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.