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.
Every time I go to Rosie’s in Overtown, I think, Wow, this place is as good as it gets. But then I go back only to discover that they’ve somehow managed to get even better. That’s what happened this week when I tried their pastrami hash for the very first time. It’s a big pile of house-smoked pastrami, crispy cubed potatoes, sweet potato sformato, roasted scallion vinaigrette, with a heavy snowfall of parmesan shaved over the whole thing. Despite being full of very rich things like pastrami and cheese, it was still somehow balanced and delicate and I kind of wish I ordered two, because it reheated wonderfully the next day.
Pulled Chicken Sandwich
Someone DM’d our Instagram page this week and urged me to try the sandwiches at Foirette, a vendor inside MIA Market in the Design District. So when I found myself in the area conducting some unrelated sushi research, I decided to take their advice. And my mouth/stomach/soul would sincerely like to thank that person, because the pulled chicken sandwich is so damn good. It consists of juicy strips of rotisserie chicken with scallion, cucumber, avocado, and a chili bonito aioli - all on a brioche bun. Every bite is a little crunchy and creamy, with perfectly cooked chunks of chicken. And now I will be sliding into people’s DM’s and begging them to order it.
I recently checked in on NIU Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in Miami. During the pandemic, they had to merge with their sister restaurant, Arson. But the good news is that this place is still great. The even better news is that they still serve one of the best dishes in Miami: the Ous. It’s a bowl of runny poached eggs, truffled potato foam, black truffle, and crispy bits of jamón ibérico. You mix the whole thing up and then spend the next five minutes absorbing every last drop of this magical mixture with bread. Don’t expect to have a conversation while you eat this - unless you plan to communicate exclusively in moans.
Parker House Rolls
This week was the last week of Jaguar Sun’s outdoor pop-up at Lot 6, so I went to say goodbye to what was easily the best pandemic dining experience in Miami. That’s still such a strange sentence to type. Anyway, the good news is that Jaguar Sun is returning to their original Downtown dining room soon (follow their Instagram for dates). And more good news: They will continue to serve their fluffy Parker House Rolls, which just might be my favorite bread in Miami.
2021 is all about catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in way too long. For me, this means visiting Blue Collar at least once a month. This MiMo restaurant is as good as it’s ever been, and their cheeseburger is still firmly in the conversation for the city’s best. I attribute this to two things: the dry-aged NY strip patty and the slightly sweet Portuguese muffin they use for the bun.
Octopus Hot Dog
Shelter is yet another New York restaurant that flew south to Miami this year. The Argentinian spot landed in Wynwood, where it serves some very good empanadas, decent pizza, and various other dishes inside a dining room that looks like a hunting lodge collided with a coworking space. The food here wasn’t bad though, especially the bacon-wrapped octopus hot dog. The bacon was nice and crispy, there was some pickled slaw on top, and, while it was more of a snack than a $20 entree, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
This week, I took my own advice and hit up a spot from our guide to Restaurants Perfect For A Day Trip Outside Miami. I chose West Palm Beach’s Tropical Smokehouse (and paired it with a visit to the lovely Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens). This place is excellent, and should be on the radar of all South Florida smoked meat enthusiasts. The ribs, fish dip, and key lime pie are all outstanding. But my favorite thing here was their old fashioned hamburger, a really simple but perfect handheld burger wrapped up all nice and neat inside a paper bag. It made me want to buy a timeshare within walking distance.
The Citadel has a new seafood vendor called The Shores, and if you’re a fan of Florida seafood (especially fried Florida seafood) then you should make a trip here soon. Everything I ordered was great - the Dungeness crab dip, grouper sandwich, mac and cheese - but the standout was the fried oyster sandwich. The oysters were perfectly crispy, and served on two thick slices of bread with crunchy iceberg lettuce, a tomato slice, and some sort of creamy mayo situation. It also came with beautiful house potato chips. It’s easily one of my new favorite sandwiches in town.
