Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second Annual Frita Showdown

Thanks to the Burger Beast the Second Annual Frita Showdown happened at Miami's very own Magic City Casino for the second consecutive year. Once a premier South Florida dog race venue, now a casino and concert venue. But just a couple of weeks ago, it served as the battle ground for some of the Miami's best Fritas. Once inside, I made a B-line for the sangria booth where Sangria Don Chu was serving up, what they claim, is the "best sangria in town." I definitely enjoyed a cup. As for best sangria? Well my mom still holds that title.
 As I went down the line of Frita competitors first up was Bread+Butter located in Coral Gables. Chef Alberto submitted his infamous 'Frita China'. Delicious as always! Great, flavorful, juicy patty. Just the first one and I almost casted my vote.
 Second were the Cuban Guys. A new chain of Cuban fast food to Miami. They showcased their basic Frita in full size, no samplers here! They brand their very fresh tasting Cuban bread on every order.
Next down the line was FINKA Table and Tap. The brand new Cuban/Peruvian/Korean place down in Kendall. There's a lot of buzz about this place so I was excited to taste their Fritas. Which I was sad to find out are not on their menu and were only available at the Showdown. It was very good.
The always classic and quintessential Frita from non other than the wizard himself, El Mago de las Fritas. An absolute work of art.
The main event of this years Showdown was the collaboration between one of Miami's best burger joints and a Miami staple. A fried croqueta burger from Pincho Factory served with a heaping side of Rio Critals famous fries. It was something you just had to witness and try for yourself! Ohhh Pincho!
Latin House grill, celebrating their new brick and mortar place, was also competing with their own take on a Frita, adding cheese and big chip slices (a big no-no.. NO in my Frita book.)
 Fantastic Pastelitos provided some of the desserts like these guava and chocolate pastelitos, yes, they have chocolate Pastelitos. Sweetness bake shops also had mini tres Leches and flans. (Not pictured here)
 The cast of judges this year included Chef Jose Mendin of the Pubelly Group, Roxanne Vargas from NBC's 6 in the Mix, John Kunkel of 50Eggs group and Richard Hales of Sakaya Kitchen and BlackBrick Chinese in midtown.
Cafe Bustelo also supplied the event with countless cups of cafecito.
By the end of a fulfilling night El Rey De Las Fritas swept the competition. 
Photo via Burger Beast

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mi Rinconcito Mexicano

I’m not sure how many of you have the same problem as I do, but I constantly crave Mexican food! It’s not a bad thing, but it is a bad thing to indulge that craving at a "Mexican" fast food place (that shall remain nameless) or a place that advertises “gourmet” Mexican food. Luckily for us in Miami, there’s a small gem tucked away in the heart of little Havana. Y déjame decirte que la comida es deliciosa! Mi Rinconcito Mexicano located on 1961 SW 8th street has everything we authentic Mexican food lovers crave. Although the outside leaves a bit to be desired, the homey feel inside and delicious food more than make up for that. The welcoming atmosphere and amazing dishes are completed by the friendly staff and an overwhelmingly inviting owner, who treats his patrons like family. This restaurant is simple and very casual, but the quality of the food and the value of the prices make it an ideal spot for us Mexican food lovers. There is also a bakery within the restaurant, where one can indulge in. Check out my lunch choices below. Oh and by the way everything for under $20! Go and get it!

(Guacamole with jalapenos) 

(Tacos de res- beef)

(Burrito chorreado)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meat Market Miami

As I made my way into Meat Market, I knew I wasn’t at your average steakhouse. It gave me the impression of a New York steakhouse, but with a Miami twist: sexy, modern, sleek, were just some of the words that came to mind as I made my way to the bar which also doubled as a Crudo bar. I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful wine closet they had and the intimate dining area. Just seconds after sitting down at the bar we were pleasantly greeted by the bartender and she suggested some house creations from the drink menu. I complicated her life a bit by ordering the "Highland Sandia" and later "Some Like it Hot," while my friend kept it simple with a Captain Morgan and Coke. 

Since the young age of 14, now executive Chef, Sean Brasel, has had a deep passion for food. Growing up with a family who enjoyed great food, Chef Sean learned different cooking techniques working in kitchens throughout his high school and college years. By the age of 20 and already a chef, he went to the Madeleine Kamman School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards. After mastering the kitchen, Chef Sean refined his techniques by self-training and seeing different type of dishes working in New York, San Francisco, and New Mexico. The freshness of ingredients and knowing where they came from is at the top of his list. When Chef Sean landed in Miami 13 years ago he started Touch restaurant. After 10 years and plenty of success he began his work at Meat Market. Chef Sean gave me a behind the scenes look at how they make their wagyu and daily special burger.

Before we get to the burger, we started our lunch with the slow braised BBQ short rib empanadas. These aren't ordinary empanadas you’ll find in some rinky-dinky bakery. These came with Fontana cheese, apple blue cheese salad, and a delicious honey chipotle BBQ. A great choice to start off a meal or if you're looking for a quick lunch. These empanadas are also great with their homemade touch of fire mango and scotch bonnet sauce.
At Meat Market they grind different items based on products available in their in-house butchery. The wagyu burger is made from scraps left from wagyu skirt steak, ribeye, shoulder, and prime ribeye. When grinding the meat they keep it as cold as possible, not only preserving flavor and freshness, but maintaining food safety standards and regulations. They chop up the mixed cuts and chop up the fat and mix it all together frozen. By the time it gets ground, its only semi frozen which keeps the fat from emulsifying in with the proteins.

Their special daily burger can vary based on scrap production. For example, if they save up smoked short ribs they grind that, or the bison scarps. They have made a combination of meats to grind for the special burger. Saving all the wagyu and Kobe fat and mix it in with their grinds at a 30% fat to meat ratio. All this making a delicious burger at the end trust me! 

Meat Market's sexy vibe, intimate atmosphere, bartenders who should be modeling and decadent menu makes it, in my opinion the hottest restaurant on Lincoln Road. I believe you get what you pay for. In all honesty after a trip to Meat Market if you aren't completely satisfied you really need to look yourself in the mirror.
                                                               "Highland Sandia"

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