Friday, December 30, 2011

LoKal Burgers & Beer

Few things in life go well together like a good burger and a tasty beer. Well, there is a new sensation in town, located in beautiful Coconut Grove, called Lokal Burgers & Beer.  At first, it was a bit difficult spotting this new marvel, but as soon as I heard the sounds of Bob Marley and saw a graffiti-filled bar, I knew I was at the right spot. 

Lokal exhibits a comfortable, modern-industrial vibe.  Upon entry, your eyes gravitate towards the right, where you notice that the base of the bar is covered with old cassette tapes, and graffiti overlays the brick wall behind it. Owner Matt Kuscher thinks “green", and virtually everything in LoKal was made from recyclable material. The dining tables were forged from particle board chips.  Even the hostess podium is fabricated from a wooden pallet. Adorning the wall opposite the bar, is a befitting 'LoKal' mural made out of old donated wine corks. 

 The aforementioned visual impression is only exceeded by the savory menu and extensive beer list.  I began my feast with the New Mexico Chili.  I can’t tell you what’s in it due to its classification of  "TOP SECRET".  What I can tell you - its top with shredded Monterrey Jack, diced onions, with a side of tortilla chips - and its DAMN GOOD CHILI!  My friends and I were lucky enough to order three different and unique burgers. One ordered the fiery 'Miami Heat' - served with spicy mayo, jack cheese, grilled onions, fresh jalapenos and Sriracha - perhaps the hottest burger in Miami.  If you’re a fan of spice, this burger is for you. The other friend had 'The Classic'. The sharp Wisconsin cheddar really made this burger tasty.  I went with the '50/50' - made from 50% Florida ground beef and 50% Florida ground bacon! Monterey jack cheese and delicious sweet onion marmalade tops off this fine creation. We were all very happy with our burger selections.

I must say for being open only a few days I was surprised how smooth everything was running. The servers were quick, very attentive and a sight for sore eyes. The bartender, was genuine, witty, and kept our drinks full.  He even took the time to chat with us about the previous night's Miami Heat game.  I’m looking forward to my next visit to Lokal.  I still have 10 burgers to try and at least twice as many beers to taste! I’m looking forward to the day I’m known as a "regular."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bite Gastrotruck

Being a burger and food truck enthusiast in Miami isn’t easy.  There is a wide variety of meals on wheels to choose from.  However, when it comes to eating the best burger from a local food truck look no further than Bite Gastrotruck.

Last year at the Riverwalk Trust’s Burger Battle in Ft. Lauderdale, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Ron Kerr.  Born and raised in Naples, Florida, and a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Chef Ron is well known across South Florida.  A few months back a brilliant idea came about - to give this culinary genius some new wheels.  Back in September, for the 790 Food Truck Derby at Gulfstream Park, I decided to drop in for their debut.

I ordered “The Burger" - 100% Creekstone beef, aged cheddar cheese, with all the toppings, chipotle mayo, and on a toasted challah bun.  At the heart of every burger is the patty. What really sticks out to me was how tender this patty was.  It was cooked to perfection, had good flavor, and just the right amount of seasoning.  Trust me, I don't mind having “burger juice” running down the side of my hand after every bite.

Not to be outdone is the St. Andre burger. This delicious burger made its formal introduction at this year’s Burgie Awards.  It’s topped with applewood smoked bacon, garlic truffle mayo, and a bun dipped in butter. To my displeasure, it didn’t win best food truck burger at the Burgies, but take it from me, the St. Andre is a must try!

This food truck might not have crazy colors on it, or 9,000 followers on Facebook, but at the end of the day, sometimes all that hype is for a product that really isn’t that good.  Bite Gastrotruck is here to stay and it’s just a matter of time until all of South Florida realizes that.  Friendly service, ridiculously good food and fair food truck prices. Go get you some!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Filling Station

Finally found time to make it to The Filling Station, located at 95 Southeast 2nd St in Downtown Miami.  Make a note - the parking sucks and is expensive in the area.  This place has the potential to become my new watering hole.  There is nothing to really 'wow' you once you walk in, but the place has a nice set-up going.  A couple of flat screen TV’s adorn the walls, a karaoke stage, and a humble looking bar with pictures of customers attempting their famous “Eighteen Wheeler” burger challenge.

