Thursday, December 11, 2014

Smoke BBQ

Wonderful news for everyone who loves authentic barbecue! I found it! It isn’t in Miami or Wynwood, it’s in Delray Beach! Smoke BBQ! Executive Chef and Pitmaster Bryan Tyrell brings authentic Kansas City style smokehouse barbecue, including pulled pork and a wide variety of craft-beer to put down your gullet! In addition, Smoke offers cocktails made with quality purées and in-house simple syrups. Which is wonderful because I love syrups!

As my friend Cari and I made our way out of the parking garage the smell of bbq filled the air. After a short walk we found ourselves at Smoke BBQ. As we made our way in I felt like a small part of Kansas City or Texas made its way to sunny South Florida. One of the first things that caught my attention besides the décor was the massive screen towards the back of the restaurant and the two additional over-sized projector screens to watch NFL or college games. FYI Florida Gator fans, Smoke is your official Gator watch party headquarters. The restaurant also features live music weekly. But beware folks, the kitchen shuts down at 10:00 p.m. Food is available after 10, based as part of their late night menu. 

As we sat down, we were quickly greeted and promptly ordered our drinks. We started our meal with the Texas Caviar Bean Dip. This isn’t your traditional bean dip. The black beans are served with yellow corn, green and red peppers, red onion, celery, fresh roma tomatoes, and jalapeños. The tortilla chips are made in house and come with a little kick. A perfect starter for 2-3 people.

The main course was heavenly! I went with the smoke burger and told them to pile their Carolina pulled pork on it! This burger doesn’t mess around. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and piled high, just the way I like it! For sides, I went with tots and State Fair-winning coleslaw. The coleslaw was just right and the tots were crunchy and a bit on the greasy side, but what are you going to do? They’re tots. When it came time for Fatgirlhedonist to order, she definitely didn't skip a beat! She got a winning combo of their smoked half rack of ribs and Smoke’s 16 hour beef brisket! We couldn’t believe the huge portions and certainly weren't able to finish our meal! The half rack is huge and more importantly, delicious! By far the BEST ribs in South Florida. I’ll say this, you want the best ribs in South Florida, these three places are your best bet, in order; Smoke BBQ, Shiver's BBQ, and good ole Flanigan's. The corn was very good and it comes with a small side of cinnamon butter. Be sure to order two! As a kid I ate macaroni and cheese on what seemed to be a daily basis, and to this day I still indulge on regular basis. Grandma’s mac n’ cheese was perfect. Cheesy and creamy. Great side dish but at Smoke you’ll want to eat a whole plate of it!

For dessert we tore up their “Mud in a Jar”. Warm Chocolate flourless cake at the bottom and topped with ice cream and house made caramel sauce. And it gets your attention making its way to the table with two massive marshmallows hovering atop of everything. I know you were wondering, and yes, it’s definitely looks as good as it tastes. To be honest I almost wish I had two stomachs because their dessert menu is just crazy! In a good way.

I’m definitely planning a return visit to Smoke. I don’t care that it’s an hour and 18 minutes from where I live. It’s worth the trip! There’s just too many items on that menu I want to try. Like their steamed or fried parmesan brussel sprouts or the banana coconut cream pudding. Good old Southern Hospitality here. The staff and management were very attentive and I noticed the manager made his way to visit each table. If you love BBQ I highly recommend you give Smoke a try. It is a real BBQ experience prepared by a recognized national champion pit master. But hey, like some say, “what do I know?” Right?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mmmlicious: Home Made Baked Goods and Catering

I love eating out but also enjoy cooking up a storm at home. Home-prepared meals provide a opportunity for a more balanced and better-portioned meals with fewer calories, sodium and less saturated fat. They can also help you incorporate healthier whole and unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean meats, into your daily diet. And more often than not they save you a few extra dollars. 

