2-Minute Tilapia at The Buzzer Beater

I’m all about lunch specials, and recently found one in Doral that’s worth blogging about!

The Buzzer Beater* is a basketball-themed restaurant — stay with me here for a sec — with lunch specials that rank it in Doral’s top 20 list.  At first I was pretty skeptical, since it seemed like your run-of-the-mill American restaurant, but since it was the only one of the top 20 that I hadn’t yet been to, I decided to give it a shot (har har) and went for lunch with a colleague from work.

Scanning my options in TBB’s 2-minute menu and another lunch specials menu, I decided to go with the tilapia entree, which came with a lightly-fried filet topped with corn, and two sides of garlic sauteed spinach and jasmine rice.

20151102_buzzer_tilapiaI gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised about what I got for $6.99.  The fish — which, mind you was not a shrunken, puny dried-up square — was the slightest bit crispy and had good (i.e. enough but not too much) flavor, and the spinach was not wilted and soggy.  The garlic even tasted fresh!  And the portion of rice was a good size too.  Glad I got a balanced share of meat, veggies, and grains!  Overall, a good meal.  I’d come back again to try their other lunch specials, perhaps even something from the the $9.99 specials list!

FYI, TBB also has a set of indoor basketball hoops, in case you were feeling like working up an appetite before your meal or burning some calories after…

*8347 NW 36th St
Doral, FL 33166

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Miami Spice: Market at EDITION

In different cities during different times of the year, restaurants feature special prix fixe menus at a discount.  Chicago has Restaurant Week — actually more like two weeks — around February.  New Orleans‘ Restaurant Week lasts about a week in September.  And Miami has Miami Spice, two months devoted to discounted good eats during the summer months of August and September.

080815_market_menuJust yesterday, I experienced my first ever Miami Spice — about time, since I’ve lived in the area for so long — at Market* at EDITION, a swanky Marriott hotel with a backdoor entrance to the gorgeous Miami Beach!  I was there for lunch, courtesy of a team offsite for work.  The inside of the restaurant reminded me of a European-style food bazaar — even though the menu was more American — with its hanging meats, seafood bar, and clean-cut white furnishings.

 

My $23 prix fixe lunch lineup included:

  • Crunchy Calamari, with citrus-chili dip
  • Florida Grouper Sandwich, with chipotle mayo
  • Salted Caramel Sundae, with candied peanuts and popcorn, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce

My thoughts?

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New Orleans Day Three: Lunch at The Rum House Followed by Another Two-Part Dinner

Hello there, and thanks for continuing to read my blog!  This’ll be my last post in the three-day New Orleans series of fun and interesting eats, so hopefully you enjoy it as much as I culinarily — is that a word? — enjoyed exploring this vibrant city.

After dining in the more touristy parts of town the first and second days of our NOLA trip, my friend and I decided to head to the Garden District for more quiet, subdued atmosphere and cuisine on the third day.  Our plan was to start the morning off by hoping on a streetcar — the St. Charles one to be exact — to the neighborhood and wandering around, exploring the beautiful architecture and gardens until we got hungry, at which time we would grab a bite to eat at whatever nearby establishment suited our fancy.  With plenty of food options in NOLA, we were okay with playing it by ear — even though food is very serious business!

For lunch, we ended up stopping at The Rum House*, which is right on Magazine Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the Garden District.  It took us a couple tries before we found a menu on Magazine Street that we were diggin’, but the eats here were worth the wait, and they even serve water in mason jars with neon-colored straws!

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This Caribbean-inspired taqueria serves up a variety of food, from salads to sandwiches to tacos (of course!) and more.  And that’s not even considering the starters, which include various salsas and dips, or the meat entrees!  Wanting to try as much variety as we could, but also wanting to be somewhat healthy, my friend and I decided to split a Rum House salad and also a Mr. Biggs Plate Combo — that’s four tacos, one side, and a beef patty.  Sacrifice with the salad, splurge on the tacos.

