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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Latin-Influenced Small Plates at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Hello friends — and apologies that it’s taken so long to share this next post!  This one hails from the heart of Miami, the Wynwood Design District, to be specific.  This up-and-coming warehouse area of Miami is known for its eclectic artwork in the form of graffiti-ized murals, and definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area and have half a day or so to spare.

A couple of my friends were in town recently and we checked out Wynwood Kitchen & Bar*, a small-plate tapas restaurant whose menu is influenced by a variety of Latin cuisines.  The restaurant itself has ample seating, including an outdoor patio covered area.  As the name indicates, yes, there is also a bar!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I love tasting any and all different types of food, so naturally, I jumped at the opportunity for tapas!  The more I get to sample, the better!  Our table ended up ordering four plates to share, so without further ado, here’s our feast…

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Bolivar in South Beach

For a native Floridian, I (sadly) can’t say I’ve been to South Beach much, so I recently decided to head out there for lunch with a couple friends.

040115_bolivar_restaurantBolivar* was the lunch spot.  A little restaurant covering various LatAm (that’s Latin American, FYI) cuisines including Colombian, Venezuelan, and Peruvian, among others.  The ambiance inside was pretty festive and fun… off to a good start so far!

I really like Colombian food, so I ordered the Bandeja Paisa, which is a traditional Colombian platter of char-grilled steak, crispy pork belly, caramelized plantains, red beans, fried egg, rice, and grilled corn cake.  Sounds delicious, right?  I was hooked by “platter,” and was totally looking forward to a mountain of food.  Well, here it is…

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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

Khong River House Brings Together Southeast Asian Flavors Along the Mekong River

Lincoln Road is one of the most popular (tourist) destinations in Miami Beach, and home to many great restaurants.  Just steps away from the outdoor Lincoln Road Mall is the Southeast Asian restaurant Khong River House*, which combines flavors from all countries along the Mekong River — you can probably now figure out how the restaurant got its name.  Though it might not look like it, the restaurant actually has quite a bit of seating available inside.  There’s also a special upstairs private room/lounge — with private bar!

I started the evening off with an appetizer, Charred Eggplant Larb.  Dried shrimp, shallots, herbs, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar.  Wanted to try something new.  Had never heard of larb.  Of course I had to try it.  What came out was this…

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Doggi’s Patacon de Pollo

In my mind, Chicago will always be the food mecca of the US… except when it comes to Latin American food.  There are some LatAm options in Chicago, like Cantina Laredo or Xoco, but there are many more tempting options for other types of cuisines.  South Florida is without a doubt, my mecca for good, authentic Latin American cuisine.

Today’s adventure brought me to the heart of Miami, just south of Downtown and Little Havana, to a little Venezuelan eatery called Doggi’s.  Sitting along an unassuming street in a fairly residential area, Doggi’s offers both indoor and outdoor seating — though to be honest, I felt a bit claustrophobic inside because the tables and chairs were packed so closely together.

Since I feasted on an arepa just a couple days ago, I ordered a patacon today.  A patacon de pollo — that’s a chicken patacon.  Think shredded chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, (a pile of) cheese, and a medley of sauces — but substitute the bread for (flattened) twice-fried green plantain.  Yum!

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Taste-wise, the meal was fairly comparable to other patacons I’ve had in the past, like the one at La Coriana in Doral.  Texture-wise, I may have preferred other alternatives… this patacon seemed relatively heavy and left me full well into my normal dinner time.  The sauces were tasty though.  I’m pretty sure one of them was garlic aioli — with emphasis on the garlic!  Overall, I’d give this a fine.

Doggi’s menu is pretty extensive, definitely worth checking out.  (Click on “Pickup” after clicking on the link.)

Oh, and one more thing.  There’s no parking lot nearby, only street parking for $1.50 an hour.  If you’re lucky enough, you just might find a paid spot right in front of the restaurant for super quick entry/exit.

*Location:
1246 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145

Amazing Arepas at Amaize

There are a ton of sit-down Latin American restaurants in Miami, but I can only think of a handful of fast casual joints.

