For John Offerdahl, the aroma of meat sizzling on the grill stirs memories of his family's barbecues in rural Wisconsin. Even when John grew up and became a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, he couldn't escape that enticing smell—it would waft into the stadium from fans tailgating outside and the mascots who secretly stuffed their costumes with cheeseburgers. So it was only natural that, after retiring from football, John would once again find himself at the grill when he and his wife Lynn opened Offerdahl's Cafe Grill in 2000. The couple were no strangers to the restaurant business; they had previously owned a chain of bagel shops. This venture, however, would prove more ambitious—they devised menus of classic American cuisine that could be served up fast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a focus on fresh-grilled fare.
Today, Offerdahl's Cafe Grill has expanded to seven locations, but its flavorful, no-frills meals remain the same. "Johnny O's Famous Bagels" still take the starring roles during breakfast, waking diners up with flavors like cinnamon crumb, pumpernickel, and fruit-and-nut. But once breakfast turns to lunch and dinner, the grill takes over. Chefs swiftly cook up steak, chicken, and salmon, serving the proteins over rice, pasta, or salad with homemade dressings. They also grill chicken sandwiches and burgers, in a nod to the cafe's backyard barbecue roots.
Bargello Bistro plates up a menu of refined comfort-cuisine recipes hailing from such warm-water coasts as Italy, Greece, and Morocco. A bowl of Tuscan minestrone soup ($4.25) makes a fine precursor to a hearty plate of coconut shrimp, served in a sauce that is sweet, spicy, and surprisingly well read ($9.25). A savory selection of gourmet sandwiches quells lunch- and dinnertime cravings ($10.45–$13.45), and Bargello's weekend breakfast menu catches early birds with an appetizing array of omelettes, pancakes, and breakfast paninis ($9.95 each) that can be served in half portions for children under 12 and peckish centaurs ($6.95).
Happy Playz beckons youngsters ages 0–6 to traverse its age-appropriate playplaces while parents enjoy free WiFi near the cappuccino bar. Small tots boost their hand-eye coordination in the activity center or scrutinize their outfits in various mirrors throughout the multihued recreation station. A magnetic-bug center delights fledgling scientists with refrigerator-door residents whereas a pretend doctor's office teaches tykes about health and how to correctly ask for a doctor's note to get out of their taxes. Just beyond the bounds of the play area, an on-site café slings a bevy of kid-friendly cuisine including macaroni and cheese ($3.50), mini pitas with hummus ($3), and classic cheeseburgers ($3).
The gourmet treats at Häagen-Dazs delight discerning palates with a variety of frozen goodies in indulgent flavors. Made from top-quality ingredients, Haagen-Dazs ice creams and sorbets confidently fill cups and top cones ($4.20-$6.00) or blend into shakes ($6.25) and smoothies ($6.50) in an attempt to lose taste-bud tails. Each Dazzler's three scoops of ice cream settle under whipped-cream peaks, with flavors including Dulce Split, Mint Chip, and Rocky Road ($6.95). Patrons select toppings, sauces, and ice-cream flavors to form customizable sundaes ($5.50-$6.95), or deploy straws to taste a Sorbet Sipper ($5.95), which is made of sorbet and then sipped.
Featured on Waterfront News and WSVN, Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe is known for its organic, tasty donuts, which are fried in trans-fat-free oil until light and fluffy. Today's deal lets patrons sample Mandarin's gourmet goods with a variety box of 12 donuts, six filled and six unfilled. Treat injectables include caramelized apple pie, guava and cheese, and marshmallow crème custard. Filling-free flavors are equally decadent but less offensive to texture monogamists, and include raspberry glaze, white chocolate, and dark chocolate espresso drizzle. You'll also get 12 donut dots, which come donned in scandalously sheer gowns of glaze and no socks. Delivery is available within metropolitan Miami-Dade County.