We eat a lot while researching the various guides and reviews you see on our site. And we want to share some of that food with you, at least digitally. This guide is where we’ll be putting some of our favorite things we tried recently - the dishes that made us give a creepy smile to our plates. Hopefully it serves as a source of inspiration the next time you’re deciding what to order.
Potato Chips And Caviar Onion Dip
We love it when two very different ingredients get together like one of those wacky buddy comedies where, like, a CEO and a 10-year-old girl team up to solve a crime. That’s sort of the same principle behind the caviar/potato chip duo in this wonderful new dish at Sweet Liberty. The house-made potato chips are thicker than your average chip, super crunchy, and great for scooping up heaps of the caviar-topped onion dip. It goes well with just about any drink on Sweet Liberty’s new cocktail menu, which is outstanding per usual.
Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream Sandwich
We have a new weekend ritual that goes like this: At about 9:34pm on Saturday we say, “I could go for some ice cream right now.” And then, immediately after that thought, we say, “Is Frice still open?!” They are (they close at 10pm), so we rush over and get ice cream. This week, we were talked into trying the cinnamon roll ice cream sandwich with the new coquito flavor. Now this is us trying to talk you into getting one, because wow - it’s good.
Carrot And Black Sesame Bao
After a week of ice cream and potato chips, we wanted to switch things up with some vegan food. So we went to go try Coconut Grove’s new vegan dim sum spot, Minty Z. We really liked this place - from the adorable little characters on their dining room mural to just about every dish we tried. But the clear standout here is the carrot and black sesame bao. It’s a ridiculously fluffy bun stuffed with a black sesame filling. It straddles the line between sweet and savory, with a slight nutty flavor and a fantastic texture. We could eat about 20. And we just might try the next time we come here.
Fried Onion Burger
There’s a smash burger and then there’s a Smash burger with a capital S. You can find the latter at the excellent new Wynwood pop-up, Ted’s Burgers. They’re operating out of J. Wakefield on Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at noon until sold out. When we recently stopped by, we ordered the fried onion burger, which comes with thin little sliced onions, American cheese, and a patty that looks like it’s been smashed by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. (He played The Mountain on Game of Thrones, in case you were about to Google that.) Everything about this was delicious, but particularly the incredibly thin, crispy edges of the smashed patty. And some more good news: Ted’s told us they’ll be sticking around for at least a few months.
Smoked Turkey BLT
Ever since Hometown Barbecue opened in Miami, people have been telling us to try the smoked turkey BLT. We usually nod politely before proceeding to order ribs or brisket, but this week, we decided to give it a try and consider this paragraph our formal and heartfelt apology to all the people we ignored. You all were right - this sandwich is amazing. The turkey is smoky and so much juicer than the Thanksgiving birds we’ve consumed over the years. It’s served on Tempur-Pedic soft pullman bread and comes with an “avocado mayo” that is our new favorite condiment. Now we will be the one begging strangers to order this.
River Oyster Bar is one of our favorite restaurants in Brickell. It’s a consistently great seafood spot that is refreshingly casual and laid back compared to most of Brickell’s painfully upscale options. They recently opened back up in a new and bigger space just a few blocks away from their old location and, other than more tables and some outdoor seating, nothing’s changed. Everything we ate here was wonderful, but especially the scallop crudo, a plate of buttery slices of scallop with aesthetically pleasing dollops of lime, scotch bonnet, and avocado jam. Long live River Oyster.
Beef Shank Shumai
Research is underway for a new dumplings guide, which led us to try E&P Dmplngs (spelling intentional). It’s a new pop-up operating out of Threefold Cafe Thursday through Saturday. The menu is small with about four dumpling options, but these are some of the best dumplings we’ve ever had. The incredibly tender beef shank shumai, which comes with a demi-glace dipping sauce, was one of the best bites we’ve had all year. And if you’d also like to end 2020 with a dumpling-induced smile, grab a reservation online.
This Sunday, we were in the mood to eat a big sandwich while watching the Dolphins game, so we ordered one of Stanzione’s new subs. Our thinking was: well, even if the Dolphins lose, we’ll still have a very good sandwich to make us smile. Luckily, the Dolphins won and we got to enjoy one of the best Italian subs you’ll find in Miami right now - a hefty combo of prosciutto cotto, sopressata, mozzarella, onion, tomato, lettuce, and house dressing.
Botta Fine Italian Street Food
N’duja, Salami, And Mozzarella Panini
We had two big Italian sandwiches this week and we will not apologize for that - especially because the n’duja, salami, and mozzarella panini from Botta is one heck of a sandwich. You’ll find this place on the west end of 79th Street Causeway, serving out of a little ventanita. They do pizza too, but their paninis make a great quick lunch or a to-go beach snack.
Zak The Baker recently started making donuts for Hanukkah and we so badly hope they stay on the menu because they’re some of the best donuts we’ve ever had - especially the dulce de leche and strawberry jelly. Like, you could wake up to discover that your roof is leaking, your car got towed, and your cat ate your favorite shirt - but if you also had one of these donuts for breakfast, you’d probably think, “You know what? Today wasn’t so bad.” That is the power of these donuts. They sell out quick on the weekends, so try to come during the week.
