Ortanique On the Mile, A Mini Review by Steven Pinkert

Shanai, Ian, Dad and I had lunch today at Ortanique.  Ortanique is located at 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134.  I have been to Ortanique many times over the years and wanted to give you all an update.  The food is still GREAT.  I had their famous pork chop with sticky rice and a great tangy fruity sauce.  We also shared the salmon, Mahi Mahi, eggplant lasagna and the daily ceviche.  All was very good.

It is remarkable that Ortanique has continued to serve such great food all these years!

Steven Pinkert Loves Chu’s Chinese Restaurant in Coral Gables

Friday night, November 15th, 2013, Steven Pinkert, his wife and two friends had dinner at Chu’s Restautant.  Chu’s has great Chinese food.  It is Taiwanese style Chinese food.  You might be wondering why I can judge Chinese food (aside from the fact that I have been to Beijing over fifty times)!  My friend, the Beijing Jazz Singer, Autumn Q, was visiting Miami a few weeks ago, and we went to Chu’s.  She said it was fantastic…so there you go.  If you happen to go to Chu’s, I recommend the soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao) and the tofu which is a cold dish served cut into thin tofu noodles.  Enjoy!

Steven Pinkert’s Fried Calamari Recipe

Draining Buttermilk from Calamari - Copyright 2012 Steven Pinkert

Draining Buttermilk from Calamari - Copyright 2012 Steven Pinkert

Steven Pinkert has been working on perfecting fried calamari and after a number of attempts it turns out to be very simple to prepare and a delicious appetizer.

Steven Pinkert buys most of his fish from Whole Foods as they are reliable and the quality is usually very good.  Whole foods has fresh frozen calamari both tubes and tentacles, and it is usually available by the pound defrosted on ice at the fresh fish counter.  The price is about $10 per pound these days and a pound is enough more than enough for an appetizer for 5-6 people.

Ingredients:

1 pound Calamari mixture of tubes and tentacles
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
4 T onion powder
4 T garlic powder
4 T ground black pepper
3 T Seasoning Salt
3 T Cayenne Pepper Powder
2 T chili powder
2 lemons quartered
Tabasco or other hot sauce

Steven Pinkert cooks using a Deep Frier with fresh vegetable oil but if you are careful you can probably fry the calamari in a frying pan. Although Steven Pinkert recommends the ingredients listed above the spices should be varied according to taste.

First cut up the calamari tubes into about 1/2 inch wide rings.

Calamari Cut into Rings  Copyright 2012 - Steven Pinkert

Calamari Cut into Rings Copyright 2012 - Steven Pinkert

Then place the Cut up Calamari into the buttermilk and allow to soak for about 20 minutes.

Calamari Soaking in Buttermilk  - Copyright 2012 by Steven Pinkert

Calamari Soaking in Buttermilk - Copyright 2012 by Steven Pinkert

After soaking drain the calamari.

Now mix all the dry ingredients together and bread the wet but drained calamari with the dry mixture. Allow the breading mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.

Fry the Calamari in oil for about 3-4 minutes at 325 degrees.

Calamari frying at 325 degrees - Copyright 2012 - Steven Pinkert

Calamari frying at 325 degrees - Copyright 2012 - Steven Pinkert

Now plate, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and serve.

Plated Fried Calamari - Copyright 2012  by Steven Pinkert

Plated Fried Calamari - Copyright 2012 by Steven Pinkert

Steven Pinkert Starts a Political Blog

Steven Pinkert has recently started a political blog at www.stevenpinkertpolitics.com.  He started the new blog because the American political theater the past few months has reached a level of both entertainment and despair that make it impossible for him to resist comment.  Steven has decided to limit his comments, for the moment anyway, to the outrageous. And the outrageous seems to be nearly weekly now.

Visit Steven Pinkert’s new political blog for his thoughts on the outrageous in politics.

Steven Pinkert’s Assessment of Beijing Prices

As a frequent traveler to Beijing I thought I would update my perception of the current prices.  Hotels were outrageous, food fairly priced  and unchanged, air fare (USA-China) great deals, and taxi up just a bit.

Hotel Rates in Beijing

The price of 4 and 5 star Western hotels has skyrocketed in Beijing.  While the price of airline tickets to Beijing was very reasonable in March (2012) the prices of hotel rooms are through the roof.  The Marriott where I regularly stay was asking $1600 RMB plus 15% tax.  If you aren’t familiar with the exchange rate that is about $292.00!  This is Beijing, China not New York.  And the Marriott wasn’t out of line with many of the other hotels’ prices that I checked.  I finally got a good rate at the Park Plaza Wangfujing.  This is a very nice hotel with some recently renovated rooms. Good breakfast and very nice staff.  This was my second stay and would certainly return again.

