at 954-851-9837.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

COCHON555 Is Back at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach



 Cochon555, the hyper-local festival with a flair for innovation, is back on the road with its 2017 tour and whole-hog competition for a cause. The Heritage BBQ edition returns to Miami on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. The promotion of global food cultures and heritage breed pig farming will be the central themes of the day. Winemakers, distillers, chefs, farmers, brewers, and bartenders – some of the city’s biggest hospitality talents will take guests on a journey that is both delicious and inspiring. From Malaysia and Korea to Argentina and the Caribbean, Old World barbecue recipes from myriad cultures will be cooked over live fires. To further champion the good food movement, a portion of all proceeds will go to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank.
At the heart of all Cochon555 barbecue events lies a culinary competition to promote local family farming and global traditions. Five local chefs are each given one whole, heritage breed pig of 200 pounds and one week to prepare the whole animal. Each chef must present a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes scored on utilization; global influences; cooking techniques; and overall flavor. A panel of 20 notable judges selects a winner, who will then be crowned the “BBQ Prince/Princess” of Miami. Expanding the circle of talent, this year will also feature two satellite competitions to complement the original whole-animal tilt. Somm Smackdown pits five of the city’s top sommeliers against one another in a quest to find the best wine/pig match. Punch Kings does the same for five bartenders, challenging them to each make their own twist on the original, historic large-group drinking format: cocktail punch.

Communal feasting is an integral part of the Cochon555 culinary fabric. Beyond the 30 chef-competitor dishes – all told, some 1,500-plus pounds of heritage pork – guests can sample beef tartare with the wines of Antica Napa Valley; farmhouse cheeses; a pop-up bakery from La Brea; a Salami Snack Bar from Creminelli and Divina; a ramen noodle soup bar paired with the racy white Wines of Germany; organic pâté offerings from Les Trois Petit Cochons; a Luxury Butter Bar featuring Sabatino truffle butter, foie gras, and more; and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.

Cochon555 events are theaters for innovative spirit, wine, and cocktail experiences. Libations include Smoked Old Fashioneds with Breckenridge Bourbon; The Manhattan Project presented by Poached Jobs; the Tiki Bar featuring Angostura Rum; a Courvoisier Cognac ‘neat’ tasting with handcrafted caramels; and a Heritage Rum Cart. New pours incorporating the historic bitters and luscious rums of Angostura will also be unveiled at the Swizzle Bar. An array of wines grouped under the “Five Winemakers” banner will feature Scholium Project; Pax Wine Cellars; and more. Further tables include Wines of the World, Azzurro Wine Company, and a host of artisanal cider and beer offerings.
Looking back on the 2016 event in Miami, Chef Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio won the event with a Large Black breed of pig raised by Maverick Meats/FKS Farms. This breed is thought to have originated from Chinese breeds brought over to England. The Large Black is a critically rare breed known for its taste, pasture foraging skills and overall hardiness. Large blacks have short black hair, large shoulders and a long body. When harvested, even at 200 pounds, the micro-marbling, short muscle fibers and excellent bellies produce exceptional bacon and moist meat with old world flavor. The Large Black worked in tandem with Chef Diego’s winning menu of five uniquely delicious bites. Dishes included Tamal de Quinoa, Pan Con Chicharron, Lamay Ceviche Salad, Morcilla Adobo, and Chaufa Tacu Tacu.

The ultimate aim of Cochon555 is to give chefs and consumers something they can sink their teeth into: honest food from real farmers with the goal of a sustainable and profitable relationship for all. Placing the spotlight on heritage breed pigs themselves,each event features a Pop-Up Butcher Demo and Auction, with gifts from Williams-Sonoma and John Boos & Co., which will all benefit Piggy Bank.
Cochon555 is a culinary competition like no other. It allows Chefs to connect directly with the best purveyors of heritage pork products in the area while showcasing our talents in new and exciting ways. Lastly, we are able to experiment and expose attendees to new and exciting dishes using techniques, products, and visuals that we may not be able to produce for our regular menus (and maybe take home the gold too!),” says Anthony Le Pape, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

“We’re incredibly excited to return to Miami during our 2017 tour,” says Cochon555 Founder Brady Lowe. “This event combines education and innovation in support of heritage breed and family farming. Heritage BBQ puts the focus on global food cultures that represent a centuries-old history of cooking over live fires with native spices and animal breeds. While our focus is local in the agricultural sense, the real concern is about the future – we want our children to be able to enjoy safer, more honest, and delicious food for years to come. We want diners to be able to enjoy better food choices when cooking or eating dinner. And we are standing right there with them, championing transparent food ways and a commitment to what’s sustainable and responsible.”

Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200; and BESPOKE tickets $400 (the weekend includes a one-of-a-kind five-course dining experience at one of the city’s top tables, a collaboration between three of the city’s most celebrated chefs; super early admission + exclusive private tasting and tour of Somm-Selected wines and the Barkeep competition by a Cochon555 director on Sunday; and a donation to Piggy Bank charity). To purchase tickets, visit the website:

Where:                 The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
When:                  Sunday, March 26, 2017
Time:                    4 p.m. for VIP entry, 5 p.m. for General Admission

About the Cochon555 US Tour

The Cochon555 US Tour executes a yearly host of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs through a nose-to-tail pig cooking competition. This epic pork feast visits 14 major cities in North America. The tour is comprised of an array of live expressions including Heritage Fire (live-fire cooking in mountainside and vineyard settings) and Heritage BBQ (global grilling traditions). All Cochon555 events cultivate a long-term impact for heritage species raised by family farms. Both educational and inspirational messages are circulated among 16,000 guests; 2,200+ chefs; 150+ family farms; and 16 culinary schools. For more details and videos of events, visit or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.

About Piggy Bank

Launched in 2015 by Brady Lowe - founder of the Cochon555 US Tour and Taste Network - Piggy Bank is a pig farming sanctuary. Harboring a Noah’s Ark-worthy selection of heritage breeds, it provides free genetics and business plans to emerging family farms. Piggy Bank aims to change the future of food by creating a community in which small farmers can learn about safer, more responsible practices and benefit from the sharing of genetics, livestock, and the very information needed to not just survive, but to thrive as small businesses. The Piggy Bank farm, located in Missouri, raises pigs to be gifted to communities dedicated to elevating the cause and expanding through a model of social and agricultural transparency. Piggy Bank is a nonprofit corporation with federal tax exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3). Follow the Piggy Bank conversation on Twitter @PiggyBankOrg. For more information, watch the video or visit

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival Is Back And It's Better Than Ever


- The NEW David Grutman Experience Featuring Sounds by INGROSSO Debuts on Sunday, February 26 -

It's that time again... Widely recognized as one of America’s favorite epicurean celebrations, the 16th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®)  returns to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. February 22 – 26, 2017.  Its signature event that started it all in 2002, the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village featuring Mastercard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations, is back with all of the fan-favorite, gourmet flair that it is known for on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26.  Benefiting the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, the Festival has raised more than $24 million to date to support the future leaders of the food, beverage and hospitality industry.

Once again, the Festival is making it easier than ever to enjoy its signature Miami Beach event with a free park-n-ride option.  Exclusive for Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village ticketholders, the Festival is providing FREE shuttle transportation to the event from dedicated Festival parking lots located at N.E. 8th Street between N.E. 1st Avenue and N.E. 2nd Avenue in Downtown Miami.  Shuttles, which are ADA compliant, will run continuously from 11 AM to 7 PM (EST) on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26.  Shuttles will drop-off and pick-up on the beachside at 13thStreet & Collins Avenue. For guests using Metromover, the closest station is Freedom Tower Station.

In addition to the Festival’s featured line-up of Culinary Captains, who together have rounded up more than 55 restaurants each day to satiate attendees’ taste buds as they sip on samplings from 100 wine and spirits suppliers from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio, an array of new and returning favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel talent and more culinary personalities will take to the KitchenAid Culinary Demonstration stages each day, including:

Saturday, February 25
Valerie Bertinelli
Ayesha Curry
Giada De Laurentiis
Bobby Flay
Snoop Dogg & Guy Fieri
Amanda Freitag & Scott Conant
Emeril Lagasse
Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos
Masaharu Morimoto
Marc Murphy
Michael Symon
Ming Tsai
Geoffrey Zakarian

Sunday, February 26
José Andrés
Anne Burrell
Giada De Laurentiis
Duff Goldman
Alex Guarnaschelli
Carla Hall
Robert Irvine
Eddie Jackson
Roger Mooking
Tia Mowry
Marcus Samuelsson
Aarón Sánchez
Ndamukong Suh
Andrew Zimmern

The just announced KitchenAid Culinary Demonstration with Tanqueray brand ambassador Snoop Dogg and Guy Fieri onSaturday, February 25 is just the beginning, as Snoop Dogg will also take to the tables immediately following the demonstration for a short spin on the ones and twos as guests sip on fresh pressed Gin & Juice cocktails from the custom Tanqueray Gin & Juice Bar.  You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind jam session to close-out your day at our signature event. 