Hallacas are perfect. So it makes sense that this Venezuelan dish of corn dough stuffed with any number of tasty things is normally eaten around the holidays, when we could all use something distracting and delicious. Hallaca-making is usually a family affair, but if you’re riding solo this year, go to La Latina. They’re selling delicious frozen hallacas that are super easy to prepare at home. Just boil them for 15 minutes, and savor the lack of screaming cousins in your kitchen.
Kush Hospitality just opened up a new restaurant in MiMo called Cafe Kush. We recently checked it out and loved everything we had (that normally happens at Kush restaurants). But one standout was the steak frites. It’s a beautifully tender 8oz hanger steak covered in a creamy peppercorn sauce with a side of crispy french fries. In a surprise to absolutely no one, it was great.
Lung Yai will probably always be one of the more difficult tables to get in Miami. But the great Thai restaurant recently opened up a new spot called Daek in Midtown. It’s far easier to get a table and has a really similar menu. We checked it out this week and ordered the green curry, which tasted pretty indecipherable from the version at Lung Yai. So hit this place up the next time you’re short on time and craving great Thai food.
It was the pastries that first drew us to Flour & Weirdoughs, but we’re glad we branched out and tried one of their savory sandwiches, specifically the lechon. It’s a lovely little number that comes on a baguette with a generous amount of tender lechon, ham, gruyère, mustard, and sliced pickles. If living in Miami has taught us anything, it’s that pork, bread, mustard, and pickles can rarely go wrong.
Luna Pasta is a little restaurant in MiMo that serves pasta, empanadas, and focaccia sandwiches. During a visit recently, we decided to try the bucatini carbonara. It was pretty darn good - really creamy with a healthy amount of guanciale chunks dispersed throughout. They have about a dozen pasta varieties here, and we plan on working our way through all of them eventually.
El Diner Latino
Sanduche De Pernil
We woke up Sunday and decided it would be a sandwich day, which provided the perfect excuse to try El Diner Latino, a new pop-up from the Palmar team. The menu consists of three famous South American sandwiches. We ordered two sandwiches (because you can do that on sandwich days) and the sanduche de pernil, a Venezualean classic, was downright delicious. So was the torta de milanesa, by the way. We’ll be ordering them all again soon, and so should you.
Another pop-up we tried for the first time this week was Da Lida, the new pasta concept that’s taken over Fooq’s kitchen. We got the rigatoni bolognese, and it was just lovely. Everything was good here, and it’s all easily in the running for some of the best pasta in Miami right now.
Naan Indian Eats
Loaded Cheese Naan
We also finally had some time to try out yet another pop-up, Naan, the Indian concept temporarily taking over Taquiza’s South Beach location. We had a feeling that something called a “loaded cheese naan” would be good. And you know what? We were right. This particular naan was filled with paneer and topped with garlic, sichuan peppercorn, kalonji, crispy onions, and sesame seeds. And the phrase “loaded cheese” continues to be one of our favorite things to see on a menu.
Crispy Rice And Sai Krog Muu
This weekend, we stopped by Lil’ Laos’ new home inside The Citadel to check out their new menu. We tried this place out before when they were a roaming pop-up, but they’re on a new level now. We ordered the crispy rice and sai krog muu (pork sausage) and spent the next 15 minutes saying things like “damn” and “wow” to our plate. The crispy rice is especially outstanding. It’s got little chunks of crispy coconut rice mixed in with Lao spam, dried chilies, and peanuts. And when you combine it with the equally outstanding pork sausage, you might just start talking to your food too.
We finally got around to trying Diya Sunset Harbour last week. The South Beach Indian restaurant is all vegetarian and serves their own version of a bánh mì they call a “Naan Mi.” It’s basically fried soy chunks (or spicy tofu) with some pickled onions and garlic ginger chili sauce - and the whole thing gets wrapped in a big, warm naan. It came unassembled, so we got to put it together at home. The result? A very good dish that managed to satisfy cravings for both Indian flavors and a bánh mì.
Jerk chicken research is coming to an end this week (stay tuned for the full guide soon) and one of the last spots we checked out was Jamaica Kitchen in South Miami. Sorry for the spoiler, but you’ll definitely be seeing them on our final jerk chicken guide. This spot - which is Chinese-Jamaican - hit all the notes we’ve come to expect from a proper jerk chicken (after eating about a dozen versions over the last month). It’s a little smoky, spicy, and incredibly juicy. We’ll be stopping by here again next time we’re in the area.
Dandee Donut Factory
You know what’s hard right now? Getting an appointment at the DMV. To get one, we had to stay up till midnight refreshing the DMV’s website, which appears to have been coded by the evil puppet from the Saw movies. The only open slot we ended up getting was in Pompano Beach. But you know what else is in Pompano? The freaking Dandee Donut Factory, baby. So we swung by after our journey to the inner core of government bureaucracy to remind ourselves that there are, in fact, good things in this world. Specifically, these old-school donuts. They’re open 24/7, in case you ever need your own donut reminder. Peanut butter and jelly was our favorite, but they’re all great.