Long Haul from USA to Beijing

I generally fly America or United from Chicago to Beijing.  March is usually a slow time as there is little tourism to Beijing because the weather is cold.  The Business airfare was as low as $3300 on American which is a steal but the downside is that there were only 80 seats filled in coach on my outbound flight.  This is a serious problem for American as if they need more problems.  I have heard a rumor – totally uncorroborated that American may stop their service to Beijing.  I urge you, if you are considering traveling to China support American’s airlift to Beijing.

Beijing Restaurants

Basically western hotels are close to the same price we pay in Miami, but outside of the hotels food is generally reasonable.  I frequent several places such as Bellagio, South Beauty, and a few others.  These places are Asian fusion or Szechuan – my favorite.

Beijing Taxis

Beijing taxis are fairly reasonable.  An average 15 minute ride in the city will cost you about 20 RMB or $2.50.  They tack on an extra RMB or 2 these days probably because of the cost of fuel.  Remember Beijing Taxi drivers speak no English so have your hotel write down your destination and keep you hotel’s address handy for the return.

Steven Pinkert’s summary on current Beijing prices: if you can find a good hotel rate Beijing is still a value. By the way Steven Pinkert also has a blog about his family at www.pinkert.us

Steven Pinkert Returns to China

Steven Pinkert has been to China 40 Times the Past 4 Years

Jet Lag is a Killer

The toughest part about doing business in China is the jet lag. Since Beijing is 12 hours ahead of the US Eastern Time, day is night and night feels like day.  It is hard to sleep at night and you are fatigued while you work during the day because your biological clock thinks it is sleep time. Supposedly melatonin helps you adjust and sleep at night but I haven’t tried it.

The jet lag problem is exacerbated if you are on a short business trip because your body doesn’t have time to adjust.  Then, after a week, just as you are adjusting you return to the USA (Eastern Time) and once agan you are tired in the day and sleepless at night.

Getting Around in China

For those of you that haven’t spent time in China it is a fascinating place to visit and business opportunities are available but very challenging for the Westerner. Getting around is a challenge in and of itself as taxi drivers do not speak english. The trick is to have your hotel write down in Chinese where you want to go. Another trick is to purchase a sim card for local phone service (which is very cheap) but you must have an unlocked phone. Then you store the phone number of your hotel in your local phone. I call the hotel from the taxi and the concierge translates to the driver where I want to go!

If you have any interest in conducting business in China you can contact me, Steven Pinkert, at my law firm, Pinkert and Marsh, PA, in Miami, Florida. The phone number is 305-788-3900 and the website is: www.pinkertlaw.com. Also, if you want to learn more about the internationa business consulting that I conduct in China read about it here:http://pinkertconsulting.com/?page_id=2.

Sherma and Steven Pinkert Visit a Koala Bear in New Zealand and Visit Sydney

I just located a great photo of Sherma with a Koala Bear in New Zealand.  The photo is a few years old but it is cute.

Sherma and Koala Bear - Copyright 2012 Steven Pinkert

I also located another nice photograph of Sherma in Sydney with a great view of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Sherma and Sydney Opera House - Copyright 2012 Steven Pinkert

Steven Pinkert’s New Family Website

Steven Pinkert has started a new website that is dedicated to his nuclear and extended family.  You can find the site at www.pinkert.us. The first few stories are about Steven’s father’s 85th birthday party and this past President’s Day weekend that they spent together in Key West. Please take a look and let him know your thoughts.

Ian, Steven, Sherma and Keith Pinkert

Sherma and Steven Pinkert Visit India

In November 2009 Sherma and I went to India.  It was an interesting experience.  Some good – some bad.  But India is an experience not to be missed.  We remember nearly one hundred rats on the train station platform as dusk approached – scampering at our feet. One American tourist decided to feed the rats and she gave them her candy and protein bars!  If you know Sherma you know she was quite unhappy with this woman – and she told her as much. On another occasion I remember Sherma running out of a toilet screaming because there was a rat in the toilet. (And this was in a modern facility.) When I remember her screaming over the rat in the toilet tears come to eyes I laugh so hard.

But India is also overwhelmingly beautiful and spiritual.  We spent several days in Varanasi.  This is the holiest city in India where Hindus come to die to have their ashes spread in the Ganges River.  Every evening there is a prayer ceremony on the river front.  It is so beautiful. I have uploaded a 2 minute video of the ceremony.

Prayer Ceremony – Varanasi

One of my other memories of India was Sherma feeding the elephants.  Sherma is an animal lover and one evening at our hotel there was a wedding with elephants for the bridal party.  Well Sherma couldn’t resist and she ran to buy food for the elephants.  It isnt the elephants in a feeding frenzy….

in an Elephant Feeding Frenzy – Copyright 2009 Steven Pinkert