Every bite of food at Cote could be on this list, but in the interest of space, let’s single out the Korean bacon. I recommend ordering this appetizer as strongly as I recommend binge watching Mare of Eastown. The thick slices of smoked pork belly are to bacon what a tyrannosaurus rex is to the common lizard. And the entire time I was eating this, I was thinking, “Please, Cote, open up a breakfast restaurant and serve these on an English muffin.” I still endorse this concept.
Normally, this list is reserved for food - but this week I drank (ate?) a cocktail that deserves a bit of attention. It was Orilla’s Seashore Martini, and it’s one of the few cocktails in town I think is actually worth $24. It’s prepared tableside, filtered through cubes of pink Himalayan salt, and then the bartender pours it from way above the glass to oxygenate the vermouth, which, if nothing else, makes you feel better about the fact that you just spent $24 on a martini. It’s finished with a few drops of basil pesto that floats atop the martini, and every sip of this thing is just delightful.
Banana Dulce De Leche Ice Cream
This week, I’m updating our ice cream guide in time for summer. And the Italian/Argentinian spot Below Zero is joining the list. This little scoop shop on the outskirts of MiMo is easy to miss from the street (and not much to look at inside either). However, the ice cream here is very good, and they have some great flavors like stracciatella, cannoli, and a perfectly balanced banana dulce de leche. There were other good desserts here too, like frozen alfajores and mini ice cream cakes. I still have half a frozen alfajor and a pint of stracciatella in my freezer, and I’m counting down the minutes until it’s a socially acceptable hour to eat both.
The pandemic changed the way a lot of restaurants operate - including one of my favorite restaurants in town, NIU Kitchen. Months ago, the tiny Downtown Catalan restaurant converted into a natural wine shop and merged its food operations with its sister restaurant, Arson, which is just a few doors down. Look for a longer review of the experience coming soon - but for now I will tell you that Arson/NIU’s Ous is one of the best things you can eat in Miami. The dish consists of a bowl of poached eggs covered in truffled potato foam, black truffle, and crispy little bits of jamón ibérico. It comes with some bread for dipping, and I ended up using a spoon to get every last drop in the bowl. Next time I’m ordering two.
I am constantly searching for a great Italian sandwich the way meerkats constantly scan the horizon for predators. And this week, I found a great new option at the recently-opened Oasis Wynwood, an outdoor food hall/concert venue/bar. One of the vendors on the property is Alidoro, a sandwich shop from New York City. I got the Gothamist, which comes with prosciutto, sun-dried tomato paste, lemon basil pesto, and a healthy amount of burrata. It was a little messy, but very satisfying. There are about a dozen more hot and cold sandwich options - and it is my personal goal to try them all by July.
On Cinco de Mayo, I hit up my local taco people over at Uptown 66 for takeout. Everything was good, but I’d like to use this time to celebrate their nachos, which were great and came with a perfect distribution of roasted corn, pickled jalapeno, spring onion, radish. But what really blew my mind was that they put the nachos in a pizza box. I’m sure they’re not the first people to do this, but - wow - what a brilliant bit of takeout engineering. It allowed the nachos to stay evenly dispersed and crispy, and they even put the queso on the side so things wouldn’t get soggy in transit.
In case you haven’t seen yet, our Burger Guide is out in the world. It’s full of 19 outstanding burgers, and one of the last ones I tried during my research was at Burger Bobs. What a fantastic little slice of Miami history this place is. It’s a cash-only diner located on a Coral Gables golf course that’s been in business for over 50 years. The cheeseburger cost just over $5, and looks like it just came out of a time machine. In all seriousness, it was actually pretty good - and if you’re ever in the Gables craving a diner breakfast or a quick cheeseburger, please pay Bob a visit.