We went for lunch when they opened at 11:30 in the am.  Getting there early was a wise choice. Within a few minutes the place started picking up with hungry patrons eager to satisfy themselves. We where quickly greeted by our server, I’d expect that, being that we were the only ones there.  However, I noticed others being treated with good service and smiles.  Not to mention, the attractive young lady at the door greeting everyone as they walked in.

We started with an order of 8 wings with the “party in your mouth” sauce.  They were delectable to say the least.  A bit pricy ($8.41), I thought, for 8 wings but they are a must try.  We ordered three different burgers: Erica’s El Dorado, Caddy, and the Hearse.  I was a little dishearten with mine, the Hearse, but not because it didn’t taste good. On the contrary, it was cooked perfectly, had great flavor and sizeable but it wasn’t hot enough!  The menu clearly states it’s “a VERY VERY SPICY BURGER.” Really? I was waiting for the kick of spice after every bite, but it just wasn’t there.  Both of my companions enjoyed their burgers very much.  Not to be dismissed in anyway -  the tater tots!  Those “potato pom-poms” where awesome and crunchy - a perfect side to go with the burger.

The Filling Station gets a passing grade from me. Fair prices, good service, quality ingredients, attractive menu and nice atmosphere.  An added bonus -  they have free delivery and they cater.  I happened to see one of the catered platters and it looked amazing.  Whether you’re having a corporate event, wedding, or private party, they have you covered.  As they say, “We are only limited by your imagination.”  Next time in Downtown, swing by, you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


JUST A WEEK AWAY! JOIN ME WEDNESDAY DEC 14th FOR THE 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY OF MY FAVORITE BURGER BAR ROK:BRGR. OPEN PREMIUM BAR from 8-10pm, red carpet, photo booth, dj, live music, great crowd and hor d'heuvres. YOU MUST RSVP at

Volcano burger

ROK BRGR burger bar+ gastropub

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gilbert's 17th Street Grill: "Hottest burger in South Florida"

A few months ago Gilbert’s 17th St Grill teamed with Bone Lee Tadpole and his signature Bone Lee’s Smoky Ghost Sauce to create the “hottest burger in South Florida.”  So obviously I had to make the trip up to Broward to try this delectable creation.

My brother and I decided to head up for lunch.  Luckily, we arrived just in time to beat the lunch crowd.  We were greeted at the door by Richard, who was manning the front of the house.  He didn’t even have to ask me what I was their for.  Now, being this was my brother’s first visit to Gilbert’s, he carefully studied the menu.  After a few minutes, he chose their Goat Cheese Burger - 8 ounces of certified Angus beef, with goat cheese and caramelized onions.  A fine choice, I might add.  The hottest burger in South Florida did not disappoint.  It had the perfect amount of kick and Bone Lee’s hot sauce was on point.  This sauce can add a zip to what is often ordinary table fare.  Meaning you can put it on anything!  People, you can rely on my palate.  This sauce had the perfect amount of spice and a tanginess that hit the spot.

We both ordered their home-made cole slaw as a side and I included an order of sweet potato fries.  For months I’ve been teased with these amazing pictures of their baby back ribs.  However, my bulging stomach was beyond capacity so I took an order to go.  When they say “fall off the bone” they mean it.  Being a barbecue aficionado, these ribs were in a word - perfect.  The meat was perfectly tenderized, had great flavor, and the barbecue sauce was finger licking good.

The thing I really love about Gilbert’s is their consistency in service, ingredients, prices and friendly atmosphere - all important for an ideal dining experience.  But possibly the chief aspect of the restaurant experience has to be the food.  The style of food is largely a matter of taste.  Whatever the style, I tend to appreciate simple “home” cooking with good, quality ingredients over fancy and elaborate food.

