Back in February, all of the Food Network stars got together to celebrate a weekend of fine food and fabulous fans. Everyone keeps asking me what I loved most about being able to hang around other Food Network chefs, and the truth is that they are nicer and kinder than you could ever imagine!
I know South Beach pretty well (we had filmed about a year ago for the Exotic Foods episode for "Ham on the Street") and I remembered this spectacular Cuban diner called Puerto Sagua that made the best Cuban sandwiches and coffee. It was good home-made Cuban cuisine...fast and cheap. So this year during the Wine and Food Festival I decided to head there with my friends to show them what it was all about. I had this new dish called "Vaca Frita", which literally translates to "Fried Cow". It was pure beef heaven. Pulled beef that had been marinated in garlic, onions, and lemon juice, and then seared to perfection. I couldn't get enough, and neither could my friends.
Anyways, the next day was the shoot for the Food Network Awards and I was on my way from the hotel to the Jackie Gleason Theatre for rehearsals early in the morning. So was Bobby Flay and Cat Cora, so we all decided to share the same car service. "What did you do last night?" seemed to be the topic, as Bobby mentioned dining at Nobu ($$$$$) and Cat Cora was visiting her friend's restaurant ( I think it was Pearl-$$$$$), and all I could think about was Puerto Sagua (1/2$), and how much I enjoyed my fried cow. I think if I admitted to them where I had dined, they would have laughed pretty hard. But I did learn throughout the FN Awards that nobody is cooler and more supportive than the hosts at Food Network, and next time I head to Miami Beach I will be eating at Puerto Sagua, and letting everyone know where they can get the best fried cattle!