I’m always looking for a great new pizza in Miami, because everyone loves pizza, but not everyone has the time to try all of them. Thankfully, I do, and this week I made it over to Collins Pizza, which is so good I added it our list of Miami’s Best Pizza. I’m hardly the first to catch on to this simple North Beach slice spot. The pizza here is the closest thing to a classic New York slice in...maybe the whole city? They use a slowly fermented dough (72 hours, in case you were curious), which gives the crust a great flavor. I picked up a pepperoni and vodka pie. Both were foldable and delicious, with perfect ratios of sauce to cheese. But the vodka is one I’ll absolutely be ordering again.
World Famous House of Mac
World Famous Five Cheese Truffle Mac & Cheese
It was a Sunday night and the words “mac and cheese” were bouncing around in my head like a couple ping pong balls. So, I placed an order at House of Mac, a Miami spot with locations in Wynwood and North Miami. The five cheese truffle mac and cheese was very tasty, and made for a great takeout experience because it comes in an aluminum bowl you can pop right in the oven to warm up. Also, don’t sleep on the wings here. They’re perfectly fried, delicious, and come with a satisfying amount of sauce options. I picked hot honey and it was a great choice.
This week I was very excited to finally check out Zitz Sum, a new restaurant in Coral Gables and former pandemic dumpling takeout operation. They just opened up a really cute new restaurant inside an office building, and everything here was delicious. There’s plenty of non-dumpling dishes worth your time (like the fried rice, crudo, and charred cabbage) but I really loved the har gow: four plump dumplings with shrimp, lemongrass, makrut lime, and tomatillo.
Cajun Fried Okra
I’ve been driving by Big Mama’s BBQ for a couple months now, and every time I pass the little outdoor barbecue spot on 79th Street, I make a mental note to order from them. This week, one of those notes finally stuck, and I got some ribs, cornbread, mac and cheese, and Cajun fried okra. The ribs were good, but the sides were even better - especially the Cajun fried okra. The little nuggets of golden brown okra are crispy, well seasoned, and taste good dipped in the sweet barbecue sauce - or all by themselves.
Cheesy Gaucho Empanada
Another place on 79th Street I pass by way too often: Half Moon Empanadas. They have a few locations scattered around Miami, but the 79th Street location is a casual walk-up window, where you can grab a six-pack of some really great empanadas to bring to the beach - or back home to your couch. I got a few (all delicious) but I really liked the cheesy gaucho, which has a list of fillings that requires a very deep breath to say out loud: ground beef, diced onion, red pepper, black beans, corn, bacon, mozzarella, asiago, provolone, and chimichurri.
Pounded Yam With Egusi
Miami has very few African restaurants, which is all the more reason to support the ones we’ve got. And it’s easy to support a place like Moji, because the food here is great. Moji, a casual spot with a pool table and some counter seating, specializes in West African food. They don’t take orders over the phone, so I had to come in person to get my egusi with fufu (pounded yam) and jollof rice. Both were very tasty, but the egusi with pounded yam is definitely something I’ll be ordering again. Moji makes this stew very spicy, with hunks of braised meat, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and a big ball of fluffy pounded yam for dipping and absorbing.
I had one of the best dinners in recent memory at the new Coral Gables Italian restaurant Luca Osteria. Everything here was fantastic, from the opening plate of prosciutto through the simple, excellent cacio e pepe. But the one true must-order-or-else-risk-a-lifetime-of-regret dish here is the patate fritte. It’s a bowl of little fried potato balls blanketed underneath a layer of silky parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and an egg yolk. You get to mix the whole thing together once it hits the table, and then spend the next seven minutes seriously debating whether or not to order a second helping.
I ordered takeout from Overtown’s Lil Greenhouse Grill this week, and really enjoyed just about everything I got. The highlight, however, were the rib tips. If you’ve never been fortunate enough to enjoy a great version of this barbecue classic, then place an order here soon. Greenhouse’s rib tips are tender and delicious, but the best part might be the sweet barbecue sauce they apply generously.