Monday, November 21, 2011

LoKal Burgers & Beer NOW OPEN!

Hot new burger joint LoKal Burgers & Beer about to take South Florida by storm. Based right in the heart of beautiful Coconut Grove, this place is sure to make a person's palate water! If you’re like me, you appreciate good taste & flavor so make sure to be their opening day. Keep up with constant updates on Facebook & Twitter.

Monday, November 7, 2011


The 1st annual Burgerliscious Festival took place on Thursday night at Fred B. Harnett/Ponce Circle Park in Coral Gables. It was presented by The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. I heard a rumor that the event was only planned for three weeks, if the facts are true then I tip my hat off to the event coordinators.

Burgerliscios went off without a hitch! You couldn’t have asked for better weather, food or crowd. There were over 20 participating restaurants at the event including, Crave, Anacapri on Ponce, Seasons 52, Fritz & Franz, Morton’s the Steakhouse and Route 9. Live music was also on the agenda with live performances by Fusik, ArtOfficial and DJ MAYNER.

My job was fun not to mention fulfilling as I sampled every single burger there. By far my favorite was from Crave. However 1st place the “Best in Bun” went to 1862 Room at the Westin Colonnade. Coming in 2nd place was Morton’s and there was a two way tie for 3rd with Just James & Two Sisters.

South Florida Burger Overload wants to thank everyone who worked hard to put Burgerliscious together. I was very happy and grateful to be part of this event. To be honest I’m already thinking about next year. Bigger & better I say!

Click on link to view full album: Burgerliscious 2011

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big Pink

We’ve dined several times before at Big Pink for breakfast but never tried their burgers. Located on Collins ave in South Beach, the Big Pink is known for big portions, an overwhelming menu and a lively atmosphere. We decided to go for lunch and make it a burger outing. My brother and I have enjoyed breakfast at Big Pink many times. There is not doubt you get your money’s worth. You get a big plate with plenty of food on it! Their French toast and corned beef hash are to die for. Naturally, we were excited and expecting another good dining experience.

We sat down and right away our server asked us what we wanted to drink. Our waitress was friendly, but I guess she was new because we ordered two beers yet we were served two waters. It took close to 10 minutes for us to get our beers which were at room temperature once we got them. Besides that, everything else went off without a hitch.

We finally placed our order. I went with the BBQ burger and my brother ordered the Swiss and Mushroom burger. My burger was a 10 oz. Angus patty with apple wood smoked bacon, fried onions, barbecue sauce & jack cheese. My goodness I was disappointed! It literally tasted like nothing. I mean besides the sauce & cheese, the patty itself was dry and over cooked. My sweet potato fries where mushy and greasy as well. I couldn’t finish eating either. I ended up ordering a salad. My brother’s burger, however, was pretty good. Lots of Swiss cheese and mushrooms is always a winning combination. After our meal we decided to stick to breakfast at Big Pink.

I recommend this place, perhaps not for burgers, but like I said earlier, their breakfast is amazing. A big plus is if you’re staying in the South Beach area, they deliver until the wee hours of the morning. In any case, stop in and tell me what you think… maybe you’ll love the Big Pink.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burgie Awards

Join me Saturday November 19th at Magic City Casino for the 3rd annual Burgie Awards. Well known food blogger Burger Beast will be handing out over 20 awards for the best comfort food in the South Florida area. Add to that over 40 food trucks from South Florida, Orlando, Tampa and Ft. Myers; it’s sure to be a fun filled event! Also some of South Florida’s best burger restaurants will be working hard serving up some of the best burgers in town. The festivities start at 5pm with plenty of parking… see you there!