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New Orleans Day One: Beignets for Breakfast and Deanie’s for Dinner

One of New Orleans’ traditional must-try desserts is the beignet (pronounced ben-yā with a long “a”), a delicious deep-fried dough pastry.  Picture a rectangular doughnut with no hole.  Except… somewhat heavier in consistency than your average doughnut.  That’s a beignet!  It actually kind of reminds me of a croissant doughnut, but a slightly heavier version of it…

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to indulge while I was in town, and where better than grab some at Cafe du Monde*, a historic coffee shop in the French Quarter?!  The shop’s been around since 1862, and must be super popular since it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

IMG_5076Cafe du Monde really only serves beignets and various types of coffee — I had the frozen cafe au lait, which was also delicious! — but they do ’em right.  And they pile on the powder on the beignets!  (Wait, that’s an understatement.  But really… you could even add more sugar if you wanted to.)  Look at all that sugary goodness!  I’d rate these bad boys, as well as the coffee as good, btw.

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First Meal of My NOLA Adventure, Not Quite Wowed By the WOW Cafe

All right everyone, I finally have a moment to breathe.  And more importantly, to blog!

I know y’all — See what I did there?  If not, see #2. — have been anxiously awaiting to hear about my gastronomic adventures in the The Big Easy, otherwise known as Nawlins, otherwise known as NOLA, otherwise known as (yep, you guessed it) New Orleans!  Well, over the next few posts, I’ll be reliving my culinary journey through this cultural and historic city, through the lens of good ole Southern food.

A good friend of mine from Chicago and I both flew into the city Friday evening.  We decided to drop off our stuff at the hotel and grab a quick dinner before retiring early in preparation for a full day’s worth of exploring the next day.  After our pit stop, we asked the hotel staff if they had any recommendations for dinner.  Sure enough, they pointed us a few blocks north, in the direction of Iberville Street and Bienville Street, where there were lots of seafood restaurants.

With mouths watering and day (night?) dreams of soft-shelled crab, we headed that way, but soon encountered lines upon lines of people waiting (outside the restaurants even!) to be seated.  We were bold enough to ask one of the establishments how long the wait would be, and upon hearing 1.5 hours, we turned right around and headed back downtown to the main thoroughfare where our hotel was located to see what other options we had.  We walked up and down the street a couple times, and even tried peeking around side streets, but nothing really caught our eye.  It soon looked like it was going to start pouring, so we decided that we’d stop at the next restaurant we found even remotely appealing.

That restaurant was WOW Cafe, American Grill & Wingery.  Their menu isn’t extensive, but it featured a couple po’ boys and a couple meat plates, which was authentic enough for us at the time.  After all, it was getting late and stormy, and we were running out of options and getting very hungry.

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Seared Ahi at Salt Creek

I love traveling because I get to try so many different cuisines, but on the flip side, traveling can also be exhausting, sometimes making me crave sleep even more than food.

During my travels on the West Coast, I was starting to feel like a glutton for eating out every meal, especially after eating at Toulouse Petit, and by the time my work travels brought me south from Seattle, Washington to Valencia, California, I was more than ready for another salad — even though I don’t typically tend to prefer meals consisting mostly of leafy greens!

In Valencia, I dined at Salt Creek Grille*, which offers a variety of salads, burger, and fish/meat entrees.  The menu looked great, especially the fish and meats, but I couldn’t bring myself to order anything heavier than a salad with perhaps a small helping of fish or meat…

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Happy Hour at The Mighty Gastropub

If you’re in the mood for a good beer, check out The Mighty* in Miami.  They have a pretty extensive menu and also $2 off select beers (and select food items too) from 5:00-7:00p everyday, including weekends!  #weekendhappyhour  I tried the Duchesse De Bourgogne, which is a Flemish red ale beer.  It’s a sour, fruity beer.  Normally, I’m pretty indifferent to (or even dislike) beer, but I actually liked this one!