Pastel De Nata
I’m currently researching a new bakery guide, and a few weeks ago I asked for suggestions on our Instagram. More than one commenter shouted out Majestic Portuguese Bakehouse on Coral Way, and I’m so glad they did, because it led me to this very delicious pastel de nata. I’m ashamed to say this was my first time trying one of these famous Portuguese pastries. But I am excited to say it will not be my last, because I plan on coming back here on a monthly basis and ordering a dozen.
2 Korean Girls
Gochugaru & Red Bean Brownie
I finally got around to placing an order at 2 Korean Girls, a delivery-and-takeout-only spot based in Coconut Grove. It was a fine meal, but the highlight was dessert - specifically the gochugaru and red bean brownie. It is true that I’ve never met a brownie I didn’t like, but it’s also true that I’ve never met a brownie as exciting as this one. It was soft and gooey, but the gochugaru gives it a very subtle yet highly enjoyable lingering spice right at the very end. Absolutely add this to your order.
Osteria Morini is an Italian restaurant from New York that just opened a location in South Beach. And despite the fact that the phrase “restaurant from New York” is starting to make me feel the way some people do when they hear the word “moist,” I stopped by to check them out. And the pasta is pretty good. I got a few, but ended up really liking the torcia nera, which is squid ink pasta with seppia and shrimp ragù. This place is in a hotel in South Beach, so brace for steep prices and a touristy crowd, but if you’re a lover of pasta, it’s worth a trip here eventually.
Baleada Con Pollo
I tried this great little Honduran restaurant in Little Haiti for the first time this week. And now Adelita’s has a spot in our takeout rotation, because everything I ate was just wonderful. The pupusa de chicharron y quesillo was excellent, and so were the chicken taquitos. But my favorite thing was the baleada con pollo: chicken, refried beans, and sour cream folded inside a thick flour tortilla.
Mozzarella & Fish Cake Corndog
Korean Kitchen is a tiny outdoor spot in North Miami, and, in addition to a whole bunch of great dishes, they serve the Korean version of a corndog, which is a beautiful golden brown stick of fried mozzarella with a fish cake center. If I didn’t already have way too much food on the table, I would have ordered two, because this thing was crunchy, cheesy, and a little sweet thanks to just the right amount of sugar dusted on the outside.
Research for an upcoming bakery guide is underway, so I stopped by Little Haiti’s very popular Piman Bouk Bakery. This place is known for Haitian patties, which are flaky and more similar to a croissant than a Jamaican patty. Sadly, they were out of cod, so I got two beef patties instead. But it was not a sad day, because they were delicious. I didn’t even have to heat them up because Piman Bouk keeps them warm and ready to eat all day - which is probably why they had a line out the door.
Bacon Biscuit Crumble With Pickle Caramel
I’m a sucker for weird ice cream flavors - anything with savory ingredients that would normally never be seen within ten-feet of an ice cream cone. So when I saw “bacon biscuit crumble with pickle caramel” on Salt & Straw’s menu, I knew what I was ordering. The result was as confusingly delicious as I hoped, and, yes, you can actually taste the pickles. If that sounds gross to you, you should still check out Salt & Straw. The popular scoop shop’s new Miami location is delicious, and has more “normal” flavors like pineapple coconut cream pie and a Salty Donut guava and cheese collaboration.
Pepperoni & Hot Honey Pizza
This week, The Fooq’s team debuted its latest pivot: Eleventh Street Pizza. The takeout pizza spot is, like all Fooq’s pivots of the last year, delicious. They serve a great New York-style pie that’s foldable yet firm, and made with sourdough crust. My favorite is the pepperoni and hot honey pizza, which comes topped with Calabrian chili paste, caramelized onions, and little pepperoni cups. The pizzas feed two to three people, especially if you add on a side like meatballs or caesar salad. They also do very good (and huge) Sicilian square slices that are actually more like personal pizzas, in case that’s your preferred pizza geometry.