Forget Halloween. The scariest season has begun, “the holidays”. It can be stressful, at times, but it's also a chance to show your loved ones and friends how much you appreciate them. One way to do this is without spending tons of money and bypassing restaurants in favor of good home cooked meal. That's where my friend Gina comes in. Whether you're too busy or just too lazy to do it yourself she’s got you covered. She specializes in home baked goods stretching from cakes to cookies. As for catering, they’ll customize to fit any of your desires. Some of their specialties include Jamaican, Asian, American, and other cuisines. I make it a point just before Thanksgiving to pick up their delicious pumpkin cupcakes and banana bread. 

With a variety of offerings to choose from be sure to visit Mmm...Licious.

Mmmlicious on Facebook.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Knaus Berry Farms Time of Year

Knaus Berry Farm's is back! The Knaus family has operated the farm and bakery in the rural Redland area just off Krome Ave south of Miami for over 50 years. After a six month hiatus they’re back! Knaus Berry store is open from now until mid-April of next year. So what are you waiting for? Plan a trip down south like I did and feast on some of the freshest strawberries, assorted baked goods, homemade bread, vegetables, ice cream, honey, jams and jellies, herbs, and of course their world famous cinnamon rolls! As a reminder Knaus Berry takes cash only and is closed on Sundays. If you’re planning on going Saturday get there early! I got there Friday at 1pm and waited almost 45 minuets in line. Knaus Berry Farm is located at 15980 SW 248th St, Homestead, FL 33031. Also feel free to call ahead and place your order (305) 247-0668.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Burgerliscious 2014!

The fourth annual Burgerliscious festival is back! Boy I'm I excited and so should you! Be sure to come hungry and thirsty because this year’s event is sure to be better than the last! On Thursday, November 6th, from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park in Coral Gables. This event is a burger paradise for any burger enthusiasts! As you’ll be able to try some of Coral Gables best gourmet burgers by more than twenty of its finest restaurants. Some of the restaurants expected to participate in this year’s event are ROK:BRGR, Bread & Butter Counter, Swine, Café at Books & Books, Christy’s Restaurant, Sushi Maki, Pincho Factory, Crave, Seasons 52, Shake Shack, and many more. The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Samuel Adams and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau have partnered to bring you this event for a fourth year. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will also benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation to help support small business training programs.

Ticket packages are broken down into general admission and VIP. General Admission is $60 and includes 6 “sliders” and two ice cold Samuel Adams beers. VIP tickets are $125 and include unlimited “sliders” and unlimited Samuel Adams beers, early admission, and a VIP tent pass. Let me say that again UNLIMITED sliders and beers! Hope to see you there!

For tickets and info visit Burgerliscious 2014.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The 2015 Burgie Awards Hosted By The Burger Beast

The 6th Annual Burgie Awards comes to Milander Park in Hialeah on Jan 31st 2015. Online voting begins Wednesday November 5th, 2014 and ends Wednesday January 7th, 2015. The winners will be announced live at the Burgie Awards.

Visit Burger Beast for more info. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Miami Dolphins: New Food Options At Sun Life Stadium for 2014 season.

As the Miami Dolphins gear up for the 2014 NFL football season on the field, the organization is embarking on an initiative to enhance the culinary experience for fans at Sun Life Stadium. Throughout the off season, the Dolphins launched a campaign to find out what food options us Dolfans wanted to enjoy during game day. Suggestions were taken from fans across the spectrum. Consequently, the Dolphins selected seven restaurants based on the fan feedback, quality of the products, value, and local variety in the South Florida area. Miami Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel said, “We had a great response from fans about the food they wanted and went out to try to deliver many of their request.” He also went on to say, “One of the things that’s very important to us is getting the food and the concessions as good as it can be.” I couldn’t agree more. Thanks to this campaign, Dolfans can now feast on a large range of edible delicacies.

Burger Fi which I love is a fast-casual burger concept, originally from Delray Beach, that will be located in section 130. The menu includes their delicious Burger Fi cheese burger ($10). A juicy 6.6 ounce double Angus burger which is hormone-free and antibiotic free covered in melted cheese. They will also include the VegeFi burger for you veggie eaters ($9). This crisp quinoa and lentil burger is sure to be a fan favorite. As most of you know I’m not particular to vegetarian burgers, but it is very good if I must say so myself.

