METRO KITCHEN & BAR, 956 Washington Avenue (Hotel Astor), Miami Beach, 305-672-7217
At an early age this Midwesterner had a hunch there was more to life than meat and potatoes. Those instincts drew him to culinary school in Madison, Wisconsin, which led him to the respected Steven Wade's Café in Milwaukee. Then a big break -- working under celebrated chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago. That, in turn, led to several years in Coral Gables with Trotter's former employer, Norman Van Aken. By the time he left Norman's, Boone was the restaurant's chef de cuisine. Next stop: South Beach, where he became executive chef of the extravagantly ambitious pan-Asian experiment called Bambú. Cameron Diaz may have been its celebrity proprietor, but Hotel Astor owner Karim Masri was the main man. Bambú's life was short but intense, and after it closed, Masri installed Boone at the helm of Metro Kitchen & Bar, the instantly popular new restaurant downstairs at the Astor.
BEST PLACE FOR FRESH FRUIT
Tropical Delights in Homestead hands down grows the best and most amazing certified organic fruit. Lots of different and rare things among the crops.
BEST CHEAP THRILL
Jumping the fence really late at night to take a swim in the pool that's next to my Uncle Harold's pad in the Gables. (That would be the Venetian Pool.)
BEST NOT-SO-CHEAP THRILL
Getting caught while attempting the cheap thrill.
BEST PLACE TO SAVOR THE FLAVOR OF MIAMI
Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, for everything from great food, fashion, and a really fine wine store -- Wolfe's Wine Shoppe.
BEST LOCAL LANDMARK
Joe's Stone Crab.
BEST REASON TO LIVE IN MIAMI
My wife and I love it in Miami. We're planning on raising our soon-to-arrive child here. We love that Miami is so diversified, a place for everybody to live and mix with tons of different cultures and people. This city helps keep me creative.
CHOCOLATE AND CARAMEL KYANDE WITH PISTACHIO DIPPING SAUCE
Yields: About 36 pieces
Ingredients for the kyande:
20 ounces milk chocolate
5 ounces dark chocolate
14 ounces whipping cream
7.2 ounces ground hazelnut powder
7 ounces ground pistachios
3.5 ounces clarified butter
1 can of dulce de leche (made from sweetened condensed milk)
10 sheets of phyllo dough
Clarified butter for brushing phyllo dough (approximately H cup)
Powdered sugar for caramelizing
Toast the hazelnut powder and ground pistachios in a 250-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted. Reserve. Melt the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl over a double boiler. Remove and add the toasted and reserved ingredients. Slowly drizzle and whisk in the cream and clarified butter and allow mixture to cool to a firm yet pliable room temperature. Then pipe the mixture into quarter-inch-diameter pieces using a pastry bag and pastry tip. Top with a thin line of the dulce de leche. Freeze overnight, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Freeze again.
Cut the phyllo into individual squares (about 4-by-2 inches). Put a piece of the chocolate mixture in the middle of a piece of phyllo, brush phyllo with clarified butter, and wrap and twist the ends to form a piece of candy (kyande). Continue with the rest of the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for a half-hour when rolled. Dust generously with powdered sugar, caramelize with a blowtorch, and serve accompanied by the dipping sauce.
Ingredients for the pistachio dipping sauce:
2 cups of high-quality pistachio purée
2 cups crème anglaise
Blend above ingredients thoroughly.