Thursday, May 25, 2017

U.S. Adventures: Miami Beach, FL

A few months ago some friends from Texas convinced hubby and I to meet them in Miami for a long weekend (ok, it was February, it wasn’t hard). Here’s a little run down of where we ate.

Watr at the 1 Rooftop (it’s at the top of the 1 Hotel on South Beach). We had all just gotten in and didn’t have specific lunch plans, so we took our concierge’s advice and hit up one of the few rooftop/beachside restaurants on South Beach, and we could walk from our hotel. It was beautiful and the weather was superb. The menu is kind of eclectic, with a lot of small plates, but I really enjoyed everything. Here’s a sample of what we had: assorted dim sum ($16). Only four dumplings, and they were all different, but delicious. I could happily eat this on my own. Sweet and sour wings with tamarind glaze ($19). Meaty and I loved the tanginess of the tamarind. They had a bit of heat. Kimchi tuna ($19). I loved this dish and wished I had it all to myself. Lots of chunks of tuna in a creamy sauce, with kimchi and garlic chips, set on top of quinoa. I want to eat this now. We had a couple of sushi rolls as well, the salmon roll ($16), with asparagus, salmon, avocado and black sesame, and the shrimp tempura roll ($16) with shrimp, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo. Both just perfect. Finally the beef bulgogi lettuce wraps, with pickled cucumber and cashews ($19). Very good. Things were pricy, and a bit on the small side, but delicious. Very nice cocktails as well. And a great view of the beach as well as the Miami skyline.

Next we headed to dinner at Yardbird, based on a friend’s recommendation. We all loved this choice, even though one of my friends mocked me for choosing a fried chicken place. We started with the deviled eggs ($11 I think), which I really enjoyed because they had lots of dill and chives and tasted sort of pickly to me…my friends didn’t like them as much though for the same reason. We also had the little fried green tomato BLT appetizer ($14). This was the biggest letdown of the night. It sounded good—a fried green tomato with pimento cheese and bacon, but the tomato was way too thick and everything just slid off. It just came across and really dry and hard to eat. Skip this one. The fried chicken ($26), which they are known for, was very good. And man, the mac and cheese ($10)? Yes. Five kinds of cheese and herby topping. We also had some biscuit sliders and the shrimp and grits that were both pretty tasty, but overall the chicken is the star. Oh, and those little beignet type doughnuts. Delicious.

Randomly, the next morning, an old high school friend had replied to one of my facebook posts that he was also in Miami, and was eating pretzels at the Hofbrau Haus. Once I knew that existed, we had to go have a beer and pretzels as an appetizer before our next lunch. The pretzels weren’t as good as the ones in Munich, but it was fun anyway. And giant steins of beer always provide good photo ops. After that, we kind of wandered down the street until we just decided to grab a slightly healthier second course at Sushisamba. We had lots of little things. The tuna tataki ($15) was my favorite with the asparagus, hearts of palm and avocado and a fresh citrus soy. They had their own version of basically a bang bang shrimp, which was tempura rock shrimp ($17) with a spicy mayo and some black truffle vinaigrette. Strangely addictive. The samba dromo roll ($19) (lobster, mango, tomato, chive, crispy rice and peanut curry) was a miss. But it was a nice light lunch to follow our giant pretzels with cheese.

So our next night, my friend absolutely insisted on going to Joe’s Stone Crab. He absolutely loves this place. They don’t take reservations, and I will spare you the amount of complaints I have about this fact, but we waited over 2 hours for our reservation and I got progressively crankier. Luckily we found a table outside and had drinks and ordered some appetizers—they have a special bar menu you can only get out there. The popcorn lobster bites ($16.95) were quite delicious actually. Strangely there were actual pieces of popcorn mixed in, but regardless, the lobster was yummy and I liked the mustard sauce. We also got a jumbo crab cake with green tomato remoulade ($14). This was a miss. A giant fried ball of something that supposedly contained crab. Into the second hour, we added the crab and onion dip ($12.95) and this stuff was fabulous. It was cold, which sort of deterred me at first, but man, it was good. They served it with homemade potato chips, which were also delicious.

When we were finally seated at like 10:00 or something, I was barely in the mood to eat, but we had to get the signature items. I will have to say, as grumpy as I was, this was good food. The stone crab bisque ($9.95) was really tasty—really rich and decadent. I was glad I split a bowl with hubby though because it was soooo rich, I couldn’t have eaten it all. Then the stone crab claws. They were certainly the best I have ever had—I have never honestly had any that I thought were worth the price. These were (and they are expensive for sure, market pricing depending on size) and I enjoyed them with the creamy mustard sauce.  The key lime pie ($8.95) was also delicious, even though I think I was about to fall asleep on my plate by this time. The place was still heaving with people though.

Our last meal was at Larios on the beach, which is an upscale Cuban place owned by the Estafan family. I don’t even want to go on about this place. Nothing we had was good. It just was very bland and forgettable. And quite possibly the worst desserts I have ever tried. That’s all I am going to say about that (I did add the pics though). I just don’t have the energy. I think this place has seem better days for sure.

So that’s Miami in a nutshell. It was fast and we had some tasty things. Some day I would like to go back to Joe’s with a better attitude. Maybe on a Tuesday at 4:30 or something.

1 comment:

  1. just go to Joe's in Chicago. they take reservations! yum!!!