Other unique, delicious fan favorites such as tuna wontons, homemade mac & cheese balls, and bacon & bleu cheese sliders can be found at Bokampaer’s Sports Bar & Grill, located at the 300 level, just above the eastern end zone. Former Miami Dolphin Kim Bokamper will have a prime location in Sun Life Stadium. Aside from the amazing food, It will provide fans with air- conditioned comfort and game day action from across the league. Dolfans enjoying the game from Bokampers MVP Skybox can sign up to become a Bokampers MVP member and enjoy many perks both at the stadium and when dining at any of the Bokampers location across South Florida. 

The Dolphins also selected to feature another local alumni, Bob Brudzinki. Bru’s Room Sports Grill at section 154 will offer fans a slight twist to classic football grub. The menu will include local favorites like the always fresh, never frozen Bru’s Wings ($10). These jumbo wings are tossed in their spicy hot sauce for you traditional wing lovers or a tangy BBQ sauce for those of us that like to be more adventurous. Another classic football favorite is Bru’s classic all white meat breaded chicken tenders ($11.50) and fries, seasoned in their personal special blend ($5). 

Now to get a real sense of “Miami” flavor, the Dolphins are proud to welcome a Miami favorite, Cuban Guys! This fast casual concept is located in section 425. They serve up a traditional Cuban sandwich ($10), steak sandwich ($10), delicious yuca fries ($5), “papa rellena” or stuffed potatoes ($6) and of course croquettes ($4) and several other options.

The Dolphins also partnered with renowned Chef Michelle Bernstein. Taking a page from her design district café, Crumb on Parchment, Chef Michelle will offer a selection of homemade sandwiches, salads and delectable side dishes. The café will be located in the BankUnited Club Level at section 213 and the prices range from $10-$12 per item. 

In the spirit of inclusivity and dining diversity, the Dolphins also made sure to offer fans an exceptional sushi option from Sushi Maki, located at section 241. The menu includes sushi ($12), sashimi ($11), jumbo shrimp cocktails ($15) and tasty skewered chicken or shrimp for only ($3). 

Another fan favorite that will continue to serve hungry Dolfans will be Everglades BBQ. Everglades BBQ smokes their pork right at the stadium and are located in sections 156, 241, 256 and 443. There will also be a location outside by gate E just steps away from the Dolphins fan store. You can also use your sense of smell to guide you to the Everglades tent. The menu will include their BBQ pulled port sandwich ($10), smoked BBQ wings ($12), their Cajun bacon grilled cheese sandwich ($10), and fulfilling BBQ pulled pork nachos ($10). These nachos are spicy and topped with a homemade jalapeño cheese sauce, chili, jalapeños, a citrus-chipotle barbecue sauce and smoked pork. Other menu items include grilled chicken ciabatta sandwich, foot long hot-dogs, and Italian sausage links all priced $12-$9.

Something that I really enjoyed was the “Build your own pasta” bowl which is new for 2014 and located at section 217. This unique offering will give fans the opportunity of crafting their own Italian masterpiece. You can pick from different meats, vegetables, herbs and sauces; and it’s cooked right in front of you and onto a healthy pile of penne pasta. I say pair it with your favorite wine or beer before heading back to your seat.

“Taste of the NFL,” an organization created to help raise money for food banks across the country will also be there to roll out new food items of the visiting team’s home. For example, fresh lobster rolls for the Sept 7th home opener against New England; and Pack & Cheese for the Oct 12th game against Green Bay. 

Although traditional, die-hard tailgaters (like myself), may balk at the idea of eating stadium food, the Dolphins expanded dining initiative is definitely exciting. Just the fact that the organization took the time, money, and effort to do this, speaks volumes about how important the fans are to them. The large array of dining options located throughout the stadium will allow fans to indulge in whatever food they’re in the mood for on game day at a somewhat reasonable price. Let us all hope we can be as excited about the product they put on the field. Go Dolphins!

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)