Monday, April 25, 2011

El Rey De Las Fritas

Being from Miami, with a Cuban background,  I’ve always heard people talking about El Rey De Las Fritas.  I’ve always heard good things about this place so I had to check it out for myself.

For starters the food is dirt cheap.  I figured it out quickly why that is, it taste like dirt.  I ordered the Frita a Caballo, which came with a fried egg and our server said it was their biggest.  I could have easily eaten 3 or 4 that’s how small they were.  Under that mountain of fried and super greasy fries was a fried egg that was bigger than the piece of meat itself.  As I took my first bite, I was squirted with egg yolk and grease.  As I bit into the meat I was asking myself, “Hello taste where are you?”  I thought I was eating a piece of cardboard.  The bread was hard and the meat had a weird color to it.  I thought maybe I had ordered a veggie frita or something else.  Somehow I found the way to finish it, simply due to the fact I was so hungry.

For dessert I had the rice pudding. It was good but nothing special. Believe me I’ve had better.

I have to say the restaurant was very clean.  So were their restrooms, but the service sucked.  It took forever to get our food and the waiter rarely came around.  I don’t understand the high remarks for this place.  I’m just happy I didn’t spend more than eight dollars. My advice, go to La Carreta, Morro Castle or La Playa Café.  Don’t bother with this place, son el rey de nada!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LongHorn SteakHouse

So we decided to visit Longhorn Steakhouse in Doral to try their burger promotion.  Typically, when someone says Longhorn you think of their delicious Porterhouse or ribs, but this was all about the Crunchy Campfire burger and the Wild West burger.

We arrived right after the lunchtime rush at about 1:45pm.  The one thing I love about Longhorn is their décor.  Straight out of the west,  you’d think you were in an old time western movie.  From cowboys boots to whips, horse saddles and wild west paintings.

From the moment I saw the way the Wild West burger looked, I knew what I was going to order it. The burger pattie was ½ pound cooked to a perfect medium.  It came with bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and I asked for extra pickles.  I love Longhorn's choice of sides.  They have a large variety from sweet potato, baked potato, to seasoned rice and veggies.  I wanted to try their new Steakhouse Mac’N’cheese, which was phenomenal.  The burger was very good and the pepper jack cheese added a good kick.  Wish the brioche bun was baked a little more but other than that it was a very good meal. I hope Longhorn decides to add this burger to their menu.  The Black & Bleu and the Wild West burgers are by far the best Longhorn has to offer.

The service was very good.  The server was friendly, courteous and was very knowledgeable about everything on the menu.  One thing that was a little disappointing was how long it took for our food to come out.  At one point I thought they were slaughtering the cow out back!  From the time we placed our order till we received our food, almost thirty minutes had gone by and at that time the restaurant was pretty empty, to say the least.

For dessert I ordered the Caramel Apple Goldrush.  If you’re an apple and cinnamon lover this is for you.  For starters, its huge.  Cinnamon-tossed apples, butter, and brown sugar are baked in a golden pastry shell.  Served warm with vanilla bean ice cream and Maker’s Mark® bourbon-caramel sauce.   Make sure you ask for two or three spoons.

Overall, Longhorn is a very good place to eat.  From their signature steaks to their sandwiches, there’s something for everyone.  Oh, and I might add their new Grilled Fresh Rainbow Trout is amazing.  A bit small so order a big side dish.  Check them out for some flavor straight out of the West…and tell them Johnny sent you!

Friday, April 15, 2011

CheeseBurger @ Key West

Cheeseburger was an interesting experience to say the least.  It's located in the middle of Key West, right off 217 Duval St.  We stopped in for dinner due to the long wait time at the other restaurant. Hindsight being 20/20, we should’ve waited.

Cheeseburger has a good selection of burgers but good luck reading the menu.  It’s pretty difficult to read.  Nothing seems to be in order.  Last time I checked, “starters” and “appetizers” should be on the first page not in the middle.  And it would be nice if they cleaned the menus every once in a while.  A friend’s menu and mine were surprisingly greasy.   In fact, I went to the restroom to clean my hands after ordering.  First time I’ve done that.

I ordered the Kobe burger.  Which by the way is the ONLY burger that comes with fries and you can order it cooked the way you want.  Every other burger is cooked medium-well to well, which I find ridiculous!  I remember the waitress saying, “This burger is huge.”  Funny because once it made its way to the table, I couldn’t believe how small it was.  It took me no more than five minutes to eat.  It took me longer to eat the sweet potato fries!  The burger had a good flavor to it.  The guacamole was fresh, and the pineapple really added a nice mixture.  For the price the burger is, it's just way to small! After my meal I was still hungry, which is not how you want to feel.  The fries were o.k.  I found myself picking at my friends cheese fries which were a delight to eat.