Is there such a thing as a bad plantain chip? Probably not. But the massive new Wynwood brewery Cerveceria La Tropical showed me this week that there is such a thing as a perfect plantain chip. Cerveceria’s are thicker than most, cupped (kind of like the pepperonis on the pizza I was just talking about), and go perfectly with the refreshing beers they serve here. I truly could not stop commenting on them, and got some interesting looks when I spent five minutes trying to photograph one. I sincerely hope Cerveceria one day sells these in grocery stores.
Fish & Chips
Next time you’re about to tell someone, “You can’t find good fish and chips in Miami” - stop yourself. Instead, say, “Actually, you can find some really good fish and chips at Bay 13 Brewery and Kitchen in Coral Gables.” Not only does that sound cheerier, but it’s also true. I checked out the Australian brewery and restaurant in Coral Gables this week, and couldn’t have been happier with the crispy beer-battered fish and thick-cut potato wedges, which I ate on their big outdoor patio.
Mike’s Hot Honey Classic
I encountered The Chicken Spot while doing research for a late-night South Beach guide. But their Mike’s Hot Honey Classic isn’t a sandwich you should only eat at 4am. Feel free to order this any time of day, because it’s just great. It’s simple, yet beautifully executed and has everything I typically love in a fried chicken sandwich: crispy thigh meat, hot honey, fried onions, bread and butter pickles, Sriracha mayo, and a toasted potato roll.
Rigatoni Alla Vodka
There’s a new Italian restaurant in Sunset Harbour called Casa Isola. It’s right next to Pubbelly (its sister restaurant) and it’s an exciting addition for people who love great Italian food served in gigantic portions. I really liked everything I ate here - so much so that I added this place to our Hit List. But one of the standout dishes was definitely the rigatoni, a simple but delicious pile of pasta, Calabrian chilis, and vodka sauce that could probably feed three people and a small animal.
I’ve already posted a ride-along about my dinner at Silverlake Bistro over on Instagram, but that burger deserves some more praise. The Silverlake Burger is excellent - easily one of the best in town - and consists of two patties, cheddar, porcini mayo, and strips of thick bacon, which are optional but, in our opinion, essential.
Pan Con Minuta
The pan con minuta is a great Miami sandwich that I don’t order enough. This is simply unacceptable. So, when I found myself having lunch at Luis Galindo this week, I got one. It turned out to be just a wonderful decision. The pan con minuta here is lovely, with a juicy piece of fried fish, a good ratio of potato sticks, and that essential Cuban bun.
Guava Key Lime Pie
Here’s how a visit to Sweet Delights Key Lime Pies goes: you walk into a small storefront in Homestead and are greeted by baker/literal angel Debra Allen. After welcoming you, she conducts a brief interrogation about your pie interests, then returns with a big tray of pie samples - like banana key lime, guava key lime, mamey key lime, and coconut key lime. There are about a dozen more options, and they’re all, in my opinion, the best key lime pies in the state of Florida. So, yes, there are currently six slices of pie in my freezer. And I’m trying very hard not to eat them all in 24 hours.
During dinner at the new Wynwood spot Uchi, which is an excellent restaurant I just added to our Hit List, it came time to order dessert and I said something like, “Well, we can’t not get the fried milk.” And the server said something like, “Yeah, I don’t understand people who don’t order that.” It turned out to not only be an easy decision, but a great one. The pretty dessert includes a scoop of vanilla custard, salted fudge, a toasted blondie, and little balls of fried milk you get to crack open with a spoon.
Dulce De Leche Monkey Bread
Yes, all three things I added to the guide this week happen to be desserts. And I will not apologize for that, because I’ve been extra good about flossing lately. Also, it had simply been too long since I went to True Loaf, a great little bakery in Sunset Harbour. My game plan here is normally to just walk in, get overwhelmed by the selection, frantically point to things, and pray the check is under $100. One of the things I pointed to on a recent visit was the dulce de leche monkey bread, and it was the perfect way to end a weekly dessert hat-trick.
