The Food Truck phenomenon has spread like wildfire across the country and Miami is no exception. Just over a year ago, Miami had approximately 50 trucks on the road and now that number is approaching 100 or more. Food Trucks roam the streets of Miami solo or roar into rallies from South Miami all the way up to Palm Beach County almost every day of the week. Latin Burger and gastropod were some of the first trucks on the road and the pioneers of the Food Truck frenzy in Miami. BTTR - short for Biscayne Triangle Truck Round-Up - is the most longstanding Food Truck rally and began in 2009. Every Tuesday night, you are sure to find 15-20 trucks in front of Johnson and Wales University, slinging their food for crowds. Everyone is sure to find something at BTTR to tickle their palate - how about a Bubble Tea from Boba Station? My favorite is the lychee slushie with orange pearls - bursts of fruit and sweet that leave you craving just one more (technically, I had one more plus since I also had to sample the Papaya and the Black Milk Tea). The Bubble Tea is perfect to wash down a true eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head favorite - the Grilled Blue and Bacon (crisp bacon with creamy blue cheese and green onion on sourdough bread). This sandwich, along with several other signature snacks, come hot and melting off the grill of Ms. Cheezious® - may I recommend the Crabby Cheese Melt or the Swiss and Guava special? But you can’t stop there. Food truck rallies are not about stopping at one truck. The siren song of El Rincon del Coqui is calling you to come and sample a huge, flavorful Tripleta Sandwich, Puerto Rico's famous three meat sandwich. It comes complete with incredible sauce and crispy potato sticks. Bring friends - this is a monster, must-share sandwich. If fish tacos are your indulgence of choice, check out Purple People Eatery which has a crispy Miami Mahi taco topped with chipotle mayo and pineapple-jalapeno salsa. Another option is Jefe’s Original Fish Taco and Burgers - a quick bite and make sure you request some of the house hot sauce! Porkalicious has more bacon, pulled pork, marinated pork, grilled pork and chicharrones than any other truck I have seen. They even have you covered with bacon ice cream for dessert! And if dessert is what you want, then dessert is what you get. For those that have the stomach for it, the Krispy Kreme shake and/or Nutella shake from Big Kahuna are the dessert waves to ride. Donuts. In a Shake. Think about that. Fireman Derek has scrumptious sweets - chocolate flan, pie pops and award-winning Key lime pie. Cupcakes may be more your style and Clarabelle’s Cupcakes gives a great selection, including a Lavender Cupcake with Lavender icing! Shaved ice may be the perfect solution to cool off as well but if you are looking for me, you can find me at the Bubble Tea truck … sampling. Again. Other standup weekly food truck rallies include Young Circle in Hollywood on Mondays, BTTR on Tuesdays, and Bayfront on Wednesdays - Come hungry! For calendars and locations of the Miami Food Truck rallies - check out: South Florida Food Trucks.Read More
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Nightly crowds with appetites fueled by drinks and dancing used to overwhelm street vendors around Havana's nightclubs in their search for hearty food, prompting cooks to invent a simple snack that combined salty, sweet, and sour flavors in each bite. Named for their popularity around midnight, medianoche sandwiches typically layer roast pork, sliced pickles, and swiss cheese between two gently toasted pieces of yellow egg bread. Although these late-night staples hail from Cuba, they've made their way to a number of much-lauded Miami-area eateries. Islas Canarias: The chefs incorporate some international flavors, but their faithfulness to Cuba's most iconic dishes earned it Miami New Times' award for Best Cuban Restaurant in 2011. In addition to importing sausages and other cured meats for their sandwiches, the café's chefs also carry on culinary tradition by making medianoche sandwiches until as late as 11 p.m. Puerto Sagua: Frommer's called this venerable diner "one of the most reasonably priced places left on the beach for simple, hearty fare." Its doors remain open until 2 a.m. every night of the week, inviting passersby to stop in for a quick bite before continuing their revelry. Versailles Restaurant: Originally founded in 1971, the restaurant prides itself on being a hotspot for Miami's Cuban community. 3 Guys from Miami describes this sense of history, saying, "the restaurant is a lot like the Cuba of old—loud, boisterous, and full of excitement, just dripping in Cuban patriotism." Golden-brown medianoche sandwiches continue emerging from the kitchen until as late as 4:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop: Although its doors close long before sunset, the Zagat-rated eatery defies tradition by still featuring a medianoche sandwich. Food & Wine magazine emphasized the shop's authentic Cuban ambience in 2004, saying, "the Formica benches and loud Spanish chatter make you feel that you are, as the locals say, not far from America."Read More
Small plate eating is running rampant in Miami and it’s a trend that I embrace fully. Tapas has always been a preferred eating style for me - after all, one entree is never enough for The Hungry Goddess. I want to experience multiple delectable bites and I don’t want it to break the bank. To identify a small plate, I have a loose definition. It should be under $15 (or in that area), ultimately shareable and it should communicate its gastronomic punch in that one bite. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has a menu full of small plates that just beg to be shared. Their Steamed Mussels is a completely social small plate. Everyone can pick a perfectly cooked mussel, spear a generous chunk of house made bacon and a fingerling potato and complete it all with the grilled sourdough bread dipped in the savory juices gathered at the bottom of the bowl. Lest you think that Bacon or some form of pork figures in all of my food excursions, let me tell you about Blue Collar. Their Veg Chalkboard is priced at $4 per veggie plate and Chef Daniel Serfer is serving up some of the freshest food in Miami. Be greedy and order the Veggie Plate that gives you 4 of the veg dishes for $14. Yardbird and Chef Jeff McInnis serve up Southern favorites with a flair! The best small plate is the Fried Green Tomato BLT - a stack of perfectly fried green tomatoes with pork belly, greens, tomato jam and house made pimento cheese. The seasonal Butter Bean Risotto with Grilled Hen of the Woods mushrooms is a great dish for several forks and don’t discount the Grilled Endive Salad with generous amounts of Virginia Ham, Blue Cheese and candied pecans. Yardbird is open for lunch during the week and is just the excuse you need to share some food over a business meeting. The Bazaar by Jose Andres takes traditional Spanish cuisine and makes it new, modern and droolworthy (not that it already wasn’t but...). The Bazaar menu meets small plate standards and exceeds them (by about 60 shareable plates). Weeks could be spent reveling in Chef Jose Andres’ creations. The Cubano Sandwich with Iberico Ham and a mouthwatering foam inside the sandwich which makes it easy to end up with some of it down the front of you but you really won’t care. Delicate cones and skillets and plates filled with gastronomic wonders abound - this is small plate paradise. Michy’s by Chef Michelle Bernstein encourages “half” selections on the menu - all the better to eat a varied smorgasbord. Serrano Ham and Blue Cheese Croquetas as well as Ceviche and White Gazpacho are siren calls of small plate delight. Warning, you may end up just ordering one entree for the table to share as well! The Pubbelly Restaurants could be known as the Small Plate Empire - each restaurant has a slew of delectable bites that can be eaten with one or more companions, enabling you to sample more than one (or five if you are greedy like me) dish. The Pork and Scallion Dumplings at the Gastro Pub ensure everyone in a party of four gets a flavorful bite. The Barceloneta Pulpo a Feira is a requirement to savor a spoon of potato foam, grilled octopus and the house made chorizo (best I have ever had!).Read More