This fall, my then-fiancee (now wife) and I took a quick weekend trip to Miami for an engagement photoshoot at the Vizcaya Museum and Wynwood Art District as well as some destination foodie adventuring.
Miami and South Florida is truly rich in diversity and you could barely tell you were in the states in some areas like Little Havana. The proximity to South America makes it easy.
Chefs in search of some fun and beach have recently made Miami beach their homes and set up award winning restaurants that are making the whole country take notice. And it’s all only a few hours trip by car (plus or minus depending on traffic) from Orlando.
Rok: Brgr in Ft Lauderdale – This place is more of a night time burger bar, and I was a bit cautious upon approaching because the area still smelled from last nights drinking activities, but the menu and the food at Rok:Brgr proved to be quite good.
Inside Rok:Brgr Ft Lauderdale
BLT DEVILED EGGS – local eggs | smoked bacon | tomato | chives – $6 – You can see one of the eggs fell over from its own colossal weight, quite possibly the tallest most stacked deviled eggs I’ve had – but a bit too salty.
ROK:BRGR Burger – aged vermont cheddar | maple pepper bacon | bourbon bbq – $12.5 – this is the burger I ordered, and it was quite delicious. the brioche bun was moist and the burger meat was flavorful. Solid thumbs up.
BACON JAM SLIDERS – american “kobe”| maple bourbon bacon jam | brie cheese – $14
MORNING GLORY Burger – american cheese | maple pepper bacon | fried egg
Matsuri Sushi in Miami
Inside Matsuri Sushi in Miami
Fried Squid – $8.00 – slightly too chewy
Seafood Miso Pot – $10.00 – best dish of the night, the seafood miso pot was full of flavor and surprisingly had an abundance of seafood as well.
Futomaki roll – this roll was a bit forgettable…
Sushi Sashimi Combo: (5pc Sushi, 9pc Sashimi, Tuna Roll) 23 – Overall, a bit disappointing as the rice and fish were all sub par from what we are used to, under seasoned and a bit lacking in flavor. Would be ok sushi otherwise…sadly it reminded me of sushi from Publix – mass produced.
As you can see..the digs are nice (though very loud inside), but the food does not match the ambiance.
Calle Ocho … a cultural immersion foot tour of Little Havana.
- Colorful decorated Roosters are found throughout the district, often painted in Cuban or Spanish flag colors
Classic domino spot where locals come to play some dominos. Tour buses seem to love the place and drop off tourists by the busload here. Must be hard to concentrate on a game with all the cameras clicking.
Cigar factory man sitting outside inviting folks in to pick up some cigars. Uncanny resemblance to the wood carving of a cigar smoking man on a chair in the glass display case.
More roosters painted in Calle Ocho
La Camaronera – ridiculously popular fried shrimp and seafood place – highlighted by Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America who recently visited during his Miami episode. They also have like 1000 positive reviews on Yelp. Recently expanded too. Cash only please. There is an atm at the corner store near by.
Fried shrimp. Really good…crispy, crunchy, and nice subtle flavors in the fry. Great with some squeeze of lime and a dip in the tartar sauce.
La Minuta – their signature fried snapper sandwich on some cuban pan bread. This sandwich provides a great taste to value ratio, costing only $6. No wonder they take cash only.
A look inside the fried snapper sandwich at La Camaronera in Little Havana.
The new expanded dining area of La Camaronera (The Shrimper)
Standing room for La Camaronera – one of the guys that work here looks like Howie from Backstreet Boys.
Full pig roast going on at El Palacio De Los Jugos. Great lechon…
Even though they are known as the Palace of Juices…this place is more like a Cuban/Latino street food vendor than just a juice bar. They have seafood, sandwiches, rice, beef, etc. all for sale from the counter stations surrounding the complex. It reminded me of Loquillo street food kiosks by the beach in Puerto Rico. Whatever you do, don’t get the Frita Cuban burger here. As I found out, (should have listened to Burger Beast first) it was one of the worst renditions of the Miami favorite. Way too mushy.
Fresh ripe mangos and a multitude of other south american fruits available
A favorite is the sugarcane
El Palacio de Los Jugos in Little Havana, Miami
Chicharrones – fried pork skin – in a paper bag from El Palacio de los Jugos. Super cheap street food.
Pubbelly – Gastropub in Miami Beach – Lucky for us it was Spice Miami month and some pre-fixe menus were available for us. Asian and latin flavors in tapas form…executed very well.
The restaurant is quite tiny, and is more like a bar than anything, but the food we tried was superb.
This was a nice, spicy, refreshing cocktail drink…can’t remember the name though.
local cobia crudo gazpacho (vinaigrette-pickled watermelon, olive oil “cheese”)
Succulent, tender short-rib porcini croquetas with mint aioli
Pork belly ‘n’ scallion (su-shoyu, shichimi, onion marmalade) and short rib ‘n’ corn (black truffle, corn soy, sorrel, parmigiano) dumplings – very creative take on the traditional dumpling. I am tired of pork and vegetable fillings – these dumplings at pubbelly excited me…and proved to be executed quite well. gone within seconds.
Roasted broccoli rabe (chilies, yuzu soy butter) – slightly too much soy / saltiness but still good.
Barbecued “pork wings” (smoked teriyaki, chayote, peanuts) – Pork ribs
Braised pork cheeks on ricotta gnudi, peas, wasabi butter – tender and slightly crispy. very nice.
Dessert – salted caramel ice cream
Overall, one of my favorite meals in Miami and of all time! The tapas style small plates allowed us to try different flavors in bite sized portions, packed with a punch and all done very well.
After dinner stroll along Lincoln Road Mall – one of my favorite places in Miami – kind of like Park Avenue in Winter Park times 1000
Danny Meyer’s award winning NYC Burger Chain – Shake Shack
Photos from the engagement!