New this year, SOBEWFF® is also pleased to partner with hospitality and nightlife visionary David Grutman to present a one-of-a-kind experience at the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village on Sunday, February 26.  Grutman will transform the courtyard into a custom experience ideated by the energetic impresario himself, featuring live beats by the dynamic, internationally-renowned DJ INGROSSO

The Festival’s special reduced price ticket – 3-5 on Ocean Drive – is on sale now, providing access to the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village, including the David Grutman Experience, on Sunday, February 26 from 3 – 5 PM (EST) for $100 per person.  Tickets for all events at the 2017 Festival are available online at or by calling 877.762.3933 (Phone sales are open Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST). 

Between SOBEWFF® and its sister NYCWFF, which takes place each October in New York City, more than $33 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities for each Festival.  Beyond the funds raised, both Festivals draw attention to the vibrant dining culture in their respective cities, provide economic stimulus in their communities, and serve as an invaluable platform to drive awareness, engaging and inspiring people to get involved in philanthropic activities.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Say Goodbye to 2016 at Five Star New Year's Eve

Are you looking for an unforgettable place to say goodbye to 2016? Concept  ID’s Five  Star  New  Year’s  Eve marks  its  fourth  year  with its  biggest  event  yet:  a  week-long  lineup  of  events  in  Miami  Beach and  the  launch  of  its
signature  celebration  in  Orlando,  FL.

Set  at  palatial  pop-up venues  on  Watson  Island  in  Miami and  Orlando’s I-Drive  360,  the  once  a  year  fête  has  been  hosted  and  attended  by  actor Ryan Phillippe, DJ Robin Schulz, Brazilian singer Michel Telo, soccer star Ronaldo The Phenomenon Nazario  de  Lima and  renowned  Brazilian  actress Isabeli  Fontana,  to  name  a  few.   

Ensuring guests can party  till  dawn,  world  class DJs will  be  on  deck  rotating through the  night  as  visual entertainment of fireworks and fire shows entertain. All admission packages in Miami will include access to the Five Star Package Experience, a week-long suite of programming starting December 25, 2016 through January 1,2017, and The House of  Five  Star,  a  private  oasis  guests  can  utilize  from  December  24,  2016  through  December  31, 2016. In anticipation of New Year’s Eve, the Five Star Package Experience will allow attendees to revel  in  events  such  as  the Sunset  Party, Luxury  Yacht  Cruise, Surreal  Party, Day  Time  Beach Party, Miami  Beach  VIP  Club  Experience, Five  Star  New  Year’s  Eve and Post  New  Year’s  Eve Brunch.  Guests  attending  The  House  of  Five  Star  will  enjoy  exclusive  access  to full-service  bar and food, a boutique and styling suite, a private cigar room, sounds by a live on-site DJ, stunning views  from  the  sun  deck,  recreational  activities  and service  from  on-site  concierge.    Similarly, those  who  attend  the  Orlando  celebration  on  December  31  will  enjoy  exclusive  access  and amenities available at The House of Five Stars in Miami.
Admission packages to the events will start with General Admission ranging between $290 and $390, which features a full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whisky and Prosecco. The Table  Top package  is  priced  at  $4,000  granting  guests  a  reserved  bar  space  for  six  guests and  access  to  the  full-service  open  bar through  the  night. The VIP  Table experience  priced  at $9,900  offers  an  exclusive VIP entrance,  full-service  open  bar  with beverages,  beer,  vodka, whisky  and champagne, as  well  as  dinner  and  breakfast  for  10  people.  The Gold  Lounge package,  which  accommodates  16  people,  is  priced  at  $20,000  and  features  a VIP  separate entrance,  full-service  open  bar  with beverages,  beer,  vodka,  whisky  and  champagne,  exclusive dinner and breakfast, a dedicated butler service, and private transportation for the entire party.