Burger Restaurants:
 Burger & Beer Joint (South Beach)
Charm City Burger Company (Deerfield Beach)
Georgie’s Alibi (Wilton Manors)
Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill (Ft. Lauderdale)
Jr’s Gourmet Burgers (Miami Springs)
Pincho Factory (Westchester)
Quickie’s Burgers & Wings (Hollywood)
Sakaya Kitchen (Wynwood)
Tobacco Road (Brickell)

Food trucks:
 Big Kahuna
Bite Gastrotruck
Catered Bliss
Chamo’s on Wheels
Che Grill
CheeseMe Mobile
Cold Stone Creamery
Cucina Al Mare (from Cape Coral)
Daddy’s Grill
Dim Ssam a Gogo
Dog Eat Dog
Dolci Peccati
Fireman Derek's World Famous Pies
The Fish Box
Grill Master Cafe
Guiseppe’s Italian Sausage
Jefe’s Original Fish Taco & Burgers
Latin Burger & Taco
Latin House Grill
Lemon Man
The MexZican Gourmet
Miso Hungry
Monster Burgers
Mr. Chimi
Mr. Good Stuff
Ms. Cheezious
Nacho Bizness
Nana's Stromboli
The Nosh Truck (from Ft. Myers)
Palate Party
The Philly Grill
Pig Out
Pisano Food
Purple People Eatery
The Red Koi
El Rincon del Coqui
El Rey de las Fritas
The Rolling Stove
Slow Food Truck
Stocked N' Loaded
Sugar Rush
Sugar Yummy Mama
TreeHouse Truck (from Orlando)
Wicked Wiches (from Tampa)
Yellow Submarin

South Florida Burger Overload Join us on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cheeseburger Baby

Cheeseburger Baby is the oldest burger joint in South Beach, located at 1505 Washington Avenue.  Open until 5am on weekdays and 6am on weekends, it’s a hot spot for late night, or in some cases early morning dinners leaving the club seen on SoBe.  I made my visit on a laid back Thursday night and was quite surprised at what I found.

This place has a 50’s style diner feel to it, a bit ghetto & cramped with all types of good music playing.  Add to that a really cute girl behind the counter, and I really thought we where in for a win-win situation.  One thing I noticed besides the sticky floors was how hot it was inside.  I thought it was just me but both of my friends agreed.

We sat at the bar, ordered our drinks, and looked over the menu.  We received our drinks in 5 minutes but for some reason our server didn’t come back for another ten minutes to take our order.  My friends ordered the 1lb double cheese burger & a turkey burger, while I went with 1/2lb bacon cheese burger. My burger was 100% certified Angus beef piled high with bacon, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions & jalapenos.  It’s hard to believe it, looking at those pictures, but I wasn’t wowed at all.  My burger was over cooked, tasteless & the tomato slice was way too ripe.  My friend’s double burger was so greasy he could not finish it. Funny thing was, the turkey burger was pretty good, but I’m not going to a burger joint to eat turkey!  The best thing by far was the cheese fries but they could have been easily replicated at home in fifteen minutes!

One thing that really disgusted me was the restroom.  When I walk into any restroom and notice a glaze all over the floor, that means one of two things; it was freshly cleaned or dry urine is the culprit.   Judging by the smell, I knew it wasn’t clean.  I don’t know if they let vagabonds in there, but a dirty restroom says a lot. I started thinking, if the restroom is like this just imagine the kitchen, yikes!

My advice, there is a 5 Guys Burger and Fries right across the street. If it’s not too late, 8oz. Burger Bar or B&B are not too far away.  I don’t know why this place is so famous but one and done here!

Monday, September 19, 2011

El Rincon del Coqui

If you’re looking for 100% authentic Puerto Rican food then El Rincon del Coqui has you covered! Family owned and operated this food truck is taking South Florida by storm! The menu is full of “antojitos” such as the Tripleta & churrasco sandwich, Alcapurria de Yuca, Pastelillos de Camarones and of course the Bori burger.