Shrimp, Cabbage, And White Miso Dumplings
The era of the pop-up in Miami isn’t over yet, and this week we met an excellent new one: HaoChi Dumplings. They’re taking over Calle Ocho’s Union Beer Store Mon-Wed, serving a small menu of excellent things like charred snow peas and crispy chicken wings. But the dumplings are the main event. They serve three different types, but our favorite was the “Triangle,” with shrimp, cabbage, and white miso. You can watch the full experience on our Instagram ride-along.
Australian Wagyu Denver Steak
This week we published a guide to The Best Butcher Shops In Miami. We hope it ends up being a useful guide for everyone, but it was also a fun excuse to buy some expensive steaks in the name of “research.” The best steak we tried came from Josh’s Premium Meats, a family operation in a warehouse off Bird Road. These folks are selling some extraordinary cuts of beef, and they even have a special menu of olive-fed wagyu with a $130 ribeye. We went with the slightly more reasonable Australian wagyu Denver steak (about $18), cooked it using the reverse sear method, and it came out just beautifully.
Charcoal Rolls With Everything Seasoning
This week we published a guide to Miami At-Home Pop-Ups - and while we haven’t been able to sample every place on the list, we did order some things from Oori Bake Shop. They serve a lot of very good baked goods here, like various sourdoughs, shokupan, and cinnamon rolls with lemon cream cheese frosting. But their savory charcoal rolls with everything seasoning really blew us away. It’s like the best dinner roll you ever had married an everything bagel. We will be ordering these again and so should you.
Lamb & Beef Pita
Mr. Mandolin, a restaurant from the Mandolin team, happens to be dangerously close to our living room. And so it’s one of those places we hit up on a regular basis. This week, we were reminded of just how good their lamb and beef pita is. It’s simple, tasty, and they’ll even shove some french fries in there for you. We will probably be meeting this pita again in approximately six days.
This month we’re researching a new jerk chicken guide, and one of the first places we hit up was Cliff’s in North Miami. It’s a small Jamaican restaurant that serves a lot of classic dishes - but their jerk chicken (as you can probably infer from its inclusion here) will absolutely be making our guide to Miami’s best jerk chicken. Sorry, we didn’t happen to get a picture of this before we inhaled it. You’ll have to wait for the guide to see it in all its glory.
Chicken and Waffles
Last week we had brunch at Rosie’s to check out their new outdoor seating. You can watch our ride-along to see what the full meal was like (spoiler alert: incredible) but the chicken and waffles was definitely a standout. Rosie’s fried chicken is excellent - juicy, crispy, and any other positive adjective you can think to throw at fried chicken. It comes with vanilla waffles, some spicy maple syrup, and we feel comfortable saying it’s the best chicken and waffles in town.
Our guide to The Best Cuban Sandwiches In Miami dropped this week and one of the last sandwiches we tried was Tinta Y Cafe’s Patria. It’s their version of a Cuban, though they add mortadella and use a baguette instead of Cuban bread. Nonetheless, it’s outstanding. When we called for Cuban sandwich suggestions a few weeks ago on our Instagram, there were tons of people calling out Tinta Y Cafe. And you know what? They were 100% right.
Sullivan Street Bakery
Assorted Bread Things
Sullivan Street is a bakery that normally sells wholesale to various restaurants around town, meaning you can’t just walk in and ask for a loaf of sourdough. But lately they’ve been having bake sales every Saturday from 9am-1pm, where you can walk right up, point to something, and take it home with you. We stopped by last Saturday and got a box full of wonderful things, like sweet and savory canotto, pizza, and loaves of sourdough and focaccia. It was all just lovely - and you should carve some time next Saturday to go see for yourself.
Glaser Organic Farms
We gave this mango salsa from Glaser Organic Farms a shoutout in our guide to Specialty Grocery Stores To Check Out When You’re Sick Of Publix, but we just picked up some more this week and can still confirm that it is quite possibly the best thing that anyone in Miami is doing with a mango. This little tupperware container has mangoes, cilantro, lemon juice, and jalapeno. It’s a little sweet, salty, acidic, and spicy - and tastes as fresh as you’d expect from a store with the word “farm” in it. Bring this and a bag of good tortilla chips to a friend and they might propose to you.
Tempura Beech Mushroom
We decided to check out Buya while researching outdoor restaurants in Wynwood and we are glad we did. The new restaurant serves yakitori, ramen, and more Japanese dishes. But if you find yourself here, you better order the tempura beech mushroom. It is by far the best thing we tried - crunchy, tender, and comes sitting on a lovely “Tokyo ranch” sauce. Easily one of the best mushroom dishes we’ve had in Miami.
Croquetas de Jamon
We take any excuse to visit the classic Islas Canarias, and this week we had a good one: research for our Cuban sandwich guide (which is coming very soon). We’ll wait until then to talk about that sandwich, but we will say (and this is really news to no one) that Islas’ croquetas are incredible. If someone asks you, “Hey, what does a Cuban croqueta taste like?” you throw them in a cab and tell it to come here. We went with the jamon croquetas, which have a golden-brown crust and that soft interior Cuban croquetas are known for. We would like to carry around a suitcase full of these things.