This week I checked out Jeepney, a Filipino restaurant from New York that just opened a stall in Wynwood’s 1-800-Lucky. I had a bunch of things (which were all good), but there was one specific dish I knew I wanted to order: the sisig. It is hard to find sisig in Miami. But it’s easier now that Jeepney’s in town, serving a great version of this beautiful combination of crispy pork, onions, garlic, peppers - all topped with a freshly-cracked egg you get to mix in yourself. Before I even finished it, I knew Jeepney was headed to the Hit List.
It dipped below 70 degrees this week, so it felt like the perfect time to check out the new Wynwood ramen spot, Momosan. The restaurant has things other than ramen, but ramen is the main attraction here and we only get, like, six “cold” days a year. So I opted for the gyukotsu, which, according to the menu, they only make 25 orders of per day. Luckily I got one before it sold out, and it was pretty darn good. It came with a massive braised beef rib, a magical broth, and kale namul. I recommend seeking it out the next time it’s under 75 degrees.
Taste Of Awash Platter
I’m finishing up some research for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant guide, which finally gave me an excuse to drive out to Miami Gardens and try Awash Ethiopian Restaurant. I’ve been meaning to come here for a while and am so glad I finally did. This place is delicious, and should be on your radar whether you’re a fan of Ethiopian food or have never tried it before, which might be the case since this is Miami-Dade County’s only true Ethiopian restaurant. The Taste Of Awash platter is a great order since it comes with a little of all the vegetarian, beef, and chicken entrees with enough wonderfully spongy injera to scoop it all up.
Cafe Prima Pasta
This week, Cafe Prima Pasta was the winner of my weekly last-minute takeout decision. I went with the chicken parm. Not only did it travel well (and was easy to bring back to life in the oven), but it was more than enough for two people, especially with an added side of penne, which I got as well even though there was only one of us (AKA me). I regret nothing, because it was delicious and also provided enough leftovers for breakfast pasta the next day.
Six-Pack With Cheese
I recently added Royal Castle to our Greatest Hits list, and to celebrate I stopped by the great Miami institution to order one of their slider six-packs. Every bite of these fantastic mini burgers was a reminder that they belong on the Greatest Hits. It takes about three and a half bites for me to eat each one, which means (if your mouth is a similar size) you’re in for 21 excellent bites next time you come here.
Crispy Artichoke & Mushroom Po’boy
I’m researching a vegetarian guide right now, which is why I drove out to West Kendall to try Sunday, a plant-based food truck I’ve been hearing very good things about. Those good things turned out to be true, and every dish I tried here was just outstanding. A clear favorite, though, was the crispy artichoke and mushroom po’boy. It is, as advertised, very crispy - but there are also some tomatoes, onions, and a tangy house sauce that cuts through all that fried stuff. Spoiler alert, you’ll most definitely be seeing Sunday on our vegetarian guide.
Pork Belly Onigiri
Every time I encounter Omusubee at a farmer’s market (which is where you’ll find them for now), we beeline to their stand and get all jittery with excitement for what we’re about to eat. They serve onigiri here, which are little rice triangles wrapped in seaweed and stuffed with all kinds of great things. It’s an excellent Japanese snack, and Omusubee makes great versions with things like plantain, ume, and shrimp tempura. This week, I grabbed a pork belly onigiri, and spent every bite wishing these folks had their own restaurant. Follow them on Instagram to stay updated on where to find them.
Guava Habanero Jam
Another fantastic farmer’s market find this week: spicy guava habanero jam from Gables Delight. The local jam makers were at the Legion Park farmers market last Saturday and had all kinds of tasty-sounding things. (We also bought a raspberry/lychee jam). The guava habanero is definitely worth ordering if you just dropped your only jar of jam onto the floor and had to spend a whole afternoon scrubbing it off the floor. It’s sweet up front, but leaves a lingering burn on your tongue that’ll wake you up in the morning. If you can’t find them at a farmers market, they sell their jams online too.