While I was at The Mighty, I also tried some of the happy hour appetizers… the Bar Chips, Mighty Fries, and Fried Bombas… all fried and all potato-based!  The Bar Chips were really just potato chips, Mighty Fries were really just french fries, and Fried Bombas were creamy potato croquettes (shown clockwise from left to right in the photo below).  All pretty average, okay really, though the Mighty Fries came with a side of aioli, which is always garlicky and delicious.  Not sure if I would order any of them again…

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The Mighty also has a small selection of cheeses and meats (varieties written on a chalkboard at the back of the restaurant), which were pretty tasty.  I tried the Tetilla, which I’d describe as a light brie (slightly lighter taste, slightly heavier texture), and Serrano ham — both were good.  They came with some toasted garlic bread and olives on the side.  Garlic bread, yum!  Olives on the other hand, ick!

The Mighty also has a pool table — $1 per game — at the back, which is a nice addition.

*Location:
2224 SW 22nd St
Miami, FL 33145

Food Truck Friday: Bite Gastrotruck Edition

Bite Gastrotruck.  BAMF Burger.  ‘Nuff said.

Okay, here’s the deal… two slices of beef, bacon-onion jam, American cheese, and Chipotle mayo.  I actually ordered lettuce and potato sticks as toppings as well.  I originally picked the BAMF because of the bacon-onion jam.  I have had bacon jam at Southern Swank Kitchen before, and was hoping this would be something similar, with the addition of onion of course.  The jam turned out to be distinct pieces of caramelized onion and fried bacon, instead of a more holistic (read: less chunky) spread.  Eh…

013115_bite_bamfNotice there’s no lettuce in the picture to the left.  That’s because they forgot it!  Oh, and they also substituted french fries for potato sticks — unintentionally, I think.  (I’m pretty sure potato sticks and french fries are distinct items, as they also offered gourmet french fries on their menu.)  I decided I was pretty happy about the fry-substitution, but not so much about the lack of lettuce.  How else was I going to get my serving of veggies?!  Anyhoo, I’d rate the burger a fine.  The bread was toasted and didn’t get all soggy when I was making my way through the burger, so that was a plus.  Overall, pretty tasty, though a couple hours after eating it, I felt like an unhealthy blob.

It’s pretty rare that I find a delicious burger that doesn’t make me feel guilty for not hitting the gym afterwards… if anyone has any suggestions, please do share!

Ice Cream Cake in Winter?!

Yes, it’s Winter.  And yes, I’m eating ice cream.  Hey, it’s one of the benefits of living in South Florida!

I’m not typically a desserts person — unless we’re talkin’ about a sampler platter — but if I had my choice of dessert, ice cream cake would make it pretty high on the list.  I think I may have just stumbled upon my new favorite spot — at least in Doral — to get some.  Miller’s Ale House*.

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That’s Capt’n Jack’s Buried Treasure.  And treasure it is!  Homemade ice cream cake with Oreo cookie crust, caramel, chocolate fudge, and Heath Bar crunch.  All the best toppings!  Better yet, this mountain of booty’ll run you just under $6 (excluding tax)!  What are you waiting still for?

*Location:
3271 Northwest 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33172

Ring in the New Year with Risotto at Sonoma!

What sane person out there doesn’t love a good risotto?  So creamy!  So flavorful!  So… delicious!

I think my favorite risotto in Doral might be the Seafood Saffron Risotto at Olivos — which I have yet to blog about — but a close second would likely be the seafood risotto at Sonoma Restaurant*.

123114_sonoma_risottoGarnished with clams and mussels, Sonoma’s seafood risotto did not disappoint.  It didn’t taste overly salty or overly sweet, and was even the slightest bit tangy, likely because of the tomato in the recipe.  Overall, not only a nice presentation, but also a great fusion of flavors.  And the large portion size didn’t hurt either.  (I had enough leftovers for a full lunch the next day!)  Rating?  I think I’ll give this a good.

The rest of the menu at Sonoma looks pretty good too.  There’s a variety of entrees to choose from, and the restaurant also has daily specials.  If you’re into lunch specials, try something off the “Executive Lunch” specials menu.  Just north of $10 each (unless you order fish)!

Not convinced to go yet?  Well, this “New American” restaurant has outdoor seating and a great view from the back!  Let’s just say it’s not something you’d expect to find in a location like Doral.  And that’s all I’m sayin’.  If you want to find out more, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

*Location:
2475 Northwest 95th Avenue
Miami, FL 33172