To purchase tickets, visit or call 786.768.2447.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Saborea Tu Cultura Con Vaca Frita and Sedano's Supermarket

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Sedano's and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Cuban people have a tendency to be original and creative... and I'm not just saying that because I'm Cuban. Even in our cooking, we tend to take recipes we have perfected and stir things up to make something completely different. Such is the case with the infamous dish of Vaca Frita.

Now if you're bilingual, you're probably wondering how we can name a dish Fried Cow. But once you learn the history behind the dish and its ingredients, you can figure out the rest. To begin, Vaca Frita is a spin-off of another popular Cuban dish called Ropa Vieja. Yes, my friends, you read correctly - the dish is called Old Clothes. We Cubans take our meal times seriously and since we are known for adding flavor to just about anything, we couldn't help but do the same when it came time to naming these dishes. Ropa Vieja and Vaca Frita go way back in the Cuban culture and many conversations, marriages, business proposals and tender moments have occurred over the sharing of these plates.

Ropa Vieja is a signature shredded beef dish seasoned with traditional Cuban mojo sauce, and prepared in a tomato-based sofrito. It is juicy, delicious and quite popular in our culture. As a matter of fact, growing up, we had Ropa Vieja about once a week. I still remember how excited we used to get when my mom made her classic Ropa Vieja, which was always accompanied by a hearty bowl of soup she made from the substance of the meat. Of course, being as unique and malcriados as we were, some of us preferred the tender, saucy Ropa Vieja, while others of us wanted a crispier version of the same. Therefore, my poor mom had to split the meat and make one batch of Ropa Vieja and another of Vaca Frita. The first required one step, the second required two. Now the family was happy. 

Vaca Frita is the offspring of Ropa Vieja. The process of cooking the meat in the ingredients is cut short and once the marinade is absorbed, the meat is then shredded further and fried with a good helping of onions. Instead of a stew-like meat dish, you end up with a texture-filled meat delight, which fills your senses with its crispy outside, and  juicy inside. The lime and unique, traditional spices give the dish a special kick, that always takes me back to those family dinners at home. It doesn't matter where we are, or who we're with, whenever I make a Vaca Frita dinner, I always remember to have a serving of Ropa Vieja on the side for my own malcriados and that hearty soup we used to start our dinner with and compliment my mom for making. You see, I'm not really sure if it's about the flavor of the food or the importance of the memories it incites. I think the pleasure my family and I derive from eating dishes like Vaca Frita is the emphasis they place on tradition, values, family and culture.

So to buy my ingredients, I always go to a grocery store I know encompasses those themes that are so important in my heart and in my kitchen. Sedano's Supermarket has always been the place to shop for those Hispanic ingredients we all know and love. Sometimes with the passage of time, and the distance of our Latin countries, we forget the correct names of the ingredients and aren't sure how to ask for them. But that's OK at Sedano's. Here, I feel like I'm going to a family member's house, or a neighbor's, and I just have to tell them what I'm making or what it tastes like, and they already know what I need. It's that simple. Through their products and their service, Sedano's has a way of helping me uphold my culture's traditions and family values, and make food a way to connect with my cultural heritage. It's almost like they tell me #SaboreaTuCultura and everything will be alright.

I'd like to share our family's Vaca Frita recipe with you so you can have a taste of what made me who I am and how important my cultural traditions are to me.

Vaca Frita

Servings: 6
Total Cooking Time: 4 hours

2 pounds flank steak

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, sliced

2 small limes, cut into wedges

two tablespoons lime juice

Mojo Criollo

Seasoning Ingredients:

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoon salt


Marinade the steak in Mojo Criollo for about two hours. Place the steak in a pot, and just enough water until the meat is covered. Cover the pot and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Remove pot from heat, and allow the contents to cool down.

When the steak is still warm but not especially hot, remove it from the pot. On a plate, shred the beef using two forks, or pull the beef apart using your fingers. Add the seasoning ingredients and lime juice, and mix them into the beef using your hands. Set aside.


Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee until the onions are tender (about 5-8 minutes). Turn the heat up to medium-high, then add the shredded beef. Cook the beef for 5-15 minutes, until it is crispy.

Remove from heat and serve with lime wedges. It can be served by itself, with white rice on the side, or with Moros. Don't forget to also treat your family to a side of fried plantains to add a sweet element to your meal. Enjoy...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Join the Milk Life - Why Croquetas Are Nutritious For You!

