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