The flavor of the day was Amaize*, a relatively new fast casual Latin American restaurant that opened in town just a couple months ago.  The restaurant’s known for its arepas, or corn pancakes, and cachapas — think of these as sweet yellow corn pancakes.  Both are prominent in Venezuela and Colombia.

010915_amaize_arepaFor lunch, I ordered the Beauty Queen — avocado chicken salad (with peas) stuffed into an arepa — and made it a combo (for an extra $1) by adding a roasted pepper and gouda soup!  I enjoyed the stuffing, but wouldn’t necessarily say it wowed my taste buds, so I’m going to have to give it an okay.  On the other hand, the arepa itself was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, so despite it’s inherently bland nature, I must say I enjoyed eating it and if I had to rate that by itself, I’d give it a fine.

Onto the soup!  Roasted pepper and gouda.  Pretty bold flavor I have to say, but at first I was unexcited about it.  After a couple spoonfuls of the roasted pepper soup, I got to the cheese.  OMG, the cheese was melted just the right amount and became all stringy when I tried to separate it from the rest of the soup — just like that hot stringy cheese on the pizza that came right out of the oven!  The amazing part was that the cheese was still melty 20 minutes — or more — into the meal!  Overall, gotta give this soup a fine-good.  Thumbs up, I’d definitely order it again.

The best part of the meal?  The $5 voucher I got after I filled out the customer survey at the bottom of my receipt — and the survey was short enough to fill out as I waited for my meal to arrive at the table!  Guess I’ll be coming back here soon…

Here’s their menu in case you’re in town and interested in checking it out.

*Location:
3887 Northwest 107th Avenue #101
Doral, FL 33178

Harvest Delights. Looks So Great, But Up for Debate.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the food looks amazing, but doesn’t quite meet your taste buds’ expectations?

IMHO, Harvest Delights* is one of those places.  I first dined in about half a year ago, and while the menu looked great, I ordered something — something that was pretty standard Mediterranean fare — and it didn’t taste as great as I had hoped.  I wasn’t exactly sure what was off about what I ordered, but for some reason, my taste buds just weren’t satisfied.

I decided to give Harvest Delights another chance recently, and despite ordering something different, was disappointed again.  I ordered the Shawarma Platter this time.  Marinated beef “seasoned to perfection,” topped with red onions, and served with tabouli, hummus, and pita bread.  (FYI, tabouli is a vegetarian dish made from tomatoes, parsley, mint, and onion, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.)  Again, standard Mediterranean fare, so I was expecting the restaurant to nail it.

010715_harvestdelights_shawarmaBut for some reason or other… they just didn’t.  For me, at least.  Maybe it was because the beef was rather dry and not very flavorful.  Or maybe I’m just not used to eating a salad of parsley.  Or maybe the overall meat-to-veggie ratio was a bit small.  I mean, the presentation was great — look at the picture, the plate looks delicious! — but it just didn’t hit the spot for me.  I rate this platter a below average, even though I enjoyed the hummus and pita.

I likely won’t visit a third time… at least for a very long time… there are other better Mediterranean places in town… but in case you’re curious what else is on the menu, here’s the link.

*Location:
3470 Northwest 82nd Avenue #105
Miami, FL 33122

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

From Farm to Grill, Sea to Table at Green Plate Asian Bistro

Noodles, sushi, and meats.  How could a menu get any more complete than that?!

A frolleague of mine recently introduced me to an Asian restaurant she stumbled upon in a suburb of Miami.  Green Plate Asian Bistro* in Doral opened in July 2014 and claims to be “a combination of authentic Chinese, Thai, and Japanese culinary culture with a modern twist.”  Given my inclination towards fusion cuisine, I didn’t hesitate to give it a go.

I went for lunch and tried the Steak Teriyaki Bento Box.  I originally asked for the Sushi Bento, but decided to pick something else since my waitress couldn’t tell me what the chef’s choice sushi was — and I wasn’t in a very risky mood that day.  I was impressed with the extensive menu of bento boxes Green Plate offered.  (Each bento box comes with a choice of miso soup or house salad, a California roll, a spring roll, and seaweed salad.)

Feeling healthy, I started off with a house salad with ginger dressing.  Standard fare, nothing special there — but not that I was expecting anything extraordinary.  I’d give it an okay.

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