The Bori burger consists of a half Pound burger with onions, bacon, shoe string potatoes, swiss cheese and special house sauce. Note to self, make sure to ask for extra house sauce. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium and the flavor jumps at you right after the first bite. The perfect amount of spice and the house sauce were the key here people. Sauce on a burger is not essential but in this case its a welcome compliment.

I wasn’t surprised at all by the cordial welcoming that I received. Puerto Ricans are known for their warm hospitality and genuine greetings. Without a doubt, service with a smile is what your receive at El Rincon del Coqui.

Do you wish to fill your stomach with the aroma and spice that gives Puerto Rican cuisine its distinctive taste and color? Here you will find a wide variety of Puerto Rican dishes that will guarantee your family and friends mouth will be watering for days. Puerto Ricans have blessed us with two main gifts, incredible salsa and delicious island food. El Rincon del Coqui has you covered with one!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daddy's Grill

I have to say that I’m getting close to naming my top five food trucks for eating a delicious burger.  I’m happy to say that Daddy’s Grill will make that list!  A picture is worth a thousand words, and after seeing a picture of the Big Daddy Burger, I kept repeating the same thing over & over again... “must have!”

Daddy’s Grill is owned and operated by Robert Martinez and his family.  I guarantee you’ll find three thing’s at Daddy’s grill; service with a smile, NO outrages prices, and great food!  They offer a wide verity of things to like pinchos, bacon cheese fries, burgers, cuban fritas and pan con bistec.

I decided to go with Big Daddy’s burger.  It's a monster of a burger containing double meat, bacon, ham, cheese, sauteed onions, lettuce, and tomato.  Each part of this burger complimented the next perfectly.  I especially liked the melted cheese over the ham which gave it a sweetness right before tasting the tenderness of the beef.  I’m a big believer that too much bun is uncalled for and a sign that the ingredients and/or patty cannot be trusted.  Not in this case.  Everything was built and presented perfectly and the taste did not fail to impress!

Long lines, high prices, and mediocre food are why I’m here people! You won’t get that with Daddy’s Grill.  I give it two thumbs way up and recommend it to everyone.  Check them out at any of the local food truck events, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Daddy's Grill

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

No Name Pub

Located on the outskirts of Big Pine Key, No Name Pub has been serving people from all walks of life since 1931. No Name Pub started as a general store/bait & tackle shop when the owners decided to add a small room for an eatery. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when No Name Pub became a full restaurant and bar. As we walked in I was amazed at how many dollar bills were hanging from the roof and walls. Our server told us it was a No Name Pub tradition since the mid 70’s.

The menu is pretty extensive, providing everything from tacos to seafood baskets, massive sandwiches to their world famous pizza, which has been made the same way for over 40 years. Not to mention a full bar which is essential to have in any Keys establishment.
For an appetizer we ordered the chili cheese fries and the nachos for one. Both were sizable and very good. When it came time for the main dish I went with the Pub Burger, a ½ of Black Angus with your choice of cheese, fries a pickle spear and like always, I added jalapenos. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium and the meat was very juicy. I wish the bun was a bit more cooked but other than that it was perfect. It was, by far, the best burger I've had in the Keys! My friend went with the chargrilled yellowfin tuna. I myself did not try it but I heard no complaints. Don’t ask me how, but we also ordered a Royal Pub Pizza, which wasn’t the best pizza in the world, but very enjoyable to eat.
When it comes to service, I mean, what can I say, it’s the keys. Our server wasn’t the friendliest, but she kept our drinks coming and was nice enough to give us a little bit of history about the place. I mean they say it themselves, “Friendly people, lousy service & great food.”

I highly recommend No Name Pub. Whether your visiting the Keys or live there as I sometimes do, it’s a must try. About ten minutes after passing the 7-Mile Bridge, stop in on your way to Key West. With seating inside and out, a beautiful private garden, and great food, how can you go wrong?