Potato Chips And Caviar Onion Dip
I 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 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
I have a new weekend ritual that goes like this: At about 9:34pm on Saturday I say, “I could go for some ice cream right now.” And then, immediately after that thought, say, “Is Frice still open?!” They are (they close at 10pm), so I rush over and get ice cream. This week, I was talked into trying the cinnamon roll ice cream sandwich with the new coquito flavor. Now this is me 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, I wanted to switch things up with some vegan food. So I went to go try Coconut Grove’s new vegan dim sum spot, Minty Z. I really liked this place - from the adorable little characters on their dining room mural to just about every dish I 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 slightly nutty flavor and a fantastic texture. I could eat about 20. And I just might try the next time I 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 I recently stopped by, I 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 me to try the smoked turkey BLT. I usually nod politely before proceeding to order ribs or brisket, but this week, I decided to give it a try and consider this paragraph my formal and heartfelt apology to all the people I ignored. You all were right - this sandwich is amazing. The turkey is smoky and so much juicer than the Thanksgiving birds I’ve consumed over the years. It’s served on Tempur-Pedic soft pullman bread and comes with an “avocado mayo” that is my new favorite condiment. Now I will be the one begging strangers to order this.
River Oyster Bar is one of my 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 I 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.
This Sunday, I was in the mood to eat a big sandwich while watching the Dolphins game, so I ordered one of Stanzione’s new subs. My thinking was: well, even if the Dolphins lose, I’ll still have a very good sandwich to make me smile. Luckily, the Dolphins won and I 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.
N’duja, Salami, And Mozzarella Panini
Alright, so I had two big Italian sandwiches this week and I 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 I so badly hope they stay on the menu because they’re some of the best donuts I’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. I recently checked it out and loved everything (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 I’m glad I 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 me 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, I 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 I plan on working my way through all of them eventually.
Crispy Rice And Sai Krog Muu
This weekend, I stopped by Lil’ Laos’ new home inside The Citadel to check out their new menu. I tried this place out when they were a roaming pop-up, but they’re on a new level now. I ordered the crispy rice and sai krog muu (pork sausage) and spent the next 15 minutes saying things like “damn” and “wow” to my 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.
I finally got around to trying Diya Sunset Harbour last week. The South Beach Indian restaurant is all vegetarian and serves its 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 I 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 I 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 I’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. I’ll be stopping by here again next time I’m in the area.
Dandee Donut Factory
You know what’s hard right now? Getting an appointment at the DMV. To get one, I 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 I ended up getting was in Pompano Beach. But you know what else is in Pompano? The freaking Dandee Donut Factory, baby. So I swung by after my journey to the inner core of government bureaucracy to remind myself 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 my 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 I 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 my 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. I 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 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. I 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 I haven’t been able to sample every place on the list, I 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 me away. It’s like the best dinner roll you ever had married an everything bagel. I 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 my living room. And so it’s one of those places I hit up on a regular basis. This week, I was 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. I will probably be meeting this pita again in approximately six days.
This month I’m researching a new jerk chicken guide, and one of the first places I 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 I 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 I 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 I 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 I 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. I 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
I 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
I decided to check out Buya while researching outdoor restaurants in Wynwood and I’m glad I 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 I tried - crunchy, tender, and comes sitting on a lovely “Tokyo ranch” sauce. Easily one of the best mushroom dishes I’ve had in Miami.
Croquetas de Jamon
I’ll take any excuse to visit the classic Islas Canarias, and this week I had a good one: research for our Cuban sandwich guide (which is coming very soon). I’ll wait until then to talk about that sandwich, but I 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. I would like to carry around a suitcase full of these things.