Seaspice Executive Chef Angel Leon shares his shrimp linguine recipe in honor of National Linguine Day. But you really don’t need a special occasion to enjoy this delicious dish. Details and recipe just ahead.
I finally got out to Wynwood to check out 1-800-Lucky, Miami’s recently opened Asian marketplace. Themed out as a record shop and convenience store, this kind of dining experience is new territory for the city, bringing the food hall concept to the forefront.
I wish I could tell you that I’m the kind of mom who wakes up on Saturday mornings to put together Pinterest-worthy power breakfasts for my family. But I’m really more of a McDonald’s drive-thru kinda lady. Still, there are those of you out there who can whip up a beautiful, delicious, and healthy breakfast like it’s nothing. And to you, I say, “Seriously. Why. You’re making me look bad.” For the rest of us who need a cheat sheet to achieve that level of excellence I only ever saw Mary Poppins attain, here’s the recipe for Seaspice’s Power Waffles.
It’s been about six months since I started writing for MasterCard. They reached out to me as a result of coming across my blog and liking my writing (yay!) and offered me the opportunity to write a few articles for their Priceless Cities blog from a local’s perspective. What began as a twice monthly gig has now become about 6-8 pieces per month that have not only helped me sharpen my writing skills (writing for yourself can get a bit too comfortable), but have also allowed me the opportunity to explore my city with a fresh perspective. The results of which have led me to discover some great new spots, as well as revisit some of my favorites. Here are some of my top choices.
Chef Romeo Majano sits across from me in a dimly lit room with rich wood paneling and bottles of wine lining the walls. He’s comfortably sitting in his chair, relaying stories of his career trajectory over glasses of wine to me and my husband, who are drinking in both with the kind of reserved awe and excitement I imagine one would usually experience in the presence of a celebrity. Which, I suppose, Chef Romeo could be considered.
I won’t pretend I didn’t have an overwhelming love affair with food prior to my expectant status. But I will say that what champagne used to do for me pre-baby, cuisine has temporarily filled in for quite nicely. And without any of the guilt, which is essentially priceless. Hence, the Great Pregnancy Craving Tour of Miami.
I have shamelessly paraded this bump around town and (mostly unknowingly) dripped all sorts of toppings upon it to put together a list of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) crave-inducing establishments. I’m starting with my longest-running obsession, burgers. Check out my picks. Did I miss any? What should I try next? Let me know your favorites.
Elevation Burger – Simple, sustainable, organic, grass-fed, and free-range. If you’re a carnivore with a conscience (and a budget), there’s nothing better. Add a healthy list of toppings and a soda machine to blend any concoction to your whim and you’ve got the kind of place that’s made me go through a slew of frequent visitor cards. Slew!
Blue Collar – There isn’t enough I can tell you about this burger. I was newly pregnant at the time and discovering I’d developed the kind of appetite that would impress a wrestler. Enter the Real Juicy Cheeseburger – Prime dry-aged New York strip on a Portuguese muffin with your choice of lettuce, tomato, and onions. I don’t think I spoke two words during that meal.
Crave – This is the kind of refined establishment where most (non-pregnant) people would enjoy a nice sushi lunch or a delicately balanced salad. But I had absolutely no shame in devouring their Crave Burger and licking my fingers while doing so. I’m happy to do it again, even in the finest company. With smoked cheddar, onion, and house-made pickles, this is definitely a winner.
Lokal – I’ve never strayed from the 50/50 (Fidy Fidy) burger. And I don’t think I’ll ever want to. Equal parts Florida ground beef and Florida ground bacon combine to make super amazing burger babies in your mouth. Served with mayo, Monterrey jack cheese, and a sweet onion marmalade, you also get a side of 50% sweet potato fries, 50% french fries with honey mustard dipping sauce that gives you quite possibly the most beautiful combination of ingredients a belly could want.
Latin House Grill – This little gem on Sunset has a menu full of crave-able items (Sneaky Nachos!). But if you’re having one of those days when you can’t really figure out what flavor you’re after, I recommend the Intl Muffin Tops. Two of those little guys have a big fill factor.
Red Robin – I had no idea what to expect from Red Robin. And then I learned about their Bottomless Steak Fries (that I, of course, dipped in ranch dressing). It was absolute kismet. I paired that with the Whiskey River BBQ Burger and happily groaned my full belly out the door.
Shake Shack – While I genuinely enjoyed their Angus burger (I had the SmokeShack), my heart was really much more set on their Flat-Top Dogs. I made a mess of that Shack-cago Dog and enjoyed every last bit of relish. Bring your pooch along to dine on the terrace and buy him his own treats for a small price.
NOT WORTH THE WADDLE:
Le Tub Saloon – This waterfront joint has a serious following thanks to being voted best hamburger by GQ Magazine as well as being placed on Oprah’s radar as one of her favorites. The burger itself was simple, tasty, and juicy but the downside for any preggo is that there will likely be a minimum wait time of 1.5 hours before you see any meat on your plate. My vote? Try it when you’re not as likely to dig into the person next to you with a fork & knife. Or sit at a safe distance from others and bring a snack for the wait.
CG Burgers – You only get one shot at dinner. You can deal with “ok” food for lunch because you still have a chance to make it up throughout the rest of the day. But when you have the kind of dinner that leaves you wondering what was missing, you just end up with a grouchy preggo that’s likely suffering from heartburn and an unfulfilled appetite. In this case, what was missing was a decent brioche and some basic seasoning. I wanted so much to like this place but two strikes is enough for me to know not to go for the third.
SmashBurger – This place just made me angry. I first take issue with their logo, a blatant rip-off of GameStop’s font and coloring. But bad branding aside, with a name like SmashBurger, you should really be making a sensational impression. Rather, the result of quite literally smashing your burger patties into submission before squeezing all the juice out of the poor things is what my Cuban grandmother often refers to as “suela de zapato”, or the leathery bottom of one’s shoe, for those not fluent in Cuban slang. But I retain that it’s more accurately articulated in Spanish. No need to stop here.
Note: Rok Brgr didn’t make the list because I only visited once and wasn’t too impressed but felt that maybe it was an off night. I think it deserves another shot before I pass judgement.
The last time I visited The Forge, I could barely afford a glass of champagne and was really only there because a friend dragged me out. The WMC was going on and there were a lot of people whom I suspect were not only sipping champagne. Five years later, it’s probably still a stretch to make it a regular spot, but I’m a savvier shopper thanks to resources like Gilt City.
Thanks to my coupon-clipping ways I was able to surprise my husband during our staycation (yep – still debating that one) with a romantic dinner at the renovated Forge, one that looks nothing at all like that dark little eatery with the speakeasy that led to the club next door (you know the one). It’s polished, sexy, and refreshed, which can also be said for its food, prepared by Chef Dewey LoSasso. But what really made an impression was the enomatic wine bar, a new, interactive wine-by-the-glass self-serve feature truly designed for oenophiles and novices alike. Think of it as a soda fountain for grown-ups.
And if that doesn’t float your flute, then check out the 80’s inspired nudie wall mural in the ladies room. Or the mirror-backed chairs outside. Or even the sultry red lighting that’s more than adequately suitable for all sorts of Michael Jackson stage presence impressions (see MJ-impersonating husband below). You can try it all out for yourself during Miami Spice, beginning August 1st.
P.S. Please feel free to send in any MJ-impersonating husband pics. I like to think that I’m not alone.