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kitchen 305

 Located in the lobby of The Newport Beachside Hotel in Sunny Isles, we decided to visit Kitchen 305 on Thursday night for their “Karaoke & Burger night." We arrived around 8:15pm and the place was almost empty. The hostess was very friendly and sat us right away. The place was very clean and the bar was gorgeous. I decided to take a walk around and I realized how small it is. I have no clue how they hold so many nightly events. The place must feel like a zoo when it’s packed!
It took a while for the server to get to us, which had me wondering how the service must be when the dinner rush ensues. Burger night at Kitchen 305 consist of 10 burgers, each 10 oz. for $10. This is a good deal considering the prices on their menu. I went with the Texas BBQ burger. It came with pepper jack cheese, chipotle bbq sauce, onion rings and crispy bacon. After the first bite I fell in love with the burger. The meat itself had a great smoked flavor to it. The bacon was great, and the onion rings on top added a good crunch. My companions went with the Santa Fe, 305, and Whole lotta lovin. All of them felt the same way about their burger and really enjoyed it. Besides one burger being a little too over cooked, the meal was virtually perfect.  After, we decided to order some dessert. It took less than thirty seconds before I heard, “$8.50 for ice cream!!! Who do these people think they are Serendipity 3?” As much as I love and wanted ice cream at the time there is no way I’m paying 9 bucks for it! Finally, between two of us, we ordered the $10 crem brulee and to our disgust they were out of it. How do you run out of crem brulee? Sadly we left without any dessert.
Our server was friendly but didn’t come around as much as he should have. However, he was on top of the affluent appearing patrons next to us like white on rice. Trust me when I’m getting thirsty there is a problem. One thing I would like to add is that my friend had something in his wine glass, and our server without question took the glass and brought another right away. He told us it was Kitchen 305 policy to bring a new glass/drink if there is something wrong with it, no charge.

Overall it was a good experience, but there is nothing fancy about this place. Sorry, I just can’t call a place fancy or "high class" if it holds a bikini contest in the same room where I eat. Besides a few appetizers the menu is way overpriced. Seriously people, the economy is bad. The burger was damn good but you won’t see me ordering a steak there any time soon. If I'm going to dine at a place where I'm gonna pay $34 for a T-bone or rack of lamb & $35 for filet mignon you'll find me at Red, The Steakhouse or Prime 112. I do however plan to make a return trip, I want my crem brulee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CG Burgers

I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and to the point. I visited CG Burgers because they claim they are “serving the best burgers on the planet.” I tried dining at CG Burgers once before but the place was ridiculously packed! As a matter a fact, it was pure chaos in there! We decided to come in a few days later after the lunch rush and it took us less than five minutes to place our order. One thing I really liked was how clean the place was, even the bathrooms, which is far less then I can say about some other places.

I ordered the Bigger Burger, a 9oz. all natural beef patty, cooked medium. I asked them for “the works” for toppings which include lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup. I also asked them for jalapenos and their chipotle sauce. If it wasn’t for the freshness of the toppings and the spice of the jalapenos the burger would’ve had no taste! After a few bites I proceeded to try my brother’s burger, the Kobe Beef burger. What I found puzzling was that on their menu, under the Kobe Beef burger, it says all natural American Kobe. Wait, the last time I checked, Kobe beef is Japanese right? Never the less, the girl behind the counter assured us it was real Kobe. I have to say if that was Kobe beef then I’m Kobe Bryant! My brother’s girlfriend ordered the Napa Valley burger, which came with goat cheese, arugula and balsamic honey mustard. By far, it was the best tasting item on the table next to the sweet potato fries which were delicious.

One thing I did like about CG Burgers was there full bar and wide section of beers. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of it but if I do return I’ll defiantly order a few beers. That should help pass the after taste of my tasteless burger!

“Serving the best burgers on the planet,” .... no sir! I mean, if you’re going to make a claim like that you better back it up. The sad thing is that I like this place better than 5 Guys Burger and Fries and even OMG Burgers. So what do you think that says about those other places? I say if your close by, stop in but if you have a better option by all means take it!