Unfortunately what ruined everything, for me at least, was the service.  Question: why would the appetizers come out at the same time as the meal?  That’s why they’re appetizers!  At one point there were so many plates and glasses on the table there was little room to even eat!  I mean seriously, I don’t care how busy or slow things are, I am not just paying for the food.  I’m paying for good service.  Trust me, most of the menu items are way too expensive.  Just because I take a few minutes to drink my beer, doesn’t mean I have to wait ten minutes to get the next one.  My friends had the same problem with their drinks.  Also, if you like drinking shots, BEWARE! The Patron shots we ordered seemed to be watered down.  Or it simply wasn't Patron.

My thing is this; You never know who will walk into your restaurant or up to your food truck. Cheeseburger is way over-priced and I’d call it a “tourist trap.”  My advice? Don’t waste your time or money…that’s why I’m here.  Key West has many great restaurants all over the place and Cheeseburger isn't one of them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Joint Bar and Grill

  Located in the Dadeland Plaza 9555 South Dixie Hwy, the Joint Bar and Grill has become my second home, literally. If you’re a fan of sports, burgers, great service, and a wide selection of U.S. Craft Brews, this is the place for you! The Joint also offers big screen TV’s for all sporting events, live music with some of the hottest local bands, and an awesome - but should say - sexy ladies night!

     The Joint has 5 great burgers to choose from on their menu. From The Hangover, a great Latin burger, and now my second favorite; Black & Blue burger. Second because the Caprice burger takes #1. This modern art masterpiece, as I called it, comes with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, a fried tomato, balsamic marmalade and a basil aioli. I ordered my burger to be cooked medium and instead of fries I had their delicious string onions. From the first bite I was in love. The freshness of the basil accompanied with the warm mozzarella and a patty that had flavor out of this world. I can say I’ve only had a hand-full of burgers that I’ve enjoyed as much as this one.
     For dessert Jorgie treated us to their homemade Cheesecake topped with fresh Guava and served with Hop Wallop, an Imperial IPA made by the Victory Brewing Company. It was a wonderful pairing, and it won’t be the last time I eat it.

     The Joint is not only known for its burgers. The N.Y. Strip and Churrasco are also good. They're a little over priced, but well worth it I think. If you want pizza, order the Margherita.
     Finally, I saved the best for last. The Joint has a huge selection of beers to choose from and a friendly and knowledgeable staff that will help guide you pick the beer that’s right for you. A few suggestions of mine would be: Golden Monkey, Dogfish Head, Monk In The Truck or Tampa’s own Cigar City Guava Grove. Whether you're looking for a specialty IPA, Brown Ale, a Pilsner or draft beer like Bud Light, or a bottle of Heineken, The Joint has you covered.
     It’s only a matter of time until The Joint becomes a local hot spot. It offers a friendly and casual dinning experience, which I guarantee you’ll enjoy. Make sure to check out their karaoke night on Tuesday and Western Wednesdays, dinner specials and the best happy hour in South Miami! I must say…thank the heavens that Hooligans closed! Tell Jorgie I ask you!
Mushroom burger


Monday, April 4, 2011

Hillstone (formally Houston's) @ Coral Gables

Located on the corner of 201 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, this restaurant is now called Hillstone. But, for the life of me, I still call it Houston’s. I’ve dinned here several times for their sushi, but never for a burger. Hillstone is a little pricey but, believe me, the food, great atmosphere, happy hour and beautiful interior make it worthwhile. You’ll definitely get what you pay for.

I started with their famous spinach and artichoke dip, which Hillstone is famous for. It’s a sizable appetizer and, like always, its super good. Hillstone has six burgers on their menu and I chose the Hickory Burger. It comes with Canadian bacon, chopped cheddar cheese, onion, hickory sauce and, yes, I ordered extra jalapenos. The cheddar cheese and the Canadian bacon make an awesome combination. It made the burger a delight to eat. I’m puzzled how people don’t talk more about their burgers. I'm looking forward to trying another one next time I come in. For dessert I could not skip on their Key Lime Pie. By far, it’s one of the best I’ve eaten, and a must have if you’re a Key Lime lover as I am.

Hillstone doesn’t get a five start from me for two reasons. First, the waiting list is way too long. If they say the wait is one hour believe me it is. Second, at times the service could be lacking. What I mean is they're not as friendly as some other places. Besides that, I love the place. You can be sure to find me there for happy hour or relaxing with friends on a Sunday afternoon for lunch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pincho Factory Part 2

Yes, yes I know this is a burger blog but this isn’t your average hot dog. It’s the “that's what she said” dog at Pincho Factory. Ever since my first visit here I was dying to make a return trip for another mouth-watering burger but I had to put that on hold until next time.

There is a reason why this “masterpiece,” as I called it, always sells out. Customized just for me by Nadal, who was gracious enough to make sure my dog was extra spicy, just how I love it. Each part of this giant compliments the next, beautifully. From the lightly toasted bun, the crispy dog, the different signature Pincho Factory sauces, jalapenos, and a good amount of potato sticks, which helped keep everything together.

I consider myself lucky to have a place so close to home with great food and wonderful service. I plan on making Pincho Factory my second home. I hope you will too.

"That's what she said"