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Showing posts from August, 2016

Thirty Great Cheap Things to Eat in Miami

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A disproportionate amount of my time and energy writing here is devoted to higher end dining (leading some people to think I actually eat that way all the time!). Yes, there's a lot more glamour in a fancy tasting menu than in the average daily meal. But not necessarily more satisfaction.

And as Miami rapidly becomes an increasingly expensive place to live, there's a particular joy when that satisfaction comes cheap. As we enter the season of Miami Spice, when everyone goes scrambling to sample all the $39, 3-course dinners, this year I decided to do something different.

So forgive me for the click-bait title, but here are thirty great things to eat in Miami[1] all of them under $11.[2] A few of these come from Miami's most celebrated chefs and restaurants. Others come from places with no websites or social media managers, made by cooks whose names I will never know. Many are not terribly Instagram-friendly. What they all have in common is that they make me very happy when…

best thing i ate last week: orange chocolate souffle at Pinch Kitchen

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I'm not much of a dessert person, but there are certain things that hit certain spots for me. The combination of orange and chocolate is one of them, going back to a childhood fondness for the mandarin chocolate sherbet at Baskin Robbins (the flavor was discontinued many years ago, but memories persist). So when I see a dessert with orange and chocolate, I have trouble not ordering it.

Somehow I missed it on my first visit to Pinch Kitchen, a new-ish restaurant opened up on the northern periphery of the "MiMo District" along Biscayne Boulevard by a couple Pubbelly alumni, John Gallo and Rene Reyes. But their short list of desserts includes an orange and chocolate soufflé, baked right inside hollowed out oranges, and served with a classic creme anglaise. I went back for brunch this weekend to try it (and a couple other things).

The soufflé is airy and light but intense with chocolate flavor, drawing some extra citrus perfume as you scrape your spoon across the inside of …

best thing i ate last week: etouffee brute at Dusk

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The last time I was at Cena by Michy (which would, alas, turn out to be the last time I would ever be at Cena, which closed a couple months later), Michelle Bernstein introduced me to her latest chef de cuisine, Mike Mayta. He – and his wife Keily Vazquez, who together also ran Illegal Bakery – were joining a distinguished group of alumni who have passed through Michy's kitchens and dining rooms: Timon Balloo, Lindsay Autry, Jason Schaan, Berenice de Araujo, coctkail master Julio Cabrera, wine savant Allegra Angelo.

Cena is gone, but chefs Mayta and Vazquez have found another place to ply their trade, with a pop-up called Dusk, operating in the Crumb on Parchment space in the Design District (probably not coincidentally, also run by Chef Bernstein). They've put together a menu of a baker's dozen of dishes, some with Latin leanings (ajiaco pot pie, brisket saltado), others a bit more gastropub-y (chicken 'n' biscuit with chicken liver mousse, chorizo scotch egg), a…