I am working with The National Hispanic Milk Life Campaign and this is part of a sponsored Milk Life Somos Fuertes Hispanic Heritage campaign. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

If you're Cuban and/or live in Miami, there is a particular dish that has worked its way into becoming one of your basic food groups, and that is Croquetas. Croquetas or croquettes are small log-shaped, fried rolls filled with different stuffings. There is something magical and comforting about the little fried morsels of love that transcends countries, politics and diets. While there are many different preparations for croquettes, and the stuffing may vary, there is one basic constant to preparing the perfect crispy bite - and that is Béchamel Sauce.

Béchamel Sauce

Let me tell you, in my family's kitchen, Béchamel Sauce (a creamy milk-based sauce considered one of the "Mother Sauces" in many countries) was a staple. My grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen making croquetas for the week, and we would fight to see who would be the one to lick the béchamel sauce off the spoons once she was done. It became such a favorite, that we eventually began eating the "Salsa Béchamel" from a bowl. The delicious, creamy taste of milk in the sauce, with the hints of onion and butter, became synonymous with comfort and good memories. Of course, my abuelita was happy. She knew we were getting our fair share of nutrients from the sauce because it was made with milk. So thinking back now, I really believe she left those extra spoonfuls laying around because it would help her nietos get the high-quality protein we needed from the milk, which would ensure we were growing up strong and healthy. Plus, since regular milk has no added sugar, but only the one from naturally occurring lactose, we were getting all the good stuff without the added ones that could have negative effects.

My grandmother

But back to our croquetas. I still remember getting in trouble at school and knowing I'd be coming home to a "talk" with my parents (you know what I mean). The only thing that made the tension drop as I was walking through the door, was the smell of those croquetas sitting on the dining room table. Even then, my abuelita was supporting me. I'd munch and chew right through my parents' lectures and she'd wink from the kitchen. She was a smart lady.


 Today, croquetas are still a part of our everyday lives. While we can stop at a ventanita or a cafeteria and pick up a few... there is nothing like making them at home, and saving a bowl of Béchamel Sauce for later. My daughter is addicted to them and she loves to hear the stories of her great grandmother and how she got the recipe from her own mom, who was from Spain. She enjoys hearing how croquetas have always been on the table during many of our lives' pivotal moments, and still remain a family tradition today. Tell you what.... when my family and I found out my daughter was accepted into the university of her choice, we celebrated with homemade croquetas and café con leches.

For me, croquetas are a comfort food, a trigger for childhood memories, and a delicious way to start the day or bring it to a close. Most importantly, it's also a great way to add nutrition and protein to our diet, because milk is one of its ingredients. And we  all know an 8 oz. glass of milk contains 9 essential nutrients, including B vitamins for energy, protein for lean muscle, vitamin A for a healthy immune system and bone-building nutrients, including calcium and Vitamin D.

Nutritious Milk

So go ahead... eat your croquetas and save a bowl of Béchamel Sauce for later. You will be creating your own tasty memories for your family and giving them a nutritious moment to remember.  In the meantime, let me share my grandmother's croquetas recipe so you could try it at home.

My Abuelita's Croquetas Recipe
1 lb of ham, ground
5 tablespoons  butter
1 cup onion, minced fine
1/3 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
1 and 1/2 cups of whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1) In a large pan, melt the butter, add the onions and saute until translucent.

2) Stir in the flour until it becomes thick. Add more butter if necessary to smoothen it.  Gradually, whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce. Continue cooking at medium heat until the sauce thickens. Once it's thick, add the parsley. Stir for a couple of minutes and then fold in the ground ham and the bread crumbs.

3) Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes on low heat. Spoon the mixture into a baking pan and refrigerate until it is well chilled (at least one hour). In order to form the mixture into rolls, it needs to be very firm.

4) Shape the mixture into logs about three inches long.

5) Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat until frothy.  Combine the salt and the bread crumbs in a second bowl.

6) Dip the logs into the eggs and roll the logs in the seasoned bread crumbs.  Dip a second time into the eggs and re-roll in the bread crumbs.

7) Cover the logs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about three hours. (If you are going to freeze the croquettes to eat them later, you can do it now).

8) Heat the oil to 350F.  Fry the croquetas in the oil, a few at a time, for three to four minutes. Turn them occasionally until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve and enjoy.

For more information on the benefits of drinking milk and including it in your recipes, visit