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Showing posts from October, 2012

"The List" - Where to Eat in Miami - Updated

Back in February, with some trepidation, I added a new feature to this blog: "The List" - a compilation of my own most frequently voiced responses to the question, "What are the best places to eat in Miami?" For reasons I explained back then, I've always struggled to name "favorites," as so much depends on mood, preference and appetite any given day.

Still and yet I ventured forth, and of course, promptly infuriated many readers with both my inclusions and omissions. And to make it even worse, as the list sat there growing old and stale, at least a couple of the places listed up and closed.

Well, once more unto the breach.

"The List" has been updated. What's more, it's been broken down a bit into:

"The Short List" (Go to these places. You will have a great meal and a great experience);

"The Not-So-Short List" (A bakers' dozen of favorites - many are "everyday" restaurants where I'm a regular, oth…

The FFT Calendar

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If you're not on the twitter and don't inspect this site pretty carefully, you may have missed the latest addition to FFT:  the Food For Thought Calendar, a running list of upcoming food and dining events in and around Miami. This calendar will likely fall somewhere between the "carefully curated" and the "neighborhood bulletin board" kinds of lists: I don't intend to include every 50-cent discount day at the frozen yogurt shop, but I'll probably include more events than I might strictly intend to go to myself, even with an unlimited budget and caloric intake capacity.

Unless it's particularly exciting, I will likely not be doing separate posts every time a new event is added, even though that makes for great blog filler. Instead, consider this your invitation to periodically visit here, click the "Calendar" link underneath the banner, and see if there's anything you might find interesting. And if you think there's something I…

Goes Around ... Comes Around: Double Feature Edition

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I ate at two new restaurants this week. I’ll need to make return visits to give a complete assessment of the food, but just from looking at their menus I could tell something about both of them: they kind of want to be other restaurants.

First, Tikl. Or, to be more precise, Tikl Raw Bar Grill. Where the menu is divided into “snacks,” “raw,” “small” and “robata” sections, rounded out by a couple “large” dishes. Where said “raw” dishes feature creatively flavored seafood crudos, the “small” items are an eclectic mix of tapas style dishes, and the “robata” items include meats, seafood and vegetables with a mish-mash of Asian and Mediterranean flavors. Where the menu puts the main ingredient of a dish in boldface, followed by a lower-case list of the other ingredients separated by slashes.



If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is almost exactly the same menu format as Sugarcane. Or, to be more precise, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill. Which has a menu divided into “snacks,” “crudos,” “tapas…

Josh's Delicatessen & Appetizing - Surfside

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When Edible South Florida magazine decided to do an issue dedicated to "classics," I was honored to be asked to participate. As a lifelong South Florida resident with many fond memories of places long gone, generally any opportunity to reminisce is enough to get me started. The piece I contributed is on Jewish delis, and I’ll try not to repeat it here too much - go find yourself a copy or read it online - other than to lay out the basic premise: that if the closing of the late, great Rascal House signified the death of the Jewish deli in South Florida, then Josh's Delicatessen & Appetizing, which opened earlier this year in Surfside, may be its reincarnation.

The "Josh" in Josh's Deli is chef/owner Joshua Marcus, who opened Chow Down Grill in this same spot a couple years ago. I was a fan of Chow Down, which brought a modern spin to Chinese-American classics with fresh, high-quality ingredients and house-made everything. But it (and its South Beach sibl…

Estiatorio Milos - Miami Beach

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I started this blog with the purpose of sharing great dining experiences in the Miami area, but I'll admit it: there are times that I'd like to keep some things to myself. There's a certain pleasure in having secrets, particularly when they're small, intimate places that for an hour or two you can sort of claim as your own.[1]


Estiatorio Milos, the newish Greek restaurant from Costas Spiliadis on the SoFi[2] end of South Beach, is far from a small, intimate place. To the contrary, Milos (which has siblings in Athens, New York, Montreal, and Las Vegas) is built on a grand scale. It seats a couple hundred in a breezy wide-open space with billowing white curtains and natural blond wood all around. The back of the dining room has an extravagant display of fish and seafood, flown in overnight from the Mediterranean and packed on ice. They're so impeccably fresh that even right next to the display, the only fish you smell are the ones cooking nearby in the open kitchen, o…

Lazy Bear - San Francisco

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When we started our Cobaya "underground" dinners, there was no pretense of originality; we were very deliberately copying things we had heard about in other cities. So for years I've been keeping track of what other like-minded people are doing around the country, including the Lazy Bear dinners in San Francisco.

In many ways, Lazy Bear is very similar to our Cobaya events: it's a set menu, with a focus on creative, contemporary cooking; events are announced only by mailing list and website; seats are assigned by lottery; the location is only disclosed to confirmed attendees.[1] But there are differences as well: whereas Cobaya was organized by a few avid diners, and features a different chef for every event, Lazy Bear is a chef-driven affair: specifically, David Barzelay, who cooked at Nopa and Commonwealth, and staged at McCrady's and Aldea, before going the underground dinner route.

When the opportunity presented itself to attend one of his dinners on our rec…